Modern EliYahs

Using a metaphor involving a rock, Yahshua promised that there would always be faithful believers who follow and proclaim His ways and teachings. He said in Matthew 16:18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my assembly; and the gates of the grave shall not prevail against it.” The “rock” was Peter’s confession that Yahshua is the Messiah.
There has never been a time when Yahweh did not have His covenant people worshiping Him somewhere on earth.

Yahshua’s assembly didn’t die with those True Believers in Yahshua’s day. The true Body lived on through history, and notably to our day, to us modern EliYahs. Amazingly, what happened in both testaments is still alive and active 2,000 years later. Yahweh never deviates from His salvational plan.

Even during the Great Tribulation when the assembly is taken into wilderness protection for 3½ years, there will still be two witnesses given great, supernatural powers standing on the streets of Jerusalem proclaiming Yahweh’s Name and Truth, Revelation 11.

Just as He had Moses and Aaron and many prophets standing firm against the opposing tide, Yahweh’s representatives will stand against Satan and the Man of Sin.

Being that Yahweh has always had His people somewhere on earth throughout history means no one can use the excuse that the Truth wasn’t here. Ours is to find it and follow it. “Seek first the Kingdom of Yahweh, and His righteousness,” Yahshua said in Matthew 6:33.

The Bible student is aware of the many references to Yahshua’s Second Coming in the New Testament. To be exact, 318 New Testament prophecies relate to the Messiah’s return. In His Olivet prophecy of Matthew 24, Yahshua says in the last days wars will increase as well as famines, diseases, massive earthquakes, and possibly meteor strikes. These events will prove the veracity of the Bible.

He then zeroes in on the character and temperament of modern people, which is the most revealing sign of the end. The moral underpinnings that make a safe and flourishing society are disappearing. Natural restraints that hold back bad behavior are also fading so that we are becoming a culture of unchecked anger, open hostility, and spiritual decay. What we witness now is prophesied in the Word. Christianity is also in a freefall and unable to turn society back to the Scriptures.

It’s All About Self Today
The Apostle Paul warned in 2Timothy 3:2: “This know also, that in the last days perilous [distressing] times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves [“fond of self” in the Greek], covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection [inhuman behavior], trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of Elohim.”

People are turning inward; satisfying self is top priority today. In politics they look only for the candidate who says he will give them what they want – gain with no pain.

Sin is at the root of every evil, every crime, all that is immoral, all heartache and suffering, all maliciousness, every hateful attitude, self-obsessions, and all that destroys lives. What we suffer today stems from sin in the human heart. If this doesn’t validate the prophecies of the Bible, what does?

We believers find ourselves standing in the gap, holding to the Scriptures and its fundamental morality that our world needs like oxygen. It is no accident that our message dovetails with end-time prophecy.

Yahshua said in Matthew 24:14:
“And this good news of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” That the truth of the sacred Name has come to the forefront in the last 40 years also verifies that we are in the last days.

In 2008 the pope banned Catholics from using Yahweh’s Name in liturgy, songs, and prayers. That’s ironic because Yahweh’s Name appears abundantly in the Roman Catholic Jerusalem Bible! No doubt the growing popularity of the Name taught and expounded by True Believers instigated the pope’s censorship action.

Of the many who contact YRM, few question the veracity of Yahweh’s Name. That wasn’t the case only a few decades ago when Yahweh’s Name wasn’t so well known. The outreach of the Sacred Name groups had a big part in taking the Name truth worldwide.

Our nationwide outreach through Discover the Truth TV program in conjunction with one of the largest religious websites on the Internet, in addition to videos exceeding 2 million views worldwide – all have made a significant impact. Also influential are many believers proclaiming the EliYah message “my El is Yah” on social media. We must never give up preaching and teaching the Word, both when convenient and when not, 2Timothy 4:2.

It is not only the holy Names that set us apart from nominal teachings, but also the many truths we follow in the Word.

Jude 1:3 encourages the believer. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

Why would Jude bring it up if churchianity were faithfully teaching New Covenant truths? He continues in v. 5, telling how Israel apostatized; how even some angels apostatized, and how Sodom and Gomorrah went off the rails morally. Why would he tell us to go back to the original teachings once delivered if those doctrines were faithfully being carried forward?

Jude says that salvation hinges on the original truths, the faith once delivered. And that is what Yahweh’s people must stand on and proclaim.

Lawbreaking Produces Sin
A key that unlocks what we are about and the message we teach is found in the prophet named EliYah through what he represented and what his mission was. Our ministry today directly mirrors his mission.

Today’s nominal teachings have missed the simplest of truths.

To prove this, ask the person on the street what sin is, according to the Scriptures. What you’ll get are such bromides as sin is:
• not living right
• wrongdoing
• unbelief
• darkness not light
• a falling away

Such generalities don’t help anyone to identify and overcome sin. They are just platitudes and clichés that nibble around the edges, but don’t get to the core of what sin actually is. For most, sin is whatever they decide it is. As a wise general once said, “If you don’t know your enemy you can’t defeat him.”

Yahweh made sure that the enemy sin is very simple to recognize and understand so that we will know exactly how to overcome and avoid it. His straightforward description is found in 1John 3:4: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” Only seven words are needed to tell us plainly that sin is lawbreaking. Romans 3:23 and 5:12 say everyone has sinned by lawbreaking.

But the law was abolished at the cross, many say. Here’s the paradox: how can every person be a sinner if the standard that defines sin doesn’t exist? If there are no traffic laws I can drive any way I want and not be arrested.

In the Bible’s definition of sin we find truth. We learn how to come to salvation. It tells us to walk in Yahshua’s footsteps and follow His example. It all hinges on our obedience to the Word.
We find in 1John 3:5 that Yahshua had no sin. That means He was a perfect lawkeeper. “But my minister tells me He nailed the law to the cross,” they will say. That is another contradiction as Matthew 5:17 quotes Yahshua saying emphatically: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

Fulfill does not mean to abolish. Why? Read the next sentence: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
Talk about hyperbolic proof. So long as heaven and earth exist, even the most minute part of the law will still be in full force. What bigger proof can there be?

What is misinterpreted is Colossians 2:14, which says it was the handwriting of ordinances that was nailed to the stake. “Handwriting” of ordinances refers to the statutes written by man; it is from the Greek dogma. It is not describing any commandment of Yahweh.

The Most Violated Commandment
The commandment broken far more often than any other is the very first one: “Thou shalt have no other mighty ones before me.”

“What do you mean?” you ask. “I don’t worship idols.” You don’t have to bow to Buddah, visit Vishnu, or cash in for Kris Kringle – any time you put ANYTHING before Yahweh, you idolize a priority. That includes your job, family, finances, a hobby, entertainment, or an obsession. Any of these can take precedence over living for Yahweh in your life.

Most anything can be an idol. The commandment says not to serve these things. Serve is abad, and as a verb can mean to enslave. We are not to be enslaved by anything that takes us away from serving Yahweh. By anything that robs our time in worshiping Him.

In so many different ways the first commandment is broken every day and many times a day. Every other commandment you violate also breaks the first one. When you break one you really break two because every sin you commit takes you away from Yahweh and puts something in place of your obedience to Him.

EliYah Preparing the Way Today
Let’s return to the prophet and his message. EliYah was the first major prophet to the northern Kingdom of Israel. Those 10 tribes were constantly going off the rails. Every king they had was bad. EliYah (incorrectly, Elijah) is a Hebrew name that means, “my El is Yah.” His name embodies the first commandment and so did his most memorable action.

The EliYah message to be proclaimed at the end of the age is, “Yahweh” is the Mighty One of this universe. He has a personal Name packed full of salvational meaning. He doesn’t have “many names.”

Another crystal clear statement just like the scriptural definition of sin, is in Isaiah 42:8: “I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” You cannot mistake that simple declaration; you cannot shoe-horn another name or title into Yahweh’s plain, simple, clear, declarative statement: I am Yahweh, that is my Name.

Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry has dozens of scholarly reference books in our library that verify His Name Yahweh. In my research I have never come across a variant like Yah-havah, Yahovah, Yehovah, Yahoveh, or any other proxy some use for His Name.

To know exactly how YRM fits into the EliYah message, let’s look at the focus of EliYah’s mission. In 1Kings 18:21 the prophet engages false worship at Mt. Carmel.
Israel was playing both sides. Our prophet asks Israel: “How long are you going to vascillate? If Yahweh is Elohim, follow Him, but if Baal, then follow him.” Find out the true One and stick with Him.

We see a direct parallel today with those who mix Yahweh’s Name with common titles.

EliYah cries to them as well: stop straddling the fence. If you claim to worship Yahweh, the Mighty One of the universe, then worship Him, all the way. Don’t equivocate. You don’t honor Him by heathen titles.

When you mix in a title as if it’s His Name, you demean Him. You degrade the holiest Name in the universe. When you use another name or title in worship, you invoke a different worship that identifies with that name. I am Yahweh, He thunders, and I will not honor any other name.

Those who are enlightened swim against the current. That’s to be expected. So did Yahshua. Always remember that salvation is what we are living for and not the approval of the unenlightened majority.

G-O-D represents a category, a class, a molten image, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Paul said in 1Cor. 8:5: “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many)…” but he adds in verse 6: “But to us there is but one Elohim, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Master, Yahshua, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

Our Savior Yahshua promised that just as John the Baptist came in the power and strength of EliYah, another would come much like John before the Savior’s return to this earth. His message will be the same: Yahweh is the true Mighty One. Call on Him; Be called by Him. And then follow Him. We have no other choice if salvation is our goal.

The EliYah message is summed up in the meaning of the name EliYah: “my Mighty One is Yah.” His message comprises the fact that His people are called by His Name Yahweh.
“If My people which are called by My name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” 2Chronicles 7:14.

Being called by His Name we turn from sin and obey Him. How many deeply honor His Name, use it, and don’t deny its importance no matter what the circumstances? How many take it to the next level and submit in everything to Him in preparation for rulership in the coming millennial Kingdom? Sadly, most are stuck at step one.

A Coming Restoration of all Things
Yahshua told the multitude in Matthew 11:14 that if they would just accept John the Baptist, he would be the EliYah prophesied to come. Later, in Matthew 14:3-10, we read that Herod had John beheaded.

The people did not repent at the preaching of John the Baptist but rejected him as well as his message of repentance and obedience. Yahshua said in Matthew 3:3: “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, the voice of one crying in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of Yahweh, make his paths straight.” John was “crying out” because few were listening.

Yahshua said that John came just as EliYah did, preaching repentance, meaning turn your life around and obey the true Mighty One.

But they failed. He said in Matthew 11:18 that John the Baptist didn’t come eating or drinking, i.e. fellowshiping with others, so they concluded that he must have a demon. The Son of man comes eating and drinking and their accusation was he’s a glutton and a drunk.

Most don’t understand our message either. But Yahshua concluded that the results will ultimately decide: “wisdom is justified of her children.” Wisdom will be justified by its deeds.

After John’s death, Yahshua explained to the gathered disciples, “EliYah is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them,” Mathew 17:12.

Problem no. 2 is that they rejected Yahshua as the Messiah. But wait. There will yet come another EliYah at the end of the age, our age. Note what Yahshua further said in verse 11 about the important mission of this coming prophet revisited, “EliYah truly shall first come, and restore all things.” This was after the death of John the Baptist.

The only possible explanation is that there will be a third EliYah like John the Baptist, preparing the way for Yahshua’s Second Coming, as John did for Yahshua’s first appearance.

Now let’s connect some dots by going to Malachi 4:4-6, a key passage that speaks of us, you and me, as we bring truth to the world in these latter days. First note the context in verse 4:
“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.”

Just as Eliyah cried out to repent and turn to the true Father in heaven, and as John the Baptist preached repentance, which means to turn from sin and obey the statutes of Yahweh, the prophet Malachi again, at the end time, reminds us of Yahweh’s statutes and judgments handed down at Sinai.

With this in mind, note how Malachi then follows up his warning to obey: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh.” Yahshua agrees with Malachi. Another EliYah is clearly defined by both. And what is the mission of this latter-day EliYah?

“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Here comes a third EliYah, preparing the way of Yahshua the second time, just as John the Baptist, a prototype of EliYah, prepared the people for Yahshua’s first coming by preaching repentance and obedience. Same message we have.

The whole context of this 4th chapter of Malachi is about turning back the people in obedience at the end of the age. The prophet begins in verse 1 of this chapter by telling the people to honor the law, the statutes, and judgments given at Sinai. That is pivotal, not only because it is central to the two EliYah messages, but also because obedience to Yahweh’s statutes is the springboard from which he introduces this new EliYah in the latter days.

A key to putting all this together is in the transfiguration of Matt. 17:2, where Yahshua takes Peter, James, and John into a high mountain. There they see a vision (v. 9) of both Moses and Eliyah talking with Yahshua about His coming death. But according to Luke 9:31, Peter, James, and John were so tired that they fell asleep.

When Peter wakes up and sees the vision of Yahshua with Moses and Eliyah, and not knowing what had occurred while he was sleeping, he in typical Peter-esque fashion spouts off the first thing that comes to mind, “It was sure good to have been here, let’s make three tabernacles for Yahshua, Moses, and EliYah.”

This vision with the three individuals validates the unity between Yahshua’s New Testament message with the Law and prophets of the Old Testament.
Yahshua said that there would be an EliYah in these last days preaching and teaching a return to the laws and statutes once delivered to the saints at Sinai, as we read in Jude 1:3.
Malachi 3:1 says this messenger, this EliYah, will prepare the way for the Messiah.

Going Back to the Fathers
So this end-time EliYah, which is clearly those who bring the message of repentance and obedience, will change hearts by returning to the precepts of the fathers, the Old Testament patriarchs, that the children will also honor as their example is given to the descendants by this EliYah.

If this does not happen, the earth itself will be cursed with total destruction.

Obedience is the only path to salvation, and disobedience is the sure route to destruction. Yahshua said if it weren’t for the elect, the world would be toast. Yahweh is giving us a chance to finish the work we must do as His covenant people—to teach the world the Truth first given to the patriarchs. Forget Roman traditions. Turn to the truth first presented by the patriarchs of old. And when things get hot, we can trust Yahweh to step in and save His elect.

The last book of the Old Testament emphasizes that EliYah (and specifically the message of honoring and calling on the true Yahweh) would precede the Second Coming.

We at YRM are fulfilling the EliYah mission. We are the third EliYah that Yahshua spoke of in Matthew 17:11. “And Yahshua answered and said unto them, Eliyah truly shall first come, and restore all things.” This third EliYah will bring back the truth of the Covenant that all must become a part of with all its stipulations. They will accept Yahshua and teach the laws He lived and taught, Revelation 12:17, 14:12, and 22:14: “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” (Rev 22:14).

The EliYah at the end of the age and those with him who resist the Beast and his system will also face persecution, as did the first EliYah with Ahab and Jezebel. And as did John the Baptist, the second EliYah, murdered by Herod. Yahshua said that His saints would “be hated of all men for My name’s sake; but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved,” Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17.

In these last days there must be bold teachings of Yahweh’s laws and His weekly and annual Sabbaths—His way of Life. If not, the rocks would cry out, Luke 19:40. Proclaiming the truth of Yahweh’s Word before the Messiah returns will turn those who are called by Yahweh to seek His ways and completely submit to Him.

The final chapters of the Bible, Revelation 12:17, 14:12, and 22:14, say we must have both Yahshua and obey Yahweh for salvation. They come as a package. Faith and obedience are not mutually exclusive. We will go nowhere without obedience. Yahshua obeyed, and He is our example. He is the key. We do what He did, taught, and lived. Revelation tells us that Yahweh’s people will be sealed with His Name and given protection once they have accepted His sovereignty and taken hold of His Covenant.

Traits of the Modern EliYahs
How does the true worshiper fit the role of the EliYah who is to come?

• Nearly unknown by the world, EliYah suddenly emerged almost covertly as a prophet to steer Israel from the brink of disaster. The believer is relatively unknown to the vast world of Bible believers.
• This man of Yahweh stood alone against 450 prophets of Baal. True teachings stand against many Bible-challenged church traditions.
• The altar that EliYah used had been broken down and abandoned and had to be rebuilt, symbolizing the abandonment of truth and the task the faithful have of re-teaching the faith once delivered.
• EliYah’s challenge to the worshipers of Baal: How long limp you between two different worship practices? 1Kings 18:21. Modern EliYahs ask, how long will compromise with the world be acceptable?
• The transfiguration represented unity among Yahshua, the law, and the Old Testament prophecy (Matt. 17:2). Moses typifies the law and EliYah represents the prophets. We see unity with Yahshua, the law, and the Old Testament, and not His abolishment of it.

Be a rock. Don’t let trials small or great pull you away from Yahweh. He will never leave or forsake His faithful.

Rewriting the New Testament

Over time myths and legends can be accepted as truth even if they lack a basis in fact. One of these legends says that George Washington threw a silver dollar across the Potomac River, even though silver dollars did not exist at the time and the Potomac was a mile wide.

Paul Revere was supposed to have ridden from Boston to Lexington crying, “The British are coming,” even though at that time most residents of Massachusetts considered themselves British.

Many religious convictions are awash in myths that grew and flourished over the centuries and yet are nowhere in the Word. Knowing how fables involving George Washington and Paul Revere became generally accepted in the course of only a couple hundred years, imagine how facts can be skewed after a couple thousand years when it comes to the Scriptures.

Have you ever wondered why the typical paintings of a Hebrew Messiah show an individual having western European features of a narrow nose, blue eyes and long, golden hair? Illustrations in some Bibles depict ancient Israelites of the Middle East sporting Renaissance garb 1500 miles away and 1500 years into the future.

Ancient tradition and foreign beliefs have seriously altered the way the Bible is portrayed and understood today. Perceptions sometimes stray so far from the truth that for the sake of accuracy we must stop and take a serious look at what we have been told or believe. Debunking traditional error is a key part of the work of Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry.

Coming down this path are many doctrinal disparities that were shaped by cultures and practices of people who came later. As a result, truth suffered substantially. Blinded by faulty teachings, many today don’t adhere to the truth even when it’s pointed out clearly and plainly.

The Bible as a Hebraic Book
Most of society looks at the Bible through Western filters, rather than in the light of its native Hebraic language and culture. This problem has proved so stealthy and persistent through the millennia that most will never question traditional notions. And they also don’t realize what is at risk. Until you understand that the New Testament is an extension of the Old, with only a few key revisions, you will never grasp it properly.

Let’s dispel the first issue we raised regarding the Savior. The Messiah Yahshua (being a Jew with a Hebrew Name) never had His portrait done by an artist or sculptor. Even if some were lurking around Galilee He never would have posed for them. With Him it was never about vanity.

No one today knows what He looked like. Scripture doesn’t offer any description, except to indicate that He was average in appearance without long, blond locks, 1Corinthians 11:14, Ezekiel 44:20. With His beard, Isaiah 50:6, He looked so much like any other Hebrew of His day that He could pass through a crowd of Jews unrecognized.

If the Bible had provided a description of His appearance, many would create and worship His image rather than concentrate on what He said and did. But they do that anyway.

Many also do it in another way, focusing entirely on His person and overlooking His primary teachings about a coming Kingdom and the part the called-out can have in it.

Our Savior was certainly no frail European, but a rugged Hebrew craftsman who worked with wood and stone. Being that His mother was Jewish, he had the typical dark, curly Mid-Eastern hair and features that reflected years of hard work and ministry carried out in the hot sun of the Middle East.

But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Anomalies concerning the simplest biblical facts underscore the work of the Adversary to derail both a correct understanding of Bible truth as well as the proper worship that would naturally flow from it.

To understand the harm in misconstruing both testaments, we first must be open to their thousands of connections.

The Western world looks at the Bible through Western eyes. In actuality, the Bible is a book about Middle Eastern peoples known as Israel and their Hebrew beliefs in an Almighty Creator named Yahweh. This fact applies to the New Testament as well as the Old and is basic to realizing what happened in the first several hundred years of the New Testament.

The fact is, the New Testament body of believers was still Hebraic in thinking and behavior. They had inherited a “Jewish” Messiah and it was their own Hebraic roots that the early church would seek to suppress any way they could. Almost from the beginning the emerging universal church became entrenched in Greco-Roman trappings.

From Hebrew to Greek
To disconnect their worship from its Israelite moorings, another “Sabbath” day was created. Biblical holy days, which were seen as Old Testament obligations meant only for ancient Israel, were replaced by celebrations that would become predominately secular over time.

Passover, the memorial of Yahshua’s death, was morphed into Easter, a brand new celebration for His resurrection. But the Roman church had zero authority from the Scriptures to create a resurrection observance.

New Testament writings of Hebrew men like Matthew, Mark, Paul, and Peter were given a different spin to support an array of new doctrines, some of which reflected the teachings of Greek philosophers. Even their Hebrew names were Grecianized in an obvious makeover.

Paul was given a Westernized face-lift to advocate no-law disobedience in his letters. Peter’s experience was misinterpreted in Acts 10 to say swine and shellfish had been cleansed and were now edible.

Apostolic writings were ripped from their Israelite framework and force-fitted into Greco-Roman mindsets. Over time a vast gulf would develop between original biblical truth and modern beliefs. The pivotal question becomes: Is the New Testament a Hebrew book, a Greek work, a Latin volume, or a hopeless mixture? And does it make any difference for True Worship?
Even Bible students with a basic under-standing of Scripture know that Hebrew is the language of the Old Testament manuscripts. It’s the language found in the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Bible texts in existence.

The common belief is that the New Testament was originally written in Greek simply because Greek is the language of the oldest available manuscripts of the New Testament. By the same reasoning, however, the Greek text also was the oldest available text of the Old Testament until the Dead Sea Scrolls, written in Hebrew, were discovered in 1947. More evidence is coming to light that the New Testament was first composed in Hebrew as well, consistent with being written by Hebrews.

In the minds of reformers the New Testament included Jews who were in the process of switching from their Israelite faith to Grecianized-Romanized beliefs and language.
Along with that was a common belief that Paul, the major New Testament writer, was a Hellenist Jew from Tarsus who wrote his letters specifically to Greek-speaking assemblies in Asia Minor and the Mediterranean region ostensibly to convince them to switch to a new faith.

This has worked to the advantage of those who want to keep the Old and New testaments separated and not viewed as a single continuum of truth.

As we read Philippians 3:5, which is part of Paul’s autobiography, let us ask ourselves whether slicing the New Testament away from the Old is proper or just another tactic of the Adversary to derail correct understanding and worship.

Paul writes of himself, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews: as touching the law, a Pharisee.” Paul’s expression, “an Hebrew of Hebrews” is a Hebrew idiom that means a Hebrew through and through – in thinking, language, and lifestyle.

Paul, whose actual name was the Hebrew Shaul (the KJV also calls him Saul), was in fact a complete Hebrew. As for his politics, Paul was a Pharisee, a prominent sect of Judaism. Paul also grew up in Jerusalem, which was the center of Pharisaic Judaism.

At this point you might be saying, yes I realize that Paul may have been a Hebrew, but he was educating various Greek-speaking churches through the Greek language.

In reality Scripture reveals that Paul’s letters or epistles were written to various groups of the Jewish dispersion. Each group or assembly he founded contained a core of Jews along with others, including gentiles and Hellenists or Jews who spoke Greek. The Hebrews among them would transmit the biblical message from Paul’s letters to others in their circle.

Note what one authority writes: “ …we must not forget that Christianity grew out of Judaism … The Pauline epistles were letters written by Paul to small [Messianic] congregations in Asia Minor, Greece, and Rome. These early believers were mostly Jews of the dispersion, men and women of Hebrew origin … The Epistles were translated into Greek for the use of converts who spoke Greek” (The Holy Bible from the Peshitta, by George Lamsa).

Just as teachings became Grecianized and Romanized, so were facilities. Greek gods were worshiped by the Greeks in Greek temples. These temples were later re-purposed into Christian churches. Many of the old Roman basilicas, which were public buildings in ancient Rome, were also appropriated for use as churches beginning in the 4th century. The circle of Greek and Roman influence was complete.

Paul Sustains Sabbath Obedience
An example of how the Apostle Paul ministered first to the Hebrew-speaking Jewish element wherever he went is found in Acts 17. Here Paul and Silas come to Thessalonica where there is a synagogue of the Jews. In verse 2 we read: “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures.”

Why did he go specifically to the synagogue, on three consecutive Sabbaths no less, if he was not interested in teaching the Jews the truth of the Savior?

Paul was a Jew and as a Jew he kept and taught seventh-day worship as well as Yahweh’s seven annual Feast days. He continued doing so even after being instructed and trained by the resurrected Messiah, showing us that nothing there changed with the death of the Savior. The law was still in effect.
Another instance is his letter to the assembly at the Greek city of Corinth in 1Corinthians 10. There Paul talks about “our fathers” who were in the Exodus from Egypt, meaning their Israelite forefathers. Repeatedly we find that Paul went to the synagogue on the Sabbath where both Jews and Gentiles were worshiping. And he never told them to stop doing so. He never explained about any resurrection switch that made Sunday the new day to worship. Both Jew and Gentile still kept the true Sabbath.
Also critical to our understanding is the question, which books did Paul teach from? The only books in existence at the time were what were known as the Scriptures, the Old Testament.
This is highly significant because it is the Apostle Paul who is a preeminent transmitter of the New Testament, after the Savior Himself, of course. He taught from the Old Testament in his letters. The Old Testament was a Hebrew collection of books about Hebrew people, not Greeks or Romans, but Israelites and their faith, which included almost the same covenant we are to make with Yahweh.
Notice what he said in Acts 24:14: “But this I confess unto you that after the way which they call heresy (a sect or party), so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.” The word “heresy” here refers to men following their own tenets.

By continuing to teach from the Old Testament as a foundation for their New Testament worship, Paul made some people very uncomfortable. Some even went so far as to call his ministry a heresy or in the vernacular, a cult, for teaching from the Law and prophets, which was another way of saying the Old Testament Scriptures.

In addition, Paul included in his ministry and writings what he had learned from the resurrected Messiah Yahshua. Obviously Paul saw no contradiction with combining fundamental Old Testament truth with what Yahshua had revealed for the New Testament worshiper.

Yahshua Himself said in Matthew 5:17 that He did not come to destroy the law or the prophets but to fulfill, or live out the Old Testament Scriptures in obedience to His Father.

But Paul had critics coming at him from the other side too. In Acts 24:5 he is being accused by the religious establishment of being a ringleader of the “sect” of the Nazarenes or the followers of the Savior of Nazareth. So he was getting it from both angles: those who thought the Old Testament was obsolete, and those who could not bear to hear about the New Testament Savior Yahshua.

Clearly, Paul harmonized Old and New testament doctrines in his writings. Being that he was directed to do so by the risen Savior, his approach is proper for us today. In fact, this is what Paul had told the young Timothy in 2Timothy 3:16-17. “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of Yahweh and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of Yahweh may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

“All Scripture” refers here specifically to the Old Testament and only later would include the New Testament once the New Testament was written.

How did it happen that two major but divergent world religions exist, with one supposedly based on the Old Testament and the other ostensibly founded on the New Testament?

If the Old and New testaments teach the same basic truths, why the dichotomy? Is the Bible designed as two separate books, revealing one way of faithful obedience for Hebrews and a different way of simple faith for today’s believer?

Not a Divine Misstep
One fact is crystal clear: Yahweh said in Malachi 3:6 that He doesn’t change. His design for salvation is the same from the beginning. Through command and through His writers, Yahweh instructed His people to obey Him.

Yet, many continue to believe that Yahweh’s laws must have been given to Israel by mistake, an error committed by the Father that Yahshua corrected by purging our lives of Yahweh’s statutes in this age of grace.

Hebrews chapter 11 tells us about law-observant Hebrew patriarchs who will be in the coming Kingdom because of their faithful obedience. So why will Yahweh specifically reward them for their faithfulness to His laws if obedience is unnecessary and irrelevant for salvation?

If Paul in the New Testament were teaching a Grecianized faith, why did he quote from a Hebrew Old Testament? Why did he use lessons about Old Testament Israelites (for example, 1Cor. 10) if today’s worship is under an entirely different system based on faith alone?

In truth, none of the apostles had ever heard of the terms “Old Testament” and “New Testament.” The first use of the term New Testament is by the theologian Tertullian more than a century after the death of the apostles.

The simple truth is that Paul upheld Old Testament obedience. He wrote: “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not: yea, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31).

The Messiah Taught the Law
Something is clearly amiss if we believe that the New Testament teaches a whole new system of faith and conduct disconnected from the Old. Yahshua Himself upheld and even amplified the necessity to obey His Father Yahweh.

Read Matthew 5:17 to the end of the chapter. In that passage He starts out with, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets.”

Yahshua Himself taught from the Old Testament. He quoted the law books, or Torah, some 60 times. There are nearly 700 individual citations from the books of the Old Testament found in the New. If you include references to the Old Testament as well as quotations of it in the New, the number would be over 4,000, according to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary.

The Messiah Yahshua in John 10:35 says Scripture cannot be broken. And yet for 2,000 years persistent efforts have been made to break the New Testament away from the Old Testament. Claiming that the New Testament was written in Greek has had the effect of disconnecting it from its foundational Hebraic roots.

New Testament Is Hebrew Based
An abundance of internal evidence points clearly to the unavoidable conclusion that the New Testament was originally written in the Hebrew language and was translated into Greek only later.
This fact alone provides the essential tie that binds Israelite worship in the Old Testament with the faith of spiritual Israel of the New Testament.

Paul says in Romans 11 that the believer today is grafted into that same Israelite Covenant promise given in the Old Testament. He wrote in Romans 11:25, “For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits: that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved.” Paul writes that both believing Israelite and believing gentile will receive the reward of salvation, confirming the continuity of the testaments. Now let’s look at the text itself.

Survivals from the Hebrew Originals
If the New Testament writings were originally Greek, then we could reasonably expect to find an occasional Greek word surviving in English from the Greek original.
Instead we find many Hebrew words and expressions in the New Testament that have survived into the English. That’s because the Greek had no word to convey certain Hebrew words and expressions when the Hebrew New Testament text was translated into the Greek and from there into English.

For example, we find in the King James New Testament and other versions the purely Hebrew-Aramaic word “Abba” (which means dearest father); “Messiah” (anointed one); “Sabbath” (repose, desist from exertion); “Eli, eli lama sabachthani” (my El, my El, why have you forsaken me?); “talitha cumi” (meaning maid arise); “mammon” (riches), and “hosanna” (savior we beseech).

If we were translating a book from German to English, would we throw some Russian words into our English translation? Russian words would survive our English version only if the original were translated from Russian. So finding Hebrew words and expressions in supposed Greek manuscripts is powerful evidence that the original was not Greek at all but Hebrew.

Also scattered through the New Testament we find many Hebrew (and Aramaic) idioms, which are expressions that cannot be translated accurately in the Greek so they were left virtually untranslated. They make perfect sense in Hebrew, but not in Greek or in English, for that matter.

Such expressions include: “If your eye is evil” (Matt. 6:23); “let the dead bury the dead” (Matt. 8:22); and “you shall heap coals of fire on his head” (Rom. 12:20).
Many other examples show clear evidence in the text itself that the New Testament was originally a Hebrew work that only later was translated into Greek.

When Yahshua returns, His feet will not touch down on Mount Olympus in Greece, or on one of the seven hills of Rome, but on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. He is coming to redeem Israel and those who are faithful to the same covenant that Israel accepted.

We read in Zechariah 14:4: “And His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave [split] in the midst thereof.”
Notice what Paul wrote about the believers of the New Testament Assembly. “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Yahshua the Messiah being the chief corner stone,” Ephesians 2:20.

He mentions both apostles and prophets as establishing the foundation of the New Testament Assembly. We know that the apostles are those who lived in the New Testament era and were with the Messiah Yahshua, but who are the prophets?

Simply defined, “prophets” is a general term used for the Old Testament proponents of Truth. In Luke 16:29 Yahshua the Messiah in His parable implored us to listen to Moses (the law) and the prophets. Interestingly, both are in the Old Testament.

By citing only a few of these facts, and there are many more we could list, we can see a clear harmony between both Old and New testaments.

The Sixth Letter, Waw or Vav?

Modern Hebrew uses a “vav” (v) for the sixth letter of its alphabet but anciently this wasn’t the case. Originally it had a “w” (double “u”) sound. This is a big deal when determining the proper pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. The only “v” sound in classical or biblical Hebrew is made from the second letter, the “bet” (for you Hebrew students this is the Hebrew letter “bet” without the dot called the dagesh lene, which indicates the harder pronunciation “b”).

It is known from antiquity the Tetragrammaton letters yod, heh, and waw are vowels. Vowels are spoken with the open mouth. The “v” is a consonant, not a vowel, and is spoken with the upper teeth and lower lip together. The historian Josephus (37 CE) said of the high priest, “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of the Almighty]: it consists of four vowels.” (War of the Jews, Book 5. 5. 7.)

Consisting of four vowels, the name Yahweh is pronounced with the open mouth, i.e.,  ee – ah- oo – eh. You cannot have or inject a consonant v as in Yahveh or Yehovah i.e.,  ee – ah – vv – eh. The two-syllable name Yahweh can be breathed when you deeply inhale and exhale.

The Masoretic vowel pointing backs up Josephus’ claims about the yod, heh and waw. In biblical Hebrew there are six unchangeable vowels (see chart above).

In his biblical Hebrew lecture series, Dr. Bill Barrick makes this interesting observation: “Sometimes actually in the transcription of ancient Hebrew such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, a ‘waw’ is sometimes given as a vowel letter for the qibbuts, which really represents a shureq and that also indicates the sounds of them were very, very close, even in ancient times.” (Biblical Hebrew Grammar I, Lesson 12). The qibbuts is a short vowel and has a “u” sound like in the word “ruler,” which equates to the “w” or double u. (See Basics of Biblical Hebrew Chapter 2.4)

J.D. Wijnkoop, literary candidate at the University of Leyden and rabbi of the Jewish Congregation in Amsterdam, states in his book, Manual of Hebrew Grammar, “Waw is a softly, scarcely audible pronounced w, which is produced by a quick opening of the lips,” (Forgotten Books, Classic Reprint Series, 2015, p. 3, original publication 1898).

Dr. Steven E. Fassberg, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard and teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a professor in the Hebrew language department and who headed the University’s Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has contributed to numerous  works such as The Encyclopedia Judaica, stated: “There is no doubt that the original sound was w and not v. Sometime during the history of the Hebrew language there was a shift from w > v in pronunciation, probably already during the Mishnaic Period [70 CE-200 CE]” (email correspondence).

We posed the  V vs. W question to the Hebrew language Department at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. The Department Chair, Professor Adina Moshavi, responded in great detail: “I believe there are many ways to demonstrate that the waw was not originally pronounced as a bilabial “v” as it is in Tiberian Hebrew.  The fact that the waw is frequently used as a mater lectionis for a long u sound would be impossible to explain if it was pronounced v, like the bet rafeh, rather as the semivowel w.  Furthermore, there are many Hebrew words where a historical dipthong aw, as evidenced from Semitic cognates, has been reduced to a long vowel, e.g., in hiphil perfect of w-initial verbs hawrid > horid “he brought down”, or in the word yawm > yom “day”, and alternations between a dipthong and a long vowel, e.g.,absolute mawwet vs. construct mot “death.”  Such correspondences are only understandable if the phonetic value of the waw was a semivowel.”

The Aramaic language became the common language throughout the Middle East, eventually displacing Assyrian cuneiform as the predominant writing system. Aramaic is still spoken today in parts of Turkey, Iraq and Iran. “An Aramaic institute was established in 2007 by Damascus University that teaches courses to keep the language alive. The institute’s activities were suspended in 2010 amidst fears that the square Aramaic alphabet used in the program too closely resembled the square script of the Hebrew alphabet and all the signs with the square Aramaic script were taken down.” Wikipedia “The Persians adopted Aramaic. The Babylonians adopted it and so did the Jews. It then prevailed as the language of the Middle East until 700 AD.” (Easter Sunday: A Syrian bid to resurrect Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ)

Another interesting fact is found in the Aramaic alphabet. The Hebrew square script used today derived its letters from Aramaic around the time of the Babylonian exile. Being the language the Messiah spoke as well as the biblical patriarch Jacob, it uses a “w” for the sixth letter. We read in Deuteronomy 26:5, “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.”

Ugaritic and later Semitic languages like Arabic, Maltese, and Ge’ez, all use a double “u” comparatively for the letter. This fact dynamites any possibility that the sixth letter had the sound of a “v” anciently as these languages all derive from older Semitic languages through Aramaic and as far  back as Phoenician, i.e. ancient Hebrew.

Another substantiation is the linguistic study of the Yemenite Jews of Arabia. These Jews were never displaced from the region. Edward Horowitz writes: “The sound of waw a long time ago wasn’t ‘vav’ at all but ‘w’ and ‘w’ is weak. The Yemenite Jews of Arabia who retain an ancient, correct, and pure pronunciation of Hebrew still pronounce the waw as ‘w,’ as does Arabic, the close sister language of Hebrew,” How the Hebrew Language Grew, pp. 29-30.

From this and other incontrovertible evidence, we see that any name for Yahweh like Yehovah, Yahvah, Yahveh, etc., has no basis in historical and linguistic fact.

Angelic Realm

Shedding Light on the Angelic Realm Part 2

In shedding light on the angelic realm part 1 we looked at some general characteristics of angels, including their existence, their appearance, their knowledge, their purpose, and more. In this segment we will delve into the different types of angels based on what we find in Judaism and the Bible.

Let’s begin by reviewing how Judaism defines this hierarchy of angels. Because different Jewish scholars had diverse opinions on the hierarchy of angels, you may see different results depending on the source and unique views.

Angelic Hierarchy

For our list we will refer to a man known as Maimonides, whose birth name was Moses ben Maimon and who lived in the 12th century. He was a medieval Sephardic Jewish philosopher who became one of the most influential scholars of the Middle Ages. Part of his work included defining the following hierarchy of angels:

  • Chayot Ha Kodesh
  • Ophanim
  • Erelim
  • Hashmallim
  • Seraphim
  • Malakim
  • Elohim
  • Bene Elohim
  • Cherubim
  • Ishim

Descriptions for each of these angelic classes follows. Understand that much of the information is rabbinic or traditional, and even mystic from the Kabbalah. In no way does Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry vouch for those lacking biblical attribution. The descriptions are provided for educational purposes only.

  • Chayot Ha Kodesh – “The living creatures, living beings, are a class of heavenly beings described in the prophet Ezekiel’s vision of the heavenly chariot in the first and tenth chapters of the Book of Ezekiel. References to the creatures recur in texts of Second Temple Judaism, in rabbinical merkabah (‘chariot’) literature, and in the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.” (
  • Ophanim – “The ophanim or ofanim (Heb. ‘wheels’), also called galgalim (‘spheres,’ ‘wheels,’ ‘whirlwinds’), refer to the wheels seen in Ezekiel’s vision of the chariot.” (Ibid.)
  • Erelim – “An Arel, Ar’el, or Er’el (Heb. ‘hero,’ ‘valiant one’) refers to a rank of angels in Jewish Kabbalah and Christianity. The name is seen to mean ‘the valiant/courageous.’ They are generally seen as the third highest rank of divine beings/angels below God.” (Ibid.)
  • Hashmallim – “The Hashmallim are angelic entities in Judaism. The word hashmal appears in the Hebrew Bible in Ezekiel 1:4: ‘I saw, and behold, there was a stormy wind coming from the north, a great cloud with flashing fire and a brilliance surrounding it; and from its midst, like the color of the Hashmal from the midst of the fire, and in its midst there was the likeness of four Chayot (living creatures).’ ” (Ibid.)
  • Seraphim – “Tradition places seraphim in the highest rank in Christian angelology and in the fifth rank of ten in the Jewish angelic hierarchy. A seminal passage in the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-8) used the term to describe six-winged beings that fly around the Throne of God crying ‘holy, holy, holy.’” (Ibid.)
  • Malakim – Hebrew for Angel
  • Elohim – Hebrew for Mighty One/ Mighty Ones
  • Bene Elohim – Sons of the Mighty One
  • Cherubim – “A cherub (plural cherubim) is one of the unearthly beings who directly attend to God according to Abrahamic religions. The numerous depictions of cherubim assign to them many different roles; such as protecting the entrance of the Garden of Eden.” (Ibid.)
  • Ishim – “In Judaism. The Ishim (Heb. ‘men,’ ‘personages,’ ‘personalities,’ individuals’) or Eshim (‘fires,’ ‘flames,’ ‘sparks’) are a class of angels said to be the closest to the affairs of mortals. They are composed of fire and snow, and are described as the ‘beautiful souls of just men’ who reside in Makon, the 5th Heaven.” (Ibid.)


Satan As a Cherub

Let’s see what the Bible says about different types of angels. We’ll begin with one you may not have expected, Satan the devil.

In Ezekiel 28 we find a description of Satan before his rebellion. “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith my Sovereign Yahweh; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of Elohim; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of Elohim; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of Elohim: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more,” Ezekiel 28:12-19.

This is a dual prophecy with part referring to the king of Tyrus and part to Satan the devil. What’s intriguing about this passage is that we find in it a description of Satan before his fall, a being full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. These are not characteristics we generally attribute to the Evil One, yet at one point he was wise and beautiful. When you think about the fact that he deceived a third part of all the angels, it is consistent that he would have these grand attributes. Even in the New Testament, Satan is described as an angel of light.

We also see that he was in the garden of Elohim and that every precious stone was his covering. As a side note, every stone mentioned here was also on the breastplate of the high priest.

Satan is also identified as an anointed cherub. As we’ll learn later when we probe the topic of cherubim more extensively, cherubim are a special class of angels among the celestial realm.

Evidence shows that Satan was created. The Bible says that only Yahweh has always had immortality, i.e., eternity.

But Satan fell from grace when iniquity was found in him. The reason for his iniquity is in verse 17: “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.”

Ironically, it was Satan’s wisdom and beauty that was his ruin. He allowed his heart to become prideful and, as we see in Isaiah 14, desired to usurp Yahweh’s authority.

An Archangel Named Michael

Another angel, who was a major nemesis to Satan the devil, is Michael the archangel. In Daniel 10, starting in verse 4, we find an inciteful encounter between a messenger, a prince of Persia, and Michael.

“Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet heard I the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then was I in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy Elohim, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.”  Daniel 10:8-13.

Here is an angel delivering a message to Daniel the prophet. What’s intriguing is that this messenger was restrained from coming to Daniel for 21 days while the Persian prince confronted him.

The prince of Persia is likely a fallen angel, evidently one of great strength and power. The messenger was finally able to communicate with Daniel when Michael the archangel came and removed the Persian monarch. This provides us with a glimpse of the angelic realm. Just as we humans have conflict and war, it appears that similar conflict exists in the spirit realm.

We also see indications that there are other archangels similar to Michael; however, Scripture seems to give Michael a premier ranking in the angelic sphere.

Revelation 12:7-8 provides another scene involving Michael. “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.”

There are many views on this passage. Some say it’s symbolic, some say it’s literal, some say it has already happened, and some say that it has yet to happen. We believe this is literally speaking about a cosmic battle between Satan and his fallen angels and Michael and his angels. Some believe it is a past event, others future. We lean toward the past, but it’s possible that this could be a future prophecy.

What’s more important, though, is not whether this is past or present, but what we find transpiring between Satan and Michael. As we read in Daniel, we once again see Michael withstanding and defeating Satan and his fallen angels. It also hints that Michael is over Yahweh’s angelic army. This further shows the special role that Michael has among the angelic realm.

A Messenger Named Gabriel

Unlike Michael, Gabriel does not appear to be an angelic warrior. Instead, he serves as a messenger angel; we find him providing prophetic messages to Daniel in chapters 8 and 9 and also to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, and Miriam, the mother of Yahshua, in Luke 1. So while Michael and Gabriel are both archangels, they serve very different roles.


Our next focus is on the cherubim. Satan the devil was once an anointed cherub in the garden of Elohim and ironically the first mention of cherubim is in Genesis 3:24, in the Garden of Eden. “So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”

After the sin of Adam and Eve, Yahweh cast them out from the Garden of Eden and to prevent them from returning, He placed Cherubim with a flaming sword on the east side. (As a side note, the “im” at the end of cherubim is plural. The singular is simply cherub.)

The cherubim are also found in the following passages:

  • Exodus 25 and 37 – cherubim were placed on the mercy seat upon the Ark of the Covenant.
  • 2Samuel 22:11 and Psalm 18:10 – David describes Yahweh as riding on a cherub.
  • 1Kings 6 and 2 Chronicles 3 – Solomon had images of cherubim in Yahweh’s temple.
  • Ezekiel 9:3 – Yahweh’s glory is seen rising from a cherub.
  • Ezekiel 10:2 – Ezekiel is told to gather coals of fire between the cherubim.
  • Ezekiel 28:14 – Satan was once an anointed cherub in the garden of Elohim.
  • Ezekiel 41:18 – images of cherubim will be used in the Millennial Temple.

From these verses we learn that the cherubim: 1) hold a special place in the angelic realm; 2) their images were used in Solomon’s temple and will be used in the millennial Temple; 3) they have wings and can fly and often have a connection with Yahweh’s glory; and 4) Satan was a cherub in the garden of Elohim before he rebelled against Yahweh.

Beyond this, there’s a lot of speculation in Judaism and Christianity as to who and what these creatures are. As we know, most of these beliefs have no biblical basis; they are purely rabbinic or man-made.


Another type of angelic being is the seraphim, found in Isaiah 6:2-4. “Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Yahweh of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.”

Probably the most fantastic trait is that the seraphim have six wings – two to cover their face, two to fly, and two to cover their feet. Why they have these characteristics is unclear, although some scholars connect a symbolic meaning, that the wings covering the face indicate humility, while the wings covering the feet signify reverence.

Whatever the case might be, we see they are exceptional beings among the angelic realm. This is the only reference to seraphim that we find in Scripture, but based on this one example, it appears that seraphim may exist to honor and recognize the holiness of Yahweh. In this prophecy, we find them crying out, “Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh of hosts.” As is seen in the Old Testament, when a word or phrase is repeated three times it’s normally for emphasis. In this example it expresses the supremely holy nature of Almighty Yahweh.

Other instances of this usage of repetition are: Jeremiah 7:4: “Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, The temple of Yahweh, are these;” Jeremiah 22:29: “O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Yahweh;” and Ezekiel 21:27: “I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”

Ezekiel’s Vision

One of the most striking and perplexing passages in the Bible is found in the prophecy of Ezekiel 1. According to Barnes’ Notes, special caution is encouraged when reading this passage. “The exposition of the fundamental principles of the existence and nature of a Supreme G-d, and of the created angels, was called by the rabbis ‘the Matter of the Chariot’ (compare 1Chron. 28:18) in reference to the form of Ezekiel’s vision of the Almighty; and the subject was deemed so mysterious as to call for special caution in its study.” Based on this warning, it’s important that we use caution when reviewing this passage.

“And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet were straight feet; and the sole of their feet was like the sole of a calf’s foot: and they sparkled like the colour of burnished brass. And they had the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Thus were their faces: and their wings were stretched upward; two wings of every one were joined one to another, and two covered their bodies. And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went. As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of lamps: it went up and down among the living creatures; and the fire was bright, and out of the fire went forth lightning. And the living creatures ran and returned as the appearance of a flash of lightning,” Ezekiel 1:4-14.

Mentioned here are four living creatures, which in Ezekiel 10:20 are identified as cherubim. “This is the living creature that I saw under the Elohim of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.”

One difference between the cherubim in Genesis 3 and the cherubim we see here is that in Genesis they had two wings and here they have four wings. It appears that cherubim can have a different number of wings.

Another characteristic of the living creatures, or cherubim, is that according to verse 5, they had the appearance of a man, possibly referring to their general stature or the way they stood.

They also had four faces – one of a man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle. Many ask whether we should view this literally or figuratively. In other words, are we seeing an angelic being with four faces or are these faces symbolic of something else? I tend to view this literally and not just figuratively, as some do. If what we find here is indeed literal, it shows the diversity, complexity, and uniqueness of the angelic realm. If we could get even a glimpse, what we would find would totally amaze us.

We also discover that their color is like burnished brass. Revelation 1 gives a depiction of Yahshua’s divine presence and He too is described as brass that is burned in the furnace. It appears there’s something very special about burnished brass when it comes to the angelic realm.

The Ophanim

An even more mysterious being is revealed in verses 15-24 of Ezekiel 1. “Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces. The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel. When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went. As for their rings, they were so high that they were dreadful; and their rings were full of eyes round about them four. And when the living creatures went, the wheels went by them: and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up. Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels. And the likeness of the firmament upon the heads of the living creature was as the colour of the terrible crystal, stretched forth over their heads above. And under the firmament were their wings straight, the one toward the other: every one had two, which covered on this side, and every one had two, which covered on that side, their bodies. And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.”

As you can imagine, there are many ideas as to what Ezekiel saw here, including UFOs. Whereas we don’t give any credence to UFO’s, all would agree that the imagery we find here is not of this world.

We again see the four living creatures or the cherubim but we also see something else, i.e., wheels within wheels. This is one of the most mysterious beings in Scripture. How can wheels within wheels travel multiple directions without turning? For verse 17 says, “When they went, they went upon their four sides: and they turned not when they went.”

Now we also see here a connection between the living creatures and the wheels, as the wheels would follow the living creatures. In fact, verse 21 states that the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.

From verse 18 we see that the rings of the wheels had eyes all around them. It seems that the eyes here verify the wheels are some sort of angelic being. As we see from Maimonides’ list, the Jews call these beings Ophanim, from the Hebrew ophan. A more thorough description of the Ophanim is: “Members of the ophanim rank of angels never sleep, because they’re constantly busy guarding G-d’s throne in heaven. They are known for their wisdom. Their name comes from the Hebrew word ‘ophan,’ which means ‘wheel,’ due to the Torah’s description of them in Ezekiel chapter 1 as having their spirits encased inside wheels that moved along with them wherever they went. In Kabbalah, the famous archangel Raziel leads the ophanim.”

Much of this derives from Jewish rabbinic thought and even Jewish mysticism. We can only speculate what this being really looked like and what Ezekiel must have thought as he saw this vision. Verse 18 also tells us that the wheels were dreadful, which in Hebrew means to fear or to reverence. This must have been an overwhelming vision for Ezekiel.


The Glory of Yahweh

One more part of Ezekiel’s vision is found in verses 26-28: “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”

Above the cherubim was a throne with an image of man, whose appearance was of the likeness of the glory of Yahweh. The word “likeness” here is from the Hebrew demuwth and according to Strong’s refers to a “resemblance; concretely, model, shape; adverbially, like.” Since the appearance was a resemblance of the glory of Yahweh, this would imply it was not Yahweh the Father. With that in mind, the only Being who could sit on a throne with the resemblance or likeness of Yahweh is the Son of Yahweh, i.e., Yahshua the Messiah.

The Son was with the Father before the universe began. In fact, Yahshua in John 17:5 said He had glory with His Father before the world was or existed.

Now whether this was the Son or the actual presence of the Father’s glory, the pinnacle of this vision is found in these last verses. The four living creatures and the wheels within the wheels are subservient to the being on the throne, who is described as the having the appearance of fire.

Interestingly, there seems to be a connection between the angelic realm and the appearance of fire. Evidence of this is when Yahweh appeared before Moses in the burning bush. The bush appeared to be on fire but never burned. In this case, it was likely only the appearance of fire, similar to Ezekiel’s vision.

There are things about the angelic realm that we will never understand in our present life. But we can see enough here to realize just how incredible and amazing it is!


The Throne Room

An equally amazing prophecy is found in Revelation 4. In the RSB we’ve titled this passage, “The Throne Room in Heaven.” Beginning with Revelation 4:2, we read, “And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Elohim. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Yahweh El Shaddai, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Yahweh, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created,” verses 2-11.

There are several similarities between Ezekiel 1 and Revelation 4. John of Patmos was in the spirit, which seems to  imply that he was seeing a vision, similar to Ezekiel. In this vision he sees a throne in heaven and one sitting upon the throne, most likely the same throne and the same being as we saw in Ezekiel 1. As already stated, this is likely the Son in a glorified state or the actual presence of Yahweh’s glory.

We also see a few other similarities, including precious stones, lightnings, and thunders. The thunders and lightnings are reminiscent of when Israel was around Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:16: “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.” So we see that thunders and lightnings are often connected to Yahweh’s presence.

Also seen are 24 elders who were clothed in white with crowns upon their heads. As noted in the RSB, these elders are likely angelic beings of a celestial council. According to verse 10, their purpose is to worship the One on the throne day and night, casting their crowns before Him.

We also notice that before the throne there was a great sea of glass with four creatures around the throne, full of eyes  in front and behind. While many might believe that the imagery here is only symbolic, it may very well be literal.

Sometimes people are too quick to dismiss certain items and view them as only symbolic. Oftentimes this is done when they don’t understand something or it seems too difficult to believe. We need to remember Yahweh’s ways are much greater and higher than our ways. The imagery we find here is astonishing and beyond any words that we could ever convey.

But we need to recall that what we see here is a vision of Yahweh’s throne room. We should expect nothing short of astonishing when considering the majesty and glory of Yahweh. Whether we’re talking about the cherubim, seraphim, or ophanim, the spiritual realm is amazing. If we could actually see the angelic realm, we would all be totally astounded by its splendor and greatness. For those found worthy of Yahweh’s calling, they will someday have the opportunity to witness the amazing creatures that we’ve uncovered. Hopefully this small glimpse of the angelic realm will encourage and motivate us to become better disciples of Yahweh.


It’s Time To Fix The Breach

It’s Time to Fix the Breach

With an assault on the Old Testament and its central teaching of obedience, Churchianity early on fabricated a clash of doctrines over the centuries in what should have been a seamless succession of teachings brought over from the New Testament. Beyond that, what was taught in the New Testament should reflect what is taught today.

A number of prophecies tell us that before Yahshua returns there will be another return – a movement of returning to teaching true biblical principles founded on obeying Yahweh’s statutes and laws.

This prophetic key has been universally overlooked, but not because it is hidden. In fact, it goes to the very core of how the plan of salvation is designed.

Before we investigate, turn to a runner-up prophecy in Isaiah 58:12:  “And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in.”

This is a prophetic announcement for the last days. It is about getting back to what was originally given to Yahweh’s people, meaning His foundational pledge.  It is about fixing what has been neglected for 2,000 years.

The prophet calls it a breach. A breach is a break or rupture. Something fundamentally important has undergone a serious and destructive separation. To fix this critical problem there must be a return to original ways and teachings of the Word.

The Scriptures don’t leave us clueless when it comes to the design of the Bible. We have been given a bridge between Old and New testaments that shows a dynamic bond between the two.

Sadly, this essential link is universally ignored today, even though it is key to understanding the truth of the New Testament and the plan of salvation. We find this dynamic link in the final verses of the last book of the Old Testament, just where we would expect it. As we move to the New Testament, we will find it again.


Malachi’s Prophetic Link

The prophecy is in Malachi 4:5-6 , “Behold, I will send you Elijah [Eliyah] the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

Although it ends the Old Testament, the passage leaps forward to the end of the age, providing a key link to our day.

First, notice that it warns about smiting the earth with a curse unless hearts are turned. Why historically did Yahweh send curses on people? The most well-known collection of blessings and curses is in Deut. 28. In this chapter, the first 14 verses promise His blessings for obedience. The last 54 verses are a warning of the curses we earn for disobedience. It is quite clear that disobedience is the leading problem in the scriptural hall of shame.

Throughout His Word Yahweh disciplines His people for failing to worship Him by following His statutes and judgments. Today, as the culture increasingly leaves the Bible for secular ways and humanistic thinking, we progressively see Yahweh’s judgment in response.

Whenever Israel of old followed the same pathway of rebellion that our culture is on, their problems increased proportionately. The final straw was when their enemies rose up and conquered them. We are facing the same judgment and it will hit this world like a ton of bricks.

The list of potential threats is great and runs the gamut from Eboli infection to electromagnetic pulse radiation that could grind all electronics to a standstill and literally put us back into the dark ages for years. Miniature atomic bombs, terrorist attacks on our big cities, all kinds of natural earth calamities and disasters originating from outer space …these are just some of the threats we face.

Once Yahweh takes His protective hand away, watch out. In the September 11 tragedy, we had just a taste of what looms ahead.

The classic passage that defines judgment for disobedience is Deuteronomy 28:15, 20: “But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yahweh thy Elohim, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee. Yahweh shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.”


The Heart of Malachi 4:6

The prophet Malachi tells us that there will be a turning of the hearts of the fathers to the children and vice-versa.

This does not mean simply a renewed, loving relationship between fathers and children. Nor does it mean only a reaffirming of paternal respect.

It means giving later generations the same faith and conviction the fathers of old had in following Yahweh. It is about walking the same path of obedience walked by Israelite forefathers.

The Adversary is ramping up his opposition to Yahweh. Bible believers are being murdered in the Mideast, Africa, and elsewhere because they refuse to convert to another belief. The culture is turning to the dark side as it redefines morality. We are inundated with moral evils everywhere, and this is just the beginning.

The essence of the Hebrew in Malachi 4:6 is, “To restore the hearts by turning the disobedient to the insight and obedience of the righteous in order to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

Verse 4 is the key lead-in, where the prophet says, “Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.” This clearly connects the phrase, “turn the heart” in verse 6 to mean go back to obeying Yahweh’s statutes and judgments.


The Same Prophecy Found in Luke

We pick up this Old Testament prophecy in the New Testament book of Luke. It reflects the purpose for which John the Baptist came, readying the way for Yahshua the Messiah: “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh,” Luke 1:17.

This passage is even clearer in defining the expression, “turn the hearts” to mean going from disobedience to the “wisdom” (moral prudence) of the “just” (holy, righteous ones).

The prophet Eliyah’s principal mission was to save as many as he could from being cursed. He did this by revealing the true Creator and Father Yahweh over the false idol Baal, and by teaching obedience to covenant law.

John the Baptist mirrored the message in the refrain “repent.” Repent means to stop sinning. Stop rebelling. Stop disobeying. Turn your life around. Obey the commandments, statutes and judgments given by Almighty Yahweh.

Malachi 3:1 prophesies the sending of this messenger to prepare the way of the Son. He is a messenger on a mission to uphold the covenant Yahweh made with His faithful.  “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Sovereign, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith Yahweh of hosts.”

Who exactly is this messenger coming in the spirit and power of Eliyah? Is the OT prophet Eliyah himself going to be resurrected in our time? Jewish Seders include an empty chair at the table in anticipation that Eliyah will return to herald the Messiah in fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy.

When questioned, John the Baptist denied being Eliyah. When Yahshua said Eliyah was come now, He meant only in a sense, through John the Baptist.

If the Jews had accepted Yahshua as the Messiah, John the Baptist would have been this Eliyah preparing His way in every sense of the word., as we read in Malachi. That is what Yahshua was waiting to see.


Other Striking Similarities

Comparing just their physical appearances, Eliyah and John the Baptist bear striking resemblances.

About Eliyah, 2Kings 1:8 reads, “And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Eliyah the Tishbite.”

Concerning  John the Baptist, Matthew 3:4 reads, “And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins.”

Both men preferred to work alone, out in the hinterland. Eliyah dwells in the cliffs of the brook Cherith, sleeps under juniper trees, lodges in caves, and haunts the slopes of Carmel. If he does enter a city it is only to deliver a message from Yahweh and then vanish. He’s a mysterious prophet with his startling appearance, abrupt speeches and stealthy appearances. He’s also the loftiest prophet in the Old Testament.

Similarly, John the Baptist is described as one crying in the wilderness. He was startling in his own right, coming around the corner munching on a grasshopper and licking wild honey. Yahshua said there is no one greater.

Eliyah’s life-long task is to protest against a corrupt civilization. He is called by Yahweh to save the nation from lapsing into heathenism and false worship. He takes his stand on traditional principles and bears witness of fundamental truths that should never have been neglected. Baal worship would likely have overrun the nation if not stopped. His mission was to stop it.

John the Baptist also came preaching repentance and returning to Yahweh’s statutes and laws. He was just wasting his breath if the Messiah intended to abolish those statutes and laws with His death.

Both Eliyah and John withstood kings and had high-profile enemies (Eliyah had Ahab to contend with, while John had Herod as his rival).

Luke 1:17 mirrors Malachi 4:6 with the same mission for John the Baptist that Eliyah had. “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to Yahweh their Elohim. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

Luke 1:17 in other translations reads – “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.”

The New English Bible reads, “to convert the rebellious to the ways of the righteous.”

In Matthew 17:11 Yahshua said Eliyah would pave the way for His own return and “restore all things.” This was in explaining the vision of the transfiguration showing Moses and Eliyah.


Moses and Eliyah

Can you see the connection? Moses is the transmitter of Yahweh’s laws and mediator of the first covenant, and Eliyah is the prophet who was sent to restore the law and obedience to Israel. But the association goes further: Yahshua as the third person in the vision showed us how to keep that law as intended.  The vision is now complete!

Back to Matthew 17. Remember that Yahshua said in v. 12 that Eliyah had come already. Had the people accepted Yahshua, then John would have been the prophesied Eliyah preparing His way. Not understanding this, Yahshua’s words are an enigma to many. It can only mean that we today are still awaiting the complete fulfillment of this prophecy.

A sister prophecy is found in Acts 3:20-21: “And he shall send Yahshua the Messiah, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which Elohim hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

True worship will have a presence in this world before the Savior returns to establish His Kingdom on earth. A restoration is necessary because the Bible has been abandoned in our day. What is commonly preached and taught today is not a succession of Apostolic teachings.

A Baptist thinks that what he is hearing each week is exactly the same thing the apostles taught and preached.

The Presbyterian thinks that what he is hearing from the pulpit is the same thing the apostles taught and preached.

Today’s Catholic thinks that what he is hearing each week is exactly the same thing Peter and the apostles taught and preached.

Who is right? All of them? There were 21 Ecumenical Councils called by the early Roman church spanning 16 centuries. These councils were convened for the very purpose of stopping the doctrinal turmoil that embroiled the church in controversy while establishing the doctrine that all the church would follow. The first was called by Roman Emperor Constantine in the year 325, known as the Council of Nicea because it was held at Nicea in Bithynia.

The Nicean Council was the first attempt to have a uniform Christian doctrine. “You mean Catholic doctrine,” some might say. Same thing. Christian doctrine is Catholic doctrine, which was formally adopted at these church councils.

From these 21 councils the Roman church adopted the following teachings embraced today:

  • Yahshua was deity on earth.
  • Establishment and dating of Easter
  • Defining the Holy Ghost as a divine person
  • Mary as the mother of G-d
  • The Trinity
  • The nature and purpose for icons in worship
  • Bread and wine as the literal body and blood in the eucharist
  • Immortal soul; purgatory; prayers for the dead.


Caustic Gnostic Beliefs

A lot of these teachings grew out of Gnosticism through Greek philosophy.

Gnoticism is an umbrella term for a collection of teachings from Greek philosophy through Platonism, mysticism, and Oriental superstition. These pagan beliefs began to mingle with Christian teachings. The results are the many nonbiblical teachings extant today in churchianity, like the immortal soul and heaven and hell doctrines.

The heretics that the apostles had to contend with, like Marcion and Simon Magus, were powerfully influenced by Gnosticism. So we see early on that the apostles were already contending with this heresy. Paul was on the front line defense, as Gnostic teachings began to infiltrate assemblies he established in Macedonia.

On Mars Hill he observed that the Greeks liked to sit around and discuss some new thing. That is what they were best at. They loved their philosophy, and much of it was Gnostic in origin and flavor. As pagan teachings entered in, the Hebraic basis of the faith was pushed out.


Gnostic Basis for Heresies

Today we ask, as for keeping the Ten Commandments, where did the Sabbath go? Where are the Feasts that were observed in Old and New testaments? What happened to the clean food laws? What about dead meaning dead rather than living on in total awareness? What about ever-burning hell, from the words sheol and hades, when both terms mean the grave?

Many New Testament teachings were abandoned and replaced by Gnostic-centered church teachings having no basis in Scripture. Counterfeit practices bestowed by heathens also became common fare.


Discounting Everything Physical

Gnostics saw the material world as the work of a lesser, evil deity. Everything physical was evil and we must get beyond it to experience the divine. This leads inevitably to the notion that what we do in our physical actions has virtually no spiritual impact. Carry this over to today’s belief that works are unnecessary.

The Gnostic held that to know is the highest truth, and that is where the word Gnostic comes from – the Greek word, “to know.”

Another way that Gnostic or Platonic Christianity downplays the material is the way it teaches that the soul is immortal. The body, then, is considered unnecessary baggage that compromises the reality of, or the need for, a resurrection. For both the Gnostic and Christian, the individual lives on after death, as he or she automatically ascends to the spiritual.

The physical world is the starting point, the proving ground. Why would Yahweh ever place us in an evil environment? Talk about defeating His purpose!

It was mankind’s sin that polluted this world, not an inherent evilness in the material.

Yahshua said in His prayer in John 17:17 that the Word is truth and that we are sanctified through the truth. Sanctified means set apart as we willingly obey what the Word tells us to do.


Yahweh Challenges Us

Another prophecy informs us that going back to right teachings will result in the kind of blessing everyone wants. Malachi 3:12 shows us what happens when a people submit to their father in heaven: “And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith Yahweh of hosts.”

Imagine a whole nation like ours turning to Yahweh with one mind and heart in humble, willing obedience! But that’s highly unlikely. Most fear what they think would be losing their freedom and ability to live their lives their own way. They don’t understand the blessings of obedience.

Just the thought of following the Scriptures puts some into paralysis. They fight it with every inch of their being. They obviously haven’t a clue about the life-changing impact doing so will have on them from now and into eternity.

Yahweh issues a direct challenge in the book of Malachi. He says prove Me. Experience the joy, peace of mind, and happiness that come with following Me. Walk in newness of life, Paul said in Romans 6.

Turn from the dead-end ways of this world and experience peace, joy and deep-down fulfillment and contentment in your life just by conforming to your Father’s will. Rather than putting off a commitment yet again, try it, and see how Yahweh always keeps His promise. He will never forsake those who follow Him.

Hebrew Roots

Hebrew Roots of the Messianic Age

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As Patrick sat in the pew listening to his minister quote Old Testament passages in the New Testament, he began to wonder why so many ignore the Old Testament Scriptures. He said to himself, if my Savior and His apostles followed the Old Testament writings, shouldn’t we today? After the service he approached his minister and asked, “Why don’t we use the Old Testament more often?” The minister replied, with a look of concern, “We are now living under a new dispensation. The Old Testament was given to the Jews and the New Testament to the church.”

Even though this account is fictional, there are many like Patrick with this same key question. Why do so many today view the Old Testament and the Hebraic faith as obsolete? Why does churchianity accept the authority of the New Testament, but dismiss its foundation, which is the Old Testament?

We will explore this question now and explain why the church deviated from its Hebraic roots. We will also reveal why the promise in the New Testament is Hebraic and not Grecian, as so many assume today. We’ll see evidence from the Bible that the Messiah and His apostles, including Paul, held the Old Testament as authoritative and were law observant. Buckle up and brace yourself for a spiritual journey that will unravel years of man-made tradition.

‘I Come to Fulfill’

Ironically, one of the easiest methods of confirming the church’s connection to the Old Testament and to its Hebraic faith is through Christian scholarship. Even though many ministers will gloss over the origins of the church, scholars and historians freely acknowledge its connection to the Old Testament.

Author Paul D. Wegner in his book, The Journey from Text to Translation, states: “The word old when it refers to the Old Testament, is not derogatory, nor does it mean the Old Testament is obsolete. Jesus [Yahshua] himself said, ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them’…Initially early Christians and Jews both worshipped in synagogues (Acts 3:1; 4:1; 5:42; 6:9-10; 13:14-15, 42; 14:1; 17:1-2), using the same books of Scripture, namely, the Old Testament,” p. 32.

What an amazing admission! This author confirms that the term “Old Testament” is not to be viewed negatively or as obsolete. As evidence for this, he refers to Matthew 5:17, where the Messiah confirms that He came not to destroy but to fulfill the law.
The word “fulfill” in this passage comes from the Greek pleroo. Strong’s defines this word as, “to make replete, i.e. (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction).” Thayer’s Greek Lexicon provides this definition, “…used to fulfil, that is, to cause God’s will (as made known in the law) to be obeyed as it should be, and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfilment.”

Yahshua came not to destroy the law, but to fulfill, i.e., to obey and follow it (establish it, Greek Diaglott). An example of this fact is found in Matthew 3:14-15: “But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Yahshua answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.”

The word “fulfill” here is from the same Greek word pleroo. Here it refers to Yahshua’s obedience to the act of baptism. This, along with many other passages, confirms that the Messiah’s intent was never to make the law obsolete. He came to set the example as an obedient Son to His Father and a Savior to mankind.

Only Through the Old Testament

This reference goes on to state that both the Jews and early New Testament believers worshiped in the synagogues together using the same book, i.e., the Old Testament. This concept that the Old Testament is no longer valid is simply not true. Not only is it binding, but the Messiah and His apostles viewed it as the foundation of Scripture. Therefore, those who argue that the Old Testament is no longer necessary are rejecting a significant part of Yahshua’s own ministry.

It is to this point that authors Alan Johnson and Robert Webber state, “In Jesus’ [Yahshua’s] attitude toward the Old Testament one can glean a considerable range of information on his understanding of the nature and authority of the Bible. He either quotes or alludes to the Old Testament more than 150 times in the Synoptic Gospels alone. He thus exhibits a deep respect for the Bible…. Using the threefold division of the Old Testament familiar to his audience he sweepingly affirmed that the whole Old Testament had a bearing on his mission. Nothing was excluded,” What Christians Believe – A Biblical and Historical Summary, pp. 23-24.

Yahshua’s Faith in the Old Testament

This reference affirms a very important fact. Yahshua viewed the Old Testament as authoritative and part of the inspired Word. He used the Old Testament writings to establish His position and purpose. Such evidence cannot be understated. As these authors succinctly stated, “Nothing was excluded.”

If churches today understood these crucial facts many of today’s erroneous beliefs would not exist. If they understood the faith of their Savior, they would freely recognize the significance of the Old Testament and teach it to their congregations.
Author Earle E. Cairns corroborates this conclusion in his book, Christianity Through the Centuries: “Christianity may have developed in the political milieu of Rome and may have had to face the intellectual environment created by the Greek mind, but its relationship to Judaism was much more intimate. Judaism may be thought of as the stalk on which the rose of Christianity was to bloom…. Judaism provided the heredity of Christianity and, for a time, even gave the infant religion shelter…. The Jewish people still further prepared the way for the coming of Christianity by providing the infant Church with a sacred book, the Old Testament. Even a casual study of the New Testament will reveal Christs’ and the apostles’ deep indebtedness to the Old Testament and their reverence for it as the Word of [Yahweh] to man…. The books of the Old Testament and the books of the New Testament, given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, were to be the living literature of the Church,” pp. 44-46.
Even though the early church had to deal with Rome and the Greek culture, its relationship is most closely tied to Judaism. This statement cannot be overemphasized. Without Judaism or the Old Testament there would be no assembly or New Testament.

Therefore, to state that we are now living under a new dispensation, i.e., the New Testament, and free from that archaic Old Testament could not be further from the truth. Christianity’s roots are deeply grounded in the faith given to Abraham. Those who ignore this fact ignore the origins of their faith.

Interestingly, the Roman Empire initially made little distinction between Judaism and the New Testament assembly. Believers in the Messiah were simply seen as another sect of Judaism. It was not until the Church began to pull away from Judaism that Rome became suspicious and began to persecute Christianity. Rome respected ancient traditions. This is why they exempted the Jews from certain requirements, including of worship of state deities and temple sacrifices. However, once the church began to form its own identity, they no longer enjoyed many of the conveniences provided to the Jews.

Old Testament’s Messianic Prophecies

Perhaps the most important connection between the Messiah and the Hebraic faith is the many Messianic prophecies found in the Old Testament. It was upon this ancient text that the Messiah and His apostles hung their ministry.
One of the earliest references to the Messiah is found in Deuteronomy 15, “Yahweh thy Elohim will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; According to all that thou desiredst of Yahweh thy Elohim in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of Yahweh my Elohim, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And Yahweh said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him,” verses 15-18.

This prophecy pertains to the Messiah. Evidence for this fact is in Acts 7:37. Why is this passage important or possibly more significant than other Messianic prophecies? First, Moses draws a parallel between him and the coming Savior. Second, like Moses, this coming Messiah would speak Yahweh’s Word and command authority.

This second point is noteworthy, as it conveys that Yahshua has the ability to interpret and even provide commandments in the New Testament. We find many examples of Yahshua commanding by enhancing or clarifying Yahweh’s Word. One example is found in the beatitudes where He states that to even look and lust after a woman was the same as committing adultery. This authority would have also extended to rules regarding worship, as we find for instance in 1Corinthians 11, where Paul commands that men leave their heads uncovered and ladies cover their heads during times of formal worship. After all, Yahshua instructed all the apostles, including Paul, who received His message by direct revelation, Galatians 1:12, 17-18.
Therefore, this Old Testament prophecy not only provides evidence for the Messiah’s coming, but also the depth and scope of His message and authority. This last point is especially important considering the many commandments He personally gave in the New Testament.

Of the prophets in the Old Testament, possibly the one to provide the most insight into the Messiah is Isaiah. From this prophet we have prophecies regarding Yahshua’s first and second comings. This includes the Messiah who would come and die for the sins of mankind and the Messiah who will return to establish Yahweh’s Kingdom on earth.

One of the most pivotal prophecies regarding his First Coming is Isaiah 7:14. It reads, “Therefore Yahweh himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

This prophecy focuses on the Messiah’s birth. It states that He would be born of a virgin. From the first chapter in Matthew, the Bible confirms that Mary was a virgin when she conceived Yahshua. She was engaged or betrothed to Joseph, Yahshua’s legal father, but they had not yet fulfilled their nuptials. Instead of natural conception, the Bible records that the Messiah was conceived through the Holy Spirit. On this point it’s important to note that the Holy Spirit represents the Father’s power and is not a separate entity. If the Holy Spirit were a separate being, it (or he) would have been the father of Yahshua and not Yahweh.
Isaiah also mentioned that He would be called “Immanuel,” meaning, “El with us.” In point of fact, this is not a proper name, but a title expressing Yahshua’s future role within the millennial Kingdom. During this future time, He will reign and govern this earth with righteousness, Isaiah 11:1-5 and Revelation 20:6. Also, those from the first resurrection will assist him as a kingdom of priests,Revelation 5:10.

Perhaps the greatest Messianic prophecy is found in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. There the prophet delivers a powerful prophetic message that is still heard over many pulpits today. He describes the suffering Messiah.

“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of Elohim, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Yahweh hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Yahweh shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities,” Isaiah 53:3-11.

This prophecy was written some 700 years before the Common Era and was pivotal for the Messiah and the apostles in the New Testament. Here are some highlights. Through this prophecy we find evidence that the Messiah looked like any other Jew. This certainly discounts the common portrayal of the Messiah that displays Yahshua as a tall European with long flowing hair. Most Jews during the first century were of olive or darker skin color with short curly hair.

It also confirms here that Yahshua died to pay the penalty of sin for many. This is the central message of Yahshua’s ministry. Through His sacrifice we find justifications from our previous iniquities. Simply put, without Yahshua and His sacrifice, we would all be left in our sins without any Savior or recourse. Amazingly, this crucial message is rooted in the Old Testament.
The first chapter of John confirms that the Jews rejected Yahshua as the Messiah. However, long before John, Isaiah prophesied of this outcome when he stated that He would be “opposed.” Throughout His Ministry, He was not only rejected, but He would eventually die for His message. Matter of fact, He was condemned for doing nothing more than telling the truth, which is also found in this prophecy.

In addition to these, there are many other insightful points that we could glean from this passage. Isaiah, along with many other Old Testament prophets, provides a treasure trove of information about the Messiah. In fact, according to biblical scholars there are 300-400 unique prophecies in the Old Testament pertaining to the Messiah and His Second Coming.

Messiah Loyal to the Old Testament

Once we understand the depth of this truth, it’s impossible to ignore the importance of the words given to Moses and the prophets. The fact is, without the Old Testament, the Messiah and the apostles would have been without any way to substantiate their position or authority. For this reason the Old Testament is indispensable to the faith of the New Testament.
The Messiah throughout His ministry also confirmed His deep loyalty to the Old Testament. For instance, in Luke 24:44 He used the Old Testament to confirm His position as the Messiah. He stated, “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” The Messiah Yahshua verifies His teachings from the pages of the Old Testament. He conveys to His apostles that all things had to be fulfilled according to the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the Psalms. Incidentally, these are the three divisions of the Old Testament.

If the Old Testament were not relevant to the Messiah and the apostles, why then does He refer to this ancient source as confirmation for His resurrection and position as the Messiah? Contrary to the assumptions of many, the only book accessible at this time was the Old Testament. The entire foundation of who Yahshua was and what He taught was founded in the text given to Moses and the prophets.

Another example of this profound connection is found in the transfiguration. “And after six days Yahshua taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Eliyah talking with him,”Matthew 17:1-3.

It’s important to begin here by acknowledging that this was a vision the apostles witnessed. The question is, why did Moses and Eliyah appear with Yahshua and what did they represent? The meaning is clear: Moses represented the law and Eliyah the prophets. Together, they verified Yahshua as the Messiah from the law and prophets. This is one more example confirming Yahshua’s position from the Old Testament. The fact is, Yahshua relied exclusively on these Hebrew writings throughout His Ministry.

With such indubitable evidence, it’s a wonder that so many are opposed to the Old Testament. Do we not desire to worship as Yahshua worshiped? Do we not desire to follow in our Savior’s examples? If we do we must then not divorce ourselves from the Old Testament, but view it as the foundation of our faith.

This departure is why so many churches and ministers have deviated and missed the mark of sound biblical doctrine. For example, Yahshua kept the Sabbath, Feast days and dietary food laws. After His death, the apostles did the same. However, today these foundational teachings have been forgotten and replaced with non-biblical, Greco-Roman, beliefs. If we care about following the truth that the Messiah delivered to His apostles, we then must reconsider much of what is taught in mainstream worship.

Paul’s ‘Autobiography’ Claims Perfect Law Adherence

The Apostle Paul is credited more than any other Bible writer as starting a new faith from what was delivered in the Old Testament. Most clerics assert that he was anti-law and introduced a new belief system that was more palatable to his gentile coverts. Is this true? Do we find evidence from the New Testament that Paul began a religion that diverged from the Old Testament?

In the third chapter of Philippians he provides somewhat of an autobiography in which he describes his faith. He writes, “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the assembly; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Messiah,” verses 5-7.

This passage provides great insight as to who the Apostle Paul was before and after his conversion. As with any other good Jew, he was circumcised on the eighth day. He was from the tribe of Benjamin and considered himself a Hebrew of the Hebrews. This repetition shows his emphasis on his Hebraic upbringing. He was also a Pharisee and claims to have kept the law perfectly and was without blemish. He had so much passion and zeal for his Jewish faith that he even persecuted those in the Messiah, including consenting to the death of Deacon Stephen and imprisoning many believers.

Now after coming to the knowledge of the Messiah, he counted everything else as worthless or a loss. He realized that salvation could not be earned, but came only through faith in Yahshua the Messiah. This change in focus was seen throughout his epistles.

The question is, did this change alter his faith and religious devotion? This is what the vast majority in the church believe, but does this square with the Bible? It’s true that Paul viewed salvation differently after coming to the knowledge of the Messiah, but not once did he forsake the commandments or his Hebraic roots.

One of the best ways to establish Paul’s commitment to the Old Testament is to examine his life after his conversion. The difference between what is heard today in most churches and what is actually stated in the Bible may shock you.

Paul’s Vow and the Law After His Conversion

One of the first challenges Paul faced after coming to the knowledge of the Messiah was from the other apostles. In the twenty-first chapter of Acts he is asked specifically whether he was against the Law of Moses. This question was the result of rumors circulating about Paul.

“And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present. And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things Elohim had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified Yahweh, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law,” verses 18-24.

Soon after his conversion Paul was suspected of teaching against the Old Testament commandments. To show that he was not opposed to the Law, James suggested that he participate in a vow, most likely a Nazarite vow.

If Paul’s intent were to begin a new faith, here was the perfect opportunity to straighten out his fellow apostles by explaining that the commandments were no longer necessary and that salvation was by faith alone now. But he agreed to participate in this vow, showing his observance of the commandments.

Amazingly, the belief that Paul opposed Old Testament law is still held by most ministers today. Even though Paul agrees to verify his adherence to the commandments, most continue to overlook that fact and perpetuate this false notion about Paul.
In Acts 24:14 he again reaffirms his commitment to the faith delivered in the Old Testament: “But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets.”

The word heresy here is equivalent to the word cult. Even though many viewed Paul as deviating from his former foundation and now was in a cult, he fully acknowledged the faith of his forefathers. He firmly professed that he believed all things written in the law and in the prophets.

How is it possible that he believed all things in the Old Testament and yet taught a brand new religion based on Greco-Roman ideas? Obviously such a notion does not hold up to the scrutiny of Scripture. To state otherwise is to contradict Paul’s own statement! As people misunderstood and misinterpreted Paul during his own day, the same occurs today.

Paul was not an advocate of a new religion; instead he surrendered himself to his childhood faith. He embraced his Hebraic roots, including the law and the prophets. The only difference before and after his conversion involved his view of the Messiah and the impact this had on salvation.

As seen in his autobiography, prior to coming to the knowledge of Yahshua, Paul considered himself a Pharisee. He was proud of his devotion to the law and believed his efforts made him worthy of salvation. After coming to the Messiah, he realized that works were not enough.

Harmonizing Faith and Law

The question is, did this newfound revelation radically change Paul’s view on the Law?

He answers this question in the third chapter of Romans: “Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the Elohim of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one Elohim, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not: yea, we establish the law,”Romans 3:27-31.

Even though Paul understood that a believer was justified by faith apart from works, he also understood that this did not revoke the need for obedience to the law. In verse 31 he states that believers are to establish the law. The word “establish” comes from the Greek histemi. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon defines this word as, “…to establish a thing, to cause it to stand, to uphold or sustain the authority or force of anything.”

Notice that this definition conveys the thought-sustaining authority of a thing. In this instance it’s referring to the authority of the Old Testament commandments. So while a person may not be justified through the Law, this does not negate or remove our obligation to obey. The law is a measuring stick that defines right living. When we remove that measuring stick we have no way to measure what is right and wrong.

Sadly, this is exactly what has occurred in our culture today. Years ago people looked to the Bible as the absolute source of truth and morality. Today this is no longer the case. People now believe that truth is a personal preference. For example, many see nothing wrong with living together out of wedlock or two people of the same gender marrying. Because society no longer acknowledges sin and the Bible as the standard of morality, such examples of sin are now tolerated and even paraded.
From this passage and many others like it, Paul explains that faith and law are not diametrically opposed but complement each other. Faith brings us to Messiah through repentance and justification, and the Law provides a method of sanctification, i.e., the process by which a believer is found righteous. The Law is more than a random set of rules, but is a blueprint for virtue and morality.

First to the Jew

Another way of viewing the importance of the Old Testament is to understand Yahweh’s plan of salvation. The truth was first delivered to Israel. This is a historical fact! Only afterwards was it brought to the gentiles or those outside of Israel. Paul confirms this in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the good news of Messiah: for it is the power of Elohim unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

Paul is speaking here about salvation and confirms that it was first delivered to the Jews, representing Israel, in the form of the Old Testament and later it was given to the gentiles. Contrary to what some believe, salvation along with the many other concepts did not originate in the New Testament. These truths were firmly established first in the Old Testament.
For example, the word “salvation” is found 119 times in the Old Testament of the King James Bible. The word “faith” is found twice, i.e., Deuteronomy 32:20 and Habakkuk 2:4. Remarkably, Paul in Romans 1:17 quotes Habakkuk when describing the “righteousness of faith.”

Similarly, we find the word “grace” mentioned 39 times from Genesis through Zechariah. It first appears in Genesis 6:8 in reference to Noah. If not for this man finding grace, all the human race would have been destroyed through the flood. Yahweh’s divine favor on Noah led to the preservation of mankind.

These examples illustrate that the message of salvation and redemption was first delivered to Israel in the Old Testament. It also verifies that these core concepts are not Grecian, but Hebraic in origin. As seen earlier, the assembly blossomed from the Hebrew faith. This was, and remains, its foundation.

Many have the impression that after the death of the Messiah these promises were transferred from the Jews to the church. They were not transferred, but extended. In other words, the church or more properly, the assembly or congregation, did not replace Israel, but was absorbed into Israel.

Israelites Defined

Paul confirms this truth in two key passages in Romans. There he describes the attributes of a true believer and the process by which the gentiles are grafted into the Hebraic promise. For nearly 2,000 years this truth has been hidden by the church.
Many believe that the church replaced Israel in the New Testament. Theologians call it “replacement theology.” This doctrine wipes the New Testament clean of its Hebraic roots, something that the apostles never intended or taught.

In one of the most insightful verses, Paul in Romans 9:4 describes a believer as an Israelite and provides several key attributes. It reads, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of Elohim, and the promises.”

Notice that Paul does not use the word “Christian,” but “Israelite” to describe a New Testament believer or disciple of the Messiah. In addition, he provides six characteristics that all believers have in common.

The first attribute mentioned is the “adoption.” This word derives from the Greek huiothesia and refers to sonship. In Exodus 4:22, Israel is called Yahweh’s son and firstborn. It’s important to note that this adoption began with Israel in the Old Testament and was then extended through Messiah to the gentiles in the New Testament (that is not to state that non-Israelites could not be grafted also in the Old Testament). As Paul confirms in Ephesians 2:15, through Yahshua’s death and resurrection He made Jew and gentile into “one new man.”

The second characteristic mentioned is “glory.” This is from the Greek doxa, which offers a very broad definition. One of the definitions provided by Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states, “the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true [believers] shall enter after their Savior’s return from heaven.” This refers to the reward or splendor that those in the Messiah will receive when Yahshua returns to establish His Kingdom.

The third attribute is “covenants.” This word comes from the Greek diatheke and means, “a disposition, i.e. (specially) a contract,” (Strong’s). Notice that this word is used in the plural, which confirms that the faith of the Messiah and the apostles was based not only on the wirings of the New Testament, but also on those covenants that preceded it, namely the Old Testament.

Even though the Old and New testaments are the two main covenants, there are several minor covenants also mentioned, including: the Adamic (Gen. 1:26-30, 2:16-17), the Noahic (Gen. 9:11), the Abrahamic (Gen. 12:1-3), and the Davidic (2Sam. 7:8-16). While each of these covenants contains different assurances, each of them required obedience and faith in Yahweh.
The fourth characteristic is the “giving of the law.” This phrase derives from the Greek nomothesia and refers to “legislation (specifically, the institution of the Mosaic code)” (Strong’s). Paul says that part of being a believer includes keeping the law given to Moses. Considering today’s aversion to the Torah, it’s surprising that Paul provides this attribute. Even more remarkable is the fact that so many ministers miss it.

The fifth attribute is the “service of Elohim.” This refers to the ministration or method of worship, including the rights and ordinances in the Old Testament. Even though many of these rites have changed through Yahshua’s sacrifice, as believers we continue to offer spiritual sacrifices. “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to Elohim by Yahshua Messiah,” 1Peter 2:5.

The final characteristic is the “promises.” This word comes from the Greek epaggelia and denotes “an announcement (for information, assent or pledge; especially a divine assurance of good)” (Strong’s). The good news in the New Testament is twofold: 1) Salvation through Yahshua and 2) the promise of the coming Kingdom.

Some will contend that these six attributes are not speaking about believers today, but are a summary of Old Testament Israel. Paul lays this theory to rest in verse six where he states, “…For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.”

This statement by Paul might seem confusing, however, his point is quite simple. He’s confirming that not all native-born Israelites are true Israelites. In other words, he’s making a distinction between nationality and religious practice. As Revelation 12:17 and14:12 verify, an Israelite (representing a New Testament believer) is one who keeps the commandments of Yahweh and holds to the faith of Yahshua. If we neglect either one we disqualify ourselves as believers. This includes natural born Israelite and gentiles.

Parable of the Olive Tree

Paul also speaks to this Israelite connection in Romans 11. He describes there the process by which believers are grafted into the promise. This is one of the most important New Testament principles. While many churches teach that the church has replaced Israel, Paul teaches that the assembly is grafted into the promise given to Israel.

To ensure that we understand Paul’s message in its entirety, we will review verses 13-22: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if Elohim spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Elohim: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

Even though Paul was an apostle to the gentiles, he still had a concern for his people. It was his hope that some of his fellow Israelite brethren would come to know and accept Yahshua as the one true Messiah. The fact that many Jews refused to accept Yahshua allowed gentiles to enter the fold through the process of being grafted in.

This same message is also found in Yahshua’s parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22:1-14. Because His first guests (Israel) refused to come (symbolizing their rejection of Yahshua), the king (Yahweh) sent His servants (the apostles) into the highways to find those who would come (the gentiles).

As seen in both Paul’s metaphor of the olive tree and Yahshua’s parable of the wedding banquet, Yahweh is now calling gentiles into the promise. This is because of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah. In Paul’s analogy of the olive tree he states that the root and branches are holy. The root symbolizes the Hebraic promise given to Abraham and the branches represent natural Israel. He also mentions wild olive branches. These symbolize the gentile believers who are grafted into this Hebraic promise.

Through this analogy, Paul attests to the following: The root of the New Testament is grounded in the Old Testament; not all natural-born Israelites were cast aside or rejected by the Messiah; and instead of replacing Israel, the gentiles are spliced into the promise given to Abraham.

Heirs of Abraham

Interestingly, the patriarch Abraham is a pivotal figure in both Old and New testaments. Paul in the third chapter of Galatians explains his connection to the New Testament: “For as many of you as have been baptized into Messiah have put on Messiah. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Messiah Yahshua. And if ye be Messiah’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,” verses 27-29.

Paul begins by saying that baptism represents the death of our old man and the birth of a new creature. Through this symbolic process of death and rebirth, we also share in the likeness of His resurrection at His Second Coming. Within the context of salvation, Paul also says that there’s no discrimination within the body of Messiah. This includes nationality, social status, and gender.

He closes here by focusing on Abraham. He confirms those immersed into Yahshua’s Name are also heirs of Abraham. The word “heirs” comes from the Greek kleronomos. According to the Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, this word “denotes one who obtains a lot or portion (kleros, ‘a lot,’ nemomai, ‘to possess’), especially of an inheritance.”

Even though the adoption occurs through baptism into Yahshua’s Name, the inheritance refers to the promise given to Abraham. Scripture states that all the families of the earth would be blessed through this man, Genesis 28:14. This occurs in two ways: to Abraham was given the covenant; and through his seed was born Yahshua the Messiah, the Savior of mankind.
This tie to Abraham shows unequivocally a connection and continuity between the Old and New testaments. The belief that the Old Testament was only for Israel and the New Testament only for the church could not be further from the truth. The Messiah and the apostles viewed the Old Testament as inspired and authoritative.

Benefits of Being of Judah

In addition to the blessings provided by Abraham, the New Testament provides a similar benefit for the Jews. In the third chapter of Romans, Paul gives one major reason why today’s believers should respect the Jews, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of Elohim,” verses 1-2.

Even though Paul mentions only the Jews, it’s important to acknowledge that Yahweh’s law was given to all twelve tribes and not just to Judah, the Jewish people. However, what is special about the Jews is that they preserved Yahweh’s Word throughout the ages.

Unlike the northern kingdom, which broke away during the reign of Rehoboam, Judah (representing the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) continued to uphold the Scriptures. In fact, this is why the New Testament focuses on the Jews instead of Israel collectively. Because they were the only ones observing Yahweh’s Word, by proxy they represented all twelve tribes.

The word “oracles” here comes from the Greek logion and means, “an utterance of Yahweh.” This refers to the Old Testament commandments given by Yahweh to Moses. If the law is no longer necessary in the New Testament, why is Paul even mentioning these commandments in the Book of Romans? Obviously, he understood that the commandments were still relevant in the New Testament.

The Messiah too confirms a special connection to the Jews. He states, “…for salvation is of the Jews,” John 4:22.
Prior to this statement Yahshua had gone to Sychar, a city in the land of Samaria. While there, he met a Samaritan woman near a well. This woman explained to Yahshua that while the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem that her people worshiped in this mountain. She was referring to Mount Gerizim, near this Samaritan city.

Yahshua replied by explaining that there was coming a day when believers would not exclusively worship in Mount Gerizim or in Jerusalem, but would worship Yahweh in spirit and truth. He prophesied that this saying would be fulfilled in that day. This statement by Yahshua is prophetic and confirms that worship is no longer isolated to one location.

So what did Yahshua mean when He said, “…salvation is of the Jews?” Often Scripture provides for more than one application. This passage is an example of this usage. Yahshua confirmed the authority of the Old Testament and the entrustment of the law to the Jews (again, representing Israel collectively). In addition, He also spoke of His own position as the Savior of mankind. Both of these truths are central to the faith of the New Testament.

Like the Apostle Paul, it was never Yahshua’s intent to begin a new faith from what He learned as a child. He came to strengthen the Word, not demolish it. Yahshua embraced His Hebraic roots, as should all believers today. As disciples of the Messiah it’s important to understand that when we deviate from the promise that Yahweh gave to Israel we also deviate from the faith of our Savior and the apostles.

Becoming a Jew Inwardly

In Romans 2:25-29, Paul explains that there are two types of Jews. “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of Elohim,” verses 25-29. This circumcision is not a surgical procedure, but a way of life.

Paul is making an important distinction between Jews by birth and Jews by faith. When he speaks about the circumcision, he’s referring to natural Jews or Israelites. Conversely, when he speaks about the uncircumcision, he’s referring to non-Jews or gentiles.

He says that when the uncircumcision (gentiles) obey the commandments that their uncircumcision becomes circumcision and that they are now inward Jews. What an amazing revelation! Specifically, what’s the difference between an outward Jew and an inward Jew? An outward Jew is a native-born Israelite. An inward Jew is a believer (whether Jew or gentile) who accepts both the commandments and the faith of Yahshua the Messiah.

Dominion of the Law

As mentioned earlier, Paul was not against the commandments. He understood the need for the influence of the law within society. He explains in Romans 7:1, “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?”

The word “dominion” comes from the Greek kurieuo and according to Strong’s means “to rule.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words expands upon this definition. It reads, “to be lord over, rule over, have dominion over (akin to A, No. 2), is used of (a) divine authority over men, Rom 14:9, ‘might be Lord’; (b) human authority over men, Luke 22:25, ‘lordship,’ 1 Tim 6:15, ‘lords’ (RV, marg., ‘them that rule as lords’); (c) the permanent immunity of Christ from the ‘dominion’ of death, Rom 6:9; (d) the deliverance of the believer from the ‘dominion’ of sin, Rom 6:14; (e) the ‘dominion’ of law over men, Rom 7:1; (f) the ‘dominion’ of a person over the faith of other believers, 2 Cor 1:24 (RV, ‘lordship’).”

Based on the above definitions, how is it possible for the law both to have dominion and to be obsolete? These contradictory notions cannot both be right. From the evidence the truth regarding the commandments should be obvious. Not only are they relevant, but they also have authority over us.

Paul illustrates this point in verse seven, “…I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou Shalt Not Covet.” The same question could be asked of any number of laws in the Old Testament, including commandments pertaining to theft, adultery, and murder.

The point that he understood and so many miss today is that Yahweh’s commandments are for the well-being of mankind and are not to our detriment.

In verse 12, he continues, “…the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” Surely, Paul not only expresses the significance of the commandments here, but also its benefits. He understood that the law was a reflection of our Heavenly Father’s own ethics and values. When we embrace and obey them, we will prosper and be blessed.

Yahshua the Messiah Observed the Sabbath

Along with those commandments dealing with morality, Scripture teaches that Yahshua and His apostles, including Paul, also observed laws pertaining to proper worship, including the Sabbath and Feasts.

Even though most in the church today see these days as obsolete and accept replacing them with pagan holidays such as Easter and Christmas, they are incredibly important to our Creator Yahweh and to His Son, Yahshua the Messiah.

Based on the New Testament, the Messiah and His apostles observed the Sabbath and Feasts. Consider the following examples showing Sabbath observance:
“And he said unto them, the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Master also of the sabbath,” Mark 2:27-28. Prior to His stating this, the Pharisees reprimanded Yahshua for allowing His apostles to pick ears of grain as they walked through a grain field on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were guilty of adding many man-made laws to Yahweh’s Word through their Talmud, which was a record of their traditions.

In fact, this rabbinic reference adds 39 additional laws to the Sabbath alone, including specific laws regarding sowing, plowing, reaping, binding, weaving, tying, untying, tearing, etc. It’s important to realize that all these rabbinic traditions are nowhere to be found in Scripture. Similar to some Christian denominations, many Jews believe they have the authority to add to the Bible.
Even though intentions may have been honorable, through their man-made laws they made the Sabbath a burden and missed the entire point. Yahshua said that the Sabbath was made for man. In other words, the Sabbath was created as a blessing to man by allowing one day of rest. This statement is certainly not expressing the abolishment of the Sabbath. A similar account is also found in the twelfth chapter of Matthew.

In Mark 6:2 Yahshua again shows His commitment to the Sabbath, “And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands?”

The argument has been made that the Messiah worshiped in the synagogue on the Sabbath because He was Jewish and He was trying to reach His Jewish kinsmen. While both of these points are true, it’s untrue that this was His main motivation. His reason for worshiping on the Sabbath was quite simple, it was a command by His Heavenly Father and He kept all of Yahweh’s commands,John 14:31.

If more people would only acknowledge Yahweh’s Word and ignore the millennia of tradition that the church has wrongly established, we would see a transformation to proper worship surpassing even the Great Awakening. It’s time that we as believers wake up and realize the Hebraic roots of our faith. It is time to understand that the tenets delivered in the Old Testament are the same as found in the New Testament. Everything about the Old and New testaments is Israelite based, because the covenant was given to Israel, and to have a part in it means to be grafted into Israel.

Paul Also Observed the Sabbath

What’s more striking and convincing than the Messiah observing the Sabbath is the fact that Paul also observed this day long after Yahshua’s death and ascension to heaven. We find three key examples in the book of Acts, also known as Acts of the Apostles. It’s called this because within this mountain of a book we find how the apostles understood and observed their New Testament faith.

The first example is in Acts 13, “Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down,” verses 13-14.

Now why would Paul and his company observe the Sabbath? The answer should be obvious, they believed in the Sabbath. If the Sabbath was not important, then what would be the reason for Paul’s continued commitment to this day?
A second instance is found in Acts 17:2: “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures.”

It states here that it was Paul’s “manner” to worship on the seventh-day Sabbath. This word derives from the Greek word ethos and refers to a habit or custom that is either of a personal conviction or by command. Strong’s defines ethos as, “a usage (prescribed by habit or law).” In this case, while it was Paul’s custom, his conformance to the Sabbath was based on biblical law. Paul obeyed the Sabbath because it was a command from his Creator!

Another important fact is the timeframe from Yahshua’s resurrection. This account took place some 20 years after Yahshua’s death and resurrection. Did Paul miss the memo that the Sabbath was no longer necessary? Of course not, he understood the Sabbath was still obligatory for him and other believers. This shows beyond all uncertainty that the Sabbath never changed for the apostles.

It also confirms that he reasoned in the synagogue for “three Sabbath days.” This phrase refers to three consecutive Sabbaths. From this example there should be no question as to Paul’s continued commitment to the seventh-day Sabbath.

A final witness is found in Acts 18:4. “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”

The Apostle Paul observed every Sabbath. Perhaps if Paul only kept the Sabbath occasionally a person could argue that it wasn’t that crucial to him. However, we see here something entirely different. He kept every Sabbath holy.

It’s also significant to understand what he was doing on the Sabbath. Besides worshiping his Father in Heaven, he persuaded both Jews and Greeks. His persuading the Jews should be obvious, but what about Greeks? If the Sabbath were strictly for the Jews and the Hebrews why are Greeks in attendance?

So that there’s no confusion regarding the word “Greeks,” this word comes from the Greek hellen. Strong’s defines the Greek as “an inhabitant of Hellas; by extension a Greek-speaking person, especially a non-Jew.”

The reason they were worshiping on the Sabbath is simple: the Sabbath day never changed.

Based on the above passages, there is no doubt as to which day Paul worshiped. Perhaps even more remarkable, not once does Acts or any other New Testament book show him or the other apostles worshiping on Sunday.

Many will argue that Paul was doing this only because he was a Jew or Israelite. However, the biblical record shows otherwise. This is certainly more than a habit he learned as a child. It was a full-fledged conviction based on his understanding of Scripture.

The fact is, the word Sabbath is mentioned 60 times in the King James Version of the New Testament. Conversely, the “first day” is mentioned only 12 times and not once does it mean a Sunday observance.

Scholarly Confessions

Scholars in many different denominations freely acknowledge that the Sabbath was not changed in the Bible, but only through the dictates of the Roman Church. For example, consider the following sources directly from the Roman Church:
“It is well to remind the Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and all other Christians, that the Bible does not support them anywhere in their observance of Sunday. Sunday is an institution of the Roman Catholic Church, and those who observe the day observe a commandment of the Catholic Church” (Priest Brady, in an address, reported in the Elizabeth, NJ News on March 18, 1903).

“Deny the authority of the Church and you have no adequate or reasonable explanation or justification for the substitution of Sunday for Saturday in the Third (Protestant Fourth) Commandment of G-d… The Church is above the Bible, and this transference of Sabbath observance is proof of that fact’’ (Catholic Record, September 1, 1923).
“Of course these two old quotations are exactly correct. The Catholic Church designated Sunday as the day for corporate worship and gets full credit – or blame – for the change” (“This Rock,” The Magazine of Catholic Apologetics and Evangelization, p. 8, June 1997).

Here are additional statements from Lutheran sources:

• “They [the Catholics] allege the Sabbath changed into Sunday, the Lord’s day, contrary to the Decalogue (10 commandments), as it appears, neither is there any example more boasted of than the changing of the Sabbath day. Great, say they, is the power and authority of the church, since it dispensed with one of the Ten Commandments” (Augsburg Confession of Faith, Art. 28, par. 9).

• “The Christians in the ancient church very soon distinguished the first day of the week, Sunday; however, not as a Sabbath, but as an assembly day of the church, to study the Word of G-d together, and to celebrate the ordinances one with another: without a shadow of doubt, this took place as early as the first part of the second century” (Bishop Grimelund, History of the Sabbath, p. 60).

Lastly, consider the following Baptist references:

• “There was and is a command to keep holy the Sabbath day, but that Sabbath day was not Sunday. It will however be readily said, and with some show of triumph, that the Sabbath was transferred from the seventh to the first day of the week, with all its duties, privileges and sanctions. Earnestly desiring information on this subject, which I have studied for many years, I ask, where can the record of such a transaction be found: Not in the New Testament – absolutely not. There is no scriptural evidence of the change of the Sabbath institution from the seventh to the first day of the week” (Dr. E. T. Hiscox, author of the Baptist Manual).

• “Of course I quite well know that Sunday did come into use in early Christian history as a religious day as we learn from the Christian Fathers and other sources. But what a pity that it comes branded with the mark of Paganism, and christened with the name of the sun-god, then adopted and sanctified by the Papal apostasy, and bequeathed as a sacred legacy to Protestantism” (Dr. E. T. Hiscox, report of his sermon at the Baptist Minister’s Convention, in New York Examiner, November 16, 1893).
All of these confessions are only the tip of the iceberg. There are also countless other quotations confirming that the Sabbath was altered not by the Bible but by man. The seven-day Sabbath remains the only true day established by our Creator. All other days are counterfeits.

The Bible Shows Complete Continuity

As the Bible reveals, the Messiah and His apostles never forsook the Sabbath or the faith of their forefathers. They continued upholding the same precepts that were delivered to Abraham. If more people understood this core truth, we would see a far different message coming from today’s pulpits. Instead of trying to divorce themselves from the Old Testament, they would embrace it! They would see the value in the commandments as Yahweh’s moral code.

Understanding that the New Testament is rooted in the same Hebraic faith given to Abraham is pivotal and life changing. When we ignore this fact we lose perspective of who our Savior was and what He really taught. Sadly, the majority of Bible teachers today continue with this fantasy that the Messiah ushered in a new religion based on faith alone with no resemblance to the Hebraic covenant given to the patriarchs of old.

As seen from both scholarship and the Bible, this simply is not the case. As Malachi 3:6 states, Yahweh doesn’t change. He’s the same in both the Old and New testaments. He will also be the same in the coming Kingdom, when His Son reigns over this earth.

At this time, Scripture declares that worship, including the commandments, will go out from Jerusalem. “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of Yahweh shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, and to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem,” Micah 4:1-2.

In this coming Kingdom, all of mankind will be governed by Yahweh’s commandments, including the Sabbaths and Feasts,Isaiah 66:23; Ezekiel 45-46; Zechariah 14:16-19.

The more things change, the more they remain the same. This applies to the Hebraic roots of our faith. A Hebraic continuity can be found from Old Testament to New and from New on into our Father’s Kingdom. The same Hebrew roots that Abraham embraced were also embraced by Yahshua the Messiah and His apostles.

Isn’t it time that we, too, consider our Hebrew roots and return to the proper foundation of Yahweh’s Word and its promises?

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The Truth About Acts 15

A first-century lesson to new converts who had a background in pagan religion clears up a common misunderstanding today about Acts 15 and obedience.

The activity and success of the Apostles was creating in­creasing interest among the Gentiles. The pressure by the Sadducees and especially the Pharisees had stifled the conversion of Jews to the Savior.

Now the pertinent question con­fronting the Antioch Assembly, which Paul and Barnabas were to help answer, was how necessary is circumcision for the Gentiles? The Jewish leadership said it was mandatory. “And certain men which came down from Judea taught the brethren, and said, Except you be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1).

Missionaries of the Assembly at Antioch, however, had accepted uncircumcised Gentile believers into their ranks. Be­cause the issue was raised, Paul and Barnabas, along with some others, were sent by the Assembly to Jerusalem to see what should be required of the Gentiles coming into the Assembly.

Jerusalem‘s Influence

In Acts 8: 14, the Jerusalem apostles had sent Peter and John to help the brethren in Samaria with their question concerning baptism of Gentiles. A later Jerusalem meeting recorded in Acts 21:18 was to clear suspicions of Paul. Jerusalem was looked upon as the spiri­tual center for the scattered assemblies. Now they were to recommend a course of action in dealing with Gentile converts.

Peter said there is no difference among peoples in Yahweh’s eyes: “And Elohim which knows the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Spirit, even as He did unto us, and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:8-9).

Peter emphasizes that Yahweh gave the Holy Spirit to both Samaritans and Romans, that everyone potentially can be saved by the grace of Yahshua. The nagging question remained: Why then was circumcision required for any man to enter the Temple? (Ezek. 44:7).

One issue was already clear. Yahshua is now our High Priest and we are not required to of­fer animal sacrifices in the Temple. We can approach Yahweh directly anywhere, any time, once we acceptYahshua. He explained this to the woman at the well: “But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. Yahweh is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth(John 4:23-24).

Animal Sacrifices and Physical Circumcision

Upon hearing of the matter of circumcision of Gentiles, both Paul and Barnabas recalled their experiences of miracles and the wonderful things that had taken place among the Gentiles who gladly accepted their message. James the brother of Yahshua then summarized the decision of the Apostles: “Simeon [Peter] has declared how Yahweh at the first did visit the Gen­tiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written” (Acts 15:14-15).

James goes to some length to show that Yahweh’s purpose is to reveal Himself to the Gentiles, to take from them a group of people for His Name. Not to save the world now, but to take out a nucleus of chosen faithful from both Israel and the Gentiles. These will become the kings and priests to rule in the Kingdom, Revela­tion 1:6. The salvation of the world comes later, Revelation 20:6.

“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after Yahweh, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my Name is called, says Yahweh,who does all these things” (Acts 15:16-17).

James emphasizes that Yahweh is now calling out a special people. The called-out ones today are of the Melchizedek priesthood under Mes­siah. Animal sacrifices and circumci­sion are not required of us, for this “residue of men” will be baptized into His Name,and called by His Name. Circumcision has a deeper meaning already explained in the Old Testament as being humble and of a willing heart: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked” (Deut. 10: 16). We are to love Yahweh with all our heart and be obedient to Him in all things. He will soften the heart of our offspring and lead them to obedience:

“And Yahweh your Elohim will cir­cumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love Yahweh your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live” (Deut. 30:6).

Circumcise the Heart

The New Testament teaches that cir­cumcision is not a great concern for the people of Yahweh. Our goal should be obedience to Yahweh and to His Commandments, His way of life: Paul wrote, “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of Yahweh” is what is important (l Cor. 7: 19). When a person is baptized into the body of Messiah,he or she stands before Yahweh as sinless. All sins are washed away, and we are jus­tified in Yahweh’s eyes, washed clean of our past.

Henceforth we can go directly to Yahweh in prayer and have our sins for­given. We are now a new creature, a son or daughter of the Most High Elohim. Baptism is a cleansing, and with repentance is referred to as the circumcision made without hands. “In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Messiah” (Col. 2: 11).

James then goes on to caution the brethren not to make things difficult for the new Gentile converts by expecting them to keep the sacrificial laws and be circumcised. When one is converted to Yahwehs truth and follows it, then one is circumcised in heart. That is what Yahweh wants!

Remove Practices of Heathenism

His next suggestion was that a letter be written to all the Gentiles with the fol­lowing message: “But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time has in every city them that preach him, being read in the syna­gogues every sabbath day” (Acts 15:20-21).

This letter to the Gentiles has four special prohibitions mentioned: 1) have nothing to do with idols, 2) no fornica­tion, 3) eat no strangled animal, 4) drink no blood. Why these four? Simply because these customs of the Gentiles played prominently in their former worship. They had before worshiped idols and dealt with temple prostitutes. They of­ten ate strangled animals in order to eat the life-blood of that animal. They also drank blood from an ani­mal, assuming to transfer to themselves the strength that was in the blood of a bull or goat.

The Gentiles were to avoid these four habitual practices immediately. Then, James says, they will in time learn the rest of Yahweh’s truth be­cause when they attend the synagogues or assemblies every Sabbath, the other laws will be preached and ex­plained to them.

Jamessummary of the proposed action pleased the apostles and elders along with the entire assembly. They decided to send theirselected men to Antioch with the following letter: “The apostles and elders, your brother, To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syriaand Cilicia:Greetings, We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your mindsby what they said. So we all agree to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul- men who have risked their livesfor the name of our Sovereign Yahshua the Messiah. Therefore, we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are toabstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell(NIV, Acts 15:23-29).

A Starting Point

This letter does not specifically include the point that each Sabbath the laws of Yahweh would be taught by reading of the Torah each week in the synagogue. But from verse 21 we learn that such is the intent. A removal of offend­ing practices was the starting point, while more truth would be revealed once these abominations were elimi­nated. Silas, Paul, and Barnabas stayed in Antioch for some time teaching the people more of Yahwehs truths.

Paul and Silas later went on to Derbe and Lystra where Paul met young Timothy. They continued to de­liver the letter warning thegentiles to desist from idol worship, from drink­ing blood, eating strangled meat, and from sexual immorality. They were also expected to observe the Sabbath each week and join in worship with the assembly.

“And as they went through the cit­ies, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. And so were the assemblies established in the faith, and increased in number daily(Acts 16:4-5). In Acts 21 Paul was commended for his activities among the Gentiles. The elders glorified Yahweh over the thou­sands among the Jews that believed. However, there was gossip that Paul was teaching the Jews who were among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after their cus­toms.

To convince the people of his integ­rity, Paul was advised to purify himself with four other men who had a vow. Paul then could dispel any doubting, while the truth would be shown that Paul was orderly, keeping the law, verses 21-24.

Words Added to the Text

Verses 2526 are quoted below to show that translators have added the capitalized words that are not in the text of Acts 21. Carnal man strives hard to do away with the law and set aside obedi­ence, calling it bondage. But Paul kept the law and taught us to keep it as well.

As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written [and] con­cluded THAT THEY OBSERVE NO SUCH THING, SAVE ONLYthat they keep themselves from [things] of­fered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them en­tered into the temple, to signify the ac­complishment of the days of purifica­tion, until that an offering should be offered for everyone of them(Acts 21:25-26, boldface words not in the text, omitted by newerversions).

To recap, Acts 15 is the account of the Jerusalem meeting of the Elders in deciding how to deal with Gentiles who become a part of the assembly. There were four pagan customs they were to refrain from participating in as they began their walk with the Savior.

They were also expected to meet with brethren on the Sabbath where they would have Moses taught and the Torah expounded to them. Note that the Gentiles were to be taught from the Old Testament, the teachings of Moses. Perhaps some day we can join the great thronYahweh is preparing and teach and help others in the Kingdom. We read of this prophecy in Isaiah:“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of Yahwehs house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exaltedabove the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many peopleshall go and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the house of the Elohim of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word ofYahweh from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more(Isa. 2:24).

Paul answers those who would return to physical circumcision, “For in Yahshua the Messiah neither circumci­sion avails any thing, nor uncircum­cision; but faith which works by love” (Gal. 5: 6). May his words be a guide to all who would miss the spirit of the law whilekeeping the letter.

by Donald R. Mansager

against organized religion

Going Solo

Perhaps you have searched for a group of people who endeavor with all their hearts to remain true to the Bible.

Many will tell you that they are that group. Just check any newspaper “church page” and you will find a plethora of churches advertising themselves as giving, caring, sharing, and Bible-believing. What more could one want? How about … the truth?

The problem with many is that instead of looking into Scripture with an open mind in search of the truth, they seek out a group that is teaching the doctrines they already be­lieve. And those tenets do not necessar­ily need to come from the Bible.

Tradition is the most popular teacher, which is why doctrinal errors like the immortal soul teaching, the rapture, ever-burning hellfire, heaven as the ul­timate reward, worship on the first day – and many more nonBiblical teachings continue to abound. Basing their belief on the fact that they have always be­lieved them, people accept such doc­trines as truth.

Others are not as concerned with the teachings as they are with the group’s prestige, its comfortable sanctuary, gifted choir, handsome minister, or any number of other reasons that have noth­ing to do with what is taught there.

For many, a religious affiliation is a marriage of convenience, a compromise for the sake of the spouse or children. For others it is used to enhance their worldly status.

Just as perilous is the person who believes he or she is justified in worshiping Yahweh alone. Maybe some problem in their former affiliation prompted them to go it alone. They may even pride them­selves with going solo.

Should we reject organized worship when problems arise? Are we given the Scriptural alternative to wor­ship separately from everyone else? Is that the arrangement we find taught in the Bible? What does Scripture reveal about becoming part of a group of worshipers and working with and through the Body of Messiah? Could private worship signal spiritual defeat or does it have Yahweh’s complete blessing?

‘I Will Build My … lndividual’?

Scripture is clear on the subject of wor­ship. It also has much to say about group affiliation. Clearly, the command to assemble is there: “And let us consider one an­other to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching,” Hebrews 10:24-25.

We are directed to join in fellow­ship, encouraging and exhorting one another to good works and sacrificial love by word and example. We must se­riously consider the Savior’s words about those called out from the world to be a part of the Body of Messiah. It is obvious that He expected His fol­lowers to become a part of a greater Body of believers who would be close to one another and who would help guide one another.

Yahshua said there would always be a group of True Believers on earth teaching the truths he magnified and brought to light: “And I say also unto you, That you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my assembly; and the gates of [the grave] shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16: 18). He established an orga­nized worship based on Peter’s confes­sion that Yahshua was the Messiah.

If we seek salvation, we must become a part of that Body. His assembly was to continue until His return, 1Pe­ter 4: 17. Teaching the truth of Scripture, His Body would be the physical repre­sentation of Him on earth. This Body would be the repository of His truth and mirror the example He set.

The writers of the New Testament, and especially Paul, shared the belief that Believers must congregate as a body when­ever possible. Acts 2:42 relates that af­ter Yahshua’s death that the early apostles continued steadfast in fellowship and prayer. The apostles were in constant fellowship with one another throughout the Book of Acts. They were aware that persecution was soon to fall on them and they used every opportunity to en­courage one another and to preach the Word wherever they could.

It is up to all who have been called to proclaim the Good News and encourage others in the truth of the Name, Sabbath, Feasts, clean foods, and other truths neglected for millen­nia. These are the bedrock teachings that must be reintroduced before the Savior returns, Jude 3. Those who have this knowledge are to be teachers and guides of others searching for it, 1Peter 2:9; Romans 2:21.

The only real way to get the message out effectively is through a united effort!

Message Through the Body

For a number of important reasons Yahweh’s people are to congregate to study His Word. The overriding con­cern is to help sinful lives change to lives of righteous obedience. The Book of Acts is filled with examples of con­versions to Messiah. The Apostle Paul himself was struck down on the Dam­ascus road in Acts 9, where he actually heard and spoke to the risen Messiah (vv. 1-6). Although Yahshua spoke to Paul, He did not tell him the entire plan at that time.

Rather, the plan of salvation was to be found in going to the city and letting those in the ekklesia – the Body of believers – tell him what had to be done. Yahshua had given the keys of the Kingdom to His called-out ones, and although He could just as easily have told Paul what to do for others directly, that was the job of the Body. It still is today.

The early assembly was busy show­ing the path to those who were seeking the strait gate and the narrow way. For example, the Ethiopian treasurer was trying hard to understand the Book of Isaiah (Acts 8). Philip explained the Scriptures to him and brought about his conversion and desire for baptism. This is a prime example of Yahweh’s Spirit working through His people to help others find the way of salvation. That truth is lodged in the Body of believers.

Yahweh could just as easily have spoken to, or in some way moved, the people He was dealing with to do His bidding. Instead, He used those who had prepared themselves and were qualified, to help others seeking truth. It is up to the Body of Messiah to preach the Good News of salvation as Yahshua said in Matthew 28: 19.

Although signs, visions, and miracles were used on occasion by Yahweh in the New Testament Assem­bly, the message of salvation was given and expounded to others by those in the ekklesia, the called-out ones.

Shaping the Building Stones

Another reason for the necessity to gather with others of like faith is that all those placed in the Body of Messiah have a particular gift that is to be used to edify and build the Assembly, 1Corinthians 7: 7. That gift is to be used for the ekklesia and is not for personal glorification, 1Corinthians 14:12.

We are placed in the Body of Mes­siah as living stones making up a spiri­tual temple. Each member of the Body has been selected to be a part of that temple and is even in this life being fit­ted for an individual place in Yahweh’s spiritual temple.

The chipping, shaping, and fitting of each of the called-out ones goes on as we live our lives and change according to His Word. Yahshua is the chief cor­nerstone of the entire living, spiritual temple. He is not a lone rock on the sea­shore. We are to be formed collectively into a spiritual house, 1Peter 2:4-7, founded on Yahshua.

Yahweh has a purpose for gathering His people. We are to use whatever gift He has given each of us for the edify­ing of the temple. If we never associate with others of like faith, how can we exercise the gift we have received? Only through interaction with others do we learn to subjugate our own wants and desires as we uplift, edify, and strengthen others in the truth and faith.

“Living stones” that make up the body fit together only once they have been chipped and shaped and smoothed through contact with other living stones. The finished, polished pieces fit into a harmonious building where Yahweh’s Spirit dwells.

As an individual member of the Body of Messiah begins to pattern his life after that of the Messiah, he stops committing acts that he learns are sin­ful and against Yahweh. He starts fol­lowing a course in accord with Yahweh’s way of life.

His mind is stayed on the Messiah. He no longer is taken up with satisfy­ing his flesh and former way of life. He now longs to please the Heavenly Fa­ther and no longer indulges in wicked­ness of the lower nature: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lascivious­ness,idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, vari­ance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedi­tions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of Elohim” (Gal. 5: 19-21).

Advantages of Fellowship

Through the Body of Messiah the fruits of Galatians 5:22-23 are grown, nur­tured, and matured: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meek­ness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Examples of the kind of people we are to become should be visible in each assembly.Here we meet with those who are also trying to become more like the Messiah, growing in His like­ness and stature. This is not possible to fulfill alone, which is why it is all the more important that we fellowship with other saints. Regardless, we should always live as if the Messiah were living right here among us no matter where we are.

By fruits is that person known, Matthew 7:20. Just as Yahshua sought fruit from the fig tree (Matt. 21), so we should be bearing fruit not only for Him, but also for the brethren.

Another great advantage of regular fellowship is the mutual understanding one can derive from others. Often we learn of a strange new doctrine that arises from an isolated individual who does not “test out” his idea with others for validity and harmony with the Scrip­tures. How often have we all been cor­rected or redirected by a brother or sis­ter who had more insight on an idea or teaching! We need one another to stay balanced and on track. This is just another advantage of regular fellowship.

Believers Same as Yahshua

While most of us fully recognize the great debt of gratitude we owe Yahshua the Messiah, we often forget the most obvious way we can show our apprecia­tion and love to Him for the price He paid that we might have life.

The Apostle Paul got the message in a big way. Supernaturally struck down on the Damascus road, he heard a voice asking him, “Shaul, Shaul, why do you persecute Me?” Who was this he was hearing? The answer comes: “I am Yahshua whom you persecute,”Acts 9: 1-5.

Suddenly Paul realized the astound­ing fact that Yahshua was so close to His disciples that anything Paul had previously done in persecuting them was the same as attacking the Messiah Himself! That is how important the Body of Messiah is to our Savior, and that is why each person must have a place in it and work through it. To work and worship with the Body is to work and worship with the Savior!

Paul never forgot the lesson. On fre­quent occasions he would mention that he – more than anyone else – needed forgiveness because he had persecuted the Body of believers, and through them Yahshua Himself. Philippians 3:6; Galatians 1: l3, 1Timothy 1: l3.

Yahshua again revealed the deep and intimate feelings He has for His True Worshipers when he spoke of the righteous saints who inherit the King­dom, Matthew 25:34-40. He said that doing good to the saints is the same as reaching out to Yahshua Himself. He likens His spiritual Body to his own body. When we do anything to a fellow believer we are in essence doing the same to Yahshua. When we refuse to fellowship with the Body, we are refus­ing Yahshua.

In verses 41-46 He makes the same point with the wicked who have not shown compassion and love for the Body. He speaks of not having cared for the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick, and imprisoned.

Some hunger for the Word; we should feed them. Some thirst for the Holy Spirit; they should be taught. Strangers should be taken into the camp and made spiritual Israelites wherever possible. They should be clothed in the robes of righteousness. If they are sick, they need healing and should be made whole. Those in prison should be freed from the captivity of sinful living.

Yahshua identified the group of be­lievers in Matthew 12:48-50 when He stretched forth His hand toward His dis­ciples and said, “Whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sis­ter and mother.”

Keeping His words in mind will help us to think of one another in the ekklesia as brothers or sisters. Whatever we do to these followers of the Messiah we also do to Him. He said that the ekklesia was also His Body. He refers to the called-out ones as the spiritual mother of the Body of believers. This is the same thought Paul had when he re­ferred to the spiritual Jerusalem as the “mother of all,” Galatians 4:26.

Strength Through Fellowship

It is quite apparent that Yahshua ex­pected the Body of believers to assem­ble as often as they could. Not associ­ating with the saints leaves much of the development of the spiritual aspects of our lives unfinished. The interaction between the believers is necessary not only to help us become better followers of the Messiah, but also to learn from others who have met and overcome many of the same problems and diffi­culties. It strengthens us as well to see how others have overcome their trials.

Becoming associated with a group of True Believers allows one into a training ground or preparation for the work in the Kingdom. We develop tal­ents or gifts that Yahweh has given us so they become ability. We use that abil­ity to edify and build up the ekklesia.

In interaction with the saints we not only help them be better followers of the Messiah, but we also perfect ourselves. It is difficult or impossible to de­velop and use the spiritual gifts Yahweh gives us if we are alone.

Another purpose for assembling to­gether is to make recommendations and judgments on the qualifications of the brethren. This was true in Acts 15:1-2 when the brethren determined who would go to Jerusalem. It was the breth­ren who decided the candidates for the role of deacon in the early assembly, Acts 6:3-6. In Acts 11:22 it was the ekklesia that sent Barnabas to Antioch. Later (Acts 15:22-23) it was the ekklesia that joined with the apostles and elders to send men they had cho­sen to visit the gentiles.

Cooperation Is Key

All through the New Testament we find that the Assembly played a vital part in the direction of the ministry. Decisions were made by the Body. There is no such term as head elder or directing elder in the New Testament, unless it refers to Yahshua. Examples of a plu­rality of people making the important decisions are found in the following:

Acts 15:25 and 40; 16:1-2; lCorinthians 16:2-3; 2Corinthians 8:19, and Philippians 2:25.

Yahshua established the Assembly (Matt. 16:18), and to make it run He guides it by His Holy Spirit working through His people. It was the apostles or elders who recognized the choice of the brethren in ordaining individuals for the special task of serving the Body.

Most of us can look back on our Bib­lical pursuits and recall that we assimi­lated Bible knowledge by degrees. After we accepted one truth we went on to study deeper knowledge. Significantly, we learned through the help of others. Who can say that he learned all the truth totally without the help and direction of other people guided by Yahweh?

To say that we no longer need the fellowship and help of others in the Body is to reject the blueprint Yahshua established by which the truth is spread to all the earth.

One of the biggest thrills yet to come is when Yahshua returns to set up His Kingdom. It will not be the individual who thought it was “just you and me, Yahshua” who will make up that Kingdom. It will be ALL those who have been faithfully keeping the command­ments and living daily the precepts they have proved true. It will be His entire ekklesia, the firstfruits, that will make up the core of His Kingdom of which there will be no end.

Serving the Body

In any organization, obligations and duties befall some for the good of all. For some, the reluctance to meet with a group is born of the fear of the respon­sibilities involved.

Yet that is exactly what the King­dom will involve … responsibilities! We are in training now to handle the smaller duties of service so that we will be able to take on the much greater re­sponsibilities to befall us in the King­dom. If we shirk the little assignments of service now, how do we think Yah­weh will consider us for the far greater and more demanding ones of ruling in His Kingdom? (Rev. 5:10)

A muscle that goes unused withers away. Yahweh wants involvement from His people. They in turn will grow with the responsibilities, ultimately to be qualified for a greater role to come. No one can presume to be an effective ruler in the Kingdom if he has not learned how to interact with others now.

This is one of the great truths of the Assembly. The ekklesia is a training ground, both for now and also for a more important role in the future. No one can effectively rule in the Kingdom if he has not learned to get along suc­cessfully with others now.

Traits of the True Group

How can we know which is the correct group of True Worshipers? The Bible gives us a clear understanding of the characteristics of truth seekers. Many teach that the law of the Old Testament has been done away. But Revelation 14:12 and many other New Testament verses maintain that Yahweh never changed His mind. His precepts are still binding. Besides boldly teaching the truth of the Word, other significant characteris­tics identify the true Assembly.

Revelation 14:12 tells of the patience of the saints who keep the commandments of Yahweh and have the faith of Yahshua. The saints, then, must be willing to endure situations that may not be pleasant. They must be willing to sacrifice all for the sake of the truth. Conditions will come to pass that will severely test their dedication and resolve to be faithful to the Father they serve. Will they keep the com­mandments? Will they be willing to suf­fer shame for His Name?

Notice specifically in Revelation 14:12 that the True Worshiper keeps the faith OF Yahshua, not the faith IN Yahshua – but the same faith He had. Part of His faith was that He was obe­dient in all things, 1Peter 2:22. He kept all the commandments. All the Feast days. All the Sabbaths. He is our ex­ample, our model, and our goal.

Another characteristic setting apart of True Worshipers is that His people will know and use His Name, Isaiah 52:6. His people will also be hated because of His Name, Matthew 24:9, but they will never deny it, Revelation 3:8.

The way is narrow and the gate is strait that leads to the Kingdom, and few will find it. The closer an organiza­tion follows the truth the fewer there will be in that group.

But seek the Kingdom we must, and with all our determination follow the Savior. This is not just a hobby for the Truth Seeker, it is his and her very rea­son for living.

May you also join with us as we endeavor to fulfill all that the True Assembly means in these final days. Check out our Sabbath Fellowship you don’t have to “Go Solo”!  Also, Check out our live sabbath services every Sabbath at 1:30 (Central time)

Yahweh’s Survival Handbook

Imagine taking a survival training class as you prepare for an extended outing into the arctic wilderness. Being a novice, you need and want all the help you can get to prepare for and survive such an awesome and hazardous venture. The course description says that the class is based on the training manual and everyone taking the class must purchase a copy and learn it.

You are bewildered, however, when on the first day of class your instructor announces that although he will teach from the training manual, actually following it could prove harmful. He tells his class that they don’t really need to learn any-thing about the wilderness. He says faith is all they need to exist in the wild, and no survival knowledge or training is necessary. He then spends the remainder of the course telling cute stories and cracking jokes.

This is incredible! If survival skills are not needed and training for the wilderness is useless, then why am I taking this course? you wonder.

 Retire the Old Testament?

For the purpose of illustration, the “training manual” compares to the Bible, particularly the foundational Old Testament. The Scriptures are Yahweh’s Handbook for survival and overcoming in the wilderness of this world.

Your past Bible “instructors” probably taught that two-thirds of Scripture – the Old Testament – was only for ancient Israel and no longer applies to us in the “New Testament dispensation.” Most ministers believe and teach this.

Paradoxically, countless clerics have no qualms about illustrating their sermons using the books of the Old Testament. They don’t hesitate to refer to the Ten Commandments on occasion, quote the Psalms, Proverbs, and Prophetic writings or show the lives of the patriarchs as examples of right and proper behavior. When it comes to highlighting sermons most freely quote a pertinent passage from the Old Testament and see no contradiction in doing so.

But ask them whether it is necessary to apply the statutes and truths found in the Old Testament and you are promptly told that the Old Testament is no longer valid. It has completely been replaced by the New. So what is the point of having it?

Going hand-in-glove with the demise of Old Testament teachings is one that says that the Old Testament is the Bible for Jews, while only the New Testament is for Christians. Nothing is further from reality.

This notion that we need not apply

any Old Testament teachings to life is fundamental to why churchianity has deviated widely from the “faith once delivered,” prophesied in Jude 3 of our day. It is the basic reason an originally Hebrew-Biblical faith has been replaced by a blend of Greco-Roman concepts, practices, beliefs, and even iconology that play a central role in most modern worship.

 Culture Shocked

The original faith as practiced by Hebrew Israelites has taken on an entirely different feel and flavor imposed by the culture and the nonBiblical practices that many in the infant faith soon accommodated. After the death of Yahshua, dramatic differences started to developed between what He taught and what would be observed a century later.

A simple example of cultural influence on perception can be found in Renaissance paintings of biblical scenes reproduced in some contemporary Bibles. These illu-strations show the Savior and His disciples dressed in Middle Age garb, or they depict ancient, Middle East soldiers attired in uniforms resembling 15th century Europe. How easily culture corrupts truth. But far more serious, societal influence and pressure have also transformed moral beliefs among those in the pews.

The teachings of fundamental Scripture underwent a dramatic trans-formation. What had deep meaning in a Hebrew setting began a shift to embrace pagan ideologies as gentiles were allowed to bring in their religious baggage unchecked. Add to this the anti-Semitic leanings of the early church leaders and you have a recipe for radical transformation.

The greatest influence for change, however, came with the doctrine that the modern church has replaced Israel. This notion led to the complete overhaul and elimination of beliefs and practices of the Old Testament.

Ignorance of the overarching covenant-salvation design of the Bible is what breeds so much doctrinal misunderstanding today: What is sin? Is the law abolished? Which day is the Sabbath? Are we under grace or obedience? What about faith alone, is it enough?

The answers to these and other fundamental questions are found in Yahweh’s salvation plan first revealed in the Old Testament and brought to full reality in the New. With the correct view of exactly how both Old and New testaments harmonize, these and many more issues can be resolved easily. In fact, a proper understanding of how the two testaments complement each other holds the key to True Worship itself. Only when we look at the Bible as a completely unified work – as Yahweh intended – do we realize how far popular worship has deviated from reality.

 A Peculiar Treasure

Did the Messiah Yahshua come to advance a whole new religion based on grace without obedience? Did He fulfill the law so that we don’t need to? Let’s allow Him to respond to this crucial issue Himself: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt. 5: 17). That seems clear enough. The law and prophets are found in the Old Testament. The basic meaning of “fulfill” is to carry out or bring to fullness. If He didn’t destroy the law then it is still in effect – brought to full light and understanding through the example of His life. If it is brought to fullness then it is still intact and complete.

If a soldier fulfills his duties he does everything required of him, leaving nothing undone or incomplete. By fulfilling the law, Yahshua obeyed it all and left nothing out. The same Greek word translated fulfill is used in Matthew 3:15, where Yahshua requested John the Immerser to baptize Him: “And Yahshua answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.” If fulfill means to abolish, then Yahshua and John the Immerser did away with all righteousness when the Savior was baptized!

Of course, what it really means is that Yahshua obediently complied with the mandate for immersion, as He did in all points of the law. He fulfilled His mission by being law observant and completely compliant. He tells us to follow in His steps. “If you keep my commandments,” He said in John 15:10, “you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” And what were His commandments? The same as His Father’s, except that He magnified them. He said in Matthew 5 that just having sinful thoughts is enough to break them (vv. 22, 28).

 Law Produces Peace and Happiness

What should be obvious to anyone is the simple fact that if moral law is disregarded then our society will self-destruct. Secular values lack the power to stand alone. Only moral law gives a society stability, structure, and order.

Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and the rule of law under G-d is acknowledged.”

The only reason that police forces are able to keep the peace is that the majority of the population is law-abiding. But take away the law or the desire to obey it and chaos quickly takes over. Consider what happens in a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake when the population is in a frenzy and uncontrollable. Violence spreads. Anarchy rules. Without law society crumbles into madness.

Almighty Yahweh provided the answer to happiness when He gave man His laws. He put limits on man’s behavior in order to protect him. By our Savior’s own admission He came to confirm and establish the law. Why do so many go to Paul and try to disprove what was spoken from the Messiah’s own lips? Simply put, rebellion. Humans are born with a natural disdain for authority and rules.

Did Paul write against the spiritual law and the moral code laid down in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy? Let’s see what he actually said. In his trial before Felix, the Apostle made an unmistakable statement that has been nearly ignored for 2,000 years. “But this I confess unto you, that after the way which they call heresy so worship I the Elohim of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets” (Acts 24:14).

What Paul believed and taught was the Old Testament, which is what he referred to when he said “law and prophets.” The New Testament was not yet written. What he did was adhered to the precepts, commands and truths found in the Old Testament. Paul later was to proclaim: “Men [and] brethren though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans,” Acts 28:17. And in verse 23 of this chapter we read, “And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of Elohim persuading them concerning Yahshua, both out of the law of Moses from morning till evening.”

Far from deserting Old Testament teachings Paul bases his writings about Yahshua on the Old Testament!

“Do we then make void the law through faith? Elohim forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Rom. 3:31) Why do modern teachers teach that Paul taught against the law of the Old Testament? Either Paul lied or they ignore what he said!

In the preface to Paul’s writings in the New Jerusalem Bible we find this revealing statement: “It is important to remember that Paul’s letters were not meant as theological treatises: most of them represent his response to a particular situation in a particular assembly. Paul’s letters presuppose the oral teachings which preceded them and enlarge and comment only upon certain points of that.”

The oral teachings include the Old Testament and its laws. Simply put, Paul was not setting forth new doctrine. He was merely applying the precepts he learned from Old Testament Scripture to the assemblies in the New Testament.

 Become of Israel

Writing years after the Savior had resurrected, Paul knew that the law Moses received on Sinai was meant for more than just the 2-3 million Israelites camped there. He wrote, “This is he [Moses], that was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sinai, and with our fathers who received the lively oracles to give unto us.” “Lively oracles” in the Greek is idioma logion meaning living utterances.” They are the law Yahweh gave to Israel through Moses.

Another fundamental truth you likely were never taught is that one of the purposes of the Savior’s death was to provide a way for those outside Israel to join in the promise first given exclusively to Israel.

Nowhere in the Bible do we find that the Covenant promise was given to any peoples but Israel. Gentiles must be grafted into that one promise, as one grafts a branch from one tree into another tree. The tree and its roots provide the support and nourishment the transplanted branch must have.

Paul explains all of this thoroughly in Romans chapters 9 and 11. In Romans 9:4 he addresses the true ones called Israelites: “Who are Israelites; to whom pertains the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law and the service of Elohim, and the promises.” As participants in the promise to Israel, Gentiles must follow the terms and dictates of that promise because the “tree” that supports them is rooted in the Covenant. Therefore the person seeking True Worship must become a part of the congregation of Israel. Yahshua said He did not come but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, Matthew 15:24.

With our foundation established in Yahweh’s commands to Israel, the next obvious questions are: who was Israel’s Mighty One and what did He call Himself? How was He to be worshiped? How was Israel to live? What observances were they commanded to keep and on which days? To be set apart from the world, what were ancient and now modern Israelites to eat and not eat? Touch and not touch? Do and not do?

The True Worshiper – today’s spiritual Israelite – must conform to all points of the renewed Covenant in his worship of Yahweh, the Mighty One of Israel. Malachi 3:6 tells us, “For I am Yahweh, I CHANGE NOT; therefore you sons of Jacob are not consumed.” He has not changed His mind, nor has He changed His mandate for man’s obedience. We read about Yahshua in the New Testament, “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that OBEY him,” Hebrews 5:9.

Even under the Old Covenant Yahweh told Israel that He expected obedience over sacrifices, 1Samuel 15:22. Obedience was always the foremost desire of our Creator for His people even as they were sacrificing bulls and goats daily.

If the Covenant promise was given exclusively to Israel, and we wish to have a part in it, then we need to look closely at its terms. What was Israel’s obligation? We find in Exodus, before Yahweh gave the law, that the Israelites agreed completely to Yahweh’s mandates. Notice: “And Moses went up unto Elohim, and Yahweh called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; You have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which Yahweh commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that Yahweh has spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto Yahweh” (Ex. 19:3-8).

Israel had promised, “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do.” By this pledge they were committed to the Covenant. Everything Yahweh expected of them they agreed to do. Yahweh’s part of the compact was a promise to make Israel a special kingdom of priests (Isa. 61:6) – the same promise he makes to us if we are obedient to His laws.

Notice: “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne,” Revelation 3:21.

Overcome what? Sin! Sin is defined as lawbreaking, 1John 3:4.

Yahshua said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Through obedience we overcome sin. By obeying Yahweh’s Word we come to know what He is all about and who He is. What is important to Him becomes important to us. Hebrews 5:9 makes it clear: “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”

 Feasts Part of the Covenant

Nowhere did Yahweh make a covenant with anyone not of the Abrahamic line. But notice. He told Israel in Deuteronomy 29:14-15: “Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath; But with him that stands here with us this day before Yahweh our Elohim, and also with him that is not here with us this day.” Anyone outside of Israel could be included in the promise if they agreed to the same covenant terms Yahweh gave to Israel. That includes us who came later.

Israel promised Yahweh that they would do what He said. “And he [Moses] took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that Yahweh has said WILL WE DO, and be obedient,” Exodus 24:7.

Again, notice how Yahshua demands the same obedience to what He taught, the same obedience mandated from Yahweh for Israel: “And he that overcomes, and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:26-27).

Yahweh called Moses to Mt. Sinai and proclaimed the terms of the Covenant. We can read about these not only in Exodus 20, where we find the Ten Commandments, but also in the succeeding chapters of Exodus, where the Feast days (chapter 23), statutes, and judgments are included in the Sinai Covenant with the True Worshipers – the chosen of Yahweh.

 A New High Priest

Does this mean that everything Israel was commanded to do and practice now becomes incumbent on us? No. With the coming of the Savior a change was made in the administration of the law. No more are animal sacrifices needed for sin. Yahshua’s sacrifice now atones for sin.

Similarly, the temple ritual has been replaced with the acts of Yahshua, our High Priest and Mediator of a New Covenant. Our High Priest Yahshua is the priestly order of Melchizedec and not Levi.

Under His priestly administration we and ancient Israel are offered blessings far greater than the earthly advantages ancient Israel was promised for obedience. Now we can have eternal blessings (see Heb. 9). Paul tells us, “Forasmuch as you are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Messiah ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living Elohim; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart,” 2Corinthians 3:3. As the law is now written on our hearts (Heb. 8), so we make it a part of us and live it.

A few verses later the Apostle writes, “Who [Elohim] also made us able ministers of the new [Greek kainos—renewed] testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit …”

The Covenant is reintroduced in the New Testament through the blood of the Savior, not the blood of animal sacrifices. His is a higher priesthood. Being that the Covenant is now magnified and placed on a far higher plane, it is incumbent on True Worshipers to be even more careful about their obedience, not less.

Notice how Paul compares submission in the Old Testament to obedience today: “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses. Of how much sorer punishment suppose you, shall he be thought worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of Elohim, and has counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and has done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:28-30.

By deliberately disobeying the law now, we risk not the death of a mere animal, as anciently, but the actual impalement of our very Savior all over again! Hebrews 6:6.

Far from abolishing the law, Yahweh today instills it within us, and we obey out of the sincere desire of a willing heart that loves Him.

 Confessing Our Own Error

You may have been led all your life to believe that certain teachings were fundamental truth. But did you confirm them in Scripture? Proverbs 14:12 reads, “There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

All his life Paul had been ignorantly persecuting the True Worshipers as heretics. When he was knocked down on the road to Damascus, he didn’t defend his error but listened to what the celestial Being (Yahshua) told him, and humbly submitted himself to Yahweh.

From then on Yahweh used Paul as one of the premier teachers of the Faith. When presented with the truth many of us were not that virtuous, but instead defended what we had always been led to believe was true. How could these great churches be wrong? we reasoned. But as we became convicted of real truth, we had to humbly repent before our Father for our error. We came to the understanding that the majority is misled, as it has been throughout history.

Yahshua confirmed that the masses are on the broad road leading to destruction. He said His people would be a “little flock,” and only few would be given the Kingdom, Luke 12:32. True Worshipers are not labeled the “called out” for no reason.

May you find the way to life and may you not be hesitant to walk in all the light you are given.

Back to Bible Basics

Back to the Basics

Suppose you started a new job. How long would you remain employed at that job if you insisted on coming to work only when it was convenient and fit into your schedule?

And what if you told your employer that you would decide your own responsibilities while at work and how much he will be paying you? Additionally, if you didn’t feel like working at all for a year or two, you still expected a paycheck.

Ridiculous? Certainly. Since when does a subordinate call the shots? Everyone knows that the servant does the bidding of the one served. That’s self-evident.

But it is not evident at all to millions of professing Bible believers who make their own rules when it comes to their worship. They decide when and how they will worship; they decide the question of obedience and even decide for themselves what name to call the Supreme Creator of the universe. They don’t consult the Scriptures, but just do what they want, often following others doing what they want. Does that sit well with Almighty Yahweh?

Not on your life. Worship approved of Yahweh means learning and then doing His will, not our own. We cannot make Him in our image and expect His blessings. That is the definition of idolatry.

Worship is not about what we want. Our goal is not to please ourselves. Our desire as True Worshipers is not self-satisfaction but His-satisfaction. Worship that centers on pleasing the worshiper is pointless and useless.

Millions live out their entire lives never knowing who their Creator is, what His actual Name is, and what He requires of them. They have no idea that Yahweh has a purpose for this earth and has a mind-boggling future awaiting those who sincerely seek Him.

He is a Power so infinite that all the trillions of stars in all the billions of galaxies obey His every command according to physical laws He established. Nehemiah 9:6 reads, “Thou hast made heaven, the earth and all things therein, the seas and all things therein and Thou preservest them all.” The only segment of His creation that resists obeying their great Creator is mankind.

Discovering Him starts with obedience. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments,” 1John 2:3. The laws that He thundered from Mt. Sinai for all who would worship Him define who He is. Keeping them defines who we are  –  either worshipers or rivals, depending on whether we submit to His will or resist Him.

Only HIS Days Honor Him

The sincere seeker of Yahweh understands the critical importance of aligning his life with Yahweh’s mandates, which includes His commandments, His ordained calendar and His Feasts days. His Feasts are special observances that define His salvation plan. Observing them means being a part of His salvation’s plan here and now.

One particular observance  –  the Feast of Tabernacles  –  is a time Yahweh set aside for learning who He is by spending a week apart from the world and interacting with His chosen people. This Feast is a veritable taste of the Kingdom.

You have the opportunity to taste it now, while the vast majority will remain unenlightened until after the thousand years of millennial rule are over and they are brought up in the second resurrection. (See The Two Resurrections, p. 20)

If you are convicted to keep the Feasts then you are responding to His call and have a desire to know and serve Him in Truth. Let nothing stand in your way of obedience.

Realize that you will need to overcome the obstacles that the Evil One will throw in your path to keep you from being faithful. Above all, haSatan knows that the Bible’s Feasts are of utmost importance to Yahweh and that they clearly separate the earnest believer from the passive one. “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of Yahweh, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are MY FEASTS,” Leviticus 23:2.

Most think that the Bible’s feasts are Jewish, but the Scriptures say they are His feasts! These days are to be taught and observed as unique, solemn, holy gatherings in honor of Yahweh. Man’s days are invented by man, but the Bible’s Feast days are designed and ordained by the Giver of Life.

Discovering Yahweh

All sin stems from ignorance of Yahweh. People sin because they have no fear of Him. If they did they would be fools to defy His direct commands.

Children who obey their parents have a healthy respect for their parents and fear the consequences of rebellion. But those who deliberately break Yahweh’s laws don’t know Yahweh and don’t fear the consequences. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16.

Most are driven by tradition and blindly do what tradition teaches without looking into the facts. For millennia men thought that the sun revolved around a flat earth. Does it make any sense that we should continue this thinking simply because it’s traditional?

Many grew up with a religious affiliation. For the vast majority of them that fact is all that is required to continue holding on to what they grew up believing. They refuse to look into other views. Such rationale keeps hundreds of millions in the dark. “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” Proverbs16:25.

Deciding on your own which way to go in worship can have serious consequences should you get it wrong.

Yahweh as ruler of our lives decides what is right. How can we be righteous in His sight if we do not do what He directs, and instead follow opposing practices? This includes keeping the seventh-day Sabbath and holy the days that He commands us to observe because He says doing so is His will.

Sin is doing what the Word of Yahweh commands against, such as ignoring His will. Not keeping His Feasts is sin because it transgresses the command of His law, 1John 3:4.

Even the Pagan Understands

There is nothing more basic than pleasing the one you worship. Doing what He wants and not what we may want is the definition of True Worship.

Worship means devotion at all times, day in and day out.

The principle of obeying the one you worship is no mystery to the pagan. The classic trait of a pagan is one who diligently tries to placate his “deity” by doing what he thinks the deity wants. That might include sacrificing children to Molech, burning fires in December to the sun god Mithras or coloring eggs in April in honor of the fertility goddess Astarte.

Each rite constitutes a key part of the heathen’s worship, and he would never think of not conscientiously carrying out his religion’s pagan rites year after year.

If even a heathen can understand the principle of personal duty and obligation in worship, why does today’s nominal worshiper think that he is exempt from anything clearly mandated in the Word for his own worship?

Yahweh repeatedly tells us to obey Him, which doesn’t mean just think nice thoughts about it. Paul asks in Romans 9:21, “Has not the potter power over the clay…”?

A correct understanding of the Bible and what is required of us is unattainable unless we know its author. We cannot worship in truth unless we understand and seek the will of the One who is Truth personified.

The more we understand who Yahweh is, the more we will live and worship correctly according to His will. The less we know about Him, the more likely we will be worshiping in ways He rejects.

If we are not pleasing Him by our lives and worship then we are wasting our time. Our very example and Guide to salvation, Yahshua the Son, said He came to do His Father’s will, John 4:34. That is what we must do  –  live as the Son did by obeying every command of His Father as taught in the Old Testament. He is our model, the pattern for proper worship. “For even hereunto were you called: because Messiah also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps,” 1Peter 2:21.

Yahshua kept the scriptural Sabbath and observed the clean foods, feast days, and commandments. He never kept Christmas, Easter, Halloween or any other man-made observance. We are to follow His lead, the apostle said.

You can’t grasp a discipline without knowing the basics. The religious establishment today approaches wor-ship backwards. Without providing the fundamentals to proper understanding, clerics introduce the Heavenly Father without instruction as to who He is, what He stands for, or what HE expects of His worshiper. The first of the Ten Commandments establishes the foundation for True worship: “Thou shalt have no other mighty ones before me,” Exodus 20:3.

The wrong question about worship is continually being asked: “What’s in it for me?” The right question is, what is His will for His people, and how can I be a part of it? That is the proper approach to truth and True Worship.

Ignorance Is Not Bliss

Ask the average person what he expects at death. “To go to heaven” he may answer. And what will he do there? He has no idea. Not a clue. And most don’t care even to find out what the salvation plan is! All they know is that they will stumble into it somehow. What foolish thinking.

Perhaps at the root of their desire to remain ignorant is a fear that if they find out too much they may have to do something about it. They may need to change their ways and live life to please the One they purport to worship. Human nature resists making life-altering reforms. The Adversary wants everyone to continue down the slippery slope of obliviousness to insure that no one will become enlightened and turn to Yahweh.

Millions who say they believe the Bible are completely ignorant of its most basic requirements. They hardly know Yahweh or the Bible at all. No wonder He has no influence on their behavior. Yahweh is not taken seriously when commitment to their faith is lacking. Incredibly, in spite of it all they still believe they are saved!

Judah didn’t take Yahweh seriously most of the time, either. The prophet Jeremiah warned that their rebellion would bring consequences. “And though they say, Yahweh liveth; surely they swear falsely. O Yahweh, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of Yahweh, nor the judgment of their Elohim,” Jeremiah 5:2-4.

It is time to learn about the true Father in heaven and what He expects of His people. He has a Name, a family, and a plan to build that family to expand to the ends of the universe itself  –  starting now with called-out and faithful Believers who love Him enough to obey what He tells them. “For this is the love of Yahweh, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous,” 1John 5:3.

He Judges Our Behavior

We find in the prayer of Hannah in the writings of the prophet Samuel this warning, “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let [not] arrogancy come out of your mouth: for Yahweh is an Elohim of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed” (1Sam. 2:3).

Two key phrases are crucial to our relationship with our Heavenly Father. He is “an Elohim of knowledge” and “by Him actions are weighed.” Whose actions? Ours! Here Samuel applies Yahweh’s wisdom, His understanding, His knowledge to OUR actions.

Yahweh says through Hosea in 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” He adds, “Because you have rejected knowledge, I will reject you, that you shall be no priest to me.”

To know whether we are pleasing Him we need to look at our behavior. Are we eager to please Him through obedience or do we seek loopholes to get out of our obligations?

A reverential respect of Yahweh will lead us to greater knowledge. He promises it.

“The fear of Yahweh is the beginning of wisdom,” the Psalmist wrote, “A good understanding have all they that do his commandments” (Ps. 111:10). The reverse is also true. A person who will not obey and do His commandments will have poor understanding.

This life is training for the Kingdom, according to Revelation 1:6. A Biblical priest is well educated in the office he holds. His life is a proving ground. He knows Yahweh and knows what Yahweh requires.

Pointless Pursuits of Pleasure

We were not put on this planet to seek entertainment. The believer is a temporary resident of this world and has higher goals than to waste life in constant pursuit of pleasure. Yahweh has an incredible purpose for His chosen. And because of that, the Word tells those being called now, “I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,” 2Corinthians 6:2. Now is the time to work out your salvation in preparation for an eternal future serving Yahweh.

Revelation 2:26 says, “And he that overcomes and keeps my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.” Rulership in the Kingdom is promised to those who obey the Scriptures today! The promise is the same now as it was when John received it on Patmos. Yahweh has not changed His mind.

In fact, in Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament, Yahweh says, “I am Yahweh, I change not; therefore you sons of Jacob [Israel] are not consumed.”

There is one body, not many, according to Ephesians 4:4. One Master, one faith, one baptism.

We can learn a great deal about our Heavenly Father by just studying His commandments. What He instructs us to follow reveals His own values, standards, and principles. It is the same as discovering the values of a parent by what that parent expects of his or her children. If a child is taught not to steal, then we safely assume that his parents oppose stealing.

A Command to Study

But this presents a rather difficult problem for some. Many say or think that they do not know the Bible well enough to understand what is truth and what is not. They are unwilling to take the time to study it out for themselves.

Despite their reluctance, the command remains. You can find Yahweh’s inspired words, for example, in 2Timothy 2:15: “Study to show yourself approved unto Elohim, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” In order to have the approval of our Creator, then, we are to study His Word. And rightly apply what is there to our lives. Bible study is not just an option, it is a command. We must prove all doctrine from Scripture itself and not take anything or anyone’s word for granted.

We are responsible for our own understanding or lack thereof.

Ignorance can only lead to trouble. Why? Because then we don’t realize the importance of applying what the Word says to our personal lives, behavior and actions for which we will one day be accountable.

From the New Testament, Paul writes, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” 1Thessalonians 5:21. Why? Because what you know you act on, and if what you know is wrong, your worship will be wrong. Your faith will be in vain.

He Responds Accordingly

Many wonder why they are having so many personal problems and trials in their lives and why they are not being blessed. Others pray for health and financial help to no avail. Both could be because they refuse to obey Him and put Him first in their lives. John writes, “Now we know that Yahweh hears not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of Yahweh, and does His will, him He hears.” Sin is disobedience to His laws and commands, 1John 3:4.

Are you willing to obey your Father in Heaven? Do you do His will? If you do, then He will answer your prayers. He will be your Guide, your help, and your happiness. He will bless you in this life and in the Kingdom to come. But you have to take that first step to answer His call.

The prophet Malachi wrote over 2,000 years ago: “Even from the days of your fathers you have gone away from Mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto Me, and I will return unto you, says Yahweh of hosts.” You must take the first step.

Knowing Means Complying

A True Worshiper has a childlike innocence, willing to do whatever he or she is expected to do. Yahshua said that the Kingdom of Heaven will be given to those with a similar attitude of unquestioning obedience, much the same attitude as innocent children have (Matt. 19:14).

We please the One we worship by doing what He tells us in His Instruction Book. This is not some half-hearted profession about accepting the Messiah as your personal Savior and then forgetting about it, thinking you are now saved.

He will not ac-cept anything less than a real, honest commitment in our everyday lives to walk in the footsteps of Yahshua the Messiah. To obey all that He said to obey. Day in and day out until it becomes second nature.

Yahshua chided Satan, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of Elohim,” Matthew 4:4. “Every word” includes both Old Testament and New.

The Apostle Paul said that even our very thoughts should conform to the obedience of Messiah Yahshua, 2Corinthians 10:5.

To know Yahweh is to know True Worship. We often hear people ask, “Do you know the ‘L-rd’?” Rarely do they explain what they mean by that.

Know Him how? By His revealed, true Name? By what He taught and expects from us? By becoming like Him in every respect? By obedience to the Son as He Himself obeyed His Father?

In fact, doing these things will certainly help us “know” Him. No one knows us better than those who live with us: our spouse and children. They spend time with us, day after day. They do what we do, go where we go. See what we see and see how we respond in all sorts of circumstances. That is how we come to “know” someone.

The Scriptures say that these things are necessary: “And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that says, ‘I know Him,’ and keeps not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps His word, in him verily is the love of Elohim perfected: hereby we know that we are in Him…Brethren I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you have heard from the beginning,” 1John 2:3-5, 7.

Basic to knowing Yahweh is realizing His identity: “Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that does speak: behold it is I,” Isaiah 52:6. The prophet Joel (Heb. “YahEl”) said that whoever calls on the Name of Yahweh will be delivered, 2:32. Knowing Him means calling on His personal Name in worship, not just to say, “Oh, I heard the Name taught once and I know it.” That is not the kind of knowing the Bible talks about.

Faith + Obedience

A fact of life is that each of us has a name. Surely the very One who created us and taught us what names are –telling Adam to name all the animals on earth  –  would Himself have a personal name that identifies Him!

Knowing Yahweh and His Son means obeying them. It is no different from a son who obeys his father because he knows and honors his father and clearly understands what his father expects of him. Yahweh’s own Son tells us, “Not every one that says unto Me, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven,” Matthew 7:21.

In Revelation 14:12 the saints are defined as those who “keep the commandments of Yahweh, and have the faith of Yahshua.” Paul writes in 1Corinthians 6:2 that the saints will judge the world in the coming Kingdom. Therefore it is the saints, the obedient ones, who will be in the Kingdom, not the disobedient.

In fact, Paul says clearly in 1Corinthians 6:9 that the un-righteous –  meaning  sinners –  will not inherit the Kingdom. Those who practice sin will be shut out of the Kingdom if they don’t stop it and repent.

Isn’t it time you came to know the One you worship by calling on His revealed Name and following His commands to His people as His own Son did? These are the actions that lead to salvation and the great things in store for those who love Him.