Sermons recorded at Restoration Messianic Fellowship in Boulder, Colorado.
2023-12-09 Joseph's Pride
Media File At the age of 17, Joseph was doted upon by his father and given dreams of dominion over his brothers. At that stage of his life, Joseph would not have been at all suitable to be viceroy of Egypt. God undertook a program to season the young man by a series of events which got his self worth into perspective. So too does God want us to get our natural, prideful hearts into subjection. In this, He will also bring us under His discipline.
Media File Biblically, God has been on a 6,000 year project to improve the human heart - Moses call it 'circumcision of the heart.' Like any program of character development, the methods God uses, trials, chastening and suffering, are unpleasant at the time. But Scripture says that their results are well worth it.
Media File The vitriolic divisions between left and right today can be abstracted to what each side means when it uses certain word. A case in point is 'insanity.' The left sees the right as 'nutjobs' where the right sees the left as 'unhinged.' While the specific issues are many, they all involve the definition of reality - what is real vs. what is wishful thinking.
Inspired by an article by Doug Wilson. 'The Bottom of the Empathy Hole' https://dougwils.com/books-and-culture/s7-engaging-the-culture/a-pinch-of-incense-to-the-genius-of-democracy-2-2-2-2.html
2023-11-18 Things Set Into Motion
Media File When Jacob stole Esau's blessing, he set events into motion, both physically and spiritually. The negative consequences of that act would follow him for the rest of his life. It is especially worthy of note that even though God had chosen Jacob to be one of Israel's patriarchs, He did not intervene to short circuit those consequences.
20230-11-11 Chaos in Warfare
Media File Looking at the chaotic state of the world right now, it is tempting to throw one's hands up in despair. It is important to realize that in a war each side tries to create a chaotic situation for the enemy because an enemy overwhelmed by chaos cannot fight back successfully. God has provided us with the means of cutting through the chaos and remaining effective and useful to the Kingdom.
2023-11-04 Not My Problem
Media File Up until Abraham, humanity's typical reaction to failure is to say, "It's not my fault" or "It's not my problem." Abraham was different. When presented with problems, he stepped up and took responsibility. (Suggested by Rabbi Sacks' article, "Answering the Call" on Aish.com)
2023-10-28 Paul's Defense
Media File Defending himself before Felix and Agrippa in Acts 26, Paul describes the incident where he was knocked to the ground and spoken to by Y'shua Himself. It is important to note that Paul was already thoroughly schooled in the Scriptures and was convinced that The Way was an heretical cult. The Scriptures didn't change; Paul's perspective is what changed. This is a lesson when dealing with believers who see some point of doctrine differently.
2023-10-21 The Human Heart
Media File In Parsha Noah, God says, before the flood, that the human heart is only evil continually. After the flood, He says essentially the same thing. In other words, Noah and his family were not preserved during the flood because of the perfection of their hearts. So, what's going on with the heart?
2023-10-14 Naked and Ashamed
Media File When God created the first couple, scripture says that they were naked and unashamed. After eating of the forbidden fruit, they covered themselves and hid in their shame. Why shame? Why not guilt?
2023-10-07 Rejoicing at Succot
Media File We are commanded to rejoice during the Feast of Succot. Since the world is a difficult place, we must be reminded frequently to rejoice. Biblically, there is a straight path from a lack of joy to idolatry. The Feast reminds us to avoid that trap.
2023-09-23 The Fear of God
Media File Proverbs says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. The Hebrew word for fear in this and other passages actually has two meanings: 'fear' and 'awe'. Depending on context, it can be translated either way. One of the goals of life might be moving from fear of God toward awe of God. In this there is fullness of joy.
Media File Human behavior, both good and bad, generates consequences. When our behavior is sinful, we wish to avert those consequences. While often unpleasant, such consequences are actually a manifestation of God's love. In them, He shows us that our decisions matter.
2023-09-02 Prayer - Becoming a Better Human
Media File God created people to be in relationship with Him. The primary vehicle to create and sustain that relationship is prayer. Prayer is a skill that can be taught.
2023-08-26 Prepare for the Holy Days
Media File The forty days prior to the high holy days should be a time of reflection, analysis and preparation. Reflect over the past year's successes and failures, repent where necessary and form a plan for the upcoming year. Take that plan to God in prayer and expect His direction during the fall feasts.
2023-08-19 Judges and Justice
Media File Moses, in Deuteronomy, explains the necessity of a functioning justice system to the wellbeing of the nation. There is a difference between 'legal' and 'just.' Courts with either corrupt judges or bad laws can apply a correct judicial process and arrive at a wicked result. The ultimate source of just laws is the Torah. Anything else is simply based on human reason and the application of force.
2023-08-12 Overcoming Civilization
Media File In Deuteronomy Moses is explaining to Israel how to operate in the world. They had all grown up in the wilderness and had no practical experience with the temptations and pressures of the 'civilized' world. He is very clear that they will face strong pressure to adapt and fit in. He gives them tools to defeat that pressure. God's purpose for Israel is for her to change the world into the Kingdom of God, not to become just like everyone else. So too with Christians.
2023-08-05 What Does God Require?
Media File In both Deuteronomy 10 and Micah 6 the prophet asks, what it is that God requires of us. The answers are different in the two passages. That does not mean that God has changed His mind. This talk was inspired by Rabbi Fohrman and Ari Levisohn at AlephBeta.org.
2023-07-29 Paul's Authority
Media File In Acts 19 Paul arrived in Ephesus where he positively dripped with the authority and power of the Spirit, teaching in the synagogue, healing people and casting out demons. When some Jewish exorcists tried to appropriate some of that authority, things did not go well with them. There are many lessons for the church today in these vignettes.
2023-07-15 Responsibility for Liberty
Media File People like the power that goes with responsibility, but they dislike the responsibility that goes with power. Scripture is full of examples where people try to evade responsibility for their actions. This evasion is generally the first step on the way to slavery.
Media File Both Pinchas and Elijah acted zealously when they were confronted by flagrant sinfulness and idolatry in Israel. The zealot is akin to a hammer in God's hand, sometimes necessary but not to be used routinely. In Elijah's encounter with God in the mountain cave, it appears that God was checking whether Elijah could tone things down in the future.
2023-07-01 Truth and Liberty
Media File Slavery can be very attractive and comfortable so long as it is not called 'slavery.' To get the security and reduced responsibility of slavery without the stigma, we (or Satan) invent lies that make our situation palatable. This is the context of Y'shua's statement that the truth would set His disciples free. The Pharisees had created a web of rules that placed a heavy yoke on the Jews, yet they stoutly maintained that they had never been slaves. So too modern Americans.
2023-06-24 Denying Reality
Media File In the wilderness, Korah bitterly angry after the report of the spies, attempted to rebel against Moses. His fantasy was that replacing the leadership that had gotten into their current predicament would provide a way out. In this, he was denying the reality that God had made the decision, not Moses. This lead to his death and the death of all of his followers.
2023-06-17 The End of a Generation
Media File When the generation that left Egypt send spies into Canaan, they probably thought they were being prudent. When the spies returned and discouraged all of the Israelites from proceeding, their report spelled the end of that generation. God decided that His project to make free men from former slaves had gone as far as possible with that generation. That project would continue with the next. Scripture and history have many such examples where one group reaches the end of its capacity and God continues with another. God's purposes will eventually be fulfilled even though it takes centuries.
2023-06-10 Street Without Joy
Media File Parsha Be'halot'cha marks a turning point for the generation that left Egypt and stood at Sinai. The portion starts well. The Tabernacle is inaugurated and the nation sets out for what should be a short walk to the Land. Then the people began to complain about the food and the rest of the Book of Numbers chronicles the decline and death of an entire generation. They had complained before; what was different this time?
2023-06-03 The Old Gods
Media File During the first forty days that Moses was up on the mountain, all that people needed to do was wait patiently for his return. Patient waiting is not a human strong suit. They quit waiting and fashioned a golden calf to lead them in place of Moses. In this they mixed the worship of God with the liturgy of the pagans. God was not pleased. Today we are also in a time of waiting the return of Messiah. The old gods have similarly resurrected their liturgy and brought it into society and the church.
2023-05-27 The Restoration of all Things
Media File It is God's intention to restore the creation to what He originally intended it to be. His servants are to be agents in that restoration. In his parables Y'shua gives instructions as to what His servants are to be doing in while He is away. To do this the servants need access to the Master's power and authority. He has given that to us in the Torah and the Holy Spirit.
2023-05-20 The Gospel in Context
Media File In much of the contemporary church the Gospel is primarily seen as the way to get to heaven. That is not how those listening to the Apostles heard it; nor is it how God meant it to be understood. By spiritualizing the Gospel, the church has been robbed of the power it was intended to have.
2023-05-13 Power of the Tongue
Media File In Genesis we read that "God said...and it was so.' Speech both defines everything and provides a window into a persons character. Kind, encouraging words reveal a kind person. The converse is also true. Words can build up or tear down a community which is why Scripture repeatedly tells us to watch what we say.
Media File In Scripture God defines justice. He speaks of it repeatedly and when Israel corrupts its justice system, He sends them into exile. Both English Common Law and American law are based upon the Biblical standards. As America has become a post-biblical nation, our sense of justice has been thoroughly corrupted. God's indictment of Israel in Isaiah 56 could equally apply to us today.
2023-04-29 Be Holy
Media File In Parsha Kedoshim we are instructed to be holy as God is holy and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are also instructed not to sow our fields with different grains and not wear mixed linen and wool. How do these seemingly unrelated ideas tie together?
Media File God spoke His words to a nomadic people. Scripture recounts that as His people became prosperous and settled into cities they were pulled by the world and quickly drifted away from God. The church has undergone the same process. What was born in enthusiastic revival has gradually drifted back to the world. As an example a professor at a Christian college was recently fired for a tweet that simply spoke Biblical truth.
2023-04-15 Death of Aaron's Sons
Media File There are many theories as to why Nadav and Abihu died when they brought strange fire into the Tabernacle. Most of those theories have to do with their attitude. In reality their attitude or heart condition had nothing to do with why God responded as He did. The reason is far more fundamental and important.
2023-04-08 Why the Lamb of God?
Media File When John first encounters Y'shua, he says, "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." Consulting only the Torah, it is possible to explain why that statement was true, what it means to be "the Lamb of God" and why His sacrifice is able to redeem us.
2023-04-01 Repentance and Sacrifice
Media File In the first six chapters of Leviticus, all of the sin or guilt sacrifices are voluntary. In other words, the sinner realizes his wrong, does his best to make it right and only then will the sacrifice be accepted. In this we have a model for what it takes to truly repent and then come before God and ask for forgiveness. In the entire Bible, repentance precedes forgiveness, not the reverse.
Media File Leviticus begins with a table of sacrifice. Most Christians skip over this part as being repetitive, out of date and boring. This is a mistake. Leviticus is arguably the most important book in the Torah in that it teaches us how we are to approach and relate to God. The many prophetic passages where God reacts angrily to Israel's sacrifices might lead one to think that they are forever done away with. This is not so. The prophets look to a future time when the sacrifices will resume, both for Israel and the nations. At that time, they will be pleasing to God.
2023-03-18 An Unstable World
Media File The world lately has become a very unstable place. This past week 3 major banks have failed; government and major institutions are no longer able to recognize the difference between men and women; there are 'wars and rumors of wars' throughout the world. In the face of this shaking, God represents Himself as a rock; the ultimate earthly symbol of stability, He wrote His commandments in stone. He is our strong fortress. In Him we can stand fast even on quivering ground.
2023-03-11 Crisis of Confidence
Media File In the wilderness, the sin of the golden calf was spawned by a crisis of confidence. Moses had been gone for 40 days and the people began to worry that they were stranded in the desert without a guide and without a connection to God. This only one of several such crises and it provides lessons for us today.
Media File The movie, The Jesus Revolution, is about the hippie revival between 1967 and 1973. This revival which bore long lasting fruit was sparked by the Vietnam war. Lots of comfortable, middle class young adults were jolted out of their pleasant prosperity and sent looking for truth, love, enlightenment, etc. Conditions in today's America are analogous in many ways. Physically, we are prosperous, but the massive social disruptions are setting many young people adrift. Some of them will choose God if given the chance.
2023-02-25 The Tabernacle, Symbol of God's Love
Media File After the sin of the Golden Calf, God informed Moses that, for Israel's safety and survival, He would not accompany them to the Promised Land. Moses protested and the Mishkan was God's solution that He could both be with them and safely separated. In this we see the Father's desire to be with His family tempered by His sense of justice. As with raising human children, both love and justice are necessary for the child's good. The Mishkan represents the balance between them.
2023-02-18 Biblical Slavery
Media File For the past several weeks, we have been talking about God's provision for freeing Israel and eventually all of humanity. In this week's Torah portion we get are told how to manage our slaves. How does this square with God's emphasis on liberty? How does this match with the freedom we have in Christ?
2023-02-11 Law and Liberty
Media File Laws, almost by definition, represent curbs on someone's freedom of action. Laws may be negative, "You shall not do this," or positive, "You shall do that.' Laws are also designed to bring about someone's vision of a better world. In that spirit, look at the laws given by God through Moses at Sinai. God only needed 613 laws, the majority of which are negative. It turns out that they are designed to maximize both human freedom and wellbeing.
2023-02-40 Learning Trust
Media File After crossing the Red Sea, God took Israel deep into the wilderness. Taking them away from any outside source of sustenance gave Israel no choice but to depend on God for water, food and victory in battle. In this, He showed them in practical ways that He could be trusted. That establishment of trust was a part of their integration into the family of God as His firstborn.
2023-01-28 Learning Liberty
Media File At the exit from Egypt the Hebrews were slaves both physically and mentally. Removing them from Egypt solved the physical part, but was just the start of God's process of making them free people. Understanding that process provides important insights about what is happening in our society today.
2023-01-21 Free Will, Use it or Lose it
Media File In Exodus there is a perennial question of whether God violated Pharaoh's free will. This brings up the question of whether free will even exists. Secularists say 'no', Calvinists say 'somewhat' and everyone else says 'yes'. Part of the idea for this talk came from an article by Rabbi Sacks of the same title.
2023-01-14 Who Am I?
Media File At the beginning of Exodus, Moses has his first recorded encounter with God. The exchange revolves around two questions; 'Who am I?' and 'Who are You?" At this point in his life, Moses is 80 years old and has really never lived as a Hebrew and has had no direct experience with God. So a great deal of his reluctance to accept the task of freeing Israel revolves around the answers to these questions.
2023-01-07 The Limits of Power
Media File In Joseph's dealings with his family at the end of Genesis he weeps seven times. In spite of having all of the might of Egypt available to him, he is unable to use that power to resolve the conflicts with and within his family. In the Gospels, Y'shua also weeps for much the same reasons. Even having all of the power of the Holy Spirit He is unable to get Israel to accept Him or to spare Mary and Martha the pain of losing their brother.
2022-12-31 The Blessing of Torah
Media File The question often arises, "What parts of the Law are gentiles responsible for?" The question bespeaks an attitude that laws are somehow negative and to be avoided where possible. This misses the point of Torah, God's instructions for leading a successful life. The Torah was given as a blessing to the people God chose for His own.
2022-12-24 Chanukah - Government out of Control
Media File Chanukah is the celebration of the rebellion against an oppressive government with the help of God. The story mirrors that of the Exodus and has echoes of the American Revolution. In all three stories the catylist is excessive taxation. In Exodus, God does the fighting, but in the other two God's presence is indicated by giving victory to overmatched rebel forces.
2022-12-17 Unwarranted Pride
Media File Humility is considered a mark of spiritual maturity. The US emphasis on self esteem has resulted in a society whose spiritual growth has been short circuited. We are seeing the fruits in things like the various pride movements which wash over us from month to month, each with its own flag and logo. We are seeing the fruits in the push to change one's gender - by violent surgery if necessary. Stupidity is not a good national survival strategy - God will eventually intervene if we do not change direction ourselves.
2022-12-10 Spiritual Mechanics
Media File In the spiritual realm, just like in the physical world, when something is set into motion it keeps going until it is stopped. In Jacob's life he set deceit into motion when he stole the blessing from Esau. We see that it is a major theme in his life. Laban deceives him about his bride. His sons deceive Shechem about Dinah, and his sons deceive him when the sell Joseph into slavery. The reason this was set into motion and what it took to stop it has application for our lives today.
2022-12-03 Keys to the Kingdom
Media File The Bible has a number of stories about servants left to manage the estate while the master is away. In order to manage the estate, the steward must be entrusted with access to the master's goods. Sometimes the absence is short sometimes extensive, but the master always expects an accounting of the servant's stewardship. So too with our Master who has been away for some 2000 years so far. He has left us the Holy Spirit as the key to His goods on this earth. He will expect an accounting of how we used that key when He returns.
Media File God says that He preferred Jacob over Esau. While all of His reasons are not clear, one character trait of Esau's that stands out is his lack of gratitude. His behavior closely mirrors what Moses warns about in Dt 8. He seems to believe that it is his own skill and effort that have given him success and has not given thanks to God for his talents. In this we can see the prevalent attitude in the United States today.
Media File Making good decisions can lead to life and blessing; bad ones to calamity or death. What does the Bible have to say about how to make decisions and how to inquire of God in difficult circumstances?
2022-11-12 Righteousness Bends Justice
Media File In Genesis 18 Abraham negotiates with God over the destruction of Sodom. His argument is that it would be unjust for God to destroy the city if there were as many as ten righteous in the place. God agreed. It turns out that there is a deep connection between that negotiation and Sarah's unbelieving laugh when God announces she will have a son. Inspired by Rabbi Fohrman at AlephBeta.org
2022-11-05 Counted for Righteousness
Media File In Genesis 15 God makes promises to Abram. Abram believes those promises which is counted to him for righteousness. In Romans 1-4 Paul builds an argument for human responsibility on that passage. He also demonstrates that God's law is a gift of grace and was never intended to save. Only faith will do that.
Media File In the first four chapters of Genesis we are told of our purpose, our nature and God's nature. We learn that we can have a relationship with our creator. We also learn that He gives us free will and does not interfere with its exercise. We learn that choices have consequences. We learn that the related sins of covetousness and envy lead to death. Finally we learn that God allows us to choose between life and death and that He desires that we choose life.
2022-10-15 This is not Our Home
Media File God's appointed times throughout the year help to keep us mindful that He has a plan and that we have a part to play in that plan. Succot reminds us that this world is not our ultimate home and that we look for another while we sojourn here. Looking around, it appears that history is at an inflection point similar to that which spawned the Reformation. The established order has lost control of the social narrative and competing voices are gaining traction.
2022-10-08 The Song
Media File Moses' final instruction to his people is a song which tells of Israel's history past and future. It is intended to provide them with hope and a way back after the long series of calamity and exiles that they would suffer if they forgot God. What does that song tell us today? How is it relevant to our current situation?
2022-10-01 Days of Awe
Media File During the time between Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur it is good to focus on your purpose and on where you have fallen short during the past year. It is also a time for repairing damaged relationships if possible. There is a process for doing this.
2022-09-24 Creation and Meaning
Media File Secular science is being dragged to the realization that everything was created by God. While that is not news to believers, it does have some very interesting ramifications which have bearing on the Holy Days coming up. A creator outside of the universe means that He has a purpose in view and we have meaning within that purpose. Further it means that standards of conduct are given by Him and not invented ad hoc. Finally, since we are made in His image, we have the ability to control our various appetites just as He set limits on the creation. These realizations have bearing on preparation for the Holy Days.
Media File Deuteronomy is Moses' final set of instructions to the people he has led for 40 years. In Ki Tavo he winds up the list of curses by saying that they will come about because of a lack of joy in their relationship with God. In John 14-17 Y'shua prepares his disciples for his crucifixion. There also the overwhelming message is one of joy. What is this joy and how does it differ from mere happiness?
2022-09-10 A Beautiful Captive
Media File In capturing a city, it might be that a warrior finds a beautiful woman among the captives and desires her. Dt 21:10 explains the process of turning such a captive into a wife. This may seem archaic and a bit barbaric today, but it has profound meaning in God's plan of redemption. It also is important to us as we prepare for the High Holy Days.
2022-09-03 Final Briefing
Media File At the Last Supper Y'shua gave a final briefing to His Disciples telling them what was to come. While they did not fully comprehend, He was preparing them for His Resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. In this briefing He describes the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Media File In Parsha Re'eh Moses says to stone anyone who tries to entice you to worship other gods. He explicitly says that even those closest to are not to be excepted. In Luke 15 Y'shua says the world will hate His followers even to the point of murder. Where then is the 'virtue' of tolerance in all this? Are we not also commanded not to oppress the stranger? Today we are flooded with those who are strange. How should we navigate this?
Media File Biblical Hebrew has no precise word meaning 'obey', Instead God uses variations on the verb 'shema' which is to listen. Moses emphasizes that Israel has not seen God, they have only heard His voice. This has profound implications for understanding the Torah and the rest of Scripture. Briefly, God wants us to listen to Him, internalize His words and then act as if He were speaking with us in every situation.
2022-08-13 Voice of the Creation
Media File In the Genesis 2 creation account, God breathed into the clay and it became a living being. Another translation is that man became a 'speaking spirit.' In this God gave His creation a voice. A voice both for relationship and for command. To make relationship with God and men, command to have dominion over the earth.
2022-08-06 Tisha B Av Losing the Plot
Media File In Devarim Moses relates the sin of the spies which caused Israel to delay entering the land for 40 years. The spies were faced with the same problem we all deal with. God and His promises are of heaven but the world is in your face. When faced with immediate problems our hearts will try to keep our focus there instead of on the eternal things of God. That is what Jeremiah means when he says the heart is deceitful. Learning to discern between the immediate and the important is one of the great lessons of this life.
2022-07-23 Law and Blessing
Media File Some people develop the notion that by being really good and obeying the Torah they will somehow merit God's blessing. Just as the law cannot cancel out mortality and give eternal life, it cannot automatically generate blessings. The law presents God's vision of a good and just society. As such all sorts of benefits flow to a people who walk in it. Obeying the law is enlightened self interest. Blessing, on the other hand, comes from a relationship with God. It is He who is able to save, to grant mercy and to bless. All of these are prerogatives of the Sovereign.
2022-07-16 Sex and Gender
Media File Our culture has fallen into several grave errors with respect to sex, gender and class. In addition to the obvious absurdity that one's gender is a matter of choice, we have lost the fundamental definitions of masculine and feminine. This distinction is woven into the creation itself and is not subject to manipulation by mere people. Similarly we have tried to assign virtue and shame based on class and gender rather than on character. Both of these errors are not so much wrong as they are evil.
Media File In parsha Chukat we get the law of the Red Heifer to deal with the defilement of death. This is one of countless examples of the grace of God. He did not leave us to face our mortality with no hope. Instead He assures us that this part of our lives has importance and that there is much more to come when we are gathered to our people.
2022-07-02 You are Correct, Now Apologize
Media File Argument can be either positive or destructive. Argument for the sake of heaven seeks to find the truth about something important by debate. Argument for the sake of power tries to defeat the other in order to gain power or status. Korach, when he instigated rebellion against Moses was arguing for the sake of power. Moses and Aaron had leadership of the nation and the priesthood. Korach and his companions wanted that. So too in our relationships. Simply being correct about something is not sufficient reason to argue.
2022-06-25 Spies - Fear of Success
Media File When Moses sent the spies into the Land they came back with a bad report that panicked the nation. What might have been their motivation? Perhaps it was fear that the invasion would succeed and they would have to give up the intimate presence of God and exchange it to become just an ordinary nation.
2022-06-18 The Humility of Moses
Media File In Numbers 12 Moses is described as the most humble man on earth. Since Moses had no problem killing an Egyptian slave master, confronting Pharaoh and arguing with God, humility must involve something other that shy self effacement. In what sense does humility apply to this greatest of all the prophets?
2022-06-18 The Humility of Moses
Media File In Numbers 12 Moses is described as the most humble man on earth. Since Moses had no problem killing an Egyptian slave master, confronting Pharaoh and arguing with God, humility must involve something other that shy self effacement. In what sense does humility apply to this greatest of all the prophets?
2022-06-11 God Delights in Humans
Media File In a world full of death, despair and ugliness it is easy to lose heart and forget the God delights in people. The beauty that God creates and inspires overwhelms the ugly that Satan makes and inspires. He further assures us in His word that He loves us and enjoys all of the good things that we do. In this He teaches us what Joy is and how to achieve it.
2022-06-04 Unhappy with Reality
Media File In John 9 Y'shua, the Light of the World, opens the eyes of a blind man. What follows is one of the more humorous incidents in Scripture. The Pharisees refuse to believe such a thing is possible. First they inquire diligently whether the man was actually born blind then they berate him for sticking to his testimony. Finally, rather than face reality they 'cancel' him, throwing him out of the synagogue. In a reprise of Isaiah 6, Y'shua finally explains what is going on.
2022-05-29 Truth and Freedom
Media File In John 8, Y'shua says that His disciples will know the truth and they will be free. Instead of asking for the truth the Jews protest that they are not slaves. What is this truth that He promises and how does it make us free? The answer is important in a world awash in lies.
2022-05-21 God's Social Justice
Media File So called 'social justice' in today's world is nothing but warmed over collectivism - which always leads to misery and death. In Lev 25 God provides a system of insuring that the clever and ruthless among us do not wind up at the top of the pyramid in perpetuity. The Torah of the sabbatical year and the jubilee serve to do a soft reset and allow for social and economic mobility.
Media File The Biblical standard, 'an eye for an eye' has been ridiculed by those who should know better. In Judaism and early Christianity it was understood that the metaphor was not to be used literally. Rather that retribution was to be proportional to the damage done. For justice to be satisfactory to the injured party the perpetrator should incur an equivalent punishment or cost. If this does not happen people quickly lose faith in the justice system and begin taking care of things on their own.
2022-05-07 Love Your Neighbor
Media File Contrary to popular belief the Leviticus 19 commandment to 'love your neighbor as yourself' does not place unrealistic demands upon us. Rather the passage in context gives a procedure for minimizing the number of enemies one acquires and for keeping the community peaceful. In Matthew 18 Y'shua expands on the Leviticus procedure and gives instructions for those cases where it does not work.
2022-04-30 One Law for Everyone
Media File Torah portion Acharei Mot (Lev 16-18) emphasizes that there is only one standard for the native born and for gentiles who join themselves to Israel. So when the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15 tells gentiles to avoid idols, abstain from sexual immorality, things strangled and blood, they are simply quoting the Torah's requirements that apply to both Jew and gentile. When they say that gentiles need not be circumcised, they are quoting the law of the Passover from Exodus. In their ruling, the council was simply applying Torah correctly to the gentiles. They were not changing the standards.
2022-04-23 Mirror of the Soul
Media File Most regard the Torah as (a possibly obsolete) set of "dos" and "dont's". While that can be true, it is more profitable to regard it as a mirror. Looking at yourself reflected in the Torah provides a roadmap for spiritual growth. To use a simple example, the Torah says not to steal. If you are prone to theft, it becomes a restriction that chafes and you are uncomfortable with what you see in yourself. If you are not so tempted, you see the reflection of someone is not a thief.
2022-04-16 Passover Symbols
Media File We are commanded to tell our children the story of the first Passover. The elements of the Passover are each symbolic as well as historical. For the Hebrews in Egypt they pointed to events in Genesis. For gentiles today they are symbolic rather than historical. Considering the firstborn, the lamb, the blood and the bread leads to a fifth implied symbol.
2022-04-09 Intermediate Objective
Media File What did He mean when Y'shua said in John 19:30, "It is finished," as He died? If we look at God's ultimate purpose for the world, "to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth," it becomes clear that the Crucifixion was an intermediate step in a longer campaign; vital to the campaign but not the last objective to be taken. In that sense, "finished" is perhaps a misleading translation.
Media File John 6 is a discourse on bread. It begins with feeding the 5000 with five barley loaves and two fish. This is the key to the whole chapter, the high point of which is Y'shua's statement that He is the bread of life. Bread was introduced in Genesis 3 when our diet was switched from the fruit of the trees of the Garden to bread. The metaphor is used consistently up to and through John 6. The goal has always been to move humanity from earthly bread to heavenly bread; from slavery and death to liberty and life.
2022-03-26 Presumptuous Sin
Media File Aaron's sons, Nadav and Abihu died when they tried to enter God's presence uninvited. Similarly, Uzzah died when David tried to transport the Ark in the wrong way. In both cases men acted with pure hearts, seeking to approach and honor God. They had the big picture right, but got the details wrong and died. Today's church has the big picture correct. God loves us, He sent His Son to die for our sins. They are, however, wrong on many of the details and so are devoid of the power that God wants us to have on this earth.
2022-03-19 Who is the Son
Media File In John chapter 5 Y'shua makes quite a long statement which is logically in two parts. The first describes who He is and what powers and authority He has. The second explains why the leaders of Israel should accept His credentials. This passage leaves Israel without any excuse for their later behavior.
Media File There is a great deal of misunderstanding about sacrifice. It is clearly a major subject in the Bible, but has not been practiced since the Temple was destroyed in 70AD. As such we have no real understanding of what it means either emotionally or spiritually.
2022-03-05 Y'shua and the Law
Media File During the time before His crucifixion, Y'shua spent considerable effort contending with the Pharisees about their interpretation of God's law as given by Moses. In these encounters, there are several key phrases: "You have heard it said..." and "It is written..." What to these phrases signify and what does that mean to us today?
2022-02-26 You are not the Problem
Media File In constructing the Tabernacle, God asked for the finest materials and the best craftsmen to produce a work of beauty. The world around us is being turned into ugly. Our cities have become homeless camps, our architecture has devolved into concrete boxes, our young are mutilating themselves. All of this ugliness is designed to dispirit the people of God and make them easier to manipulate. The message is that your selfishness is all that stands in the way of utopia. This is nothing more than enemy propaganda. Beauty is important and spiritually uplifting. God wants your talent and initiative to follow His example in improving the world.
2022-02-19 Idolatry - Hard Men, Soft Hearts
Media File The impulse to worship idols is still with us today. The form has changed from from biblical times. We no longer fashion calves of gold as in Exodus or offer sacrifices to Baal as in 1 Kings but we still turn away from God to other means of meeting our desires. In both the Exodus and Kings examples the people's hearts were hardened toward God. It took Moses and Elijah, two hard men whose hearts were soft toward God to set matters right again. Today too many soft men with hard hearts are leading religious institutions and many have gone astray.
2022-02-12 Whom Shall You Fear
Media File The Bible over and over tells believers to 'fear not.' That is true in context but not in general. The choice in life is between fear of the world or fear of God. The choice is binary, there is no other option. If one chooses the fear of God, the fear of the world becomes a non issue.
2022-02-05 Was the Sabbath Changed
Media File I read a comment by a pastor I respect saying that the Sabbath had been 'nailed to the cross' and that he celebrates the 'resurrected Sabbath.' Is this sound doctrine? Is there any scriptural support for such a belief? Does it matter?
2022-01-29 The Light of Men
Media File The writings of John use the metaphor of light extensively. Most of the uses are clear and obvious but one is not. What does it mean that 'the life is the light of men?'
2022-01-22 Ten Commandments, Human Government
Media File In Parsha Yitro Moses establishes a system of subordinate judges and God gives the Ten Commandments. This forms a basis for human governance within the Kingdom of God. The problem with human governance is that it is composed of humans and so eventually goes astray. God periodically sends his prophets to get things back on track. The last of those prophets was His own son. When a prophet is unable to correct the nation, the next step is exile and foreign dominion.
2022-01-15 Wedding at Cana
Media File John's description of Y'shua's first miracle raises lots of questions. Why did his mother take charge of the wine problem? What did she expect Him to do? What is the significance of the stone jars? Why was this the first of His miracles?
2022-01-08 No Joy in Plagueville
Media File If you have noticed that people are angry, depressed and isolated, it is because they are. The protocols imposed to combat the pandemic, in addition to being ineffective, are destroying our communities and driving people to anger and despair. In short, they are designed to steal your joy. Don't let that happen.
Media File In Torah portion Va'eira, we see the first of the plagues, the Nile River turned into blood. Here water symbolizes death because the Egyptians had used the river to hide the evidence of their murder of the Hebrew children. Water can also symbolize chaos, life, the Spirit, etc. The symbolic use of water requires an understanding of context and of the consistent patterns in Scripture.