What is the New Covenant? It’s Not As You Perceive 66

What is the New Covenant?

It’s Not As You Perceive 66

What is the New Covenant? Is it a simple rehashing of the Old Covenant as many in our Faith would passionately defend? Or an entirely new agreement between the Creator and His people? Who does the New Covenant apply to? How was the New Covenant brokered and applied?

The 10-Commandments on Stone

When was the New Covenant activated? What is different about the New Covenant? Is it a better covenant than the old? And what happened to the Old Covenant? Hilary discusses this fundamental issue of our Faith with passion and Biblically-based reasoning. The New Covenant may not be as you once perceived it to be.


From Stone to Flesh Heart

Posted in I'ts Not As You Perceive Podcast Episodes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feast of Tabernacles Celebration 2015–INAYP 65

Feast of Tabernacles Celebration 2015

David Rohl, Egyptologist

David Rohl, Egyptologist

Tim Mahoney, Filmmaker

Tim Mahoney, Filmmaker

Michael Rood, Historian

Michael Rood, Historian

Arthur Bailey, Apostle

Arthur Bailey, Apostle

Posted in Blog Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Blood Moon Controversy with a Side of Shmittah–INAYP-64

The Blood Moon Controversy

With a Side of Shmittah


I. Introduction

This Monday, September 28, 2015, a total lunar eclipse will be visible over Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. This event is projected to last 1-hour 11-minutes. In Israel the eclipse will begin at 3:12 A.M. (Wootliff—09/20/2015) Additionally, this lunar event will feature “the biggest full-moon of 2015 as the moon will be at perigee that day.” (Rao—09/22/2015) This naturally occurring celestial event is aptly called a “supermoon,” and the last such eclipse happened in 1982. The next such occurrence of the eclipsing supermoon will not occur until 2033. Hopefully we all get the opportunity to, as Hebraic Roots teacher Keith Johnson of Biblical Foundation Academy International stated, witness this amazing example of the Creator’s power and creativity. (Johnson-2014) This event is the final chapter to a 4-part lunar extravaganza that began in the spring of 2014.
The greatest aspect of this rare celestial event is not the event itself, but what the event appears to forebode in the eyes and minds of some prominent modern-day Christian leaders. The greatest of these Christian-Evangelical leaders, addressing the relevance of these recent “blood moon” occurrences, appears to be Pastor John Hagee who has not only authored a book on the subject of “Blood Moons,” but has also done a television/YouTube video, multi-episodic teaching series on the subject. According to Hagee, this series of blood moons (and there were 3-others in the last 500-years that coincided with a  significant period in the nation of Israel’s history and we’ll look at those historical events being linked to so-called blood moons in just a moment) portends impending judgment upon the nations of this world. But as it relates to this current series of 4-total lunar eclipses that some have labeled bloom moons, they’ve occurred as follows-(1) 04/15/2014–Passover; (2) 10/08/2014–Sukkot; (3) 04/04/2015–Passover and (4) 09/28/2015–this year’s Sukkot celebration, are clear signals from God that judgment is coming to the nations of the world as well as to the enemies of Israel. This tetrad of so-called blood moons, is a sign of the impending destruction that is with the utmost certainty coming to a neighborhood near you.
The utter lunacy of this false prophecy (pun intended) is unforgivable and I’ll get into why I believe this prophecy is false later on in this posting. Nevertheless, the objective of such lame and irresponsible prophecy serves no good purpose other than to distract would-be believers from turning their hearts and minds and souls to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Indeed, teachers like Hagee are attempting to turn the attention of the world’s population to Jesus Christ, but they are resorting to the ole “fire and brimstone” tactics of yesteryear. Now, I’m not saying that employing a little of that ole “fire and brimstone” preaching in one’s teachings is necessarily a bad thing. Indeed, sometimes it takes a little elbowing and fear-mongering to get people’s attention. But if one is going to use fear as the basis of their getting folks to listen and then act in a way that secures their souls in a right-relationship with the Almighty, you better darn well make sure you are telling that which “thus saith the LORD.” Announcing prophecies—which Shimon Keefa (aka as the Apostle Peter) so aptly stated must be of NO private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20)—that are based upon one individual’s interpretation of specific events and then one’s own interpretation of scripture is playing with people’s physical and eternal lives. Every true prophet of God that has ever lived and delivered true prophecies has done so either as a result of hearing directly from the Father Himself, the Master Himself, or the Holy Spirit has revealed the prophecy to him or her and directed them to deliver the prophecy accordingly—in the Father’s perfect reckoning of time.
As it relates to this “Blood Moon” craze, and even exacerbated by the whole “Shmittah Year” violation by the peoples of the earth, these so-called modern-day prophets are latching on to a naturally occurring astronomical/celestial event and improperly attaching scripture to its occurrence in order to foretell of certain doom and destruction for the peoples of this earth. Interestingly, anyone who has been a Christian or of the Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith for any length of time inherently knows that doom and destruction are inevitably coming to the inhabitants of this world. Blood Moons as Hagee is referring to—which are really lunar eclipses mind-you–and so-called violations of the Shmittah–both being indicators of impending judgment on the nations of the world, are improper interpretations of scripture. Therefore, it is the intent of this posting to not only debunk this whole Shmittah Year violation and the Blood Moons controversy–all signaling impending judgment by God upon the nations of the earh, but to set the record straight about these two situations using the bible as the primary reference. So let’s get started and see if we can make sense of this matter.

II. What is a Blood Moon?

If you’ve not done any research on this topic, suffice to say that you might be in for a little bit of confusion. This whole controversy over “blood moons” is somewhat of a misnomer if you will. What some call “blood moons” is really total-lunar eclipses. The only saving grace these folks who title these total-lunar eclipses as blood moons have is that during these eclipses, the moon can appear red in color. Astronomers confidently explain this “reddish color” that the moon takes on during these total-eclipses as “Rayleigh Scattering.” Quite simply, it’s the same naturally occurring mechanism that causes colorful sunrises and sunsets. (Reference http://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/facts-lunar-eclipse.html) So, a blood moon as referenced by the John Hagees and the Mark Blitz’ of the world are really total-lunar eclipses. And I don’t know about you, but total-lunar eclipses are simply examples of the amazing handy-work of our Creator that man has over the course of human history witnessed hundreds of thousands of times.
Blood Moon
So where did this concept of “Blood Moons” originate? For the believer in Jesus Christ (also known as Yahshua HaMashiyach), the concept of Blood Moons was mentioned by the Apostle Peter as he—no longer ashamed of the Gospel nor afraid to be a witness of the Master as he’d been before—responded to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Temple Mount on the Day of Pentecost—known by some as the day the Church was born. Peter, filled to overflowing by the Holy Spirit (also known as the Ruach Kodesh), not only defended and explained to the pilgrims attending the Feast of Pentecost (also known as the Feast of Shavuot) what was happening to the disciples of Yahshua HaMashiyach, but also uttered this profound prophecy that is yet to be fulfilled: Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Act 2:14-21 KJV)
Now, any good student of the bible should be curious as to where Peter got this very explicit prophecy and utilizing any good cross-reference bible or bible software, you will automatically be referred over to the teachings of our Messiah Yahshua—recorded in the book of Matthew:29¶ Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.1(Mat 24:29-31 KJV)
Now one will quickly notice that there is no actual mention of blood moons here by the Master in his prophecy known to many as the Olivet Discourse (that which He delivered to His disciples who came to Him privily and asked Him to explain the end times to them). The key here is not that there is no mention of “a blood moon,” but the timing of this most ominous day—this event will occur “after the tribulation of those days.” One could conclude, if we were to have an open mind, that the moon not giving her light as described in this passage is indicative of a total-eclipse of the moon. But there are other mitigating factors to be considered here. Along with a moon that will not shine in the night-sky is a darkened sun, stars falling from heaven and the powers of the heavens shaken. And if that weren’t enough, the “sign of the Son of man” will be visible in the heavens to all who remain alive on the earth. To me, this is clearly indicative of the return of the Master to take His elect to the “sea of fire and glass” where they await the time for Messiah’s triumphant return to earth to establish His eternal kingdom here on earth. Notice that I did not say establish His kingdom in heaven. News flash friends: we ain’t going to be raptured up to heaven to reign with Jesus for all eternity. That is an eschatological teaching that can not be at all supported by the bible, regardless what churchianity (also known as Christianity that seeks to church their members instead of discipling them) has to say on this subject.
This passage of Matthew is actually linked to a famous passage in the Book of Joel where a similar celestial event will occur, this seeming to occur just after the time that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit comes upon the peoples of Zion. The Father states the following through His servant Joel: 23 Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.1 24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the fats shall overflow with wine and oil. 25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. 30 ¶ And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (Joe 2:23-32 KJV)
Clearly we see from this passage of Joel a reference to the moon being turned to the color of blood. However, we’ve not seen an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the peoples of Zion; at least I’ve not seen or heard of it as of yet. Certainly, such an outpouring is coming upon the House of Israel—not just the Jews who call themselves the Nation of Israel.
So, the question that must be asked then is: is the current “tetrad” that is concluding the 28th of September—which happens to be the first day of the Rabbinic Feast of Sukkot (also known as the Feast of Tabernacles), with a total-lunar eclipse, a likely reddish hue, and a supermoon to boot, the same event that Father prophesied through the Prophet Joel? We’ve already concluded that there are some timing issues associated with this Joel event as well as, assuming the two events are similar, the Olivet Discourse event? Let’s dig a little deeper.
Taking a look at the current “tetrad,” which there has been 3-other tetrads that have occurred at significant times in Israel’s history: (1) 1493-1494—occurred after the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492; (2) 1949-1950—occurred after the nation of Israel was re-established in 1948; and (3) 1967-1968—occurred or coincided with the 6-Day War of 1967. One can certainly see why the Hagees and Blitz’ of the world are so excited about this current tetrad? But consider this friends, as Hebraic Roots teacher Keith Johnson states in his discussion about blood moons, these key events in Israel’s history occurred a year before the so-called blood moons were actually sighted. This is a fact that Pastor John Hagee has not brought forth to his readers and listeners. Furthermore, if we are going to be transparent about this whole blood moon thing, what about the tetrads that have occurred where there was no significant events tied to it in Israel’s history? We know of 4-such uneventful tetrads: (1) 162-163 CE; (2) 795-796 CE; (3) 842-843 CE; and (4) 860-861 CE. Again, Pastor Hagee has failed to mention these tetrads occurring during uneventful periods in Israel’s history over the last 2-millennia.
This current-day 4th lunar eclipse, part of a tetrad, will occur on the first night of the Feast of the Lord called Sukkot which will be September 28, 2015. (Please note: This 28th of September being the first day of Sukkot happens to be the rabbinic reckoning of the date Sukkot falls. The Creator’s calendar has the first date actually occurring September 30, 2015—so we have a slight discrepancy here.) The previous total-eclipses took place on 4/15/2014 which happened to coincide with Passover; 10/8/2014 which happened to coincide with Sukkot; and 4/4/2015 which happened to coincide with Passover once again.

Here’s an interesting tidbit to consider: our moon shines only because the rays of the sun are reflected off the surface of the moon. If the sun is darkened, as noted in the first part of the Joel prophecy, it would stand to reason that the sun would shine either. Consider this prophecy of Ezekiel that seems to capture this same event but from a slightly different perspective: And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light.1 (Eze 32:7 KJV) Even though we adhere to scripture as the basis for our understanding the world and the things associated with it, we must also employ the commonsense that the Good Lord has given us when establishing such natural events as tetrads, eclipses, both solar and lunar. Before there was the level of understanding that we have today regarding astronomy and the hard sciences, people would look upon these naturally occurring, celestial events, as omens. And God-forbid if anything bad remotely happened near or after the time of an eclipse or blood moon, the people were led astray by the religious leaders of the day to believe that the bad thing that happened was foretold by the occurrence of the celestial event. Are some of us falling for the same medieval mindset today as it relates to these tetrads and the so-called blood moons?

III. Is the Current Tetrad Indicative of Coming Judgment?

All indications from the data that we’ve reviewed thus far would suggests that the current tetrad as well as the other set of 3-tetrads from 1492, 1948 and 1967 were not the famed blood moon that was foretold of in the Joel prophecy. Notice I said blood moon in the singular. The reddened moon spoken of in the Joel prophecy seems to be a single event and not multiple tetrad events spread out over the course of decades, centuries and even millennia. In fact, THE blood moon spoken of by the prophet Joel would not be an eclipse, but a moon that is reddened for some reason—be those reasons something in the realm of the miraculous or an atmospheric condition that paints the moon a blood color from the perspective of the viewer.

Archaeologist, author and Hebrew Roots teacher Michael Rood in his book “The Mystery of Iniquity” and his most recent DVD teaching series on the subject—”Blood Moons, The Shmittah and the Day of the Vengeance of our God”—contends that the blood moon as mentioned in the Joel prophecy is an atmospheric condition, the result of war and the use of conventional and nuclear weapons. In other words, the resulting smoke and explosive residue in the air and sky, left behind by advanced weapons of war at the end times, will cause the moon to appear a blood-red color. Personally, I tend to agree with Michael because of the context in which the Joel prophecy seems to be taking place. Father, through Joel, seems to be referencing a time in the future when the elements will be shaken and fear and destruction will be the rule of the day. Sounds awfully like some kind of major conflict, even war-like conflict to me. To be honest and fair, however, there are those like Hebraic Roots Teacher and founder of Biblical Foundations Academy International Keith Johnson, who believe that the blood moon, the darkening of the sun and moon and the falling stars of the Joel prophecy are going to be manifestations of Father’s power and might. I respect that perspective and believe that Keith has as much a point as that of Michael. I respect both men’s opinions on this issue.

Additionally, the prophecy of Joel seems to be referencing a time in the future when Father’s precious Holy Spirit will fall upon the peoples of Zion and cause their sons and daughters to prophecy and the old men to dream dreams and the young men to see visions. As much as we might like to believe this is occurring today, but limiting this occurring in the evangelical-charismatic Christian churches of the United States, I believe that interpretation to be very myopic and to a small degree, anti-semitic. Whether we choose to believe it or not, Israel—I’m addressing the Jews and the people of Ephraim—will experience a Holy Spirit resurgence that promises to overshadow anything that churchianity has witnessed in the last two or three centuries. Let’s be honest, this has not yet occurred and as far as I can tell, this event doesn’t seem likely to occur anytime soon. The Jewish nation of Israel remains as secularly-centric as it’s ever been in its history. The nations of Ephraim are just now starting to awaken to the Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith and come into the fold of the True Faith that was once delivered to the first-century saints by Jesus Christ (also known as Yahshua HaMashiyach). It’s going to take a monumentally miraculous act of the Father’s Spirit to turn the hearts of the Jew and the Lost Tribes of Israel back to Him. When that happens, then we will likely see the the Joel prophecy and the Blood Moons prophecy manifested.

As it relates to tetrads and the blood moons—which we’ve already established are really lunar eclipses—we find that throughout history, there have been many Israeli world-events that coincide with these tetrads, but also, many more tetrads that have occurred that did not coincide with any significant Israeli world-event.
Keith Johnson, in his treatment of the blood moons controversy, or what he chose to call “Blood Moon Mania,” makes an interesting point: since 1-C.E., there have been 62-tetrads. Of those 62-tetrads, 7-tetrads coincided with Feasts of the Lord, according to the calculated Jewish calendar. This is huge saints: the emphasis that is being placed upon this present tetrad of 2014 and 2015 is number 8 in a series of 63-tetrads since the beginning of this millennia. Seems pretty remote that the end of the world is coming as a result of this current tetrad. I mean, there were 7-other times when this same set of events occurred in conjunction with the Feasts of the Lord, but the world did not come to an end. Commonsense and a sound understanding of the Word of God is essential to being able to work through these types of things. Otherwise, the John Hagees and the Mark Blitz’ of the world will have us in the palm of their hands and before we know it, we’re funneling hundreds if not thousands of dollars into their coffers in order that we find out more of the misinformation they’ve been feeding us.
John Hagee, in his multi-episodic television series on Blood Moons, filmed in 2012 and 2013, and in his book addressing the same issue, has announced that this current tetrad is a signal of judgment that is coming to America and the enemies of Israel. The problem I have with Hagee and Blitz as it relates to their treatment of this topic is that they are indeed right in one respect: judgment is indeed coming, not only to America and the enemies of Israel, but judgment is also coming to the rest of the world for her sins and her refusal to seek the forgiveness of God Almighty. That is a certainty. But to state, emphatically, that this impending judgment is being foretold by a naturally occurring celestial event such as the current tetrad, to me, is heresy. Such teaching, according to Keith Johnson, and I wholly agree with him, is being used to strike fear in Christians and insight the giving of offerings and purchases of their books and DVD’s by their followers. Furthermore, these jack-leg preachers are hijacking the Feasts of Yahovah by causing the people to focus on the celestial light (or lack thereof) show, removing their focus on the moedim of Yahovah—God’s appointed times. These appointed times belong solely to Father. These are times that Father has deemed as holy and set apart and He requires that we set aside our lives for those 7-times during His calendar year to meet with Him—to empty our minds and hearts of the cares of this life; to seek His face and meet Him on His terms, not ours. Father doesn’t need blood moons to stress His festivals nor does He need blood moons to tell Him when to bring judgment upon the world. Father will bring judgment at a time and place of His choosing and He’s not going to consult the Hagees and Blitz’ of the world before He brings the judgment.
Additionally, these horrendous celestial events as prophesied in Joel will most certainly prior to or during the Day of the Lord—the Great Tribulation—when Father will tribulate the earth and those who tribulated His people and refused to obey His commandments and repent from their sins. The Apostle and the Disciple most beloved by the Master, recorded the following: 12 ¶ And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.1 14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev 6:12-7:1 KJV) There is no indication in the scheme of world events that the 6th-seal has been opened saints. I may be entirely wrong about this, but it would sure seem that before the 6th-seal is to be opened, there would have had to have been an opening of 5-prior seals. I don’t believe these seals have been opened yet. But you see, this commonsense stuff—this bible stuff if you will, should have been provided to the people of God so that they know the truth and that they are armed with enough information so as to make informed spiritual decisions about the events that are going on around them. It’s not about buying ourselves more time before the return of Master; it’s about placing the focus where the focus is supposed to be placed—the Father’s appointed times. And this week, our focus should be placed on the Feast of Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the last of Father’s mandated moedim for the calendar year. Why are we focusing on stuff that only serves to distract us from our purpose in Yahshua Messiah?
Let me just say this: I have from afar respected the ministry of John Hagee. I don’t agree whatsoever with his Trinitarian doctrine and pretribulation rapture theology. However, I do respect His stand on the nation of Israel and his concern over this country’s future and sinful ways. But like he did with the whole prayer shawl controversy, which we discussed briefly in a previous episode, John Hagee has once again taken a controversy taking place in the Faith and capitalizing upon it. Worse, he has painted himself as a false prophet and we know how Father feels about false prophets. Regardless, Shimon Keefa (also known as Peter) said it best: 16 ¶ For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. 19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.1 (2Pe 1:16-21 KJV)
Bottom line saints, is the current tetrad indicative of coming judgment from God upon the world’s nations? No! It is indicative of the great and mighty powers of the Creator of the Universe. Judgment is coming, but this present-day tetrad is not the billboard delivering that message I’m afraid to say.

IV. What About the Shmittah?

Now, I don’t want to spend much time at all on this whole “Shmittah” controversy, that seems to be so intricately tied to this “Blood Moon” controversy. Bottom line saints, this Shmittah controversy seems to have taken on a life of its own. We have various church and religious leaders, who have never wanted to have anything to do with the Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith; never wanted to have anything to do with Torah; never wanted to have anything to do with Judaism, now, all of a sudden, latching on to a Torah principle. The problem with this is, if you aren’t properly grounded in Torah, but you out of the blue elect to take on Torah-related things or topics or subjects such as the Shmittah, then you are flirting with certain disaster. Certainly, this Shmittah controversy has led many a well-meaning, sincere Christian, astray, thinking that they or their nation has violated Shmittah. Again, these Torah-less leaders and teachers are teaching Torah concepts to Torah-less believers. There ain’t no good to come out of that mess if you ask me.

Let’s take a quick look at this thing. The concept of Shmittah was first conceived in Torah, found in Leviticus 25:1-7, which reads as follows: And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, 2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.1 3 Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; 4 But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. 5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.1 6 And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, 7 And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat. (Lev 25:1-7 KJV)

This prescription that the Lord provided the nation upon entering the land of Canaan seems pretty clear—every 7-years, the nation was to allow the land to rest every 7-years. In other words, every 7-years, the nation would not work the land agriculturally, but would make provisions in the 6th year to store up produce so that the land would be allow to go un-worked for the 7th year. This was a commandment of the Father to the nation of Israel, which it turns out, the nation never ever obeyed.
There are curses associated with violations of Shmittah, as Christian leaders are so quick to point out and apply to the world’s nations. These curses for violated Father’s commandments are recorded in Leviticus 26. Chapter 26 of Leviticus is a lengthy chapter and I will not read or record the entire chapter here in this episode. Suffice to say, violations of God’s Commandments—His Torah—will lead to the nations demise. And indeed, this very thing happened to Israel, the 10-Northern Tribes, from 722-713 BCE, when the Assyrians swept in to Northern Israel and drove the people out of the land. The 10-Northern tribes were scattered into the lands beyond Israel and the people assimilated into the Gentile nations of the world. Many of us listening to this podcast episode or reading this blog post, are descendants of those 10-Lost Tribes, we just don’t realize it yet. But I believe the Father’s Spirit will open our eyes to this fact at a time not so far away.

Judah, on the other hand, also violated Torah and they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

Anyone who is versed in Scripture to any reasonable degree will realize that the Shmittah commandment applied only to the our forefathers in the land of Canaan/Israel. It does NOT in any form or fashion, apply to the United States, to Europe, to Asia, to Africa, or to areas in the Middle East outside of Israel. Yet these Christian leaders, hoping to make a dollar and cent from teaching a perverted, error-ridden doctrine of Shmittah and applying it to the world at large, are as Hagee and Blitz, false prophets. These must not be listened to nor must they be given any respect as spokesmen for Yahovah. They’ve led too many astray and they will pay the price in some future time. Oh, they will channel their inner Jew and latch on to Rabbis who will tell them that Shmittah was re-established in 1952 and thus, in 2015, we will enter the next Shmittah-year. First off, the rabbis do not keep nor do they recognize the creator’s calendar, thus they are in no position to determine when or when not to keep Shmittah. Secondly, Christians need to get back into the habit of studying their bibles and not rely upon the jack-legged preachers and teachers of the world to feed them a bunch of bull, such as the Shmittah applying to everyone in the world, when it clearly doesn’t apply to everyone in the world.

So then, is our nation and the world heading for certain doom and destruction and ultimate judgment from God because of Shmmittah violations? The answer is NO, not because of violations of Shmittah, but judgment from God for the same reasons I sighted above when addressing the Blood Moons; because our of sins, our failure to repent from our sinful ways, and our refusal to come to God and obey Him. Not because of Shmittah.

V. What Do We Do With this Information?

Well, you might be wondering by this time, “so what Rod?” What do I do with all this seeming superfluous information that you’ve put out in this episode? Well, I’ll tell you: if you are in a position to do so, go out and enjoy the sight of the supermoon and the total-lunar eclipse that will occur on the 28th of September. Go and appreciate the wonders of the Creator and really get a sense of His power and might and how blessed you are to know Him and have a relationship with Him. Secondly, don’t listen to the false prophets that are out there peddling their wares to those who are biblically illiterate and spiritually deaf. Pray for these people that they come to understand the truth and turn away from their sinful ways. Pray for our nation that we turn to the Father and repent from our sins. Walk this Faith like you’ve never walked it before. Allow spiritual exploits to manifest through you as you go about doing the will of the Father. Be ready to give every man an answer who asks you why you believe what you believe.

That’s all I’m trying to get across in this episode dear saints. The last total-lunar eclipse of the current tetrad is a wonderful natural celestial occurrence that clearly helps us appreciate the power and majesty of our heavenly Father. But this controversy of the Blood Moons and the Shmittah also clearly tells us that we got a lot of work ahead of us. So let’s gird ourselves for the work and battle ahead. Let us stay prayed up, fasted, have a song of praise in our hearts and minds, and go forth and make disciples of the nations of the world. It’s what we’ve been called to do, each and everyone of us.

And until next time, may you be most blessed, fellow saints in training. Warm Perception Blessings to you all.

Music by Dan O Music


Posted in I'ts Not As You Perceive Podcast Episodes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

John the Baptist Beheaded for the Law

John the Baptist Beheaded for the Law

If one were to correlate this period of time on the calendar of Western civilization, he or she might find that the execution of John the Baptist (also known as John the Immerser) likely took place about this time in the first century. This event was captured by the Gospel Writers Matthew and Mark. According to Matthew in 14:3-12 and Mark in 6::17-29, John the Immerser had by this time been imprisoned. He had apparently been imprisoned by Herod’s administration for his controversial ministry in the Judaen countryside. In these particular passages, the daughter of Herodias, had been enticed to dance for Herod the King of Judah. As payment for her obviously sexually provocative dance number, Herod promised her whatever she wished. After consulting her mother Herodias, the daughter claimed her prize by demanding the head of the imprisoned John the Baptist. That claim by Herodias’ daughter, according to the Gospel writers, sorely bothered Herod. It bothered Herod because, despite Herod’s pagan, sinful and bloody life, he knew the relevancy of Torah (aka the Law). It’s no different today from the biggest criminal in the neighborhood who knows the deal about Jesus and has to some degree fear of those who carry the Word of God to the community. In this particular case, Herod feared John because Herod, according to Mark, believed him to be a “holy man.” Yet, for whatever reasons, be they personal or political, Herod imprisoned John. John’s crime: accusing Herod of violation of the Laws of Moses.

John the Baptist's head on a platter

According to Michael Rood, in His Chronological Gospels Gospels, notes that John held Herod in “violation of the Torah commandment that prohibits intimacy with the wife of one’s brother.” This is found in Leviticus 18:16. Rood goes on to note the existence of a similar commandment that prohibits intimacy with the sister of one’s wife during her lifetime (vs. 18 of the same chapter).

Angry and embarrassed over being called out by John the Immerser, Herodias advised her daughter to demand in lieu of money or possessions, the head of John the Immerser on “charger,” which in our English parlance denotes that of a platter or plate. Herodias’ daughter indeed demanded the head of John be delivered to her on a platter. The execution order, despite Herod’s concern over the holiness of John, we given and John died a martyr’s death. His crime as stated above: preaching and teaching Torah or the Law.

Let it be known that the Law, even in the New Testament, was central to the nation of Judah who occupied the land; and even the King of Judah, Herod–the imprisoner and executioner of John the Immerser.


So when believers in Christ pooh-pooh the Law, let it be known that John the Baptist, the forerunner of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, was one of the first martyrs of the true Faith once delivered, who stood for and died for Torah. No one in their right mind should ever say that the Law was done away with. This one mighty man of God was willing to die for the Law.

How about you?

Posted in Blog Posts, I'ts Not As You Perceive Podcast Episodes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

By Grace are You Saved–Part 2 of the Grace and the Law Series

By Grace are You Saved

Part 2 of the series: Grace and the Law

In part one (1) of this series entitle Grace and the Law, we critically looked at some of the key bible passages that our cousins in fundamental and charismatic churchianity (or Christianity as popularly referenced) have used over the centuries to support their claim that Torah was done away with and replaced by the hijacked (my wording) doctrine of grace. Allow me to conduct a brief review of those controversial passages so that we all have a central place to begin our quest for a sound, biblically-based response to our Faith’s most staunch critics.

Restating the problem simply, traditional and charismatic Christianity contends that Torah has been done away with by the work of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Furthermore, our cousins in the Christian religion contend that any attempt or even thought of adhering to the Laws or Commandments of God (or as we prefer to call these collectively, Torah) are tantamount to a transgression of God’s grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ; that we are placing our eternal hope in works that could never pay the price of our redemption. Finally, the Jew showed us that it is impossible to keep Torah, thus any effort to keep Torah will be met with utter failure and any claim of faith in Jesus Christ, a total mockery. According to the Christian, Jesus kept Torah perfectly during His life and ministry here on earth. Therefore, we who would claim Jesus as our Lord and Saviour no longer are required to keep Torah. In other words, everything has been taken care of by the Creator or Jesus Christ—in other words, don’t worry, be happy—occupy until Jesus returns and raptures us from this earth and takes us to heaven where we’ll reign with Him for all eternity.

Conversely, we in the Hebraic Roots/Messianic Believers in Y’shua Messiah/Netzari communities contend that we are compelled by our love for the Father and in strict obedience to our Lord and Master, Y’shua HaMashiyach, to be Torah honoring, observant and obedient. We see our salvation as a free gift from Yahovah, the God of Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya’akov. Furthermore, we contend that our freedom from sin and the resulting eternal life came to those of us who would claim Y’shua HaMashiyach as our Messiah, as a result of His atoning death on the execution stake on Calvary more than 2,000-years ago. It is our love for our Creator and our loyalty to our Master Y’shua HaMashiyach that we, without reservation, without the slightest hesitation, obey the Father’s Torah and adhere to His way of life for mankind. Our salvation is tied to Torah by way of our qualification for that free gift of salvation. We are able, contrary to popular Christian belief and teachings, that one may live Torah perfectly as a result of the infilling of the Ruach Kodesh (aka the Holy Spirit) and it is this divine arrangement that the Christian wrongly interprets as “grace.” Despite the many seeming anti-Torah passages in the Brit HaDashah (aka the New Testament), primarily from the pen of Rav Shaul (aka the Apostle Paul), we of the true Faith once delivered to the first-century saints by Y’shua HaMashiyach realize the truth of what Shaul was trying to get across to the recipients of his many epistles. We contend that Westernized—Paulinized churchianity has failed to properly execute sound biblical exegesis of his writings and thus it is really these (that is the westernized Christian) that have fallen from grace, not us. This is not a finger-pointing exercise, but a thing of seeking the truth as revealed to any who would seek it via (1) the revelation of the Ruach Kodesh; (2) bible scholarship that is devoid of denominational assertiveness and influence; and (3) commonsense that the Creator endowed each of us with at birth.

I, unfortunately, am of a mind that our two sides can not be reconciled to any appreciable degree without one side conceding to the claims and accusations of the other. It would mean we in the Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith abandoning a fulfilled life of discipline, love and peace in Torah for a contrived life of “live as you please” or “as you see fit” and “occupy until Christ returns.” It would mean we would become subject to the traditions, laws and rules of men. Essentially, it would mean going over to a life of religion that Y’shua came to free us from. I came from that and many of you came from that as well. We’ve come to realize and greatly appreciate the freedom that has come as a result of our giving ourselves over to our Master Y’shua as opposed to giving ourselves over to men; to a church; to a denomination; to a religion. Y’shua told us that He came that we would have life and experience that life in abundance. (John 10:10) As wonderful as life may appear in churchianity, her members have spoken loudly with their feet and their wallets. The Barna Group reported a few years ago that people are leaving tradition/fundamental Christianity in droves—some estimates place the number in the millions over the course of the last decade. The primary reason given by those who have left Christianity is a lack of spiritual fulfillment and their lives having not been challenged during the time they were members of the church. Conversely, all indications are (and unfortunately there is no data that I can find to back this up) that our Faith is growing and that large numbers of folks are coming to a knowledge of the Hebraic Roots of the Christian Faith. These are finding rest for their weary souls and a refreshing for their diminished spirits. Indeed, the Ruach is moving in our Faith. It is a wonderful time to be a part of the true Faith once delivered.

Last episode we looked at a few controversial passages that may cause some of us problems when trying to defend and explain to non-Torah observant believers in Jesus Christ (or traditional/fundamental/charismatic Christians) why we believe Torah is still viable for every believer in Y’shua Messiah. As well as it’s important that we make sure within our own minds and spirits that we understand what Shaul meant when he wrote these seeming anti-Torah passages. Let’s go over them quickly before we move forward. They are as follows:

Ephesians 2:8,9— 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. Is Shaul saying here that grace through the simple act of faith eliminates any need for works in a believer’s life? What does Shaul mean when he says “not of works?” What is this “works?” What does a “workless” life look like as it pertains to those who depend solely upon grace through faith?

Romans 6:14—14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. I discussed last episode that sin, despite what Shaul appears to be saying, remains commonplace in many congregations and churches throughout the world. Since it would stand to reason that Shaul is not speaking to actual sin that believers are prone to commit—that is the violation of Torah; is it then reasonable to conclude that Shaul is actually referring to something else here? Could it be that Shaul is creating an analogy here whereby he is actually referring to any negative influences or affects that sin will have in opposition to the believer’s eternal life?

Romans 7:6— 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.1 According to this passage, it would seem that Shaul is saying that the law was not good for us and if we were to serve in the newness of spirit, then we had to be delivered from the law. Is Shaul saying here that the Law had problems associated with it? Was the Law problematic? Was the Law bad? Was the Law a mistake that needed correcting? Was the Law a failed experiment? If we choose to honor and obey Torah, have we placed ourselves in spiritual harm’s way, so to speak?

Galatians 3:10-14– 10 ¶ For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Is Shaul here saying that Torah observers are under some kind or type of curse? If so, what is there about the Law that makes it a a curse? If the Law is deemed to be a curse through the auspices of the Holy Spirit that was working in and through Shaul, and that Holy Spirit was provided to Shaul as a gift from Y’shua HaMashiyach, why would Father have placed upon us a cursed thing such as Torah? What would that say about our Creator? Are we then victims of the Law?

Lastly, Galatians 5:2-4– 2 ¶ Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. Are we who are Torah observant truly fallen from grace? For that matter, what does “fallen from grace” really mean? Do our cousins in churchianity, who love to use this passage as an assault upon us and our Faith, truly understand what this actually means? Is it true what our cousins in churchianity say about those of us who follow Torah—that if we choose to obey the Law, if we are found to have violated one of the 613-commandments or laws, that we are guilty of breaking the entire Torah? Does breaking one of the commandments actually nullify the rest or make one guilty of breaking the entire Torah? Is circumcision a dead or done-away with commandment? If we who are of the true Faith once delivered, who have chosen to be Torah observant, make the work of Y’shua Messiah of no effect unto us? If so, why?

Setting the Stage

As I stated in the previous post, these are some tough passages to confront for those of us Torah observant believers in Y’shua Messiah. What I find very interesting is that Christianity has gone out of her way to apply a very literal read of these passages and has effectively made Rav Shaul, or as the Westerner prefers to refer to him as the Apostle to the Gentiles Paul, into the most effective anti-Law (aka Torah) agent in all of history.

We inherently know that a plain read of these Pauline passages can be profoundly misleading. We also know that biblical illiteracy is at the heart of the misunderstanding and mistranslation of these passages. The purpose of this episode is to take each of these passages and determine whether or not the plain read of that passage provides an accurate meaning of that passage based on sound biblical interpretative practice and exegesis. We will resist denominational influences to guide our study. We will not allow our individual cultural and personal biases to prevent our gaining a true understanding of these passages. All we want to do is to resolve once and for all what Shaul meant when he wrote these passages and whether or not he stood for Torah observance in the life of the believer in Y’shua Messiah. I want to know if I truly understand why it is important for all believers in Y’shua Messiah to be Torah observant, especially in light of these seeming anti-Torah passages of Shaul. If we fail to prove that the plain reading of these passages does NOT reject Torah observance by us believers, then we are in a dilemma: are we Torah observant because someone told us we needed to be but we really have no true biblical basis for our beliefs and actions? Or are we simply making things up in our heads and living according to how we feel we should live? I don’t know about you, but I want to be in line with the will and commandments of Yahovah/Yahweh/Yahuah and His Son Y’shua HaMashiyach.

So let’s get started. But first, let’s establish some ground rules for this study: (1) we acknowledge the primacy of Scripture to determine how we live our lives in Y’shua Messiah. (2) We believe that Shaul was a sent one from Y’shua and therefore he has authority to instruct us in the ways of our God. (3) We acknowledge that the only way to gain a true understanding of the bible is through the revelation of the Ruach Kodesh (aka the Holy Spirit) and applying proper exegetical principles to our study of Scripture. Those exegetical principles include: (a) allowing the bible to interpret itself; (b) avoid taking one verse alone to establish doctrine, but to examine every other applicable verse in comparison; (c) studying each passage in question in context—that is, what is the true issue being addressed; who is writing the passage; what was going on in history at the time the passage was written; who was the author’s intended reader and audience; how do the surrounding verses connect with the verse/passage in question? And (d), when examining the use of certain key words in the passage in question, gain an understanding as to how that same word is used in other passages of the bible.

That which we don’t cover we’ll pick up where we leave off in the next episode. Again, I believe that we can not downplay the importance of this subject as it relates to our Faith and our being able to defend what it is we believe and why we believe that which we say we believe and practice. Too many of us assume that we don’t need to defend our actions or our Faith. Yet when we are confronted by someone who opposes our Faith, or we are asked by someone in search of truth to explain our Faith, we choke—we present a poor witness. Our Master gave His best for us when He walked this earth 2,000-years ago. Shouldn’t we do likewise? I don’t want to disappoint Him nor do I want to do anything that will diminish the opportunity for someone to find truth in the midst of a jacked-up world. We have all the answers to this world’s many woes. That being said, my goal, my intent, my mission in life is to be ready to give anyone who asks me about my Faith. Rav Kefa (aka the Apostle Peter) wrote in his first epistle:

ESV 1 Peter 3:15, 16 but ain your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, balways being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and crespect, 16 ahaving a good conscience, so that, bwhen you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Does the Creator’s Grace Eliminate Torah Entirely?

Ephesians 2:8,9— 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

This verse seems to aptly support the doctrine of “sola gratia” that I referenced last episode/last posting. Sola gratia, if you recall, is the Latin phrase meaning “grace only” or “grace alone.” The concept of sola gratia came out of the Protestant Reformation and was to stand in stark contrast to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that seemed to suggest that salvation was achieved through the grace of God and also by the merits of “one’s own works performed in love.” (Wikipedia-sola gratia) Although this was a hardcore belief of those behind the reformation, the truth of the matter was that the Roman Catholic Church “explicitly affirmed the doctrine of sola gratia in the year 529” in the Councils of Orange and of Trent. It was the doctrine of “sola gratia” that emerged from these councils and was explained as such: that salvation is made possible only by grace and that faith and works “are the secondary means that have their origins in and are sustained by grace.” The protestant reformers, however, seized upon and took the concept of sola gratia to a higher level, taking works entirely out of the equation and actually labeling works as Legalism. Bottom line, as it relates to the protestant reformer’s concept of sola gratia—which today constitutes the same view of most fundamental,traditional and charismatic denominations throughout the world—is that “salvation is entirely comprehended in God’s gifts (that is, God’s act of free grace), dispensed by the Holy Spirit according to the redemptive work of Jesus Christ alone.” (Wikipedia—sola gratia)

Now, one must agree that there is a problem with the doctrine or concept of “sola gratia” and that problem is what is referred to in Wikipedia as “Antinomianism.” Antinomianism argues that “if someone is saved, he/she has no need to live a holy life, given that salvation is already in the bag” so to speak. And isn’t this perspective a primary cause for the schism; the chasm; the thing that divides our two faiths? It is indeed clear that our love and obedience to Torah is nothing short of a gross offense to Christianity as a whole. The problem, however, is not with us but with the Christian who is sorely mistaken, not only in their understanding of the concept of “grace,” but also in their reasoning and understanding as to why we are Torah observant.

So as it relates to this passage of Ephesians, what do we know about the purpose and intent of this letter? Who was Shaul’s intended audience or readers? What could have prompted this statement from Shaul? Well, scholars tell us that Ephesus was located on the east side of the Aegean Sea in Asia Minor which is part of modern Turkey. Shaul’s first visit to Ephesus is recorded in Acts 18:18-23, which appears to be one of the stops Shaul made on his second missionary journey. The assembly in Ephesus appears to have been a mixture of Gentiles and Jews who seemed to be primarily congregating at the local synagogue, which was common place throughout the Roman Empire of the first century. With that, we know then, that a mixture of Torah observance, Judaism, and maybe even some paganism was being practiced amongst the members of that assembly. It so happens that Ephesus was famed for its Temple of Artemis or Diana. So like everywhere else that Shaul’s foot print was felt, Shaul had a rough road to haul—trying to coral believers from every walk of first-century life, into the true Faith, must have been an impossible task.

This portion of the Ephesian letter, interestingly enough, seems to be focusing on the Gentile half of the assembly. Shaul writes:

“For it is by His grace we are rescued, through faith; and this is not of yourselves, but it is the gift of Elohim: Not of works, or else anyone glory (in themselves). For we are His creation who are created in Y’shua the Mashiyach for good works which Elohim has before prepared for us to walk in. Wherefore be mindful that you formerly were carnal Gentiles; and you were called the uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision and which is the work of the hands of the flesh. And you were, at that time, without the Mashiyach; and were aliens from the regulations of Israel; and strangers to the covenant of the promise; and were without hope and without Elohim in the world. But now, by Y’shua the Mashiyach, you who before were afar off, have been brought near by the blood of the Mashiyach. He is Himself our peace, who has made the two (become) one, and has demolished the wall which stood n the midst, and the enmity, by His flesh; and in His flesh (the) enmity and regulations of commands (contained) in his commandments are abolished (so) that in himself (an occurrence of the divine nature or qnoma), he might make the two into one, establishing peace.” (Eph. 2:8-15 AENT)

Now there are a few things to consider as we examine this passage in context. Instead of taking just verses 8 and 9 at face value, we have now taken on a sizable chunk of Shaul’s letter to the Ephesian assembly. Now, most of churchianity when referencing Ephesians in their arguments in support of sola gratia and the abolishment of the Law or Torah, will focus only on verses 8 and 9. However, there is a severe problem in referencing just verses 8 and 9 when discussing the issue of grace and the law, and that is one receives an incomplete understanding of what Shaul has to say on the subject.

To begin with, Shaul goes on to say in verse 10 that we (Gentiles) have newly been created “for good works which Elohim has before prepared for us to walk in.” Does this not hit you like a brick wall as it hit me? What is Shaul saying here? He’s saying that we who were Gentiles, having been made new by the work of Y’shua, are now created “for good works” and those good works were prepared by Yahovah (as opposed to Elohim) for us to walk in. The NAS and ESV says of those good works, that they were “prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” And the natural question that we must ask is, what are those good works that were prepared beforehand that we should walk in them? Well, the phrase “good works” is found in 23 verses in the KJV. Now, we must be careful to discern the different Greek words used to describe “good works” which are “agathos” and “ergon” respectively. In some passages, the word “good” is “kalos” which means beautiful, handsome or excellent. Shaul uses “agathos” in this Ephesians passage. Invariably, however, the Greek word “ergon” is used to denote “work.”

As it pertains to this particular passage, Thayer’s Greek Lexicon suggests ”ergon” is “that which is required and approved of Yahovah (as opposed to God), in the same sense of Mashiyach.” And we can safely presume that which is required and approved of by Yahovah and Mashiyach as related to “works” is commandments or rules, or as I will boldly propose here, Torah. Yes, I believe Shaul is suggesting here that we Gentiles, through the work of Mashiyach, have been fashioned to do “good works” which I surmise to be Torah. There are several biblical verses that I point to as support for my contention:

Titus 2:11-14—For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

What is Shaul writing about here? He’s talking about the grace of Yahovah bringing salvation to the world and that grace teaching us to live Godly lives as we await the Saviour’s reappearing. And we know that it is not up to man’s discernment or determination as to what is Godly and what is not. Father alone is the stipulator of what is Godly. Yet Father has not left the determination as to what is Godly or not Godly up to chance or up to trying to read His mind. He revealed what is Godly and what is not by His Torah. It’s not rocket science.

Titus 2:1-10—But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children. To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”

Hello! All of these qualities are not unique to Shaul’s teachings. They come right out of Torah. Good works!

2 Timothy 3:17—But thou hast fully known my doctrine (writing to Timothy), manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus (here’s that reference to living Godly lives again) shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou has learned and has been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures (none other than the Tanakh—the Torah, the prophets and the writings—but primarily Torah, because the New Testament had not been created as yet), which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all “good works.””

Here we go again, good works being tied directly to scripture, or better, tied to Torah.

And there are several others that I will not overtax with you. But suffice to say, that Shaul seems to be tying the concept of “good works” or “ergon agathos” to being Torah observant.

But then there is the other aspect of works that we must not overlook here and that has to do with Shaul tying works directly to “law.” The phrase “works of the law” is used some 5-times in the KJV. (Reference: Rom. 9:32; Gal. 2:16; 3:2, 5, 10)

So I think we have enough to put into some semblance of understanding what Shaul is saying in Ephesian 2: 8—and that has to do with providing a quasi definition of grace; that being grace through our faith in Y’shua HaMashiyach, has rescued us from the world and from eternal death. That rescuing came as a free gift from Yahovah/Yahweh and all we had to do is accept that rescue. In doing so, however, we have received the power to live godly lives. And what does living godly lives look like? It’s all contained in Torah. We have become new creatures. Being former Gentiles (but now Israelites—having crossed over and grafted in) we lived according to the ways of men—evil, sinful, without Yahovah in our lives. Taking on that newness of creation, we have the wherewithal to walk according to His ways or as Shaul wrote: created for good works which God “prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” What is this good works that Shaul is referring to? It’s Torah. So already we see that Shaul has not discarded Torah observance by believers, especially Gentiles. But Shaul clearly indicates here that grace has saved us from the world and from destruction and has provided us the means by which we may walk in accordance to Yahovah’s stipulated way of life for mankind.

Oh, I have no doubt that the more stubborn and obstinate Christian will insist that “good works” as referenced here by Shaul throughout his writing has nothing to do with Torah, but will instead provide a definition or explanation of the phrase “good works” that is consistent to his/her western understanding of what good works means. The problem with this line of reasoning is that there will be thousands, if not millions of perspectives on what constitutes good work. Like opinions, everyone has their own idea of what constitutes good work. But let’s break it down folks: our opinions amount to nothing more than “dung” in the sight of the Almighty. And if anyone is a serious believer in Y’shua HaMashiyach, or for that matter, Jesus Christ, and they are pure in their agenda, then he or she must concede that it’s all about Yahovah/Yahweh/Yahuah/God/Father. It is His opinion, and His opinion alone that matters. So let’s get off our high horses and stop being arrogant fools. Any concept of what is good, especially as it relates to works, must absolutely come from Father and can not come from man, as much as we may like to thing that we have the right stuff to determine what is good and what living a good and godly life looks like.

But let’s not stop here fellow saints, we’re heading towards the stretch as it relates to this Ephesian passage—and hang on, this is where it really gets exciting and brings home for us the truth about Torah living in relation to grace! Hallelujah.

Verse 11, Shaul, a Benjamite, a former Pharisee and at the time of this writing, an Apostle—a sent one directly from our Master Y’shua Messiah—lovingly reminds us of our past. We were carnal gentiles. The KJV, ESV, NAS, ASV words it, Gentiles in the flesh. But the literal rendering of the Greek text (along with the DBY and YLT) reads nations in the flesh. In other words, we were not Israelites and we were certainly not Jews. Thus looking at us from the Jewish and Israelite perspective–from Shaul’s perspective, we were so-called “uncircumcised.” Being of the so-called “uncircumcised,” we were aliens, devoid of commonwealth of Israel, or better rendered in the Greek, we were lacking Israeli-citizenship—verse 12. For all intents and purposes, we were “outsiders.” We were despised and rejected by the Israeli nation, especially by the Jewish nation. Being outside the realm of the true Israelites—not speaking of Judaism per se, but of true Israelis who’s lives were governed by Torah—we were NOT privy to the covenant promises that came by virtue of being an Israeli; especially an Israeli who had Mashiyach as their Master and Yahovah as their God. Thus we were in a hopeless state. Destined for eternal damnation. But the Father, in His infinite wisdom and love for mankind, made provision for even us, being, existing in our hopeless state. He inserted Himself in the affairs of men to offer a lifeline to any who would grab hold to it. It was no longer a case whereby we would have to live out our lives in a hopeless state. It was not situation that we had to convert to Judaism to have the remotest chance and part of the covenant. No! Not this time! It was an opportunity for complete inclusion in the commonwealth of Israel; full access to the blessings of the covenant. What should have cost us our lives for access and inclusion, cost us nothing—just acceptance. But with that acceptance comes responsibility. That responsibility is that we perform. Perform what? That we live and operate in the realm of “good works,” for we have been made—we have been prepared—for such. That is who we become—it is who we are identified as. It is what we look like. It is how the world sees us from then on. Good works. It’s not negotiable as the Christian would assert.

Being born here in America, my citizenship comes to me free of charge. However, if I am to be; if I am to remain a citizen, there are things that I am expected to do—obey the laws of the land; pay my taxes; make a living; contribute to society in some way or another. If I fail to obey the laws of the land or pay taxes or make a living for myself and my family, I will not realize the full benefits of American citizenship. In fact, I may even lose my citizenship (in a low-level way I would add) by being incarcerated.

Despite what the Christian believes and teaches and lives, there are no free lunches as it relates to our relationship with Father. He does indeed offer us the gift of eternal life that comes without charge to us—but oh what price was paid for that gift. In order to receive and keep the gift, we must qualify for it. Father is not going to promote any human to the place of being one of His children; a king; a priest; His elect in a state of rebellion; hating Him by virtue of being disobedient to His will and His commandments. Does it make any sense, Christian, to think and believe that we can live anyway we damn-well please, reject Father’s laws and commandments, and enter into His Kingdom as honored citizens? Would you allow your children to live in your house in total rebellion and disobedience and receive complete and unfettered freedom and privilege? Well, some of you do, and that’s a shame. But let me just tell you, Yahovah don’t play that. He has purchased us with the blood of His son. Shaul wrote to the Corinthian assembly: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price…” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20) We’ve accepted that gift. We now live in His house. He has house rules. Therefore, we are compelled to live in His house under His rules. His rules are contained in Torah. Thus, we must be Torah observant, even as believers in Y’shua Messiah. If we elect to not obey His rules—His Torah—well, that’s a story for another day.


If there is anything to be gotten from this exercise, it is the absolute necessity of sound biblical exegesis that include contextual analysis—context, context, context. If we were simply to take verses 8 and 9 of this 2nd chapter of Ephesian, from a purely plain reading perspective, we could very easily walk away having an unshakable impression that sola gratia is the name of the game today and that Torah observance by believers in Jesus Christ is not only unnecessary, but completely in opposition to the sacrifice of the Saviour and the doctrine of grace. Employing bible sound bites to explain and support Christian doctrines is a prescription for destruction; at the least, a prescription for living an unfulfilled and potentially sinful life.


  • Wikipedia—Sola Gratia
  • The Aramaic English New Testament (AENT)
  • Friberg Greek Lexicon
  • Jamieson, Fausset and Brown’s Commentary on the Whole Bible
  • Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts
  • Michael Rood
  • Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

Posted in I'ts Not As You Perceive Podcast Episodes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment