Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Wondering about some things?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

John McTernan's Insights

I am working on the next installment for the "Torah Teaching on the Mount" series, but in the meantime, check out John McTernan's latest. I think he has pretty good insights, and shares on a variety of subjects.


Friday, December 16, 2011

An *Apologetic* regarding Christmas

Though I've blogged about the general subject of the biblical holidays, and touched on Christmas (and Easter), I wanted to put a few more thoughts down for consideration. In the past I’ve used many scriptures along with reason to examine the subject. In this post, I mostly want to use reason (*apologetic*) as an appeal to think about what we all (Christians) are doing and demonstrating to those around us. We (my family) are a learning, growing family, and my desire is to share my own thoughts, concerns, ponderings and apologetics with others in the hopes of coming to solid, biblical answers. Of course this will require on your part to examine what I say in light of the scriptures, and to use reason to come to your conclusions.

With that said, I wanted to ask a few questions, and make a few points...I hope they inspire search and discovery with you, the reader(s).

I often ask the questions “why”, “how” and “what” regarding many things: “why do we do things that way”? (At work), “how does that work”?, “what are we doing this for?”, etc. I do the same regarding my spiritual walk. Why do we (Christians) do what we do? From where did some of our traditions come from? Why do I believe what I believe? And many other such questions spring forth in my mind. Do those questions ever find their way to the front of your thoughts?

Why does Christianity celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th? Why do Christians put up Christmas trees? Why are both Christmas and the traditions associated with it so easily practiced by Christians and non-Christians alike? Why is it not a problem whatsoever for a Christian and a neo-Pagan to put up a tree in their home during this time? Why do both hold the 25th of December as commemorative? We don’t see that with any of the Muslim holy days. Are Wiccans celebrating the same times and holidays as the Muslims? Are Wiccans and Jews both celebrating Passover? Are the Wiccans and Pagans celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles?

As an example, click HERE to view a pagan calendar page from the “Pagan Calendar” website. Notice that Christmas is found right in the midst of a whole slew of Pagan observances. But I find Hanukah conspicuously absent, though this year it falls during the same week as Christmas. Notice that they even commemorate Aleister Crowley’s death on the calendar – a known Satanist and child molester!

I have asked the question before, and I’ll ask it again because it is a question I have asked myself in the past, and I think it is a valid question to be asked of us Christians – If the biblical holy days (Passover, Shavuot [Pentacost in Greek], etc.) are all shadows of, and point to Jesus, then why don’t the followers of Jesus celebrate the very feasts and holy days that we KNOW speak of and point to Him?!

Colossians 2:17 is often cited to as to why Christians don’t really observe the Sabbath and feasts of the bible – because they are merely “shadows.” But all that Christianity has done is replace biblically sanctioned and God-given “shadows” that were and are meant to teach us about Messiah and His redemptive work with “shadows” that are from Pagan, false worship systems (after all, is Christmas the “reality” of the birth of Jesus?)! All that a holiday is, after all, is a celebration and/or commemoration, using foods and symbols as a means of remembering a person, persons, or event. Therefore, a holiday is a day of “shadows” – a day of signs and symbols that represent the thing meant to be remembered.

Much has been written about the subject of the birth of Jesus. 99.9% of biblical scholars know and will admit that December 25th was and is most likely NOT the date of the birth of Jesus. And in fact, modern scholarship has stated that the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) is most likely the time of His birth (there were also voices in the past that proposed this as well). Biblically, it fits. When Jesus was born on this earth, He “tabernacled” with man according to John 1:14. The book of Revelation tells us that the “tabernacle of God is with man” (Yeshua/Jesus was “all the fullness of the godhead bodily” according to Colossians 2:9 – or, in other words, Yeshua was the Tabernacle of God). There has been much study regarding this, and according to things such as the weather in Israel in December, the fact that a census was highly unlikely to be taken during the dead of winter, the timing of John the baptizer’s likely conception and birth, among other things, December 25th was not the day that Yeshua entered this world.

As it turns out, nothing about Christmas is really about the Messiah of the bible, except in the minds and imaginations of people. And this is the most problematic issue in my opinion. Does God’s opinion matter in this? I wonder…I just can’t help but think that the power of tradition has so gripped many Christians that a serious consideration of the matter, via the word of God, has not been taken seriously by very many people. After all, traditions are family and community identifiers, and they can be profoundly powerful.

Sights, sounds, aromas, foods, family, friends. It all has such a powerful grip – and indeed, it should. All of the above are tremendous blessings, and are in and of themselves good things to look forward to and enjoy. But they can be a snare as well. God warned Israel not to follow the gods of the surrounding Nations as it would become a snare unto them.

A snare? Why?

Every people group and every religion on earth has it’s commemorations and customs. Those customs, when practiced for generations, and when one grows up in them from the time that they were born, becomes embedded within them – the sights, the sounds, the smells, the traditions, etc. These things can become so ingrained in them that it is very hard to break away from them. In many cases, that is not necessary. But sometimes, it is crucial.

I don’t think that I know of any Christian who would tell a person coming out of the Wiccan religion unto the LORD that it was ok to continue to follow the pagan calendar. That it was ok to continue to set up their pagan alter and burn incense unto Mother Nature… that they could continue to practice their Wiccan observances.  But what if the person were to say that the incense that they once burned to Mother Nature they now want to burn unto the LORD? That they want to now observe Saturnalia(1) unto Jesus (go to pagancalendar.co.uk and look at December 17, 2011)? Would we tell them that they need to put away those pagan practices?

If you would tell that person that now that they have come to Jesus for salvation they need to turn away from the pagan practices that they came out of, but you celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th by putting a decorated tree in your house, and hanging mistle toe, Christmas wreaths, etc., wouldn’t that seem a bit strange? Would it be ok for the ex-Wiccan to observe the Wiccan customs in honor of Jesus if it began to be the normal practice for the next 1000 years? Would time somehow “sanctify” the customs? If Christians were to begin to celebrate the holiday of Saturnalia in honor of Jesus today, would that upset you? Should it upset Christians 1000 years from now if the practice took root and became the norm for Christians in the future? At a certain point in the past, December 25th, and the normal customs and traditions that are practiced today by Christians in celebrating the birth of Christ, were purely pagan customs. The disciples and Apostles of Jesus didn’t celebrate Christmas, put up trees in their homes, etc. It would have been as abhorrent to them then, as it would be for a Wiccan turned Christian to start celebrating Saturnalia in honor of Jesus today, don’t you think?

My family no longer celebrates Christmas. We still honor the birth of Jesus. We still celebrate many holidays. But we now find great joy and pleasure in celebrating times and seasons that inherently speak of, point to, and give glory to Yeshua. I say inherently because the biblical feasts were created and given by God Himself, therefore the meaning of the holiday/feast derives it’s meaning from God, much like marriage. I don’t have to try to “put Christ back into Christmas” every year like we hear on Christian radio, because He’s already sitting there in the biblical feasts waiting for me! I don’t have to work to “remember the reason for the season” when celebrating Passover, for example, because the season itself is already biblically defined. I know the reason for the season because the bible tells me what that reason is! Halleluyah!

I know and am convinced that most Christians that are celebrating Christmas in honor of the birth of Christ have genuine hearts. And I do hope that everyone has a wonderful holiday season this December with their families, friends and Churches. But I hope even more that Christians would really begin to examine the things that they do in light of the scriptures, and make changes according to the word of God, rather than continue in the emotional snare of the traditions they have grown up with. I do not advocate for the complete overthrow of all traditions – but rather, for a replacement of those traditions that are contrary to God’s word with new traditions that glorify the LORD. Are practices that God once condemned as abhorrent, pagan practices no longer abhorrent to Him? And if not, then is it indeed ok for an ex Wiccan to observe Saturnalia in Honor of Jesus?

Why not celebrate the marvelous works of the LORD, not with holidays and practices that come from the pagan world with re-invented meaning (such as taking December 25th, the ancient birth date of Mithras, along with setting up decorated trees in our homes – condemned in Jeremiah 10, etc.), but with the holidays and celebrations given by the LORD Himself? If you want to celebrate the birth of our Savior (and who wouldn’t?), then why not do it at a time that fits biblically and theologically (such as at the Feast of Tabernacles)? The Jewish world wonders why we call Jesus the Jewish Messiah, yet celebrate the birth of the one we say is their Messiah with pagan traditions, and the pagan world wants to know why we celebrate our Savior with their pagan practices! Why do they both get it, while the Christians don’t? We (Christians) worship the King of the Jews, and use pagan traditions to do so! Goodness!

There are more questions I could raise, but I think this is sufficient for now. I simply want to get people thinking. Again, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season, but also takes the time to really think about what it is that they are doing, and why.

(1) The following was taken from pagancalendar.co.uk:





Dec 17 Every year


Saturnalia is the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which took place on 17 December. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, up to 23 December.

The Saturnalia was a large and important public festival in Rome. It involved the conventional sacrifices, a couch (lectisternium) set out in front of the temple of Saturn and the untying of the ropes that bound the statue of Saturn during the rest of the year. Besides the public rites there were a series of holidays and customs celebrated privately. The celebrations included a school holiday, the making and giving of small presents (saturnalia et sigillaricia) and a special market (sigillaria). Gambling was allowed for all, even slaves; however, although it was officially condoned only during this period, one should not assume that it was rare or much remarked upon during the rest of the year. It was a time to eat, drink, and be merry. The toga was not worn, but rather the synthesis, i.e. colorful, informal "dinner clothes"; and the pileus (freedman's hat) was worn by everyone. Slaves were exempt from punishment, and treated their masters with disrespect. The slaves celebrated a banquet: before, with, or served by the masters. A Saturnalicius princeps was elected master of ceremonies for the proceedings. Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals which led to more tomfoolery, marked chiefly by having masters and slaves ostensibly switch places. The banquet, for example, would often be prepared by the slaves, and they would prepare their masters' dinner as well. It was license within careful boundaries; it reversed the social order without subverting it.

The customary greeting for the occasion is a "io, Saturnalia!" — io (pronounced "yo") being a Latin interjection related to "ho" (as in "Ho, praise to Saturn").

In addition, here is the description for Brumalia, a holiday celebrated on December 25:






Dec 25 Every year


Brumalia was an ancient Roman solstice festival honoring Bacchus, generally held on 25 December and possibly related to the ancient Greek Lenaia (held in honour of Dionysus). The festival included drinking and merriment. The name is derived from the Latin word bruma, meaning "shortest day" or even "winter".

The Brumalia was also celebrated during the space of thirty days, commencing on 24 November. This was instituted by Romulus, who entertained the Senate during this time. During this feast, prophetic indications were taken of the prospects for the remaining part of the winter.

It also a festival annually held by Connecticut College.

And finally, here is the description given for Sol Invictus, also celebrated on December 25:

Dies Natalis Invicti Solis


Dies Natalis Invicti Solis




Dec 25 Every year


December 25 - Dies Natalis Invicti Solis (Festival of the invincible sun God) see Sol Invictus

Sol Invictus ("the undefeated Sun") or, more fully, Deus Sol Invictus ("the undefeated sun god") was a religious title applied to at least three distinct divinities during the later Roman Empire: El Gabal, Mithras, and Sol.

Unlike the earlier, agrarian cult of Sol Indiges ("the native sun" or "the invoked sun" - the etymology and meaning of the word "indiges" is disputed), the title Deus Sol Invictus was formed by analogy with the imperial titulature pius felix invictus ("dutiful, fortunate, unconquered").

A festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun (or Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) was celebrated when the duration of daylight first begins to increase after the winter solstice, — the "rebirth" of the sun.

The Sol Invictus festival ran from December 22 through December 25. Eradicating the remnants of this much-celebrated pagan holiday is likely the reason why Christmas was picked by the early Catholic leaders as the birthday of Jesus Christ.


Monday, November 7, 2011

The Torah Teaching on the Mount Part 3

 In this post we are going to be covering Matthew 5:21-48 in our “Torah Teaching on the Mount” series. Vs. 21 (IMO) is where Yeshua really begins His “teaching” – everything up to vs. 21 are His preliminary remarks to prepare the hearers (and now readers). As I said in a previous post, the “Beatitudes” really prepare the listener/reader for the things to follow as it lays out the heart/mind attitude of the subjects of the Kingdom of God.

At first glance, it appears as though Yeshua is contrasting His words against “the letter of the law.” This has been the prevailing view of Christianity (or, the majority Christians at least) throughout the centuries. It is supposed that Yeshua took the commands of the law, such as “thou shalt not commit adultery” and super ceded them with His own, “higher” law. But this is not what He was doing at all. What He was actually doing was tying the Torah together and making it a complete unit (as it was intended to be) so that one could not (and cannot) isolate the various commandments, or create loopholes for oneself, which is exactly what the teachers of the law in His day had been doing, as can be easily figured out in reading the four gospels. He rebuked the Pharisees in Mark chapter 7, for example, for “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” and for “laying aside the commandment of God” in order to “hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:6-9). If Yeshua rebuked the Pharisees for “laying aside the commandment of God” would He then turn around and do the same?

When Satan came to Yeshua in the wilderness and sought to tempt Him, 3 times Yeshua said “it is written….” Whenever Yeshua quoted from scripture, He always said “it is written…”, or, “have you not read…”, or, “is it not written…”, etc. But as we head into vv. 21-48, we will see that He began each subject, not with “it is written”, but with “you have heard that it was said….” This is an important point, because Yeshua did not contrast His teaching against God’s law, but rather, with the teachings and interpretations of the Teachers of the law, the Scribes and the Pharisees. Therefore, rather than the law being in contrast to Yeshua’s teaching, it is the backdrop, or bedrock for His teaching in contrast with the teachings and interpretations of the teachers of the law, the Scribes and Pharisees! (As a side note, it should be pointed out that Yeshua did not contend against everything that the Scribes and Pharisees, and the teachers of the law taught – He only contended against those teachings and interpretations that were contrary to God’s word.)

So, having said all of that, let us begin…

In vv. 21-26, Yeshua began with an understanding of the commandment not to kill (lit. “murder”) that was the prevailing thought and interpretation of His day among the teachers of Israel. Apparently there really was no issue with “being angry without a cause” (or in other words, being unjustifiably angry). Apparently it was an acceptable behavior to be angry “without a cause” and, or to call one another “raca” (which is Aramaic, roughly translated as “empty head” – or, as we would probably put it – idiot), or “you fool.” This type of mindset/attitude, however, is the seedbed for worse things – yes, even murder. It doesn’t mean that everyone that is angry without a cause is going to murder someone, but certainly murder stems from a previous disdain/anger/outrage that would lend one to call another “idiot” (take road rage for example, which has, more than once I might add, ended in someone getting killed. How often are the words “you idiot”, or worse, uttered from the mouth of one driver toward another!). The person who has “good will” toward others is not the likely candidate to murder others! But more than this, Yeshua was drawing upon an obviously overlooked, if not completely ignored commandment in the law that obviously found no correlation to the command not to murder in the teachings and interpretations of the teachers of the law in Yeshua’s day, the which, to violate, was not considered even remotely connected to the 6th of the 10 commandments.

Yeshua knew that the second of the “two greatest commandments” was and is “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Lev. 19:18). But He, being Himself the original law giver, knew what the verse just prior to the second great commandment said/says: “…Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart” (Lev. 19:17). One cannot “love thy neighbor as thyself” while at the same time “hat[ing] thy brother in thine heart!” Furthermore, you hate your brother in your heart, you are all the closer to doing damage to your “brother” (neighbor), with the ultimate damage being that of murder (and “murder can be extended to many levels – actual, physical murder, character murder, etc.). Our tendency is to justify ourselves by saying “well, I’ve never murdered anyone” even though we might be full of hate and unjustified anger in our hearts toward others.

Yeshua did not super cede, or even simply add to the 6th commandment with a “higher” law”, because the commandment was already IN the law! He simply took away our ability to isolate commandments in order to justify our behavior. He contradicted the teaching and interpretations of the teachers of the law by taking them straight back to the law!

Yeshua then went on to the issue of Adultery. Again, He didn’t begin by saying “It is written…”, but rather, with “Ye have heard that it hath been said….” But isn’t it written “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex. 20:14)? So then, why didn’t He say something like “It is written…but I say…?” Because Yeshua was not addressing the written command in His teaching, but the interpretation “…of them of old time.” Again, I want to re-state that Yeshua did not contrast His teaching against the law of Moses, but against the teachings of “them of old time.” We can get an idea of what may have been going on in some of the teachings and interpretations that were the common understanding in His day because several times throughout the Gospels we read where Yeshua spoke against the Scribes and Pharisees for setting aside the commandments of God for the sake of their traditions. Yeshua simply took them back to the commandments of God: “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” “But where is this commandment written?” You ask. “Wasn’t Yeshua taking the simple written commandment to a “higher” level, the higher “law of Christ”? No. Let me ask a simple question: what is the 10th of the 10 Commandments? “Thou shalt not covet…thy neighbors wife….” In Romans 7: 7 Paul says the following: “…for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” In Romans chapter 7, did Paul say that while he knew that adultery was wrong, but then came to realize that lust was also wrong because Yeshua taught us a “higher law?” No – Paul said that he knew lust was wrong because the Law said so!

Perhaps the dominant teaching at the time of Yeshua permitted, or, at least winked at lust. Whatever the case may be, Yeshua did not introduce something new and “higher”, He simply took them back to the plain written word, and contradicted with His teaching that which the people had heard ‘by them of old time.” Again, we can see clearly that Yeshua’s intent is to counter previously held teachings because He creates the contrast in this way: “ye have heard it was said by them of old time…but I say unto you….”

Human tendency is to minimize our own failings by pointing out the bad things we don’t do: “well, at least I never murdered anyone.” “Ok, so I look at porn, at least I’ve never committed adultery.” Yeshua’s point was that the same law which said “do not commit adultery” also said (and says still) “you shall not covet (lust for) your neighbors wife.” And if the story of the man from Samaria giving aid to the man fallen among thieves gives us a clue as to who our “neighbor” is, then it is not a far stretch to say that we should not “covet” anyone’s wife!

The sentiment of connecting commandments is also found in the writings of  James as well. In James 2:10,11 we read “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For that He said ‘do not commit adultery’ said also ‘do not kill. Now, if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” If one is a “transgressor of the law”, then naturally, one is a law-breaker. A man with a heart full of lust may not be in violation of man’s law – but he is certainly in violation of God’s law! The same law condemns both the physical act of adultery AND the adulterous thoughts of a person. Yeshua did not need to give us any “higher” law – we already have it in stone! But, as the NT often points out, a law of stone and a heart of stone will produce nothing. We need a living Torah, written on a heart of flesh to see life! This is what Yeshua was demonstrating.

In the two previous instances, the issue of murder and the issue of adultery, Yeshua did not give us any new, higher law – He did not need to. He simply took the “law of the LORD” which is “perfect” (cf. Psalm 19:7) and “ma[de] it honorable” (cf. Isaiah 42:21).

We will leave it here for now, and pick up with Matt. 5:31 and following next time. Until then, “study to shew thyself approved unto God…” (2 Tim. 2:15).

Blessings and Peace in Yeshua (Jesus).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

180 movie - Wow!

If you have not taken the time to watch "180 Movie" then please do so now.

This is a report of the progress of this movie thus far - OUTSTANDING!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

America's Final Days

I just wanted to link to John McTernan's latest post, as he  is good at bringing out current events and presenting them to us. Please take the time to read.