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Readers ask.....

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Q What exactly does it mean for a believer in Yeshua to keep the commandments and statutes in our modern world. I read of these instructions in numerous places in scripture. Could you recommend a source for more detailed information available if the answer would be too lengthy and time consuming? Thank you for your site. I believe as the Messiahs return for his own draws near, he will lead those open to the truth into a Hebraic understanding of his holy word.

A The answer really is Torah study, prayer and Ruach guidance. I understand completely the difficulty of obeying the commands in a country without a theocracy and without Torah as our Constitution. While reading Torah, just keep asking yourself a) if the command applies to you (your gender, whether you need to be a priest, etc.), b) if you must be in the land of Israel to obey the command, and c) if there is a modern way to apply the command. So much of it comes down to His Ruach guiding you -- and it is clear you are the type who listens to His Ruach. Keep listening!

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Q I have a serious question about converting to Messianic Judaism. I understand that it is not necessary for a Gentile believer to convert, but I have a very strong desire to do so. I am aware that it is inappropriate for one who accepts Messiah to convert to traditional Judaism, but is there such a thing as converting to Messianic Judaism? Please understand I am entirely sincere and have read your site in detail. It is a personal desire of mine which is hard to explain. Thank you very much for your time and assistance.

A I am sure there are messianic congregations with conversion rituals in place. I urge you to read Do Gentiles Need To Convert To Messianic Judaism? and pray before making any decisions. May G-d bless you while you search this out.

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Q (excerpts taken from a 12 page email) ....the alleged "rapture"...oh no. This is disappointing because it is one of the hugest deceits ever perpetrated against the word of God, and you, unfortunately promote it. How anyone can take a single word and turn it into an entire theory about some arbitrary "rescue" is beyond me. .... Subscribing to the man made rapture theory is dangerous, particularly if you are prosletyzing, otherwise, it simply damages your credibility...not much cure for that unless you can see through the lies....

A Light of Mashiach does not teach a pre-trib rapture, see our article Understanding The Post-Tribulation Rapture I can't imagine where you got the idea we did, but I did truly appreciate you wanted us to get that right. :-)

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Q My name is (removed -- ek) and I live north of Stockholm in Sweden. I am 22 years and have been saved since 2001. I heard teaching about that we still should follow the commandments in the Torah this autumn and I ended upp stop eating pigmeat. Thanks for your answers about Galatians, that I read, Romans 7 and clean and unclean food. How many do you estimate that follow Yeshua and Torahn in USA?

A I have no idea. Anyone out there with a figure for us? Please, send it in -- I'd love a ballpark figure myself.

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Q I had a question regarding the Sabbath and my business model. I have a web application that generates profit 24x7. I do not work on it on the Sabbath - it generates profits on its own. All the profits genrated on the Sabbath go straight to widows and orphans. Recentley I have been encouraged to completely shut down the site during the Shabbat. Your opinion?

A Sounds like a Robin Hood approach. Surely the site could close over shabbos and you could find some other means of supporting widows and orphans? Maybe a percentage of the profits from the other 6 days?

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Q I have been doing research into the first church founded by the apostles and came across something called (The Messianic Seal of the Jerusalem Church). Do you have any information and knowledge as to whether or not it is authentic?

A I can't see any advantage in proving early believers used such a symbol. Certainly man is not perfect -- man has often sought to make some image to represent his faith in spite of Scriptural warnings against such. I am satisfied to use the menorah alone. Scripture doesn't instruct me to combine a menorah engraving with a fish engraving to create some 6 point star in its midst. Whether or not early believers may have created the symbol doesn't really alter my view on engravings.

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Q Why is it that the name Yahshuah is not used nor Yahweh? I can not find anywhere in the scriptures where we are forbidden to use the Name. I understand that this TRADITION was started to avoid "using His name in Vain."

A For me, it's not about being forbidden to use the Name (we aren't) -- it's that I disagree either of those are the actual Name.

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Q After reading your article When is New Covenant? I have a question! If this new covenant in Yeshua's blood is for the future, under what covenant are believing gentiles grafted in?

A The covenant of Torah.

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Q Could you share your thoughts on Hebrews 8:13 "In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away." What aspects of the old covenant were ready to vanish away?

A It is the earthly temple and the earthly priesthood ready to vanish, to be rendered inoperational (see: New Covenant article).

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Q I was wondering. Is it okay for a Christian to marry and Messianic Jew?

A Would they be equally yoked? They might need a good chiropractor.

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Q I have a question. In Genesis where it states "Let us go down and confuse their language" who is the "us" spoken of here. Referring to the tower of Babel situation.

A G-d is speaking with His angels. Given that man was contemplating reaching the heavens, naturally G-d and His heavenly host put a stop to man's bold plan.

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Q I really agree with your teachings on many things- I am LDS and that is my doctirine mostly. Would you like me to send you A Book of Mormon?

A Really?! Like, for free?!

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Q What is the Messianic's view about communion?

A I believe we should partake of the matzo and wine once a year at Passover as Yeshua demonstrated in the gospels.

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Q My question has to do with Messianic Judaism in general.....being used to the evangelism mode of Christianity and sharing our Saviour w/t 'lost', outreaches, etc...the Messianic seems to be so introspective and not reaching out to the community. Is this because it is so 'new' and very few (none around here) groups to actually do the community outreach? Or is it because that seems to be more along the lines of Judaism. My Hebrew teacher (a native Israeli Reformed Rabbinic who teaches at the local synagogue) tells me that Jews do no evangelism and people actually have to ask a few times for 'conversion' before they're considered 'serious' about converting. (This has its good points, I think...going along with Yeshua's "counting the cost".) Anyway, your thought would be very much appreciated!

A Problem is, Torah observant believers tend to be such a minority -- viewed as "cultish" by Christians and as "trickster Christians" by traditional Jews. I am comforted knowing that His Ruach draws people to His truth. Anyone with a bible can find these teachings, they just have to be willing to care more about Truth than protecting their favorite doctrines. And, certainly, there are books and websites to assist those seeking. Narrow is the way and few find it. :(

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Q Dear LOM: Someone said the Messianic symbol of the menorah, Star of David and fish was pagan rooted. Actually referring to the fish part of the symbol. I know you don't care for symbols but was wondering what you could tell me about this? Is this person right? Should it be avoided?

A Yes, probably referring to mythological Ichthys and the use of a fish as a fertility symbol. But you don't really need to know the pagan history of the fish symbol to reject using it. It's prohibition comes straight from the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth." G-d made such a point of expanding the command to include pretty much everything everywhere, yet today we see no end to angel symbols, dove symbols, and fish symbols. It's as if G-d knew man would insist on using these images and wanted to forewarn him. Hmmmm.

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Q Any thoughts why 1 Cor 11 where it talks about women wearing head coverings refers to women should wear head coverings "because of the angels"? (v 10)

A I believe headcoverings on women are a witness for the angels in a couple ways. It's a witness against the fallen angels who failed to subject themselves to G-d's headship and refused to submit to Him. This token covering on women shows her submission to the natural order -- an order the fallen angels refused to acknowledge. It is a positive witness to G-d's angels in heaven of a woman's place within G-d's people, it shows her belonging and acceptance of headship. I think it is fitting it is worn in the same place as a diadem/crown.

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Q I have been a Christian for over 20 years now. In the last few years, I have sensed that there is something missing. I believe that in actuality, when I was saved I became a spiritual Jew. However, I really do not know what that means. I want to learn what it is to be Jewish. I believe that I need to practice Judaism, but do not know even where to begin to learn. Of course, a thorough study of the Old Testament, but there is so much to learn. I live in an area where there are no Jewish worship groups or Messianic groups either. Can you please direct me to a place online perhaps where I can learn more of the practice. I am using your website, but there is more, isn't there? The practice of Shabbat, Passover, the holy days and how to observe them, the daily prayers and blessings.....

A I have answered similar questions before. Being a believer isn't about being Jewish but about being G-dly. Learn the things of G-d -- learn Scripture. The only way to be a spiritual Jew is to be a Jew by birth and come to know Yeshua. If you are Gentile, you cannot be a Spiritual Jew -- but you can become part of G-d's people and stand as a fellow-heir with Israel. For information on Gentiles within Israel, read: Gentile Conversion. For information about becoming a spiritual Jew, read: Spiritual Jews. I think both articles will clarify this issue. For information about observing the Holy Days, read: Holy Days For a short article on Sabbath observance, read: TGIF! It's Shabbat! I think these articles answer all the questions you've asked except about the daily prayers and blessings. I don't list prayers and blessings on this site. I believe each prayer should be unique and heartfelt, not something memorized and quoted repeatedly. Hope this helps clarify my position and I wish you the best in your search.

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Q i read your article on God not being a trinity but one. i believe that there is only one God who created heavens and the earth. but what is meant by john 3:16? how could God leave heaven to become human? if left heaven to become the messiah who was watching after the world while yeshua was a baby? i am confused. i also believe that God is omnipresent. but please explain.

A Not sure if this is a serious question or not but it's my favorite type of question to tackle. G-d is essense -- whether incarnated or not, G-d remains essense and is everywhere simultaneously and is always aware of everything. The Incarnation didn't limit G-d -- it expanded His role to include Yeshua on earth, but His role in heaven (or anywhere else) was not diminished. I read your question as if you don't see G-d as omnipresent. G-d not only can be in heaven, earth, and Pluto at the same time, He can be here right now with me while I type this and also present with Adam and Moshe simultaneously millennia ago. G-d isn't in a box, G-d isn't linear. G-d is not limited by time, space or matter, etc. G-d is essense and Ruach, far beyond our ability to comprehend Him. We know only little bits about the nature of G-d -- the things that He has shared with us in Scripture. I assure you G-d was watching the world while incarnated as baby Yeshua. We are so limited in our knowledge of Him, we do not know of the trillion other things He may have also been doing simulataneously when Yeshua was a baby -- things that didn't even pertain to us or our world. We don't know all that G-d has done. When you think of G-d in the future -- think vast and incomprehensible! With G-d ALL things are possible.

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Q Why, if the Torah only says not to "boil a kid in it's mother's milk" do most Jews not eat any meat with any dairy. I know that it is a 'fence' law to keep people from breaking the actual God-gievn Law, but it isn't necessary, right? It is okay to eat meat and dairy together as long as they were not cooked together, right? And if that is the case, what constitues cooking? Would it be considered cooking to put cheese on, say, a roast beef sandwich? Or is it only 'cooking' if heat is involved? And isn't all this speculation coming very close to 'oral' law, which is exactly what Jesus problem with Pharisaical Judaism was? Should we simply take the commandment literally, and assume that meat and dairy are okay together as long as they were not boiled together? Also, how on earth is one to tell what is and isn't Kosher in a modern supermarket? Bleh. That is so much to consider. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

A You are wise to see the very problem of Pharisaic Judaism. We can broaden a verse so much to make a fence that the original meaning of a command is lost. Torah wasn't meant to be a burden.

"Seething a kid in it's mother's milk" is mentioned three times in scripture (Ex 23:19; 34:26, & De 14:21). I believe it is related to Israel being called out and holy -- that Israel was not to follow the pagan customs around them. There's a lot of research showing this may have been a fertility ritual or a harvest ritual, but the main point for believers is that we are not to join in heathen rituals. I would broaden the commandment to include not boiling a calf in cow's milk, etc., assuming that if a kid boiled in milk was a pagan practice, then so would such similar practices. I believe this command should be obeyed literally. We know Abraham served G-d meat and milk together in Genesis 18:8, so it can't be a prohibition against meat and dairy in a meal together in general. As long as you aren't boiling/seething an animal in it's own mother's milk, I shouldn't worry that cooking meat and dairy together or merely placing them together in a sandwich is breaking His Torah.

Regarding how to tell what is kosher at the supermarket: With meats, you want to be sure they were kosher animals (no pork, rabbit, etc) and that the animal was drained of all blood as Scripturally commanded (Deut 12:23,24). With milk, you want to be sure the source animal was kosher and that no vitamins were added from a pork source. With cheese, you want to be sure pork rennet wasn't used. With other foods, you want to be sure that 1) they do not contain anything forbidden in them (i.e. marshmallows and Jello have gelatin in them, which usually comes from non-kosher animal sources). Also, 2) that no cross-contamination has occurred: i.e. the product itself might normally be kosher, but it was processed in such a way that it might have traces of non-kosher food particles (pork, shellfish, blood of any sort, etc) because of the facility it was processed in. Packaging may include a kosher symbol (like popular OU certification ('u' in a circle) or Star K ('K' in a star) symbols) -- there are many kosher symbols and certifications used in the USA. Remember that sometimes an item may be kosher in actuality but didn't qualify for certification based on rabbinic law (like products combining kosher meat with kosher dairy).

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Q I'm a believing gentile and I would like to know how are we supposed to observe and celebrate the feasts of Yahweh. I know we are commanded to do so but I haven't a clue seeing I haven't a Jewish background.

A Observe them as Scriptually commanded -- no Jewish background is required. A good place to start is in Leviticus 23, which mentions all the biblically sanctioned feasts. For an overview of the Holy Days (including links to more detailed articles within), you might look at www.lightofmashiach.org/moedim.html
Your question really can't be answered in this Q&A format since it's too involved. I would make a couple points though:
A) Note which commands require your presence within the land of Israel and an operating priesthood (i.e. you cannot fulfill commands yourself that required a priest).
B) Note the differences in "traditional" observances (manmade observances which may be optional, or even detrimental) versus the "Scriptural" observance which is what is actually required of us by G-d. Not all manmade traditions are wrong, but don't confuse what is traditionally done with what G-d actually commanded of us. May G-d bless you in your search of His appointed times.

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Q What in Deut. 16:4 was sacrificed the "first day at even" and not to remain all night until the morning? Is it the Passover Sacrifice? I read your article on late 14th Passover and the study of "erev" and now in light of that study I am confused with the reference to Deut. 16:4.

A Yes, it means the sacrifice itself. "Neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning" is referring actually to the "all night until morning" of the fifteenth. This is another reason for placing the eating of the sacrifice at the end of the fourteenth -- otherwise they would have had the roasted meat in their homes all day during the fourteenth until midnight on the fifteenth when they actually left Egypt.(Numbers 33:3) This way, we see they prepared and cooked the Passover lamb during the afternoon of the fourteenth, and ate it later that evening -- near the time when the day was changing from the fourteenth to the fifteenth. .

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Q Do you believe that the mitzvah for wearing tzitzit applies to Gentile believers too?

Q I had typed in asking a clear cut question as to whether a Gentile, who believes in Yeshua, should observe the Sabbath. Could you tell or preferably show me in scripture, besides the Ten Commandments/Sayings, why this should or should not be observed. Specifics would be preferred.

A I wanted to respond to some typical emails I receive, basically the question is some version of: "Yes, Jews should obey Torah (be circumcised, observe feasts, observe shabbos, etc.) but should Gentiles also obey?
I feel I have addressed this issue in articles and in other email answers, but here is my view again: Either Gentiles are grafted into Israel and obey the same commands and partake in the same covenant as Israel, or, there are two ways to G-d. I simply cannot support any doctrine teaching two ways to G-d! It just isn't scriptural. We can't have Gentiles grafted into a tree that behaves one way for some branches and a different way for other branches! Remember: Israel was to be a light to the nations so that all nations could know the path to G-d. Israel wasn't a light to bring the nations into a path they themselves weren't even taught! There is only one path to G-d (and a narrow path at that) and it applies to all who choose to follow Him. If a command is relevant for Israel -- it is relevant for all believers who comprise Israel: Jewish or Gentile.

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Q I was wondering why some (messianic) jews use G-d/G.d instead of God. I know that in the OT the Name of God was written as YHWH, with the vowels of Adonai, so that people would say Adonoi instead of the holy name of God. (And due to this some christians and a christian sect (which I don't have to name here) pronounce the Name of God incorrectly as Jehovah, not knowing that it's grammaticaly incorrect in Hebrew). But as far is I know the words El and Elohim could be pronounced as is. So, I was wondering, why is the word God written as G-d (and what do you say instead?), since it is not His Name? I think it's because His Holiness, but God technically a term, and not a name. It can even be used for Allah (the Arabic word for God, which looks a bit like El). I can understand that we use His name very cautiously, and it's very difficult since we don't know how to pronounce His name correctly. I mostly use, Lord God of Father, or (Lord) Jesus (Christ). I hope you're willing to answer my question. It's not just curiosity, but sincere interest.

A The issue of 'G-d' vs 'God' isn't about His actual Name but about avoiding using His actual name. This is because there was a rabbinic ban on using the Sacred Name (already in place by the 1st century) to protect people from being able to pronounce His Name and then accidently taking His Name in vain. It was also believed by mystics the very use of the Name could wield power, so the pronunciation was kept from the common people. Because of this ban, the correct vowels were not added to His Name to make pronouncing it possible later, and the actual pronunciation was assumed lost. G-d is often referred to as "HaShem (the Name), and titles like G-d and L-rd were also written without vowels to show reverence for His Name even when only His titles were used. I am in the habit of also typing His titles without vowels, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with using vowels for God and Lord (though I found myself backspacing to place the vowels in, my habit is so ingrained at this point).
As far as the name 'Jehovah' goes, I consider it a good translation for its time and cannot take offense when people use it. I feel fairly confident it isn't His actual Name, but believe at the time it was translated, it represented the best the scholars had to offer. Since G-d knows everything, I am confident He knows Who is meant when 'Jehovah' is used. :-) I do not speculate much on how to actually pronounce His Name YHVH (yod heh vav heh), I simply do not know. The internet is filled with articles trying to 'prove' various pronunciations. I have leaned towards 'Yahveh' being the pronunciation in the past, but I could be quite off on that. I do NOT advocate Sacred Name groups which attempt to say they alone know His true Name, or that we must pronounce His Name a certain way in order to be saved, or to have our prayers heard. These groups will often point out the Scripture: Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I." Isa 52:6 If you know the Name Yeshua or Jesus -- be assured, you already know His Name. (I also am not comfortable with 'yahweh' groups because of the dubious origins of 'yahweh'). Hope this clears up the matter a little bit.

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Q I have spent a considerable amount of time regarding the subject of Yahshua's deity. The conclusion that I have drawn from Scripture is that he is a man of the lineage of Judah, who acted on God's behalf as His emissary. I believe that God is fully seen through Yahshua based on his obedient life. I believe that he was and is "one" with God, in the same way that one day we will be "one" with God. See Jan 10:30 It would be much easier for me to except him as deity, since my whole congregation believes so, but I have never gotten a convincing argument, despite the fact that I have addressed the issue with my "Rabbi". My main problem is that logic doesn't allow for a being to be 100% God and 100% man. That results in two beings, not one. Surely God can and even has manifested Himself in different forms. The Holy Spirit appeared as a dove, but that doesn't mean that He is a dove. The Holy Spirit remains 100% Spirit and 0% dove. And if Yahshua is 100% God and 0% man then he can't be the messiah because Scripture most clearly shows that the Messiah was to be of the seed of David. The only other option would be that he is partially man and partially God, which is a concept that at this point I can't accept because God's procreating with mankind is a pagan concept. Can you please give me your input on the topic. Although I have drawn some conclusions, I am still open to other views.

A My article on trinity also covers the deity issue of Yeshua. I can't agree with your logic -- 100% spirit, 0% dove? People could not see His Ruach -- but they could see a dove from above. Meaning it was 100% dove powered by 100% Ruach. Consider your own soul and spirit -- your personality and your lifeforce -- it is 100% you, but that doesn't mean you don't have a body too. When you die, you will be only a soul and spirit, but while you live and have a body, you are a combined being -- 100% soul with 100% spirit inside 100% body. (I am assuming you don't see people as having only partial souls or a partial lifeforce). I view G-d as essense, and the Ruach as His power. Neither His essense nor His power prevents Him from assuming the form of flesh. Now understand that G-d gives each person a spirit and soul -- a lifeforce and personality-- what is so difficult in grasping that in Yeshua's case, it was G-d's OWN Ruach and essense placed inside the body as opposed to a created soul and spirit? This is exactly what I believe G-d did -- He incarnated His essense into a human form (from the line of David) and used His own existing power and lifeforce. Voila -- G-d in the flesh.

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Q I enjoyed your article on when the new covenant is made until I came to the part where you said "It is the earthly temple and the earthly priesthood ready to vanish, to be rendered inoperational (as did occur a few years later in 70 CE)." Of course, the temple is not in existance or operational for the time being, but I can't accept that the Levitical priesthood has vanished or made of no account. To state such a thing is to deny such passages as Numbers 25:12-13 and Jeremiah 33:19-22. Since neither of us belives that G-d has changed him mind, I think it's necessary to find a way to reconcile these two seeminly opposed ideas.

A The opposition comes from the reality we live in today. How can we have a Levitical priesthood when there is no ability to perform its duties (no temple or legal sanctions)? I see Yeshua's sacrifice as the means G-d provides us to survive in this period of disbelief, in this time when His temple doesn't stand and His people are unfaithful. Imagine if believers today were dependent on a Levitical system for their sacrifices today -- what value would it hold if it were being practiced by non-believers? We believers would be in real trouble -- G-d wouldn't be able to accept the sacrifices man would be offering. But G-d in His wisdom has made a provision for us in these times of trouble and fulfills the needed sacrifices on our behalf. In the kingdom, the temple will be rebuilt and the Levitical priesthood will again be instituted, but until that time, we rely on G-d's own provisions for us. This isn't the first time, btw, when man has been without an active earthly priesthood -- remember the captivity to Babylon -- for 70 years the priesthood was inoperable but G-d still kept His remnant in spite of Israel's overall disbelief. Clearly we aren't under a Levitical priesthood system right now. It is clear one would be useless without a temple and the priests having belief in Yeshua.

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Q If the God of Israel is not big enough to bring ALL of the seed of the children of Abraham back to the land as He promised him, then we are ALL in trouble. For if His Sovereignty only goes as far as your faith, He'll not be able to keep those promises. However... Rom 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. Signed: Gen 45:3 And Joseph said unto his brethren, I am Joseph; doth my father yet live? And his brethren could not answer him; for they were troubled at his presence. P.S. Perhaps you are troubled at our presence....

A This seems to be in response to my article arguing there are no lost tribes. I am troubled by the presence of such groups teaching various forms of British-Israelism and the like (saying that Gentiles are basically the lost tribes of Israel). I hope people will read my article prayerfully and check it against Scripture. (Granted I am oversimplifying), but using your own wording, "to bring ALL of the seed of the children of Abraham back to the land": by the time we make all Gentiles the seed of Abraham, including the Arabs who are also of Abraham's seed -- I have to wonder if Israel is large enough to hold everyone. Will there be room for some actual Jews in Israel also?

Note: the promise of the land of Israel was narrowed not broadened as time progressed: to Abraham, then to Isaac, and then only to the line of Jacob (the line in which believing Gentiles are grafted).

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Q My husband has recently in the last two months taken on the teachings of the Netzarim who believe the Messiah has come, but do not believe that he was or is God, they also do not believe in the virgin birth, my husband has also said that God did not need the blood of Messiah to be shed , but that God is able to forgive sins without the shedding of blood, I do not know forsure if the Netzarim believe this about the blood, but I do know that they also believe that the New Testament was translated with Catholic bias, so now my husband no longer reads the New Testament. We are now on opposite sides of the fence, can you shed any light on the teachings of the Netzarim as to the validity I have read your article on the almah and have forwarded it on to my husband to read, any insight would be a great help !

A I am so sorry to hear this. I am not an expert on Netzarim beliefs. That said, I can't agree with any teaching that questions the reliability of the Brit Chadasha (new testament) -- the whole basis for our belief in Yeshua! Much less to deny Yeshua's deity. The issue with denying the accuracy of the Brit Chadasha is that it also denies that G-d could preserve His Word in spite of man. The denial of Yeshua's blood and deity pretty much eliminates the need for His crucifixion and denies the true gift of sacrifice Yeshua made for us. Without these basic tenets of the faith, it's pretty much just traditional Judaism prettied up by including Yeshua as Messiah while denying His power and gift to us. Unfortunately, we can't make others see things our own way -- there is no article or magic word I can give you. It's not really a better argument that wins someone to G-d's Truth -- it's His Ruach leading a person who has a willing spirit and learning heart. All you and I can do is pray for him. Again, I am sorry to read your email, and I can only imagine how stressful your home has become. I'm sure you already know Sha'ul would not advise you to leave your husband (1 Cor 7:12-16) but to instead pray for him that your faith may serve as an example.

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Q I have been a believing gentile for 28 years. Recently I have been blessed to learn of Torah. Praise HaShem!. My life has never been so filled with Adonai. I have only Messianic congregation in my area and it seems my Jewish rabbi was raised orthodox???. I cannot wear tzitzit, or wear a prayer shawl with any blessing on it as this would be considered the same as dressing as a man which is prohibited in scripture. I'm to learn jewish liturgy for shul but must be careful not to mislead anyone to thinking I am jewish. My husband is jewish but will not practice as his family converted to catholicism generations ago. But he doesn't mind if I do. I'm so lead to following Torah by scriptural definition....but am confused as to wear my rabbi is coming from. I love attending my shul. I have always felt convicted that sunday was NOT Shabbat. I guess I'm looking for a little moral support. I have no desire to be a "rebellious" woman or to argue with my rabbi but I think following G-d is far more important than pleasing my rabbi. Should I leave my shul rather than cause problems?

A You already know the answer to your question and you have my support. I wish your husband shared your exact faith, but it does seem he won't stand in your way of doing what you feel is right. I personally wouldn't attend a shul whose beliefs I didn't agree with. I guess it comes down to how important wearing a shawl is to you (bear in mind, they are a rabbinic invention -- the original command is regarding fringes on your garments, not wearing a shawl with fringes). Does your shul also frown on you attaching fringes directly to your garments? Only you know how much you are able to compromise and as I began this reply, you already know the answer to your question. I look forward to the kingdom when we will all be in accord with our brethren.

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Q It is apparent in speaking with fundamentalist Christians that there is the belief that with sacrifice of Yeshua the old covenant (Sinai Covenant) is replaced. Thus Christ replaces the Sin and Guilt offerings of Leviticus 6,7 for the lifetime of the believer. Support of this was given to me in the Nevi'im specifically Jeremiah 31 as it speaks of G-d's new covenant. It this also the belief of the Messianic or do multiple covenants co-exist? If Yeshua's death and resurrection is a complete sacrifice, are there any additional scriptures in the Tenach that support this?

A Well, arguably, since Yeshua wasn't crucified at the time of Yom Kippur, no. But I believe that Israel had already fallen away from the faith, that Pharisaic Judaism was gaining ground, and that with the coming denial of Yeshua as Messiah, G-d was making a provision for His remnant by satisfying the Torah's requirements for sacrifice Himself. G-d knew His people were preparing to go into diaspora from disbelief, and that there would be no priests to uphold the law and provide for the people.
The New covenant question is answered elsewhere (both in emails here plus I have an article at this site covering it. The new covenant IS the Torah/Sinai Covenant, but what is changed are the people. The new covenant is that the Torah will be written in our hearts, not just in documents recorded by Moshe and engraved in stone. The change isn't the document itself but where it is written.
Now, regarding Torah: I've written this before and will repeat: Without Torah, there no command for sacrifice. If there is no command for sacrifice -- then why did Yeshua die for us? He would have died in vain to fulfill a non-existent sacrifice command. And if Torah is not still in effect, then there is no witness against us -- meaning, we have no sin since there is no document in place stating we have sinned. Again, there would be no point in Yeshua dying for us if we have no sin and have broken no law. Clearly, it is because Torah is still valid and operational today that we need Yeshua's blood so desperately.

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Q I just heard a Jewish believer [name removed] say that the miracle of the 8 days oil burning is a story that's been made up and never happened. He further went on to say the whole candle lighting ceremony during Hanukkah is pagan rooted in the feast of Saturnalia? I have never heard or read this before and was wondering what you think about his comments? Are his comments true?

A I was sort of hoping to avoid this question for a while. I have stopped observing Chanukah for two main reasons:
1) The miracle of the oil originates from rabbinical and not Scriptural sources
2) Its observance seems to have grown in the last 50 years more to compete with Christmas than anything else
I realize that for many believers, it's just exchanging one non-Scriptural holiday for another. I have no reason to believe the oil really burned for 8 days. I do know the bible commanded a 7 branched candlestick and that Chanukah deliberately uses a 9 branched one -- this disturbs me greatly. Man has no right to alter the things of G-d and to assign new uses to them. Plus, if such a miracle really occurred, then the best way to commemorate it would be to keep a biblically-sanctioned menorah burning for 8 days straight -- not use a man-invented menorah and burn it for just a little while each day for 8 days. I guess the story just doesn't ring true for me, and the observance doesn't quite make sense. However, this is not a salvation issue, and I am not going to condemn others who feel differently.

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Q I hope you can put some light on this question?.I was Brit but not by a mohel but a doctor.I do believe a male should be brit or circumcised for this is G-ds law.I have Jewish ancesters in my family tree.I am just learning about being Jewish and Judaism.I am really enjoing it.If I was not brit properly how would I make it legal in the eyes of G-d?I live 14hours from the nearest messianic congregation.I have e-mailed them quite a lot but never recieved any answers.I am very serious about my Jewish roots.I have a few books and am trying to do the best I can on my own but there are some things I will need help with.I read in one of my books that to make my brit legal in G-ds eyes all I would have to do is find a Messianic church go there and some of my blood taken from my finger, is this right?

A Excellent question. It seems clear whether you were circumcised at 8 days of age by a mohel or as a baby by a doctor, either way, the circumcision was your parents' choice, not yours. So, to be right in the eyes of G-d, it is your heart that needs to be right towards G-d. If your heart is right -- your physical circumcision will be counted and you will be 'legal' in His eyes. But if your heart isn't right towards G-d, a thousand circumcisions or blood drawing procedures will never make you right with G-d (or 'legal'). For this reason, I would not recommend you seeking out further bris ceremonies, since their only purpose would be for man-made conversion or affiliation purposes -- they could do nothing to alter G-d's view of you or to alter the legality of your original bris. I realize my response on this differs from that of rabbinic Judaism (and some messianic congregations as well) which require their own 'formal' circumcision rituals.

I support physical circumcision 100% but want to emphasize that man cannot 're-do' a physical circumcision already completed. Given that infant circumcision is never a choice of the infant himself, his true circumcision will always be based on his being right with G-d. I believe this is why Scripture makes the point of mentioning 'circumcision of the heart' since only circumcision of the heart is chosen by the individual -- physical circumcision is almost always the choice of the individual's parents. Now, does this mean circumcision of the heart replaces physical circumcision? Absolutely not! Both circumcisions are commanded in Scripture. Had you written and said you had no physical circumcision, then the burden would fall on you to receive the physical procedure (you should be grateful your parents have already taken care of this and relieved you of the burden of an adult circumcision). I appreciate the opportunity to address the concern of non-religious circumcisions. I am sure you are not the only one to question whether an additional procedure or ritual is necessary for those with circumcisions done outside the faith. May your heart be right with G-d and may G-d bless you.

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Q I was just wondering what your take is on shatnez; I have read some translations that say that it is any mixure of thread.... I was wondering on your take on shatnez. Is it wool and linen only, mixing animal fibers with vegetable fibers, or any type of mixture?

A I believe it refers in a general way to not mixing any animal fiber with any vegetable fiber -- not just specifically to that which we call wool and linen today. I wouldn't mix wool or leather with linen, bamboo, hemp, cotton, ramie or anything derived from plant origins. The command simply shows that G-d abhors the unnatural pairing of diverse materials. I studied this a few years ago in special relation to synthetics and decided that synthetics seem to derive from minerals (synthesized from chemicals or from petroleum products) making it legit to mix synthetics with animal or plant based products and still be observant. Since I am allergic to synthetics, it has no real bearing on my clothing choices, but I hated not to mention it here in case someone else was considering it. Spandex is in so much stuff now (usually in a low percentage to add stretch to jeans and tops) so I would allow it mixed with animal or plant based thread/material. As a final thought, I believe the command only pertains to single garments -- the garment itself must not be woven from a mixture of animal and plant threads -- but an outfit may contains pieces from varying fiber origins (i.e: a wool suit with a cotton shirt). The larger spiritual picture of not mixing fibers is that we believers should not be emeshed and woven into the fabric of the world -- yet we are in the world (wheat with tares) while remaining called out and separate. Hence no garments may be woven of diverse elements, yet a wool cloak could be worn over a cotton shirt. Hope this helps.

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Q Did our Messiah eat His Passover seder on the night of the 15th (starting at the end of the 14th between evenings) as commanded? It is written as such in Matt. 26-17, Mk. 14-12, Lk. 22-7, 14-16. Or did He eat a regular meal, "The Last Supper" the day before the Passover lamb was due to be killed and eaten? This is as it appears to be in Jn. 13-1. Or was He killed towards the end of the 15th, which would not have been scriptural? Any help with this would be sincerely appreciated.

A You're going to wonder why I bothered to include this question when you read my answer: I don't know. I have studied this in the past and it seems clear that John is placing Pesakh at a time differing from that of the synoptic gospels. I have tried different theories, like thinking maybe the rabbis observed Passover a day off from when Yeshua did -- meaning the rabbinic calendar was wrong (I discard this theory, since Yeshua would have addressed the issue had that been the case). Another theory is that Yeshua deliberately observed Passover a day early knowing he would dead before the real evening had come (I discard this theory because the gospels clearly state Yeshua and the disciples observed Passover, not a pre-Passover meal). So this leaves me with my original brilliant answer of "I don't know." I am willing for variety's sake to print more theories if people want to send them in. In the meanwhile, this is an issue I simply have to trust G-d on. Todah in advance to anyone who will send in a theory reconciling this seeming contradiction.

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Q Hello, I just read your interesting article about Passover's timing. I am confused about a statement made in the last paragraph. In the second to last sentence you said ..."having no time for the bread to rise"... HUH? Isn't this about unleavened bread? Hoping you can respond to me personally.

A Right -- their bread wasn't risen because there was no time for it to rise.
Exodus 12:39: "And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual." The point in the article you quoted ( www.lightofmashiach.org/timingofpesakh.html) was that this was a meal prepared and eaten in haste. Had the evening of the fourteenth fallen at the beginning of the day, the Israelites would have hurried needlessly because they would have had a 24 hour wait before leaving. But by placing the evening of the fourteenth at the end of the day, they were ready to leave immediately on the fifteenth from Ramses. Exodus 12:11: "And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover." Had there been no haste, the bread could have had time to rise (picture a sour-dough type bread, not necessarily something with yeast deliberately added).

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Q You say in the website that you are not trinitarian. Do you believe Jesus is also God--do you worship him or see him only as the messiah sent by God? And if you do believe he is God, how does that work if you do not believe in the trinity?

A Trinitarian to me implies a division in the godhead, and to me there is One G-d with no division. Whether G-d could be incarnate isn't connected to trinity to me -- that would imply G-d must be subdivided in some way in order for Him to take on human form as Yeshua. Why? Couldn't a powerful G-d have an incarnation without having a subdivided godhead first? I mean, if He is one G-d with all power, He can do anything -- He wouldn't require any subdivision to do anything He wished. I don't see why any subdivision would be necessary to enable a human incarnation -- couldn't a single non-subdivided G-d also incarnate? I think only trinitarians try to make such a case that a division of godhead is necessary for incarnation. Before trinitarian doctrine was invented, we still had Scriptural evidence of our incarnated G-d wrestling with Jacob and supping with Abraham, with no trinity doctrine implied anywhere. Subdivision is just a theological theory, not a means for incarnation. It has no bearing on the real question of whether G-d did incarnate as Yeshua.

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Q Is Messianic Judaism ORTHODOX Judaism without the dependance on the Talmud and other sources?

A That's a good description of Karaite Judaism. It is close to my own view of Messianic Judaism but my view includes Yeshua as the one and only Messiah.

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Q You say (or correct me if I am wrong) that modern Christians follow what Paul has said-which is more similar to Pagan beliefs than what God had intended. But don't you also believe that what Paul said was inspired by God? How can two different paths each be inspired by God?

A Methinks you've confused Light of Mashiach with some other site. I believe the writings of Sha'ul (Paul) and do not view them as Christian or pagan. What I do believe is that Sha'ul has been misunderstood (specifically on Torah observance issues) but the misunderstanding is the church's fault, not some fault of Sha'ul himself. I believe Sha'ul taught Torah and taught against paganism, so I cannot attribute his teachings to those the church holds today. Rather, I would argue the church has misinterpreted Sha'ul's teachings to their own detriment. There is only one path to G-d -- all Scripture teaches that one path -- including the Scriptures recorded by Sha'ul.

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Q I am curious as to what the difference is between Messianic Judaism and Seventh Day Adventists. 7th Day Adventists also keep the Sabbath and follow kosher and such. Are they the same, or are the Adventists just Christians?

A Seventh Day Adventists do not keep kosher. Their dietary laws come from the vegetarian writings of Ellen G White, their founder (who wrongly prophecied the timing of Messiah's return). So, no, Messianics are not Seventh Day Adventists. The only two real areas of agreement between the two are the belief in Messiah and keeping the Sabbath. That said, I think it is an easier transition for some to enter Messianic Judaism from a 7th Day background. I actually have a lot of respect for 7th Day Adventists in spite of some of their doctrines. Perhaps it's just my respect for their sabbatarian stance.

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Q I'm a Gentile. Should I be celebrating Passover? Should I be, ah, worshipping God on Saturdays, not Sundays? Should I be eating only kosher meats? Don't get me wrong, I have read portions of your site, but..hmmm..perhaps It is best said as, "It's not quite clicking.." Should I be looking for a Messianic Synagogue? Should I be identifying myself as a Messianic Jew? (Perhaps a Messianic Gentile? :P) ....I've recognized myself as an "Adopted Child of God." Where do I go from here? Anywhere? Is it possible that my life will be better if I begin to observe the Torah? Are Christians who do not, accepted as children of God?Please give this a once over, atleast. I'd appreciate it...

A Let me work backwards through your post. I do not know how G-d will judge those who reject Torah. Are Christians who do not accept Torah accepted as children of G-d? I know G-d is just, and He will judge righteously. I figure that since I am Torah observant but not perfect, if He can forgive my sin of not perfectly obeying Torah why could He not forgive someone else's sin of failing to recognize the importance of Torah? I just don't know how heavy our doctrine will weigh on His judgement. Each of us believe our doctrines are correct, and we believe we have based them on Scripture. I am so glad I am not the judge of this world. I can only share my beliefs, not determine how G-d will judge those whose beliefs differ from mine. Thankfully our G-d is merciful.

The issue of observing kosher laws and shabbat as well as keeping Passover depends on your commitment to G-d. If you accept all Scripture as Truth, I don't see how you could not observe His Torah. I find the most important thing is to have a learning spirit, to pray with a willing heart to learn, even if what you learn differs from what you previously believed to be true. I find it sad when people only use Scripture to prove what they believe they already know. No room for growth, no room for Ruach. That lens leads to such closed-mindedness that nothing new can be learned. I find that Torah brings blessings and richness into our lives and I believe if you pray and read with a heart open to His Ruach, you will realize the importance of Torah in your life. May G-d bless you in your quest for Truth.

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Q There are many instances in the Torah/Tanakh that God forgave people. Christ had not yet died. So doesnt this show that Christ was not necessary for salvation for many people, as their animal sacrifices already did the job?
P.S. Why does your glossary say God's holy name is of possible pagan origin?

A Well, I would argue Yeshua's blood flowed backwards through time. That G-d had already made the provision in the Torah for our forgiveness millennia before people could understand that provision. Torah certainly reflects a perfect sacrificial system to come -- it foreshadowed Yeshua.
Re: HaShem: Not that G-d's Holy name YHVH is pagan but that the actual word some groups use to designate YHVH is pagan.

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Q I agree that most of the New Covenant is yet to be fulfilled in the future. However, if the New Covenant has not been established, at least in seed form, then how is it the Paul could say?... 2 Corinthians 3:6 (NASB95) 6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. In other words how could Paul be a servant of a covenant that does not yet exist? If the New Covenant has not been established, at least in seed form, then who are the "first fruits" of the New Covenant ( 2 Thess 2:13)? If the New Covenant has not been established, at least in seed form, then by what covenant was anyone saved prior to Yeshua's death? I know that the volume of emails will not allow you to answer everyone, but I do hope you will feel that these questions are important enough to merit a response.

A Sha'ul was a minister of the new covenant, a covenant that the people were not willing to accept yet. Basically, the new covenant *would* already exist had we not rejected it. Since the new covenant was offered, you could call the early believers 'firstfruits' of the new covenant in spite of it being rejected by the whole. Sha'ul accepted the Ruach (the most crucial part of the new covenant) but Israel as a whole rejected the Ruach, which is the "heart-key" of the new covenant. The new covenant *is* the old covenant, but made again with His Ruach. The only thing changed is the PEOPLE, not the covenant itself. The people are changed because their hearts are circumcised -- their hearts are open to G-d -- they have Ruach in their hearts. The new covenant is the old covenant of Torah, but this time it is a part of the people -- not just a document, but an actual part of people's hearts. If the new covenant was already enacted, WE would be different, not His law (covenant) and we would ALL believe, we would ALL worship Him. There would be no sin in the world. Yeshua would return and sit on His earthly throne. All our dead will be resurrected. You quoted: "The Spirit gives life". Think about it -- what good is His Ruach just floating around in space? But with His Ruach in our hearts... Well, THAT is the New Covenant -- Torah, alive in us! Until WE change, until WE pray for His return as a PEOPLE, until His Ruach dwells inside each and everyone one of us and we stand united as the PEOPLE OF G-d, until all of this is fulfilled, we await the new covenant. Then we will be His People and He will be our G-d. Basically, the Torah will be alive in the New Covenant -- it will live in each and every one of His People. What upsets me most is that the New Covenant is available to us, right now, if only we as a people will choose it. G-d never rescinded the offer, it is dependent totally on His People to recognize themselves as His people and accept the offer. We await that day.

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Q I recently found your site from Google. I never heard of Messianic Judaism and I also read that it is the "real" Judaism. But to me, it sounds very similar to Evangelical Christianity. Most of the Jews today would be furious about it. Is it real or is it a method to "Christianize" the Jews? Also, is the Star of David with the cross inside part of Messianic Judaism because I saw alot of gift shops online that made those.

A I wouldn't want to see anyone "Christianized" -- not Jewish or Gentile. I would like to see people return to Scripture alone. I don't want anyone Jewish 'fooled' into accepting a Messiah based on man-made doctrines. If Jewish people cannot see Yeshua as a continuation of the promises in the TaNaKh, as a teacher of Torah, as a lion who will return to rule, then I wouldn't really see the point of believing in Him as some Christian Christ. By that, I mean that the Christian view tends to reject G-d's precepts (Torah) and usurp the promises to Israel as promises to the church. I can't help that some organizations do exactly as you suggest, I can only hope my site isn't held liable for the wrongdoing of others. As far as "real" Judaism goes, surely you would agree that if Yeshua was the real Messiah, then "real" Judaism would have to include Him. The more important question is whether or not you believe Yeshua to be the real Messiah. If not, then Messianic Judaism will have little to offer you.
The star of David in a fish with a cross seems to be becoming quite popular lately. No idea why. I am not into images; not stars of david, crosses or fish emblems. But yes, some Messianics are using it as a symbol. I personally prefer the menorah if I need a symbol, since it's use can be defended Scripturally.

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Q I read your trinity discussion. Thanks! I agree with every thing you said, but I am in need of edification: Shaul often starts his letters with something like: 2Co 1:2-3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, Why make the distinction if there isn't one? Or am I trying to read more into this than I need to?

A Yes. :-) The verse that popped into my mind is Isaiah 47:4: "As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel." This seems to be a biblical style -- it doesn't imply more than one G-d (or a subdivided godhead), it just describes Him, names Him, and describes Him some more. Probably done to show His vastness. The error is in assuming G-d and Yeshua are different beings when really only varying roles is implied. You quoted, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." I don't read that as "Peace from G-d and also from another entity, Messiah" as much as I'd read it as: "Grace from G-d, who is our Father and Lord." Consider this TaNaKh passage: Isa 63:16 Thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting." It too is showing different roles, not entities, yet no one really tries to read trinity into a TaNaKh verse the way they will into a Brit Chadasha verse. The fact the passage even seems trinitarian is a sign of how indoctrined people have become in the church. :-(

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Q Are blood transfusions allowed if it is used in cases of emergency/need since I read in the old testament and in Acts 25:19 in the Brit Chadasha the requirement to "keep abstaining from blood", what is your opinion concerning this. For example if a man/woman were to die if they were not given blood would it be necessary to take a blood transfusion to stay alive?

A A few problems. That passage is referring to animal blood and our diet. At the time of the command, it was unknown that one day man could share his blood to save another's life. The passage was always understood as referring back to TaNaKh, where G-d commanded: "But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Genesis 9:4-6) There are two issues, one regards not eating meat with blood in it, the other regards not taking the life of another person. Neither is done when receiving a blood transfusion -- no animal blood is eaten, no human life is taken. Arguably, the real issue here is how much modern medicine seeks to play G-d and how much we should partake in such a system. We have medical abilities, yes, but how many such abilities should man use? Is it okay for man to choose to help another man using a means not known in biblical times? If someone chooses to not take blood freely given by someone else, then it should be for reasons other than quoting a passage that is actually dealing with other issues.

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Q What is your position of which parts of the Law are still valid? Perhaps a better question would be what exactly do you consider the Law to be? Is it just the 10 Commandments, or the ceremonial law as well? I'm trying to figure out myself which parts of the law are valid for me to follow. I'm not a Jew btw, but a former Baptist who is trying to obey YHWH as the early church and Yahshua wanted us to. It was recently suggested to me that there was a distinciton between the commandments, the tablets of stone inside the Ark of the Covenenan and the book that was placed in the pocket outside of it. How do you see these scriptures as relating, if at all? De 31:26 Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a WITNESS AGAINST THEE. Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was CONTRARY TO US, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

A Deuteronomy 31:26 refers to G-d's prophecy that man would turn away from His law in the latter days and become utterly corrupted. It never states that the law itself is bad, only that man is stiffnecked and will fall away from the faith (this section precedes the "Song of Moshe"). It is fitting that the Torah is placed alongside the decalogue (ten commandments) here since one expands on the other (see below). Col 2:14 is about blotting out the punishment dictated by Torah, about having forgiveness for our trespass. Torah commands death to those who fall away from the faith, but Yeshua brings life to us, and death to the penalty against us. The Torah is not the penalty itself (Torah is instruction for life). The penalty was nailed to the stake when Yeshua satisfied the Torah's demand for atonement with His own blood (basically fulfilling the earthly demand for sacrifice recorded in Torah with an everlasting sacrifice). In this way, Yeshua brings a hint that the earthly letter would be fulfilled in a spiritual realm (which makes sense since G-d's incarnation was planned from the beginning).
To define law: I consider that both the decalogue and the written Torah together comprise the law. As far as what parts to obey, we should obey all commands which apply to us. If you aren't a priest, then the priestly laws will not pertain to you (like bringing the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle). If you are a woman, then the laws only for men will not pertain to you (like not cutting 'round' one's beard). It's not a matter of picking and choosing, but of recognizing which commands pertain to you, and recognizing which commands are not applicable today (like stoning someone when we don't have a theocracy with judges to rule on matters and determine guilt). It can be challenging to obey Torah in a world that has overall rejected G-d's precepts and revoked the type of government G-d commands. I don't make a distinction between the decalogue and the written Torah -- they are joined forever. Each Law in Torah relates to one of the ten. View the decalogue like a basic outline, the Torah as the subsets within it. Torah explains in detail the larger units of the decalogue -- each command dealt with either how we love G-d or how we love each other. Some commands are strictly for showing our love of G-d through obedience (not making graven images) while other laws regard our showing love for each other (like not robbing one another). The Torah was to be read to the Israelites, but the decalogue was something easily memorized by each Israelite to give him the big picture of G-d's Law as a framework to understand the Torah when it was read to him. One without the other wouldn't work -- Each explains and validates the other. It would be difficult to obey the decalogue without the Torah; i.e. "Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." Holy how? Remember it how? Torah explains how to keep the command (like not working on it or allowing your family or servants to work either, not kindling fires, not buying and selling on it, and knowing it is a day for rest and remembering G-d's creation). It worries me to see distinctions made between written Torah and engraved tablets since they are parts of the same whole. I'm also wary of doctrines which attempt to say that some commands are relevant and some aren't. All are relevant and everlasting.

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Q What is your oppinion concerning shabbat, in orthodox judaism you are not even allowed to turn on a light switch or put out the fire of your burning home, what is your oppinion when they talk about the 39 forbidden acts during shabbat and how would you go about interpreting it? Do you believe that lighting of the menorah during shabbat is a subtle form of idolatry, if so why and if not why not? Is it Ok to drive a car to the synagogue during shabbat and what is your oppinion on the distance allowed to walk to get to the synagogue,because orthodox jews believe if the synagogue is too far to walk or exceeding the distance allowed according to the scriptures then it is better to stay at home, what is your oppinion of this?

A My own personal opinion, which may not reflect that of Messianic Judaism in general, is that we can go too far -- making shabbos a burden rather than a joyous blessing. Personally, I turn on and off lights, I will adjust my thermostat, I will reheat food, I would drive my car to services (or walk if I felt it was close enough), etc. I don't build a fire, but arguably, my using electricity is building a fire of sorts. I feel the original commands made it so that people would gather firewood ahead of time, and keep the fire going to obey the command. And given there were no matches or lighters back then, I can see where lighting the fire was hard work (as well as having to chop or gather a load of wood and haul it home). But I consider that the spirit of this command is to plan ahead and have things ready for a rest. I can't pretend I have really worked if I flip a light switch or rewarm a pre-prepared meal. I would not, however, cook a meal from scratch on shabbos -- because I know to plan ahead. But I also wouldn't keep food heating on a stovetop overnight on very low heat just so I could say I didn't light a fire. This to me is a case of making the letter of the law so important we miss the real point of the law.
The lighting of menorah during shabbos is a different issue -- we are not actually commanded to light candles or menorahs in our homes -- not even for Chanukah. But fwiw, if I had a desire for candlelight in my home over shabbos, I would light it before sunset since scripture does make a point about fire. However, I believe there could be some leeway here since I know the way we light a fire today is a lot less labor intensive than at the time the command was given. I would rather see people embrace shabbos and use the time to glorify G-d, not worry that tearing off a piece of toilet tissue is an act of creation (forbidden on shabbos by the rabbis, making people pre-cut their toilet tissue ahead of time) or pre popping out medication from those little plastic bubbles ahead of shabbos believing to do so on shabbos would be a violation of it. I think a believer can listen to the Ruach and know if their actions reflect a Torah-based lifestyle or not. Just my opinion here.

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Q I was reading your Shabbat/Sunday article. I really thought the way you worded everything was very helpful. I did have a comment (from the peanut gallery :) ) about this verse... "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet," Revelation 1:10 It was my understanding that Yohan. actually is referring to the literal "Day of the LORD" when HE returns to judge, rule and reign, the Revelation is what was revealed to him as to what will happen on the LORD's DAY or DAY OF THE LORD.

A It's an interesting idea. I guess the reason I lean towards believing it was merely a "Lordly day" is the order of the wording: Lord's Day (Kurios hemera).vs "Day of the Lord" (hemera kurios). I think the word order was deliberate, since by the time the Apocalypse was written, the other NT writings were well in circulation and Yochanan would have been familiar with how the phrasing was used elsewhere. Also, Yochanan does write as if the day itself was in the present and only the vision was of a future time. Who knows? Yours is an interesting theory and you could well be onto something there. Glad you are making a study of Revelations.

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Q If a woman is divorced, does she continue to wear a headcovering? I am divorced and a mother of two. Also, can a woman wear a tallit? If so, what is appropriate and when?

A A divorced woman would have no headship over her except G-d, so my thinking is she would have no need for a covering. I know many will disagree with my stance, as many believe a woman's father or brother then has headship over her. As far as tallit, I covered tzit-tzit in another email and concluded women could wear them (third question from bottom of this page). And again, more conservative and traditional believers may differ in opinion, but I believe a biblical case may be made.

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Q I was recently researching Ethiopian Orthodox Church, because I am fascinated with the Ark Of The Covenant, and it's whereabouts. I am currently reading "The Sign and The Seal" by graham hancock, which is his research on the subject. The Ethiopians lay claim that the Ark was taken by Solomons son Menelik I, stolen from Israel, and taken to Ethiopia, where they say it is resting in St. Mary's of Zion Church, housed in a special building, and only one man (Levite priest) attends to it there. I was wondering what your view of EOC is, and since they are Christians, but follow Torah, and the Ark Of The Covenant is thier main icon of worship, do they practice Messianic Judaism? I would also be interested in what your View of The Ark is also. My research has brought me to this site, and I am very thankful to God for this, for I did not know that there was such a faith out there, that followed Torah and sees Yeshua as the Messiah. I am overjoyed at this and will be studying your site thouroughly.

A I hate to disappoint, but I don't think the ark exists anywhere on earth. I believe it was either destroyed by G-d or taken from earth to heaven. I have read (and watched a lot of television specials) on the ark of the covenant -- each more exciting and amazing than the next, but ultimately, I don't believe we still have the ark here on earth. Sorry to disappoint, I know this is a topic of great speculation and to be sure, I don't know everything. I can only give my honest opinion on a matter such as this.

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Q Shalom,
In one of the pages on your web site, in an article explaining the word "fulfill" that appears to be written by an "Ellen Kavanaugh," a claim is made that the words "to fulfill" is a Jewish idiom which means to "interpret correctly." How does Ellen know that this is a Jewish idiom and that it means what she claims?

A Ellen is not convinced "to fulfil" and "to destroy" are idioms -- this is why she answered the issue of fulfill and destroy from both an idiomatic point of view as well as through their usual meaning in Scripture. It has been argued in Messianic circles that these were idioms, but I haven't heard this from any other source except Messianic ones. I would be interested myself in receiving information concerning idiomatic usage from a non-Messianic traditional Jewish source.

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Q Hi, I have been reading your site and am a little confused on one of your points. You say that the rapture in Mat 24 is the unrighteous being taken away to judgement. My question is, when do the dead in Christ rise first and we which are still alive will meet him in the air and forever be with the Lord? When is this rapture? Your answer would be much appreciated.

A Obviously no man knows the hour. However, I believe this event will occur after the tribulation.

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Q I found your web site today. Very helpful. I have just one question about consuming meat here in America. It is nearly impossible to find kosher hamburger meat in your local store, and if you find it you better have a second job to pay for it. Very exspensive. I'm not sure how they kill the beef that we eat, I think they shoot them in the head. So what are we suppose to do? If I wash the meat does this help? There is no way my husband would become a vegitarian. I am just learning what liars the preachers in our churches are and trying to find my way to the truth. I need all the help I can get. Thanks so much for you help.

A You have my full empathy here -- it is indeed difficult to find kosher meats, the ones for sell online cost significantly more than your non-kosher grocery store's selection (not to mention the expensive shipping of frozen items). I wish I had an easy answer for you. I cannot in good conscience advise you to purchase meat that wasn't properly killed and drained of its blood. You will find that most frozen fish (Gordon's, etc) actually are kosher, if your husband wouldn't mind having that often. My own personal solution to eat a vegetarian diet. In the past I have splurged on kosher meats just for the holy days, but I don't bother now.

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Q Hello, I happened to stumble upon your web site. Interesting. I don't understand the premise of what you are saying about the installing/not installing of the new covenant? I was always under the impression that Yeshua ratified it- institutionalized it when he drank the wine as the cup of the new covenant and did a bracha over it. Even though Yisrael did'nt accept it as a nation, doesnt mean that it isnt in effect? That is why he is a mediator of it? You can't mediate something that isn't in place, right? Love to hear your response, thank you

A A covenant cannot exist between two parties if one party won't accept it. Worse, you can't have a 3rd party intercept and 'make a deal' on behalf of the intended party without their permission (or knowledge.) It seems obvious to me that any covenant between G-d and the Jewish people *must* include the Jewish people! The Jewish rejection of the covenant indicates that G-d must wait until the Jewish nation is willing to accept the covenant -- for now, we await that great day.
I'd also point out that having a mediator doesn't mean anything is completed. I could hire a mediator tomorrow to assist me in working out a problem with some other party, and it doesn't mean the problem is instantly resolved -- it means only that I have a mediator "working" to resolve it. By definition 'mediate' means "working to solve/resolve" and implies a present action -- not a done deed. You might note the use in Scripture is also present tense -- it never states the covenant has been 'mediated' -- It doesn't use past tense. So yes, Yeshua can be mediating a covenant not yet in effect -- and that is exactly what I think Yeshua is doing right now, as we speak. You mentioned the last cup -- Yeshua actually stated He would not drink it until He could drink it new in the kingdom. (Mark 14:25)

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Q Shalom, I have a question about Messianic Judaism and a verse in Mathew. Matthew 23.8: But you are not to be called 'Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. Can you please reconcile this, doesn't Messianic Judaism still call their leaders "Rabbi"

A Many Messianics defend using the title 'rabbi' by pointing out it simply means 'teacher' (it really means 'master'). I tend to use the term more to refer to traditional Judaism -- as in "the rabbis have taught" rather than using it to refer to any leaders in Messianic congregrations or communities. I personally see no reason for using 'rabbi' for our leaders, it's not Scriptural and it annoys those in traditional Judaism who are frustrated with Messianic efforts to usurp their historic titles.

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Q What is the origin of the Kippot (Kippah)? I ask, because I've noticed some wearing them. I've found no place in scripture concerning them. I've also noticed that the Pope wears one and this makes me take notice. Since my eyes were opened, I really have to look at what the "church" does and it makes me question, when I see Messianics doing some of these things.

Q I have just read your article re: women's headcovering, my question is if the Scriptures says a man should be uncovered, why do men wear kippahs?

Q As far as Kippahs go, my family has said (they are Reform Jewish) that anything that covers your head shows reverence to G-d, but I was wondering if either this is untrue or Kippahs are better or what. Is there any time of day when we uncover our heads? (while in bed? in the shower? those are the only times i am really wondering about)

A The command to wear a kippah isn't Scriptural, it comes from the Talmud, the tractate Shabbat 156b instructs to "Cover your head in order that the fear of heaven may be upon you." The pope's is actually called a zucchetto and I do not know the Catholic tradition behind it. Jewish Messianics who grew up Jewish no doubt wear a kippah because they were raised that way -- I have no idea why other Messianics wear them. I guess to appear more "Jewish?" At any rate, it's not Scriptural, and imo, dilutes the command for married women to cover their heads. By that, I mean that by having both sexes cover their head, the Scriptural command for women to cover theirs loses its significance that she has headship over her. Just my opinion.

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Q In Vayikra (Leviticus) 19:27, it says "Don't round your hair at the temples or mar the edges of your beard." Does this mean that we are not supposed to get haircuts or trim our beards? Personally, I wear a goatee and I want to know if this is wrong. I've been seeking this answer for some time and I came across your site. I thought I would ask to see what you thought and make my decision about what to do. Any advice and scripture would help greatly.

A The answer I've always heard is that the pagans rounded theirs so therefore G-d didn't want Israel to mimic their ways. I have no way of knowing if this is true, but it sounds fairly logical to me. It could also fall into the category of chukkim commands, which means the reason isn't explained in Torah -- so we obey without understanding why.

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Q Can a Yeshua believer follow the Kosher rules and keep Sabbath as orthodox Jews do?

A I would say no, since orthodox Jews follow oral law in addition to Scriptural law. I obey kosher and sabbath laws in the way Scripture dictates alone, not with oral interpretation added in.

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Q How exactly should I implement the law (as it is still valid)?

A The same way -- according to Scripture. If you attempt to 'yoke' yourself with oral interpretation, you will probably find G-d's laws a great burden instead of a joy. You implement Scriptural Torah as you learn -- you become responsible as you learn and grow in Him. Just as in Acts 15 -- the new believers came into the faith ignorant and learned each Sabbath more about the covenant they had been grafted into.

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Q About the article "Elohim is One , Not a Trinity" I have a question. My daughter (17 yrs) and I have argued this so much and I am truly confused. My daughter say that I should not pray to Yahushua, but only to YHVH. I pray to both Yahushua and Abba. Please advise!!

A I can answer two ways: 1) since Yeshua's example for us was to pray to the Father, we should pray to the Father 2) However, since I believe Yeshua IS the Father, I can pray to either since I believe them to be the same. Hope that makes sense.

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Q Can you tell me the history of star of David, where it originated or what it symbolize. If you can tell me the truth of this I would sure appreciate it.

Q May I ask what your interpretation / position is regarding the "star of david"?

A I have studied this in much depth, and truthfully, I am not comfortable with the star of David. I am not convinced it has biblical origins (king's star) and feel there is a lot of evidence it may have pagan origins. I cannot even find concrete proof even of its age. At this point, I don't condemn those who use the star of david since it is a symbol of the State of Israel as well as general Jewishness today (though I feel the menorah would have better served as this symbol). With such dubious origins, I cannot be assured G-d sanctions its use, so I prefer not to use it on this site.

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Q "Are all women called to be wives and mothers? What about the extra women left over--how are they to live? And what about women learning in quietness? When I have a question, I am never content until I follow it through to the end. Must I leave my questions unanswered, not because a good student hears the teacher out, but because I am a woman?"

A The answer about "learning in quietness" is answered in the above article [ Role Of Women ]. Scripture doesn't state it's a sin for a woman to not marry, though marriage is a state advised for men and women for completeness (Genesis). There are examples of women without husbands (or having no husband mentioned) in Scripture (Prov. 31:15, Acts 9:36, Rom. 16:1) We know that all parts of the body of Yeshua are valued -- remember in I Cor. 12:20,21 states: "But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." Single women have much to offer the ministry -- without the home obligations other women may have, they can fill roles others may not have time for. Women are not exempt from the command to seek G-d, learn, and obey, whether they are single or married.

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Q "I have some questions on Niddah, something the ladies in my congregation have asked me about. Basially, during the days of a woman's monthly separation, how is she to be separated? From her husband - sexual relations - that is very clear. What else? All forms of physical contact? Like shaking hands? How does one travel then, since we often take public transport? Should she attend congregational worship during that time? If yes but she cannot have any physical contact with people, then how is she to be separate? Thank you in advance for your time."

A Women aren't dirty during their time of separation! No one can avoid ever being in a state of 'uncleaness' -- and one is clean again come evening after bathing. Everytime you are in public, you don't know if the bench or bus seat you are occupying was sat in by someone during her separation, especially knowing that over 50% of the population is female! G-d never commanded women to yell "unclean, unclean" when they approached! Being unclean here isn't a sin, it's a state of being that will soon pass. Please don't worry about women defiling your shul by attending services or defiling men by shaking their hands. Niddah is a private matter between a woman, her husband (if she has one) and G-d. It is not something for speculating about in shul -- she is not honor-bound to announce her state with words or through her absence.

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Q "I read the article about Headcovering and Women. I was wondering, however, does this concept of headcovering for married women apply just to Jewish women, or does it apply to Gentile women as well. Gentile women used to cover their heads with modest scarfs and such small pieces of cloth, however modesty is Not part of the modern American woman's lifestyle! As a young gentile woman, should I live by this concept when I get married?
Young Gentile Believer."

A One thing I hope this website conveys is that there aren't two ways to G-d -- there is one way for all people. Therefore, if something should be done, it should be done by Jewish and Gentile women. My conclusion from studying Scripture is that married women should wear some sort of covering (regardless of how small or token it is -- even a headband or bow) and that unmarried women are exempt from this command.

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Q "Are women forbidden to wear pants? Seems like a simple question, but sometimes it torments me as I wear slacks (and yes, blue jeans too) but when I read Deut. am perplexed. Thank you"

A Unless you are shopping in the men's department, you shouldn't worry about women wearing trousers. At the time Deuteronomy was written, neither sex was wearing trousers in Israel --both were wearing garments more like gowns and robes. My own research (not vast or complete by any means) seems to indicate pants originated in China -- and women wore them. I would apply common sense to this passage and derive that what G-d is saying here is that He doesn't want men to dress like women or women to dress like men -- He is not addressing any particular style of clothing, just that neither should be dressed in such a way as to appear to be imitating the opposite gender. I think it's fairly obvious when men are wearing women's garments and vice-versa. Modern pants are designed to fit the sexes (since waist and hips tend to be in differing proportions), so, as long as you purchase ladies pants from the women's department, you'll have obeyed this command.

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Q I have enjoyed reading the articles on your web site. I have a question I hope you can answer. I have recently learned that I am the distant matrilineal descendent of a Jewish woman. Some have told me that means that I am "technically" a Jew. Does this mean I should be following the laws of Torah as if I were a Jew? or do I take it upon myself to assume any "Jewishness" should end somewhere between my maternal ancestor and me?

A Quite a few things jump out at me from your question. First is the assumption that obeying Torah requires Jewishness -- it doesn't. Anyone can obey G-d and become part of His people. The second is an issue of Jewish law regarding "who is a Jew" -- a topic which has been heavily debated and to which there is no absolute answer. Some Jewish sects require both your parents to be Jewish for you to qualify, others require only that your mother be Jewish. This topic is more relevant if you are trying to become an Israeli citizen (aliyah). If you just want to worship and obey G-d -- then it shouldn't become an issue for you.

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Q Would like to know about baptism...should it be done? And in the name of Yeshua?

A Scripture clearly teaches baptism for the believer --and doing so in the name of Yeshua. Baptism is a type of mikveh, as mentioned in the Torah. It is a simple but crucial element of believing -- it's a sign to G-d and others regarding our faith.

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Q Can you tell me what language the original 'new testament' ?

A Actually, this question is complicated. As you probably know, our New Covenant Scriptures we have today were translated from Greek. But there is some evidence that parts of the New Covenant were written in Hebrew. The church fathers mention that Jews had preserved the gospels in their original Hebrew. There is another school of thought that teaches it was written mostly in Aramaic. A web search would find you many explanations and 'proof texts' offered for what language it was written in first. I tend to believe many books probably were written in Hebrew -- especially based on Hebraisms found through-out the gospels.

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Q I really enjoy your website. I have been approaching Messianic Judiasm as the scripturally correct way of worshipping Yeshua as my Messiah. However, a lot of correction is needed. After decades of mainstream Christian denominational thought, I have started to attend a Messianic synagogue. It has truly been the most refreshing spiritual experience in my life! I still have much to learn about Hebrew (your glossary is a big help, thanks!) and theology (your narratives on the trinity, Jews for Jesus, etc. clarified suspicions I've had for years). Have you ever thought of writing a book which incorporates the ideas you put forth on your website? If you haven't, you should. If you do, be sure to put me on your mailing list to purchase a copy. Keep up the good work on your website!

A At present time, no. I am happy to offer my articles free of charge via the web. I am not sure I have a book in me, but thanks for asking.

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Q If the trinity is a false doctrine, why in Luke 3:22 we see the Holy Spirit, G-ds voice and see Yehoshua? This question is difficult for me to answer.

Q I READ WITH GREAT INTEREST YOUR ARGUMENT AGAINST THE TRINITY. HOWEVER, IN YOUR STATEMENT OF FAITH YOU SAY: "11. We believe Yeshua was resurrected and ascended to heaven to sit at the right-hand of YHVH. HOW CAN YESHUA SIT AT THE RIGHT HAND OF YHVH IF HE AND YHVH ARE ONE?

A I've never been bothered by this type of seeming contradiction. I see G-d as essense and all powerful -- Yeshua as a manifestation of G-d in the flesh, and the Spirit as His power. I guess since I believe He could create all things, I have no difficulty accepting differing manifestations -- He can be everywhere simultaneously. As far as Yeshua sitting at the right hand, think of passages like Isaiah 52:12: "But you will not go out in haste, Nor will you go as fugitives; For the LORD will go before you, And the God of Israel will be your rear guard." Can G-d be in the front and the back at the same time? I believe He can be everywhere at once. I don't mean to dismiss questions like this, and I will add to this later if I can think of a better way to present this (or if someone else offers better way to put this).

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Q Thank you for your excellent site. I have a burning question in my heart: Can a Gentile believer write 'Messianic Judaism' under 'Religion' instead of the usual 'Christianity'? Would that be a good witness and is it Scriptural?

A Sometimes it's best to meet people where they are. I generally don't refer to myself as a Christian -- because to me, Christian indicates a certain set of beliefs -- many of which I do not agree with. But in the larger picture, I am aware that as a believer in Yeshua, it's easier for others to understand where I am coming from, if they see Messianic Judaism as similar to Christianity first (since I find most people writing to this site come from a more Christian background). After I can get a discussion going, then I can introduce the concept to them that perhaps Christianity, while similar (in that we both believe in Messiah) is actually different because it doesn't root itself in Torah, and has traditionally distanced itself from its olive tree -- Israel. I think your question indicates the many difficulties of a struggling Messianic Judaism movement -- we are still growing and figuring out how best to define ourselves.

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Q I have a question: Since Moses was not and therefore the torah was not known to man as yet. How did Noah know what was a clean animal and what was an unclean animal? thank you

A G-d told him. Torah is just the codification of many laws that were already known to man. Think of the passage in Genesis 39:7-9 when Joseph was pressured to sin, he explained, "There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" Torah had not been written, but Joseph certainly knew the law about adultery. It seems clear G-d revealed His commandments to man before it was set in stone and recorded by Moshe.

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Q if healing is not for today what hope do we have? if a witchdoctor can heal a member of his tribe by the power of the devil;why should his people belive a missionary. that trys to tell them about the one true god. ?when some teach that God dosen't heal any more? i know my God still heals in the neme of Jesus.

A Actually, that's not what I wrote at all! As a cancer survivor of 13 years, I would never say G-d doesn't heal anymore! My article was on the gifts of the spirit -- where an apostle could heal someone using the gift. My article showed that even at the time of Sha'ul, the gift of healing wasn't being used any more. There are many false teachers today claiming to have the gift of healing and many of their followers are being duped and harmed. Not believing man has the gift to lay hands and heal people is hardly the same thing as believing that G-d can no longer heal. G-d can heal and often does -- but we humans have no power to heal or to "make" G-d heal us. I hope you will re-read the article on Healing again.

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Q I liked your site and was just wondering why you did not touch the topic of "hell"? I mean, I don't believe in it as a place of eternal pain but I was just wondering what your take of it is?

A I do believe in a place of suffering, and that it was created for hasatan but many will be fooled by him and join him there. I don't find it a very lifting topic, and hope instead many will come to know Yeshua and follow Him instead. I can't say I have any plans to write on hell, I would be far more likely to write something on heaven!

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Q Yahweh has convinced me that I should worship on the Sabbath. But I have a problem: There are no messsianic congregations in Maine. There is one Sabbath keeping church in the area where I live (7th Day Advent) but I disagree with alot of their doctrine. There is a Jewish synagogue about 45 minutes from where I live--but they are not Messianic. I would be afraid of mentioning Yeshua and being thrown out of the fellowship. I have attended Hosanna Church for 15 years but have known the pastors for almost 18 years. There is a strong bond between me and this church. However they worship on Sunday--observing the Christmas and Easter seasons. (Although they refer to Easter as Resurrection Sunday). I've considered leaving the church and keeping the Sabbath at home. However, I believe that Yahweh has taught us to be in fellowship "as we see the Day approaching." If we spoke face-to-face, what advice would you give me about this situation? I anxiously await your reply.

Q I was hoping you could direct me to a Torah Observant Messianic Jewish Congregation like yourselves in Staten Island, New York? Or maybe even in New Jersey because I am close to the Outer Bridge Crossing that goes over to New Jersey.

Q What to do when there is no Messianic Congregation in the neighbourhood? Is it not better to observe Sunday with other Christians in a community than to isolate oneself by a lonely Shabbath-observance?

A I get so many questions about congregations and I am always so sorry when I can't personally recommend one. There are sites on the web with listings, but many do not distinguish between Torah Observant ones and the "Christian with Jewish roots interest" ones. Try these links:
Yashanet Congregations
and
MessiahNet Congregations
and
Torah Observant Congregations
If failing to find a messianic fellowship near you, there are online fellowships (like PalTalk) that take place on Sabbath morning. If you knew any others from the churches you have attended that might be interested, you could also try gathering at each other's homes for a small service -- the early believers often did this. I wish you the best in your search -- good fellowship is such a blessing.

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Q do you believe that Yeshua was THE son of G_d? I think so, I'm just making sure.

A Yes. Further, I believe Yeshua WAS G-d.

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Q I WOULD LIKE FOR SOMEONE TO TELL ME WHEN ALL ISRAEL BECAME JEWS SINCE I ALWAYS BELIEVED JEWS WERE FROM THE TRIBE OF JUDAH. I KNOW THAT ISRAEL WAS DIVIDED INTO TWO KINGDOMS BECAUSE OF BREAKING OF THE COMMANDMENTS BUT WHEN DID THEY GET BACK TOGETHER TO BECOME ONE OR AS ARE NOW CALLED JEWS. YOUR INSIGHT WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED.

A Well, yes and no. The House of Judah (southern tribes) predominantly includes the tribes of Judah as well as Benjaminites and some Levites -- hence they were collectively called "All Judea" then "Jewry" and finally shortened to "Jews" (as seen in 2Kings, 2Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, etc.) So while their name is taken from Judah, it originally included other tribes, but were collectively called "Jews." In the New Covenant we also see mention of Anna, counted among Jews, who was from the tribe of Asher. (Luke 2:36) We know some from the House of Israel did join Judah (like Anna's family) from 2 Chronicles 11:16-17; 2 Chronicles 30:11; and especially 2nd Chronicles 34:9: "They came to Hilkiah the high priest and delivered the money that was brought into the house of God, which the Levites, the doorkeepers, had collected from Manasseh and Ephraim, and from all the remnant of Israel, and from all Judah and Benjamin and the inhabitants of Jerusalem." And we see this Israeli remnant return to Jerusalem again in Ezra 7:7 "And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king." and were given permission to stay by Artaxerxes in Ezra 7:13. We see that the Jews here were also making offerings for the both kingdoms (all tribes) in Ezra 8:35: "Also the children of those that had been carried away, which were come out of the captivity, offered burnt offerings unto the God of Israel, twelve bullocks for all Israel, ninety and six rams, seventy and seven lambs, twelve he goats for a sin offering: all this was a burnt offering unto the LORD" showing the Jews considered Israel among their numbers. So, basically, the remnant of Israel is indeed known today as "Jews." For more on this, read Ten Lost Tribes?

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Q WHAT PART IN THE KINGDOM DOES CHRISTIANS PLAY , AS IN WHAT ARE THERE JOBS IN THE KINGDOM , WHAT ABOUT THEM ??? DOES G-D SIMPLY CAST THEM ASIDE ??? IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOU REALLY UNDER SCORE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE GENTILES WHY ??? AFTER ALL IS HE NOT OUR REDEMMER AS WELL , AND OUR L-RD AS WELL ??? AND ISNT HE OUR ALMIGHTY G-D AS WELL ??? I WONDER CAN YOU SEE THIS , PLEASE ANSWER I KNOW WE AS GENTILES ARE GRAFTED IN BUT ARE WE NOT LOVED AND VALUED AT A HIGH COST AS WELL???

A Absolutely G-d counts the grafted-in Gentiles among His people -- believing Gentiles are 'fellow-heirs' and will serve alongside Israel. Kefa himself pointed out when He took the gospel to non-Jews that "G-d is no respecter of persons." (Acts 10:34) That said, we must not forget that the Scriptures were given to Jews, recorded by Jews, and were about Jews. So naturally Jews feature a more prominent role Scripturally -- it is Jewish history. But in the future kingdom, we know that believers (Jewish and Gentile) who are part of the first resurrection will not die and will be priests of G-d and rule with Yeshua for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

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Q Quick question for Ellen - please forward if necessary. Your page on Shabbat (http://www.lightofmashiach.org/shabbat.html) discusses Acts 20:7 and concludes that this was a Havdalah service. Wonderful idea. However, I've never come across bread being used at Havdalah - the regular service has wine, spices, and a candle. Can you give me any information to support your view? Perhaps things were different 2000 years ago. I would like to be able to share this teaching with friends, but need to clear this up first.

A I believe the service originally did begin as a small gathering after shabbos and then grew into the more ritualized service we have today with spices, wine and a candle. The seder and other traditions have also developed over the centuries to become what we associate with them today.

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Q I would like to learn more concering Judaism. Your site has been very helpful but want to know more. Is there a book that I can purchase to help me along my journey?

A I am going to assume you mean to learn about Messianic Judaism. I found Torah Rediscovered by Ariel and D'vorah Berkowitz interesting. If you're just learning about Torah -- it may be a nice place to start.

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Q I love Torah observance and the beauty of the mitzwot. One thing however disturbs me very much, and that is that Torah observance for Gentiles inevitably seems to lead to nearly complete social isolation. Exchanging Sunday for Shabbath and following the Kashrut laws for instance makes it very difficult to remain in touch with one's social environment in family and society.Is this social isolation not an indication that the ritual mitzwot were only meant to be followed within the context of the community of the Torah, that is the Jewish people?

A Social isolation is an accurate description. Believers are a remnant who remain faithful to G-d in a world that has overall rejected Him. Yeshua Himself asked in Luke 18:8 "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" The end times are NOT described as a time of great "revival" as some television evangelists proclaim, but rather as a time when most will have fallen away from the faith, leaving only a small remnant who remain faithful. Don't you think Daniel and Elijah often felt the same way? Your question indicates that the sadness is in the social isolation of the remnant, but misses that the real sadness is the fact that the society around the remnant is lost, having rejected the precepts of G-d. Yes, it's sad to feel alone in one's faith, but at least you have G-d -- feel pity instead for the "many gathered" who do not know G-d's Truth. Don't envy their great numbers, but feel sober instead.

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Q re general commandments such as to have fellowship (Acts 2:42) and to visit the "assemblies" (Hebr. 10:25) not far more important than specific regulations about Shabbath and Kashrut? What are the priorities here?...Because of my spiritual fears and social concerns I have gone back, for the moment, to Sunday observance in the Brethren Community.

A As far as priorities, you can only obey a command if it is physically possible -- it may be possible to eat kosher and keep Sabbath for you, but impossible to find like-minded Torah fellowship. As I answered above, the problem of finding fellowship will increase as we near the end times since Godlessness and lawlessness will increase. Remember that "lawlessness" is translated from anomos and means "Torahlessness." (These people either reject or are ignorant of Torah). Remember the prophecy in Matthew 24:12 regarding the end times: "Because Torahlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come." It is clearly more important to remain faithful to G-d and Torah even if those around you do not -- your isolation is merely evidence of the approaching end. Yeshua says of those who reject His Torah in Matthew 7:23: "And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice Torahlessness." If the only available fellowship meant being with those who are Torahless, then I would choose solitude and Torah over it since it wouldn't be an acceptable fellowship to G-d.

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Q The visible distinctions that are part of the Torah, e.g. wearing tzitzit, will cause people that see us think that we are orthodox Jews instead of followers of Yeshua. We cannot by our own Torah-practice and use of Jewish symbols undo 2000 years of jewish denial of Yeshua being the Messiah. Everyone knows that "Jews don't believe in Jesus". Thus tzitzit, kippah and observances such as Sabbath will be perceived by our fellow-men simply as "jewish", not as signs or witnesses for Yeshua. More probably as denials of Yeshua! In the Kingdom this will be different of course, but we are not in the Kingdom now. We cannot make jewish symbols having a Messianic significance by simply wishing them to have it. Symbols can only do their job if they are perceived by the world at large in the same way as by the people that use them...For these reasons I gradually have become feeling uneasy and reluctant about "doing jewish things".

A We don't follow the faith of G-d by doing "Jewish things" but by doing "G-d's things." First off, wearing fringes is a command of G-d, not merely some "symbol" for others to judge -- we don't wear them for others but for G-d. The kippa question has been answered before -- G-d doesn't command men to wear one -- it is a tradition of man and therefore not necessary for Messianic believers to wear. We observe Sabbath because it is G-d's Sabbath which He commanded us to keep. We honor G-d's Sabbath -- not the "Jewish Sabbath" I hate to see anyone's faith affected by what others may think. In the end, it is G-d man will answer to, not his earthly peers.

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Q I agree that a gentile Christian need not (and perhaps must not) become a Jew. Yet I'm unable to see the difference between becoming a Jew and taking upon oneself full Torah observance.

A The whole concept of Torah observance being equated to "becoming a Jew" is an oral law teaching regarding making proselytes. Remember, the "traditional" way Jews interpret the law can differ greatly from Scriptural observance alone: Jewish "Torah observance" is defined as based on oral law and Scripture, whereas we obey Scripture only. We are commanded to obey G-d and G-d's laws, not Jews and Jewish Laws. I believe the error here is in assuming that Torah observance is somehow "Jewish" when in fact it is "G-dly." Israel was to be a light to the world so that all could come to know G-d and obey Him. It seems a gross mistake to use the Jewish failure to accept Yeshua and obey Scripturally as an excuse to not obey yourself. Whether or not Jews remain faithful to G-d has no bearing on a Gentile's personal responsibility to seek G-d and follow Him.

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Q In Messianic resource materials it is again and again stated that Gentile believers are included in (or become part of) Israel. Paul however never does say this kind of thing as far as I know.

A The Israeli olive tree example in Romans 11 certainly shows that Gentiles are grafted into the Israeli tree. Also, Ephesians 3:6 shows that "the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Messiah Yeshua through the gospel." Heirs to what? The covenants and promises made to Israel. Remember that Yeshua came to the lost sheep of Israel (Matthew 15:24) and that the gospel only went to the Gentiles *because* of the overall Jewish rejection. Now, becoming a part of Israel doesn't erase being Gentile or change someone into a Jew; it does however indicate that they have accepted G-d and agree to obey Him because they are now considered a member of His people. Sha'ul was clear that there was to be no division within the 'body' of Yeshua -- that body was comprised of Jewish and Gentile believers. Galations 6:15&16 makes it clear that Jewishness and non-Jewishness aren't the important factors in the faith, because both comprise "a new creation" -- the Israel of G-d. This "Israel of G-d" is the remnant -- those who have believed in Yeshua -- both Jewish and Gentile. This is not a changing of who Israel is -- Israel will always be Israel -- it is instead both a broadening and limiting of the remnant (ones who remain faithful to G-d). This Israel is broadened in that Gentiles can now be counted among G-d's people, and it is limited in that among Israel, only those who accept Yeshua are considered to have remained faithful to G-d. Jews who do not believe do not stop being Israel, but they have had their branches cut off (Romans 11) until such a time they accept Yeshua. Israel is all of Israel plus believing Gentiles; and non-believing Israel is likened to severed branches, but are still considered a part of Israel, albeit temporarily cut off. This Israel of G-d is the remnant -- and G-d promises to always keep a remnant for Himself.

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Q I know we call Sunday the 1st day of the week, but isn't it really the 7th, in observance? For me, it is the last day of the week, the day to rest, before the week begins anew. I usually observe sun-down Saturday to sun-down Sunday, then spend Sunday evening preparing for the new week. I was just wondering if there was any scriptural support for the actual calendar DAY, versus the relative day (as in, the 7th day in a series of days).

A Sunday is the first day of the week, it was never changed to the seventh. Even most Christians who worship on Sunday never say that Sunday was changed to the seventh day. The days cannot be re-ordered, they have been set since creation. Even when various calendars make adjustments (through added days, months, "leap years," etc.) to re-align the seasons, the days of the week remain unchanged (meaning, when 10 days were added to a year -- one doesn't suddenly jump from a Thursday to the next Sunday -- it will still remain a Thursday, the following day would be a Friday, etc., and the counting of week days would continue in spite of calendar date changing). Sabbath remains and always has been the last day of the week -- the "7th" day (beginning Friday evening until sundown Saturday). We also know Yeshua observed the Sabbath and had discussions regarding the Sabbath with Jewish leaders. Yeshua would surely know when the Sabbath was yet He never disagreed with the Jewish leaders on which day was Sabbath. This is a proof from antiquity that man never lost track of the Sabbath -- Yeshua validates they were observing the correct day of the week. An interesting point I would add: man assigned the days of the week with names. From the beginning, days were known only by their numerical order (1st - 7th).

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Q I have a question and was wondering if you would give me your opinion. We have a person in our fellowship who has decided that Yeshua is not God. She is very vocal about this, in trying to convince others to come to the same understanding. What should we do with a person like this?

A Your fellowship's leadership should weigh the matter, have two or three witnesses regarding the matter, and confront the person. If the person does not stop teaching against the belief of the community, then that person needs to be removed from fellowship. (Matt 18:16,17). Romans 16:17 tells us: "Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them." It is heartbreaking when things like this occur within a fellowship. It is always hoped the person will repent and can later return.

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Q you state that "We believe Scripture is complete and sufficient for our instruction" and, I guess consequently, "We believe that Talmud and other non-Scriptural writings are not divinely inspired and do not carry the same weight as Scripture." My question then is when the Torah says On the seventh day you shouldn't work, what does that mean? Does it mean you can't do whatever your occupation is, but everything else is ok? How can you possibly say that there is complete instruction in the Scriptur itself? Another example is that Torah many times refers to a man and wife, mostly using the term "took" as in when a man takes a woman as a wife. But how is this accomplished? Does the man say I'm taking you as my wife and that's it? What exactly needs to be done? There are many other examples, but we can focus on these two for now. How would you say that in these two regards the Torah gave complete instructions and no further explaination by Moses was necessary?

A Exactly, no further explanation by Moshe is necessary. The average man can understand what "work" is -- it is only from centuries of rabbinic debates that one would suddenly become confused and wonder, "Hmmm, what is work?" Work is labor -- whether laboring for money or laboring in your own home (repainting, washing dishes, mowing the lawn, etc.). Work is work. "Taking a wife" would be based on the customs where you live. Here in the US, it requires a legal document and witnesses. If you live somewhere where a mere declaration will suffice, then a mere declaration will suffice. There is no reason to make things so complicated, and Torah was never meant to be confusing and heavily debated.
You are presenting an old rabbinic argument that we cannot obey Torah without the Talmud telling us how. By the time Talmud (with all its conflicting explanations) "concludes" on a given matter, you forget what the original question was. G-d gave Torah in a simple form to be understood by the average sheep herder. When G-d gave Israel instruction, the children of Israel replied "All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD." It was just that simple. No decoder ring was necessary. The people of Israel heard and understood G-d's commands. G-d himself declares that He only gave one Torah and that it was easily accessible and 'doable' by the people:

"If you obey the LORD your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the LORD your God with all your heart and soul.
"For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach.
"It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’
"Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’
"But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it.
Deuteronomy 11:22-25
Torah was never intended to be surrounded in confusion and debate. Torah was never meant to be so complex that the common Israeli had no hope of understanding it without "added rabbinical explanations." The teaching that Torah requires rabbinic interpretation is just another attempt to keep the 'common' people away from understanding and easily obeying G-d -- it only succeeded in putting people at the mercy of rabbis.

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Q you challenge the validity of the Talmud as being divinely inspired because the Torah states that "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." Deuteronomy 4:2 "What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it." Deuteronomy 12:32. Yet, you think its reasonable to say that the gospels could give us new books. How would that fit in with the concept that the Torah was complete and no man could add anything to it?

A Do the Writings and Prophets undermine Torah? Are they considered 'additions' to Torah? Lots of things were written after the Torah was given and aren't considered "adding to" or "removing from" Torah. The gospels don't add or take away from Torah, and, like the Prophets, they build on the same Torah foundation.
Where oral law is different is that it undermines Torah by changing its meaning. For a seasonal example, consider the removal of leaven from our houses during HaMatzot. Oral Law gives us permission to keep the leaven in our houses by "selling" it temporarily to someone for that week. Yet Torah tells us "even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses," and "Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses." (Exodus 12:15,19) Whenever an obvious and easily understood command from Torah is undermined and actually reversed so that the rabbis allow leaven to be kept within a house (in a closet), we see that the Talmud is performing a very different role from Writings, Prophets, and New Covenant. Far from being a companion to Torah, Talmud becomes anti-Torah.

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Q Why do you malign Hassidic Judaism, then call yourself Judaism? If you have issues following Rabbinical Judaism by tradition and Torah (That is what Judaism was intended in the first place) why don't you revert to call yourselves, Nazarene Israel or The Community of Nazarenes? You hold to the "Star of David" which is a Judaism tradition, observe all Shabbos and New Moons as they are based on Judaism's "traditional " history of report so why attack the other traditions such as the Oral Mishnah and Talmudic writings? Why do you pick and choose and then condemn the other traditions?

A Hmmm. Which to address first? I'll work my way backwards through your post.
1)"Pick and choose" seems a strange thing to accuse Messianics of when the Talmud contains so many contradictory teachings -- to follow Talmud, one has to "pick and choose" which rabbi to agree with.
2)This "star of David" which I am accused of "holding to" is preposterous! I have stated I consider it has dubious origins in my glossary and have answered emails regarding it -- I don't even have a star of david on my site -- so I am certainly not 'holding' to it (nor planning on it). The sabbaths and new moons are G-d's -- and I don't follow the 'traditional' calendar of Judaism unless it agrees with Scripture and the new moon sighting seen in Jerusalem.
3) My views aren't so much intending to malign Judaism (though I suppose it may come across that way). I am more interested in Truth - Scriptural Truth. When I report the problems I see in following rabbinic thought (Talmud, Kabbalah, etc) I suppose it naturally comes out as if I am just 'anti' Judaism. Christians have accused LOM as being 'anti" Christian, so I can't really win here.
4) I suppose the main reason the term "Judaism" is used by Messianics is because this faith is rooted in Torah -- and traditionally, Jewish faiths built upon Torah are called "Judaism." I don't believe that to qualify to use the label "Judaism" means that the faith must necessarily accept oral teachings like the Talmud -- I would point to Karaite Judaism as an example of a Judaism that doesn't accept oral tradition. Incidently, I didn't coin the phrase 'Messianic Judaism' -- it's just the umbrella label my faith fits under the best.

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Q Would you clarify two facets of your statement of faith for me? NO. 3 states" We believe YHVH is One and that trinity/tri-unity doctrines are inaccurate and misrepresent G-d." However, the 9th statement of faith claims Yeshua as deity. By claiming Yeshua (Jesus) as deity, does that not in essence concur with the Christian thought of a trinity, propelled approximately 500 years after his life?

A This sounds strangely like some trinitarian stance, to indicate that any belief in the deity of Yeshua must somehow originate from the trinity doctrine itself. The idea of Yeshua's deity comes from Scripture, not man-made doctrines. We believe there is one G-d, manifested in the flesh, manifested by (and in) the earth and heavens He created, manifested by the power of his Spirit, manifested in so many ways man can not comprehend or count them... but remaining, One and only One G-d. He doesn't require being subdivided into individual godheads in order to perform His Work (as trinitarians present Him) -- He alone can act in many ways. The TaNaKh hints at G-d's vastness in the many names for him -- depending on the 'role' G-d was performing: El Shaddai, El Roi, El Haggadol, El Chaiyai, (and a favorite of mine: El Yeshuatenu -- the G-d of my Salvation), etc. G-d is vast -- vast enough to include the role of "Son (in Yeshua), Ruach (in power of His Spirit), as well as all the 'roles' mentioned in the Tanakh, yet still remaining only One, without division. So, in answer to your question, I see no contradiction in the LOM Statement of Faith. For more information, read: G-d is One, Not A Trinity

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Q I frequent a web site message board where the topic of discussion is Creation verses Evolution. Quite often, matters of religion and beliefs are brought up. There are many on this board who are not believers, there are a few Christians and there are many others with different beliefs including one who practices Judaism(Orthodox I presume), but there are none on this board who carry the faith of Messianic Judaism. While I believe completely in this faith, I am still very new to studying it. It would be a great service if you (or someone you trust to) might take a look and possibly get involved in a few of the discussions.

Q I noticed your website does not have a Messianic discussion forum listed with your resources. Would you pray about including my discussion forum banner on your website? If you are interested I could also make you one of the moderators of the discussion forum.

A I get offers from time to time about joining various message groups and having links on this site to such boards. To be frank, I burned-out from message boards years ago. I managed the Compuserve Messianic Jewish Forum for several years (leaving at the end of 2000) and then briefly tried an egroup at yahoo. While the time demands were a major factor, there was also the factor of simply being tired of debating my beliefs. I occasionally sign on to PalTalk and visit the Messianic chat rooms set up there (I haven't opened my own room there in years) but I only stay in a room when it's pleasant fellowship. Once a debate gets going, I prefer to leave rather than join in. I've reached a point where it is enough for me to just share my articles and try to answer a few emails (when I can).

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Q Can you clarify a point for me regarding Jochanan 13:34 "A new (chadasha) commandment I give unto you." Many Christians quote this to me as proof that Jeshua has done away with the "old" commandments and replaced with this "new" and therefore "better" one. Reading Strong's translation of "new" I find chadasha to mean renewed or rebirthed/renovated. Is this the correct way of understanding Jeshua's "new" commandment....if so it casts a totally RENEWED light on this scripture for me! I can see then that Jeshua was seeking to revive the commandment to love one another as the Ruach Hakodesh of the Torah.

A Hmmm, renewed -- it is beautiful wording. It seems obvious that the command to love one another already existed and cannot really be a 'new thing.' I think it is being spoken to the shame of the listeners -- it is a sad reminder since they already knew this command: Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." (Leviticus 19:18) That the people already knew this command is repeated in 2 Yochanan 1:5: Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another." It's further proof that Yeshua was teaching Torah to the people, not beginning a new religion.

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Q Hi, this question has been bothering me for a long while... Is Yeshua the arch angel Michael? I was sorta raised a Jehovah's Witness, and my mom just recently told me He was, but I'm not sure if she is right.

A No. A study in the first chapter of Hebrews shows Yeshua is actually contrasted to angels. Hebrews 1:4 shows Yeshua's superiority over angels, Hebrews 1:6 indicates that the angels worship the Son, and Hebrews 1:13 points out that Yeshua is to sit at Right Hand of Throne and that no angel ever received such an offer. Clearly Yeshua cannot be any form of angel since the point of Hebrews 1 is to contrast Yeshua with the angels.

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Q May we have permission to cite some of this information on the website?

A Generally, citing from LOM is fine as long as no words are changed, credit is given, and a link is provided back to LOM.

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Q I think that Yeshua will fulfill the laws when he establishes his Kingdom, but until then, we are to keep the Ten Commandsments, and in doing so, are fulling the law to love. But Yashua added to that, telling us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This was discussed in the passages to deny our "selfs", and to "take up His cross and follow Him". It is obvious to me, that love is the answer Ellen, not statutes and judgments. People will know us by our love, not whether we keep all Torah laws, as no one can possible do that today.

A It's not really fair to contrast love with Torah, as if we have to choose between them. We should love and we should obey G-d. The Torah itself teaches love, so it cannot be opposed to itself. Yeshua didn't "add" anything by telling us to love our neighbor as ourself -- that came right out of Torah, a direct quote from Leviticus 19:18: Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD." (Seems like I just answered a similar question) No one expects you to keep all of Torah -- much of it doesn't even apply to you (priestly laws, temple laws, laws directed only to the other gender, etc.) We show our love for G-d in obeying what does apply to us, though. G-d tells us in Exodus 20:6 that He will show mercy to those who love him and keep His commandments; Revelation 14:12 tells us "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Yeshua." Scripture doesn't allow us the option of neglecting some commands while embracing others.

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Q I would just like to know how do you veiw the book of Enoch, the book of Jubilees, and also the book of Jasher. Are these inspired Scripture or clever deceptions? And any comments on the Apocrypha would be greatly appreciated.

A Let me be upfront and say the only one I have read is Enoch (using the word 'read' lightly -- I didn't study it -- more of a quick skim). I am leery for a few reasons: 1) Do we have preserved today the actual copies referred to in antiquity 2) Not confident of their value (why wouldn't such information have been preserved in other Scripture?) 3) Dubious origins surrounding the works (which is why they weren't canonized in the first place). Personally, I don't plan to study these works -- I can study the generally accepted Scriptures for the rest of my life and still not know everything in them. I think the temptation of such apocryphal works is from basic human nature: "to learn some new thing."

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Q Shalom, greeting in the name of Yeshua, Question, i read the article on kosher, help me out as a believer then i should observe kosher laws, church will tell us that is under the law, my Rabbi will say no, I thank G-d we our saved by grace and mercy my life by myself is up in down, I want to really understand the word the right way, I love to share with non Jews that our in the church from a Jewish point of view, please tell me more, thank you

A Any "law" can be abused -- thinking you are justified by law certainly would be wrong -- but you can obey and still rest in grace for salvation. I shouldn't worry what others say (saying I was "under law") and would worry more about what He will say when I stand before Him and give an accounting of my life.
It always makes me smile when someone mentions a "Jewish point of view" -- since what could be more Jewish anyway than sharing from Scriptures recorded by Jews, written about Jews and addressed to Jews? Seems silly when I read about the "Jewish roots of the faith" as if that is something unique -- what other ethnic roots are there to the faith but Jewish? I wish you the best in your search for knowledge and empathize with your dilemma of choosing a path that will not please everyone. If you look within Messianic Judaism for answers -- you'll find yourself at odds with both Christian and traditional Jewish communities. Not always pleasant, but Truth has its own rewards of peace and security. My best to you!

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Q Where can I obtain the information you provided on your website about Rashi rendering almah to be virgin. This is very important to me.

A Two sources:
Arnold G Fruchtenbaum's Jesus Was A Jew copyright 1981 (3rd printing 1995) p 52.
David Stern's Jewish New Testament Commentary copyright 1992 (4th edition 1995) p 7.

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Q Shalom, What are your thoughts on what is called,"The Two House " teaching? Thank-you so much for your time. Shalom,shalom,

AThe idea that Ephraim (House of Israel) is somehow a Gentile house seems ludicrous to me. Ezra already makes it clear that the remnant of Israel was counted among Judah -- G-d always keeps a remnant for Himself -- His people are never lost. (Ezra 7:7, Ezra 7:13, Ezra 8:35, etc) I find it convenient that many Gentile Messianics desiring "Jewishness" would find a way to Scripturally claim the title of Israel in a descendant sort-of-way. Sha'ul has already stated that by faith alone Gentiles are counted among Israel -- in fact, are fellow-heirs. Even before Yeshua, a foreigner was always able to become a part of Israel by keeping Torah and joining G-d's people -- Ruth is an example of this. Consider this: If Gentiles truly were the natural and genetic House of Israel descendants, then why does Sha'ul identify them as "wild branches" in a tree not their own in Romans 11? If the two-house teaching is correct, then Gentiles would be natural branches being restored to their own tree. Sha'ul is clear that this wasn't the case. In fact, there would be no point in even explaining about grafting in, if in the end, Gentiles can count themselves as genetic Israeli descendants.
But even more compelling, are the words of Yeshua. When Yeshua was approached by a Gentile, He pointed out He wasn't sent to her, but only to the lost sheep of Israel. (Matt 15:24) And just who were these lost sheep of Israel? The Jews. We know He considered the Jews the lost sheep of Israel because of His actions in the gospels -- the gospels record He and His disciples took His message to the Jews -- not the Gentiles. This clearly identifies the "lost sheep of Israel" as Jewish. In Matthew 10:5,6 Yeshua was very clear about what people His disciples were to approach:"Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand." Now what people did the disciples take the message to after Yeshua told them this? Jewish people. So we see that Israel again is identified not as Gentiles or Samaritans, but as the Jewish people living in the land of Israel. Basically, Yeshua identifies the "lost sheep of Israel" as being found within the House of Judah -- the Jewish people. This seems conclusive proof for me that Gentiles are not somehow descendants of the "lost sheep of Israel." Incidently, the "lost sheep" were spiritually lost here and this wasn't even referring to physically lost tribes anyway. For a longer article on this, read Ten Lost Tribes?

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Q love your site. i'm a grafted in gentile and i just want to encourage you in one area. that is the escape that is shown in scripture that happens before the tribulation. it is perfectly shown in the Lords appointed times. trumpets(a holy assembly) days of awe ( tribulation) Yom Kippur(national salvation of israel at Yeshua's coming) Feast of Tabernacles( 1000 year reign of Yeshua) Praise GOD!!!

A Firstly, I cover the matter of a post-trib rapture in much depth in Understanding The Post-Tribulation Rapture. I certainly understand the appeal of a pre-trib rapture and fear people are being taken in by this incorrect doctrine. I hope you will prayerfully read the article.

Secondly, I certainly see the beauty of the holy days being fulfilled through Yeshua, but will point out again that the literal fulfillments during the first century occurred in chronological 'real time' (earthly time) and I would expect any fulfillment of the Fall holy days to also occur in literal 'real time.' For example, your scenario requires that the 'ten days of awe' occur over many years instead of ten literal earthly days. Remember that when Yeshua came before, His sacrifical death represented Passover, His resurrection represented First Fruits, and He sent us His comforting ruach (spirit) a literal 50 days later for Shavuot (Pentecost). These occured in 'real time' just as the holy days are commanded to occur in Torah. So any future fulfillment of the fall holy days requires that Yom Kippur occur 10 days after Yom Teruah (shofar/trumpet) and 5 days before Sukkot (booths/tabernacles). If people want to come up with scenarios that apply the fall holy day fulfillments to future events, this sort of chronological consistency is required.

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Q Dear LOM, Just wondering about the commandment regarding the "children of Israel" and the wearing of the tzit tzit (fringes). Does this mean women are to wear them too? Is there a certain way to tie them? I notice Karaites tie the tzit tzit differently. Also, is there a certain distance that you shouldn't go/travel on the Sabbath? Sometimes the only fellowship we can have with others on the Sabbath means driving 40-50 miles to get there. Is this acceptable?

A Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue." (Numbers 15:38)
Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. (Deuteronomy 22:12)

Regarding tassels: The actual wording of the passage is "ben Yisrael," that is, "sons of Israel," but often translated "children of Israel." The word sons (ben, sing; banim, pl) is used elsewhere to indicate it doesn't mean only males, but can mean anyone. Like in Exodus 31:16: Therefore the children (ben/banim - sons) of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations for a perpetual covenant." Even though 'sons' is the word used, we know women are to keep the sabbath also. Another example of ben/sons including women is in Deuteronomy 31:12,13: "Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: And that their sons, (ben/banim) which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it." We can see in this example, everyone was responsible to hear the message and then teach their offspring what they had learned. It doesn't seem logical that only the sons of the offspring would be meant -- all offspring would need to know Torah just as all their parents had. I used this unrelated verse to make the point that all were responsible to obey the commands -- not just the men. In this light, I think the command to wear tassels can include women. As far as tying them, I don't think it matters how. You see the detailed instructions G-d gave for building the tabernacle -- if something must be done in an exact fashion -- then G-d gives further details. Since He doesn't here, I believe any type of fringe, tied in any fashion, is fine. In deference to Yeshua's criticism of the scribes and Pharisees,(Matthew 23:5) I wouldn't make them too long though. You could probably make your own (just don't forget the tekeleth -- the violet/blue thread!)
Regarding shabbos distances: I think the answer here requires your own discernment. In biblical days, distance limits were logical, since a person either had to tire themselves out walking, or work an animal on shabbos to carry them. But today, with transportation available to people, it's arguable just how much more work driving 50 miles is compared to say, walking 1000 cubits (half a mile). Would you be tired from driving 50 miles... both ways?

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Q I just read your response on women and pants in the Questions area of your web sight. And since I am personally convicted to not wear pants, I wanted to know your reasoning of Breeches? I use to refer my "pants" as breeches and so did my parent/grandparents. So, I was wondering if Ex 28:42 was referring to pants, or some other garment as they were only for the priests.

A "And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach" (Exodus 28:42)
The word "breeches" there comes from the Hebrew miknas and refers to undergarments. They aren't pants - in fact, they don't even go to the ankle but just cover loins and thighs. They would resemble the culottes (skorts/split-skirts) some women wear today. But remember, this wasn't a garment for others to see, it was worn under the tunic and robe.

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Q I find your website very informative, and in fact have used (Quoted) some of your information in dialoging with Jewish people on the Internet......But one thing puzzles me a little, Why do you think that the Law of Moses is still in effect when the New Testament reveals that it has been annulled. Hebrews 7:18..?

A Far from being anulled, Matthew 5:18 assures us: "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished.
As long as heaven and earth remain, it is G-d's sign to us that His Torah has not changed (or, G-d forbid, been annulled). The verse you mention in Hebrews is being taken out of context -- the discussion is about Yeshua's priesthood having superiority -- you need to read all the Hebrews text (chapter after chapter on the priesthood). If you had read further (instead of stopping at verse 18) you'd see that Yeshua is superior to the other priests that came before Him because He doesn't die. (vs 23,24) His sacrifice is a continuing sacrifice -- making further sacrifices unnecessary for us. It is Yeshua's very superiority referred to in the verse you quoted -- the 'weakness' of the earthly priesthood (vs 18) is being replaced with the "better hope" (vs 19) of Yeshua's priesthood. Unlike the earthly priests (vs 27) Yeshua didn't need to first offer a sacrifice for His own sins before offering one for the people -- He was without sin. This sacrifical change from earthly priests to a heavenly priest is basically a change from an imperfect system of sacrifice to one made perfect through Yeshua. Hebrews devotes so many chapters to explaining to us why Yeshua is the better priest. To annul the very Torah which made Yeshua's priesthood so valued to us is contrary to the very point Hebrews is making. Remember, if Torah is annulled, the need for sacrifice vanishes with it -- and Yeshua would have died in vain to fulfill a sacrifice that was no longer required. That wouldn't be very well planned by G-d, would it? Further, if there is no Torah, then there is nothing we've transgressed against to require a sacrifice anyway. It is because Torah remains in effect that Yeshua's priesthood and sacrifice are so precious to us -- His sacrifice satisfies the Torah sacrificial requirements on our behalf.

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This page of questions that I have received via email is an ongoing project -- there are so many excellent questions sent here, and they have been carefully set aside for when I could "find the time" to reply. If you have recently written and do not see yours -- please be patient -- I will try to address them all. Besides questions, I also receive a lot of thoughtful comments, general support, and prayers -- they are all welcomed and appreciated! It is a blessing to share this wonderful faith in Yeshua with all of you!

Shalom and Todah!

Ellen

[Due to how large this page is becoming, I have added a "search" feature at page top. It is not perfect -- will only take you to first instance the word/phrase is found. You can do a search with more hits by using the EDIT | FIND (on This Page) buttons on your browser menu (or Ctrl + F).]

(December 2006) LOM receives a lot of email questions, but so many have already been answered in articles (as well as here in Q&A) that sometimes it is difficult for me to decide which require addressing. I've added a few more questions this month, and have a few more on 'hold' that will require more time in answering. As always, thanks for keeping me in your prayers -- you make a difference in my life. Todah!

(October 2006) The absence of updates to this page is not for lack of excellent questions but rather the lack of time to give those questions the proper attention they deserve. :-(
Thanks again to all of you who are keeping me in your prayers -- they are appreciated more than you know. Todah!

Update (Spring 2006): Since beginning this Email Q&A page, I have been through much personal difficulty, moved to another state, and have started a very stressful job working as a social worker in a nursing home. I find I have less time than I wish for updating this page. Discussing my faith is still my favorite thing in the world even if I have less time to do so. Please don't think this is a request for you not to email your questions to me -- May it never be! It's just a plea for understanding if it seems to take me a long time to actually answer them. Your continued prayers are welcomed and appreciated.

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