My tongue does the digging for me

There’s no excuse for it really. I don’t honestly know what inspires me to say what I do sometimes. Sometimes I have no filter. I really don’t know why. I don’t set out trying to hurt people or offend anyone. Sure, if someone is provoked to conversation with me because of what I say, sometimes that’s a motive behind it I guess, but I never intentionally say anything that I think will hurt anyone personally. I sometimes poke hot sticks at other people’s politics or ethics, but that doesn’t mean I’m a hateful person. Does it? If you can’t allow your own beliefs (political or religious/ethical) to be challenged or questioned, you’ll never grow as a person. I won’t ever apologize for believing that.

There are a few exceptions. If you think it’s okay to kill unborn babies I will never apologize for saying that you deserve to die in the same way as the 100s of millions of innocent victims of the crime of abortion have. That is, having your limbs slowly ripped from your body one by one while neither you nor anyone else are allowed to express any outward sign of protest, shortly before you have your skull crushed mercilessly and your remains tossed in the local dump. Don’t like that picture? Good. Eat it up.

If you think that the words “janitor” and “Jew” are even somewhat similar, to the point that you “slip up” and say the latter when you mean the former, I will not hesitate to let it be known that I think you are an imbecile and likely pro-islam. Seriously. I’m not one to promote the ridiculous, pedophilia-based pseudo-psychology of Freud, but there is no way that kind of thing is a “slip of the tongue.” They’re not even phonetically similar.

But other than that, I don’t set out with any intention of hurting people’s feelings just for kicks and giggles. I am not a merciless jerk who is hell-bent on setting people straight in every facet of their lives. Yes I speak my mind. Sometimes too quickly, I realize. But I will never hesitate to apologize or withdraw my statement if I find that somebody finds it personally offensive. I have no qualms with admitting when I am wrong and taking actions to right any wrongs that have stemmed from my actions. I don’t typically seek revenge. Certainly I want to make my intentions clear, and I sometimes talk till I’m blue trying to explain my actions, even if it is never heard by the intended audience. But I don’t seek out to destroy the soul of every person who has an opposing viewpoint. I want to talk about it, maybe even disagree or argue about it, but I don’t see why it should cause us to hate each other. If someone disagrees with me and doesn’t like hearing what I believe, they’re welcome to shrug off what I say or just not bring it up to begin with. But If someone is going to openly express their opinions in a place where I am likely to see it and disagree with it, they should expect somebody to say something. That is my honest opinion.

That being said, I have been known to say things without thinking about the way they sound, but it’s not out of malice. I’ve never claimed to be eloquent or intelligent. I say things. Sometimes I say things I really shouldn’t, and I realize it before it’s too late. Other times I unintentionally say stupid things without realizing it, and I can’t take it back. Even if I say it on a social media platform I can sometimes go back and edit the post, but that doesn’t mean nobody has seen it already.

But I’m not a jerk who unnecessarily stirs waters. I’m just not.

Really, I’m not.

I’ll never apologize for my views or beliefs in certain regards, but that doesn’t mean I won’t apologize for the way I express it. I’m human. I know I royally mess things up. A lot more than I care to admit. I’m not trying to shrug off responsibility for my actions. I know I should be more careful with the way I say or do things. It’s just that sometimes I realize that what I’m doing or saying is not okay a little too late, and it’s already affected someone.

As I’m writing this post, someone shared a quote:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”

-Maya Angelou

Okay. I get it God. I can’t explain away my actions because that’s not what matters to people. It doesn’t mater how many times I apologize for my actions if what I said or did hurt the other person. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to change how I feel about certain things. I don’t know how to change my reactions to certain things that boil my blood. I don’t know how to say what needs to be said in a way that isn’t offensive to someone else. I don’t know how to shut up when it will only serve to anger someone by speaking up.

I keep forgetting that I’m not my own person. Besides my responsibility to my wife and son to respect them and protect them from idiots like myself, I belong to God, and I have a responsibility to represent Him

I mess up in that area. A lot, I’m finding.

I wouldn’t excuse some jerk being a certain way towards a woman and shrugging it off by saying “I’m just a guy,” so why do I think I get to shrug off my actions and words by saying “I’m just imperfect?”

I am a hypocrite. I just never realized it before. I really don’t want to be.

“The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness”
-Proverbs 15;2

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Traditions of Men: Why the church is more guilty of legalism than Hebrew Roots Christians

When is the Sabbath? Most in the Christian church would answer “Sunday.” But what is the truth? What does Scripture have to say about this?

Most in the Christian Church believe that the sabbath was changed to Sunday. Mostly because of the passage in Acts 20 where Paul is preaching on the “first day of the week.” The story goes on to tell about the young, man named Eutechus, who fell asleep because Paul was speaking for so long that he fell out of the window and died. Read it sometime, it’s interesting.

So, the foundation for the argument made by most is the idea that “Paul did it,” as well as a passage where Paul is writing to a church in 1 Corinthians 16, and he mentions taking up a collection:

1 Corinthians 16:1-2
1 Now concerning the collection for the saints:as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

Certainly, the “first day of the week” is mentioned in this passage, as an appointed time at which to take up a collection to be put away (for safe keeping or some other purpose). But is there any prescription for this to be a new mandate, a replacement for the Biblical command to rest on the 7th day? Is there any mention of why they were to take up the collection on the first day of the week? Aside from what Paul says, “so that there will be no collecting when I come,” no, not really. One would think that if Paul was telling the believers that this was supposed to be the new “meeting time” or “the new Sabbath,” that it would be more clear. Paul is not telling the Corinthians that they should congregate on the first day of the week, simply that they should set aside some money for a collection on that day. This is not too different from the practice of setting aside funds for bills at the beginning of the month. It’s just good advice.
But why not on the sabbath itself? They were definitely still meeting in the temple on a regular basis, so we can’t overlook the fact that they assembled regularly on the Sabbath, so why not prescribe the “offering” then? Most likely because part of the Sabbath command is to “keep it holy,” or as set apart from the everyday norm, since that’s the actual meaning of holy, to be separated or set apart. Deuteronomy 5:12-14 states that we are to abstain from all work on the sabbath. What is work? It is the exchange of labor for wages. Therefore, wages are considered a common thing, not to be dealt with on the Sabbath. Jewish halakhah, traditional observance of the Torah, expounds on this by prohibiting buying and selling at all on the sabbath, because buying and selling is something that is supposed to be completed before the sabbath.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

It is likely that Paul had this in mind – since, after all, he was a devout Jew himself – when he suggested the collection be taken up on the first day.

Another favorite of sunday Sabbath advocates is that the reason the Sabbath was changed to Sunday is because Yeshua rose on the first day of the week. That is hard to both prove and disprove, but instead of using any kind of verifiable scripture to back up this tradition, they point to the passage about Paul teaching “on the first day of the week,” and say that because Paul did it, that makes it right. There is absolutely no explicit mention of anything being changed regarding the sabbath. Where in all of the prophecies concerning the coming Messiah is any mention made of the Messiah changing anything in the Torah? Yeshua Himself even declared that He did not come to do His own will, but that of the Father. What is the Father’s will?

John 7:16-17
So Jesus answered them, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me. 17 If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

So did Yeshua come to do anything that was not already established? No! He came to do the will of God, which was so that His people might know Him. Yeshua is God. God is Yeshua. If one does something to contradict the other, they are not one and we should forfeit the whole thing. If Paul instructed his readers to do anything that contradicted the Torah of God, then he is a false teacher, and should be rejected. Paul even exclaims that he upholds the Torah!

Romans 3:31
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the Torah.

So what are we to do then? Should we uphold the many mistranslations of Paul’s letter as saying that he somehow has some unexplained authority over and above that of Messiah himself? Or should we take Paul’s own words and realize that simply because we are not held to the Torah as a means of salvation does not mean that we throw it out?

What is more, the Sabbath is mentioned 66 times in the Old Testament (in the ESV at least), and every time it is referred to as being on the 7th day, and most of these are attached to a following condemnation or punishment for not observing it as such. Of the 57 times it is mentioned in the Apostolic Scriptures, the majority of times is is in reference to Yeshua or his disciples, or both. Often, Yeshua is being accused of doing something that ought not to be done on the Sabbath, but every time, Yeshua offers a rebuttal to the Pharisee’s accusations based on the Torah itself to uphold the fact that what He was doing was in line with the Sabbath commandment even though it did not line up with the manmade traditions of the Pharisees. I think it is significant that most of the time we see Yeshua healing or doing other miracles, it is on the sabbath. Why would He make a point of doing so? So that we would see that it’s no longer important if we work on the sabbath? If we take that stance and believe that Yeshua was a Sabbath breaker, we agree with the Pharisees, and we condemn Him of transgressing the Torah, and thereby obliterate His sinlessness, and Messiahship. If we agree that He was sinless and did nothing to transgress the Torah, then we have to recognize that everything He did was in an effort to uphold the Scriptures, not change them. Each time He was accused of breaking the Sabbath by healing, He relates the event to an instruction given in the Torah to help even our enemies if they need it on the Sabbath. What good is sabbath observance if you are going to be a jerk while doing it? No. Healing those who needed it, if anything, was required as a part of keeping the Sabbath.

But what if Paul did observe a first-day Sabbath? What are we to do with that? Certainly Paul was an influential author in the Apostolic Scriptures. Why would we ignore a practice that he observed? What would be the harm? Certainly if Paul did it, then it must be okay, right? Or is that kind of thinking the very type that undermines the authority of the Scriptures? Should we follow the advice of a single man simply because he was of proven character? What if what he does contradicts the authority of Scripture itself, as well as that of our Messiah? What are we to do with that? The same thing we would do with a teacher or preacher who either changes or contradicts anything contained in scripture: disregard their teachings and strip them of all authority. Did Messiah observe the Sabbath? Think about it carefully before answering. If yes, then either we are misunderstanding what Paul is teaching and doing regarding Sabbath observance, or he is blatantly disregarding a sacred commandment that even our Messiah observed, and should therefore be removed from Scripture. If Messiah did not observe the Sabbath – specifically on the 7th day – then He cannot be anything other than a false prophet, because we are told in 1 John 3:5 that He is sinless, and what is sin besides disobeying God’s commands, of which the observance of Sabbath is a huge one. If we acknowledge that Yeshua kept the Sabbath holy and observed it on the 7th day, yet we still insist that Paul observed a 1st day sabbath – despite all the warnings given for doing such a thing – then we are observing the traditions of men, something that our Messiah was heartily opposed to (see my previous post)

Let me clarify: I do not believe at all that Paul observed a sunday sabbath. I believe, because he states so very clearly multiple times in his writing, that Paul was a devout Jew, trained up in the Torah, a Jew among Jews. Does that make him a better person? No. Does it give him anymore authority on scriptural matters? I think yes. We in western churches test a person’s Biblical authority based on their training and foundation. Paul was raised studying scripture. He memorized whole books of the Bible as part of his training as a young man. He was likely in the process of earning his smicha when he experienced first-hand our Messiah on the road to Damascus. So should we accept his authority? Absolutely. However, if anything he says or instructs his readers to do contradicts even a single word of Scripture or even a single word from our Messiah, his authority should be thrown out along with all of his writings. If Paul contradicts the teachings of Messiah in any way, they should be discarded. However, I do not for even a single moment believe that this was the case. I believe that Paul was very much in agreement with the whole of Scripture and everything that Messiah did and said. So something must have gotten twisted in our understanding of his writings. If not, then we ought to disregard his writing entirely. Since we cannot do that, we should carefully consider what Paul is actually teaching and doing

1 + 1 = 1 old & 1 new? What happened between Malachi 4:4-6 and Matthew 1?

The book of Malachi is widely accepted as being the “last” book of the Hebraic scriptures. What do I mean by “Hebraic scriptures?” The term refers to the fact that what most people refer to as the “Old Testament” was written primarily in Hebrew. Whether that be Hebrew as it is known today, or the old “picture language” of Ancient Hebrew, where each of the letters were simple pictures that depicted some deeper meaning in addition to the plain letter quality. I use this term because “Old Testament” gives strong negative implications that the first two-thirds of the Bible – in which God gave His expectations of His Bride – are somehow separate and distinct from the remaining one-third which tells us about Messiah’s sojourn here on Earth. I disagree with this notion, since, as I have mentioned previously, I firmly believe that God’s expectations for His bride, which are laid out in the Torah, are still relevant for modern day believers in Messiah (See the books of James and 1 John, in any translation, for why I believe this). So, to believe that the entirety of Scripture is in unison and talking about the same thing – the Messiah – from Genesis 1:1 to the end of Revelations, and then to refer to one part as being “old” and the other as “new” completely contradicts this thinking. For this same reason, I refer to the “new testament” as the Apostolic Scriptures (you can probably deduce why on your own).

Now, if the entirety of scripture is one unit, in unison in its mission and message, from the first page to the last, then it is safe to say without risk of heresy that you can rip out that page in the middle of your Bible that separate Malachi 4:6 and Matthew 1:1, you know the one that is mostly blank except for the large print in the middle in a majestic typeface that reads “New Testament.” That page was not added in by any of the original authors, nor God Himself. That was added in by modern day translators of the Bible, who, in my opinion, completely misunderstand the mission and message of Messiah while He was on Earth. The editors of these different translations completely miss the point in certain instances, and skew it in others, and I believe it is accurate to say that they do not truly know Yeshua as they may claim, at least not if we accept the words of 1 John 2:6 to be accurate and inspired by God. If we don’t accept John’s words as such, then we should remove them from the Scriptures.

So, then, how is it that somewhere between the last words of the book of Malachi, and the birth of Yeshua in Matthew 1 (which I think – I’m not certain tho – was 100-200 or so years) that God changed His mind? Why would God, who is never changing, and adamant about certain things in the Torah being “eternal decrees” suddenly, without explanation, change His mind about it all? It is fallacy to believe that God spoke in no uncertain terms through the Prophet Malachi that Israel was to “Remember the Torah,” if within just a relatively short time, the Torah would be “done away with” as some believe. In addition to this, there is the issue of the Prophet Elijah being sent to Israel “Before the great and awesome day of YHVH,” (Mal 4:5). Did that ever happen? If we look in the book of John, we see that it was prophesied over John before he was even born that he would be filled with the spirit of Elijah.

Luke 1:17 (ESV)
…and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

This prophecy given to Zechariah by the angel of YHVH when he was presenting an offering in the temple lines up directly to the passage in Malachi 4:

Malachi 4:4-6 (ESV)
“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel. 5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. 6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

If we are careful to understand this, even in its plain meaning, we see that Elijah will be sent to the people of Israel in order to turn their hearts back to God and prepare them for deliverance. It follows, then, that if that prophecy came to fruition, then the warning which was given along side it to “Remember the law” would also still stand before and after it manifested. Otherwise how were the people to be prepared, as it mentioned in Luke 1:17? We cannot accept the promise of redemption without the warning that is given if the command is not met. This is not to say that Yeshua would not have come if Israel had not heeded the command of God. However, if they did not heed the command and remember the Torah, their hearts would not be ready to receive Him or his deliverance. In much the same way, unless we familiarize ourselves with Gods Torah, not just in an academic sense, but in our hearts, we cannot consider ourselves prepared or equipped to receive His redemption.

So why do we as christians assume that we are no longer to remember the Torah? Many may make the point that Malachi’s prophecy is addressed to Israel. Are we not grafted into the root of Israel in Messiah? Were we not unified in Messiah when He broke down the wall of hostility that existed between Jew and Gentile? If so, then why do we so readily dismiss what God calls abominations as being “suggestions” or “guidelines” that can be ignored with little or no consequence? Why do we try to rationalize away certain things given by God to make Israel (to whom we are grafted in) different from the rest of the world by saying that “God only told them that because they didn’t have _______?” That is not a sound argument. If it were, then why didn’t the nations who didn’t partake in the Torah’s instructions regarding food have any negative side effects? It’s just to feeble of an excuse to be considered.

We should always carefully and respectfully study the Scriptures. We should take into consideration that God is unchanging and His statutes are eternal when we run into either an idea or a Scripture that seems to contradict any other part of Scripture. Never accept what anyone tells you simply because they’re trustworthy or in a position of assumed authority. Test everything against Scripture, and ask God to help you have an open heart, and open mind. Always be willing to challenge your faith, and be willing to be wrong when it comes to things that we believe to be true. We are fallible, imperfect beings. We should never be so bold as to accept something as truth if it goes against what our almighty King says, no matter how convincing the argument.

Thoughts on Ephesians 2:15

I came across Ephesians 2:15 yesterday while studying with some close friends, and it caused me to do a double take.

Ephesians 2:14-16 (ESV)
For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.

Does Paul really claim that Yeshua abolished the law of commandments? It seems pretty black and white when you look at it, but a closer look and a deeper study reveal some issues with this common understanding.

He opens this paragraph to the gentiles at Ephesus by saying “So, remember that at one time you were gentiles, looked down upon and scorned by the Jews for your lack of Covenant with God, and at that time you were separated from Messiah, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants which God made with His people, utterly hopeless and without God.” (my own paraphrase)

If you go back to chapter 1 you will discover to what Paul is contrasting this prior hopeless, Godless, covenant-less scenario. Paul is giving us a rundown of everything that God did for us when He chose to send His Son to die for our sins (I’ll let you read it, it spans almost a whole chapter). Basically, God gave the gentiles knowledge of the covenants, gave them hope, gave them an inheritance, and gave them grace by forgiving their sins. Chapter 2 goes on to say “And even tho God gave all authority over the believers to Yeshua as a head and leader of that body, you were still wallowing in your sins and lusts, following the ways of the world, even following satan himself through other men! Yet even so, God, the merciful God that He is, because of his astounding love for us – even though we stank with sin – gave us life thru Messiah, saved us by His grace, and gave us a place of equal inheritance next to Messiah on the throne in Heaven. You have been saved by grace, not by anything of your own doing – it’s God’s gift, so that you can’t foolishly boast.” (Again, my own paraphrase)

Paul is on a tirade of giving the Ephesians both a pat on the back, and a sobering reminder that their faith is not something they get to take credit for, all the glory for their salvation (and ours) goes to God alone.

Then comes the tricky part. Paul tells the Ephesians,

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
For we are his workmanship, created in Messiah Yeshua for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up. Let’s back that up just a second. God created us in Messiah for good works, which were prepared beforehand so that we might walk in them? What in the world does that mean? What does he mean by works? And how do we walk in them? I think we need to talk to some friends about this for just a second.

1 John 2:1-6 (ESV)
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Messiah Yeshua the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

James 2:14-26 (ESV)
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”—and he was called a friend of God. You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not also Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

Wow, that’s heavy. I’ve read that before, but it still hits home pretty hard. So many people argue with me that because I view the Torah instructions as valid for modern believers in Yeshua that I believe in salvation by works. No. I believe in salvation by grace, through faith in Messiah Yeshua, and that as redeemed, bought-with-a-price, followers of Messiah, we should prove our salvation with our works. Just as James said, “You have faith and I have works… I will show you my faith by my works.” And John also gives us a sobering slap across the face when he says “Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

But back to our selected verse.
Paul continues to sober us up with the passage that I opened with:
“So, remember that at one time you were gentiles, looked down upon and scorned by the Jews for your lack of Covenant with God, and at that time you were separated from Messiah, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and foreigners to the covenants which God made with His people, utterly hopeless and without God.”
But now, we who were once far off have been brought near to God by the blood of Yeshua. Paul mentions that God, who is our peace, has made us one by breaking down the dividing wall of hostility. Who was made one and what wall was broken down? The Jews and Gentiles (Paul uses the first person plural because he was a devout Jew, and constantly refers to himself as such). How did God do this? By abolishing that law of commandments as was expressed in ordinances.

So I feel at this point that it is necessary to point out a truth that was revealed to me when it comes to understanding scripture, and it consists of two simple rules:
1. Scripture is never wrong or self contradictory; either we misunderstand it, or we are making contradictions that do not exist.
2. If you ever come across a scripture that is either wrong or contradicts another verse, see rule #1.

That being said, let me make this point:
Yeshua himself said in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah, but to fulfill it,” and if Paul is actually declaring that this is what He did, we then need to refer to the two rules.

More than likely what Paul is referring to is the fence (“traditions)” that Jews put around the Torah commandments in an effort to keep from even coming close to transgressing it. What is ironic is that most Jews fail to realize that in doing so in certain situations, they actually transgress the very Torah they are seeking to guard! One example is the washing of hands. In Mark 7, the pharisees deride Yeshua for not making His disciples wash their hands before eating (a command that is not given in Scripture). Yeshua, in a roundabout way, tells them that it is not the food that goes in to a person that defiles him, rather it is the excrement that is created that defiles a man. What the pharisees did was to create an ordinance, or a fence around the commandment to not enter the temple in an unclean state. This particular ordinance prevented them from seeing that the true purpose in being clean is not for everyday situations, it is for temple service! In their haughtiness and pride, they misjudged others – even distanced themselves from and cast out those who didn’t follow their rigorous purity practices, accusing them and condemning them for a sin that they did not commit. Yet the whole of the Torah can be summed up in “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” If they failed to do that in their judgement, they failed the whole of the Torah. This same attitude carries over even today. Many Jews will disassociate themselves from their gentile friends for reasons like kosher eating. Modern halakhah (or traditional observance of Torah Instruction beyond the explicit instructions in the Torah) says that all meat has to be kept absolutely separate form other food so as not to contaminate it with the blood, since God instructs us not to eat the blood, since it contains life (Deuteronomy 12:23). I know a family that has a separate freezer/fridge for meet and vegetables, and when they prepare meet, they cover their entire kitchen in aluminum foil so as to prevent the blood from contaminating other food. Because of this, they never dine with other families (even jews) who do not do the same, thereby neglecting their relationships for the sake of their own satisfaction in their deeds. Certainly this puts their own traditions above God’s instructions. This is what is meant by ordinances. Ordinances are manmade. God did not give a list of ordinances at Mt. Sinai, He gave instructions. Parents give their children instructions, not ordinances. Husbands and wives have expectations for each other, not ordinances.

For one to read Ephesians 2:15 as Paul saying that God abolished the law of commandments because it is nothing more than a list of ordinances does not line up with Scripture. If there seems to be a conflict, refer to the rest of scripture. Too much esteem is put on the letters of Paul, to which the other side is not known.  We don’t know the issues to which he is referring, and in our modern language, we miss all the nuances of his contemporary language and idioms. For us as astute believers and scholars of Scripture to hold a higher esteem for Paul, who’s writings make up little more than 5% of the entire Bible when counting verses, than all the other books (like James and John’s epistles) is simply irresponsible. Paul, who claims himself to be a pharisee, a Jew of Jews, would not have blatantly contradicted the very words of Messiah. Study the scripture. If something in one book seems like it is either going against or replacing something that is said elsewhere (especially when it conflicts with the words of Messiah) study into it. Don’t just accept it at face value because it was written by Paul, or even because your pastor told you so. Study it for yourself and ask God to show you the truth. And always remember the two rules:

1. Scripture is never wrong or self contradictory; either we misunderstand it, or we are making contradictions that do not exist.
2. If you ever come across a scripture that is either wrong or contradicts another verse, see rule #1.

Can we at least agree on this one thing?

The modern tenets of the Cell Theory include:
1. all known living things are made up of cells.
2. the cell is structural & functional unit of all living things.
3. all cells come from pre-existing cells by division.
(Spontaneous Generation does not occur).
4. cells contains hereditary information which is passed from
cell to cell during cell division…
-Wolfe, (1972) “Biology of the Cell”

The cell theory in it’s modern form – readily accepted by all major scientists, biologists, and medical professionals (at least in the USA) – openly, and unashamedly recognizes that the absolute smallest detectable unit of life is the cell. In all it’s mind-boggling complexity, the cell is one of the most amazing facets of creation. Tiny little machines capable of self sustaining process that contribute to their own heredity and the decimation of harmful organisms and molecules, these small factories preserve and replicate the coding sequence for every individual detail that makes a person, animal, or plant unique and one of a kind, even among it’s own species. I won’t even begin on the issue of why these imperceivable gelatinous blobs of ultra complex machinery could never have spontaneously come into being, that would take far too long, and is not what I intend to address here.

No. What I intend to touch on here is the issue of the scientific community’s recognition that the cell itself is the very essence of life on earth. If NASA was to find even one solitary mammalian cell on another planet, they would excitedly declare that they had discovered “life. At the same time, these same scientists would turn around to be found lobbying in D.C. for the “right” of women to dispose of something that is – by their very own definition – alive inside of them, dismissing it as simply a “blob” or “fetus,” lacking enough mental capability to sustain life on its own. They would willingly go against the very root of what they hold as their primary criteria for life on another planet as being nothing more than an inconvenient disposable mass of “tissue” simply because it would allow them to continue their lifestyle of self-gratification and greed.

I recently read an article about a baby that was born who was considered a “micro-preemie” because she was born so early and was so tiny. She was born at only 5 months gestation, the previous maximum gestation period allowed in which to have an abortion in Texas. I have heard arguments made in the past that the reason it is okay to abort a baby that far along is because a baby cannot be considered “viable” until after that point. Yet this child not only lived after being born so unimaginably early, but went on to see her first birthday. How is that child’s life any different from the millions of unborn children that are slaughtered in out country’s selfish attempts to go on satisfying our own selfish impulses? At what point then, oh great open-minded masses of mainstream media swill-drinking “scholars” of twitter and facebook, does life enter into the unborn child? At what point would it be considered “not okay” in your book to abort the child? 6 months gestation? 8? 9? Postpartum? At what point in your mind does it become a child? I dare to argue that there is little physical or even mental difference between a full-term birth baby and that of a child who is born even 4 months premature. Certainly, a baby who s born at 5 months gestation needs significant help even breathing on their own, and will likely stay in NICU care until it is deemed safe to do so, but does that deem that child not a child? What is the medical difference between a 4 month premature infant on life-support and a 94 year old on life support? I assert that the difference is that the newborn has a much greater chance of living a healthy, normal lifestyle than the 94 year old. So then would you be okay with terminating grandma or grandpa simply because they need a little medical assistance in the areas of breathing and eating? Because they are not “viable” according to your terms? Where does the conflict lie?

This is not a question of “women’s rights” or the artificial “right” to be able to dispose of a human life simply because it is inconvenient for you. At the very core I think maybe this is an issue of who gets to decide whether an unborn child is alive or not. The courts? A lawyer? A doctor? A scientist? You? Me? A society so overtaken by it’s quest for instant gratification with no negative consequences that we think every person who claims to have a different taste for something should be given the right to impose it on everyone else? If I had to choose one of those, I think I would be compelled to choose the scientists. They seem to be the only ones who – even if unintentionally – admit that the child in the womb is at least a living being. Sure most of them will twist it around and say something different and probably show you reasons why you should believe them. But at the very root of the argument, there can be no denying by any “open-minded” person that the very smallest unit of life, and all living things are made up of at least one cell. Anyone who chooses to accept this and then argues that there is no such thing as life in an unborn child does not deserve to be counted with the great minds that contribute so much to modern medicine. Nor should suuch a person be given the right to go out and take part in the activities that lead to the creation of life. If we agree that any living thing consists of at least one cell, and that upon conception, a baby has at minimal one cell, and even more than that by the end of the first week, before which point it is almost impossible to even detect, can we not agree that that “clump of cells” is, by definition, a person? Probably not right? Because to do so, even at the cost of your own morals, admitting that that life is a person would mean that he is entitled to constitutional protection under the 14th amendment. Even the supreme courts said so in the Roe v Wade case. That is, if they were able to determine when life begins.

I know, I know, “what about victims of rape and incest?!” I’m not denying that there is real harm done by these horrible crimes. But since when does falling victim to one crime give us the right to commit another? If we were to live by that code of morals, every time a gas station clerk is held up by an armed robber, should he be allowed to go and beat up an unsuspecting, undeserving victim? Should the families of the victims of the terror attacks of 9/11 be allowed to get away with any one major crime of their choosing, just because they were the victims of a horrible crime? While I don’t for an instant believe that the punishment for rape should be less severe than what is currently assigned by courts, however, surely murder by any means can be held to a higher level of “wrongness” than rape. Yet most people would call me crazy for making such an argument. Why is there such a conflict about this? If the rape victim gets to kill the undeserving child who is a product of her misfortune, why shouldn’t the family member of a murder victim be able to go kill someone else?

I won’t naively argue that God intends for certain people to be the victims of horrible crimes. It’s not up to me to determine why God does or does not allow certain things to happen. But if I truly believe that God is just, and more powerful and more awesome than anything I can ever imagine, I have to trust that what happens to certain people – either for good or bad, whether to decent or awful people – is all in His control, and i have no right too question that.

Is rape a real thing? you betcha. Do the offenders of rape cases deserve to be punished to the fullest extent of the law? You betcha.

Does being the victim of a horrible crime like rape justify the actions taken by so many who decide that it would be more convenient to dispose of the unfortunate child than to have the reminder of the traumatic experience than to give it up for adoption? Does any rape victim ever fully recovers from the horrible experience enough to justify the idea that somehow aborting the child will make a difference?

These are questions I cannot answer.

What I do know is this: God is almighty. God is eternal. God is the most just judge to ever exist. His very nature is just, and He justly punishes those who deserve it, and He justly rewards those who deserve reward. I won’t say that rape victims deserve to be raped for some reason, but in all things, good and bad, God is in control.

New year, new blog, old thoughts

I’m never sure what to do with a blog. I’ve always got thoughts and opinions running around in my mind that I want to get out and share, but I usually either come off sounding angry/rude or just plain whiny. And I hate that. So I’m trying to decide where to go with this blog. I read people like Matt Walsh, and really like his style, but I obviously don’t just want to be a parrot of what he says or how he writes. I have my own opinions, just not sure how to share them in a way that anybody would care to read.

Then there’s the issue of the audience. Do I write just for the sake of expressing and letting out my thoughts? Or do I write in a way that would appeal to someone else who might be reading? Good question. I guess I’ll just see how it goes.

Some things about myself:
I’m the father of a 6 month old boy on a mission. He seems to be in a hurry to go somewhere. He’s been ahead of the curve from the night he was born. Maybe because he was nearly 41 weeks along before we finally forced him to come into this world and he feels like he has to make up for lost time. Well, he’s definitely done that. And then some.

I’m the husband of a gorgeous, funny, witty, quiet, loving, giving, red-headed Wonder Woman who has put up with me for the last 2.5 years as her goofball husband, and the 1.5 years before that since we met and started dating. We met on a chance through a friend who was interested in her at the time. But I didn’t let that hold me back. We were dating in just over a month after meeting. Life has been a fun, crazy, exciting, terrifying, heartbreaking, joyful, amazing adventure since that day exactly 4 years ago tonight. She deserves way better than the mess that I am, but she definitely loves me, so I consider myself blessed for that.

I’m Messianic. Except not really. But I’m not a “christian” either. At least not in the regular meaning. I believe that the Messiah has already come, and we are awaiting His return, just like most true christians. Only major difference between me and the general Christian public is that I call Him Yeshua, and I believe that He didn’t do anything new in regards to the Torah and the expectations that God has for His children. Other than that, I believe that the entire Bible is the true, living, inspired word of the one true God, who has set aside the nation of Israel (the Jews) as His people, and nothing about that, nor the Scriptures, has changed. Ever. I haven’t “converted” to anything, nor do I believe that christians/gentiles have to convert to judaism (or vice versa) in order to please God or be saved. That would be salvation by works.

Most of my opinions and thoughts are influenced by my faith. So because of that, I come off a bit harsh or rough when discussing certain things (like Islam and christianity. Their historical persecution of the Jewish people is frighteningly similar).

If you still care to read after knowing that, then awesome. If not, I won’t be offended. Because I won’t know.

If you do find yourself intertwined in this mess, thanks.