30 Av 5776 פרשת רְאֵה, ל” אב, תשע”ו
The greatest gift that our Creator has endowed us with is “bechirah chofshi” – בחירה חופשי – free will. This doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we want rather that with free will comes responsibility. I have been asked why I have been focusing so much more on Yeshua lately than in the past. My calling for many years has been to bring our Messiah Yeshua not only to my own Jewish people but also to the non-Jews. There is a great misunderstanding about who Yeshua really is because of what he has been made out to be causing both Jews and Christians to react to one another without either side truly taking his own words into consideration. If we closely examine the Sermon of the Mount in Matthew from the point of view of his own revelation, Yeshua was clearly given a special role to fulfill. Most of people today have theologized his message and have created a divine figure which never really existed. The seed of this idea had already been planted in the mind of the Jewish people prior to the birth of Yeshua. In Christian theology he is referred to as “Moses Redivivus” – Moses Resurrected. From the beginning they named him Jesus Christ comparing him to Moses and allotting to him the role of continuing what Moses had begun. This might have been a good thing had it not been for a group in Judaism who had already allowed idolatry and other religions to permeate into their midst infecting our customs and traditions. The Hebrew talmidim of Yeshua who had been faithful to Torah were diminishing in number as the Gentile component was increasing. Thus it was easy to impose their Gentile beliefs of many gods upon the new believers in the Messiah and the idea of the human god, Jesus Christ, the son of God slowly began to replace the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
My desire is to bring both Jew and Gentile back to the understanding of who the Messiah Yeshua truly is. Neither Rabbinic Judaism nor Christianity has taken an honest look at who Yeshua really is until now when in the 21st century many Jewish scholars are re-examining his true identity. Many of the great Orthodox rabbis and Jewish scholars are calling Yeshua “our brother” and some even call him the greatest Jew who has ever existed throughout history. Once we remove the prejudice surrounding him and examine the facts, we find the true Yeshua. He is the one I present to you. I am not bringing you religion the sole purpose of which is to make clones for its belief system. This is where our free will comes in. We don’t understand what a wonderful gift the Creator has given us. In so doing, He actually put limits upon Himself because of His great love for us. He made us higher than even the angels so that we could decide whether or not we wanted to follow Him. He didn’t make us robots or slaves but gave us freedom. The first Israelites who left Egypt did not leave of their own volition. The great majority were happy to remain in Egypt. They had good land, their cattle, everything. The only thing that they asked the Creator was that Pharaoh would go easier on them. They had already forgotten who He was having been so immersed in the religion of Egypt. Our Creator had to remove them in two ways. One He told them that they needed to leave and the Egyptian people themselves literally paid them to get out of their country before it was completely destroyed. They didn’t leave of their own free will! Even after they left they still want to return right up to the second generation who still asked to go back to Egypt. Even though today people refuse to see the truth, the Torah doesn’t embellish the fact. That was who we are.
Moshe and his brother, Aaron were demonstrated to be simple human beings with failures and limitations. If Yeshua is called Moses Redivivus then he also must be seen as a human being with problems and limitations. When we create an idea in the minds of people which has taken on a life of its own, it becomes almost impossible to change. My desire is to present you with the simple truth based on facts. You are certainly free to believe whatever you want; I will not try to change your mind. Don’t put words in the mouth of God which He never said.
My simple study today comes from Deuteronomy 13 2 ‘If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you, offering you some sign or wonder, 3 and the sign or wonder comes about; and if he then says to you, “Let us follow other gods (hitherto unknown to you) and serve them,”4 you must not listen to that prophet’s words or to that dreamer’s dreams. The LORD your God is testing you to know if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and all your soul.5 The LORD your God is the one whom you must follow, him you must fear, his commandments you must keep, his voice you must obey, him you must serve, to him you must hold fast.6 That prophet or that dreamer of dreams must be put to death, since he has preached apostasy from the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the place of slave-labour; and he would have diverted you from the way in which the LORD your God has commanded you to walk. You must banish this evil from among you.
When certain Gentiles used to ask me “Why don’t you Jewish people believe in Jesus Christ?” I would tell them that we were protected from believing in other gods just as it is written here above. There is only one God as we say in the Shema. Then they continue to argue with me about the Trinity, the dogma that there are three in One. The truth of the matter is that there is something within the neshama (soul) of the Jew that protects us from believing in this and making these ideas very uncomfortable for us. We know that Yeshua performed miracles, signs and wonders. So did Elijah and Elisha but they were not made into other gods. The question is – did Yeshua ever tell us to worship another god? This is very crucial! It is not what the theologians tell us or the interpreters of the Bible that makes it true. In Deut. 4:2 it says do not add nor take away anything from My Word. There are phrases used in the Messianic Writings – a.k.a. New Testament – which they use to prove that Yeshua said that he was God. God doesn’t play games with us. If Yeshua was God he would have said so clearly. The Torah and the Prophets clearly say that God is not a man. Does God change His mind? He does not contradict himself. If someone doesn’t know much about the Hebrew Scriptures it is easy to cast doubt into their minds. In Christianity they repeat the saying that God is the same yesterday, today and forever yet they interpret the God of the O.T – Tenakh – as being different from the God of the NT – MW. How can this be? Yeshua never said that he was God. He did however say that he was “one” with his Father meaning he was one in purpose with Him. He was made to do the will of his Father. This is not rocket science. Two thousand years of changes, misquotes, misinterpretations have sealed these untruths well into the minds of the people. One of these is that Jesus Christ is the founder of a new religion and others say that Paul or Rav Shaul did that. I tell you that neither one did such a thing. This is an invention of the theologians. The basic position of the Sermon of the Mount in Matthew 5:17, is that Yeshua did not come to invent a new Torah, to destroy it or undo it. He came to bring us back to the Torah.
Allow me to address the Gentiles: Yeshua never spoke at that time to Christians. There were none. He didn’t speak to the Gentiles. He spoke to his own people, specifically to the organized religion, to those who leading the people away from the Torah. He spoke to the Perushim (Pharisees), the Tsadokkim (Sadducees) – the Cohanim (Priesthood) telling them that they did not have the right to change the Torah given to Moshe for all the people of Israel who were to be light to the world. They created another Torah, the Sheve’al Peh – the Oral Torah. We Jews are so quick to accuse the Christians of creating another god and writing another book. Why don’t we look at ourselves first? This second Torah can say whatever they want and it even contradicts the true Torah. The Oral Torah had been given more authority than the written Torah of Moshe. This is what Yeshua came to undo. Yeshua wasn’t the only one who had this idea. Another group came along later called the Karaites and they still exist today. You can follow men or you can follow the Creator who tells us to choose between blessings and curses. This is free will. We however decided to choose curses and suffer the consequences.
The Ten Commandments were given like the Torah in three parts: the Mitzvoth, Chukkim and Mishpatim. Moshe sticks to this formula here in Devarim as he describes these three areas. First he tells us not to follow alien gods, to clean our land from them. This refers to the relationship between us and the Creator. Second he refers to the Chukkim through the commandment of the Shabbat and honoring your mother and father. These benefit us as individuals. The last is the relationship between us and our neighbor in the Mishpatim. Now in this portion Moshe is moving on from the Mitzvoth to the Chukkim and Mishpatim. He warns us not to choose or follow a foreign god even if a prophet comes to us doing signs and wonders. Rabbinic Judaism accuses Yeshua of being a false prophet who led the people of Israel to false gods. This is a great lie and it is known in Judaism as lashon harah, the evil tongue. Yeshua never said to follow another god. When Yeshua taught his talmidim to pray he said “Avinu Shebashamayim Yitkadash shmekha….”- Our Father in Heaven, Holy is your name. He never said pray to me. This is how gossip destroyed his image as our messiah making him out to be someone that he was not.
Yeshua is not the same as Jesus Christ. I am not putting anyone down; I am being clear. If people want to believe in Jesus Christ they are free to do so; it is none of my business. They cannot however impose this upon me. They try to convince you that if you don’t’ believe in their way you are going to hell. They try to put the fear of God in you. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is a God of revelation who comes and speaks directly to you. He wants the best for you and doesn’t deal with you through intimidation. He tells you what things are good for you and warns you about the consequences of not following them. That is not fear, it is warning. He doesn’t stop you because He wants all of us to be responsible for our own actions.
Chapter 13 was used by Rabbinic Judaism to ostracize and denigrate the name of Yeshua. The problem is that Yeshua never led anyone to a false god; never did he tell his talmidim to go to another god other than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I ask my Christian friends to which god they pray, to the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit. Of course I am being sarcastic since there is only one. You can explain it in any way that you want but there is no explanation for something that they call a dogma. This is something that must be accepted by faith. I am not anti- religion because religions are not important to me. Our relationship with the Creator is what is important. Perhaps I will not be too popular but I will have a free conscience, free and responsible knowing that I have not chosen a religion, I have chosen the Creator. I don’t need to follow man; I need to follow Him. I have been wrong before and I can be wrong again. That doesn’t change the Creator. It takes a big man to accept that he is wrong. Those who think or believe that they are illuminated will never accept that they might be wrong.
Moshe was totally human; he blamed his brother and he blamed the people of Israel. Our rabbi, prophet and messiah, our Yeshua was a man and he too committed mistakes. Ooops how can I say that? When he lost his temper, he really didn’t lose his temper. When he said take up your sword, he really didn’t mean that, he was a pacifist. Stop defending him; he doesn’t need to be defended. I agree with the new Jewish scholars who say that Yeshua was the greatest Jew that ever lived. He is the only Jew who changed history forever and through him the righteous Gentiles, the Goyim Tsadikkim have been included.