Thursday, July 9, 2009

Christian women imprisoned in Iran

Two Christian women are in prison in Iran because of their faith. The following is taken from The Voice of Martyrs blog, Persecuted Church:

"Two Iranian Christian women, Maryam Rustampoor (27) and Marzieh Amirizadeh (30), continue to be held in Evin prison in Iran because of their Christian faith, unfairly labelled as ‘anti-government activists’, because of the hostility of the government towards practising Christians.

"Arrested on March 5 , 2009, the two young women have now been in prison for four months. After being in solitary confinement for three weeks in May and early June, they were then put [in] one small cell together for about two weeks. Then, following the arrests of thousands of protestors after the disputed presidential elections, Marzieh and Maryam were moved to a larger cell to make room for new prisoners. About 600 women were brought [to] Evin prison during the days of the protests. There is still no clarity regarding their case. In one court session in June a judge told them that he would make sure they were both executed as ‘apostates’. Maryam and Marzieh have responded with courage, however, telling the judge to “expedite his sentence.”

“Maryam and Marzieh have demonstrated great courage and trust in God. They believe the promise of Jesus that they will be given the words to speak when they are taken before judges,” says Sam Yeghnazar, founder of Elam Ministries."
It seems quite clear that this is the fate of Christians and Jews under Sharia law. They are persecuted as second-class citizens and denied the free practice and expression of their faith. We shouldn't be greatly surprised when the Quran commands Muslims to force "The people of the Book" [Jews and Christians] to pay the Jizya tax in order to be subdued and humiliated as dhimmi.

Quran 9:29 - "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued (humiliated)."

Ibn Kathir's Tafsir ('commentary') of At-Taubah 9:29 can be read [here]. Read his explanation of Jizya being a "sign of kufr and disgrace" (9:30) [here]. This last link also details some of the penalties and apartheid measures placed against Christians in the Pact of Umar ibn al-Khattab. I highly recommend this as reading for a starting place of understanding what happens to Christians and Jews in an Islamic state.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Do no Harm." It's a Mitzvah!

I had a discussion with an individual recently who is completely unlearned in Torah. The discussion eventually came around to the Torah Mitzvot [Commands] of “Do no harm”. Now, for anyone that knows anything about Torah or Judaism, there is absolutely no question whatsoever that portions of the Torah command us to avoid harming others. This is actually one of the greatest commands of all the Torah. After seeing a number of verses from the Torah where this principle is found, he basically just called it all “irrelevant” and even accused me of “twisting the Bible” and lying. I’m not sure why a non-Torah observant individual who doesn’t even believe the Bible to be the word of G-d would think he is qualified to tell me this, but nevertheless, he denied the plain fact that the Rabbis, all learned Jews, and Christians have historically, for hundreds upon hundreds of years understood these verses to teach a basic principle of “Do no harm” to others, and this basic principle is then to be applied to specific circumstances to guide the behavior and decisions of the believer. So, I now endeavor to undertake a small analysis of this topic. Let us begin by establishing the Torah verses that teach this basic and universal principle:

  • “You shall not murder” (Shemot 20:12), from the Mitzvot lo sa’aseh [negative commandments]. This is a prohibition from causing the ultimate form of harm to another. The taking of a life in murder harms the murdered and all the loved ones of the murdered.
  • “You shall not steal” (Vayikra 19:13), from the Mitzvot lo sa’aseh. This is an injunction from causing unjust monetary loss, and by extension is an injunction not to cause harm against others.
  • “You shall not place a stumbling block before the blind” (Vayikra 19:14), from the Mitzvot lo sa’aseh. If it is forbidden to place even a potentially harmful object in front of another, then it follows conclusively that it is forbidden to do direct harm to another.
  • “You shall love your fellow as yourself” (Vayikra 19:18), from the positive Mitzvot. This enjoins treating your fellow man/woman as if they were your own body, and prohibits the act of inflicting harm.
  • The Mitzvah of preventing someone from incurring a loss (Devarim 22:3) is not only applicable to property but to anything of instrinsic value, and can include people and their bodies as well as their property.

These verses above, and others like them, have always been the foundation of Judaism’s understanding that G-d wants us to avoid harming others. I challenge anyone to go to a Rabbi; Orthodox, Reformed, Reconstructionist, Karaite, Messianic, or otherwise; and get him to tell you that these verses do not teach this! Now let’s take a look at some of the Nazarene writings and see how The Mashiyach has taught us in his role as the living breathing Torah manifest on earth, as well as what His Shlichim had to say:

  • Matthew 22:37-39 when He said, “’You must love the L-rd your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38This is the greatest and most important commandment. 39The second is like it: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40All the Torah and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.” This is an affirmation of what the two greatest principles of Torah and Judaism are. Namely, a) love G-d, b) avoid harm to your fellow man/woman.
  • Matthew 7:12 when Mashiyach said, “Therefore, whatever you want people to do for you, do the same for them, because this summarizes the Torah and the Prophets."
  • Matthew 5:39 where we are taught to “Turn the other cheek” and not to return violence and harm when insulted.
  • Galatians 5:14 where we are told, “For the whole Torah is summarized in a single statement: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’”
  • "If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself', you do well." (James 2:8)

These are just some of the verses that have been seen to teach the foundational Torah principle of “Do no harm” for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Anyone who denies this is quite simply ignorant of Torah and the historical understanding of these verses in all forms of Judaism and Christianity.

To see an example of a basic principle from Torah being applied to a complex modern situation take a look at this Jewish perspective on healthcare discussed at the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture. Of course, from a Nazarene Jewish perspective, any citation of oral traditions in Mishnah and Talmud are only accurate in so far as they agree with the written Torah in our Bibles, but it demonstrates application of the general principle to the specific moral question. It is understood, and well established as historical practice, that the verses of injunction against doing harm within the Torah are applicable to an inumerable multitude of ethical questions regarding personal behavior and community. Everything from business dealings, to family matters, to marital questions, and even personal health can be guided by these core foundational verses and the principle from the Creator they reveal.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Tehillim Remix

A little "remix" from the book of Psalms (Tehillim)

Hear my cry, O Elohim; Give heed to my prayer[1]. Let the lying lips be mute, which speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt[2]. There is nothing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself, their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue[3]. The words of YHWH are pure words; as silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times[4]. We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our Elohim we will set up our banners, May YHWH fulfill all your petitions[5]. Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; they have set up their own standards for signs[6]. Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised[7]. My shield is with Elohim, who saves the upright in heart[8]. And my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken[9]. I have set YHWH continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken[10]. From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease[11]. I call upon YHWH, who is worthy to be praised[12]. YHWH of hosts is with us; the Elohim of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah[13]. Arise, O YHWH, confront him, bring him low[14], That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving and declare all Your wonders[15]. What elohim is great like our Elohim?[16] You are the Elohim who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples[17], You have by Your power redeemed Your people[18]. I will give thanks to YHWH with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders[19]. Arise, O Elohim, and plead Your own cause,[20] For by You I can run upon a troop; and by my Elohim I can leap over a wall[21]. You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, and Your right hand upholds me; and Your gentleness makes me great[22]. YHWH lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the Elohim of my salvation[23]. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of YHWH, our Elohim[24]. I shall lift up the cup of salvation and call upon the name of YHWH[25].

[1]Psalm 61:1, [2]Psalm 31:18, [3]Psalm 5:9, [4]Psalm 12:6, [5]Psalm 20:5, [6]Psalm 74:4, [7]Psalm 10:2, [8]Psalm 7:10, [9]Psalm 16:8, [10]Psalm 13:4, [11]Psalm 8:2, [12]Psalm 18:3, [13]Psalm 46:7, [14]Psalm 17:13, [15]Psalm 26:7, [16]Psalm 77:13, [17]Psalm 77:14, [18] Psalm 77:15, [19]Psalm 9:1, [20]Psalm 74:22, [21]Psalm 18:29, [22]Psalm 18:35, [23]Psalm 18:46, [24]Psalm 20:7, [25]Psalm 116:13

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Is Easter about the Messiah?

Pagan Origins of Easter

When was Yeshua crucified and resurrected?

Happy Passover (Pesach), and a blessed Feast week of Unleavened bread (Hag HaMatzah)!

Exodus [Shemot] 12:2,6,13-14; Exodus [Shemot] 12:24,26-27; Matt. 26:18; Luke 22:15-19; 1 Corinthians 5:7-8

Hag HaMatzah:
Leviticus [Vayikra] 23:6-7; Exodus [Shemot] 12:7-8,14-17; Luke 22:7; Mark 14:12; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20; 2 Corinthians 6:15-18

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Two Torahs? - Is there an oral & written Torah?

From beginning to end, the Scriptures tell us to keep the Torah["teachings and instructions"] of YHWH. This is one of the central themes of the whole Bible: Follow the Torah. Whole chapters of Psalms and Proverbs are exaltations of the joy and truth of Torah. So, in addition to knowing the Mitzvot["Commands"] of Torah we must also know how to put them into practice.

  • "Blessed is the man you discipline, O YHWH, the man you teach from your Torah" (Psalms 94:12)
  • "Oh, how I love your Torah! I meditate on it all day long" (Psalms 119:97).
  • "Keep my commands and you will live; guard my Torah as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers, write them on the tablet of your heart." (Proverbs 7:2-3)
  • "Like a lamp, the commands and Torah are a light and a way of life, correction and discipline." (Proverbs 6:23)
  • "I give you good instruction: Do not forsake my Torah" (Proverbs 4:2).
  • "For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra'el after those days," says YHWH. "I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their Elohim, and they will be my people." (Jeremiah 31:33)
  • "If you love me, you will keep My Commands [Mitzvot];" (John 14:15)
  • "But the man who looks intently into the perfect Torah that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does." (James 1:25)
  • "I delight in Elohim's Torah... I myself in my mind am a slave to Elohim’s Torah." (Romans 7:22,25)
The Rabbinic tradition teaches that there is an "oral Torah" passed along that tells us how to follow the will of YHWH. A Messianic brother named Nakdimon has posted an excellent two part refutation of the "oral Torah" claims made by Rav Tovia Singer. He demonstrates that the only Torah is the written Torah which we have in our Bible.

Oral Law? part 1

Oral Law? part 2

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Moedim: A primer on the Biblical Feasts

This is the first post in an ongoing series on the Moedim (which in Hebrew means roughly "appointed times"). These are the eternal Feasts of YHWH that we are instructed to keep in the Bible (Lev 23, Ex 12, Acts 18:21, 1Cor 5:8). The Feasts are both prophetic and highly Messianic.

I hope you enjoy the information in this playlist.

Scripture Meditation - Psalm 1

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong, And shall not stand in the path of sinners, And shall not sit in the seat of scoffers, 2 But his delight is in the Torah of יהוה, And he meditates in His Torah day and night. 3 For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That yields its fruit in its season, And whose leaf does not wither, And whatever he does prospers. 4 The wrong are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wrong shall not rise in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For יהוה knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wrong comes to naught. (ISR)

Verse 1- “Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong, And shall not stand in the path of sinners, And shall not sit in the seat of scoffers,”. We are reminded to take care in whom we get our counsel and advise from. How many of us haven’t placed ourselves under the authority of bad counsel, and then acting according to that counsel suffered the consequences. The Psalmist makes clear who "the wrong" are in the following verses. In verse 1 the triple metaphors of “walk”, “stand”, “sit” are applied. This reveals a deep spiritual truth that what we do (our walk) becomes our habits (stand, an orientation of more permanence), and eventually where we sit (our character and place in life). These three orientations of immovability are then linked with increasing level of rebellion against Elohim (wrong; sinners; scoffers). Our “walk” is our halacha. It is the way we live out our lives. It is how we put our faith into action. This walk that we are to avoid is in contrast to the walk we are advised by YHWH to keep which is to be: according to His commands (Deut 5:33; Jer 7:23); in His ways (Deut 28:9; Jos 22:5); In the old paths (Jer 6:16); as taught by Him (1Ki 8:36; Isa 2:3; Isa 30:21); uprightly (Pro 2:7); in His statutes and judgments (Eze 37:24); in newness of life (Rom 6:4); not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom 8:1; Gal 5:16) honestly, as in the day (Rom 13:13); by faith, not by sight (2Cor 5:7 ); in love, following Mashiyach (Eph 5:2); worthy of Elohim (Col 1:10); in Mashiyach (Col. 2:6); by the gospel rule (Phil 3:16); in the light, as Elohim is (1John 1:7). Nearly all these Scriptures in which Elohim instructs as to how we should walk, a reference to Torah is made. “His Commands[Mitzvot]”; “the old paths”; “His statutes and judgments”; “uprightly”; “following Mashiyach”; “worthy of Elohim”; “in the light”: These are all references to keeping Torah, and walking according to the Halacha of Yeshua.

Verse 2- “But his delight is in the Torah of יהוה, And he meditates in His Torah day and night.” If there were to be any doubt that verse 1 is warning not to stray from Torah[1], verse 2 eliminates that doubt. The Psalmist praises the goodness of Torah, and YHWH communicates through His inspired poet that Torah is a delight for us to meditate on at all times. For the Netzarim, Torah is Messianic joy. The Mashiyach is the living breathing Torah, the Word of Elohim that became flesh and tabernacled amongst us. Meditating on Torah is meditating on Mashiyach, and meditating on Mashiyach is meditating on Torah. What a delight indeed.

Verse 3- “For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That yields its fruit in its season, And whose leaf does not wither, And whatever he does prospers.” YHWH frequently mentions those who have Torah as being “rooted” or “planted” in the sense of being well grounded and unshakable. Next, a promise is given. If you walk in Torah, you will be like a healthy tree near an abundant supply of water that will yield fruit. The fruit can be seen as a metaphor, first and foremost as a promise of prosperity. This should not be vain materialism, but rather producing goodly things that are a blessing to everyone and a testimony that you follow Mashiyach. The Psalmist's reference of yielding fruit is also the same metaphorical fruit spoken of by Mashiyach (Matt 12:33, John 15:4). The promise of being planted by “rivers of water” draws on similar imagery as Mashiyach’s promise to the Samaritan woman at the well to give her “living water" (John 4:10). Indeed Torah is life (Deut 30:19), but Mashiyach is life eternal (Rom 6:23), the fullness of Torah and its ultimate expression.

Verse 4- “The wrong are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind blows away.” Those who are “the wrong” mentioned in this verse are placed in contrast to those in verse 2 & 3. In contrast to those who walk in Torah those who do not, have no promise of the blessings of v3. Rather, they are like the chaff (thin shell) of wheat the blows away in the wind. That is, they have no firm grounding. I am reminded of Yeshua’s instructions to build our house on the rock (Matt 7:24), and the warning not to be double-minded, tossed to and fro by the wind and the seas (James 1:6-8).

Verse 5 & 6- “Therefore the wrong shall not rise in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For יהוה knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wrong comes to naught.” Here we have warnings that the wrong (those who are outside of Torah, as established by v4) will not rise to high esteem within the assembly of believers, or congregation. More seriously, we have a warning that they will not rise in the mishpawt (judgment). The Torah transgressions eternally separate us from Elohim, requiring we be sent to Sheol to protect the Kadosh (Set-Apart/Holy) nature of the Almighty. We were atoned for by various sacrifices and offerings, all of which point to Mashiyach as our perfect and eternal sacrifice. Thank the Almighty that He makes a way in spite our imperfection! Walk in Torah as Mashiyach did, and trust in His atoning work on the cross when you fall short.

Let us now reread the Psalm with all this in mind, and may the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) let us understand in spirit and in truth:

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong, And shall not stand in the path of sinners, And shall not sit in the seat of scoffers, 2 But his delight is in the Torah of יהוה, And he meditates in His Torah day and night. 3 For he shall be as a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That yields its fruit in its season, And whose leaf does not wither, And whatever he does prospers. 4 The wrong are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wrong shall not rise in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For יהוה knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wrong comes to naught. (ISR)

Here are more English translations of Psalm 1.

[1]For some reason, nearly all the English translations of the Bible have removed the word "Torah" and placed in the generic weak translation, "the Law" instead. So, I provide here the transliteration of the Hebrew text of Psalm 1:2 simply to affirm that it does indeed speak explicitly of Torah -

"Ki'im be'Tōrat YHWH chefəṣō ûve'Tōrāh'to ye'həgeh yōmām wā'lāyəlâ:"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Luke 19:27 - An Exegesis

Luke 19:27 “But as for these enemies of mine who didn't want me to be their king—bring them here and slaughter them in my presence!" (ISV)

Please take a moment to read Luke chapter 19 for context of the above verse.

I am never at a lack of amazement at the way Muslims are all to oft eager to distort the text of the Bible, rip it out of context, and otherwise abuse it. One common textual victim of this sort of abuse is Luke 19:27. It is generally verbally disgorged by the Muslim at times when a non-Muslim is making a case that demonstrates commands of violence in the orthodox Islamic texts.
Apparently the best a Muslim can muster up is what a poster named "Khayyam" asserts with an attempt to prove Yeshua commanded His followers to be violent. The previous gives but one example of a Muslim trying to make a defense of his faith with an attack on the Bible. I suggest visiting the link for the context in which the comment was posted. Another such example can be seen here. There is even less of an excuse for the second example as the originator seems to be presented as some sort of authority on Islam and the Bible (at least in the capacity of “interfaith issues”). I will be responding to the ReadingIslam comment in a future post and linking to it here.

It should come as no surprise that this particular speculative interpretation and abuse of the text seems to owe it's credit to Ahmed Deedat who used it widely in his “lectures”. He frequently offered a cash prize to audience members who correctly identify the speaker of the text of Luke, often asking if it was “Moses, Marx, or Muhammad”. The particular application of this verse by Muslims tends to assert: “Followers of Yeshua are commanded to violence”.

As always, the Bible needs to be allowed to speak, and interpret itself in light of all that it has to say. The following is a brief exegesis touching on the Tanach and Ketuvim Netzarim. Suffice it to say, even this modest depth of exegesis is enough to thoroughly refute the anachronistic Islamic claims about Yeshua above. Now, focusing on the issue of Luke we must first recognize that the Bible clearly says this is a parable (verse 11: “And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.”). The simple, plain reading of the text states in no uncertain terms that the reason for the parable was the expectation of the Mashiyach immediately establishing the Messianic Kingdom. The Disciples and others were given to this misconception in more than one place in Scripture, and it is clear to conclude that the orthodox belief during Second Temple Judaism in the first century was supportive of this thinking. I really don't know why Muslims won't even bother to look at the plain reading of the chapter. As a parable, we must identify who each of the characters are and what the allegorical terms apply to (if you did not previously read Luke 19, now would be a good time to do it):

1. Nobleman – Yeshua HaMashiyach.
2. Far Country – Yeshua’s ascension to heaven.
3. Receiving a kingdom – reigning over the world from the new Yerushalayim.
4. Citizen’s refusing his reign – rejection by rebels against kingship of Mashiyach.
5. Delegation – “We have no king but Caesar.”
6. Ten servants – all the servants of Mashiyach.
7. Trade – work faithfully performed by servants of Elohim.
8. Ten pounds, minas – the trust Elohim gives to every person.
A mina consisted of 100 drachmas, the average wage for 100
days of work.
9. Servant who gained ten minas – the faithful follower of Yeshua.
10. Servant who gained five minas – the faithful follower
of less ability.
11. Servant who hid his pound, mina – unfaithful follower of Yeshua.
12. Ten and five cities – varying heavenly rewards

With the above in mind, we know that; Yeshua has ascended into heaven, will return to reign from the new Yerushalayim, was rejected by some before and will be rejected by some again, will take an accounting of how His servants have handled things in His absence, will reward His servants accordingly, and will judge those that rebel against Him in refusing to accept His kingship. Because it is clear Yeshua didn't receive a kingdom in the natural sense before his ascension we know that what happens after He receives His kingdom is in a future time not yet reached (it is eschatological). We also know that the slaying of rebels against Him will not occur until He receives His kingdom, and Scripture is very clear on the point that Mashiyach will receive His kingdom at His second appearance on earth (i.e. when you see “the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven and seated at the right hand of power”):

Psalms 21:8 Your hand will find out all Your enemies: Your right hand shall find out those that hate You. 9 You will make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger: YHWH shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

Notice the linkage between “Your right hand” in Psalm 21 and the Son of Man being seated at “the right hand of power” in Mark's Gospel. The right hand is the judgment seat, and symbolic of kingly authority. Further, on Yeshua's coming judgment of the world we read:

Revelation 22:12 Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with me, to render to every man according to what he has done.

Now, let us look at a few verses where Yeshua does give direct instruction to His followers on the issues of violence and retaliation:

Matthew 5:38-42“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”

Matthew 5:43-46“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and do good for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?”

Matthew 26:50-53“Yeshua said to him, ‘Friend, do what you are here to do.’ Then they came and laid hands on Yeshua and arrested Him. Suddenly, one of those with Yeshua put his hand on his sword, drew it, and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. Then Yeshua said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?”

Luke 3:14“And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, ‘Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.’”

Luke 6:27-37“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full."

John 18:36“Yeshua said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’”

Are we really to believe that when Yeshua said all these things in plain direct language, that somehow what He really meant was for His followers to go out and kill non-believers based on an allegorical parable? Of course not.

So the obtuse reading of this verse advanced by many Muslims clearly fails in every respect, and we know without a shadow of a doubt that the Messianic believers are not called to violence against non-believers. Having plainly shown that the reading of the text on all levels refutes the foolishness that came from the Biblically unstable wellspring of Ahmed Deedat's mind, let us move on to a few other points of discussion that relate to Luke 19:27

The following passages address the issue of divine and perfect justice in Elohim doing with sinners as He sees fit, even unto death. YHWH judged the nations in the past, even ordering their complete destruction because of their utter wickedness and depraved nature (which in some cases included them killing their children as sacrifices to Molech), and He will judge the nations again in the manifestation of Mashiyach, the King of Kings who is coming to claim His rightful throne. The throne set aside for Him before the foundation of the earth, which no man has a right to deny Him of. It is in this capacity Yeshua speaks of His enemies being slain in Luke 19. Case in point, the following texts:

Proverbs 14:2 He that walks in his uprightness fears YHWH: but he that is perverse in his ways despises Him.

Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain Elohim in their knowledge, Elohim gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of Elohim, spiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of Elohim, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

It was YHWH that placed kings over Yisrael from the very beginning, and it is YHWH that allows rulers to rule even today. His ultimate mashiyach (annointed one) is Yeshua. Rejection of Him is not an option YHWH gives, and Yeshua, being in perfect accord with the Father at all times recognizes this fact and affirms it in Luke 19. We would do well to remember the days of Samuel:

2 Samuel 12:12 “When you saw that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ although YHWH your Elohim was your king. 13 “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, YHWH has set a king over you. 14 “If you will fear YHWH and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of YHWH, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow YHWH your Elohim. 15 “If you will not listen to the voice of YHWH, but rebel against the command of YHWH, then the hand of YHWH will be against you, as it was against your fathers.

Rejection of His Kingship is a symptom of a reprobate and wicked heart, and is justly punished. It is open rebellion against Elohim.

According to the Quran, there is a Judgement Day where Allah will judge sinners and unbelievers who have rejected the message. Based on this, no Muslim can disagree with the idea that G-d Almighty will make a judgement and a reckoning and punish sin. I see no way for a Muslim to have any complaint in regards to Luke 19:27, if the full Biblical position of the identity and nature of Yeshua is taken into consideration.

All of the above sufficiently establishes there is no command from Mashiyach given to any of His followers that calls us to violence today in Luke 19:27. The error of the forced anachronistic Islamic reading of this verse is evident, and exposes this as an agenda driven false reading of a metaphoric teaching-parable. The only command of any form that is given, is to be a faithful servant, rightly staying in His Halacha (Way to walk), and working to bring others to faith in Yeshua as Mashiyach and final sin offering. There remains; however, the unfailing promise that a righteous Judgment Day will arrive in which Yeshua as the right arm of Elohim, YHWH manifest in flesh, sitting at the right hand of power, will judge all people by the standard of the eternal Torah. The unfaltering fact is that every single soul that has ever lived will come up short of YHWH's standard, which is being kadosh (set apart/holy). The good news is, YHWH has provided a way to cover our flawed sinful nature in a perfect and eternal way; the death of Yeshua as our final sin offering. When you face the Almighty on Judgment Day He will either see your works (which are flawed and sinful) or Yeshua's work on the cross (which is perfect and holy, kadosh to Elohim). All that is required for your sins to be covered, and the gates of Heaven to be opened is that you accept the sacrifice of Yeshua, and accept His Kingship over your life, thereby accepting the sovereignty of YHWH to choose His way of providing His mercy and making you one with Him in eternity to come.

John 3:36 Whoever puts his faith in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see that life, for Elohim's wrath remains on him.

That's my King! Mashiyach, Melech Ha-M'lachim!

My beliefs in 1,000 words or less

I am a Messianic follower of Yeshua HaMashiyach [frequently called Jesus Christ]. I do not believe in "religion", which is nothing more than the traditions of men. I believe in the Scriptures, and in following the Halacha (way to walk) of Yeshua. I follow the whole Bible, and do not elevate one portion as superceding another. For this reason, I do not except the handling of the Bible used by mainstream Christianity. The so-called "New Testament" does not remove any of the forever-commands given in the "Old Testament" which are the eternal and immutable speech of YHWH. The "Old Testament" is not a long introduction to the book of Matthew. I accept as inspired Scripture; Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim, and Ketuvim Netzarim. These are also known as the Old Testament/Tanach, and the New Testament/Brit Chadasha. I practice a Torah observant Jewish faith that was modeled by Yeshua and followed by His Talmidim (Disciples). The essential difference between my beliefs and that of other branches of Judaism is "canonic" (i.e. which writings we accept as inspired by YHWH). The essential difference between my beliefs and that of Christianity is the way I interpret the inspired Scripture. None of the Torah was ever canceled by Yeshua, by any of the Disciples, nor by Paul. Rather they all affirm the Torah. Stating otherwise makes the Bible self-contradictory and actually places Yeshua, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James, Paul, etc. in the category of false prophets (which they most certainly were not) according to Biblical standards.


The Law [Torah] was never done away with (Deut 4:2 4:40, Psalm 111:7-8, Is 40:8, Matt 5:17-19, Rom 3:31). Without Torah there is no basis upon which YHWH judges sin, and hence no need for a Savior (Rom 3:20 7:1,7). I do not believe that Torah is a way to 'earn' Salvation; rather, it is a path of teachings and instruction for good living (Prov 4:2 6:23). Methods of atoning for our violation of Torah have always been present (Lev 16:30 17:11). These forms of atonement were always intended to point to the death of Yeshua for our forgiveness (Gen 22:2, Is 53:4-5, John 1:29). We are saved by faith alone in the redemption of Messiah (Rom 5:1). This true saving faith needs to manifest fruit in our lives in the form of holy living and walking in Torah (Matt 12:23, Luke 3:8, John 15:2-8, James 2:17). Those who truly believe in Messiah will seek to keep His Commandments [Mitzvot] (John 14:15-21, Ezek 11:19-21) and do teshuvah [actively turning away from sins]

 Faith does not abolish any part of the Torah as a whole (Matthew 5:17-21, James 2:10)
 Keeping the Torah is part of true saving-faith (Matthew 19:17; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; 22:14)
 You will abide in Yeshua's love, if you keep Torah (John 14:15-23) as He abided in the Father's love by keeping Torah (John 15:10; Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15)
 Faith in Yeshua does not cancel out what the Torah says, it establishes it (Romans 3:31)
 Torah is itself "liberty" and the standard we are to judge ourselves by (James 1:22-25)
 It is those of the flesh who are not subject to the Torah (Romans 8:5-8)
 If you say you know Him, and ignore His Torah, you are a liar (1 John 2:3-7)
 It does not matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, what matters is keeping YHWH's Torah (1 Cor. 7:19)
 The "law of love" is that we keep his Torah - which is by no means a "burden" (1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6; Matt. 11:29,30)


The "church" is NOT a group of Gentiles. The Greek word translated as "church" is "eklesia" or "assembly". If you read the Septuagint you will see that this same eklesia was gathered at Mt. Sinai with Moses (Exodus 19). The assembly is, and always has been, Yisrael (1Cor 10:2, Eph 4:5). YHWH has a Covenant with Yisrael and Yisrael alone, through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen 12:1-3, 15:1-18, 17:1-7, John 8:56, Gal 3:16). Gentiles partake of this Covenant through the shed blood of Yeshua (Matt 26:28), by which the promises of Yah are open to all people that are "grafted in" to Yisrael (Gen 12:1-3, Is 49:6 42:6, Jer 11:17, Rom 11:17-19, Gal 3:8, 29). The 12 tribes of Yisrael, including Judah, are the root and the Gentiles are the branch. The branch is not to boast against the root (Rom 11:19), hence all forms of Replacement Theology are unbiblical. Branch and root are one plant. There is no special status for Jews or Gentiles in Messiah. All are the children of Abba (Cor 8:6 12:13, Gal 3:28, Eph 4:6).


I believe in a Mikvah [water immersion] as an outward expression of the heart-felt confession of faith (Matt 28:19, John 3:5, Acts 1:41 2:38, Titus 3:5). The Mikvah is a typology of death and rebirth (Rom 6:4, Col 2:12). The Mikvah is a Torah command of ritual cleansing (Lev 11:36), and part of the traditional ceremony of "conversion" into B'nai Yisrael.


The Feasts found in the books of Moses (Lev. 23) are Feasts of YHWH ("moedim" meaning "appointed times"), which should be kept by all followers of Messiah. These are YHWH's holy-days. Yeshua kept the Moedim. Paul kept the Moedim. James kept the Moedim. We should likewise keep the Moedim. These include: Pesach (Passover), Matzah (Unleavened Bread), Yom HaBikkurim (First Fruits), Shavuot (Pentecost), Yom Teruah (Day of Trumpets), Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and Succot (Tabernacles). The Moedim are a prophetic schedule. Yeshua fulfilled the first 4 Feasts in His first-coming, and will fulfill the remaining Feasts at His second-coming. Additionally, Scripture is very clear that the Moedim will be kept in the Millennial Reign of Messiah. The Feasts show prophetic fulfillment of Yeshua being the Messiah. Yeshua's nature and the Majesty of our Creator is revealed in understanding the Moedim Feasts. We should glorify our Savior by keeping them, and teaching others how they point to His identity and Gospel.