The Universal Law of Hebrew: Aleph

Hebrew is a universal language of behavior. Read and explore what depths it has to offer to all.

The law of Aleph

Aleph in ancient Hebrew is a picture of an ox. It is the first letter of the Hebrew alephbet and is a silent letter.

Aleph is the first letter that represents YAH.

Have you noticed that YAH/God is silent?

Why would YAH want to be represented by an ox?

Two of the most notable characteristics of an (male) ox is their strength and leadership. The leadership of an ox comes more in the form of training and development. Much, if not most of the time that two oxen are yoked together there is an elder ox yoked with the younger ox. This gives the picture of leadership/training and developer.

Another outstanding characteristic of an ox is their humility. This humility is unlike what is taught in religion. When applying humility to an ox confidence is a synonym of humility.

Let me explain.

These three things equal confidence.

1. Knowing who they are

2. Knowing what their purpose is

3. Having a sense of direction and goal

Humility should be a disposition rather than a act. For oxen, humility is a disposition. YAH’s humility/confidence is a disposition forever on display.

Also, oxen are very resilient. YAH is resilient.

Can you see a person/ox not worried about the outcome of something? They take no thought for tomorrow? Does that seem like confidence? Does that fit humility? The characteristic of Aleph places its hope of the future in its offspring. YAH places his hope of the future in his offspring.

Aleph = author or founder as in father of the house.

Alef as a command

The numerical value of Aleph is 1. The first commandment is:

Aleph. You will not have no other god before me. Meaning YAH/father/God.

The commandment is in the letter Aleph.
The judgment is the statement that you won’t have no other gods (things that rule over you or control you) as long as you are yoked to Aleph.

I have shared that the Hebrew letter Aleph is a picture of the head of a ox. It means strong leader as in a father.

ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.
2 Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.
3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in His ways.
4 Thou hast commanded us to keep Thy precepts diligently.
5 O that my ways were directed to keep Thy statutes!
6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all Thy commandments.
7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned Thy righteous judgments.
8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.

Psalm 119

Happy are the whole or complete (meaning healthy) on their journey, who walk in the Torah of YAH/father.

One of the words that stands out in this verse is Law/Torah.

As the son ox is yoked to the father ox, what would the context of torah be?
Torah is unspoken law. It is the law that is defined only by love. It only exists in a intimate relationship, as opposed to an affectionate relationship. Torah is more a state of being rather than a act.

It would say, “I don’t cheat on my wife because I am constrained only by love.” Torah means that wrong can only exist outside of love/ charity.

That may be a hard concept to grasp for some.

Aleph gives a picture of two oxen yoked together that makes them one. “I and my father are One” said Yeshua (Jesus). That is the primary law of torah, oneness.

You will not have no other gods before me!

Happy are they that guard his testimonies and seek him with the whole heart.

The Hebrew concept to keep or guard is to add or to multiply. To guard is to always be on the offensive. Stagnation or complacency jeopardizes the testimonies.

Testimony is a result or evidence of value. Good health testifies of the work or value that was put into something.

In order to keep the value and quality of something you must continue to reproduce the same value and quality or it will lose value.

Aleph: you will not have no greater value/god before the the Most High!

They do no iniquity; they walk as he walks.

The most direct way to explain iniquity is when someone becomes independent from god and makes themselves a god themselves.

In behavior it is when a person makes others serve them, as in slavery. God is not their provider, they find a way of providing for themselves through their own ingenuity. If not corrected it will reproduce itself over and over again thus becoming a god, just as YAH will reproduce but from a healthy reproduction.

If one walks as he walks there will be no other gods before the highest of quality.

There is no rival to YAH but man makes himself a rival to Yah. That is the meaning of devil.

All other commandments/letters are dependent on the letter Aleph and are interdependent one to another.

There is way more to these verses than what I have shared. There can be a a large volume book written just on the one letter, as well as all of the other letters.

The law of Aleph: The strength and confidence of an ox/father!

Written by: Tracy Anderson

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alephbet: referring to the first two letters of the Hebrew alphabet–aleph and bet. This is where the Roman alphabet (used in English) gets it name–originally.

If You’re Reading Your Bible This Way, You’re Doing It Wrong Pt. 2

Do you read the Bible? Don’t answer that.

Many will tell you, “You gotta read ya Bible to show yourself approved” or “You gotta read it to make sure they’re teaching you the wrong thing!”

Truth be told, most pastors are not out to trick or deceive you. They have good intentions. Ministers encourage church-goers to read their Bible at home and “see for themselves.” Many church-goers still don’t.

Do you read the Bible? Don’t answer that.

Many will tell you, “You gotta read ya Bible to show yourself approved” or “You gotta read it to make sure they’re teaching you the wrong thing!”

Truth be told, most pastors are not out to trick or deceive you. They have good intentions. Ministers encourage church-goers to read their Bible at home and “see for themselves.” Many church-goers still don’t.

It’s so important to learn Scripture for yourself!

We need to learn verses, passages, and accounts in their original context. Most times, we only know to associate them with a specific idea and run the risk of missing their true meaning altogether.

What if I only ever learn the account of Joseph as a motivational message to never give up on my dreams–rather than how his life fits into this grand unraveling story of God and Israel.

This is where scriptural illiteracy begins. 

We pull aspects of Scripture out mixed with our personal vendettas and experiences and haphazardly apply them to our lives. Scriptural illiteracy doesn’t simply affect your ability to know where Habakukk or Jude are. Scriptural illiteracy will have you applying the wrong remedies and living without power.

“That’s all I needed to hear! I’m going to go home and read my Bible all the way through!” Slow down there partner! (Don’t judge me–I’m from Oklahoma).

Any time I’ve ever set out to read through the Bible, people would always suggest to start with the Gospels. However, this doesn’t make sense to start in the middle of a book especially if you want to properly understand the story.

People are afraid that if you don’t start there you’re going to lose sight of the importance of Jesus. But I ain’t neva’ scared!

We’ve gotta stop being so frightened to the extent to where we elevate our ability to be lost with no hope over His presence and purpose in our lives. If you are reading your Bible and learning the original context, you will not miss Jesus. In fact, we may discover him at a much richer deeper level than ever imagined!

I think a lot of times, we peruse Scripture looking for something relevant to where we are now. We don’t find value in the story as is and we don’t see our ready-made connection to the people in the book. We’ve been taught to interact with Scripture this way. This will not get the job done.

So, my simple suggestion:

Start at Genesis. Go slow. Read as unbiasedly as you possibly can. Let go of your fear. Let of what you already understand. I repeat, go slow.

Who knows what you may find?

Little Drummer Boy: Drummer Refuses to Play, Minister Rebukes Him

I heard about this video a few days ago and dismissed it entirely. I didn’t even take the time to look it up or get context. I simply ignored the spectacle. It came to my attention again today, so I watched. What I saw didn’t surprise me and it probably shouldn’t surprise you.

It’s surprising to me not because it’s the only thing I’ve ever experienced in church. To be fair, I grew up in a lovely church with very kind and warm people. In my 20+ years in church, I’d had an overwhelmingly positive experience. Thankfully, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve probably experienced something similar to the drummer video.

Sidenote: You’re going to read the word repent and rebuke a lot in this post. Use the links to get a basic understanding.

Firstly, here’s a basic review of what happened:

A female guest preacher is ranting about musicians and some liberties they have and challenges they face spiritually. Her view seemed to be that congregants–particularly musicians don’t really care about the message being preached. She also seemed to reference how because musicians get paid, they essentially don’t receive accountability. She went on to convey that musicians getting paid doesn’t faze her. (You can get this work too–in a nutshell). When she asks the female keyboardist to start playing, she does. She then asks the 17 year old male drummer to start playing. Apparently, he was accustomed to getting a break after a certain part of the service. He doesn’t begin playing. She calls someone out of the congregation to come play. She proceeds to rebuke the drummer who “refused” and told him he had 48 hours to repent. She asked for someone to give her his name before she left. She called upon members to give $150 to “sow into” his repentance that he might repent before the 48 hours. She has since issued a written apology and viewers are weighing in.

To be perfectly honest, with the little context I have–this doesn’t actually make sense. I have so many questions.

  • Why was 48 hours the time given to repent?
  • Who was he meant to repent to?
  • What was he supposed to repent for?
  • What authority does she have to give someone a certain amount of time to repent?
  • How would she have known he repented?
  • Why are congregants not allowed to make choices that may or may not align with what the pastor is requesting?

I do not intend to dive into the process of rebuke as many have begun discussing. After watching, I pondered something different entirely.

From the outside looking in:

She seemed irritated that things weren’t going the way she’d have liked for them to go. So, she hid behind her “prophetic gifting” to express this irritation. After her random blurb, she has the keyboardist play some music that provides an “atmosphere” that would make what she was saying seem more serious or valid. It’d likely disarm the people after such a strong rant/rebuke. When the drummer decided not to play (for whatever reason), she internalized his decision, but projected her irritation onto him in the form of alleged rebuke.

This is one of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen many believers make.

Instead of being self-aware enough to know: This makes me feel a way, they project their emotion on another and have God cosign. This is incredibly harmful. Those on the receiving end have to unnecessarily internalize another’s feelings. This causes a person to bear emotional weight and may strain their ability to be vulnerable and feel safe in this environment.

What I’ve been saying all along

While I tend to hold the view that people need to step away from Christianity as a whole, there are still beautiful aspects of it. However, no matter how beautiful or beneficial it may be, the priority in every conversation, every relationship, and every gathering, has to be safety via vulnerability.

It doesn’t matter how reflective of the first-century church your traditions are. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your worship is. It doesn’t matter how thoroughly studied your sermon is.

The greatest impact is always going to happen at a behavioral level. If people are able to be safe emotionally, that will produce healthy behavior. Healthy behavior coming from healthy foundations is indication of a healthy person.

This is not to say that people’s emotions ought to be coddled. Instead, it is through challenge, people can truly come to understand their true nature. It is not until they understand their nature that they can begin to make progress toward wholeness.

This process is often stunted because people conflate spirituality with emotions. We move too swiftly and avoid those uncomfortable moments and rushes of emotions by waving them off as a ‘praise break’ or a ‘spiritual attack’. These moments potentially have more power in them than anything being taught from the pulpit.

Many people say, “God doesn’t care about your feelings,” or ” don’t listen to your feelings.” I’d say instead, He absolutely cares about your feelings. Your feelings are little indicators that reveal YOU to you. They show us how we see the world and ourselves. You can imagine how important it is to heal then.

What story are you telling yourself?

To heal in our emotions is to heal our narratives. We develop narratives through our parents’ narrative, our environment, and our experiences. This is incredibly essential because it is often the difference between reacting vs. responding. In the video, it appears the woman reacted swiftly due to some internal dissonance. While it took her no time to react to the drummer’s ‘no,’ it took her days to reflect on her behavior and make the choice to apologize. That is usually an indication of a lack of emotional health. Unfortunately, she will likely only be challenged through a hyper-spiritualized lens and won’t be able to reflect on her emotional state. The cycle will continue.

The reality is every person has various experiences that lead to their choices today. They are not going to comply to the idea you or I may have. Knowing how to reflect and respond is essential in conversations, relationships, and gatherings. Additionally, how we feel or react is more indicative of us than it is them.

Self-conscious or self-aware

When a person reacts (which does not always appear overtly negative), they are behaving due to their sensitivity to others’ approval. This person is self-conscious. Their sense of others’ opinion is heightened and unfortunately, they cannot always determine which standard to be sensitive to. So, they are emotionally hijacked. This is something I’m in the process of working through. This person will often do the right thing out of fear, shame or validation. When a person behaves from that place, we can be sure they have not truly learned or internalized the truth of something. Instead, they need some exterior source to motivate them to make a particular choice rather than look inwardly and confidently move from that place.

When a person is self-aware, they respond to one internal standard that dictates their behavior. They are confident not because they are right all of the time. Instead, they are confident because they are knowledgeable of their true nature and are always open to what their experiences can teach them about themselves.

To the nitty-gritty

The beliefs that would justify the preacher’s behavior is prevalent in the Black church. To name a few: lack of accountability for leaders, total authority for leaders, total submission required for non-leaders, leader infallibility, and the list goes on. One belief I’d like to highlight is: If I feel it, it’s right.

This is no coincidence that this is particularly prevalent in the Black church. When a person or persons have been so stripped of their identity and value, they compensate in various ways. This is often first evident in how they attempt to attain and assume authority. Today, many Black people have turned their attention on healing and stopping generational baggage in its tracks. Yay, us!

However, many Black people have not undergone enough healing and challenge to produce emotional intelligence. These underlying beliefs were produced in times where survival was of utmost importance. We’ve been reacting as though we are in the middle of crisis in even the mildest of situations. We’re easily vexed and struggle to manage our stress. Our trauma is trapped in our bodies and we view many choices by others as serious threats–even when it is perfectly safe and acceptable.

This leads us to create spaces where the authority is strict and non-leaders are compliant. It is through shame and fear based obedience that everything stays in order. You can witness this in Black churches and Black homes.

I believe this was evidenced in the video of today. How can we do differently moving forward? What would have been more acceptable in that situation? How can we maintain a place of safety and vulnerability?

  • Honor his ‘no.’ (This shows him he’s allowed to set boundaries and maintains his value and trust)
  • Get someone else to replace him on his break. (Problem solve without shaming him)
  • If frustrated inwardly, take a moment to pause before speaking anything else. (Even taking note that you’re irritated/bothered is healthy)
  • Take time later to reflect on why his ‘no’ may have bothered you. (Getting to the bottom will free you from reacting from that place again)

The response above maintains everyone’s value and fosters a safe environment.

Above all, we must prioritize a safe space for everyone in which vulnerability is the norm. If we place anything above this, offenses will accumulate, trust will break down, value will depreciate, and division will ensue. Again, this is not solely applicable to the Church. This is a valuable precept for all human interactions.

If You’re Reading Your Bible This Way, You’re Doing It Wrong

When I talk to people about what I believe now, some people ask, “Where’s your source? Where in the Bible does it say that?” To be honest, my response usually sounds a bit elusive and sketchy. Many times, I have to simply say, “You won’t find this explicitly written in the Bible.”

The obvious conclusion for my conversation partner is, “You’re just making stuff up!”

However, that’s not the reason we read the same Bible but walk away with different conclusions. Additionally, it makes it a lot easier to dismiss what I say on account of the sheer amount of people who have walked away with outlandish conclusions. I get it.

Nevertheless, why am I walking away with completely different conclusions than the average Christian? Am I reading certain commentaries? Do I have access to better supplemental resources? Am I a linguist who comprehends the language better? Am I smarter? Am I crazy?

The short answer is: I learn differently.

I’m not talking about being a visual or auditory learner. I’m not saying I learn better, either.

Discovering Torah has taught me a new way to learn. This way of learning is meant for anyone who would approach it and adopt it!

Let’s think about the way many of us dig deeper when studying Scripture. Let’s start with a commonly misunderstood word—torah. At first, like most Christians, I understood torah to mean “law.”

We arrived at this conclusion by looking up the definition of the word in the original language—Hebrew. We probably looked up where the word was first used to get proper context and usage. This is good practice.

Many people’s understanding of ‘Torah’ does not extend beyond: it’s the first five books, it’s law, Israel couldn’t obey it because it was too hard, and we don’t have to because Jesus did it.

All of that might make sense if Torah does mean “law,” but it doesn’t. Upon a deeper search, it more closely means “instruction, way, path, guide.”

Many of us stop looking there—likely concluding, “Torah is the instruction or way.” Great! But, if I already believe that Torah is essentially irrelevant today, what good does this do me? I wouldn’t even know how to apply this to my life! “Maybe it USED to be the path we should follow, but now we have Jesus?” “Maybe it has good teaching in it.” At this point, we’re just guessing and can fall prey to filling in the gaps in order to make it make sense.

While I learned a more accurate definition of Torah a long time ago, I still had to live out and test the reality of what it means.

Our studying of Scripture has to extend beyond quiet sessions of reading, ferociously turning pages, and scribbling down notes. We do not truly learn that way.

It was not sufficient for me to learn the definition of “torah”. I must additionally learn the picture and behavior of it.

To read and pour over a text is a passive way of learning—especially if it stops there. While, there is nothing wrong with reading, that is not where our learning truly happens. Learning happens through movement. In Scripture, originally written in Hebrew and always upholding the Hebraic perspective, we discover movement and dynamism.

Why learn Scripture through the Hebraic perspective in the first place?

Hebrew is the perspective through which the Bible is written. Even when we read the texts written in Greek, we are still to read it within the cultural perspective of the Hebraic people.

Hebrew is an active language. English is not.

Hebrew is meant to be lived. It is a behavioral language–the written expression of life and how it works. This is the picture and function of Torah. That’s why the Torah is much more than the first five books.

Let’s think about the Gospel of John. In John 1:1, we read, “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

Over time, we’ve come to understand this verse to be referring to Jesus as the Word. “Word” in the Greek is logos—meaning expressed idea, reason, plan. So, we conclude that Jesus is the expressed idea that God had. He’s the blueprint!

That’s cute and it makes sense. We can even piggyback off of this idea and think: if Jesus is the expressed idea, we must be meant to model ourselves after Him so that we too can be expressions of God’s ideas. It feels great because it feels like we’re comprehending something profound!

However, if we already have formed erroneous doctrines, we’ll attach newly discovered truths to these ideas. So, let’s be slow to process this.

Let’s add John 14:6 to the mix. Jesus is recorded saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is no shortage of verses in the Old Testament that directly refer to the Torah as truth, as life, and as the way.

Let’s review:

  • Torah is the instructions/ideas for how life works
  • Torah shows us what pleases God as it reveals His nature
  • Jesus is the living version of God’s instruction/ideas
  • Jesus is the way to the Father
  • Torah reveals the Father

When we put it all together, we discover that Yeshua/Jesus IS the Torah! Jesus shows us what pleases God. When we follow Torah, we follow Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we follow Torah.

Mind. Blown.

This is a lovely place to start. But, we’re not done here.

The connection we just formed cannot fully be internalized until we go out into our every day lives and make observations. We will essentially investigate the validity of this claim. As we live, we will either find it stands up or it doesn’t.

Think about the psalms. We call the psalms worship and praise. Rightfully so! In the psalms, David is chronicling his observations! He is living and through the activity and events of his life, he is finding what He’s known about God to be true! David was ACTIVELY learning!

Worship understood as singing is a passive activity. Praise understood simply as shouting and celebrating is passive.

Worship is the day to day activity of life. It can never be separated from that. Through every action and thought, we are observing what we value/worship. Praise is a response after having challenged something. Praise is the conclusion or culmination of activity!

Now, this may sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. Understand, anything that is active lives. Anything that is passive and only passive will eventually die.

Is your learning dead? Is your understanding dead? Is your revelation dead?

One might simply think of this process of learning I’ve laid out in a couple of ways.

Word. Definition. Picture. Behavior.

Wisdom. Understanding. Knowledge.

Seed/Roots. Trunk. Branches. Fruit.

When we learn, we become. We do not simply have knowledge, we become it. We don’t simply have light, we become it. You have not learned until and unless it has gripped your behavior.

All of the illustrations above start with something that doesn’t seem to have life yet. It isn’t until it “springs up” that we see the truth of what it is. Many of us put a seed in the ground or hold it in our hands and convince ourselves that we’re growing something or we’ve already learned something. We have to be willing to go through the process in order to have the fruit of our active labor!

Learning is cyclical. At the culmination of the process, therein lies the capacity to reproduce! I.e. fruit have seed in them. The fruit is becoming (active).

Life is learning. Life is active. Life is work.

Think of Adam. We joke that before God gave Adam a wife, he gave him a job. What we actually witness is Adam learning. In his working, he is learning. Life is work. Work is active. Learning is active. Work is sacred.

A warning: it is very easy to get caught up in busy work that makes you feel like you’re working, learning, or being active. Busy work is movement, but it’s not active. Picture Israel wandering in the wilderness.

I’d previously wandered all my years in Christianity and didn’t realize it. I hadn’t been willing to go through the process of exploring and challenging a thing in order to determine the truth of what it is.

Before, I spoke from an unconfident, know-it-all energy. This was my overall energy because I was unwilling to go through the process of actually learning something. While my words sounded strong then, the activity in my life was weak. I spent all my time passively learning—thus passively applying ideas to my life.

So, when I speak today about what I believe, I speak with an intensity unparalleled to the way I once spoke. I speak with confidence because I’ve tested what I speak of. I speak from confidence and not weak know-it-all energy. The difference today is I am willing to be wrong which means I’ve only just started learning.

To be honest, so many people (myself at one point) are dissociated with themselves and life that this process will be incredibly jarring when they first begin. Many will be discouraged and feel like, “What’s the point?” This process will make them feel like something is wrong or nothing is happening. Some will fight it because they are unfamiliar with truly observing themselves and the world. It is so incredibly foreign that some will be depressed due to what they observe. Some will feel like they’re being unproductive because “they’re not spending enough time with God.”

If you ever find yourself worried about whether or not you’re spending enough time with God, remember this: Nothing you do is happening outside of Him. Even when He would sit someone outside the camp of Israel, it was for the purpose of cleansing so that they could return and be active within the community (think of Miriam). Even if you feel sat aside by God today, remember there is always a deeper purpose of reconciliation and healing that He is accomplishing in you.

Every thing you do and witness all day is an opportunity for Him to access you to teach you! I know it feels good to set aside time to show you’re being intentional about hearing from Him and learning from Him, but you are just as present with Him in the things that seem nonsacred or unplanned—even more so if you will see his invitation to learn from Him in everything.

To make this more concrete, keep these things in mind:

  1. It is not enough to learn the definition of a word. You must continue to learn the picture and eventually the behavior.
  2. Learning happens at every moment of the day.
  3. Relying on explicitly stated Bible verses will cripple your opportunity to learn.
  4. The learning process will always start with exactly where you are. You will first practice observing your own behavior.
  5. This process will feel challenging and uncomfortable. Embrace the unknown and discomfort.
  6. The opportunity to learn will often come from spaces you didn’t expect.
  7. This takes time. So, give yourself grace. Typically, we can feel like we’ve learned a lot because we’ve consumed a lot in a short period of time. Truthfully, you will not retain a vast majority of it. What you do retain will be what is useful.

Go slow as you learn. If you learn exactly where you are, that will always be more effective than setting out to learn what you think you ought to know by now or what so-and-so knows. God desires to teach each of us.

The Rant to Rival All Rants

I recently made a slew of posts on Facebook addressing Christian culture, the value of Torah, and the power of challenging our foundation. Here they all are, compiled.

I titled this blog the way I did, not because I was ranting—but because it was perceived that way. For some, these words will be strong and jarring. But, I assure you, while they are strong and challenging, my tone and disposition is one of empathy.

Post #1

The issue with the Christian Church/Christianity is not the people, but the culture. People beget culture and culture begets people. Shrugs.

Christianity, aside from its fundamental falsehoods, fosters an environment where people are inclined to pretend, are shamed, hide, are fearful, unconfident, etc. The culture encourages people to flaunt spirituality, righteousness, and traditions as cloaks of confidence. The culture allows you to dismiss contrary ideas without ever exploring the idea in the name of guarding your salvation. The culture encourages people to live in shame under the guise of humility. The culture encourages people to distrust themselves in the name of wisdom and trusting God.

Having left Christianity, I have found the concessions I used to make, I no longer have to make.

I can trust YAH and myself.

I can mess up and not be ashamed.

I can be confident and it doesn’t mean I’m prideful.

I can be unconfident and it not mean I don’t have enough faith.

I can come as I am to YAH and His people and my value still be in tact.

Long story short—there’s a lot less pretending outside of religion. I’m still unlearning the systems of religion—for sure. So, I don’t ever mean for this to sound like I know everything and you should listen to me. If it challenges or offends you in any particular way, feel free to explore why.

Post #2

What’s so interesting about this is so many Christians are sharing it, but when I and others point out fundamental flaws in this religious system, it becomes about, “Oh no, the church has failed you! My church isn’t like that! We just need to focus on Jesus. Maybe you didn’t have a good experience.”

Why is it Christians can jokingly say Paul would correct the Christian church in America, but feel the need to refute when someone (who isn’t a Christian) says the church needs correction?

Post #3

Christian culture (cont’d)

When I start talking about the shame, fear, pretending, etc., that’s present in Christian culture, I get similar responses. Most of the time, people think it’s an anomaly. “Maybe they went to a church that was very condemning and strict.” It’s not really about that. Two things I want to point out.

1. People show up broken to the church and the culture exasperates or conceals the issue. It is not necessarily the cause of peoples’ various issues.

2. We don’t know what God wants.

These two are the bread and butter for Christian culture. Together, they make a dangerous mix.

People show up to this system—to the pastors, churches, denominations, conferences, Christians—broken. They’re looking for a remedy. They’re looking for a remedy to the self-hate, their so-called sin nature, their fleshly desires. Then, they’re given Jesus. They’re told Jesus loves you and just wants you to follow Him. You just need to give up those things that Jesus doesn’t like. Simple enough.

What are the things He doesn’t like? They’re told sexual promiscuity, lust, stealing, lying, judging, cheating, killing, smoking, revealing clothing, cursing, certain friends, pride, certain past times. The list goes on. So, their journey begins.

What happens when people are not able to give up their “fleshly desires”? What happens when even though they’ve been going to church, praying, fasting, and the desire is still there? The response many get (although most don’t approach anyone because they’re afraid to admit that it’s just not taking) is pray more, study more, worship more, fast more. Whatever the Christian disciplines are, do more of them.

Then what happens? During the time that it’s “not working”, they feel the need to pretend because it SEEMS like so-and-so over there isn’t struggling with anything.

There is an element of the culture in Christianity where people want to cast off suffering as though it devalues them or their place with God—as if it diminishes their spirituality.

This leads me to the second part. When a person is backed into a corner like this one, they have no choice but to create their own set of beliefs and practices (that are already in their wheelhouse) and say this is what God wants from me. That way, they can alleviate themselves from the constant pressure of “still haven’t arrived”. This can be observed at every level of this system. From church, denomination, individual—there are a list of to-dos and to-donts from some obscure list in the New Testament that says THIS is what we should be focused on. If you’re doing this, you’re alright.

But it doesn’t stop there. The culture requires you to add to the Word. Now, certain clothing, style of music, lingo, gospel artists, situations are exactly what you need (or don’t need) in order to please God.

All because we can’t simply admit that we don’t know what God wants and we’re not sure if we’re meeting His expectation.

In this kind of environment, sin of all sort is able to prevail. Their is no sense of true identity. It is simply the identity I conjure up and feel comfortable being and am validated by others in this system. These laws we create help cover our deficiencies. Adhering to them help us feel like we have forward motion. They help us feel like we’re “impacting the kingdom.”

This does not simply exist in the so-called “condemning churches.” This is present in the majority of churches that do not have a proper footing in Torah first.

Torah, the deep process of healing that it offers, will rid you of self-hate, shame, condemnation, negative fear, doubt, worry, distrust, etc. The list goes on.

If a church’s foundation of Scripture and life is not built on Torah, it is a rootless tree pretending to be something it is not.

Post #4

If you (Christian) see my posts, it’s okay for you to disagree. You might even feel offended. However, it’s not okay for you to read my posts looking for something to disagree with or an opportunity to discredit.

Granted, I don’t feel like most people do this. Honestly, the people that reply are likely the people who are available for open dialogue–which I appreciate.

If my posts about Christian culture irritate you, fine. But, don’t let that irritation stop you from seeing the truth in my words.

Truthfully, I’ve heard Christians rebuke the culture of the Christian church vehemently while I was still apart of it. This rebuke was allowed because it was coming from someone “on the inside.” The moment someone “from the outside” rebukes, it is met with “othering.”

Many Christians “other” differing views and in doing so remain stagnant in their understanding. This does not mean I have everything right. However, the only way I or you are going to discover truth is if we go through this process of reasoning and challenge. If there is an invisible bottom line that we hold, our verbal sharpening is for naught.

What is the point in having dialogue or exploring certain ideas if your plan is to walk away believing what you already believe? Come into these conversations with the intent to discover truth even if it’s something you’ve never believed before.

In Christianity, I think many of us were taught to hold so tightly to the truth almost in fear that it could so easily be ripped or plucked out of us. Think of the parable of the seed and sower (not sure if that was the title). Some seed was snatched while others took root, but withered. Many know the illustration.

My words are meant to challenge what your ground is. What soil are you planting in? What has been planted? What has taken root?

Additionally, the pushback or ignoring of what I’ve presented is evidence of another issue within the culture and it proves what I’ve said before.

Christian culture facilitates people running from Light. We’re so fearful of judgment. This fear is gripping. It grips us to our practices. It grips us to our doctrines. It grips us to our fig leaves. We’re so afraid that if God looks our direction, He might not like what He sees.

When You understand Torah: that you need to be judged, that you need to present yourself before Light (YHWH/YAH/God), that He needs to look you over, that He’s lovingly looking over you, that He believes in you, how He sees you, there will be no need to run. These conversations become a lot easier to have.

These ideas may not seem connected. But, there are always things planted so deeply that we cannot see unless we examine our behavior. Upon deeper diving, we discover the seed that was originally planted.

Post #5

More on Christian Culture…

What makes Christian culture so damaging? It lacks vulnerability.

The inner journey of many is to come in, learn the culture, do as they’ve seen, stand on what they believe. This does not sound bad. Quite honestly, it doesn’t look bad either.

It seems like I can find a problem with anything. How can standing on what you believe be a bad thing?

When you stand on what you believe as a means to feel or appear confident without acknowledging where you are unconfident, you enter dangerous territory.

Many of those sermons that seem to have been taught with such anointing, were often taught from the few pockets of confidence that an individual has. Many are standing on the little confidence they have and will not come off of it. This is fear.

This is because somewhere in their belief system or pathology, they cannot afford to be vulnerable. They cannot afford to be unconfident. It almost feels like being unguarded.

When you are vulnerable, it almost feels like you’re in a weakened state. With all the trauma many Christians (like any other human) are carrying around, it makes sense that they’d form systems and beliefs that keep them guarded from facing those painful, unconfident areas.

Many of us are afraid of the truth of who we are. So, we don’t search deeper. We recite our staple verses and ignore anything that feels contrary. Any revelation that shows us how we truly see ourselves can almost always be written off as “the devil is attacking me.”

This is fear. Scripture says, “The fear of Elohim is the beginning of knowledge.” Fear is not inherently a negative thing. This is understood when studied from the Hebraic perspective. There is fear as in being afraid. There is fear that means something else. This is what I’m talking about. Fear is foundation. Fear is what you stand on. Fear is what you have allegiance to. Fear is root.

To have the “fear of Elohim” is to have Him be your root. To have the fear of Elohim means you’ve undergone the process of challenging your foundation to the extent to where all that remains is Him/His Torah.

This requires vulnerability. This requires slowing down in life–not simply creating pockets of time where you are to “hear from God” or “spend time with God”. It requires being sensitive to what He is challenging in you day in and day out. As you submit yourself to that process, you will find it easier to face those painful spaces and you will become whole.

Post #6

Excerpt from the article,

“HEBREW THOUGHT COMPARED WITH GREEK (WESTERN) THOUGHT: A KEY TO UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURE THROUGH THE EYES OF THE AUTHORS”

by N’TAN LAWRENCE

“It is particularly difficult for Westerners—those whose thought-patterns have been influenced more by the Greeks and Romans than by the Hebrews—to piece together the block logic of Scripture. When we open the Bible, therefore, since we are not Orientals, we are invited…to ‘undergo a kind of intellectual conversion’ to the Hebraic world of the East.

“Let us turn, then to some of the many examples of block logic found throughout Scripture. The book of Exodus says that Pharaoh hardened his heart, but it also says that God hardened it (Ex. 8:15; cf. 7:3). The prophets teach that God is both wrathful and merciful (Isa. 45:7; Hab. 3:2). The New Testament refers to [Yeshua] as the ‘Lamb of God’ and the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Jn. 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:5). Hell is described as both ‘blackest darkness’ and the firey lake’ (Jude 13; Rev. 19:20). In terms of salvation, [Yeshua] said, ‘whoever comes to me I will never drive away,’ yet no one can come ‘unless the Father draws him’ (Jn. 6:37, 44). To find life you must lose it (Mt. 10:39). When you are weak, then you are strong (2 Cor. 12:10). The way up (exhaltation) is the way down (humility) (Lk. 14:11). ‘Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:3).

“Consideration of certain forms of block logic may give one the impression that divine sovereignty and human responsibility were incompatible. The Hebrews, however, sense no violation of their freedom as they accomplish God’s purposes. Upon a more careful reading of the biblical text one can often observe that the Bible views one block from the perspective of divine transcendence—God says, ‘I will harden Pharaoh’s heart’—and the other from a human point of view—‘Pharaoh hardened his heart’ (Ex. 4:21; 7:3,13; 8:15). The same is often true of Scriptures which deal with themes of predestination/election and free will/human freedom.

“In sum, the Hebrew mind could handle this dynamic tension of the language of paradox, confident that ‘all is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven’…Divine sovereignty and human responsibility were not incompatible.”

Post#7

Jesus taught to uphold the Torah and meant to establish its original fundamental meaning which had been corrupted by the religious leaders of His day.

To know Him, we have to understand His Torah. If you do not understand His Torah, you will not understand who came as flesh. If we do not understand His Torah, we are following a religion about Him, but so far removed–which inevitably leads to being removed from His power.

“It has been admitted, by even some in the Christian church, that Christianity is not the religion of Jesus/Yeshua, but rather the religion about the Person of Jesus/Yeshua. For it to be the religion of Yeshua and his early disciples, it would have to uphold that obedience to the Torah’s standards of righteous living is a requirement of Christians today.”

Post #8

Why did God give the Torah to begin with if He knew it was too hard to do?

I think many look at failing as confirmation that we were simply not meant to do it. This is not the proper view of failure (sin). Additionally, one could just as easily apply this logic to the lives of Christians today. Are we not meant to believe in the sacrifice of Yeshua/Jesus and what it afforded us because we still fail? No.

But we’re “under grace.” We keep using this phrase as a vague spiritual designation that essentially means God won’t hold your failure against you. I’d prefer not to get into the details of things. So, I’m giving a broad overview for you to consider.

Firstly, the proper translation of torah is not law, but instruction or teaching. Torah shows us the nature of God. Torah teaches us how to live in harmony with ourselves, each other, & God according to the natural patterns and invisible laws that govern life on Earth.

To try to do everything in the torah and not learn the heart of the torah is futile. God nor Jesus ever advocated for this sort of surface-level engagement with Torah. Instead, Torah is a mirror that has the power to correct and adjust you. When you are wandering off the path, it brings you back from destruction. Torah does a deep healing. It cannot heal as it naturally does if you are applying it improperly. People will apply it incorrectly if they understand it incorrectly.

By the time Yeshua/Jesus had come, the state of the people of Israel was incredibly removed. The religious leaders imposed a surface-level application of Torah and even added and subtracted from it while teaching others to do the same.

This is the qualm Jesus had with them. I know in Christianity, we’ve been taught that Yeshua was opposing the Torah because it was too hard and legalistic. Instead, Yeshua was opposing the religious spirit/nature of the people of this time that would make futile systems of what is a way of life. They meant to validate themselves and were foregoing the process of healing that happens when you let YAH teach you who He is through His Torah. When YAH teaches you, He validates you.

This is the tone of the Torah. Think of the Ten Commandments–better known as the Ten Words. These are not threats or strict laws given to Israel so that they wouldn’t do anything God didn’t like. Instead, they are written with the tone of validating who they are. “You will not murder because this is who you are.” YAH declares the standard and we walk the path. He adjusts us as we teeter to and fro as our strength is built. This is very foundational.

The Pharisees created systems, ideas, and the like where they could be validated by their own works and not by allowing their hearts to be circumcised as always intended. They were creating their own foundations. They were living as they pleased and declared “this is what God wants from me.”

This is reminiscent of what is happening in Christian culture today. Many are passing down ideas, traditions, and doctrines without challenging them and are saying, “this is what God wants from us.” Many would rather stay doing what they’re doing and be validated rather than ask, “what is it that you want?”

This rant was not done from a particularly negative place. I was excited about my ponderings and decided to share them. I’ve enjoyed and am deeply grateful for all of the engagement. Many people have commented, debated, encouraged, questioned, and it’s been fruitful.

Until next time!

Torah Today

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

In the average Christian church, there is a discounting of the relevance and potency of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Writings due to misinterpretations of Scripture.

Statements like, “That’s the old stuff–we don’t need that anymore,” “We’re under a new covenant (without knowing what that means),” and “We’re not under the law, we’re under grace (without knowing what that means),” get us in a lot of trouble. 

Many who would profess to be followers of Yeshua (Aramaic name of the Messiah), deny the very doctrine and source from which He taught–the Torah. They use many of the excuses listed above to validate their living out of just a few books in the Bible.

I am convinced that our walk (not religion) will be much more enriched when we seek to understand Scripture within its complete context.

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

To apply principles of Scriptures contextually, we will have to unlearn much of what we’ve learned.

If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this: the “New” Testament is commentary on the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. That means its foundation is the Torah. They derive their thinking and understanding of Scripture from Torah. So, we must know Torah to properly interpret and apply what we read.

The first couple hundred years after Messiah ascended, they did not have what we have compiled today. So, they were teaching from the: you guessed it–Torah, Prophets, and the Writings.

I know. Many believe they were reading out of pocket New Testaments and following along as these events took place; but, that’s just not what happened.

Heck, it’s unlikely the writers of the New Testament would’ve thought what they were writing would be considered Scripture. So, when Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work;” the Scripture he is referring to is the Scripture they already knew: the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. 

Most of the time when Christians hear Torah, their mind goes to the “icky law that Jesus fulfilled so that we don’t have to.” There are many things wrong with that perspective. However, we have to start somewhere.

Many translate Torah as “law.” However, it is best translated as instruction, teaching, or doctrine.

Simply, the Torah is YAH teaching us how to live life. It’s His instructions for life. It is the WORD (Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:142; 1 Tim. 1:8, Rom. 3:31). Messiah is the living WORD (John 1:1-14).

In Matthew 22:36-37, 39-40, Messiah has an exchange that helps sum up the Torah.

Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah? And יהושע said to him, ” ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”

When Messiah said, “The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands,” he is saying every Word given in the Torah falls within those two categories. Every Word or principle given to Israel instructed them in how to love YAH and love people (including themselves).

Recently, I was reading Paul’s letters and enjoying an enriching time in the Scripture when I came across a verse that is a prime example of this.

Colossians 3:5 reads, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: whoring, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and greed of gain, which is idolatry.”

When examined in the Greek (the original language of the book of Colossians), these words sum up the instruction of Torah.

The word idolatry or immorality refers to a selling off of ourselves for the purpose of sin (failure). It has a connotation of adultery. It is to cheapen what is valuable. It is to give over to someone what already belonged to another. 

Torah is riddled with instructions against idolatry. Idolatry gives honor to the created rather than the Creator.

“You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth..”

Shemoth (Exodus) 20:4 TS2009

The word for uncleanness or impurity paints a picture of mixing. Torah goes into depth always about the issue with mixing.

“‘Guard My laws. Do not let your livestock mate with another kind. Do not sow your field with mixed seed. And do not put a garment woven of two sorts of thread upon you.”

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:19 TS2009

“They did not destroy the peoples,

As יהוה had commanded them,

But mixed with the nations

And learned their works,

And served their idols,

And they became a snare to them.”

Tehillim (Psalms) 106:34‭-‬36 TS2009

The issue with mixing is expounded upon in the book of 1 John. John goes into depth about YAH being light. In Him is no darkness.

The word passion refers to an inordinate desire. A desire that is misplaced or out of order–which indicates something was not covered properly previously. If a father does not cover properly, this lack will place an inordinate desire in a child that could have been prevented if the father had covered properly. Torah is thorough in showing how to cover the vulnerable and the importance thereof. 

The word greed or covetousness means advantage and aggression. This is a contrary idea to what is taught in Torah. Many have often wondered why did YAH always instruct the people of Israel to get only what they needed. He’d find fault if they took more than they needed.

1. This was a sign of someone who had not had Sabbath perfected in them. In other words, if they took more than they needed, this was a sign of someone who did not trust YAH.

When Sabbath is perfected in someone, they do not seek to provide for themselves. They see YAH as provider and what they have for others. YAH covers me and I don’t have to look out for myself. They trust. They do not strive. Providing for yourself is strife.

2. Getting more than you needed meant someone else would go without.

The Torah is all about how to care for others and trusting YAH to care for you.

All of the words and right-rulings of YAH are to reveal (cultivate) two things in us: love for YAH and for people. The Torah makes provisions for the citizen and for the stranger, for the vulnerable, for the weak. 

If we live a life that is me-centered, we are not living Torah.

If you are reading Scripture without a proper (progressing in understanding) foundation of Torah, then your understanding is shallow.

Torah is for today — and not in a vague “good for reference” kind of way. Instead, it is for today — actively, intensively, transforming its students.

“The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being; The witness of יהוה is trustworthy, making wise the simple;”

Tehillim (Psalms) 19:7 TS2009

Stay tuned for more posts on Torah!

Dear Church: I Left And I’m Not Going Back

I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.​

Christians don’t know what to do with those who leave the church.

I’ve seen a few typical responses. These are either reactions to or explanations for people leaving. These responses indicate something about the foundation and dynamics operating in the Christian Church.

These will be in no particular order.

  • Indignant. Some are incredibly angry that a person would not agree and align with their idea of the importance of church or traditional Christian ideals.

This indicates there is a foundation of control upon which Christianity is built or the conduit through which it is practiced.

  • Control. Some are frustrated that this person is no longer able to be controlled.

This points to how powerless people in religion feel and their need to cover or compensate for this powerlessness. This is evidenced in various doctrines and traditions.

  • Fear. Some are afraid that you’ll be lost or “the devil’s going to get you.”

This shows how many have been shamed and scared into life with YAH.

  • That’s none of my business. Some don’t feel they are mature enough to relate and converse with someone who may be grappling with their faith and religion. So, they avoid it altogether.

This points to the social system embedded in the Christian church and how people see their roles therein.

  • Longing. In a phrase, “I wish I could do that. I wish I was strong enough to do that.”

This points to the exhaustion of people in religion. Many are tired as they run on the hamster wheel of religion, but it keeps you codependent upon its system. So, you can’t really leave (you can, but you feel like you can’t).

  • Devalue. This is the belief that you are of no value or importance if you are not a part of this belief system anymore.

This points to the incomplete system of validation the Church has set up. People look to pastors, church community, no other Christians to validate themselves. Anyone who does not adhere to this value system immediately and innately loses their value.

Your response to this shouldn’t be to cover up or justify how you or your church normally responds. My encouragement to you if you’ve read this through, is ask. Figure out why people are leaving the Church and Christianity as a whole. Don’t make assumptions.

I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.

People are leaving a system they once felt so strongly about. I felt I had to defend this faith. I felt a responsibility and a weight that many feel today.

I’ve been hesitant at times to share more about my beliefs before I left because people use that to explain away why I left. They’ll say, “You just weren’t doing it right. You just weren’t serious. I’ve always been certain about _. I’ve always known that! You were just at the wrong church. Not all churches are the same.”

I’ve reached a place now where I’m okay with the conclusions people will draw. I think one of two could happen if people started being curious when people leave.

One. They will start to look at what the Church has been doing for so long and make radical changes.

Two. Others will start to leave — much like an exodus.

This is what I think some pastors or Christians are fearful of. They’re afraid to look within. They’re afraid to question and challenge. What if I find out something I don’t like? What if everything I’ve built my doctrine on falls apart? Where would I go? What would I do?

It’s okay to not have the answers to those questions. So, if you do find yourself in that place, feel free to reach out to me!

He is good.
Everything will be okay!

Parables And The Torah, Pt. 2

The New Testament isn’t saying anything new. It is echoing Torah. Messiah is echoing and declaring Torah!

In the average Christian church, there is a discounting of the relevance and potency of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Writings due to misinterpretations of Scripture.

Statements like, “That’s the old stuff–we don’t need that anymore,” “We’re under a new covenant,” and “We’re not under the law, we’re under grace,” get us in a lot of trouble. 

Many who would profess to be followers of Yeshua (Aramaic name of the Messiah), deny the very doctrine and source from which He taught–the Torah. They use many of the excuses listed above to validate their living out of just a few books in the Bible.

I am convinced that our lives will be much more enriched when we seek to understand Scripture within its complete context.

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

To apply principles of Scriptures contextually, we will have to unlearn much of what we’ve learned.

If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this: the “New” Testament is commentary on the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. That means its foundation is the Torah. They derive their thinking and understanding of Scripture from Torah. So, we must know Torah to properly interpret and apply what we read. Additionally, this means these commentaries will not deviate or disagree with the Torah.

The first couple hundred years after Messiah ascended, they did not have what we have compiled today. So, they were teaching from the: you guessed it–Torah, Prophets, and the Writings.

I know. Many believe they were reading out of pocket New Testaments and following along as these events took place; but, that’s just not what happened.

Heck, it’s unlikely the writers of the New Testament would’ve thought what they were writing would be considered Scripture.

So, when Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work;” the Scripture he is referring to is the Scripture they already knew: the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. 

Most of the time when Christians hear Torah, their mind goes to the “law that Jesus fulfilled so that we don’t have to do it.” There are many things wrong with that perspective. However, we have to start somewhere.

First, it does not mean “law.” That is a common application of it; but, it’s not the most accurate. Many translate Torah as “law.” However, it is best translated as instruction, teaching, doctrine.

Simply, the Torah is YAH teaching us how to live life. It’s His instructions, descriptions, and definitions for life. It is the WORD (Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:142; 1 Tim. 1:8, Rom. 3:31) and Messiah is the WORD made flesh (John 1:1-14).

In Matthew 22:36-37, 39-40, Messiah has an exchange that helps sum up the Torah.

Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah? And יהושע said to him, ” ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”

When Messiah said, “The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands,” he is saying every Word given in the Torah falls within those two categories. Every Word or principle given to Israel instructed them in how to love YAH and love people (including themselves). Also, it is a way of saying, this is the foundation for all instruction.

Recently, I was reading Paul’s letters and enjoying an enriching time in the Scripture when I came across a verse that is a prime example of this.

Colossians 3:5 reads, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: whoring, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and greed of gain, which is idolatry.”

When examined in the Greek (the original language of the book of Colossians), these words sum up the instruction of Torah. We’ll explore idolatry, uncleanness, passion, and greed.

Idolatry

The word idolatry or immorality refers to a selling off of ourselves for the purpose of sin (failure). It has a connotation of adultery. It is to cheapen what is valuable. It is to give over to someone what already belonged to another. 

Torah is riddled with instructions against idolatry. Idolatry gives honor to the created rather than the Creator. Additionally, idolatry is a fruit of something. Idolatry is possible when the true value of YAH is not known or is incomplete. 

“You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth..”

Shemoth (Exodus) 20:4 TS2009

Uncleanness

The word for uncleanness or impurity paints a picture of mixing. Torah goes into depth always about the issue with mixing.

“‘Guard My laws. Do not let your livestock mate with another kind. Do not sow your field with mixed seed. And do not put a garment woven of two sorts of thread upon you.”

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:19 TS2009

“They did not destroy the peoples, As יהוה had commanded them, But mixed with the nations, And learned their works, And served their idols, And they became a snare to them.

Tehillim (Psalms) 106:34‭-‬36 TS2009

The issue with mixing is expounded upon in the book of 1 John. John goes into depth about YAH being light. In Him is no darkness. YAH is not mixed — neither should we be. He is whole and complete — lacking nothing.

Passion

The word passion refers to an inordinate desire. A desire that is misplaced or out of order–which indicates something was not covered properly. Usually, when we think about passion/lust, the weight or responsibility lies on the person dealing with it. This is not how things work. Lust/passion is a fruit of something. It is an inordinate desire that comes when one lacks the proper perspective of your value.

The father is the one YAH gives responsibility to to provide identity and value. If a father does not cover properly, this lack will create an inordinate desire that shows up as lust. This could have been prevented if the father had covered properly. Torah is thorough in showing how to cover the vulnerable and the importance thereof. 

Greed

The word greed or covetousness means advantage and aggression. This is a contrary idea to what is taught in Torah. Many have often wondered why did YAH always instruct the people of Israel to get only what they needed. He’d find fault if they took more than they needed.

  1. This was a sign of someone who had not had Sabbath perfected in them. In other words, if they took more than they needed, this was a sign of someone who did not trust YAH. They were not yet able to rest in His provision and decided to provide for themselves.

When Sabbath is perfected in someone, they do not seek to provide for themselves. They see YAH as provider and what they have for others. YAH covers me and I don’t have to look out for myself. They trust. They do not strive. Providing for yourself is strife.

  1. Getting more than you needed meant someone else would go without. They’re always collateral damage when we do not trust YAH to provide.

The Torah is all about how to care for others and trusting YAH to care for you.

The purpose for this post is to draw attention to the connection New Testament Scriptures have with the Torah. The New Testament isn’t saying anything new. It is echoing Torah. Messiah is echoing and declaring Torah!

All of the words and right-rulings of YAH are to reveal (cultivate) two things in us: love for YAH and for people. The Torah makes provisions for the citizen and for the stranger, for the vulnerable, for the weak. 

If we live a life that is me-centered, we are not living Torah.

Learning Torah will change your life!

Torah is for today — and not in a vague “good for reference” kind of way. Instead, it is for today — actively, intensively, transforming its students.

“The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being; The witness of יהוה is trustworthy, making wise the simple;”

Tehillim (Psalms) 19:7 TS2009

Stay tuned for more posts on Torah!

Parables and the Torah, An Introduction

Many of us have become those with no ear to hear. The Church (or those who so claim) is sick because she is disconnected from the Way (Torah) that the Way (Yeshua) taught of.

Have you heard the account of Joseph? In case you haven’t: Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers after he’d revealed he’d had a dreamed that he would one day rule over them. This account can be found in the book of Bereshit (Genesis) chapters 37-50. This is a very popular account taught on a many of occasions. It provides encouragement as ministers extract principles and lessons from Joseph’s experience. “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” “Your setback may be a setup for victory!” “What the devil meant for evil, God means for your good.” “He makes all things work together!” The list goes on.

Another perspective people tend to take when reading Joseph’s story is a very “me-centered” perspective. “Sometimes, you can’t tell everybody your dreams.” “Some of y’all got some haters acting like they’re your friend.” The emphasis quickly becomes Joseph or ‘us’ reading the story. Every other person becomes an extra in the story of Joseph. If we read Scripture this way, we will always walk away with a partial understanding or none at all.

Joseph’s story has little to do with dreams or personal victories. Joseph, like others read about in the Bible, is a small piece in the major scope of Scripture. No one’s story is ever just about them. To some extent, I think we know that — in a very general sense. However, I don’t think we know that within its proper context.

If we continue reading Joseph’s story, we find that his experiences positioned him to help all of Israel. Additionally, he was able to reconcile and be one with his brothers again (which nullifies the me-centered, hater sort of perspective). See, every account, parable, and ‘character’ will always relate back to the grand picture of YAH’s relationship with Israel.

We have to begin reading all of Scripture in this light. Let me demonstrate the importance of this.

Preachers know that Yeshua (name Aramaic and Hebrew people called the Messiah) used parables to deliver deeper truths to the people listening and will use this approach to illustrate ideas they’ve extracted from a text.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with using illustrations to help people understand the deeper truths.

However, it quickly becomes an issue when the message, Scripture, and illustrations are filtered through our culture that is already counter-Scripture. I came across a post on Facebook once that shows the juxtaposition of Hebrew thought and Western (Greco-Roman) thought. Here are a few examples:

  • Man-centered universe (W) vs. God/tribe/family-centered universe (H)
  • Freedom orientation (W) vs. Security orientation (H)
  • Life analyzed in precise categories (W) vs. Everything blurs into everything else (H)
  • Rugged Individualism (W) vs. Importance of being part of group (H)
  • Worth of person based on money/material possessions/power (W) vs. Worth derived from family relationships (H)

My desire in writing these blogs about the Torah is to strike curiosity in your mind about Scripture. This is enough to bring someone closer to truth. I walked very devotedly in Christianity for 20+ years of my life. So, I know the ins and outs of the objections of some of the things I may present via my blog. This is to say, I understand. My blogs are never to shame readers who may still consider themselves Christians. Instead, it is to challenge your perspective and encourage you toward deeper truths. For something is only as strong as it is challenged.

Some will say knowing the culture of the Hebrew people is unnecessary. “We’re not meant to be Jews.”

First, we need a better understanding of the concept of culture, especially as it relates to Scripture. Mostly, we understand culture to be the traditions, foods, music, holidays a group of people hold to. While we can certainly identify those things in Hebrew culture, what we observe of Israel and their interaction with YAH recorded in Scripture is not simply “their culture” — especially not in the same way we understand culture today.

So, what’s the difference?

The Torah (first five books of the Bible) contains a way of life. Even more — it is THE WAY of life. It is literally how life/nature operates. It reveals the character and nature of YAH. Hebrew culture is built on, recorded, and encompassed in the Torah.

When Yeshua said, “I am THE WAY, the Truth, and the Life,” He was making Himself equivalent to the Torah. He was saying I am the Torah — the written ideas of YAH — made flesh

“Aleph Blessed are the perfect in the way, Who walk in the Torah of יהוה (Ps. 119:1)!”

“Your righteousness is righteousness forever, and Your Torah is truth (Ps. 119:142).”

“For the command is a lamp, and the Torah a light, and reproofs of discipline a way of life (Prov. 6:23).”

Many of us have heard the verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1).” Many of us have been taught the Bible is the Word of God. But, Scripture says that Yeshua is the Word. But, what is the Word?

In the Greek, the word for ‘Word’ is logos. Logos means ‘divine utterance’ or ‘expressed idea.’

We’ve been taught it means Yeshua is the ‘’expressed idea God had.’’ This is true, but incomplete. What is Yeshua the expressed idea of? What idea did God have? The Torah! So, to understand Him apart from the Torah, within the context of our culture, is to barely understand Him at all.

So, how can we expect to understand what He taught if we are unwilling to study the very ideas from which He taught? 

Second, the culture we are engulfed in today is a syncretism of various ideologies that make YAH pluralistic, dualistic, and watered down. A lot of the traditions — if not most — observed in Christianity are due to a mixing. They have been observed due to many concessions and manipulations made by the early church (when it linked with Rome’s government) in order to “tame” the pagans of their time. (Read more about it here: http://hoshanarabbah.org/blog/2014/05/21/how-the-church-divorced-itself/). So, the very theology many of us defend was not originally ours to begin with.

The messages many of us extract from Scripture is counter-Torah or are incomplete applications of Scripture.

When Yeshua told parables, they were always directly related to the Torah. It created a picture that derived from the foundation. If those that heard were not truly connected to the foundation, the root, then “they did not have ears to hear.”

Many of us have become those with no ear to hear. This is not really our fault. We’ve passed down information gained by those with a genuine desire to know YAH and commune with Him. Regardless, the problem in Christianity is we’ve assumed there is little relevance to what Yeshua taught (Torah) because “it was just their culture.” Nah. It wasn’t just culture as we understand it — it was the way of life! Their whole culture is built on the Torah. The Torah is the foundation of Hebrew thought.

Problematically, the Church has divorced itself from anything Hebrew and has lost proper interpretation and foundation of Scripture. How do you know?

  • Unless we learn the Torah, we will read the account of the woman caught in adultery and think its central message was about not judging or the grace of God. 
  • Unless you learn Torah, you will read about the Pharisees and think that Messiah’s opposition to them was because He was doing away with “the Law.” 
  • Unless we learn Torah, we will read Joseph’s ascent into governmental authority and think the story is about accomplishing your dreams.
  • Unless you learn Torah, you will continue to think that Messiah did away with the Torah rather than the law. (There is a distinction; ‘under the law’ doesn’t mean what you may think it means).

It is time for us to truly understand and apply Scripture. 

Many have found themselves drawn to study the whole Bible without knowing why. Many have felt the need to start over. There is a reason for this. YAH is providing foundation for His people. YAH is providing healing for His people. Healing will come from a proper application of Torah. Guaranteed. 

The Church (or those who so claim) is sick because she is disconnected from the Way (Torah) that the Way (Yeshua) taught of. As long as we keep applying society’s idea of religion to our lives and study of Scripture, we will never walk in the fullness of intimate communion with Him.

That is all.

Be sensible. Be fools.

Over and out.

You Can’t Escape It!

Worship is life. Worship is behavior. Worship is action. Worship has nothing to do with sound, music, and is not a specific religious discipline. Your entire life is worship! The system of life is worship. You can’t escape it!

The world is changing, so people say. I don’t think that it is. Life has a cyclical nature. I.e. history repeats itself. People are no more evil or good today than any other time. I used to think we were better off now. I see advantages and disadvantages for any moment in time. So, while we’ve seen development, increase in access, extensive knowledge, different uses of resources, the nature of man has not changed. Thankfully, the nature of YAH hasn’t either.

I used to have a particular childlike reverence for Christianity and maybe it was never that. I believed we were the only ones who knew truth and had access to it.

Due to misinterpretations, mistranslations, political interference, and other forces, truth has been distorted into Christianity as we know it today. Let me be crystal clear: Christianity was never a good thing at any point in history. I mention this because the argument I hear to refute criticism of the Church or Christianity is usually something along the lines of, “That’s just modern Christianity. Ancient Christianity wasn’t like this! This is just post-modernism. We need to return to the work of the first-century church!”

(Disclaimer: Granted, by saying Christianity has never been a good thing, I am not criticizing directly the people).

Many desire for the church to go back to what the first-century church was doing — the New Testament Christianity. However, “New Testament Christianity” wasn’t really Christianity at all. It didn’t look the way we think it did. In fact, it looked like what Hebrews were already doing in the “old testament.” The root was different. The fruit was different.

We’ve bought into this idea that what (we think) is old and outdated (Torah) is done away with and it has cost us greatly!

Firstly, the Torah is not old or outdated; instead, it is everlasting. If you were to reflect on the love of God, would you describe it as old or outdated simply because you’ve known of its existence in ancient times? No. We understand the love of God is so intimately Him and is everlasting–meaning: it was, is, and will be.

The Torah is the same.

The Torah was, is, and will be. As a Christian, I imagine this thought would sound terrifyingly heretical. It would sound as if I’m saying we should worship the Torah. And yes, we should; but, not as we currently understand worship.

Worship is life. Worship is behavior. Worship is action. Worship has nothing to do with sound, music, and is not a specific religious discipline. Your entire life is worship! The system of life is worship. You can’t escape it!

Given that humans are behavioral (in that they behave from the belief systems they’ve learned), your behavior, conscious and subconscious, indicates your belief system. This belief system could be control, manipulation, rest, etc. Regardless, you will always behave in accordance with your belief system whether it is healthy or not. Behavior indicates foundation. Foundation is where our loyalty, commitment, and duty lies. We are loyal and committed to it until and unless that foundation is challenged.

So, when I mention that we ought to worship Torah, I mean it must be our foundation. We must live it. We cannot live it if we have not challenged our current foundation or system. As long as our foundation is allowed to stay in place, we will always behave from that place.

John 1:1-14 describes the intimate relationship between YAH and the Torah. It begins, “In the beginning was the Word…” The Torah is the Word and the Word is YAH. YAH has revealed Himself in His Torah.

This may be a hard pill to swallow. I imagine upon accepting or at least exploring this at truth, some of us would become particularly religious and committed to reading this text. And we ought to read it! However, Torah extends far beyond the text itself.

Torah is life. Life is Torah. It is the parameters within which we experience life. This is to say, whether or not you believe Torah, life is happening around in accordance to it. That sounds a bit grand, I’m sure! But, it’s true!

As we live, we have the choice to go with the grain of Torah or work against it. This may be the operation of free will. Many of the institutions, systems, and ideals permeating in society operate from a foundation that goes against the grain.

Participants in these systems bear weight, incessantly attempt to validate themselves, are independent, unwilling/unable to be vulnerable, and do not trust. This is the cost of doing away with Torah.

The Church was built on a culture that goes against the grain of the flow of YAH, of life — of the Torah. Its culture is labor. When we invest our resources (energy, intellectualism, finances, etc.) into validating ourselves to others, we are laboring.

What is the benefit of learning Torah?

The Torah teaches rest. The Torah speaks heavily about Sabbath. Christians don’t often know what to do with that. If I were to suggest that we should keep Sabbath, the response from many would be, “Jesus is my Sabbath.” Most times, they don’t really know what that means. These are just pre-recorded responses for anything that hasn’t been searched out.

I do believe we ought to keep Sabbath, but my understanding of Sabbath is deepening. Sabbath is more than a day. Sabbath is a constant. It is a cycle by which we experience healing and can determine where we are truly resting. Rest signifies confidence. Rest signifies trust. When I learn to rest, it means I am confident in YAH, have trust with others, and am confident in myself. Rest signifies understanding your place in the world and seeing YAH for who He is — the Provider/Source.

The Torah teaches vulnerability. The culture of religion leaves no room for real vulnerability. The culture of religion fosters a need to cover deficiencies, immaturity, or lack of knowledge. We have this idea that we need to be at a certain place by now and this “certain place” is often manufactured by people. This creates an unsafe space to be exactly where you are and identifying exactly where you are is the starting point for healing. Because the Torah offers a different perspective on sin, life, God, family, prayer, baptism, etc. than those pervading Christian circles, those that know it learn to live lives of vulnerability before YAH. They understand the way YAH sees them and there is no fear in approaching Him. So, doing away with the Torah (though it can never be done away with) keeps vulnerability away. As long as we stay unsure about how God sees us, we’ll never come boldly to the throne.

The Torah teaches trust. An underlying precept in what the Torah reveals is that nothing exists in isolation of anything else. Everything is connected. Nothing can provide for itself. To allow myself to be provided for, I must trust. To continue the cycle of healing, I must trust. For the family to be whole, I must trust. Trust is a beautiful picture that is displayed in all things. We often talk about trust in two main areas: romantic relationships and spiritual matters. It’s so much deeper than that. Trust is the foundation of the worlds. This is why it is imperative that we learn trust. When we learn trust, we operate with YAH and not against Him. It breeds rest. It elevates us to peace!

The Torah teaches YAH. Have you ever said these words: “I just want to know You” or “I just want to be like You”? The Torah is the answer for that! You see, YAH is light. Light is a picture of knowledge. Knowledge is light. Light is standard. YAH is standard. YAH is truth. To obtain knowledge is to obtain YAH — to know Him, to know truth, to know peace. That’s all knowledge is. It’s Him. How can you know Him if you do not know His Torah? His Torah reveals His heart, His ideas, His nature.

The Torah is the answer for all calamity in the world. The very topics that Christians debate about, doctrinal differences, sin’s rampant run in society, etc. can all be healed through Torah. But, we have to be willing to challenge the things we say we believe. Whether we submit to it or not, the Torah is happening around us every day. You can’t escape it! It’s happening in our lives, daily, weekly, yearly. Will you wake up and know it? Will you perceive it?