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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

There are too many on the fence today: There needs to be a change - listen with your hearts... Change.

…Lessons from the Wilderness… [1] [2] [3] [4]
Volume  Five

…Change…

1 Corinthians 4:6–14 (CJB)
Now in what I have said here, brothers, I have used myself and Apollos as examples to teach you not to go beyond what the Tanakh says, proudly taking the side of one leader against another. After all, what makes you so special? What do you have that you didn’t receive as a gift? And if in fact it was a gift, why do you boast as if it weren’t? You are glutted already? You are rich already? You have become kings, even though we are not? Well, I wish you really were kings, so that we might share the kingship with you! For I think G-d has been placing us emissaries on display at the tail of the parade, like men condemned to die in the public arena: we have become a spectacle before the whole universe, angels as well as men. 10 For the Messiah’s sake we are fools, but united with the Messiah you are wise! We are weak, but you are strong; you are honored, but we are dishonored. 11 Till this very moment we go hungry and thirsty, we are dressed in rags, we are treated roughly, we wander from place to place, 12 we exhaust ourselves working with our own hands for our living. When we are cursed, we keep on blessing; when we are persecuted, we go on putting up with it; 13 when we are slandered, we continue making our appeal. We are the world’s garbage, the scum of the earth—yes, to this moment!
14 I am not writing you this to make you feel ashamed, but, as my dear children, to confront you and get you to change. [5]


“…What about the change 
What about the difference 
What about the grace 
What about forgiveness 
I want to live a life that's showing 
I'm undergoing the change…” [6]


What is there about the “change”?
What’s different in a life transformed?
How do you explain the unexplainable?
What happens if we change - or don't?

1 Corinthians 1:18 (NET)
18
For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of G-d. [7]

Frustration can set in, trying to explain the cross to someone that can’t or won’t understand; but the battle isn’t ours, it belongs to G-d.  The reality of Messiah can only be experienced, not taught.  To a marked soul, one that Elohim has already decided will be saved, the decision is out of theirs and our hands; G-d will bring that soul to him.  Free will dictates the terms of surrender – whether it be days, months, and years – it’s all the same to G-d.  How many brick walls that person wishes to bang his/her head against is up to them - the outcome though is always going to be the same; all of heaven will stop and rejoice when the object of G-d’s desire bows their knee to Him.  It took me 40 years.  For His glory and His glory alone through the course of those years I suffered defeats, celebrated “successes”, hurt others and others hurt me.  In the end, the result was the same; heaven rejoiced when I bowed my knees to the one true G-d.

Isaiah 45:18-25 (NET)

45:18 For this is what the Lord says, the one who created the sky – he is the true G-d,48 the one who formed the earth and made it; he established it, he did not create it without order,49  he formed it to be inhabited –
“I am the Lord, I have no peer.
45:19 I have not spoken in secret, in some hidden place.50 I did not tell Jacob’s descendants,
‘Seek me in vain!’51
I am the Lord, the one who speaks honestly,
who makes reliable announcements.52
45:20 Gather together and come!
Approach together, you refugees from the nations!
Those who carry wooden idols know nothing, those who pray to a G-d that cannot deliver.
45:21 Tell me! Present the evidence!53 Let them consult with one another! Who predicted this in the past?
Who announced it beforehand?
Was it not I, the Lord?
I have no peer, there is no G-d but me, a G-d who vindicates and delivers;54 there is none but me.
45:22 Turn to me so you can be delivered,55 all you who live in the earth’s remote regions!
For I am G-d, and I have no peer.

45:23 I solemnly make this oath56 – what I say is true and reliable:57
‘Surely every knee will bow to me, every tongue will solemnly affirm;58
45:24 they will say about me, “Yes, the Lord is a powerful deliverer.”’”59

All who are angry at him will cower before him.60
45:25 All the descendants of Israel will be vindicated by the Lord and will boast in him.61 ([8])

(Rom 14:11 KJV)
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to G-d.

Every knee.  Whether you believe or not, slave or free, master or servant, rich or poor.  Every knee.  What transpires next  in the meantime is our choice: what happens afterwards is up to G-d.  If we bow now during the season of grace the Master of heaven and earth will bring us into the fullness of His love and life. 
Will there be trials? Yes.
Will there be tribulation?  Yes.
Sorrow?  Pain?  Yes, yes, yes.
So what’s the point?  Why suffer as a believer when if we’re going to suffer anyway, why not do it with what ever the world has to offer?  The pay is what’s different:

Romans 6:17-23 (NASB95)

17     But athanks be to G-d that 1though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that bform of teaching to which you were committed,
18     and having been afreed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
19     aI am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just bas you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, 1resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, 2resulting in sanctification.
20     For awhen you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
21     Therefore what 1abenefit were you then 2deriving 3from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is bdeath.
22     But now having been afreed from sin and benslaved to G-d, you 1derive your 2cbenefit, 3resulting in sanctification, and dthe outcome, eternal life.
23     For the wages of asin is death, but the free gift of G-d is beternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. [9]

See it for what it is:

(Eccl 3:19-21 KJV)
For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them:
as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.
{20} All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. {21} Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

(Eccl 5:15 KJV)
As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.

Yes, we’ll all go the grave, unless Yahveh shortens the days before His Son Yeshua returns.  It is what awaits us that is different.  Whether or not you believe in a Living G-d doesn’t really matter for even if you believe, well, even the demons believe…

James 2:19 (HCSB)
19 You believe that G-d is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder. v [10]

So if you believe, tremble. If you don’t believe, well:

Deuteronomy 30:19–20 (CJB)
19 “I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have presented you with life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life, so that you will live, you and your descendants, 20 loving Adonai your G-d, paying attention to what he says and clinging to him—for that is the purpose of your life!
On this depends the length of time you will live in the land Adonai swore he would give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov.”[11]

Proverbs 13:13–16 (NASB95)
13) The one who adespises the word will be 1in debt to it, but the one who fears the commandment will be brewarded. (14) The 1teaching of the wise is a afountain of life, To turn aside from the bsnares of death. (15) aGood understanding produces favor, But the way of the treacherous is hard. (16) Every aprudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool 1displays folly.[12]

 Of this Matthew Henry says: “…{15} The service of sin is slavery; the road to hell is strewed with the thorns and thistles that followed the curse. {16} It is folly to talk of things of which we know nothing, and to undertake what we are no way fit for…”

Stand in awe of Yahveh. Stand in reverent fear of the One who can not only destroy, but also can cast the soul into hell. This One can either love you with all that heaven has to offer, with all the goodness that Adonai Tzva’ot has to bestow or He can visit His wrath upon you for the sins in your life. The way of the unrepentant is hard; not only upon themselves but also upon those around them. Look once again at the choices laid out before you. I can only testify about the misery I invoked upon those I loved but I can also thank Yahveh and Yeshua, blessed be their names, that my beloved did not give up on me. They, at the very least, my wife, held me up to Yahveh Elohim in her prayers and He heard and rescued me – not for my sake – by for His name’s sake and for His honor as He answered her prayers. Not all have that luxury I know, of those that pray for them, but this I know: when I pray, I always ask Father to look about, and find someone just like me – and help them. You see, Adonai has a way out for us all, in just three little words: “G-d help me.”

(Amos 5:14 KJV)
Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the G-d of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.

 Speak these words: they are enough to move the mighty hand of G-d Almighty Himself. They are all He really needs to hear if they are spoken from a broken and contrite heart. And what does that mean? It means those three words are uttered by one who has had enough, one who is done. The emptiness and the futility of a life that just doesn't make any sense can only the inescapable conclusion that there is no place left to go. If you're there, you know what I mean. If not, but your heart still tugs because you know you are dancing on the razor's edge, listen...

G-d meets us in three different positions in our life, and this applies to us all, rich, poor, man, woman, child, sober or not, whatever our station in life may be.
·         He first meets us when we are still able to stand, holding on to our image of "self-control", thinking we are in charge of our lives, even though we can sense the fabric that holds our reality together is unraveling. He meets us as we are standing there and quietly asks us, "Are you done yet?"
·         The second place He comes to us is when that illusion of self-control has slipped and we are bent over, our hands on our knees, and we are desperately trying to catch our breath so that we can stand again. He bends over with us, down to our level and asks once again, "Are you done yet?"
·         Thirdly and lastly, we are face down in the slime, drowning in the mud and the debris that had been our life. The fabric of our existence has totally unraveled and in fact, there is only a shear thread left and it is breaking. We can't stand; we are too tired, the bruises to large, the cuts are too deep. All that's left for us are our tears and even those are almost gone. The stench that surrounds us is almost unbearable, it has the smell of death clinging to it. The old "friend" that had been hanging around us, you know - that old serpent - well, he's satisfied. He has beaten us down, robbed us of all we had, stripped us naked and then kicked us some more while we were down. He walks away with all he has stolen, then turns and shoves our face one more time into the cesspool of our life he destroyed. We hear his scornful hate-fill laugh as he turns from us, convinced that we are finished.

He's not wrong. There's no place left to go.

The ooze fills our mouths, and threatens to choke what life we have left out of us. We close our eyes, hoping for the only peace we think is left to us, the grave. Then something unexpected happens though; we hear the sound of someone laying down in the slime beside us; strong, gentle hands begin to clean our face, wiping the filth from our lips. Our eyes are so tired, we can't see who this one is, but then we hear His voice, speaking to us even as He is covering our nakedness with His own robe.
"My child; you are done. Come…"
This One doesn't wait for an answer this time. Before, we had the strength to tell Him no... now He knows our strength is gone. He could just leave us there in our own filth to die, but, He's wrapped us in His robe and picked us up from the mire. He rests our weary head on His chest, His voice telling us over and over, "It's done. I'm here. I love you and no one will hurt you again... I promise."

Time to rest child. No matter which of the three stations you're in, He is there. I waited until He carried me out of the slime but you don't have to. What we have sown in our life, we will reap, but the harvest doesn't have to be bitter. Turn to Him now and let the healing begin, let the bitterness be replaced with the sowing of good seed, of the Spirit of truth and light. Rest your head on His bosom, feel the beat of His heart.

What He promises is true. Life for life; but don't be a fool, He knows your heart...

(Gal 6:7-8 KJV)  Be not deceived; G-d is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. {8} For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

I said before believing is one thing, but what you do with what you believe is the important thing. Is there a guarantee that what we believe is true? Well, the only way I can answer you that is that my life was transformed, by the change and what has occurred since I was raised out of the depth of my sin. Let me ask you this one thing though; if we who believe in an Almighty G-d, in the Yeshua Ha’Machiach are wrong, and there is no G-d, what have we lost?
If we who believe are wrong, and there is no G-d, what have we lost?
A few “good” times at the bar?  Maybe some STD’s?  Didn’t watch some X-rated movies?  No drugs? O my, no more scrounging' around in garbage cans for something to eat, no more sleeping under a dark bridge, no more beating my spouse or my children!?!  You get my point? What have we missed?  Our lives have changed; we go home to our families, pay our bills, enjoying life to the fullest extent possible for we are at peace with our fellow man…  Being a blessing and not a curse… 

Then we die.

Psalm 103:15-16 (NET)

103:15 A person’s life is like grass.25
Like a flower in the field it flourishes,
103:16 but when the hot wind26 blows by, it disappears,
and one can no longer even spot the place where it once grew. [13]

Our lives are short, nothing but a vapor. Our life can be compared to the flower in the wild, subject to the whim of nature and the dangers of the field. Who will know us when we are gone? Time passes and memories fade. Who remembers? If believers are truly wrong, then we die and are forgotten. What have we lost? Hopefully we've left something behind, if only just the fading memories of a life well lived, of a legacy of helping and loving others as we love ourselves, of trying to make a difference in the name of a loving Savior. To say we are wrong, then, is to say that there no point, truly no justice except what man can mete out to those it's laws can catch and punish. Those who can get away with their crimes die just like us, the memories eventually fading, their victims unavenged. Let the strong rule the weak and those who dream of a life in the here-after are just fools. What point is life then? To just survive and get as much out of it as we can by whatever method appeals to us? This entire struggle for of life - for what? If this is all there is then truly there is no purpose in life but to survive it. We struggle and survive whatever life hands us, just so we can die. The wisest man ever, Solomon, put it this way:

Ecclesiastes 2:14-18 (AMP)

14 The wise man’s eyes are in his head, but the fool walks in darkness; and yet I perceived that [in the end] one event happens to them both. [Prov. 17:24.]
15 Then said I in my heart, As it happens to the fool, so it will happen even to me. And of what use is it then for me to be more wise? Then I said in my heart, this also is vanity (emptiness, vainglory, and futility)!
16 For of the wise man, the same as of the fool, there is no permanent remembrance, since in the days to come all will be long forgotten. And how does the wise man die? Even as the fool!
17 So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me; for all is vanity and a striving after the wind and a feeding on it.
18 And I hated all my labor in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will succeed me. [Ps. 49:10.] [14]

Of these verses spoke Matthew Henry:

“…Verses 18–26
Our hearts are very loth to quit their expectations of great things from the creature; but Solomon came to this at length. The world is a vale of tears, even to those that have much of it. See what fools they are, who make themselves drudges to the world, which affords a man nothing better than subsistence for the body. And the utmost he can attain in this respect is to allow himself a sober, cheerful use thereof, according to his rank and condition. But we must enjoy good in our labour; we must use those things to make us diligent and cheerful in worldly business. And this is the gift of God. Riches are a blessing or a curse to a man, according as he has, or has not, a heart to make a good use of them. To those that are accepted of the Lord, he gives joy and satisfaction in the knowledge and love of him. But to the sinner he allots labour, sorrow, vanity, and vexation, in seeking a worldly portion, which yet afterwards comes into better hands. Let the sinner seriously consider his latter end. To seek a lasting portion in the love of Christ and the blessings it bestows, is the only way to true and satisfying enjoyment even of this present world…” [15]

So is this only our opinion? If it is, no consequence; we die, and that's it. Whatever we were able to wrought out of life is our legacy, that and a slab of granite over a small plot of land if we are lucky. Vanity, all vanity.

But yet, there is a flip side; what if believers are right?

What if there is a Creator in heaven, weighing out the scales of justice, of mercy and grace? What if this G-d created us for the purpose of loving us and in return we loving Him, of being called the sons and daughters of the Most High G-d if we believe? What's the consequence then? It is ETERNAL...

Matthew 5:17-22 (NET)

5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish these things but to fulfill them.17 5:18 I18 tell you the truth,19 until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter20 will pass from the law until everything takes place. 5:19 So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others21 to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness goes beyond that of the experts in the law22 and the Pharisees,23 you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Anger and Murder
5:21 “You have heard that it was said to an older generation,24Do not murder,’25 and ‘whoever murders will be subjected to judgment.’ 5:22 But I say to you that anyone who is angry with a brother26 will be subjected to judgment. And whoever insults27 a brother will be brought before28 the council,29
and whoever says ‘Fool’30 will be sent31 to fiery hell.32 ([16])

Matthew 5:29-30 (HCSB)
29 If your right eye causes you to sin, m gouge it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. n 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of the parts of your body than for your whole body to go into hell! [17]

Matthew 10:28 (JNT)
28 “Do not fear those who kill the body but are powerless to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who can destroy both soul and body in Gei-Hinnom. [18]

Matthew 23:13–39 (CJB)
13 “But woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! For you are shutting the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces, neither entering yourselves nor allowing those who wish to enter to do so. 14 *
15 “Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! You go about over land and sea to make one proselyte; and when you succeed, you make him twice as fit for Gei-Hinnom as you are!
16 “Woe to you, you blind guides! You say, ‘If someone swears by the Temple, he is not bound by his oath; but if he swears by the gold in the Temple, he is bound.’ 17 You blind fools! Which is more important? the gold? or the Temple which makes the gold holy? 18 And you say, ‘If someone swears by the altar, he is not bound by his oath; but if he swears by the offering on the altar, he is bound.’ 19 Blind men! Which is more important? the sacrifice? or the altar which makes the sacrifice holy? 20 So someone who swears by the altar swears by it and everything on it. 21 And someone who swears by the Temple swears by it and the One who lives in it. 22 And someone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and the One who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! You pay your tithes of mint, dill and cumin; but you have neglected the weightier matters of the Torah—justice, mercy, trust. These are the things you should have attended to—without neglecting the others! 24 Blind guides!—straining out a gnat, meanwhile swallowing a camel!
25 “Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Parush! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may be clean too.
27 “Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look fine on the outside but inside are full of dead people’s bones and all kinds of rottenness. 28 Likewise, you appear to people from the outside to be good and honest, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and far from Torah.
29 “Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the tzaddikim, 30 and you say, ‘Had we lived when our fathers did, we would never have taken part in killing the prophets.’ 31 In this you testify against yourselves that you are worthy descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead then, finish what your fathers started!
33 “You snakes! Sons of snakes! How can you escape being condemned to Gei-Hinnom? 34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and Torah-teachers—some of them you will kill, indeed, you will have them executed on stakes as criminals; some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. 35 And so, on you will fall the guilt for all the innocent blood that has ever been shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Hevel to the blood of Z’kharyah Ben-Berekhyah, whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar. 36 Yes! I tell you that all this will fall on this generation!
37 “Yerushalayim! Yerushalayim! You kill the prophets! You stone those who are sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children, just as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, but you refused! 38 Look! God is abandoning your house to you, leaving it desolate.e 39 For I tell you, from now on, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of Adonai.’ ” f [20] [21]

There are those who speak out against this God, who revile Him, curse His name and His Son, those who do evil to others and fear nothing they do or say:

(James 3:6 KJV)
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

(2 Pet 2:2-9 KJV)
And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. {3} And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. {4} For if G-d spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; {5} And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the unG-dly; {6} And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live unG-dly; {7} And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: {8} (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) {9} The Lord knoweth how to deliver the G-dly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:

 O man!  See that if YOU are wrong, what awaits you!  What does it profit you to hold on to this world at the peril of your eternal soul?

  
Matthew 16:24-27 NASB
24     Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and atake up his cross and follow Me.
25     “For awhoever wishes to save his 1life will lose it; but whoever loses his 1life for My sake will find it.
26     “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
27     “For the aSon of Man bis going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and 
cwill then 1repay every man according to his 2deeds. [22]

What is your soul worth?
The things of the flesh, of this world?
The things that can be destroyed, stolen, taken away?

When you pour all you have into those things made by man's hands, how long do you think your kingdom will stand? You work and build, toil again and again, longing for rest but having none. If you die with the most toys but lose your soul in the end, what have you gained? As you wail and gnash your teeth in the vast emptiness of hell will all that you have striven for have been worth eternal separation from the One that created you, especially when all He asked from you was your love?
Love that would have been returned unconditionally, completely.

What price did you forfeit your soul for, to deny Him and the words of life? Change. Turn around. Repent this day, this hour, for He who sits on the throne of heaven could demand your soul of you – you are after all, only one heartbeat away from eternity.

 If you only had a 1% chance of dying from an exotic disease, but no chance of dying if you took a free, completely safe vaccination, would you get the shot or would you be willing to take the risk? It's the same with grace. If there was only a one percent chance that God does exist, is it worth it to deny His grace? God's grace is free, yours for the asking. The day of grace is closing though. Take the cure and live, or ignore it and pay the price. Two choices, but know this, they're the only two offered.

Whether you believe or not DOES matter.
For all eternity, it matters.

All men/women KNOW in their spirit that God does exist. What we do with this knowledge determines our destiny, either forever with Yahveh the Father or forever where the worm dies not and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Change? I pray you make the right choice. I leave you with this:

(John 8:36 KJV)
If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

May Yahveh richly bless you my beloved, Amein.



[1] Authors note: Use of information from Jewish-themed websites should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed. The inverse is also true – by using these sites in no way confirms or denies that this author holds to all things found on these sites – but brethren, we all can learn from one another, Jew and Gentile; may it be so in shalom and love and respect.
[2]  Author’s note:  Throughout this study I’ll be using the Net® Bible and  the Net® Notes: within the notes you’ll see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NetBible© for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NetBible©)  used in translating the New Testament. Please go to  https://bible.org/netbible/ and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.
[3] Author’s Note: In these studies I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of G-d. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested, but for the sake of brevity (as if any of these posts of mine are brief ) I insert them and let them stand as they are. If I don’t agree with them, why do I include them you might ask? I don’t believe in censuring anyone’s opinions or scholarship; as I would not want mine censured, so I will not do to that to another. As Rabbi Hillel once stated, “What is hateful to you, do not do to another. That is the whole Torah. Go and learn it.” Torah leads me to respect others, even if I disagree; it leads me to present both sides of the coin, even if it could mean I’d lose part of the argument. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe contradicts the truth of G-d’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles; that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from the NET® Bible (but not exclusively); it has a decidedly Western/Greek mindset to it, but as a wise man once said “How do you eat chicken? Swallow the meat and spit out the bones…” I do though want to present the NET® notes because there is a wealth of information and research contained within them that I hope you find helpful.
[4] One may wonder why I omit the “o” when I write the title “G-d”. While there are many who say that to leave out the “o” is a sign of being under the influence of the Rabbis who forbid saying the name of Yahveh, I say, one must come to a conclusion on their own, and do as their heart convicts them (within the bounds of G-d’s word of course). I believe in the power of the name of the Most High – the name of Yahveh – and in uttering it in awe and reverence, yet find no contradiction in my soul for the hyphenated title “G-d”. I have written it both ways – stopped doing it, and now I have returned to the practice – as I said, one must follow the conviction of their heart. I do not disrespect anyone else’s opinion on this matter, and regardless if you think it wrong or right, I ask for the same respect. Let each be fully persuaded in their own mind and heart – and let G-d sort it out with each believer. For now, this is right for me, till the Father corrects - or confirms; I am after all, a work in progress. Shalom. 
[5]  Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., 1 Co 4:6–14). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.
[6] Steven Curtis Chapman SPARROW RECORDS / 1999 / COMPACT DISC
[7]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
·         [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org, n.d. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..  For more information see footnote #2 and 3.]
48 tn Heb “he [is] the G-d.” The article here indicates uniqueness.
49 tn Or “unformed.” Gen 1:2 describes the world as “unformed” (תֹהוּ, tohu) prior to G-d’s creative work, but G-d then formed the world and made it fit for habitation.
50 tn Heb “in a place of a land of darkness” (ASV similar); NASB “in some dark land.”
51 tn “In vain” translates תֹהוּ (tohu), used here as an adverbial accusative: “for nothing.”
52 tn The translation above assumes that צֶדֶק (tsedeq) and מֵישָׁרִים (mesharim) are adverbial accusatives (see 33:15). If they are taken as direct objects, indicating the content of what is spoken, one might translate, “who proclaims deliverance, who announces justice.”
53 tn Heb “Declare! Bring near!”; NASB “Declare and set forth your case.” See 41:21.
54 tn Or “a righteous G-d and deliverer”; NASB, NIV, NRSV “a righteous G-d and a Savior.”
55 tn The Niphal imperative with prefixed vav (ו) indicates purpose after the preceding imperative. The Niphal probably has a tolerative sense, “allow yourselves to be delivered, accept help.”
56 tn Heb “I swear by myself”; KJV, NASB “have sworn.”
57 tn Heb “a word goes out from my mouth [in] truth and will not return.”
58 tn Heb “swear” (so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “confess allegiance.”
59 tn Heb “‘Yes, in the Lord,’ one says about me, ‘is deliverance and strength.’”
60 tn Heb “will come to him and be ashamed.”
61 tn Heb “In the Lord all the offspring of Israel will be vindicated and boast.”
·         End “NET®” notes
[8]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.

a  Rom 1:8; 2 Cor 2:14

1  Lit you were slaves...but you became

b  2 Tim 1:13

a  John 8:32; Rom 6:22; 8:2

a  Rom 3:5
b  Rom 6:13
1  Lit to lawlessness
2  Lit to sanctification
a  Matt 6:24; Rom 6:16
1  Lit fruit
a  Jer 12:13; Ezek 16:63; Rom 7:5
2  Lit having
3  Lit in
b  Rom 1:32; 5:12; 6:16, 23; 8:6, 13; Gal 6:8
a  John 8:32; Rom 6:18; 8:2
b  1 Cor 7:22; 1 Pet 2:16
1  Lit have
2  Lit fruit
c  Rom 7:4
3  Lit to sanctification
d  1 Pet 1:9
a  Rom 1:32; 5:12; 6:16, 21; 8:6, 13; Gal 6:8
b  Matt 25:46; Rom 5:21; 8:38, 39
[9]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
v  2:19 Dt 6:4; Mt 8:29; Lk 4:34
[10]  The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. 2003. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
[11]  Stern, D. H. (1998). Complete Jewish Bible: an English version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B’rit Hadashah (New Testament) (1st ed., Dt 30:19–20). Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications.
a  Num 15:31; 2 Chr 36:16
1  Lit pledged to it
b  Prov 13:21
1  Or law
a  Prov 10:11; 14:27
b  Ps 18:5
a  Ps 111:10; Prov 3:4
a  Prov 12:23
1  Lit spreads out
[12]  New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Pr 13:13–16). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
·          [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org, n.d. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..  For more information see footnote #2 and 3.]
25 tn Heb “[as for] mankind, like grass [are] his days.” The Hebrew noun אֱנוֹשׁ (’enosh) is used here generically of human beings. What is said is true of all mankind.
26 tn Heb “[the] wind.” The word “hot” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
·         End “NET®” notes
[13]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
[14]  The amplified Bible, containing the amplified Old Testament and the amplified New Testament. 1987. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[15]Henry, M., & Scott, T. (1997). Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary (Ec 2:18). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems.
·          [The following notes are taken from the NET Bible® footnotes, copyright (c) 1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press L.L.C. All rights reserved. Used by permission from www.bible.org, n.d. Numbering system is unique to NET® Notes..  For more information see footnote #2 and 3.]
17 tn Grk “not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Direct objects (“these things,” “them”) were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context, but have been supplied here to conform to contemporary English style.
18 tn Grk “For I tell.” Here an explanatory γάρ (gar) has not been translated.
19 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
20 tn Grk “Not one iota or one serif.”
sn The smallest letter refers to the smallest Hebrew letter (yod) and the stroke of a letter to a serif (a hook or projection on a Hebrew letter).
21 tn Grk “teaches men” ( in a generic sense, people).
22 tn Or “that of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
23 sn See the note on Pharisees in 3:7.
24 tn Grk “to the ancient ones.”
25 sn A quotation from Exod 20:13; Deut 5:17.
26 tc The majority of mss read the word εἰκῇ (eikē, “without cause”) here after “brother.” This insertion has support from א2 D L W Θ 0233 f1, 13 33 M it sy co Irlat Ormss Cyp Cyr. Thus the Western, Caesarean, and Byzantine texttypes all include the word, while the best Alexandrian and some other witnesses (P64 א* B 1424mg pc aur vg Or Hiermss) lack it. The ms evidence favors its exclusion, though there is a remote possibility that εἰκῇ could have been accidentally omitted from these witnesses by way of homoioarcton (the next word, ἔνοχος [enochos, “guilty“], begins with the same letter). An intentional change would likely arise from the desire to qualify “angry,” especially in light of the absolute tone of Jesus’ words. While “without cause” makes good practical sense in this context, and must surely be a true interpretation of Jesus’ meaning (cf. Mark 3:5), it does not commend itself as original.
27 tn Grk “whoever says to his brother ‘Raca,’” an Aramaic word of contempt or abuse meaning “fool” or “empty head.”
28 tn Grk “subjected,” “guilty,” “liable.”
29 tn Grk “the Sanhedrin.”
30 tn The meaning of the term μωρός (mōros) is somewhat disputed. Most take it to mean, following the Syriac versions, “you fool,” although some have argued that it represents a transliteration into Greek of the Hebrew term מוֹרֵה (moreh) “rebel” (Deut 21:18, 20; cf. BDAG 663 s.v. μωρός c).
31 tn Grk “subjected,” “guilty,” “liable.”
32 tn Grk “the Gehenna of fire.”
sn The word translated hell is “Gehenna” (γέεννα, geenna), a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom (“Valley of Hinnom”). This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In OT times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (cf. Jer 7:31; 19:5–6; 32:35), and it came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned. In the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment (cf. 1 En. 27:2, 90:26; 4 Ezra 7:36).
·         End “NET®” notes
[16]  Biblical Studies Press. (2006; 2006). The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press.
  The Greek word skandalizo has a root meaning of “snare” or “trap,” but has no real English counterpart.
m  5:29 Mt 18:9; Mk 9:47
  Greek Gehenna; Aramaic for Valley of Hinnom on the south side of Jerusalem; it was formerly a place of human sacrifice and in NT times a place for the burning of garbage; the place of final judgment for those rejecting Christ.
n  5:29 Mt 10:28; 23:15, 33; Lk 12:5
[17]  The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
[18]  Stern, D. H. (1989). Jewish New Testament : A translation of the New Testament that expresses its Jewishness (1st ed.). Jerusalem, Israel; Clarksville, Md., USA: Jewish New Testament Publications.

*  Some manuscripts include verse 14: Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P’rushim! For you swallow up widow’s houses while making a show of davvening at great length. Because of this your punishment will be all the worse!
e  Jeremiah 22:5
f[19]  Psalm 118:26

[21] 13–36 Nowhere is it clearer than here and at 21:12–13 that the image of “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” falls short of reality. The repeated slashing litany, Woe to you hypocritical Torah-teachers (“scribes”; see 2:4N) and P˒rushim! angers Jews, mystifies Gentiles and embarrasses Christians, who find Yeshua’s remarks intemperate, antisemitic, even “un-Christlike.” But Yeshua, like all the prophets, spoke the words of God without fear or favor. He comforted those who were open to him and made repeated invitation to those who opposed him; but when it had become evident that these particular Torah-teachers and P˒rushim were hardhearted, closed-minded and interested only in confuting or trapping him, he seized the initiative, revealing his accusers for what they were. Was he “unloving” toward them? Love must sometimes be tough. Even less was he antisemitic: his within-the-family correction was aimed at making these Jewish brothers of his live up to their high calling (and he partly succeeded; see Ac 15:5, 21:20, 23:6). If Yeshua was unloving or antisemitic, one must say the same of all the Jewish prophets from Moses to Malachi.
A truer measure of antisemitism—as it developed in the Church—is the ease with which the terms “scribes” and “Pharisees” are uncritically equated with “hypocrites,” falsely implying that all of them were. For Yeshua, in addressing “you hypocritical Torah-teachers and P˒rushim” rather than “the hypocritical Torah-teachers and P˒rushim,” restricts his scathing denunciation to a specific group of them. See 3:7N, Mk 12:38N, 1 Th 2:14–16&NN. The Jewish scholar Menahem Mansoor, writing in the Encyclopedia Judaica, also recognizes this:
“While the Pharisees, as a whole, set a high ethical standard for themselves, not all lived up to it. It is mistakenly held that the New Testament references to them as ‘hypocrites’ or ‘offspring of vipers’ (Matt. 3:7; Luke 18:9ff., etc.) are applicable to the entire group. However, the leaders were well aware of the presence of the insincere among their numbers, described by the Pharisees themselves in the Talmud as ‘sore spots’ or ‘plagues of the Pharisaic party’ (Sot. 3:4 and 22b).” (Encyclopedia Judaica 13:366)
The Mishna remarks that the “plagues” (or “hits” or “self-inflicted wounds”) “of Pharisees … ruin the world” (Sotah 3:4). The Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds both comment on this in famous passages delineating seven kinds of Pharisees (J. B’rakhot 14b, Sotah 20c; B. Sotah 22b). The following is a hybrid combining elements from both Talmuds with rabbinic expositions; it mentions eight kinds:
There are seven kinds of Pharisees: the “shoulder” Pharisee, who ostentatiously carries his good deeds on his shoulder so all can see them; the “wait-a-moment” Pharisee, who wants you to wait while he performs a mitzvah; the bruised Pharisee, who runs into a wall while looking at the ground to avoid seeing a woman; the “reckoning” Pharisee, who commits a sin, then does a good deed and balances the one against the other; the “pestle” Pharisee, whose head is bowed in false humility, like a pestle in a mortar; the Pharisee who asks, “What is my duty, so that I may do it?” as if he thought he had fulfilled every obligation already (compare Pp 3:5–6&NN); the Pharisee from fear of the consequences if he doesn’t perform the commandments; and the Pharisee from love—either love of the rewards God promises for performing the commandments, or love of Torah itself [no matter which, he is understood here to be the one good kind of Pharisee].
Continuing with B. Sotah 22b:
“Abaye and Raba said to the teacher [of the above passage], ‘Don’t mention the Pharisee from love and the Pharisee from fear, because Rav Y’hudah quoted Rav as saying, “A person should always engage himself in Torah and mitzvot even if not for their own sake [i.e., even if motivated by fear of punishment or love of reward; see above]; because from doing them not for their own sake he will come to do them for their own sake.” ’ Rabbi Nachman ben-Yitzchak said, ‘What is hidden is hidden, and what is revealed is revealed—the Great Tribunal will punish those who rub themselves against the walls, simulating humility [that is, God penetrates hypocrisy, reads hearts and judges truly; compare Lk 16:15&N, Yn 2:25].’ ”
The passage concludes with this quotation from Alexander Yannai, the Hasmonean ruler of Judea (103–76 b.c.e.), who hated the Pharisees:
“King Yannai said to his wife, ‘Fear neither the Pharisees nor those who are not Pharisees; rather, fear the tsvu˓in who ape the Pharisees, because their deeds are like the deed of Zimri (Numbers 25:14) but they expect a reward like that of Pinchas (Numbers 25:11).’ ”
The literal sense of the Aramaic word “tsvu˓in” is “dyed, colored,” from which comes the metaphorical meaning, “hypocrites”; it also means “hyenas.”

a Matt 10:38; Luke 14:27
a Matt 10:39
1 Or soul
a Matt 8:20
b Matt 10:23; 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 26:64; Mark 8:38; 13:26; Luke 21:27; John 21:22; Acts 1:11; 1 Cor 15:23; 1 Thess 1:10; 4:16; 2 Thess 1:7, 10; 2:1, 8; James 5:7f; 2 Pet 1:16; 3:4, 12; 1 John 2:28; Rev 1:7
c Ps 62:12; Prov 24:12; Rom 2:6; 14:12; 1 Cor 3:13; 2 Cor 5:10; Eph 6:8; Col 3:25; Rev 2:23; 20:12; 22:12
1 Or recompense
2 Lit doing
[22]New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (Mt 16:24-27). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.