Saturday, August 1, 2020

Alone in the Dark, Revisited...

Updated 1 August 2020

…Alone in the Dark…[1] [2] [3][4]

Amos 5:8-20 (NASB95)

8     He who made the aPleiades and Orion And bchanges deep darkness into morning,
1Who also cdarkens day into night, Who dcalls for the waters of the sea
And pours them out on the surface of the earth,
The eLord is His name.
9     It is He who aflashes forth with destruction upon the strong,
So that bdestruction comes upon the fortress.
10     They hate him who areproves in the 1gate, And they babhor him who speaks with integrity.
11     Therefore because you 1impose heavy rent on the poor And exact a tribute of grain from them,
Though you have built ahouses of well-hewn stone, Yet you will not live in them;
You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will bnot drink their wine.
12     For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great,
You who adistress the righteous and accept bribes And 1turn aside the poor in the 2gate.
13     Therefore at 1such a time the prudent person akeeps silent, for it is an evil time.
14     Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you,
aJust as you have said!
15     aHate evil, love good, And establish justice in the 1gate!
Perhaps the Lord God of hosts bMay be gracious to the cremnant of Joseph.
16     Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, the Lord,
“There is awailing in all the plazas, And in all the streets they say, ‘Alas! Alas!’
They also call the bfarmer to mourning And 1cprofessional mourners to lamentation.
17     “And in all the avineyards there is wailing, Because I will pass through the midst of you,”
says the Lord.
18     Alas, you who are longing for the aday of the Lord, For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you? It will be bdarkness and not light;
19     As when a man aflees from a lion And a bear meets him,
1Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him.
20        Will not the day of the Lord be adarkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it? [5]

Take a long look around you: look hard upon the world in which we live. What is the prevalent tide that is washing ashore on all lands, kindred’s and tongues?


        From school shootings to wars, to riots in the streets, to those who practice lawlessness for so-called "justice". To the relations between the races, to politics, to the rise of Islam – and let us make no mistake – the so-called “extremist Muslims are not “extreme”; they are fundamentalists living out the “pure writ” of their “religion”; to the rise of fascism (born in the politics of the left, the politics of socialism, Marxism and communism), the upswing of Anti-Semitism throughout the world, and the collapse of western "religion", we are surrounded by darkness.

        Drug use is on the rise as cash-strapped states and municipalities overcome common sense and their duties to uphold law, legalize poison that will only end in enslaving generations yet to be born in the nightmare of addictions. Despair and hopelessness arise as lawless governments execute “laws” designed to ensnare the population with ever increasing taxes and regulations, all under the guise of “executive orders” and “memorandums”. Governors exercise control over the governed with the fear of the CCP virus, and only the honest are hurt. Politicians lie to those they are supposed to represent, saying whatever it takes to retain their power, then turn around and do the exact opposite that those that trusted in them expect them to do; they exempt themselves from the very laws they force upon their constituents but ever enriching themselves at the trough of public money stolen from the hard working people they pretend to serve.

      Immorality is now the norm – the profane exalted above the sacred. On TV, in the movies, in books and music, on the internet – filth and garbage is poured out, and as the schools dumb down the children and the colleges indoctrinate those that have been taught nothing but mindless drivel that cannot instill the critical thinking necessary to recognize the difference, moral values are extinguished and the Biblical story falls away from a society and is turned into fantasy, with the heroes of the faith reduced to cartoonish characterizations. A society is now bound and manipulated by greed, narcissism, and 30 second sound bites, adrift into the ever widening cesspool of darkness that looms before it.

      The might of a nation is decimated – those young men and women bound by the call of duty and honor are swept aside for the social-engineering mavens that seek to emasculate the greatest military on earth: morale and retention of the bravest of the brave at the lowest it has ever been. The weapons of the warfighters are stripped of their power, the intelligence communities that are NECESSARY for the vital defense of a nation are shackled or compromised for the sake of power, and the enemies both foreign and domestic rise up with impunity, each eager to draw first blood. The veterans, those who gave so much in the defense of freedom are left to rot on the vine of an uncaring, faceless government bureaucracy and a fifth column government/media complex lavishly wags its tail and licks the boots of its master. 

      Citizens see their Constitution derided, defamed and debunked by so-called “constitutional scholars”, lawyers and judges hell bent on destroying the best hope of freedom in the world. Our allies overseas are disenchanted, spied upon and abandoned. Safety and security are tainted with lies and fake news and inflated death counts, and the rights of the citizens are chipped away.

It feels like we are truly alone in the dark.

      Pick up a paper – mothers killing their children, children killing their parents, police killing citizens, citizens killing police… Abuse, rape, trauma, theft, murder, lawlessness.

It feels like we are truly alone in the dark.

It was all predicted:
Romans 1:18-2:11 HRB
For the wrath of YAHWEH from heaven is revealed against all the iniquity and wickedness of men, who unjustly suppress the truth.  (19)  because the thing known of YAHWEH is clearly known within them, for YAHWEH revealed it to them. (20)  For, from the foundations of the world, the invisible things of YAHWEH are clearly seen and understood, in the things He created, even His eternal power and divinity; so that they might be without excuse;  (21)  because they knew YAHWEH, and did not glorify Him and give thanks to Him as Elohim, but became vain in their imaginations, and their unwise heart was darkened.
(22)  Professing to be wise, they became foolish  (23)  and changed the glory of the incorruptible Elohim into a likeness of an image of a corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.  (24)  Because of this, YAHWEH gave them up to filthy lusts of their hearts, and their bodies to be dishonored among themselves,  (25)  who changed the truth of YAHWEH into the lie, and worshiped and served the created thing more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.  (26)  Because of this, YAHWEH gave them up to dishonorable passions, for even their females changed the natural use of their sex to that contrary to nature.  (27)  And so also their males forsook the use of females, which is natural, and burned with lust toward one another, male with male, they did what is shameful, and received in themselves the just recompense of their error. 
(28)  And as they did not determine within themselves to know Elohim, YAHWEH has given them over to a vain mind; that they might do what they ought not,  (29)  having been filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, iniquity, covetousness, malice, being full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, evil habits, becoming whisperers,  (30)  slanderers, haters of YAHWEH, insolent, proud, braggarts, inventors of evil things, weak minded, disobedient to parents,  (31)  without discernment, covenant breakers, without natural affection, unforgiving, unmerciful,  (32)  who knowing the righteous judgment of YAHWEH, that those practicing such things He condemns to death, not only do they do them, but they also associate with those who practice them.  
(2:1)  Therefore, O man, you are without excuse, everyone who judges, for in that in which you judge the other, you condemn yourself; for you, those judging, practice the same things.  (2)  But we know that the judgment of YAHWEH is according to truth on those that practice such things.  (3)  And, O man, the one judging those practicing such things, and doing them, do you think that you will escape the judgment of YAHWEH?  (4)  Or do you abuse the riches of His kindness and forbearance, and the opportunity He has given you, not knowing that the kindness of YAHWEH leads you to repentance?  (5)  But, because of the hardness of your unrepentant heart, you are treasuring up a store of wrath against the day of wrath, and against the revelation of the righteous judgment of YAHWEH:  (6)  He "will give to each according to his deeds:" (Psa. 62:12)  (7)  everlasting life truly to those who with patience in good work seeking glory and honor and immortality;  (8)  but to the ones who are stubborn, and do not obey the truth but obey iniquity, He will render anger and wrath,  (9)  trouble and pain on every soul of man that works out evil, both of Jew first, and also of Gentile.  (10)  But glory and honor and peace will be to everyone working out good, both to the Jew first, and to the Gentile.  (11)  For there is no respect of persons with YAHWEH.[6]

Galatians 5:16-26 (NASB95)
16     But I say, awalk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out bthe desire of the flesh.
17     For athe flesh 1sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, bso that you may not do the things that you 2please.
18     But if you are aled by the Spirit, byou are not under the Law.
19     Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: 1aimmorality, impurity, sensuality,
20     idolatry, asorcery, enmities, bstrife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, cdisputes, dissensions, 1dfactions,
21     envying, adrunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not binherit the kingdom of God.
22     But athe fruit of the Spirit is blove, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23     gentleness, aself-control; against such things bthere is no law.
24     Now those who 1belong to aChrist Jesus have bcrucified the flesh with its passions and cdesires.
25     If we live by the Spirit, let us also 1walk aby the Spirit.
26     Let us not become aboastful, challenging one another, envying one another. [7]

Jude 5-19 (JNT)
Since you already know all this, my purpose is only to remind you that Adonai, who once delivered the people from Egypt, later destroyed those who did not trust. And the angels that did not keep within their original authority, but abandoned their proper sphere, he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for the Judgment of the Great Day. And S’dom[8], ‘Amora[9] and the surrounding cities, following a pattern like theirs, committing sexual sins and perversions, lie exposed as a warning of the everlasting fire awaiting those who must undergo punishment.
Likewise, these people, with their visions, defile their own flesh, despise godly authority and insult angelic beings. When Mikha’el[10], one of the ruling angels, took issue with the Adversary, arguing over the body of Moshe, he did not dare bring against him an insulting charge, but said, “May Adonai rebuke you.” 10 However, these people insult anything they don’t understand; and what they do understand naturally, without thinking, like animals — by these things they are destroyed!
11 Woe to them, in that they have walked the road of Kayin[11], they have given themselves over for money to the error of Bil‛am[12], they have been destroyed in the rebellion of Korach.
12 These men are filthy spots at your festive gatherings meant to foster love; they share your meals without a qualm, while caring only for themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; trees without fruit even in autumn, and doubly dead because they have been uprooted; 13 savage sea-waves heaving forth their shameful deeds like foam; wandering stars for whom the blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
14 Moreover, Hanokh[13], in the seventh generation starting with Adam, also prophesied about these men, saying, “Look! Adonai came with his myriads of holy ones 15 to execute judgment against everyone, that is, to convict all the godless for their godless deeds which they have done in such a godless way, and for all the harsh words these godless sinners have spoken against him.”
16 These people are grumblers and complainers, they follow their evil passions, their mouths speak grandiosities, and they flatter others to gain advantage.
17 But you, dear friends, keep in mind the words spoken in advance by the emissaries of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah. 18 They told you,
 “During the acharit-hayamim[14] there will be scoffers following their own godless passions.”
19 These are the people who cause divisions.
They are controlled by their impulses, because they don’t have the Spirit. [15]

      We see in the Church today men and women who are self-appointed “apostles”, “Prophets” and “Prophetess”. There are those who wear the title of “Reverend”, “Rabbi”, “Pastor” and other titles that God never gave them, they use the Church and the Word as means of gain. These are as Ezekiel said:

Ezekiel 34:1-11 (HCSB)
34     The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say to them: This is what the Lord God says to the shepherds:
Woe to the shepherds of Israel, who have been feeding themselves! a Shouldn’t the shepherds feed their flock? 3 You eat the fat, wear the wool, and butcher the fatlings, but you do not tend the flock. b 4 You have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, bandaged the injured, brought back the strays, or sought the lost. c Instead, you have ruled them with violence and cruelty. 5 They were scattered for lack of a shepherd; d they became food for all the wild animals e when they were scattered. 6 My flock went astray on all the mountains and every high hill. f They were scattered over the whole face of the earth, and there was no one searching or seeking for them.
7 “Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord. 8 As I live”—the declaration of the Lord God—“because My flock has become prey and food for every wild animal since they lack a shepherd, for My shepherds do not search for My flock, and because the shepherds feed themselves rather than My flock, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord!
10 “This is what the Lord God says:
Look, I am against the shepherds. g I will demand My flock from them h and prevent them from shepherding the flock. The shepherds will no longer feed themselves, for I will rescue My flock from their mouths so that they will not be food for them.
11 “For this is what the Lord God says: See, I Myself will search for My flock and look for them. [16]

Now, what does all of this mean? Darkness is upon the land, but is there hope?

     Yes… there is a season coming that deals with this very thing.  I do not mean the commercialized, materialistic holiday that comes to a head every December 25th . I am talking about Chanukah. For those who don’t know what Chanukah is , here is a small recap:

“…In 168 B.C.E. the Jewish Temple was seized by Syrian-Greek soldiers and dedicated to the worship of the god Zeus. This upset the Jewish people, but many were afraid to fight back for fear of reprisals. Then in 167 B.C.E. the Syrian-Greek emperor Antiochus made the observance of Judaism an offense punishable by death. He also ordered all Jews to worship Greek gods.
Jewish resistance began in the village of Modiin, near Jerusalem. Greek soldiers forcibly gathered the Jewish villages and told them to bow down to an idol, then eat the flesh of a pig – both practices that are forbidden to Jews. A Greek officer ordered Mattathias, a High Priest, to acquiesce to their demands, but Mattathias refused. When another villager stepped forward and offered to cooperate on Mattathias' behalf, the High Priest became outraged. He drew his sword and killed the villager, then turned on the Greek officer and killed him too. His five sons and the other villagers then attacked the remaining soldiers, killing all of them.
Mattathias and his family went into hiding in the mountains, where other Jews wishing to fight against the Greeks joined them. Eventually they succeeded in retaking their land from the Greeks. These rebels became known as the Maccabees, or Hasmoneans.
Once the Maccabees had regained control they returned to the Temple in Jerusalem. By this time it had been spiritually defiled by being used for the worship of foreign gods and also by practices such as sacrificing swine. Jewish troops were determined to purify the Temple by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. But to their dismay, they discovered that there was only one day's worth of oil left in the Temple. They lit the menorah anyway and to their surprise the small amount of oil lasted the full eight days…” [17]

This is where the bit of controversy weighs in... The story of the eight days of oil has been disputed as being just a rabbinic fable. It is even questioned as to why celebrate it? It isn't a biblical feast given in Leviticus, so why give it any heed at all? There are several theories out there, but none are germane to our discussion today: what is needed is to look at the deeper issue that the story of the oil purports: are we alone in the dark?

                For the Jews, the story of the Maccabees is a heroic tale, of a band of patriots out-numbered and on the run from an opposing force bent upon the destruction of the Jewish way of life. It is unlike the story of Purim, as told in the Book of Ester, where Haman, the King’s regent, cast a lot against the Jewish people in order to destroy them, every man, woman and child. The story of Chanukah isn’t about destruction: it is about assimilation.  For the Greek ruler Antioch Epiphanes, the idea wasn’t about annihilating the Jewish people, but about annihilating their religion. He outlawed Judaism. Like so many before him, he had a “Jewish Problem”; to solve this he would force the Jews to become Greeks. One writer puts it thus:

“…Epiphanes had made up his mind to entirely obliterate the Jewish religion. He declared their constitution, the Torah, to be null and void. He forbade the observance of their religious customs, especially the keeping of the Sabbath, circumcision and the dietary laws. On the other hand, he enforced the adoption of the Greek state religion
…The Jews were forced to sacrifice to the Greek gods. In order to compel them to follow the Greek religion, he made them sacrifice unclean animals, particularly pigs, on the pagan altars. Greek officials were sent throughout the entire nation to rigidly enforce the "new" religion. The slightest show of resistance was punished by death. Synagogues were destroyed, sacred scrolls of the Law were desecrated, and people were massacred by the thousands.
To top these calamities, the Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated to the Greek god Zeus. A statue of Zeus was set up in the Temple. Pigs were slain on the altar. This was the horrible "abomination that causes desolation" spoken of by Daniel.
“..His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him...” (Dan. 11:31, 32)” [18]

Throughout history, we have seen this sad state of affairs over and over as nations have risen up against the Jewish people; they have stood many times alone in the dark.

While the Maccabees were successful in their defeat of the Greeks and their allies, history showed it was a fleeting victory. So what is the importance of Chanukah for the Jew? It is to remind them of the miracle that God preserved His people, against the odds. Against the dark.  The story of the oil that burned for eight days may or may not be real: but the push against the dark was.  That is the story for us today.

                The Jews fought back against a stronger enemy and prevailed, but this was an age of quiet. God was not speaking through priests and prophets – men rallied around their holy scrolls and the traditions and commandments that defined the Jewish people and they fought back. But they had to wonder – did we do this ourselves, or was God with us?  Do we not wonder the same today?  The forces that have arrayed themselves against us today appear overwhelming.  The evil, the moral decay, the greed, the strident voices that shout down anything that hints at morality based upon a faith in the God of the Bible – all these things weigh in on us, pressing us down.  The cry of the world is “Assimilate! Assimilate!”  It shouts at us, dares us to be separate, defies our God and brands believers as judgmental, hypocritical, mired in old-fashioned ideas and values. It views the Church (or better, all believers) as homophobic[19], misogynistic[20], xenophobic [21] and racist[22] and bigoted[23].  Under this constant barrage and withering attacks, is it any wonder that many profess to be believers, yet live their lives so that their belief does not show for fear of being called out?

Too many of us are afraid of the dark – too many feel alone in the dark.

                Maybe this is how those Jews who had won the war and taken back the Temple Mount felt in the second century BCE. Their Temple was in ruins, desecrated, dark. They won the battle, yet did they do it on their own, or was God still near? The story of the oil is a beautiful tale, even more so if it is factual – only by faith will one know.  There are many Messianic leaders who quickly want to discount the story of the oil, many Christians who call it a fable. Maybe there are just as many Jews who do so also. I wouldn’t know about that – but we can find many believers in Yeshua (or Jesus for my Christian brethren) who do. They turn to Sha’ul’s (Paul’s) writings to discount the stories of the Jews:

1Timothy 1:3-7 HRB
Even as I called on you to remain in Ephesus, as I was going to Macedonia, that you might charge some not to teach different doctrines,  (4)  nor to give heed to fables and stories of endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than build up the faith of YAHWEH,  (5)  but the fulfillment of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and a true faith,  (6)  from which some have gone astray, and have turned aside to foolish talking,  (7)  wishing to be teachers of the Torah, neither understanding what they say, nor about that which they confidently affirm.[24]
Titus 1:10-16 HRB
For there are indeed many insubordinate men, empty talkers and deceivers of the people, especially those of the circumcision,  (11)  whose mouth you must stop, who overturn whole houses, teaching things which they ought not for the sake of ill gain.  (12)  One of them, a prophet of their own, said: Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.  (13)  This testimony is true; for which cause rebuke them severely, that they may be sound in the faith,  (14)  not listening to Jewish fables and commandments of men, having turned away from the truth.  (15)  Truly, all things are pure to the pure, but nothing is pure to those being defiled and faithless, but even their mind and conscience has been defiled.  (16)  They profess to know YAHWEH, but by their works they deny Him, and they are abominable and disobedient, condemning every kind of good work.[25]
2Timothy 4:1-4 CJB
I solemnly charge you before God and the Messiah Yeshua, who will judge the living and the dead when he appears and establishes his Kingdom:  (2)  proclaim the Word! Be on hand with it whether the time seems right or not. Convict, censure and exhort with unfailing patience and with teaching.  (3)  For the time is coming when people will not have patience for sound teaching, but will cater to their passions and gather around themselves teachers who say whatever their ears itch to hear.  (4)  Yes, they will stop listening to the truth, but will turn aside to follow myths.[26]
A careful study of what Sha’ul was referring to does not reveal a pattern against the story of the oil, for this was not even written about until the compilation of the Talmud (the Mishnah in around 200 CE; the Gemara c. 500 CE); though this is not to say that the Oral Tradition was not known in Sha’ul’s time. What Sha’ul was referring to is not precisely known, but whatever it was (be it heresy, Gnosticism, or an attempt to turn the mitzvots into a work of justification with God instead of faith [trust] in Messiah alone..), the result was the same: “…people end up “majoring in minors,” diverted to speculating about secondary matters and irrelevancies (compare 6:4) instead of doing God’s work, which requires not useless information but ongoing trust in God and his Messiah, Yeshua…” [27] David Stern goes on to elaborate on this further by adding:
“…The modern version of giving attention to myths and speculating instead of doing God’s work is excessive concentration on God’s plan for the future, so that people foolishly focus on doomsday and neglect good deeds here and now…”[28]

                So here we are, standing in the dark.  The Temple is desecrated, the victory hollow in our hearts. It is time for action, for re-dedication of purpose, of renewal.  The noise around us is deafening – darkness is not quiet. We hear the sounds of it all around us, vile, blasphemous words; sexual innuendos; cries of materialism; diatribes against another's color and against authorities; that which is sacred is vehemently denounced while the profane is exalted. No, the dark is not silent. Only that which is righteous can be found in the stillness – and as we look toward the Temple, stillness overcomes our fear of the dark.

                It is time. Time to move forward. Time to sweep up the broken, repair the breach. Time to cleanse, to purify. But we need light – we need to know we are not alone.  From the darkness comes one who holds a small tin of oil in their hands. It isn’t much, compared to what we need anyway, but maybe just maybe it will be enough to cast light into the shadows of the night. Can you light a fire with tears? Can the little you hold be adequate to dispel the night till the dawn arises?

                You were alone – then one appeared to bring oil. With trembling hands you pour the oil into the Menorah, and you kindle a fire.  The small flame touches the oiled wick – and there is light. Look around – out of the darkness you see more faces, faces that were drawn tight against the dark but now stare in reverent awe at the light. One wick, two: then three. The small flame, the Shammash, goes from wick to wick and the darkness screams as it is forced to recede.

                Round about you are others, who silently watch the light. You are aware of another presence though – a glance here, a glance there tells you that what you feel cannot be seen. It is then you know:

…We are not alone…

     Here within the Temple of our heart, we know we are not alone.  The small lights of the candles, of the wicks, of the oil have pushed back against the raging darkness. It howls without; without form, without hope; without power, the darkness can only cry and vent its rage at the light.  I know how the Jews felt that night – in the light of the Menorah. Fable? Legend? Or Miracle? My vote is on the miracle.

     The light of God shines in the small flame of a candle. His voice is heard in the stillness, not in the whirlwind. No matter how dark it gets, a greater darkness is reserved for those who hate Him, and revile His people. In the darkness of the Day of the Lord there will be vengeance, there will be justice. On which side of the Menorah do you stand? Are you standing in the soft glow, watching the flame, or do you hide in the dark shadows, afraid of the light?

John 3:16-21 (NASB95)
16     “For God so aloved the world, that He bgave His 1conly begotten Son, that whoever dbelieves in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
17     “For God adid not send the Son into the world bto judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
18     aHe who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of bthe 1only begotten Son of God.
19     This is the judgment, that athe Light has come into the world,
and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for btheir deeds were evil.
20     aFor everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21     “But he who apractices the truth comes to the Light,
so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” [29]

     The miracles of Chanukah were the victories in war – yet the greater miracle was God revealing Himself, to let the Jewish people know that they were not alone. For generations God had been silent and the darkness roared. But believe what you will, a fable, a tall tale, or a miracle – on a quiet eve, light returned to the Temple, and darkness whimpered. Once again, God spoke with a small, still voice disguised in an oil fed flame.

     We dedicate our bodies as the living Temple built without hands now, but one day, when Messiah returns, we will dedicate the Holy Temple anew. Till then, what must we do when we face such darkness, when the wails and moans of the innocent assault our ears, eyes and hearts? We push back. We light two candles on Shabbat, we say the Haggadah , we light the Chanukiah for eight days – we push back against the dark and pray for the lost, the dying, the hurting, the persecuted, those who have no voice that can be heard. We push back, we stand, and when we can stand no more we stand for…

…For we are not alone…

This season coming at the end of this year may be marred for some: either we re-elect Donald Trump or the new "Antioch Epiphanes", the Democrat, will be elected, and there may be no release from the darkness that grips out nation. Win or lose, we are not alone. G-d will help us either push back against the dark, or grant us four more years to let the light shine. Either way, let us stand.

May YHVH Adonai richly bless you this day, my beloved, Amein and 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.
[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 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 God. 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 God’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] My thanks to Rabbi David Fohrman of for sparking the ideas that this epistle are based upon. I am deeply indebted to his insight and teachings.
a  Job 9:9; 38:31
b  Job 12:22; 38:12; Is 42:16
1  Lit And He darkened
c  Ps 104:20
d  Ps 104:6–9; Amos 9:6
e  Amos 4:13
a  Is 29:5; Amos 2:14
b  Mic 5:11
a  Is 29:21; Amos 5:15
1  I.e. the place where court was held
b  1 Kin 22:8; Is 59:15; Jer 17:16–18
1  Another reading is trample upon
a  Amos 3:15; 6:11
b  Mic 6:15
a  Is 1:23; 5:23; Amos 2:6
1  Lit they turn
2  I.e. the place where court was held
1  Lit that time
a  Eccl 3:7; Hos 4:4
a  Mic 3:11
a  Ps 97:10; Rom 12:9
1  I.e. the place where court was held
b  Joel 2:14
c  Mic 5:3, 7, 8
a  Jer 9:10, 18–20; Amos 8:3
b  Joel 1:11
1  Lit those who know lamentation
c  2 Chr 35:25; Jer 9:17
a  Is 16:10; Jer 48:33
a  Is 5:19; Jer 30:7; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31
b  Is 5:30; Joel 2:2
a  Job 20:24; Is 24:17, 18; Jer 15:2, 3; 48:44
1  Or Then
a  Is 13:10; Zeph 1:15
[5]  New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[6] Hebraic Roots Bible. 2nd edition; electronic version, e-Sword v. 10.2.1 by Rick Meyers. Word of Truth Publications, 2012.
a  Rom 8:4; 13:14; Gal 5:24f
b  Rom 13:14; Eph 2:3
a  Rom 7:18, 23; 8:5ff
1  Lit lusts against
Rom 7:15ff
Lit wish
a  Rom 8:14
b  Rom 6:14; 7:4; 1 Tim 1:9
1  I.e. sexual immorality
a  1 Cor 6:9, 18; 2 Cor 12:21
a  Rev 21:8
2 Cor 12:20
c  Rom 2:8; James 3:14ff
1  Or heresies
d  1 Cor 11:19
a  Rom 13:13
b  1 Cor 6:9
Matt 7:16ff; Eph 5:9
b  Rom 5:1–5; 1 Cor 13:4; Col 3:12–15
a  Acts 24:25
b  Gal 5:18
1  Lit are of Christ Jesus
a  Gal 3:26
b  Rom 6:6; Gal 2:20; 6:14
c  Gal 5:16f
1  Or follow the Spirit
a  Gal 5:16
a  Phil 2:3
[7]  New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
[8] Sodom
[9] Gomorrah
[10] Michael, a ruling Arch-Angel.
[11] Cain
[12] Balaam
[13] Enoch
[14] Literally, “the end of days”
[15]  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.
a  34:2 Jr 23:1
b  34:3 Pr 27:23
c  34:4 Zch 11:16; Lk 15:4
d  34:5 Nm 27:17; 1Kg 22:17; Jr 10:21; 23:2; 50:6; Mt 9:36
e  34:5 Ezk 34:28
f  34:6 1Pt 2:25
g  34:10 Jr 21:13; Ezk 5:8; 13:8
h  34:10 Lit their hand
[16]  The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. 2003. Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
[19] Fear, hatred, or mistrust of lesbians and gay men.*
[20] One who hates or mistrusts women.*
[21] A person who is fearful or contemptuous of that which is foreign, especially of strangers or of people from different countries or cultures.*
[22] The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others; discrimination or prejudice based on race.*
[23] One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.*
* Definitions taken from All cites: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

[24] Hebraic Roots Bible. 2nd edition; electronic version, e-Sword v. 10.2.1 by Rick Meyers. Word of Truth Publications, 2012.
[26] Stern, David H. The Complete Jewish Bible. Electronic Edition -e-Sword v. 10.2.1. Jewish New Testament Publications, 1998.
[27] Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary: a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., 1 Ti 1:3). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
[28] Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary: a companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed., 1 Ti 1:3). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
a  Rom 5:8; Eph 2:4; 2 Thess 2:16; 1 John 4:10; Rev 1:5
b  Rom 8:32; 1 John 4:9
1  Or unique, only one of His kind
c  John 1:18; 3:18; 1 John 4:9
d  John 3:36; 6:40; 11:25f
a  John 3:34; 5:36, 38; 6:29, 38, 57; 7:29; 8:42; 10:36; 11:42; 17:3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25; 20:21
b  Luke 19:10; John 8:15; 12:47; 1 John 4:14
a  Mark 16:16; John 5:24
b  John 1:18; 1 John 4:9
1  Or unique, only one of His kind
a  John 1:4; 8:12; 9:5; 12:46
b  John 7:7
a  John 3:20, 21; Eph 5:11, 13
a  1 John 1:6
[29]  New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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