séifer ha-ketuvim ha-akhshavim
miv’ney ha-dérekh ha-chadishim
….
(A BOOK OF THE CONTEMPORARY WRITINGS
OF MODERN FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY)

The complete collection of the 14 books of The Exhortations has now been published in one volume. It is available from Amazon-UK at £18.50, and from Amazon-US at $23.19

If you ever have any questions about what you read, or if you profoundly disagree with anything, please email me at shmuliq.parzal@googlemail.com

The Exhortations is our equivalent of the New Testament, but does not have any scriptural authority; the only scriptural authority for Talmidis is the Galilean canon of the Hebrew Bible; therefore you do not have to agree with the contents of The Exhortations in order to call oneself a Talmidi.

Note:

        This fourteenth and final book of The Exhortations is a collection of modern writings of Followers of the Way – collected prayers, sayings, parables, stories and sermons from the mid-1980’s to the present date. Just like all the other books of The Exhortations, they have no scriptural authority, but have been collected together to give guidance, inspiration and encouragement for modern Followers.

Please note that as of 25 July 2019, the passages in this book have undergone a restructuring and renumbering, so that they are now in a more thematic order.

        The section on the story of Shim`on bar Qlofas, the second Nasi (which was previously included in this book), can now be found under its own page as a separate book, entitled, The Days of Shim`on of Jerusalem.

 

There are nine scrolls in this book:

1. Parables

2. Prayers

3. Sayings and Proverbs

4. Talmidi Mysticism and Mystical Poetry

5. How ‘The Exhortations’ came to be written

6. Oracles gleaned by a Mitnabbei from the Davar YHVH

7. Sermons and Ethical Teachings

8. Community Rulings, Guidelines and Talmidi Ethics

9. Closing Words

Scroll One: Parables

1:1. 1You have heard those who say that God is like one who lifts up a rod to chastise us, and strikes us in anger when we go astray; and those who say that God will cast out those who err, and banish them forever from His presence.

           2But I tell you this, these people have not read the words of the Prophets, where it is written:

              3”Like a shepherd He feeds His flock;

           In His arm He gathers up the young lambs;

           In His bosom he carries them;

           Tenderly He leads those who have young.”

           4For a shepherd gathers up the weakest and least able of his flock, and keeps them close to his breast. And a good shepherd guides the most vulnerable of his flock with loving care and shelters them.

           5So then, if a mere man will show tenderness to the weakest and most vulnerable, how much more so will our heavenly Father gather up His sons and daughters in tenderness and protect us, and guide those who stray with loving care!

 

1:2.    1In those days there was a wise scribe, and many would come to him because of his learning. Now at that time there arose a great famine, and the whole of the Land suffered. Children went hungry, and it was hard upon the old and the widowed.

           2So the heads of three families came to the scribe for advice – one a Sadducean priest, the second a Pharisee, and the third an Ebionite elder. 3And they all said to the scribe, “Tell us, what must we do to overcome this famine, for it weighs heavily upon all of us.”

           4So the scribe looked at each one carefully in turn. Then he stood up and said, “Do this as I instruct you. Do not deviate from it, nor add or subtract a word from what I say. Follow my words, and I promise you, your families will be fed, and fed for as long as the famine lasts.”

           5So the scribe gave them a route to follow – a long and winding road, which crossed back over itself many times. Although its beginning was not far from its end, nevertheless the route to be taken was intricate and tiresome.

           6So setting out first among the three, the priest followed this route. He did not deviate from it – he followed the scribe’s instructions to the smallest yodh, neither adding nor subtracting a single word. 7He walked from the beginning to the very end. There he saw a dry well, and thought to himself, “There is nothing here; the scribe has deceived me, and my family will go hungry.”

           8Then the Pharisee set out, and thought to himself, “There must be a hidden meaning to be interpreted from the scribe’s words.” 9So while walking along the road, he concluded that the winding and crossing of the path must spell out a word that would lead him to food. And indeed, part of the route made the letter shin, 10so he thought to himself, “This stands for Shaddai, so it must mean that, if I go to the first synagogue I find along the road, then I will find food there.”

           11And sure enough, he came to a synagogue. However, upon entering he found nothing, for it had been abandoned for some years.

           12The Pharisee said to himself, “My interpretation was correct; it was authoritative and could not be faulted. But a thief must have come before me and stolen all the food.”

           13Then it was the turn of the Ebionite elder to set off, and he followed the scribe’s instructions carefully.

           14Along the way, he heard a woman crying. So taking pity on her, he asked if there was anything he could do to help. 15She told him that for many months her father had been in dispute with her husband. 16So the Ebionite went to her father with her husband and mediated between them. And after some hours, they came to an amicable agreement.

           17So pleased was the woman, that she gave him a small portion of bread for his trouble, and also some rope – the only gift she had to give, for her husband was a rope-maker.

           18The elder re-joined the route. Going further along the way, crossing back on the route as the scribe had instructed, he came upon an old man who was sitting outside of his house, beating his breast in anguish, and crying out to heaven. 19So the elder went up to the old man and enquired of him his plight.

           20And the old man replied, “The time for sowing is fast approaching, and I have a plough, but no yoke to attach it to my oxen, since it is broken. 21I am an old man, and without sons it will be hard to do it all on my own. My family rely on me, but we are finished.”

           22So the Ebionite said to him, “Take heart, you are not finished. Look, I have some rope. I can tie it to the plough and then attach it round the neck of the oxen, and they can pull it for you. I will stay with you a day and help you to begin.” 23So the elder worked the whole day, and helped to plough much of the field ready for sowing.

           24Out of gratitude, the old man offered him a small meal, and in reward gave him a pick, for his son-in-law was a toolmaker.

           25Near the end of his journey, the Ebionite elder saw a man sitting by a well looking quite despondent. So he went up to him and said, “My lord, why is your face fallen? And why is your heart so burdened?”

           26And the man said, “The source of my well is a spring, but for many months now, my well has been dry. 27My animals are dying, my fields are parched, and my family have little enough water to drink. 28So I went to the scribe in the village, and he told me that he would send me three men who might be able to help. 29I have waited here on and off for three days, but so far I have seen only a priest. He had indeed been sent by the scribe, but he had no solution.

           30So the elder said, “Another man set out before me – a Pharisee; has he yet arrived?”

           31And the man said, “No, I have seen nothing of him.”

           32So the elder said, “Look, I have a pick. Lower me into the well, and I will see if there is anything I can do.”

           33So the man lowered the Ebionite into the well. Once at the bottom, he was able to see a tiny trickle from some rocks, but it was so small, it would dry up before it could settle. 34So with his pick he removed all the rocks, and water began to flow once more from the spring.

           35The man pulled him up out of the well. Within hours the well was noticeably fuller. 36The man was so overjoyed that he said, “I am a rich man, and I own much land, but I need people to help me manage it all. 37If you will come and work for me as my steward, I will feed you and your family, and you can stay for as long as the famine lasts.”

           38With that news, the Ebionite returned home to his family, and that day they rejoiced.

           39So you see, there are some who do only what they are told, and they profit none by it. 40They have little to begin with, and they end up with nothing. 41There are others who see more than what is truly there; 42they follow their own inventions, and their imaginings lead them astray, and because they are blind they do not see that they themselves are at fault. 43Yet there are others who have eyes to see and ears to hear, 44and they seek to understand why they were told to do what they were given to do, and I tell you, their reward is great.

 

1: 3.    1How shall I describe the kingdom of God on earth? And to what shall I compare it?

           2It is like when a king commissioned two merchants to tend his gardens. And he showed them two plots of land, both of equal size and scope, but both barren.

           3And the king said to the merchants, “Behold, I give to you these plots of land. I want you to plant the land and tend it, so that it lives and flourishes.”

           4But the merchants said to the king, “My lord, we are businessmen and do not know how to do this. We have never tilled the earth, nor ever sowed seed; 5we have neither planted a tree in one place, that it thrive and put forth fruit; nor a bush in another, that it spread out lush branches.”

           6So the king said to them, “Do not be anxious or afraid. I give you these scrolls upon which I have written instructions on what to plant in the garden, and how to tend everything that grows within it. 7Do this, and observe my instructions faithfully, and you will both succeed and prosper.”

           8So the first took charge of his portion of land. And following the words of the king’s instructions to the very letter, he took care to observe every yodh and tittle of the king’s words. 9He set about the garden just as he tended his businesses. He determined that one plant should grow in one place, and another plant in another. He tilled the soil and sowed seed. 10In the fullness of time the plants grew, but the garden was like a threadbare rug, and did not flourish.

           11But the second man took up the king’s instructions, writing them on his heart so that they became part of his very being. He lived them and learned even from doing and observing the king’s instructions. 12In the fullness of time the plants grew – he knew not how. 13Yet the plants put out shoots, leaves, branches, flowers and fruit according to their kinds, and the vision of the garden was like that of a paradise of lush green, flowing with milk and honey.

           14Then the day came for the king to come and inspect the gardens. And he came to the garden of the first man. He saw that it was ugly and sparse. So he said to him, “What happened here? Did you not observe what I gave you?”

           15And the first man replied, “My lord, I did everything you told me. I followed carefully every word, omitting to observe not one single letter. But nothing happened.”

           16So the king said to him, “You followed precisely what I told you, but you learned nothing by it. You read my words, but did not heed my message. 17Therefore the garden is in the same sorry state now as it was when I gave it to you.” With that he dismissed the merchant from his service.

           18Then the king went to the garden of the second man. And he saw how the garden was full and abundant with life, how fruitful and bountiful it was.

           19And the king was greatly pleased. So he said to the second man, “Well done, good and faithful steward. You have produced trees of good fruit, and herbs of rich flavour. 20You took to heart My instructions, and learnt from them. Because of this, I give you also the first plot of land, so that it too might flourish – that you might sit peacefully under your own fig and vine, and drink from your own well.”

           21Following commands and instructions to the very letter does not always lead to success or abundance.

 

1:4.    1There was a very rich man who had great wealth. And at the festival of Unleavened Bread, the rich man would take the best lamb – a male one year old without blemish – and invite all his neighbours to feast on it, according to the law of Moses, 2for he made sure that there was more than enough, so that he could invite all his neighbours to his house to see his wealth.

           3And there was a poor man, a beggar, who would simply wander around the Temple courts until he found a soul who was willing to allow him to join them, and give him a small portion of their Passover lamb.

           4And at the Festival of First-Fruits, the rich man would love to have everyone see the abundance of all his offerings, 5how he would bring the first and best of his wheat harvest, the first-born of his sheep, his cattle and his goats, as well as the money he had gained from the first of his flax, his figs, his grapes, and his olives.

           6The beggar had nothing that he had sown, nor grown, nor harvested, but he had kept the first little prutah coin given to him after the first day of the year in the month of Nisan, 7and this he put into one of the donation trumpets in the Temple, for he loved God and revered Him.

           8And at the time of the Festival, the rich man would build a large booth, and decorate it with the most luxuriant of branches, the most beautiful of all fronds, the finest of scented boughs, and the most succulent of fruits. 9It was taller and broader than anyone else’s, so that none in Jerusalem could avoid the sight of it. And he would make sure that the offerings he made at this time were the best of all his harvests. 10He would give a tenth of all his produce to the Temple, but not one grain more.

           11But the beggar would raise just four sticks and cover them with but a few palm branches to dwell under. And he shared his bread with those who had less than he had.

           12And when they died they both came into the Presence of God, and God said to the rich man, “What have you done to keep my Covenant, to follow my decrees, and to observe my statutes?”

           13And the rich man said, “Three times a year I appeared before you. I have built your booths, exactly as you commanded; I have sacrificed the best unblemished lambs for the Passover sacrifice, as you instructed; 14I have offered the first of all my crops and livestock at First-Fruits; and I have given tithes of all my produce. I have done everything that you commanded, exactly as you asked of me – no more, no less.”

           15And then God turned to the beggar and said, “And you, did you keep my Covenant, and follow my decrees, and observe my statutes?”

           16And the beggar said, “Heavenly Father, I am not worthy of your blessing; I was poor in life; I did not have enough to build booths; I was never able to afford a lamb for the Passover sacrifice; 17I never owned anything to give at First-Fruits. I never had anything to offer You but the devotion of my heart.”

           18So God said to them, “You who were rich displayed your piety before others so that they would praise you, yet your heart was cold and empty. 19Your intentions were towards vanity, and the direction of your soul towards your own self-importance.

           20But you who were poor have kept my Covenant; you have excelled in every commandment, and fulfilled every statute, because the aspiration of your heart was towards reverence, and righteousness was the intent of your soul.

           21Therefore you, O man of little means, I knew you because in humility you have walked with Me. Yours was the kingdom, and you never knew it!

           22But you, O man of wealth, since you had no love except for your own vanity, I tell you this: I never knew you, because in all the days of your life, you never once walked with Me, and never once did you set foot in My kingdom while you dwelt on earth.”

 

1:5. 1How shall I describe the Kingdom of God? There were two exceedingly rich men. One of them would go out into the streets and seek out the poor. 2And he would wash and bind up their sores and wounds, giving them to eat and offering them fresh clothing. And at festival times he would make an invitation to the widowed and the fatherless – all those who were without – and asked them to join him at his table. 3And at harvest times, he would seek out the poor – even those who were not of his own people – and encourage them to take from the gleanings of his fields. And he would give of his wealth to help the sick and the dying.

           4And there was another man who was also very rich. He feasted on his best food and wine, inviting all his family and friends. And he ensured that he paid his tithes, prayed at the appointed times and said all the prescribed blessings. 5He would wash and immerse to ensure ritual cleanliness, and he would attend Temple services, and rise to read the Torah in synagogues.

           6Now, which one of these men truly did the will of his Heavenly Father, and lived the Kingdom of God?

 

1:6.    1There was a rich landowner, and constantly at his side was a certain money-manager. 2Now this money-manager was cunning. He knew that each day his master was finding new ways to make money, for this was the reason he had sought him out. 3He had gained his trust with plots and ruses, so that this landowner would employ him.

           4Now it so happened, that his master discovered that the money-manager was taking some of the profits he was not entitled to, and that his only interest was in increasing what fell into his own purse. 5So the landowner decided that he would turn the money-manager’s greed against him.

           6So the landowner caused the money-manager to hear of deals that were either without profit, or false. 7At each turn, the very greed of the money-manager alone encouraged him to enter these false deals, until he was heavily in debt.

           8After many months, the money-manager owed nearly twenty kikkar of gold, more than he could ever pay off in his own lifetime. 9So he went up to the Temple, and cried out to God in his heart, and said, “Father, I am a sinful man, it is my own heinous greed which has caused me to become burdened by debt. 10Forgive my sin, and I will become your obedient servant, doing everything that you command me to do.”

           11From the Temple, he went to each of his creditors, and said, “My lord, I have sinned against you, for I have deceived you in business. 12Even if the length of my days were a hundred years, I could never earn enough to repay you. Nevertheless, let me make restitution in whatever way you see fit.”

           13So the creditors set him tasks. Now God had softened the hearts of those creditors, so that they would set him tasks that would cleanse him of his wrongdoing. 14He was set to work among the peasants who worked for each creditor, and in so doing, he gained high esteem among those peasants.

           15He worked his service for seven years, and in that time all trace of greed was driven from his soul, and his spirit was purified in the fire of humble service. 16He learned that in his greed, his associates had been the children of wealth, 17but in turning to God, and by following his ways, he found that his true friends were now the people of the land, the children of the Kingdom of God.

 

1:7.    1What is the kingdom of God like? 2It is like when a certain man bought a portion of land. 3He placed the deeds to the land in a jar and sealed it, and hid it in a hole in the wall of his house. 4But this man forgot to tell anyone that he had bought the land, or that the deeds to the land were sealed in a jar and hidden in the wall.

           5Shortly afterwards, that man died, and his son inherited all his possessions. 6Now that son was poor, and every day he would walk past the land his father had bought, yet he did not know the land belonged to him.

           7And he would sit in the house where the jar was hidden, and he would bewail his lot, saying, 8”Heavenly Father, I have little enough to feed my family, deliver me and my family!”

           9And in time, the son also died, and the house and all that was in it passed to his son. 10And that son was also poor, and would also cry out to God, saying, 11”O God! Why do You keep me and my family in poverty? Why do You not help me? I beg You, deliver me and my family!”

           12Now his neighbour had an ox, and one day a fly got into the ear of the ox, and in its torment it smashed into this man’s house and broke the wall, knocking over a lamp, and burning everything in the house.

           13And the man said, “Oh God, why have You punished me like this? What have I done, that You should unload such misfortune upon my head?”

           14In his anger and sorrow, he rummaged among the ruins of his house, and found a sealed clay jar. 15Upon opening it, he found his grandfather’s deeds to a plot of land nearby.

           16And the land he inherited was fruitful and rich, and YHVH blessed his family with great abundance.

           17In the days when we have peace, we don’t realise what wealth we have, 18but when our foundations are shaken, and misfortune comes our way, we rarely see what God is trying to tell us.

 

1:8.    1A Talmidi adaptation of a universal folk-tale

2There was a certain woman who lived near a small stream in the Judean desert. 3Every day she would attach two large, clay water jars onto a yoke, and then lay the yoke across her shoulders. She would go down to the stream, fill the water jars, and return to her house.

           4One day, one water jar said to the other, ‘Look at me! Our Mistress puts me on the right side of her yoke, and when we return, she only uses water from me. She never takes water from you.’

           5This made the other water jar despondent. ‘Why does our Mistress never use water from me?’

           6So the first water jar said, ‘Look at you! You’re worn out, broken, and you have a huge crack running down your middle, right to the bottom! 7Our Mistress never uses any water from you, because by the time she gets back, there isn’t any water left! She only brings you as a counterweight to me.’

           8The next day, the woman began throwing goat dung into the cracked water jar. This made the second water jar feel even worse.

           9And it said, ‘Our Mistress hates me! I’m broken and worn out, she carries me on her left side, and now I’m good for nothing but goat dung! I must be the most unfortunate water jar in the land!’

           10After a week of this, the woman noticed the cracked water jar was very sad, so she said to it, ‘Water jar, why are you so sad?’

           11And the water jar answered, ‘Because I am broken and useless, I serve no purpose, I’m good for nothing except goat dung, and you always carry me on your left side – I’m not worthy to be carried on your right side.

           12So the woman said, ‘My dear, precious water jar, you are one of my most treasured possessions!’

           13The cracked water jar did not understand, so the woman turned the jar around. The woman said, ‘Look, all around us is desert, from this house to the stream. 14But all along the path, where water has spilled from you, you have watered a long road full of beautiful plants and flowers, and the dung has fed them.’

           15Then the jar said, ‘But why do you always set me at your left hand?’

           16So the woman answered, ‘Because from my house, as the path twists and turns, it is the right side which is now the most beautiful.’

           17Sometimes we are so caught up in our own troubles, that we cannot see the great purpose that God has in mind for us.

 

1:9. 1There were two brothers: one their parents hated, and the other was the one whom their parent loved. 2The hated son was beaten by his father, and made to fear him, and was unloved by his mother; the other was adored by his mother, and given every gift by his father. 3The hated son grew up to love God, and the favoured son grew up not knowing God. 4The hated son became a compassionate and a just man, but the favoured son became a selfish, materialistic and worldly man. 5The hated son became wise, and was taught by God; the loved son was egotistic, and was ill-equipped to cope with the trials of the world.

 

1:10.   1In those days there came a man, Judah of Galilee, and he claimed many followers, and many gathered to him. 2And he claimed that he was the Messiah, saying, “I am a descendent of David, King of Israel; 3I will throw off the Roman yoke that oppresses us; I will defeat our enemies; 4and when the kingdom of our father David is restored, I will gather in the exiles to the Land.”

           5When he said this, people would say, “See, how the people follow him! Surely he is truly the Messiah!”

           6And there came a man, clothed only in camel-hair, who said to the people, “You rich, do not abuse the poor; you priests, take no more than the tithes you are entitled to; 7you children, honour your parents; you people, do not forget the widows and orphans among us; do not forget to have just weights in matters of buying and selling; and remember to leave the gleanings of the fields for the poor.”

           8But the people said to him, “Why do you say these things? By what authority do you speak? Show us a sign!”

           9So he went further and said, “Serve Adonai your God alone, and do not go after or worship what is false; sanctify God’s Holy Name; and do not add to the laws of Adonai your God.”

           10Still they said to him, “Who are you? Why should we listen to what you say? Are you the messiah?”

           11And this man said, “I am no messiah, I am no son of David.”

           12So the people said, “Then be silent; you have nothing to say that we should listen to.”

           13And so they followed this Judah of Galilee, and the Romans slaughtered all his followers, even to the last man.

 

1:11.   1There was a man who went out into the desert to find God, in order to find answers. He fasted seven days and seven nights there. 2At the end of the seven days, he felt that he had not found God, nor come upon any answers. So he vowed to fulfil certain tasks if God would speak to him. 3He completed all these tasks, and still he received no answer. 4So he finally decided to study the complicated writings of mystics, in the hope that he would find his answers there. 5Once more, having finished reading the mystical works, he found he still had no answers.

           6So the man went home, and sat on the ground in his house. He raised his hands to God and cried out, “Adonai, why will you not answer me?”

           7And a voice came back, “Because you never actually asked me any questions. My dearest child, I’ve been here all the time; you only had to ask”.

 

1:12.   1There were two moneylenders, a Roman moneylender, and a Jewish moneylender. 2Now, the Roman moneylender was the most notorious throughout all the Mediterranean. 3One day, one of his debtors came to him and said, ‘The debt that I owe you can never be paid off in my lifetime; I beg of you, please have pity on me.’

           4So the Roman moneylender said to him, ‘I will forgive your debt, even though you are unworthy and don’t deserve it, but only if the debt is paid in blood, and the price exacted in someone’s death.’

           5The debtor was incredulous, but the Roman moneylender said further, ‘Yes, and I am sending my henchman to make sure that you wash yourself in that person’s blood. 6That’s the only way I am able to forgive your debt – my rules; I am after all the son of an Empire built on blood and death.’

           7Now that same day, a debtor came to see the Jewish moneylender. In great distress he said, ‘The debt that I owe you can never be paid off in my lifetime. Please, I beg of you, help me – I don’t know what to do.’

           8Seeing the depth of his anguish, and the gravity of his need, the Jewish moneylender had great pity on him, so he took the bill of debt, and tore it up.

           9Surprised, the debtor said, ‘But what about my debt?’

           10The moneylender replied, ‘I will remember your debt no more. Now go; your debts are forgiven.’

           11There is no God like YHVH!

 

1:13.   1There was a young boy in a village who was very disobedient and rebellious towards his parents, and did not honour his mother or his father. 2His father would tell him to do one thing, and he would do another; his mother would instruct him to go one way, and he would head off in a different direction.

           3So one day, his father called this son and said, “My son, I need you to go on an errand for me to the neighbouring town over the hills. 4Now the path is a winding way, so I will give you instructions and you must follow them carefully, veering neither to the right, nor to the left. You must go there and return to me straight afterwards.”

           5But the son on leaving the village went off on his own way, and in time, he found himself hopelessly lost. 6So he sat down on a rock along the way, and when he heard wolves and leopards nearby, he began to cry out of fear.

           7Presently he felt a hand on his shoulder; he turned round and saw his father’s kindly face of concern looking down on him.

           8So the son said, “Father, I have been foolish. I have strayed and become lost, and thereby put myself in danger.”

           9But the father said, “My son, you were never really lost to me, because I always knew where you were. I knew you would disobey me, so I followed you, because I love you and don’t want to lose you. 10You may have strayed from the path I had set for you, but I accompanied you close by, and I was always there with you.”

 

1:14.   1God summoned the Archangel of Healing, and the Angel of Death. God said to them, “I want the two of you to take a journey throughout the generations, and I want you to find men and women worthy to be teachers in my kingdom.”

           2So the two angels came to earth. The Angel of Death said to the Archangel of Healing, “How shall we know who is truly worthy?”

           3And the Archangel of Healing answered, “This is what we shall do. We shall appear to certain men and women in a vision. We shall open to them a scroll of the Torah, and each of us shall point out certain commandments to them, each one according to our natures. 4Those that choose your selections we shall turn away, but those who choose my selections we shall give to God.”

           5The Angel of Death thought this was an excellent idea. So the Angel of Death appeared to a certain man in a vision, and laid out a scroll of the Torah before him. 6The angel pointed out passages such as, “Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshipping the Baal of Peor”, and, “Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death”, and, 7”If a man lies with a man as he lies with a woman, both of them must be put to death,” and, “If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death”.

           8The man staunchly defended these passages, and insisted that these commandments be obeyed to the letter, without mercy. In this way, the Angel of Death knew that this man was not fit to be a teacher in God’s kingdom.

           9Then the Archangel of Healing went to a woman in a vision, and pointed out certain passages from the scroll of the Torah to her, such as, “Love your neighbour as yourself”, and, “Open your hand wide to the poor,” 10and, “Love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with God,” and, “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt.”

           11And the woman said, “Truly, these words reflect the Glory of YHVH our God, who is merciful and compassionate, abounding in love and faithfulness!”

           12And by her answer, the Archangel of Healing knew that she would be a worthy teacher in God’s kingdom.

           13And so it was with all the men and women the angels visited throughout the generations. The ones who answered rightly to the Archangel of Healing, would become the pious ones, the holy ones and sages; 14and those who answered to the Angel of Death in support of his choices, these became the preachers of hatred, vengeance and small-mindedness.

           15For those who congregate towards the harsh words of scripture, they only lay bare the concealed wickedness in their hearts; 16both good and bad words have been deliberately placed there to separate out the wicked from the compassionate. 17Those who idealise the harsh words of scripture have no place in God’s Kingdom. 18Learn therefore to recognise those whose wickedness is exposed by harsh scripture, and do not follow them or believe them, because they are led by a love of evil, not by love of God.

 

1:15. 1God’s judgement on those who put themselves first because of the religion they belong to:

 

           2There was a certain sectary, a follower of Shaul ben Shav. Whenever he saw someone who did not believe in Shaul ben Shav, he would cast a condescending eye at them, and think to himself, 3”I have the assurance of heaven and salvation, because I follow the words of the prophet Shaul; and I have the assurance that God will always forgive my sins, whatever they may be. 4But they who do not accept the prophet Shaul, they will perish and be cast down to Sheol!”

           5There was also a certain beggar, a follower of the Pious one. Each morning he would go to sit at the gates of a certain Gentile city. He would pronounce blessings on all who passed by, whether they gave him alms or not. 6He would say to himself, “I am a sinner, but I trust in God, our merciful Judge. May God cleanse me of my sins, and accept me at the foot of His table.”

           7When their time came, both men died. The follower of Shaul ben Shav had made a repentance of his sins shortly before his death. 8Pleased with himself for what he had done, he approached the Great Banquet and said to himself, “I was a follower of Shaul and believed in him; I therefore deserve the highest seat at God’s table.”

           9As he approached, God said to him, “You hypocrite! Who are you? All your life, you looked down your nose at the least of my children! 10You were assured of your own self-importance; you were an arrogant man, and scorned the way of righteousness; you committed sins, all the time assuming you would always be forgiven in the end. 11I had nothing to do with you! Go out from here, and sit in the Outer Darkness, where there is a weeping and gnashing of teeth! 12There you shall remain, until you have paid the very last of your sentence. Only then you will be set free to sit at my table, but at the foot of it, at my left hand.”

           13Then the beggar approached God, and sat himself at the foot of God’s table. But God saw him and had compassion on him. He called  out to him and said, “My son, come higher!”

           14But the beggar said, “I am a sinner, unworthy to be accepted into Your Presence!”

           15So God said to him, “Because you blessed my children, and showed them righteousness whoever they were; and because you revered Me in awe, and did not presume my favour, you shall sit up here at My right hand. 16You shall be granted a seat in My innermost council, and I shall bestow upon you all the goodness you did not have in life. 17All My knowledge and wisdom is yours, My grace and favour throughout all eternity!”

 

           18Those who set themselves first, will be last in the kingdom of God; and those who are last, will be first in God’s Kingdom.

 

1:16. 1The true Israelite who behaved justly towards other peoples:

           2There was a rich Israelite who went to live in a foreign land. While he was there, he encountered another tribe of people who were also foreign to that land. 2However, he noticed how they lived in poverty and servitude, and how the soul of their people was dying because they had forgotten their traditions and language.

           3Moved by their plight, he set up a place where food and clothing could be distributed to them, and paid for the education of their children. 4He also employed some of the elders of their people to teach the younger generation their customs and language, and even their pagan religion, so that they could regain their pride and self-worth as a people.

           5So moved were these people at the efforts of this rich Israelite, that they invited him to participate in one of their festivals to their gods. 6However, the Israelite man said, ‘I am honoured that you would think of inviting me as a guest, but the laws of my God say that I can only witness to the ways of my God; I’m afraid I must decline your invitation.’

           7The elders of the people were offended, and said, ‘But you have done so much for us; will you not join us so that we might thank you?’

           8But the Israelite man said, ‘As I said, I can only witness to the ways of my God. 9I have done so by feeding and clothing your poor, educating your children, and giving you back the self-respect of your own culture.’

           10The elders of the pagan people were astonished, and cried out, ‘Blessed be your God, the God of Israel, who has compassion and love even for those who do not follow your God!”

 

Scroll Two: Prayers

2:1. 1O YHVH, cause me to understand your Teaching,

   and instruct me in your precepts,

For the multitude shall hear of your deeds,

   and the nations shall honour your Glory.

2Remember me and forget me not,

   and bring me not through unbearable trials.

Put away the transgressions of my past,

   and may my sins not be remembered against me.

3O YHVH, cleanse me from all evil,

   and let it not return to me;

Dry up its roots within me,

   and do not allow its leaves to flourish from my flesh.

4Holy YHVH, You are Glory; therefore I know my plea shall be fulfilled.

For to whom else shall I cry, and he grant this to me?

What can the power of mortal men do for me?

 

5For my trust comes alone from Your Presence,

I cry to you and you answer me; you heal my broken heart.

6You held me up when my soul was stricken –

You are my Lord and Saviour, O YHVH!

7My doubt recedes as the dust,

My disbelief disappears as smoke.

8My feet shall not totter, nor my hands waiver,

For YHVH is my Redeemer, who saves me.

 

2:2. 1To keep Torah is as a great oblation,

  and the one who observes the commandments

  is as one who sacrifices a fellowship-offering.

2In doing works of charity,

  it is as one who offers a cereal-offering,

3And when someone gives alms,

  it is as one who presents a whole burnt-offering.

4To refrain from evil is like the pleasing odour of a sacrifice to YHVH,

  and to avoid injustice is like a sin-offering of expiation.

5To do justice is as an offering of sweet incense,

  which rises before the Most High,

6And a generous spirit

  is as an abundance of freewill offerings”.

 

2:3. 1Form a community to make known the salvation of YHVH,

and do not hesitate to make known

God’s might and God’s majesty to all the lowly.

2For it is to make known the Glory of YHVH

that Wisdom has been given,

3and it is for recounting God’s many wondrous deeds

that Wisdom has been revealed to humanity;

4to make known to the lowly God’s saving power,

to explain God’s great compassion to the ill-educated,

5to the poor who sit far from Wisdom’s gates,

the crippled who walk far from Wisdom’s portals.”

 

2:4. 1Prayer for the fulfilment of prophecy

 

2O YHVH, you know the times and the seasons,

    The days to come when your designs shall be fulfilled.

3We pray that your will may be fulfilled soon,

    And at a time near our own.

 

4May the tribes of Ephraim be reconciled with those of Judah,

    And may they be joined as one stick in your hand.

5May the exiles be gathered together from the nations where they have gone,

    And be brought back to their own land.

6Forge from them a new nation on the mountains of Israel,

    One people under your Holy Name;

7And set one prince over them,

    The son of your servant David.

One shepherd,

    One king.

8And place your sanctuary among us forever,

    Your dwelling place in our midst, with us.

 

9We pray that the Nations shall on that day go up to your holy mountain

    To your house, as the God of Abraham and Ya`aqov.

10That from thenceforth, you shall teach them your ways

    And instruct them how to walk your paths.

11We pray that your Torah shall from that time go forth from Zion,

    And your saving message spread out from Jerusalem.

 

12We pray that there shall be the universal pursuit of peace,

    And the increase of righteousness among all peoples.

13That your just ways shall be upheld;

    With zeal for your Name,

    these things shall

    be accomplished.

14We pray that all lands shall know peace,

    That their swords shall be hammered into ploughshares

15And that none instruct their people or their kin in the ways of war

    Any more.

 

16But may these things be fulfilled in your time,

    And according to your design;

17May they come to pass in your day,

    And at the season which you have appointed for them.

 

2:5. 1In the depths where I struggle, YHVH will reach for me;

In the darkness where I cry, YHVH will hear my voice.

2YHVH will not ignore a sheep lost in the wilderness

Or a lamb caught in the mire.

3When blows rain down on me, YHVH is my defender

When I am oppressed, YHVH is my shield.

4When the fires of despair threaten me, YHVH shall pluck me out;

When I am burned by the flames of my failings, YHVH shall heal my wounds.

5I am lost, but YHVH shall find me;

I flounder, but my hope is in YHVH.

 

2:6. 1It is YHVH alone who is your Saviour and your Redeemer;

it is YHVH’s hand that will shelter you from the storm;

2it is YHVH’s arm that will protect you from danger;

it is YHVH’s fire that will cleanse you and purify you;

3YHVH’s Divine Presence that will fill you with holiness and lift you up.

4Your spirit will never be poor,

because YHVH is your inheritance and your wealth;

5your soul will never hunger,

because the power of YHVH will fill your heart and mind with good things;

6YHVH’s spirit will be an eternal river of sweet and living water,

so that your soul will never thirst.

7Glorify the holy name of YHVH,

because God is mighty;

revere YHVH in awe,

because of God’s powerful might.

8Proclaim YHVH to the heavens,

for there is none to compare to our God:

YHVH of the heavenly battalions.”

 

2:7. 1A Litany of the Titles of YHVH, for Yom Tru`ah, at midday after the reading of the Seifer ha-Torat Mosheh; the response after every line is, ‘Barukh YHVH!’

 

2Blessed be YHVH! Barukh YHVH!

Blessed be YHVH, the living God, Elohim chayyim!

3Blessed be YHVH, the Holy God, Elohim q’doshim!

Blessed be YHVH, the Eternal God, Eil `olam!

4Blessed be YHVH, the Faithful God, Eil ha-ne’eman!

Blessed be YHVH, our Redeemer from of old, Go’aleinu mei`olam!

5Blessed be YHVH, God Most High, Eil Elyon!

Blessed be YHVH, God of the holy mountains, Eil Shadday!

6Blessed be YHVH of the Heavenly Battalions, YHVH Tseva’ot!

Blessed be YHVH, the Ancient of Days, Atiq Yamin!

7Blessed be YHVH, Source of the Breath of everything that has life, Elohey ha-ruchot le-khol basar!

8Blessed be YHVH, God of Abraham!

Blessed be YHVH, the Awe of Isaac!

Blessed be YHVH, Mighty One of Jacob!

9Blessed be YHVH, Shield of David!

Blessed be YHVH, King of Glory!

10Blessed be YHVH, King of Kings!

Blessed be YHVH, Lord of Lords!

11Blessed be YHVH, the great God!

Blessed be YHVH, the Holy One of Israel!

Blessed be YHVH, Protector and Shield of Israel!

12Blessed be YHVH, Light of Israel!

Blessed be YHVH, Giver of Torah!

13Blessed be YHVH, God of Compassion!

Blessed be YHVH, the Just and the Merciful!

14Blessed be YHVH, the Righteous One!

Barukh YHVH! Amein! Amein!

 

2:8.    1YHVH alone is the true Source,

the well of living water.

2Those who drink of it will never thirst;

those who revere God in awe will never lack wisdom.

 

3YHVH alone is the true grain,

the bread of living abundance.

4Those who eat of it will never hunger;

those who meditate on God’s teaching will have a restful spirit.

 

5YHVH alone is the true vine,

with roots deep in fertile soil.

6Those who graft themselves onto it will bear good fruit;

those who cleave to God’s ways will prosper.

 

7YHVH alone is the light of the world,

the light of Glory in the heavens.

8Those who walk under it will never stumble;

those who keep God’s commandments will reap great reward.

 

9YHVH alone is the good shepherd,

the true guardian of His flock.

10Those who gather to Him will never be lost;

those who walk all their days with justice will feed in good pasture.

 

11YHVH alone is the gate of the sheepfold,

the road to safe pasture in days of darkness.

12Those who enter through it will fear no wild beast;

those who are blameless can hold their head high.

 

13YHVH alone is the life of the world to come,

the breath of the holy ones in the heavens.

14Those who die shall live;

those who endure in the ways of YHVH shall live forever.

 

2:9. 1A Meditation on the Companionship of YHVH

 

2YHVH, my eternal rock,

my wise counsellor in times of strife,

3YHVH, my true Guide along stony paths,

my rest and my calm,

4YHVH, my peace and wellbeing,

My Father, my eternal Friend.

 

5I know you are with me,

that are by my side,

6I know you will protect me,

that you will never abandon me,

7I know you will save me from harm,

that your justice will triumph.

 

2:10. 1Heavenly Father,

teach me to be a messenger of Your Kingdom on earth,

how to live a life in witness to Your holiness.

2Give me the courage and strength to be a benefit and a blessing to those whom I meet,

And to walk a path which brings good repute to Your great Name.

3When I stumble and fall on the way,

And fall short of the mission You have entrusted to me,

4Forgive me in Your merciful love,

And set me on Your path of light anew,

5That I might dwell in the power of Your saving Presence,

And bless and praise Your Name each day that I shall live.

 

2:11. 1Your mercies abound, O YHVH,
more abundant than the most bountiful harvest.

2Let our hearts sow your fields with righteousness,

and your people reap the blessings you have promised.

3In your House of Prayer, we praise you, O YHVH;

the House which is filled with prayer like incense.

4As at a wedding, Israel rises to greet her Groom,

embroidered in gold, she ascends to meet her God.

5And in white, like a heart that is cleansed,

like a sheep newly shorn and washed.

6As the congregation of Jacob rises to thank our God,

their prayer is like honey,

like nectar in an autumn breeze.

 

7For YHVH is our King, our Sovereign Majesty,

whose rule is just, whose word is fair;

8Whose reputation towers like the mighty cedar,

whose kingdom blossoms like the vine.

9God’s precepts are better to my mouth than spiced wine,

God’s teaching more filling than a feast.

10How greater than gold is the value of YHVH’s Name!

How much firmer God’s covenant than tempered iron!

11Therefore, all the days of my life I will have wealth of spirit,

And a heart which none shall break.

 

2:12. 1Beloved and holy YHVH,

Watch over us here

And guide us.

2Stay our hands

When we are tempted to do evil,

3And strengthen our feet

When they falter on the paths of righteousness.

4Keep our eyes fixed on the light of Your Presence

When they are tired and weary of life;

5And carry up our hearts

When they can endure no more.

6Fill us with your love

When our hopes slide and fade;

7And when our spirit is crumbling,

And threatens to fail into darkness,

8Reach down your saving hand

And pluck us into your light.

 

2:13. 1Heavenly Father, we bless You and praise You for all the good things that You have ever done for us, for all the mighty wonders You have ever shown to our souls. 2We pray that Your great fame and reputation may be magnified in Your deeds to come; 3hear therefore our sincere and heartfelt prayers, that we may further cause Your great renown to spread across the face of the earth – 4that we may tell of Your loving-kindness and mercy forever, throughout every generation.

 

5We pray for our scattered community of Followers of the Way, that we will not be disheartened by our small numbers or by being isolated. 6Help us to find others who already have hearts like ours, and strengthen us to be able to build bridges of love and peace with those of other religions, and of none; 7we pray that we will be able to grow strong enough to help those less fortunate than ourselves; 8that we might be emboldened to spread the knowledge of Your Glory across the face of the earth; 9and that we will have the fortitude to remain forever true to Your ideals, and not stray from the Way that You have set before us.

 

10(Here pray your thoughts and requests to God).

 

11These are our prayers, Holy and beloved YHVH, and we ask these things in Your Great Name, which is far holier and more powerful than any other name we have ever experienced. 12We have confidence in You, beloved YHVH, for You are far holier than the holiest holiness, and Your compassion and mercy are beyond compare. 13We raise our arms and lift our prayers as a humble offering in Your Holy Presence. 14Hear us, beloved YHVH, in Your great and enduring love.

 

2:14. 1A prayer of affirmation for personal inner strength

 

2I will be strong and succeed, because I am a follower of YHVH;

YHVH is greater than anything in the universe.

3I am a good person.

I must be strong and endure,

and let God’s purifying presence complete its work within me.

4I will let God use my present words, thoughts and actions to defeat injustice and wrongdoing in the world.

5I am a vital component in God’s plan.

What I do matters.

6If I sit back, wait for the future to happen and do nothing,

then suffering will continue.

7But if I actively participate in God’s Kingdom,

by remaining a good person in spite of what happens to me –

8in spite of all the troubles that befall me,

then God’s kingdom will spread.

9Instead of sitting back and waiting for something to happen,

for something to come in the future,

10If I proclaim YHVH as my King now,

I can live the active reign of God now,

and taste the fulfilment of what is to come.

11I am a Follower of YHVH,

who is the most powerful,

awesome and astounding Being

in the whole universe.

12One day, His Glory will live on earth as it does in heaven;

There will be no more suffering, war, crime, disease or misery.

13Like yeast, my small actions will change the world now,

and contribute to the coming of that future.

14But today,

I am not defeated.

I live in hope,

because I know

what YHVH can do for me,

and is doing, even now.

15 – A Follower’s Prayer

2:15. 1A prayer composed during the Gaza conflict, July 2014

 

2Beloved YHVH, Shield of Israel,

How long shall hostiles prevail against us?

How long shall their weapons rain down upon us?

3Holy Yahh, Source of the Breath of all the living,

Strengthen our sons and daughters who defend Israel;

4Give them a noble heart to strive and defeat those who hate us.

5May those who teach hatred to their children be swiftly overcome;

May those who protect us against our attackers speedily triumph;

6May those who endure the cruelties of war be shielded by Your Divine Presence;

7And may those who stand between us and harm to protect us

      endure safely.

 

8Instil in all of us a realisation that the ultimate goal of war

      is the restoration of peace and security.

9Forgive us, in Your merciful judgment, our sins in times of war;

Pardon us, Great Judge, when we commit errors in judgment.

10Make true and sure our resolve to overcome all hostilities,

But turn our weapons away from harming those who do not deserve harm.

11Fire up our resolve to defeat and cut off everything

which does not proceed from Your will,

12But may Your fires of empathy and compassion not be extinguished within us.

13Let me say always and forever, “As for me, I am for YHVH”.

For if I am for YHVH, who can defeat me?

14If I am for YHVH, who can stand against me?

15Blessed be YHVH, Shield of Israel and Protector of the Innocent.

Amein.

 

2:16. 1Prayer of the penitent soul

2Holy YHVH, you created me a perfect soul,

but by my own sinful choices,

I have become sullied, broken and blemished.

3Following my own way has led me to a dead end,

close to destruction and death.

4At this very moment,

I face a black wall leading nowhere.

5I acknowledge that the only way out is to turn right around,

back towards the light in which you created me.

 

6Beloved YHVH, have mercy on me therefore, a sinner.

7I lay bare my heart in your sight, where nothing is hidden,

and I ask for the forgiveness of my sins, which are many.

8I surrender to the burning fire of your Glory,

prepared for your Divine Radiance to purify my soul,

to burn away all my impurities and imperfections, and cleanse me.

9I ask you to heal my broken soul,

and make of me a new person, as if newly born,

worthy of new life in your kingdom.

10Guide me along your Way, O YHVH,

the Way that leads to eternal union with your holy Presence,

when my time comes for you to call me back to my heavenly home.

Amein.

 

2:17. 1A short prayer for the penitent soul.

2Holy YHVH, my Saviour and my Redeemer, have mercy on me, a sinner.

3I was lost, but you sought me out and found me, great Saviour and Redeemer of my soul.

4Forgive me my sins, and make of me a new person by the fire of your Glory.

5Cleanse my broken soul,

and heal me.

6Save me

and carry me into the light of your kingdom on earth.

7Blessed be YHVH, Saviour of the lost!

Amein.

 

Scroll Three: Sayings and Proverbs

3:1.    1The Way of YHVH is forever; the path of the Holy One is for all time. 2There is no mortal who can extinguish it, nor any flesh that can subdue it.

 

3:2. 1The Way of YHVH is a precious gift, given to those whom YHVH has called; 2it is a precious jewel for those who seek God with humility, and a prized treasure for those who take hold of the task with courage.

 

3:3. 1The gods of pagan mystery religions can only love their own people; they are limited, inadequate and small, for they only have approval for those who believe in them. 2This is how you shall know that they are false gods – for they damn to eternal punishment those who do not believe in them or accept them; they are nothing but the creations of the minds of men.

           3How great, boundless, magnanimous, compassionate and eminent is YHVH then, who loves all nations and peoples; 4who rules the earth with equity and righteousness, who is a sheltering Parent and a guiding Teacher, who will not turn away the oppressed, the forgotten, the persecuted or the broken; 5whose door is open to the humble hearts of every nation, the seekers among every people, and the hungry wayfarers on every road.

 

3:4. 1YHVH awakens the hearts of the nations to take up their mission to work for the fulfilment of His kingdom.

 

3:5. 1God will establish (Yachin) his kingdom with wisdom; and righteousness is its foundation, for in it is strength (Boaz). 2Only between the pillars of wisdom and righteousness shall we approach God’s Glory, and enter into the holiness of God’s Presence. 3For YHVH is majesty, and in his wisdom is our salvation.

 

3:6. 1YHVH will not put the Kingdom of God on hold, waiting for everyone to be converted to the same religion. 2YHVH is King of all nations, and meets humanity where it is at, and in the condition that it is at. 3Many religions operate in a kind of holding pattern, as if to say, ‘This is our limited mode of operation until we have converted everyone to our faith; only then can we work at full thrust.’ 4My brothers and sisters, the Kingdom of God should always operate at full thrust, for the one family of humanity, for the here and now, 5because YHVH is King, here and now, and God’s good and noble values do not have to wait for human approval.

 

3:7. 1There will come a time when no one will need to convince others to know YHVH, because all will know YHVH because of what He does.

 

3:8.    1However much we may turn our faces from God, and try to separate ourselves from Him, there is nothing we can possibly do that can separate God from us.

 

3:9. 1Human beings teach knowledge, but only YHVH can bestow wisdom.

 

3:10. 1God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a human being, that he should be fickle. 2Does God pray to himself? Does God beget? Does God bleed? Does God need food or water? Is God born? Can God die? 3God is neither man nor a human being; God is neither a man nor a woman. YHVH alone is God.

 

3:11. 1God is not a man, that he should follow fashions, nor a human being, that he should be swayed by trends.

 

3:12. 1Just as no amount of darkness can extinguish light, nor any amount of cold extinguish a flame, so also no amount of evil can ever extinguish good.

 

3:13. 1Evil cannot endure, nor falsehood last forever.

 

3:14. 1If you seek the enrichment of the country in which you live as strangers, then your neighbours who are not of your own people will bless you.

 

3:15. 1A religious community, when it dwells in a foreign land, should not seek to be in constant quarrel with its neighbours, nor strive to clash with their hosts; 2for a peaceful religion is a blessing and a benefit to their hosts in that foreign land, and a wise religion is not feared but held in high esteem.

 

3:16. 1A peaceful and just religion is judged by the way that they treat minorities among them; 2for the righteousness of the greatest is judged by the happiness of the least among them.

 

3:17. 1There is a way of keeping the faith, which is with kindness and compassion, with patience and love; 2and there is another way of keeping the faith, which is with anger and belligerence, hatred and hostility. 3When our days are over, and we are called to account, the first leads to immediate blessedness with YHVH, and the latter to bitter lamentation, and time in Sheol.

 

3:18.   1A compassionate person listens with acceptance and understanding, and without judgment. 2A compassionate person finds joy in the presence even of a stranger, comforts a soul in distress, is giving and unselfish. 3That person is the child of their Father in heaven.

 

3:19. 1This is how people shall know that you are followers of YHVH: by the fullness of the compassion that you show to others.

 

3:20. 1Truly golden is the heart which desires for others, that which it desires for itself.

 

3:21. 1Faith that is firm is also patient.

 

3:22.   1If come the day when human beings become so proud that they threaten Creation, remind them that God thought to create the ant, the cockroach and the horsefly long before them, and that these will survive long after them.

 

3:23. 1The righteousness of a nation can be judged from the level of compassion it shows to its animals.

 

3:24.   1The one who sets out to kill an animal in order to enjoy its death, that one is as one who has murdered a human being.

 

3:25. 1A wise person should not boast of their learning; for wisdom is vindicated by her fruit.

 

3:26. 1A wise teacher should not belittle his students, for without them he is no teacher.

 

3:27. 1You cannot study Torah in a day, nor can you learn all the wisdom of heaven in an instant.

 

3:28. 1The truth is not hidden to be kept secret; it is hidden in order to be revealed.

 

3:29. 1The truth is hidden so that we might seek it, and so that in the very seeking of it, we might find more truth.

 

3:30. 1Some people will criticise your faith simply because they hate you; 2yet others will criticise your community because your religion has done wrong; 3listen carefully to the words of the second, because it is God’s voice speaking to you.

 

3:31.   1Just as Moses, our great Teacher, was not afraid to accept guidance from his father-in-law Jethro, a priest of Midian, 2so also no son or daughter of Israel should consider it a shame to accept wisdom or insight from one among the nations.

 

3:32.   1Humanity is not the rule by which the universe is measured.

 

3:33. 1Beware of those who think they can justify any argument by turning their opinions into pithy maxims; they are tailors of words, not necessarily sages; 2for turning a falsehood into a poetic saying does not then make it true.

 

3:34. 1If someone has to say that calamities will befall those who do not agree with what they say, then they are neither wise, nor their argument strong.

 

3:35. 1Much talk does not make a person right.

 

3:36. 1A good Follower of the Way expresses their views, not to impose their opinions on others, but simply in order that their views might become known, and that others might hear a different point of view for consideration. 2Such a Follower would not express their views with the expectation that everyone should agree with them. 3A good Follower of the Way also listens to other viewpoints, so that they might inform their views, and make better judgments; 4for in listening to many points of view, our God-given conscience is then able to discern among such views the mind and stance of God.

 

3:37.   1True children of YHVH do not enjoy the suffering of their enemies.

 

3:38. 1If a man spends his days being angry with everyone, and spends his nights nurturing hatred for everyone, then in truth that person has no life at all.

 

3:39. 1If you do what is just, fair, merciful and compassionate, and if you follow God’s righteous ways, then anyone who stands against you stands against God. 2But if you do what is unjust, unfair, unmerciful and oppressive, then anyone who stands against you has been sent by God.

 

3:40. 1Take care of the things of this world, and the things of the world to come will take care of themselves.

 

3:41.   1How you behave towards those less powerful than yourself is a good demonstration of your moral character.

 

3.42. 1Do not let yourselves become entrapped by the snares of every intrigue, nor follow the gossip of every conspiracy; 2for the distrustful will not recognise the door to their escape when it is shown to them, and the suspicious will have few friends.

 

3:43. 1The one who makes fun of others is as one who pierces their heart with a sword; 2the one who plays tricks on others is as one who administers fatal poison; 3and the one who manipulates others is as one who murders a child; 4for ones such as these require the heart of one who despises life and happiness, and instead loves misery and death – 5and their sin is doubled if they refuse to see the wrong they have done.

 

3:44. 1When someone slips up, or does something incorrectly, the way of the godless and the wicked is to point out the fault to all and sundry, so that that person’s shame and guilt is multiplied forever; 2but the way of Israel is to point out their fault privately, and for the one who has been taken aside to accept a just reproach; 3for then the peace of the many is maintained, and the one at fault shall receive peace from God.

 

3:45. 1God chooses you as a prophet, not because of who you are, but because of who God needs you to become.

 

3:46. 1A true prophet of God does not wait to be served, but instead stands eager to serve; 2a true prophet of God does not put themselves on a pedestal, but instead bears the weight of that pedestal. 3A true prophet of God does not seek vengeance, nor do they call for the deaths of those who disagree with them; 4a true prophet does not exalt himself, or demand obedience to himself,. 5A true prophet does not fear criticism, or disapproval, or forbid his message to be questioned, because he has the confidence that YHVH is with him.

 

3:47. 1If someone threatens you with death for merely questioning or doubting them, then they obviously have something to hide.

 

3:48.   1Beware the prophet who seeks wealth, glory, fame and power, for that one is a false prophet.

 

3:49. 1Fundamentalist religion has turned the Defender and Protector of the poor, the voiceless and the weak into the oppressor of the poor and the voiceless. 2A true prophet is therefore called by God to restore the place of YHVH as the untiring Champion of all the oppressed and the defenceless, and Judge of every oppressor, deceiver and false teacher.

 

3:50. 1The most efficient way for the wicked and the evil to control religion, and turn it inside out for their own ends, is to ensure that God can no longer speak through the mouths of prophets; 2for if a prophet is forbidden on pain of death to speak against injustice, wickedness, corruption, and oppression of the vulnerable, then man has silenced God.

 

3:51. 1It is to the humble that God shall make known His ways, 2and to the meek that his paths shall be made manifest.

 

3:52. 1God did not make us perfect, in order that we might realise that we need each other.

 

3:53. 1Humble people attribute their gifts to God, and are raised up. 2But arrogant people claim their gifts as their own, and are cast down.

 

3:54.   1Strong is the one who can rule over the passions within themselves.

 

3:55. 1You cannot change the world, if you do not first change the people who live in that world. 2And you cannot change those people, unless you first change yourself.

 

3:56. 1The face often manifests the troubles of the soul.

 

3:57. 1Don’t deny yourself happiness in this life and say, ‘I will only rest in the next’, 2for you will be denying yourself the very thing God has gifted you to strengthen your soul while you are in this world to help you fulfil God’s commission to you.

 

3:58. 1Why waste your life hating?

Why squander the wealth of your soul,

           in the debauchery of violence?

2Why challenge the ignorant with fire,

           whose flames can change with the wind

           and then turn on you?

3If the bent of the human race is confusion and conflict,

will not the power of the Giver of Life be manifested

when you see a great peace rush like a great wave over the earth?

4Are you not all the sons and daughters of the One Creator?

If you are in dispute, remember,

           you are in dispute with your

           brothers and sisters under God.

3:59.   1If our children are never taught what it means to be human, then each generation will be less that its parents, 2until the final generation is no more than the beasts who fight one another over scraps for food.

 

3:60. 1If you are dishonest towards your children, do not be surprised if your children have thereby learned to deceive others.

 

3:61. 1An honest person need never worry about the traps and snares that lie ahead, 2for such a person can hold their head high, and laugh at the days to come.

 

3:62. 1The innocent who is killed for their faith will be taken straight to God; such a person is a true martyr. 2But the one who deliberately seeks martyrdom by purposefully endangering their own life, and who intentionally puts themselves into circumstances where they will face certain death, is like one who commits self-murder.

 

3:63. 1When a religious person curses this world as a place of sin, vanity and evil, they curse the work of God’s hands.

 

3:64. 1If a person is told that he is a sinful person and born sinful, then he will sin anyway, because he will think, ‘What is another sin to me?’ 2But if he is told that our Heavenly Father created him as a perfect soul, in order to do great things, then his efforts will know no bounds.

 

3:65. 1No amount of miracles and healings will prove an inherent falsehood, for any charlatan can perform feats to astonish the gullible. 2Divine truth is self-evident; the word of YHVH is the only proof that YHVH needs supply to His true messengers.

 

3:66. 1Beware religious teachers who proscribe good and command evil.

 

3:67. 1The greatest weapon that humanity has in fighting the cruel manipulation of psychopaths, is knowledge of all kinds. 2The greatest defeat that humanity can possibly suffer, is when psychopaths convince humanity that knowledge and learning cannot be trusted. 3To despise knowledge and wisdom is to despise God.

 

3:68. 1Beware those who claim to be messengers of peace, yet set themselves against all of their neighbours. 2Beware those who say one thing in order to deceive their neighbours, but speak a wicked truth only among themselves – like a wolf or a lion which hides its teeth from their prey, until the moment they pounce.

 

3:69. 1Beware those religions that say, ‘Do as we say, and we won’t kill you’; 2such religions are not from God, but rather from the minds of deluded despots.

 

3:70. 1There should be no compulsion or deception in matters of religion.

 

3:71. 1If you treat those of your own religion with respect, compassion and love, and yet treat those of other religions with disapproval, contempt and condescension, then you should not expect any reward from God.

 

3:72. 1Religion observed with a closed heart and a clenched fist is no religion, 2and faith held with blind eyes and an ignorant mind serves God no purpose.

 

3:73. 1Be assured that any Talmidi teacher, elder or minister who advocates violence and hatred against people of other faiths, or against those who have none, has not been sent or ordained by God; 2that person’s words have come from the evil within their own hearts; 3for even if they present miracles and signs to prove they are right, their words remain as a curse that reviles God, and prove beyond any measure of doubt that they are wrong.

 

3:74. 1One can discern the religious person who loves evil by the type of commandments in Scripture they are drawn to.

 

3:75. 1In the daily practice of your religion, don’t be an embarrassment to God; 2don’t think that you will gain entrance into God’s Kingdom by doing what in fact shames the legacy of YHVH on earth. 3Rather, be such a treasured benefit to God’s Kingdom, that even those who do not belong to the faith of Israel will stand in awe and wonder at our God.

 

3:76. 1One cannot allow Mammon – or lack of it – to blind the clear-sighted, rob the wise of reason, or blind the eyes of the discerning.

 

3:77.   1The wealth of a rich man is weighed by how wide he opens his hand and how much he gives to the poor.

 

3:78. 1Which is better – to give one person a hundred talents of gold, or a hundred people one talent of gold each? 2The former is a lone tree in a desert, and the latter are a rich forest.

 

3:79. 1A worker deserves his bread.

 

3:80. 1A poor person can still have dignity and self-respect, and behave with honour and self-worth; 2poverty does not inescapably consign you to wickedness and violence, or to malice and bitterness. 3The fate of someone who is downtrodden is not automatically to wreak havoc, 4and the lot of someone who is broken is not inevitably to hate humanity. 5For YHVH saves the beaten, and lifts up the fallen from the dust.

 

3:81. 1Beware the rich and powerful who believe in God, and yet who also say, “There is no soul, no heaven and no afterlife”.

           2For they will come to say to themselves, “I will spend my life in the pursuit of wealth and riches, because if I am rich and powerful enough, then God cannot hurt me; 3I will be protected from any misfortune that God can throw at me, because of my wealth and my power.”

           4Then in time, they will come to think, “I can do anything I like, I can hurt anyone I like, and I can break any law I like, because I will be invulnerable to God’s punishment in this life, and my money will keep me out of prison. 5Then, if I can make it to the end of my life without any major mishaps, I will have beaten God Himself – 6since there is no soul and no afterlife, what more can God possibly do to me?”

           7And then they will come to the time of their death, and their soul will be separated from their mortal body; 8at that moment they will truly know the depth of all the crimes they have committed, and then they will know what God can do!

 

3:82. 1A decadent people cannot stand up to the onslaught of cruel men of religion; only the righteous can turn back their knives.

 

3:83. 1The more authoritarian the dictator, and the more despotic and cruel their rule, the harder and more miserable and ignominious will be their downfall; 2and it will be YHVH who will have garnered the forces against you, O Tyrant – and do not think that you are too mighty for God to come for you!

 

3:84. 1Stable government is not won by suppressing dissent and criticism; stable government is brought about by ruling with fairness and in a just manner.

 

3:85. 1The king who does not listen to the needs of his people, and ignores the cries of his poor, will soon have no throne, and his kingdom will fall. 2But the king who lifts up his poor, and deals fairly with his subjects, no enemy can prevail against his throne, for all his people will be with him.

 

3:86. 1A sociopath fights a war in order to slaughter the enemy and revel in their deaths; 2a good person fights so that the innocent on both sides can live in peace.

 

3:87.   1The one who defends the sins of their ancestors shares in their guilt, 2but the one who rejects the sins of their ancestors frees themselves from them, and their soul is cleansed.

           3The one who hides the sins of others and makes excuses for them, becomes blemished by the same sin, and shares in the judgment due for the guilt of that sin.

 

3:88. 1No amount of blood sacrifices will purify an unrepentant heart.

 

3:89. 1Immersion will not cleanse an unrepentant soul.

 

3:90. 1The one who does not put aside the sin of a genuine penitent that is paid for and repented of – 2the one who repeatedly brings it to mind and broadcasts it to all who will hear in order to shame the penitent sinner – 3such a person lays the burden of that very sin on their own shoulders, and becomes stained by the very sins they broadcast; 4for the one who hands a knife to someone standing next to them, in order for them to stab their neighbour’s back, should not be surprised if they then get their neighbour’s blood sprayed on their own clothes; 5even less of a surprise, if the knife is then turned on them.

 

3:91. 1Don’t let your suffering define you, or allow your pain to limit what you can be.

 

3:92. 1Grapes produce wine only when they are crushed, and olives produce oil only when they are bruised; 2and the fruit of the sycomore fig hastens to ripen when it is slashed.

 

3:93. 1The harvest will be a Summer crushed between two hills.

2(in reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in August 70CE; a lost saying that was strongly presented to me in a dream in 2007).

 

3:94.   1The one who is persecuted should be mindful of his suffering before he then goes and persecutes others.

 

3:95. 1Reward is not given for the length of one’s prayer, but for the heart within it.

 

3:96. 1Great need has the mind of prayer when the soul is disquiet.

 

3:97. 1The one who rises from their prayer to help someone in need, is more blessed of God than someone who stays behind to perform the required ritual of their religion.

 

3:98. 1A wicked person will often accuse others of the very sins they themselves are guilty of, in order to deflect attention from their own evil. 2Consider those who accuse the congregation of Israel of seeking supremacy over others – fascists and religious fundamentalists who seek the destruction of the Jewish people. 3They accuse us of seeking world domination, when all the while it is they themselves who, through their vicious philosophies and violent religions, seek supremacy over the peoples of the world.

 

3:99. 1YHVH is the untiring Champion of all the oppressed and the defenceless! 2O my brothers and sisters in Judah and Ephraim, remain steadfast always in God’s justice and wisdom, and never descend into behaviour that sets yourselves up to be judged by that Champion! 3Let us never think that just because we are sons and daughters of Jacob, or because we have suffered at the hands of cruel nations, that we will be immune from judgment ourselves! 4Let us never oppress those who are under God’s protection, lest we are judged ourselves.

Scroll Four: Talmidi Mysticism and Mystical Poetry

4:1.    1Remember your journey to earth, my beloved brothers and sisters! Remember the flight that your soul embarked upon when it was given its commission by God! Remember who you were when God first created you!

           2Look after the life of your soul; protect it from the illnesses of the spirit, which keep you from your righteous work. 3Look for the holy one that you were before God sent you to earth; strive to remember the Way of Righteousness that God instilled within you before you were sent to this realm.

           4If you live with upright thought and intent, with upright speech and upright deed, then you will discover who you were when God made you. If you endeavour to see with an upright mind, then you will gain a greater understanding of God’s will. 5Seek the will of YHVH – seek to know YHVH. Seek knowledge with humility – seek YHVH’s Wisdom.

           6Even if we cannot change the world, we can change ourselves. In so doing, people will see that God is with us and within us, and we will become a doorway to God’s holiness in heaven.

 

4:2. 1If you are drawn to Israelite mysticism, and wish to meditate on the things which are of God, the spirit, heaven and the afterlife, then contemplate on the things which God has given us, not on the traditions which come from pagan augurs and diviners.

           2The heart of all Israelite mysticism – the centre of all – is the Kavodh – the Glory of YHVH, the Divine Radiance, that holy fire that consumes evil, and purifies good. 3This is the pinnacle of the mountain, the height of all that is eternal; it is the central focus of all Israelite ritual.

           4Dwell also on all the various aspects of God, which teach you the very nature of God – 5meditate on the Davar, which is the ethos of everything that YHVH our God is, the Message of everything that YHVH our God teaches – all God’s principles and laws. 6Meditate also on the Wisdom of YHVH, which is the very air that fills the courts of heaven, the very perfume that scents the breeze. 7All the wisdom and knowledge of the Universe is from YHVH; everything that can possibly be learned, comes from YHVH – 8it is not to be demeaned or mocked, because if you mock wisdom and knowledge, you mock the Holy One. 9When you learn something new or profound, bless YHVH, because you have received a sacred gift from God! 10And when you finally return to your heavenly home, one of your greatest, most precious rewards is to receive all the knowledge and wisdom of God – all the knowledge of the universe.

           11Meditate with awe and humility on the holiness of YHVH, which is above all holiness. 12No enemy can assail God, no evil can possibly even approach God, and no mortal body can stand before God’s holiness, because all impurities will be burned away until they are nothing. 13Only a purified soul can stand before God’s holiness; only a soul that has been cleansed will survive.

           14Meditate on how YHVH is One, and without form or body, for this will give you an insight into the immense, immeasurable and unimaginable power of YHVH. 15Think on how nothing is equal or comparable to YHVH, and how YHVH has no manifestations, incarnations or equivalents, and you will be shaken by the power of YHVH! 16For once you are able to take in the Oneness of YHVH, you will be blown away by the things that you failed to realise before, and you will never be the same again! 17Nothing can possibly contain or encapsulate YHVH, for YHVH is beyond everything.

           18Understand how YHVH is the Creator of everything that is, and the Author of all the laws by which the Universe functions; 19meditate too on how YHVH is Sovereign over all, how God judges all with equity, mercy and righteousness, and rules everything in love.

           20And when you realise how YHVH is your Only Saviour, and your only Redeemer, then you will be truly liberated! 21If you wish to embark on seeking the nature of all, then seek to know YHVH. 22Although nothing can possibly know YHVH perfectly, YHVH is a knowable God, because YHVH is real; only a false god is unknowable.

           23Think on the highest perfection, the greatest good, the noblest values and principles, the wisest way, and the best of all that exists, and you will begin to know YHVH.

           24You can also contemplate the symbolism of the Mishkan, and everything in it –  the Ark, the mercy-seat upon it, and even the veil that is before it, which separates the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place; 25the table and the showbread upon it, and everything that is on the table; the golden menorah, its branches, its lamps and all its accessories; 26the altar of incense, and the incense that is burned upon it; and even the curtain which is inside the Tent of Meeting, which is all around the inside, has meaning for us; all these things were intended to teach us something.

           27Contemplate also the veil that is across the opening of the Tent of Meeting, the outer coverings, the wooden framework, and how it all fits together; also, the placing of the furniture inside the Tent.

           28Then consider the altar of burnt offerings, the bronze laver for the ablutions of the priests, and the geography of the outer court – all these things have meaning.

           29Even the components of the Day of the Expiations have symbolism and meaning – even the two goats, the one for YHVH, whose blood represents the human soul which returns the God after death, whose body becomes ashes; 30and the goat for the Fortress of Shadow, which stands for the sins which are removed from the human soul after death in Azza Zeil, and never leave.

           31Consider also the vision of the prophet Yechezqel, when he beheld a great chariot in heaven. 32Remember that the chariot, the living creatures and the angels are not God; they are symbols for the qualities of God – God’s holiness and prosperity, strength and majesty, compassion and justice, salvation and renewal.

           33I implore you, do not go after those things which have come from the teachings of the followers of pagan gods, because they will not teach you about YHVH; they will in fact give you a false image of God, and of how the universe works. 34Focus instead on the things which YHVH has already given us – meditate on these things, and your mind and soul will be filled with the awe, majesty and wonder that is YHVH!

     

Mosheh’s experience of YHVH’s Glory on Mt Horev

4:3.    1In describing the second theophany – the second time God reveals God’s Glory to Mosheh, God says, 2“I shall make My Glory and all My goodness pass before you, . . . . but you cannot see My face, for a person may not see Me and live. . . .  Then as My Glory passes by, I will [. . . . ] shield you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen. . . .’ And YHVH descended in a cloud and stood there with him. . . .”

           3The cloud is always representative in Hebrew literature as being a sign of God’s Presence, the Shekhinah; the cloud is not the Divine Presence itself. 4It seems that when heaven touches our world, something resembling cloud or white smoke appears.

           5However, this whole episode indicates something more – something more stunning and inconceivable. 6The language used in the Hebrew, seemingly gives God a ‘face’ and a ‘back’, even a ‘hand’. 7Other religions use this as an argument to show that God has a human incarnation, and ufologists use it to claim that God was an alien in a spaceship! 8Believe me I tell you, the reality was something even greater, and truly mind-blowing!

           9If we want to understand what all this truly was, and fully get to grips with the awesome enormity of what these verses are trying to tell us, then first of all, we have to stick with the core premise of Yahwism: 10YHVH has no physical form; therefore this cannot be representative of God in any physical shape or form – it has to be something else. 11Secondly, since the Hebrew language had a very limited vocabulary in those days, we have to entertain the possibility that something happened which broke all bounds of experience, for which Moses had neither the words nor the language to describe, nor the pre-existing concept to relate it to.

           12Those who know me, know my love of all things science-fiction. 13Now, before I started my obsession with reading, writing, and more importantly in this regard, watchingscience fiction, I myself would not have had the words, the language or even any comparable concept, to describe what I now believe took place. 14If I am right in what I think happened, then anyone on earth 3,400 years ago, just would not have understood what they were seeing, and God would have had no way of explaining to Mosheh, in terms he could comprehend, exactly what he was going to experience.

           15So, in the language of science-fiction, ‘God opened up an interface in space/time between two dimensional realities.’ 16Or in modern religious language, ‘God opened a window between heaven and earth, so that some of God’s Glory could shine through.’

           17In order to grant his request and show God’s Glory to Moses, God would have had to show him the dazzling, brilliant, blinding light of God’s fiery Presence in heaven. 18But this can only be seen in heaven. 19So God opened a window (a portal or interface) between this world and heaven – two distinctively separate realms or dimensions – so that this light could be seen.

           20But why can’t the full radiance of God’s Glory be seen on earth – in our reality? 21Earlier, God tells Moses to say to the Israelites, “If I were to go in your midst even for one moment, I would destroy you.” 22This was not the threat of a wrathful God; it was merely a statement of fact of what would actually happen. 23If the Glory of God’s Presence were to enter this earthly reality at full strength, none of us would survive; that’s a statement of fact, not a threat.

           24This interface would appear round and flat – like an enormous disc. 25Round, because that is the natural shape the interface between two realities would theoretically take – consider the shape that forms when two bubbles touch each other; it is the same principle.

           26If you were to look at its ‘face’ (or more precisely, its front), this interface or doorway would look like the Sun, but far brighter. 27If you were to look at its back, it would look like someone had placed a round cut-out of the blue sky over the sun, so that all you would see would be the beaming rays of the sun around it, with a plain, sky-blue disc in the middle.

           28If Moses had been able to look directly at every detail of what was happening, he would at first have seen a cloud; then, a hole of brilliant light would have appeared in the midst of that cloud, and all the while the very air itself would have trembled and rumbled. 29This hole of light would gradually get bigger and bigger, and then stabilise once it had reached a certain size. 30This seemingly flat disc of light would then have passed before him (so that at a certain moment, he would only have seen the thin, vertical side-edge of it).

           31Once the giant disc had passed by, its ‘face’ would then be turned away from Moses, and he would be able to see its (less harmful) back. This would appear like a ring or corona of brilliant, beaming light against the blue sky. 32Because Moses was seeing a window into heaven, he would, at the same time, experience a glimmer of the infinite goodness of God (represented by what he heard God say as the interface was passing by, describing the innate and essential attributes of YHVH).

           33The interface or disc of light was not YHVH; it was not God in any physical form or human incarnation; nor was it an alien spacecraft. 34It was a doorway, an opening between our world and heaven, granting Mosheh’s wish, and allowing him to glimpse the brilliant and dazzling light of God’s Glory.

           35My dearest brothers and sisters, speak God’s Name in prayer, ‘YHVH! YHVH!’ and let your soul experience the Glory of God yourselves! 36Feel your life-force and your very soul tremble in awe as, in your mind’s eye, you imagine you are seeing what Mosheh himself saw in those moments. 37Imagine in your heart of hearts the full impact of YHVH, the compassionate and gracious God, who is slow to anger, and who abounds in merciful love and eternal faithfulness! 38By the infinite power of God’s holiness and Glory, YHVH is able to forgive iniquity, transgression and sin, and extend God’s powerful love through thousands and thousands of generations!

           39The doorway opened 3,400 years ago, and yet its power can still be felt, echoing through the ages! 40May the knowledge of YHVH’s Glory one day cover the whole earth, as the waters over the seas!

     

4:4. 1It seems to me that the early Jewish followers of Yeshua` were very much of the mind that our heavenly lives should be reflected in how we live our lives on earth. 2For example, in The Teaching of the Emissaries, it says, ‘For if you are going to hold in common immortal things in the world to come, how much more so should you hold in common the things of this world!’ 3The followers of the Emissaries believed that in heaven, there was no such thing as personal wealth or belongings; 4therefore, in this life, they were bidden to share what they had as a reflection of life in heaven.

           5In this life, there are many conventions that we take for granted. What we never stop to think about is the purpose of those conventions. 6What we have on earth is just that – for our life on earth. They exist to guide us, protect us, and enable us to have a strong foundation and framework to work within, given the nature of earthly life and earthly human nature. 7We just never stop to consider whether they exist in heaven as well.

              8In heaven, there is no male or female, and the nature of our human bonds of connection to one another does not exist either. 9We are no longer husband and wife, parent and child, friend or caregiver. In heaven, we are more than that. 10In heaven, we are no longer defined by our human relationships, but by the love that we have for one another. 11In heaven, we are heavenly beings who have no gender – just as God and the angels have no gender. In heaven, there is no male or female.

              12In heaven, you will once again see those whom you loved on earth, and you will live forever with them. 13You will love each other with a love greater than you had for those people on earth, and it will be a love that is perfect, without guilt or fear, full of trust and acceptance. 14There will be no judgment in that love, nor any lack of understanding of each other’s needs, nor any fear or hurt or sorrow – no ups and downs, no suspicion, no mistrust; only love. 15In heaven, you will have perfect knowledge of those you love – of their past, their deeds, what they have said and done – and you will still love them, because all the imperfect things of the past are gone, and all that remains is the love you have for one another.

              16In this life, so much is bound to our social identities – whether we are male or female, our sexuality, our social position, who we are related to, our wealth or lack of it, our ethnic origin, and so on. 17Some earthly relationships, and the attitudes that stem from them, are healthy. 18If those social conventions and attitudes bring us peace, love and compassion for others, then they are good. 19But if those social conventions, walls and beliefs bring us hate, and encourage us to oppress others, deny them justice and the right to pursue happiness, then we have to question our attitudes to those social conventions, because such negative attitudes are not from God.

              20It is important for us to meditate on what you once were when you existed solely in spirit before you came to earth, and what you will be again one day in heaven, and how that should inform your behaviour towards others in this life here and now. 21If in heaven you are neither male nor female, if the social nature of the bonds you have in this life are not carried over into heaven – if you are purely heavenly beings who have a great love for one another – 22then how should that inform and modify your behaviour towards one another here on earth?

 

4:5. 1In heaven, there is no romantic love,

only love.

2In heaven, there is no marriage,

or being given in marriage;

3There is no husband or wife,

nor man or woman.

4In heaven there is no parent or child,

no partner or companion.

5There are only heavenly beings who have great love for one another,

just as our heavenly Father has one great love for them all.

 

4:6.    1There are some who think that the sole purpose for us being here on earth is to learn all we can, to better prepare us for the next life. 2But they do not know that when we leave this life and return to God, the knowledge and wisdom we had before we came here will once more be restored to us, 3and part of our reward in heaven will be to be granted access to all the wisdom and knowledge of God and the Universe. 4Instead, while we are here, we are to seek YHVH, go after that knowledge which will help us fulfil our mission in this life, and not fret over what we do not know, for that will be given to us at the proper time.

           5There are others who think the purpose of this life is to prepare for the next. But the purpose of this life, is this life. 6We are here to fulfil God’s kingdom, so that God’s Will shall be done on earth, as it is in heaven. 7Then at the end of all days, the day will come when God’s Glory will cover the earth, and His kingdom be fulfilled.

           8We were told to replenish the earth and make it abundantly fruitful. 9We are like the labourers of a great King, who has sent his labourers into the world to sow his fields, dress his vines, tend his orchards, pasture his sheep, drive his cattle, and water his earth. 10And if we do our job well, we will reap a bountiful harvest.

           11We are therefore the labourers, for we are sent here to feed and clothe the poor, give shelter to the homeless, free the oppressed, and speak justice for those who cannot speak for themselves; 12we are here to care for the abandoned and outcast, support the widow and the fatherless, speak against those who oppress the resident foreigner among us, and find those who have lost their way.

 

4:7. 1YHVH is sovereign over both life and death,

but life and death are not equal.

2There is life before birth,

there is life on earth,

and there is life after death.

 

3Birth and death are only doorways –

transition points between worlds.

Life is eternal,

death is only fleeting.

 

4Death is not the opposite of life;

death is only a doorway.

 

5If one’s faith is focussed permanently on that doorway,

the wholeness of one’s soul will be diminished, 

6and the quality of one’s life in this world

will drain through that doorway;

it will only be a shadow of what it can be.

 

7YHVH is the living God of eternal life.

Life is forever,

eternal,

for all time.

 

8You are an eternal being created by God;

you live forever.

 

9Your soul merely transforms through different states.

 

10Before birth,

you knew YHVH perfectly;

and after death,

you will again know YHVH with the same perfection.

 

11Standing apart from YHVH in this world

will diminish you,

and keep you from your full potential.

 

12No one needs to die for you in order to conquer death,

because YHVH is already Sovereign over both life and death;

13so to claim that someone conquered death

is to claim that someone conquered YHVH,

and YHVH cannot be conquered or overcome.

 

14YHVH is life eternal and everlasting;

through YHVH we have life!

15Know YHVH therefore,

and truly live.

 

4:8. 1For someone who has done their best to live a spiritual life, to be an ambassador for God, seeking God’s Wisdom, and living out God’s principles and goodness, 2then when they come to die, the separation of their soul from their body will be as easy as lifting a swan’s feather from the surface of a body of water; 3even the water will not cling to it.

           4But for someone who is invested in this world, who loves the ways of this world and cares little for the ways of the spirit, 5then when they come to die, separating their soul from their body will be like pulling a cat from a body of tar, 6because the tar will not release them, and they will fight the extrication as fiercely as a cat.

           7The first type of soul will see life as a temporary garment that is divested at death; 8but the second will see life as a worldly possession that is the definition of existence – 9without it their soul becomes lost, and they will struggle to come to terms with the fact that they are no longer alive. 10The first type of soul moves on, the second lingers on the border of life and death, chained to the mortal realm. 11Therefore, blessed be the soul who pursues God’s wisdom, and treasures the spiritual while in this life; 12blessed be the one who reveres YHVH in awe and seeks God’s truth in humility.

 

4:9. 1YHVH is beyond time and space, above every dimension; YHVH is the One, Supreme, encompassing All.

           2YHVH is the alef and the tav; with YHVH, the beginning and the end are one; what was, what is and what will be is known at once by YHVH, 3and in the highest heaven – the highest dimension – all things are known, all things are seen and understood.

           4On this world there is life, and also on other worlds in this realm; furthermore, in other realms there is life, and elsewhere. 5But in every realm, every dimension, YHVH is Sovereign, the Centre who holds everything in order and in change.

           6YHVH is the author of life, of the rules of life, of the order of stars and star-paths, constellations and worlds.

           7YHVH is the melody of the Universe, the eternal Song, the Great Chant. 8To travel through time is to listen to the echo of YHVH’s voice; to travel among the stars is to behold the designs of God; and to ascend through the dimensions is to experience the domain of YHVH’s abode.

           9YHVH is eternal, without beginning or end, without birth or death, without fear or hatred, without pride or lust, without lies or deception. 10YHVH is the just Judge, the One whose judgment can be trusted and admired, without arrogance or condescension, even though YHVH’s Being is far above all beings that exist anywhere in the Universe.

           11YHVH is the Breath of all that lives and has existence, the Breath that dotes and caresses and hovers over everything that YHVH loves.

           12YHVH is the embodiment of Reverence, the Heart of Devotion, the Oneness of All Good. 13To meditate on the highest goodness is to meditate on YHVH; to dwell on the ultimate Perfection is to dwell on what is YHVH.

           14In YHVH is our rest and sanctuary; in YHVH is our Answer and consolation; in YHVH is our guidance and destination; YHVH is our refreshment and our enlightenment.

           15Devotion to YHVH is freedom from anger and lust; devotion to YHVH is liberty from selfishness and greed; devotion to YHVH is a liberation from the illusions of the false values of the world, and from its false promises.

           16Through trial and pain, loss and fall, the Divine Guidance of YHVH is ever there to show us times of happiness and peace, satisfaction and purpose.

           17The One Name is the centre of freedom, to join with the One Name is the destination of the righteous and the penitent. 18The One Name is the final liberation and highest existence.

           19Human truth is not YHVH’s Truth; human truth needs to be excused, explained and justified, but YHVH’s Truth speak for itself, and no one need defend it; for it is so powerful, it burns away falsehood and deception. 20The human being who eschews human deception and embraces Divine Truth shall understand and love with a heavenly love, and all men and women shall see the holiness of Truth in that person.

           21To dispel hatred from the poor is to love YHVH; to remember the forgotten is to love YHVH, and to turn from haughtiness of standing is to love YHVH. 22A servant of YHVH does not cause the poor to become poorer, or cause the unfortunate to slide lower, or cause the needy to become desperate. 23The society in which a true servant of YHVH dwells is all the better for the presence of that servant, for because of that servant’s loyal service, the very Presence of YHVH dwells there, and then indeed shall that society prosper!

 

4:10. 1It is a general Jewish belief that heaven is beyond time and space – that is, all time and space are one in heaven. 2This means that in heaven, all times and places can be experienced by the soul.

           3Now, you may have heard of the ancient Jewish folk belief, that the blessed of Israel and of all the nations will be honoured by being given a place at the wedding feast between Israel and God in the afterlife. 4This will happen at the end of time, and even though we will not be alive (in the earthly sense of the word) at the end of time, 5since all time and space in heaven is one, we will still be present at this metaphorical wedding feast (that is, we will be rewarded by the very best that there is in heaven).

           6Extrapolating from this belief, if it is God’s will to reward the righteous amongst humanity with the very best of all heavenly things, then we will indeed see the veil between heaven and earth torn down, and we will witness the end result of the perfection of humanity. 7And it will be all the more satisfying, because you will have been one of those who worked for it to happen! 8We will not see this with our earthly, mortal eyes, but with our eternal, heavenly senses.

           9You were all sent to earth to play your part in the fulfilment of God’s Kingdom. So do not worry, my brothers and sisters; do not be anxious that you will not be alive to see these great things at the end of time, 10because your reward in heaven – amongst many other things – will be to see all these wonderful events, these wondrous plans of God brought to their fruition! 11Have faith, because you will see these things – all the things you worked for in life!

           12Blessed be the Beautiful Name of YHVH, Worker of Impossible Wonders!

 

4:11. 1Israelite theology possesses a form of mysticism in relation to the ‘Message’ of YHVH – ‘ha-Davar YHVH’. Ha-Davar represents the entire body of teaching, principles and goodness that is identified with YHVH.

           2There isn’t one single English word that can translate this meaning of davar. It’s a combination of ‘message’, ‘revered teaching’, all-encompassing philosophy’, ‘just precepts’, and ‘wise advice’. 3Henceforth, I shall use the word ‘Message’ to represent everything that the Yahwist idea of davar stands for.

           4When the Message of YHVH comes to the prophets, it is not merely a set of words that is given to them, but an entire body of understanding of what YHVH is, as well as the values and principles God stands for. 5As a result, when a prophet is questioned or tested, they can draw on the wellspring of this message and speak further.

           6The Message is everything that YHVH is – God’s holiness, power, purpose, justice, moral law, wisdom and love – the sum total of everything that comes from YHVH and has an active effect on this world; that is ha-Davar, the Message.

           7The Message is so powerful, that it can almost be experienced physically; on Mt Sinai, God’s Glory passes before Moses, and Moses witnesses God’s goodness, love, graciousness, compassion, justice and mercy. 8This was the essence of YHVH which was revealed in the Glory to Moses – this was Ha-Davar, the Message.

           9When the prophets experience the Message for the first time, they are terrified by it, because the full force of its power becomes apparent. 10They are awed by its purifying holiness, and they come to realise that no human word they can produce with their mouths, can even come close to the Divine Message that they have experienced. 11They realise that they can only sublimate their own words to this Message; 12the only response possible when God bestows the Message on your soul, is to follow it with humility and the spirit of service.

           13When you accept the Message as your spiritual foundation, turning against it is like turning against the air that you breathe, the food that you eat, and the water that you drink. 14To reject the Message is to reject life itself and be cut off from it.

           15Ha-Davar is a philosophy – one that is so powerful that it almost achieves a life of its own, a power to change and move the hearts and minds of all human beings. 16However, you cannot separate the Message from YHVH; to do justice to the Hebrew vision of ha-Davar, you cannot turn it into a disparate entity. 17THE MESSAGE IS YHVH, AND YHVH IS THE MESSAGE.

           18Consider this: a woman might teach a human philosophy of life and being. She not only teaches it, she lives it as well. In fact, she lives her message so completely and perfectly, that she becomes her message. 19Now, look at YHVH’s Message. God doesn’t need to become God’s Message; God is the Message already. 20So if you teach YHVH, you are teaching the Message, and if you teach the Message, you are teaching YHVH.

           21The Message of YHVH is so strong and powerful that it is able to effect and change the world; 22through the prophet Isaiah, YHVH says, ‘Just as the rain . . . comes down from the sky, and does not return before having watered the earth, . . . so it is with my Message (davar); . . . it will not return to Me unfulfilled, . . . nor fail to achieve what it was sent out to do.’ 23It has the power to rescue us in times of distress; the power to provide and sustain; and the power to heal, cleanse and restore our souls.

           24A lot of people confuse ‘the Message of YHVH’ with ‘the message of the bible’. They read the words written on a page, but they fail to see the Message. 25The Message (or ethos) of YHVH is the sum total of God’s values, principles, precepts, ethics, morals, as well as the fundamental essence of the nature of YHVH; these things are unchangeable. 26In contrast, the biblical text is the earthly letter by letter, word by word literature that is written on worldly parchment, separate and distinct from the overall and underlying Message, which is far greater.

           27Fundamentalists are unable to make the intellectual distinction between the two. Those whose religion is about belief rather than practice, rely heavily on the literal letters on the page, and ignore the context and underlying meaning of the words. 28For fundamentalists, the word of God is merely the letters on the parchment; for a true Yahwist, the Word (more properly, the Message) of YHVH is the entire sum of what YHVH is and teaches.

           29So in Yahwist thought, the Message is not a separate person or created being; it is not something distinct from YHVH; the Message is YHVH. 30YHVH imparts a portion of that Message to those who show humility to the Message. Our humility and service of that Message enable us to do things out of all proportion to our own, innate abilities. 31If a quiet, unassertive person accepts the Message, and does not change it, he or she is able to achieve far more than his or her own retiring personality will allow. 32And if an outgoing personality resists the temptation to inject the Message with ideas that are alien to it, such a person will avoid the dangers of the sins of pride and ego.

           33In this way, the Message is passed from generation to generation, and God’s Presence is thus able to dwell with each generation. 34The Message guides us in wisdom and understanding – YHVH guides us in wisdom and understanding through this powerful philosophy that God IS, as a positive and active force in our world.

           35A true follower of the Way of YHVH is called to carry forward this Message into the world, planting its seed and allowing it to grow; and allowing it to fundamentally change the world like yeast. 36Become bearers of this Message, therefore; internalise it so that it travels with you wherever you may go; draw from it like a spring of water, and bring forth its treasures as you would from a depository.

           37Become apostles of the Message, without changing it or amending it, and you will see a miracle before your very eyes, as it changes the world around you, not failing to achieve what it was sent out to do.

 

4:12.   1There will come a time when the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Glory of YHVH, as the waters cover the sea. 2This is when the veil between heaven and earth will be torn down, and there will be heaven on earth.

           3We will know that time is near, because our sons and daughters will prophesy, our old men will dream dreams, and our young men will see visions.

           4The prophet Daniel foresaw this day when he said, ‘One like a human being came with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. 5He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language gave him honour and respect. 6His dominion will be an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.’

           7And this was the interpretation of the vision that he gave: The human being represents the holy ones of the Most High – purified, heavenly humanity – who will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever – yes, for ever and ever. 8The sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the holy ones, the people of the Most High. 9His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’

           10Thereafter, when heaven reigns on earth, the wolf shall live with the lamb, and the leopard lie down with the kid – the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. 11The cow and the bear shall graze – their young shall lie down together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. 12The nursing child shall play over the hole of a cobra, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. 13They will not hurt or destroy anywhere on my holy mountain, for the Earth will be full of the knowledge of the Glory of YHVH, just as the waters cover the sea.”

           14In those days, the sun will no longer be our light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on us, for YHVH will be our everlasting light, and the Glory of our God will shine. 15The sun will never set again, and the moon will wane no more; YHVH will be our everlasting light, and our days of sorrow will be no more.

 

4:13. 1We are not to pray in any name but YHVH, nor honour any other name, nor follow after any other name, nor invoke any other name, nor glorify any other name, nor hold any other name holy, because YHVH Himself has said to us,

           2“I am YHVH your God,

           This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

           3YHVH your God alone shall you follow, and Him alone shall you revere.

           4You shall have no other gods before Me.

           5Do not invoke the names of other gods; let them not be heard on your lips.

           6I am YHVH, that is My name; I will not give my glory to another.”

 

4:14. 1A poem written in the style of a vision

           2One night I had a dream, and I dreamed that the archangel Refa’el – the messenger who brings us God’s message of healing – came to me. 3So I asked this angel, “What is the true meaning of the Holy Name?”

           4At that moment, the angel looked up and breathed deeply, as if in ecstasy simply to think of the great majesty of God.

           5Then the angel spread its wings of light, opened out its arms, and said:

           6“YHVH means, ‘the One whom a child-like soul need never fear’;

           7And, ‘the One who shall return to first innocence even the most wretched of souls.’

           8It means, ‘the One who shall comfort you, and remain at your side when all have forsaken you’;

           9And, ‘the One who will pour salve on your wounds with tenderness when the world has bruised and beaten you’;

           10It means, ‘the One who will watch over you, and wipe your brow, each and every moment while you are ill’;

           11And, ‘the One whose sacred and merciful heart shall glow with joy each moment you are well’.

           12It means, ‘the One who will give you strength to endure everything you were meant to endure’;

           13And, ‘the One who will bear you and lift you up in the days when your trials and hardships become too great for your human frailty’;

           14It means, ‘the One who will give you understanding and clarity, when all is confusion and uncertainty’;

           15And, ‘the One who will save and protect you, when your soul wanders from the path.’

           16It means, ‘the One who was present when you first breathed the breath of life’;

           17And, ‘the One who will be there at your last breath, before you return to your heavenly home.

           18For only one name is holy, the only Name worthy of honour and veneration, the One Name that is exalted above all other names – the Name of YHVH. 19And the day will come, when the Name of YHVH will command such trembling awe and reverence, that every knee will be moved to bow, and every tongue will be moved to swear allegiance’.”

 

4:15.   1Many people have asked in earnest, “Why are there so many religions? Would it not be better to have just one?”

           2If there were just one religion, unbelievers could quite justly say, “If there is only one religion, and only this religion says that God exists, then God is a creation of human beings.”

           3God allows many religions to flourish, so that although they differ on many matters, they may all bear witness to the existence of God by agreeing if only on this one thing: that human beings are a creation of God.

 

4:16. 1How many new sects and preachers and false prophets have you heard? There are so many that it is futile to try and count them. Yet most of them seem to say the same thing. 2Each one of them with a stern voice goads their followers into obedience, threatening them with God’s wrath and punishment.

           3Then how shall our words be different? How shall our teachings be set apart and be called holy?

           4Our heavenly Father knows how to call His children; God knows how His followers are to be recognised, as the prophet Z’kharyah told us,

           5‘And again the word of YHVH came to Z’kharyah: “This is what YHVH of the battalions of Heaven says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another; do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the foreigner or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other.’ ”

           6Do not think evil against one another. Rather, think and hope good towards your neighbour, especially when they have done you no wrong. 7A true child of their Father in heaven is one who acts justly and with mercy; one who does not oppress others, but rather raises them up and encourages them.

           8God is our King, our Sovereign Majesty, and these are the ways of His kingdom. These are the hallmarks of God’s citizens, and by these signs God’s true followers are to be recognised.

 

4:17. 1On the day when our Ya`aqov was first attacked by the captain of the Temple police, the captain was inciting the crowd against him. 2He argued and cursed Ya`aqov, as they stood at the top of the steps to one of the Huldah tunnel’s exits.

           3But before anything further happened, an angel intervened and stopped time; then it took them both in spirit to a high mountain.

           4And the angel spoke to both of them together, and said, ‘You are both at a place where two roads cross, where two futures are possible. Each one of you has two choices.’

           5At that moment, the angel showed them a vision of great kingdoms and mighty empires. 6Then the angel again took up his words, and said, ‘The first choice is to become the founder of a new religion, one which will command the following of many millions. 7Your teaching will receive the loyal allegiance of kings and Emperors, and be spread far and wide by great writers and orators. 8Many peoples and nations will fall before it, and the new religion that you found will wield enormous power across the whole earth, greater than anything since the beginning of the world. 9And your name will be remembered and praised throughout the generations as great.’

           10Then the angel took them back to Jerusalem, and stood them both on the pinnacle of the Temple. 11However, when they looked around them, they saw that the Temple, its courts and the whole city was in flames. 12Soot filled the sky, and the midday sun was blotted out with belching smoke. 13The trumpets of war sounded, and the cries of the dying filled the air.

           14At this, our Ya`aqov cried out, ‘My lord, what can be done to stop this from coming to pass?’

           15And the angel said to both of them, ‘These events cannot be stopped, because the sickness of the city is too far advanced. 16However, this tribulation can be delayed. Every day from this moment on, you will be taken up in spirit to pray in the Holy of Holies, there in the Sanctuary of the Temple. 17You will present the sins of the people in the very presence of God, and you will pray for the forgiveness of the many sins that pile up against them. 18And the Holy One will hear your prayers, and will forgive. Your prayers will bring about the forgiveness of many sins, and will delay the time of this tribulation.

           19‘However, there will be no glory for you, no power and no fame. Your name will be forgotten, and most of humanity will not care what you have done. 20But your prayers will save the lives of many thousands, and many more will live because of your sacrifice.’

           21The captain of the Temple police spoke up and said, ‘Listen fellow, and tell me this: If one of us chooses one fate, will it be closed off to the other?’

           22And the angel replied and said, ‘No. You can both choose the same future, or you can make different choices. 23However, if you both together choose the same path of prayer for the city and people of Jerusalem, I can promise on behalf of the Sovereign of all, that the time of exile will be swift, and the future deaths of many millions will be avoided before the return of the people to the Land.

           24At once, Ya`aqov said, ‘If I can save even one life, I choose the path of prayer.’

           25But the captain of the Temple police took up the words of the Book of Ecclesiastes and said, 26‘Vain! Vain! All is in vain! One generation goes, and another comes.  A twisted thing cannot be made straight. 27The tears of the oppressed fall, and there is none to comfort them. God is in heaven, and we are on earth; therefore our words should be few. 28When a man is given riches and power by God, God allows a man to take his allotted portion and enjoy them. 29I therefore take the first choice; if this tribulation must be, then there is nothing that can be done for this pitiful people; after all, I was not born a Jew. 30When the tribulation comes to the Jewish people, I intend to be long gone from here!’

           31With that, the angel sent their spirits back to their bodies, to the same point from which it took them. 32Seeing that they had both been returned to the world and the march of time, the captain seized our Ya`aqov, and threw him down the steps of the Huldah exit. 33He gazed upon him in cold satisfaction, and seeing him bleeding, his left leg broken, he left him for dead.

           34Thereafter, the captain travelled far and wide to seek the followers and fame he was promised. 35However, from that day until the day of his death, at a certain time of the day, Ya`aqov would kneel in prayer and fall into a trance. 36In spirit he would enter the Holy of Holies, and he would pray for the forgiveness of the people’s sins; God heard his prayer, and forgave.

 

4:18. 1To what shall I compare the merciful?

           2It is like the king whose kingdom is renowned throughout the whole earth, to whom nations bring tribute, and whose citizens dwell in safety and without anxiety.

           3To what shall I compare the unmerciful?

           4It is like the landowner whose inner chamber is dread, and the soil of his land is like burning coals upon which visitors fear to tread.

           5To what shall I compare the forgiving?

           6It is like a labourer who goes out into the field, and finds his harvest more bountiful than anything he had even sown.

           7To what shall I compare the unforgiving?

           8It is like a house that no carpenter will repair, and in the fullness of days, that house will crumble and fall, and desolate will become the earth on which it stood.

           9To what shall I compare the honest?

           10It is like the widow who dwells securely in her own house, who does not fear for her next meal, and who lives in contentment, for she owes no debt.

           11To what shall I compare the dishonest?

           12It is like the porter who carries his burden on his back from dawn to dusk, knowing that tomorrow he will have to bear his load once more.

           13To what shall I compare the humble?

           14It is like the wise scribe whose pen never wearies, and whose teaching brings fame and honour to his house.

           15To what shall I compare the haughty?

           16It is like the tower built in sand that collapses in the merest breeze.

           17To what shall I compare the selfless?

           18It is like the blameless priest who enters the Presence of God day after day, and enjoys God’s favour.

           19To what shall I compare the selfish?

           20It is like the rich man who pours silver and gold into his coffers day and night, yet when he comes to do his accounts, finds his coffers dark and empty.

           21To what shall I compare the generous?

           22It is like the land that never wants for rain, whose harvests are full, whose vats flow ceaselessly with new wine, and whose olive-presses are rich with virgin oil.

           23To what shall I compare the greedy?

           24It is like a land that knows only war, whose fields are ravaged day and night, whose people know only pestilence and grief.

           25To what shall I compare the just?

           26It is like the woman whose every prayer is answered, whose every case in law is vindicated, and whose children shall never be orphaned.

           27To what shall I compare the unjust?

           28It is like a man who sows seed in the desert or in parched ground, knowing that nothing will ever come of his labour.

 

           29Do all those good things that your Father in heaven requires of you, and I tell you this, you shall see the kingdom of God fulfilled in your own lifetime. 30Every promise given to generations past will be fulfilled, and every hope held by our ancestors will come to pass.

 

4:19.   1Those who create peace will be blest by God, because they are truly children of their Father in Heaven;

           2Those who clothe and feed the poor who have nothing, will be blessed by God, because they follow the true heart of His commandments;

           3Those who practise their religion with humility and compassion will be blest by God, because they reflect the light of their Father in heaven;

           4Those who walk with God even in their darkest hour will be blest by God, because they reflect the hope they have in God their Father and Saviour;

           5Those who forgive others who have sinned against them will be blest by God, because they have stored up for themselves true treasure in heaven;

           6Those who are unselfish in their giving will be blest by God, because they will come to see the fullness of God’s kingdom;

           7Those who act justly and deal fairly will be blest by God, because they have laid the foundations for His kingdom;

           8Those who speak honestly and with love will be blest by God, because wealth and prosperity will follow in their wake;

           9And those who strive earnestly to pour out good things from their heart will be blest by God, because they will have an abundance of plenty at their heavenly Father’s throne.

 

4:20. 1What is heaven like?

How shall I portray it to you?

2It is a like a house in a dark corner of the city,

A dwelling that even the poor pass by.

And in it is a window,

A hole of little account.

3And a man looks through it,

To see what he shall see.

4And he,

seeking nothing but a dusty hovel where he can lay his head –

even if only the dankness of a small dwelling –

5Will see instead a great valley,

And a city full of light;

And around it a great garden,

A stunning paradise;

6A place where none are afraid,

Where Wisdom dwells throughout.

Here the angels sing,

And the children of God give praise.

7But the man in disbelief turns away,

Back to the dim light of the day,

To the incessant rain,

And the day’s misty pallor,

His hopes unfulfilled.

 

4:21. 1You have heard it said that there is a model of the Mishkan in heaven – that the earthly Mishkan follows the design of the one in heaven. 2But let me tell you this: the Mishkan was in truth itself a model of the universe – of heaven and earth. 3The Holy One designed the Mishkan to teach us what Heaven is like. The design of the Mishkan is not some idle or random whim. 4If we understand its structure, we will understand how God acts in heaven and on earth, and the nature of how God forgives.

           5The fire of the altar represents for us the fire of God’s Glory. Just as an offering is wholly consumed by the fire of the altar, so our bodies would be wholly consumed by God’s radiant Glory if it were to enter this world. 6By repentance however, our souls are carried into God’s purifying presence, and we are cleansed by God’s fiery Glory and made whole.

           7We immerse ourselves in a miqveh to prepare ourselves to encounter what is divine. 8By passing through a miqveh, we leave this earth and all human things, and proceed through the upper waters, passing through the firmament and into the heavenly abodes.

           9The design of the camp of Israel in the wilderness, during the time of her youth, was a model to teach us about heaven and about God. 10In the outer camp were the ordinary Israelites. Moving towards the centre, in increasing degrees of holiness, were the Levites, then the priests, and then we would have come to the Mishkan. 11At the centre was the Holy of Holies, where only the High Priest may enter, and within, the Ark of the Covenant.

           12This is how it is in heaven. In the heavenly camp are first the battalions, the souls of all humanity before and after they dwell on earth; 13as we move in light towards the centre, we encounter the angels, who give God praise; then we encounter the seraphim; and then we encounter the highest heaven, wherein stands the throne of the Most High. 14This place is only-God, and only the four angels of the Presence are able to enter.

           15Therefore, when our forebears prepared themselves to go to the Temple, God intended them to be mindful of all these things. 16When they immersed, they passed through the veil between heaven and earth; when they walked through Jerusalem, and the dwellings of their fellow Israelites, they were passing the heavenly battalions of human souls; 17when they passed the court of the Levites, they passed the domain of the angels; when the sons of Aaron entered the court of the priests, they entered the domain of the seraphim; 18and on the Day of the Atonements, when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, it was like the four angels of the Presence – which includes the guardian of the nation of Israel – who alone can enter the highest heaven; 19and as the ark stands in the midst of the Holy of Holies, so the great brilliance of God’s Glory stands like a great throne in the highest heaven.

           20What we were given on earth through Torah, was meant to teach us something of heaven. That is why we had these things.

 

4:22. 1If the sons and daughters of Israel pass on the knowledge and wisdom of our ancestors to our children, and our children’s children, then there will come a time when the Assembly of Israel will speak as one, with the wisdom of age, as if with the knowledge of one single being who is 3,500 years old.

           2But more than this: if the sons and daughters of Israel also follow the ways of YHVH, and walk with holiness in God’s ways, then she will also become a Dwelling Tent for the Presence of God. 3As a tent of cloth was a Dwelling for God’s Presence within Israel, so Israel will become a Dwelling Tent for God’s Presence among the nations.

 

4:23. 1There are some who say, ‘I need to know what is to come.’ 2Like pagans who visit astrologers and mediums, they search through prophecy in an attempt to learn all the things that will happen in the future in order to understand them. 3As a result, when understanding does not come, they grow frustrated and anxious.

           4This is because they do not approach prophecy in the spirit in which it was given. 5If you follow God’s ways, and set your heart on a righteous path, then you do not need to know the events of the future. 6All you need to console yourself, is to know that your reward is great in heaven.

           7The only people who need to know what will happen in the future, are those who have set themselves on the wrongful path, and have set themselves apart from God’s ways. 8They are the ones who need to know what will happen, because they need to know the terrible consequences of their unrighteousness in order to repent of it. 9For if they do repent, then what has been prophesied will not come to pass.

 

4:24. 1There is not one single man

           for whom God has not set

           a purpose,

nor one single woman for whom God

           has not allotted a place

           in God’s design.

2For each son is born as the child

           of his Father in heaven,

And each daughter is born as the

           offspring of the

           Divine Presence.

 

The mystical basis of the Israelite calendar

4:25.     1How amazing it is, when we become aware of the two-fold nature of the Israelite calendar, the days and the weekly Sabbath-cycle on the one hand, and then the lunar and agricultural cycle of the year on the other. 2The latter represents the heavenly realm, as it is dependent on God; whereas the days and the Sabbaths symbolise the earthly realm, as they are an integral part of human life. 3What links the two is the Sabbath; Shabbat is the portal between heaven and earth in the scheme of the times and seasons.

 

4:26. 1Those who kill in the Name of God, these ones can never be forgiven. 2They have committed the most terrible blasphemy against the holiness of God. 3If they die, never having repented of their abominations, then they will be cast out into the Outer Darkness, and they will suffer all the sufferings they have perpetrated against God’s children. 4If they try to approach the heavenly Glory, its purifying flame will consume them, and their souls will be no more. 5Warn these people then, those who are tempted to embark on this sin, that the judgment for their soul is eternal oblivion, for no evil can approach the Glory of God’s Presence and survive.

           6But if they repent on hearing these warnings, and turn aside from the abominations they have committed; 7and if they make amends for their sins by working tirelessly to the end of their days on earth amongst the people they have wronged, then judgment on them may be diminished, according to their works, 8and they will be able to approach the Glory of God’s holy Presence without being wholly burnt and consumed; 9and they will be permitted to sit at the foot of God’s table, at God’s left hand.

 

4:27. 1If you kill us,

you will not kill God’s Message of hope and peace within us.

2If you wipe us out,

you will not bring about the fall of God’s Kingdom.

3If you murder us,

you will be sending us straight into the Presence of our God in heaven.

4If you slay us,

You will be fighting against YHVH – yes, YHVH!

5And if you slaughter us,

and do not turn from your wicked and abominable ways,

there will be no paradise for your soul,

only eternal oblivion

– and there is no return or redemption from that!

6Repent therefore,

turn back from your chosen path of destruction,

and the teachings of eternal death;

7and instead, serve the peoples you once terrorised

– serve them without question or complaint

for the rest of your mortal days.

8And then, maybe then,

you might store up enough goodness

to survive the fire of YHVH’s Glory

at the time of YHVH’s coming,

when you are called to judgment.

           9A call to terrorists who murder innocents in God’s Name to turn from their ways.

 

4:28.   1Our prayers rise up as incense,

our supplications as flames from a torch;

2The wicked offer burnt sacrifices and blood,

the arrogant slaughter bulls and rams.

3But the servants of YHVH have their just deeds,

the children of the Most High their holy thoughts.

4The savour of their incense rises to God’s throne;

the smoke of prayer reaches the Glory of YHVH.

5An empty heart will say, ‘Blood has cleansed me!”

the heart of sin will cry, “Death has saved me and blotted out my iniquity!”

 

6Yet only a penitent heart can approach YHVH’s throne –

the humble spirit which is cleansed in God’s holiness.

7The wicked and the hateful wash themselves in blood,

the haughty proclaim their vanities from the rooftops;

8But the blood-drenched walk away only like a tanner bathed in filth,

and the proud only depart like a swine in mud!

 

9Only the incense of the humble is accepted,

the smoke of the penitent alone is pure.

10Only the incense of the just has the correct proportions,

skilfully made according to the specifications of the holy recipe.

11Blood and death are but blood and death,

but the deeds of the righteous are the purest myrrh!

12The words of the pious are revered,

and the thoughts of the humble in spirit are heard by God.

 

13The mouths of the wicked say, “We alone follow the ways of our God!”

But YHVH sees what lies in their hearts!

14The heart that hates is like one who commits murder,

and the haughty is like one who robs from the poor to give to the rich.

15The heart of one who exalts kings over the might of YHVH is an adulterer,

and he who raises the kingdoms of men over the Kingdom of God is as an idolater.

 

16Those who say, “YHVH alone is my King!”

shall see their King.

17And those who say, “YHVH is coming!”

shall indeed see the coming of YHVH,

as YHVH breaks through the clouds in Glory.

 

4:29. 1Those among the Nations who love YHVH, and who love their brother Israel, these God will bless, and they shall have peace among themselves. 2But those who say they love YHVH, and yet hate their brother Israel, and curse him, these shall not know peace. 3Behold, they shall have anger and dissent among their lands and tribes, and they will be at war with themselves. 4Those who love conflict will themselves endure the trauma of the very conflict they love; and those who invent hatreds against God’s people will be riven by the very same hatreds among themselves. 5But if they repent, and declare peace with Israel, YHVH’s firstborn, then God shall pour out God’s Glory upon them, and they shall know true peace.

           6YHVH has made a covenant among all nations, a universal covenant, which is for all time. 7And YHVH has made an eternal covenant with Israel, that they might be a dominion of priests for YHVH, and a holy nation. 8And those among the nations who join themselves to YHVH, they will be like Levites to the Nations, as Israel is a nation of priests. 9YHVH will dwell in the heart of Israel, and from there God will send out God’s Glory to those among the Nations who exalt in YHVH’s Name.

 

4:30.   1Those nations who wish to follow the God of Israel, and the laws of Moses, let them be called `am nilveh, and chaveir le-yisrael – associated people, and companions of Israel. 2Let Israel be as priests to the Nations, and `amim nilvim as Levites to the Nations, standing between Israel and the Nations.

           3But what is to become of them over the generations? Is their fate to be that of the Kuzarim, or that of the Chimyarim? 4The Kuzarim joined themselves to YHVH’s people, and became one with them; therefore God will preserve them forever. But the Chimyarim were no more, when they fell to Aksum. 5The nilvim who stand apart from God’s people will be like the grass that arises on stony ground, for they rise up, and when the summer heat has passed, they too fade away. 6But the nilvim who join themselves to God’s people Israel, they shall root themselves in fertile soil, and they shall flourish like the olive tree, the fig and the vine.

           7Therefore, so that they might not fade away over time but rather prosper, let the children of the third generation born to them – if the males be circumcised in the Covenant – let them enter the assembly of YHVH, becoming ben `am Yisrael, and be counted as those who are native-born. 8Let them join whichever tribe they have allied themselves to, except for the tribe of Leivi, who should remain forever holy to YHVH, who alone are seed descended from Leivi ben Ya`aqov.

Scroll Five: How ‘The Exhortations’ came to be written

5:1. 1Let the human frailties of my own words not obscure the Message which YHVH has given me to deliver. 2If my rendering of God’s Message into human speech fails to convey God’s meaning, then let the righteousness of God’s Way inherent in human hearts enable you to discern what is of God, apart from what is from my own human weakness.

           3Sometimes, the Message is given to God’s servants not in human language, but in emotions and images, 4and it is therefore the burden of those servants to render that Message into imperfect human speech. 5Sometime God’s Message comes in dreams; sometimes it comes in images in times of intense prayer and meditation. 6Then one puts a pen in one’s hand and writes what comes, without a thought to what one is writing. 7Then one prays in humility, to be able to discern what is genuinely from God, and cut out what is from the frailty of the human heart.

           8It is not the place of God’s servants to be served and revered, nor to be celebrated and immortalised, 9but rather to serve the only One worthy of being revered and served. 10For any servant who demands to be served and revered, who claims perfecthood, and who sets themselves up for high honour and remembrance, is not worthy of being called a servant of the Living God.

 

5:2. 1What follows in the next ten passages, is an explanation of what drove me with such power to collect together the fourteen books of The Exhortations – 2the Message that refused to leave me, and would not give up until I had set down in human words what was driving me relentlessly forward – 3though many times I tried to abandon it, and pleaded with God many times to pass it on and choose someone else.

           4I assure you that this is not a narcissistic or egocentric exercise; I thought for a long time whether to even include these things here, 5so I need to say that this is not about me, but what motivated me and ultimately led to the compiling of The Exhortations – the collection of books which you now hold in your hands. 6I am not asking or requiring of anyone to believe that these things happened to me; 7I am merely asking you, in deepest humility, to understand that this is why I have done what I have done, and why I will continue to do what I do until my last breath.

 

5:3.    1These are the very first words that YHVH spoke to me when I was called. This was many, many years before I had converted to the Way. 2YHVH spoke and called to me saying, “Listen!”

           3At this voice, I sat up on my bed, and I saw a dim light before me on my wall. 4I thought it was a street-light shining through the window, so I waved my hand in front of it to see where it was coming from, but no shadow from my hand appeared over the light. 5So I wondered what this light could possibly be. Again a voice called to me and said, “Listen!”

           6At that point, I remembered a story of the prophet Samuel from my childhood, so I replied, “Speak Lord, I’m listening.”

           7And the voice said, “Restore My Kingdom!”

           8I had no idea what this meant – at that time, I wasn’t even sure what ‘the Kingdom of God’ actually was. 9Then the voice said, “Restore My Name!”

           10At these words, I was given a vision of religion in the future. 11I was shown how religion would come to be seen by humanity as the Way of the angry, the hateful and the violent – something to be despised, rejected and abandoned by all good and decent people. 12I also felt God’s sorrow and sadness, but I didn’t know what to do, or how to respond. 13I was also in some disbelief, for the place of religion in society was, at that time, reasonably secure.

           14Lastly, the voice said, “Restore My People!” Again, I had no idea what this meant. 15So, I regret to say, I did nothing; I ignored the voice, but I stored up the words in my heart.

 

5:4. 1Some years later, I awoke from sleep, and again God called to me. 2This was still several years before I had left my old religion, to embark upon my new path. 3I had as yet not understood what the first message was about, nor what I was supposed to have done about it, for I had not yet taken any action in response to the first commission.

           4As soon as I awoke, I sat up, and a voice within me said, “This is the kingdom of God!” The voice was as clear as someone standing next to me, speaking into my right ear.

           5It was then that I was given a complete understanding of what ‘the kingdom of God’ was, as if someone had just dropped the thought fully-formed and developed into my head. 6I understood that it was not a place, nor something that would arrive only at the end of all time, but that it was already within us, and gave to us a path of light along which we could walk and grow towards God. 7I understood then that the kingdom of God was within us, and all around us. 8I was happy and glad, because now I knew that we did not have to hunger and wait for God’s kingdom to arrive in the far distant future, because God and His kingdom were already with us!

           9It was also at this time that I was given another vision of what religion was going to be like in the future. 10It was a vision of feelings and images, not words. 11I saw the old religious ideas swept away, along with the false gods of intolerance, fear and fundamentalism. 12But then I saw philosophies of the future without any kind of God at all, because the Deity had become so identified in people’s minds with hatred and violence, with death and destruction, with conflict and religious fanaticism, that they had abandoned all ideas of God as being destructive and backward. 13Religion had emptied itself of any kind of understanding of the human spirit, and had become an ugly vehicle of spiritual sickness and guilt-oppression. 14People would therefore come to believe one day, that by declaring themselves free of all belief in God, they would be freeing themselves of these burdens and troubles as well.

           15It was then that I sensed an intense loneliness, the excruciating pain of rejection, as if of a mother spurned and spat upon by her children, or of a father stripped of all honour and respect, or of someone abandoned by their friends to rot in the gutter. 16I was crushed by such an intense heartache and sorrow, such deep grief and mourning, that it was becoming difficult to breathe – to the point I felt ill. 17I sensed that I was feeling God’s overwhelming anxiety at being forgotten in the future – that God was utterly heartbroken and in tremendous grief. 18At that point in time, I could not comprehend how religion could possibly become so embroiled in hatred, death and violence in the future, so I asked God, “Is this truly what will happen?”

           19And a Voice replied, “This is indeed what will happen, if nothing changes. 20Tell people that I do not oppress; it is only mortal beings who know how to oppress, hate and destroy. 21Tell them that religion is not its rules; it’s all about love.”

           22It was then that I recalled what God had said to me so many years earlier: “Restore My Name”. 23And at that moment, I was given to understand my calling: to make God – the real God – better known. 24My mission was to change people’s concept of what religion was all about, and to spread a better understanding of God’s kingdom, playing my small part in God’s long plan towards its fulfilment.

 

5:5.    1A short while later, I had a vision while I slept. 2I dreamt I was in a strange, foreign land, where the earth was bare; everywhere the land was covered in white, marble slabs. 3There were no mountains, and no hills, and the sky was grey, with a high, burning Sun above.

           4In the middle of the area where I was standing, I saw a giant funeral bier, covered with a white cloth, but there was nothing else on it. 5It was so big that at first, I thought a giant must have been buried in it. 6But then I gained the sense that there was nothing inside of it either – it was empty and barren; not even the spirit of God was inside it. 7At the far end of the bier stood a bearded man in a black robe. 8His voice was quiet, but he still managed to speak with fury and violence. 9His arms were outstretched, calling for utter obedience to him, and unquestioning reverence for his word.

           10Suddenly I became aware of people wandering around aimlessly, carrying on their backs a heavy, black book. 11They looked burdened of heart and spirit, and I understood that the book contained this man’s writings. 12It seemed to me that they were willing slaves to this book.

           13However, some of the people were unhappy, and tried to take the book off their backs. But the man would not permit them to do so. 14He would call them things like, “Fools!” and “Unworthy!” and “Unbelievers!”

           15At that, the willing slaves of the book turned to those who were trying to escape from the book, and tried to kill them.

           16I was horrified by what I saw; I had never seen or heard of such a thing before, so I crawled to the opposite side of the bier – which had shrunk to the dimensions of a normal-sized bier, and I sat down. 17The cloth covering the bier began turning a jet-black colour. 18At that, I thought to lift up the now completely black cloth, and I discovered another book, this time with a white cover. It was just lying there, as if someone had forgotten it, and dropped it when they left. 19I opened up the book, but I found the pages blank. 20I closed the book and held it to my chest; I was struck by how warm, comforting and reassuring it was.

           21Suddenly I heard angry shouting, so I turned and saw the man hurrying towards me, his arms flailing wildly. “No! You mustn’t read that book! Give it to me!”

           22So I opened the white book once more, and out of nowhere I found a golden pen in my hand. 23A voice within me said, “Write!” And so I wrote. 24The ink was of pure light, and I wrote with an amazing speed. 25While I wrote, I was surrounded by a fresh and invigorating breeze. 26Once I had finished, I lifted the book up, and held it open so that the man could see what had been written.

           27A horrified look fell across his face. The book shone with a blinding light, and the man screamed, “No! No, they’ll all know what I’ve done!”

           28The man shrank away, all the time calling for the willing slaves of the black book to kill me, but they did not listen. 29Instead they shook the black book off their backs, and the people of the barren land were freed of their burden.

           30Then I was taken to a high mountain, and I saw the plains and deserts below. 31A voice said to me, “Take your rod, and strike the land.” 32So I struck the land, and nothing happened; the land was still a barren and empty desert.

           33After what seemed like an age and an eternity, the voice said, “Now stretch out your rod, and sweep it from one end of the horizon to the other.” 34I did as the voice had commanded me, and when I had finished there was a gentle breeze. 35Suddenly, I saw thousands of people approaching the mountain, and tens of thousands, and hundreds of thousands.

           36That was my dream, which I had twice – once a night for two consecutive nights; that is why I took note of it. 37But for a long while I had no clear idea of its meaning. 38The dream seemed to suggest that I would eventually write a book, but I found this impossible to believe – I had never been able to write anything of any length in my life. 39At school, I had difficulty writing stories and composing essays, and could never put more than a few, incoherent paragraphs together. 40I would later discover this was because of my Asperger’s Syndrome. 41Therefore, you will understand that I was skeptical, and had great difficulty believing that I would one day write a book.

           42(a dream I had in 1984; I’m not sure anymore who the black-robed figure was, or what the black book on people’s backs was supposed to be. Let readers discern for themselves who the man was, and what the black book was).

 

5:6. 1In March 1987, I had gotten tonsillitis very bad; I became very ill indeed, and had to be admitted into St Bart’s hospital in London to have my tonsils taken out. 2The operation was performed, and I was sent home. 3The next day I began bleeding profusely from the site of the operation, and was rushed back into hospital. I was pumped full of drugs to try to stop the bleeding.

           4On the 12th of March, as I lay in the hospital bed, I began worrying. 5By this time I had left Christianity – emotionally, intellectually and socially; but didn’t know where to go, or whom to turn to, or what to believe. 6I hadn’t prayed for some while either – I didn’t know how to pray anymore, or who to pray to. 7It was then that I had a kind of ‘conversion experience’.

           8The god I had previously been taught from childhood, got smaller and smaller and more distant; 9if you can imagine one of those cartoon characters, who at first seems big and imposing, but then has shrinking potion thrown over him, and then gets smaller and smaller, and his voice gets tinier and squeakier, and he eventually runs off into the distance – that was how it all seemed with the god I had been taught, growing smaller until it eventually ran off and left me.

           10I felt in my heart, God, why in my moment of need would you abandon me?

           11At that moment, it was like a voice spoke and said to me, “I haven’t gone away; I have always been with you. I am YHVH, your God and the God of your ancestors; I love you, and I would never leave you.”

           12At that moment my soul, in a sense, looked up – I raised my spiritual eyes, and was aghast at the hugeness and infinite vastness of God; God had been so gigantic, that I just hadn’t been able to ‘see’ Him before. 13And I remember lying in my hospital bed in total awe, utterly overwhelmed, and I kept repeating, “My God, how great Thou art! My God, how great Thou art!” 14From that moment on, I have followed YHVH alone, as the centre of my universe.

 

5:7. 1Some years later, I was sitting alone in my prayer-room, and I was reading, the better to understand the meaning of God’s kingdom (because its various aspects had not yet become clear to me). 2I was also trying to understand better the role that Yeshua`, as a prophet of God, played in its fulfilment; for his image was still at that time far too bright to allow me to see clearly.

           3That night I fell asleep. And in my dream, I was filled as if with new life; and I heard a voice calling me, saying, “Shmuel! Shmuel!”

           4I replied and said, “Speak O YHVH; your servant is listening.” Then the voice said, “Now do you understand?”

           5And I replied, “Yes, O YHVH, I do understand.” From that moment on, I realised that my long search for an understanding of the past had come to an end, and the path of my life was clearly laid before me.

           6I also had my new name – Shmuel; this is how I was given my Hebrew name by God.

 

5:8.    1For many a long year – since my early childhood – I had waited enthusiastically for the coming of the next century. 2But on the day of the most terrible catastrophe in New York – the one, single event that was to change the whole course of the coming decades – I had the crushing sense within me that the coming century would be a century of war and death, right to its very end. 3The violence and death which God had warned me about so many years earlier was upon us; what God had shown me about the perversion of religion, was now coming to pass.

           4As I then pondered the 21st century, I was suddenly filled with a sense of dread and foreboding, when before – since childhood – I had been so full of expectant hope for the potential and possibilities for the human race after the year 2000. 5I had the sense that this would be the birth pangs of the end of the present age. 6Innocence and optimism would wane, and the era of despair and dystopias would now arise. 7I felt sorry that I had not listened, or done anything about what I had been told to do. 8But then I thought, what could I possibly have done?

 

5:9.    1Many, many years before all of this, when I was still a very young man in my late teens, one day I prayed to God and asked, “Will I ever find love?”

           2And that night I had a dream. I dreamed that God answered me and said, “My precious child, it is not your lot or your mission to find love; your human soul was not sent to earth to gain mortal affection. 3Your soul will always be alone on this earth. You were born with no soulmate, and you will die with no soulmate.”

           4For many years, I considered this a harsh and unjust ruling from God – I asked myself, why would a loving, compassionate and merciful God do this to me? 5I refused to accept this, and I tried all means possible to find love. 6Defiantly I rebelled, I went my own way, and I pleased myself, but to no avail.

           7Then after many years of desperate loneliness, having tried everything humanly possible – and after all my other spiritual experiences – I came to the conclusion that if something is not God’s will, then if God has determined that something shall or shall not be, it is not humanly possible to change it. 8I felt that God was being authoritarian and unkind, so for a while I left God. 9In hindsight, I now know that God had not left me (I had not as yet had my ‘conversion experience’), and would never leave me. 10I later learned that happiness comes from working with God’s will, not against it.

           11Having left religion at the age of 23, I still felt a need for a good and righteous code of life, so I turned to the Humanists. 12However, the fire of their vitriol against religious people was so hateful, bitter and spiteful that I decided this was not for me – I am not that kind of person; I don’t have that in my heart, so after about a year I turned back to searching for spiritual answers. 13Thus I returned to God.

           14After many more years had passed – and after several episodes of very severe depression – I decided to confront God for what I considered to be wrong and unjust. 14I cried out, “Why would you do this to me? Knowing that I will never experience love is too painful for me to bear!”

           15And in a dream God answered me and said, “I have done these things, because unfortunately they were the only way I could make you understand My power; I needed you to know beyond all doubt that I am real, and not a mere figment of your human imagination; that what I say is true, and comes to pass. 16Has not everything I have told you thus far come about? 17Yet take comfort – I have always been here to compensate you for what you can never have; I love you dearly, and I will not send you away empty-handed. 18Name it, and I will give it all to you.”

           19So in my dream I said, “I want to know You and understand You. I’d like to have all my questions answered.”

           20Then God said to me, “Because you did not ask Me for riches or fame, or for power or a long life, or for vengeance upon those who have brought you suffering, I will make you rich in knowledge. 21I will give you an understanding of My teaching and My Message, and I will give you an insight into My teaching – what I have said, I will do. 22I will grant you the blessing of possessing knowledge that has been lost since ancient times, an awareness that has been silenced from of old. 23What has not been known since long ago, I will teach you; I will give you an understanding of My precepts and My principles, and I will give you the gift to explain My Message simply to others. 24As long as you claim no honour, status or authority for yourself, all this is yours.”

           25And I thanked God and gave praise, and made my promise not to claim any knowledge or wisdom as my own. 26I repented of all my sins and offences, I turned my back on my flawed and disobedient past, and devoted my heart and soul completely to God. That was my dream.

           27Now, I had at first thought that God’s words in my dream might have been simply a reflection of what my subconscious had remembered of God’s words to King Solomon in the Book of Kings, but then what God has promised to do, God has actually fulfilled in my life. 28This is how I know that God is real – because God has taught me wondrous things, such things that I could never have imagined knowing! 29My learning process since then has been a steady series of serendipitous accidents – a string of unlikely and sudden realisations, that did not come from simply reading everything in books; it was always as if someone had suddenly downloaded a whole load of data into my head in an instant.

           30Some of you reading all this may think that God’s way of doing things was unusually cruel and authoritarian – to condemn me to live a life without any loving relationships. Indeed, I had often thought to myself, what had I done to deserve this?31However, the way I have come to look at it is this: maybe God needed to do something so drastic, that at the end of it all, I could not possibly be left with any shred of doubt of God’s existence. 32Maybe it was also to test me, to see if I would remain faithful, despite my trials; it turned out that my trials actually brought me back to God.

           33If God had done something positive and wondrous, it would have been rationalised by my logical mind – that such a thing would have happened anyway; anything I subsequently learned would have had no value. 34Perhaps something needed to happen that is just not humanly possible – to live a life without ever experiencing a loving relationship; something negative and improbable that God actually told me would happen. 35The words were awful and terrible to hear, but in hindsight, I think that it was the only way all my spiritual doubts could have been removed. 36Perhaps it was important enough that this was the only way it could happen. 37I truly have no bitterness or resentment about it; I don’t blame God.

           38Some may ask, why would I wish to serve (or even love) someone who could do that to me? 39I think I understand why it was done – it wasn’t done out of some despotic cruelty; there was no malice or ‘stern parent’ feeling there, ever. 40And besides, I have always felt surrounded by a great deal of incomparable love from God, even in my times of loneliness, and even when I turned my back on God; it was like someone hugging me tightly and not being able to bear letting me go, in case I might fall. 41And I have been rewarded with knowledge and a great wealth of answers – exactly as God promised. 42I’m at peace now – with my life and with God.

           43I have no scientific or rational explanation for any of this, or proof that God exists; I have no answers in that regard. 44All I know is that the way God loves me now is far beyond all human love, and what God has given me is way beyond all the gifts that any human being is able to give. 45Though I might disappoint God at times with my actions, I know that God will never disappoint me.

 

5:10. 1One day I was sitting alone in my home, and I realised that I would need to be able to understand and empathise with the feelings of others, if I were ever to stand any hope of reaching out to others, because having Asperger’s Syndrome prevents me from doing so. 2I therefore prayed earnestly to God to be able to experience the feelings of others – to be able to have empathy.

           3At that point a huge tidal wave of emotions crashed against me – as if a tsunami had struck me. 4It felt as if I were suddenly feeling the emotions and pain of every human being who had ever lived. 5I also felt God’s anguish at the genocides of history, all around the world – I saw the faces of many different peoples – that they were the greatest pain of all, and the most terrible sins ever to have taken place in all of human history. I felt the agony even of peoples whose names and very existence were now expunged from all human record, because there was no one left alive to remember them. 6It very soon became too much to bear, and I screamed out in crushing pain for God to stop.

           7Suddenly it all stopped, and I passed out. When I awoke, I was shaking and covered in sweat. From that day I have been able to empathise with the feelings and needs of others.

           8Since then, this has become the fifth motivation for all that I have done in the pursuit of my ministry, after the three commissions that God gave me, and the terrible awareness of how Religion will fail and diminish in the future. 9It has become the fifth impulse, driving me to do whatever I can in my teaching to lessen the suffering that religion will cause in the future. 10Most of what I saw in those moments has now evaporated from my consciousness, but bits and pieces still come back to haunt me from to time, and I cry for the past suffering and misery that I saw, the suffering that human beings have caused to one another. 11Even now, I cannot even watch violence or death portrayed on television – I have to turn away, because it is too much, and because I have seen the real thing in what God showed me.

           12If all humanity could experience this, they would not do the terrible things that they do to each other; and they would not impose the heavy religious burdens and suffering that they impose on each other.

5:11. 1The systematic murder of twelve million people, including six million Jews, was the most traumatic instance of genocide in living memory. 2Modern theologians often talk of ‘post-Holocaust theology’. 3It caused spiritually-minded people to ask, how could God allow such a terribly evil thing to happen? It forced many people of faith to re-examine their spiritual points of reference.

           4Some people, who are of the mind-set that ‘all misfortune is punishment for sin’, come to the conclusion that we, the Jewish people, must have collectively done something wrong to deserve it. 5I personally find this way of thinking unjust, as well as offensive to the memory of those who were murdered.

           6In October 2004, I visited the sprawling complex of Holocaust Museums and monuments near Jerusalem, known as Yad va-Shem. 7I had always avoided it on previous visits to Israel, because I knew that it would be a very upsetting, emotional experience for me.

           8The main memorial in the complex, is the building which contains the eternal flame to the 6 million dead, with the names of the concentration camps placed in geographical relation to each other. 9As I was walking into the building, it did not immediately hit me that this was the main memorial – the one place I knew would upset me the most. 10Once inside, it was a profound shock to realise, ‘This was it’. 11I just collapsed onto my knees, and broke down in floods of tears. I just could not control the feeling of grief – it was so overwhelming. 12In the midst of my tears, I asked God in my mind, “My God, my God, why did You abandon us? We called out to You, ‘Deliver us!’ and You did not hear us. You did nothing! Where were You when we needed You most?”

           13And God actually answered me in that very moment in an audible voice, and said to me, 14“My beloved children, I did not abandon you. 15Would a mother desert her children when they cry out in bitter agony, day and night? Would a father not come to the aid of his children who cry out to be saved? 16I was frantic and beside Myself – I desperately went among the nations and I called out to them, saying, ‘I am Yahveh, God of Israel. My children are suffering terrible affliction – will you help them?’ 17And the answer from the leaders of those nations came back to Me: ‘No; what Germany does to its own citizens is an internal matter. We will not help.’

           18“Then, in anguished panic I went to the politicians of the nations, and I spoke to them, saying, ‘Listen, I am the God of the Congregation of Jacob; my children are being persecuted beyond endurance – will you not help them?’ 19And the answer came back to Me: ‘No, we should not interfere in the affairs of others. We will not help.’

           20“Then I went to the peoples of the nations of the earth, and I screamed out to them and said, ‘The Jews are being slaughtered in their millions! I’m begging you, please, please, please, will you not help My children?’ 21And the reply came back to Me: ‘Such a thing cannot be happening. Besides, it’s not our problem. No, we will not help.’

           22“I did not abandon you, My children; humanity did”.

 

5:12.   1I don’t ask anyone to accept the validity of any of my spiritual experiences, nor do I offer them as proof of anything, or back up my arguments by relating these visions to anyone; I can accept that others might think I have simply been hallucinating or imagining things, and that none of it actually happened. 2But I’m not seeking fame or wealth for myself; I have no desire to have control, authority or power over others. 3I am an obedient and faithful servant of God, and it is enough for me to do the will of YHVH, my Master. I am but a dutiful servant of YHVH, and I do my Master’s bidding – whenever God commands, and in whatever place God wishes it to be done. 4The Holy One knows I speak the truth, because if I set out to deceive or defraud, I am lost for the remainder of my days.

           5I have given up a stable life, the prospects of a steady career, a home to call my own; I have given up the prospects of a relationship, and the hope of ever falling in love, because I have found the pearl of great price, and I have given up everything to possess it. 6I have found the treasure hidden in the field, and I long to share that treasure with others.

           7I have no academic degrees. I did not study at any prestigious college or university. I have not learned at the feet of any great teacher or professor. I have no doctorates or letters to put after my name. I am no rabbi or scholar; no human being taught me what I know of the spirit. 8Any knowledge and wisdom I possess comes from YHVH; everything I know is what YHVH has placed within me.

           9I have since learned that YHVH chooses ordinary people, and by the power of God’s Presence and Glory, enables those ordinary people to do extraordinary things. 10For many years I rejected my calling, and refused to go along with it – many times I begged God to please choose someone else. 11But I now believe that God chose me – a shy and withdrawn, mentally broken, disabled man, with no family, children or learning – to show that the Message which comes from my mouth and my pen is not from me, but from God.

           12Eloquent, charismatic and unscrupulous people enter religion because they are able to convince others to part with hundreds of thousands, even millions. 13God has made it clear to me from the very start, that if I choose to follow YHVH, I myself will never be rich or wealthy, or have a comfortable life.

           14It’s all for YHVH. Everything I say and do is for YHVH. None of it is for me.

           15YHVH is my life, my eternal Friend, the only One who has defended my cause, the Perfect One who can always be trusted, who has been loyal and constant, unchanging in devotion. 16YHVH is my Rock of Stability, my reliable Truth, my Refuge of Peace, my wise Counsellor, my Safe Path, and my righteous Judge who will never judge me unjustly or unfairly. 17YHVH is my bread, my living water, and my ever-flowing river of life. 18YHVH will not fail me or disappoint me – how can I then turn from You, my Friend?

 

Scroll Six: Oracles gleaned by a Mitnabbei from the Davar YHVH

6:1.    1I immerse myself, I prepare my body and soul, and I enter into the Presence of YHVH. 2I swim in the Davar of YHVH, and whilst I am in that sea, I feel as if I can understand and see everything. 3Indeed, this is what every human being now on earth once knew themselves, before God sent them to earth, but once here, has forgotten. 4It is knowledge that any human being can regain, if they are willing to abandon themselves completely to the Presence and Mind of YHVH.

           5Every time that I journey there, I very much want to bring all that knowledge back with me, but my mortal, human frame cannot contain it. 6So I return each time with what little I can carry with me, before it is lost. 7It is like going up into the sky and bringing back a piece of a cloud, and then trying to describe that cloud before it evaporates.

           8Therefore, my brothers and sisters, when you make this same journey in the spirit, carry back with you what YHVH gives you to bear, and do not resent that you were not given even greater treasure than that to transport. 9You are not a raider, plundering a hoard of hidden gold, 10but rather a humble seeker coming into the Presence of your gracious Sovereign, who knows our needs, and who gives to His children exactly what they need for that day.

 

YHVH is not like pagan gods – God is not a tyrant

6:2.    1This is what YHVH says to God’s children on earth: ‘You are already Mine, and I loved you from the first. 2You don’t need to bribe Me, or suffer for Me, or endure hardship for Me, in order to deserve My love, for I already love you. 3The gods of the Greeks and Romans cannot love their followers without the shedding of blood; those lifeless gods ask for blood and for life to be given and taken. 4But I am YHVH; I am a living God, and I am able to love all My children without one drop of blood being spilled, nor any price paid, nor have anyone suffer on My children’s behalf.

           5The children of false gods grovel before them, but you are My sons and daughters, and you shall have honour and dignity, and hold your heads level with all your fellow human beings. 6False gods have slaves, but I am YHVH, and I have no slaves, nor do I ask for any; all my sons and daughters are free.

           7False gods are tyrants and demand obedience without question, but I am YHVH, and I am a just and compassionate God, full of forgiveness and abounding in mercy that endures from generation to generation. 8I know that My children are not perfect, and I understand them, the earthly fruit of My first creation.

           9False gods call down wrath upon those who do not follow them, for they are but the produce of angry human minds; they are weak. 10But I am YHVH, and My power is incorrupt, and My might eternal. 11The strength of My power rests over those who love Me to protect them. 12I cannot be bowed or turned, for I love even those who oppose me; My love extends even to those who hear nothing that I say.

           13Human beings are offended when others speak against Me; they seem to bear the affront on My behalf. 14But I am YHVH, and I have endured generation upon generation, and I am still here, unweakened, undeterred, unbowed.

           15What is an insult from a human mouth? What is a slight to Me in the eternity of time? 16If someone stamps their foot on the ground and insults the earth, does not the earth still endure? If a human being hurls abuse at the universe, does it not continue, oblivious to the slight? 17Then do you not think that I will endure for longer? The servants of false gods bear affronts on their behalf; they will go out of fashion and fall away, 18but I am YHVH, and I will go on forever. 19False gods are false, but I am YHVH.’

 

For healing, in regard to the Holocaust

6:3. 1’Go to My children, Israel, and say,

2”Cry no more My people,

Weep no longer, My children,

3For the many who were put to death

           are with Me now as lights in

           the firmament,

They are beside Me as the stars in

           the heavens,

4They live, they are not gone;

They walk in light, they are not

           dead.

5Move beyond your grief, for I have

           healed you,

Let your pain be no more, for I have

           comforted you.

6Rejoice, for they are clothed in

           white;

They are bathed in the fullness of

           My Glory.

7I have given them honour and

           dignity,” says YHVH,

“I have crowned them with the Way

           of Chaff,

And lifted them above even the

           seraphim, for My Name’s sake.

8They stand in praise by my throne,

And sing throughout all eternity in

           joy,

9’Holier than the holiest holiness is

           YHVH of the heavenly

           battalions;

Heaven and earth are full of Your

           Glory.’

10Be comforted and know that I

           remember them forever,

So that you are freed once more to

           remember Me.”

11An oracle of consolation.

 

On YHVH’s love for all God’s children, regardless of their religion

6:4.    1’Go to my sons and daughters and say to them,

2”Do you know how so very special

           you are to Me?

How precious in My sight?

3You are my own, beautiful children,

The offspring of My own heart.

4How can I not love you?

How can I not care for the infant I

           have borne?

5Who knew when I created you,

When I first filled you with My

           breath,

6that I would end up being so proud

           of you,

that My joy would be filled to

           overflowing?

7What mortal could have told Me,

Or what human could report,

8That I would gain so much out of

           holding you,

someone as small and precious as

           you

9Close to my heart,

And near to My breast?

10There are no human words to

           express how much I love you,

Nor any songster’s lyrics to express

           My devotion.

11I could never be away from you even               for a moment,

Nor stray from your side for the

           length of a sigh,

12because My heart would ache too

           much to be apart from you;

My Presence would be diminished.

 

13My beautiful child,

how I love to look into your precious

           eyes,

to gaze into your soul,

14and see the goodness and purity

           that I created there,

the treasure I placed there before

           you were even born.

15My child, whatever you have done, I have forgiven you;

wherever you have been, it

           matters not;

I forgave you long ago.

           I have absolved you of blame.

16It matters only that you are close

           to My heart;

My precious child, that you are

           with Me.

17You have only to breathe, and

           I love you;

You have only to open your eyes,

           and I am proud of you.

18I accept you absolutely, and

           without condition.

My love for you is total, and

           without any terms.

19I love you simply because

           you are My child;

that is the only truth I need

           to give My love to you.

20You need never be afraid of the world,

           Nor fear the deeds of mortals,

because I will always be here

           to catch you if you should fall.

21If you are sad or hurt, I will

           comfort you;

and if you stray and become lost,

then I will search high and low

           until I find you,

And I will bring you back to safety.

 

22You need never be afraid,

Because I will come to you, and pick you up.

23I will raise you up high, and carry you proudly.

Because you are my special child, and I love you always, and forever.”

           24An oracle of loving consolation to God’s children on earth; delivered to a Christian gathering in February 2006.

 

6:5. 1To the oppressed, this is what YHVH says: 2’Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I am your God – let nothing terrify you. 3I will give you strength and help you; I will protect you and save you.’’

 

6:6. 1To those who face great trials, this is what YHVH says: 2’Do not be afraid, for I will rescue you. 3I have called you by your name – you are Mine.’

 

6:7. 1To those who fear what is to come, this is what YHVH says: 2’I am your God, and I will walk with you. 3I will share your every step until your hair is grey, and the last breath leaves your lips. 4I made you, and I will be by your side forever.’

 

6:8. 1To the friendless, this is what YHVH says: 2’I am your Eternal Friend, whose love is constant, who will never fail you or abandon you. 3I will always be on your side, to support you and console you. 4I will delight in your interests, and I will be pleased in your happiness. 5When you are hurt, I will be there to listen. 6When you are in distress, I will do all in My power to help you find a way out. 7Be just and merciful always, and then in all times of trial I will call you innocent.’

 

6:9. 1An oracle of consolation for those struck by natural disasters:

2“My mercy is with those

           who show mercy,”

           says YHVH,

“And My compassion is with those

           who show compassion.

3Come earthquake, fire and flood,

I am not in the storm, or the wind,

           or the raging waters.

4There are those who say My voice is

           in the anger of the storm,

But they hear what is not there;

They hear only the angry bitterness

           of their own hearts.

 

5My voice is gentle,

           and my strength a salvation;

I am in the voices of those

           who come out to rescue

           the afflicted,

and who save those battered

           by earthquake and flood;

I am in the hands that build shelter

           for those who have

           lost their homes;

6I am to be found in the food

           that is given freely,

handed out to those who have lost

           their fields and soil –

to those deprived of the means

           to buy or grow food;

I am in the gifts that are given

           to rebuild and sustain;

7And in what is renewed

           and re‑formed,

           there am I.

 

8When you were lost, was I

           in the despair that

           crushed you?

Or in the stones

           that broke your bones?

9Where do you seek Me?

           In what do you see My signs?

10How do you hear My voice?

           And when are the signs

           of My presence

           to be discerned?

 

11Do not condemn those

           I have not punished,

Nor speak harshly of those

           I have not judged.

 

12I am not with those

           who wag their tongues

           to find fault,

Nor with those who seek out the sins

           of those who suffer.

 

13I am with those who show

           lovingkindness,

and in the voices of those

           who comfort,

and in the hands of those

           who give aid.”

14An oracle for the ears of those who heap judgement upon those crushed by natural disaster.

 

6:10. 1An oracle of consolation for those stressed and anxious about life:

2“When you were afraid,

Was I in the darkness that surrounded you?

3Or when you were burdened with sadness,

Was I the millstone that weighed you down?

4And when your creditors encircled you,

Was it I who persecuted you?

 

5Rather, it was I who found you!

It was I who consoled you, and gave you hope.

6It was I who shared your burdens and lifted them;

And it was I who forgave your debts and saved you.”

7To those tempted to see God in the wrong things.

 

6:11.     1”Write these words, and record them.”

2So I said to my Sovereign the Most High,

“To whom shall I address them?”

3And YHVH said,

“Those to whom I speak,

They will know from My words that I am speaking to them;

They will know in their hearts that My message is intended for them.”

4So I said,

“I am ready, heavenly Father,

Tell me what I am to write.”

 

5And this is what YHVH said:

“My beloved, My children,

Do not listen to the peddlers of hatred,

Pay no heed to those who speak with loathing against you.

6When they tell you that you are wicked,

And that your nature is set against My Face –

7Those who tell you that I will cast you into the outer darkness,

And blot out the memory of your name –

8Such people tell untruths about Me,

And have created a false image of Me;

9They have defamed the reputation of My Name,

And cast My Name as evil.

10For they curse those whom I have not cursed,

and denounce those whom I have not denounced.

11If I have blessed someone,

My blessing will remain forever;

and if I have created someone,

they will remain My creation for all time.

 

12So I tell you, listen instead to what I Myself declare to you this day,

Take heart over what I have to reveal to you this hour.

13I was joyful the day I created you,

I was full of delight the day I conceived you –

As if I had made you on a potter’s wheel,

And stood back to admire My work.

14I crafted you for a purpose,

I fashioned you for a reason.

15You were to be a benefit to the families of all nations,

A blessing to the clans of all your peoples.

16I formed you and made you Mine forever,

I brought you forth and sent you into the world.

 

17For as long as the sun and the moon endure,

You shall be.

For as long as the stars remain in the heavens,

I will set your kind into every generation.

18I will do this,

For I have promised it;

19No declaration of hatred will prevent it,

And no mortal can stand against what I have planned.

20That which I have decreed,

What human being can declare it void?

 

21I made a solemn declaration when I created you,

A decree I will not break.

22You are My design; I have not made a mistake;

You are not an error,

23For I planned you carefully from the start.

 

24The sons and daughters of hatred do not know what I planned in My royal court;

the Wicked were not privy to My pronouncements.

25Were they there when I drew up My plans?

Were they at My side when I formulated My designs?

26Were they there at the beginning, to peer into the mind of God?

Were they there at the creation of the heavens, the stars and the planets to hear My thoughts?

27Such hateful people neither know Me, nor even seek Me;

they do not even know where I am.

 

28Behold – have I created children so wondrous,

only to throw you into a pit of misery?

29Did I breathe into you a living soul,

only to assign you a life of despair?

30Take comfort in My bountiful love,

And find solace in My merciful compassion.

31For even if human beings revile you,

And mortals side with evil to condemn you,

32Remember that you are Mine;

I, and I alone made you,

and I love you without end.

33Do not be afraid;

I am YHVH,

And I, YHVH, have said this.

 

34Do not say, ‘I am only a dry tree,

I will never produce fruit.’

35For if you do what pleases Me,

And walk a righteous path –

36If you observe My Sabbaths,

And do what is good and just towards all,

You will have an eternal monument, an everlasting memorial.

37Make My Name great among the nations,

And My abiding love known throughout the world,

38And even though most of you will not have children,

Nor pass your name on to the generations to come,

39I will cause you to be remembered for your works.

40If you do what is just, and good, and honourable,

Then your names will be remembered forever;

You will not be forgotten.

41Long after those who have many descendants are gone,

After they have vanished from the face of the earth,

42You will be celebrated for as long as the seas crash upon the shore,

And the sun gives its light.

 

43You would not be able to endure the miseries that wicked people heap upon you,

If I were not with you;

44You would not be able to survive the torment of the hurt inflicted upon you,

If I had not prepared My refuge for you,

and given you shelter.

45Do not be afraid,

For the hateful and the wicked will sit in the outer darkness,

Until they have paid the full price of their hatefulness and their iniquity.

46Do not be afraid,

For I am always with you;

It is I who carry you through your times of loneliness,

And I who am your eternal Friend in your days of distress.

 

47Others have the lessons of life handed to them on a platter,

But I have given you the strength to learn the wisdom of life for yourselves.

48You live, in spite of the desire

     of evil people that you die;

You find happiness, in spite of their

     attempts to cast you into despair.

49You are My children,

And I am your Teacher.

50Learn from Me,

And behold, I will lift your burden

And comfort you;

You are Mine.

 

51Be still, and know that I am your God,

YHVH who made you.

52I am the God of the outcast and the rejected –

You are sons and daughters of the Most High.

53My wings of mercy shade you,

And My heart of compassion shelters you.

54You are Mine,

And no mouth of evil can change this eternal truth.

 

55Why did I create you?

For what reason did I form you?

I will answer your question,

And respond to your quest.

56You are the administrators of My test for humanity –

A probation they must pass.

57Those who declare to you,

‘You are my family, I will not reject you’,

I will set these people in high honour in My Kingdom.

58But those who cast you out without just cause,

Cast only themselves into the Outer Darkness.

59For a good person brings forth compassion from the storehouse of good in their heart,

But an evil person brings forth hatred from the storehouse of evil in their heart.

60By their words you shall know them,

And by their own words they shall condemn themselves.

 

61When they die, they will come before Me,

and I will judge them with the same judgment they have judged others,

62and I will weigh them in the same balance

in which they have weighed others;

and I will find them wanting.

 

63Very few will know what you have suffered and endured,

But I, YHVH, will know,

for I have been with you through every trial,

and I have borne your anguish through every sorrow.

64I have cried with you,

and I have mourned with you.

65I am your Father and your Mother,

and you are My precious children,

and I will never abandon you;

66for I alone am YHVH,

and I do what no false god can do

 – love you.”

67An oracle of consolation to the most unjustly despised in human society.

 

6:12. 1This is what YHVH says, ‘When you strive for riches, and wealth, and gold for the sake of the welfare of your loved ones, and these things fail to appear in spite of the trials you have suffered, then if you endure I will give you wealth beyond price, which you can take with you when you return to Me in the world to come. 2When you strive for friends, and love, and warmth, and all these things elude you, I will be your greatest Friend, and I will love you and cherish you and value you more perfectly than any human being ever could.’

           3An oracle of consolation for those who cannot obtain what they think they need for happiness.

 

Seeking answers in the right places

6:13.   1‘You will read,

but you will have no understanding.

You will search,

but you will not find.

2Do you find a camel at home in the seas?

Or a whale atop a mountain peak?

3If you seek in the right places,

Then you will find.’

 

YHVH will save those who call on God’s Holy Name

6:14.   1This is what YHVH says,

“Call to Me, call My name, call YHVH,

and I will answer you.

2I will reveal to you great and wondrous things

To you who speak My name.

3I will reveal astounding things,

Things you have not known or understood before,

To you who call My name.

4I will even draw aside the veil,

And let your eyes glimpse of My Glory,

And witness the heart of My kingdom,

To those who say My name.

 

5Therefore, I tell those who hide My name

And conceal it,

and blot it out,

6Do these things and you set a great millstone across My door of light;

You seal the gate of understanding,

And hide My Glory from the world.

 

7Sanctify My name therefore,

Honour it and keep it holy,

And speak it not in anger but in reverence.

8Keep it safe from the mouths of those who speak curses,

And I will give you the keys to My kingdom.”

9An oracle for guidance.

 

God created human beings to be steward of the earth

6:15. 1‘When I formed human beings

like the clay of the earth,

When I breathed into them the

breath of life,

2I appointed them on that day as

stewards,

To watch over the earth which I have

made.

3I made them in my image –

Both man and woman I created in

My likeness.

4So I set them over the birds of the

sky and the beasts

of the field,

And gave them to watch over

the fish of the sea.

5And on that day I spoke to them –

I told them of their reward, saying,

‘Mortal human, if you will

act as a wise overseer,

As a caring husbandman of what

I have made,

6Then I will set cures for your ailments

in the minerals of the earth,

And plants in the soil for

your healing.

7There will be not one sickness

that will be beyond you,

Not one disease that the

earth cannot provide

for healing.

8Only look after what I have

given you –

do not poison it or defile it,

And the plants for your healing

              and wholeness will flourish.

 

9And take care of the beasts I

have given into your care,

Of the animals which I have       

placed under

your stewardship,

10And as a mother tends

and nurtures her child,

As a father protects his offspring,

11So you also, watch over the

forests of the earth,

The hills and the mountains,

The lakes and the great seas,

The valleys and the heights,

12So that your children will prosper,

And your children’s children

will not know hunger,

And their homes be spared

drought and flood.’

 

On the Sabbath

6:16.   1This is what YHVH says,

2“Behold, I have created for you a sanctuary,

I have created a place where you can come to Me.

3I have set a great wall around it,

And I have built up a giant fence to protect it.

4It is a place where you can rest,

A haven where you can refresh your soul.

5This sanctuary will stand forever;

None can ever destroy it.

6Many wicked and evil men have tried to pull it down,

And misguided men have tried to replace it,

7But they have never succeeded,

For it still stands, a monument and a memorial forever.

 

8Dark and cruel are those who attempted to desecrate its walls,

But I – yes, I – have held its foundations firm.

9None can attack it,

And none can assail it;

The sanctuary will stand forever,

Because I have decreed it.

10It is a place where My followers can take refuge,

And seek protection from the storm and tempest.

11What is the name of this sanctuary?

What have I called it?

12I have called its name ‘Shabbat’,

And I have established it firm forever.”

 

13For the monument is the Sabbath,

And the memorial is My Name;

14If you observe My Sabbaths, and do what is pleasing to me,

If you follow My precepts and ordinances,

15Then to those who die without children,

I promise you this:

16You will have a monument and a memorial which can never be destroyed.

17An oracle for inspiration and guidance.

 

Against worshipping false gods and man-made gods

6:17. 1You shall not make alongside Me gods of silver or gold,

Nor shall you fashion for yourselves gods of wood or stone,

Nor of bronze or copper or iron,

2For they are all but the work of human hands.

 

3You shall not set up alongside Me gods of flesh or blood or bone,

For they are but the product of human flesh,

and the fantasy of human minds.

 

4You shall not bow down before any wrought work,

Nor worship flesh or blood,

nor serve any of them,

nor pray to them in their name;

5For I and I alone am YHVH your God;

there is no other name that is holy,

and besides Me there is no other saviour.

           An oracle of guidance.

 

A warning for Followers not to accept Kabbalist teaching or beliefs:

6:18.   1‘What is this you have done,

           O Ephraim?

What foreign custom have you

           taken up, O Judah?

2From whence is this teaching

           you have received?

From which dark pit did you

           dig it up?

3Have you not have received this

           from the sons of pagan gods,

And from the children of deaf wood

           and dumb stone?

4Though you try to adorn

           these deceits in fine words,

And hide them under the

           skirts of My Teaching,

5I can still see

           that their base is rotten,

And that their foundation

           is set in a mire.

 

6Have I divided up my heavens

           into ten chambers?

Have I cleaved the earth into

           twenty-two?

Or have I hung up My Kingdom

           on a tree?

7Is My teaching about how

           to control demons?

Or how to lay curses

           on those you don’t like?

8Are my secrets to be found

           in hidden numbers,

           or in the patterns

           of coded letters?

9Is my salvation assured

           by the words of chants?

Or by a twine of red string?

           Or by the sign

           of a two-thumbed hand?

10No formula of words

           will goad Me to act,

Nor will your enchantments

           force My hand.

11My precious children,

           why do you yearn after

           the customs of deceivers?

Why do you allow yourselves

           to be seduced

           by the words of fraudsters,

           and by things I have not said?

12You are walking into danger –

           You will stumble over a cliff,

while you reject My hand when

           I reach out to catch you.

13But I am YHVH your God,

           who has given you life.

So choose life, which I have created,

           and live.

 

14Do you not see what the holders

           of this tradition hide?

Do you not see how they seek

           to cover up what is untrue?

15What I teach, I call out so all

           can hear.

I give it freely, so that all

           may be filled.

16But these deceivers, they stow

           away their secrets,

Feigning a treasure that will save.

17But instead, they hide only a snare,

A pit of vipers that will bite

           at your heel.

18Though they say this tradition

           was given by mouth,

Received by sages from heaven itself,

The mouth was but the mouth

           of magicians and diviners –

The lips of augurs and soothsayers.

19I have told you,

           do not commit adultery with

           other traditions;

Do not give yourselves over

           to their ways.

20For this tradition will be

           the death of the congregation

           of the Way;

It will be a curse upon you

           and your children –

it will bring only darkness upon you,

           not light.

 

21But My teaching is simple,

It is not complicated,

           and My ways are not hidden.

22You do not have to go seeking

           in dark places to find it,

Or hunt for it in gilded words;

23For anything good

           which they claim to possess,

I have already installed

           in My Teaching;

           it is already there.

24I have set up My truth

           in plain sight;

You have only to ask,

           and I will give it to you.

My understanding is here

           for all who seek it.’

25With regard to Kabbalah, which is a danger to Followers of the Way of YHVH.

 

How insisting on human rules over God’s, keeps Israel from fulfilling her place in God’s plan

6:19.   1Behold, My children, the path

I have allotted you to walk.

2I put out My Message,

And I called you to be a dominion of priests,

A holy nation for My Name’s sake.

3I spoke to you and commanded you

           this edict:

To be a light to the nations.

4Then I called out to the nations,

So that through their love for Me

They would come to

           My holy mountain,

And listen to the word I had

           for them.

5For I promised that learning

           and blessings would

           descend from Zion,

And race outward to the nations.

6My plan was for knowledge

           and good fortune

           to spread outwards

           from Jerusalem,

And lift up the peoples of the earth.

7My plan was for them to learn

           that I was their Creator,

Their Father who made them,

Their Mother who bore them –

That I was the potter who

           fashioned them all

           like the red clay of the earth.

 

8I devised My plan,

And I spoke this wonder to the universe,

9And the heavenly council heard it;

All eternity attended to what I said:

10That you were to be a people

           to minister to the nations,

To be My priests who would

           speak My Message to them.

11It was My design for them

           to know you and respect you,

To come to you in order to know

           and love Me.

12They were to see your light,

And come to Me,

So that My justice could

           extend throughout

           all the earth,

And My merciful compassion

           reach all peoples.

 

13But you, My people, have

           turned your faces from My plan;

You have abandoned the Way

           I set before you.

14You have hidden your light,

And secreted it behind a fence.

15My testament you have

           cut off from the nations,

You have hidden My justice

           from the peoples.

16You have built a wall around

           a fence that has cut you off,

The light that would protect

           you from your enemies.

17Instead, you have built a prison

           around the Message that

           would have set you free,

You have set a fence about the truth

           that would have kept

           you safe from harm.

18The nations cannot nurture

           the love     I intended them

           to have for you,

For you have put up a wall,

And that wall has brought you

           only suffering and grief.

19If you had listened to the men

           and women I sent to you,

You would not have built

           such a fence,

And the nations would have

           held you in high esteem.

20They would have held you in praise,

           fame and honour,

High above any other nation.

21They would have taken hold

           of the hem of your cloak,

Of the fringes of your garments,

And called out, saying,

22‘Sons and daughters of Israel,

We will go with you,

For we have seen with our own eyes

That God is with you.’

23But the nations did not clamour

           to go with you,

They did not beat down walls

           to follow after you,

24Because you followed after

           your own teachings,

You obeyed your own

           commandments,

25And you built a fence around

           My Message,

So that none could see or hear it;

The nations were not able to see

That I was with you.

 

26Tear down therefore this fence,

Smash the bricks of this prison!

27Then the nations will see your light;

They will come to you and ask

           to see your God –

           Me, YHVH who saves you.

28They will turn to the highest

           of mountains,

And yearn for righteous teaching

           from Jerusalem.

29Let the nations see My light,

And then the nations will honour you

           and respect you.’

30A call to stop giving the Oral Law greater authority than God’s Law.

 

YHVH will take away those gifts that we revere above God

6:20.   1‘If you revere My gifts,

And place all your hopes in

           what I have given you,

And reverence them instead of Me,

Then I will take My gifts away

           from you.

2But if you turn aside from

           revering My gifts,

And return to Me,

And remember that I alone am your Saviour,

And trust in My power to lead and protect you,

3Then I will give you something

           far greater than anything

           I have given you before:

the fullness of My Glory will dwell among you,

And it will not harm you.

4It will cleanse you,

And all will see that I, and I alone,

           am YHVH.

 

5For I gave your ancestors

           the healing serpent,

As a symbol of My power to heal,

6But then they began to worship

           the healing serpent,

As if it were a source

           of healing in itself,

7So I took it away from them.

 

8I gave them the ark of My covenant,

As a symbol of My throne and

           My majesty,

9I gave it as a symbol of hope

           and encouragement,

To lift them up in times of peril,

To remind them that I was

           with them,

That I would go before them

           and protect them;

that My Presence among them

           would protect them.

10But then they defiled the Land,

Thinking the presence of the ark

           itself would guarantee

           their safety,

11So I took it away from them.

 

12And I gave them a king,

Even though it was not My intent.

I promised them the sons of David

           to rule over them,

13And I said,

‘My favour will not depart from them

           As long as they follow

           My ways.’

14But then they raised My anointed

           far over Me,

And in appointing him as

           their saviour,

           they forgot Me.

15Therefore, I acted,

And I took their anointed king away

           from them.

16I will not send them another

           until they acknowledge that I,

           and I alone,

           am their true Saviour

           and their only Sovereign.

 

17I gave them a Temple,

A Sanctuary to house My Name,

18But then they defiled My house.

My servants, the sons of Aaron;

           the chiefs of that holy lineage

           became corrupt.

19Then the Zealous Ones fought

           and shed human blood

           within its walls.

They set up engines of war – there,

           where they had no right to be.

20So I took away the Temple

           and destroyed it.

21But on the day that they find peace,

On the day they resolve their conflicts

           with their neighbours,

22On that day I will instruct them

           to lay the foundation stone,

And I will send the son of

           My servant David

           to rebuild My house.

 

God will not send a messiah until YHVH alone is proclaimed Saviour and Redeemer of Israel

6:21.   1‘Listen to Me, My people:

           you ask Me for an Anointed,

A king to sit over Israel,

2But I will not hear you,

Nor will I give heed to your pleas.

3For you have said that the

           Anointed will save you,

That he will redeem the

           captives from exile.

4But you have been led astray,

for you have given over to a mortal man

The things that I, YHVH,

           have promised to do.

5You have made claims on behalf

           of a son of man,

the powers that I, YHVH, alone possess.

 

6For I alone will save you;

By My solemn oath and mighty deeds

           I will redeem your lost.

7I alone will bring back the exiles, and I alone will make Ephraim

           and Judah one in My hand.

8I will renew My covenant with

           them on that day,

And I will write My words on

           their hearts –

I, not my servant David.

 

9Then, and only then, will I

           instruct my holy ones

           to rebuild My house –

I alone, YHVH of the

           heavenly battalions.

10I alone will choose my Anointed

           from among your sons –

I, YHVH, alone, not your elders

           or sages;

I alone will set him on his throne.

 

11Because if you set up a king

           over Israel –

You, who overrule Me, and

           follow your

           own commandments –

if you set up one whom I have

           not chosen,

then I will pull him down.

12Then your enemies will fall upon you,

For they will see you in disarray.

13Brother will take up arms

           against brother,

Father against son,

14And the nations will see this

           and say,

‘Come, let us fall upon Israel

           in her weakness,

Let us take the Land from under

           her feet.’

 

15But on the day that the

           Pretender falls –

The one you have set up as

           your puppet against Me –

16On that day, if you will acknowledge

           Me alone as your King

           and Saviour;

17On that day you will see that

           until I choose to send

           My anointed,

I, YHVH of the heavenly

           Battalions, alone am your King.

18And I will turn back your enemies on that day,

and I – I alone – will save you.

 

Against calling on a messiah to save us, and what God will do on the day that YHVH is declared Israel’s Saviour

6:22.   1Call on My Name, O Israel,

and you will be saved;

No other name can do this.

2If you call upon other names, there will be no answer;

If you speak to them, there will be no reply.

3But those who call on My Name I will save;

They will be redeemed –

I and I alone will do this.

 

4As long as you call on David’s son to save you,

I will not hear your pleas.

5But on the day the tribes of Ephraim and Judah

declare Me as their King,

When they proclaim Me as their true and only Sovereign,

6I will bring back the lost from Assyria –

from the cities of the Medes I will call them out,

7And I will lead the exiles from all the other places

where I have scattered them.

8On that day I will set the foundations of My Temple,

the place where I have set My Name.

9I will anoint My servant –

one among the sons of David I will choose;

10For the sake of My Name

I will do this.

 

Against those who proclaim an exact date for a day of YHVH

6:23.   1This is what YHVH says:

‘You do not know the time of My coming –

when I come to judge,

or when I come to save or redeem.

2The Day is for Me alone to know –

I alone, and no one else.

3Have you listened in on My inner council?

Are you able to return to earth to reveal it?

Have you listened in on My holy ones,

and come back to recount their words?

 

4If a man comes to you and says,

‘Tomorrow is the end!’

Do not believe them.

5If someone points out a text and proclaims,

‘These are now the last days!’

Do not listen to them.

 

6For I alone know the last days before My judgment,

the hour of My coming –

no one else.

7No prayer can speed My coming,

no faker’s plea can change My mind.

The time of My coming is of My own choosing –

it is not for you to know,’ says YHVH.

8‘The one who ponders on it night and day,

is as one who drinks from a lake with a sieve.

9The one who speculates on it

is as one who sucks bread through a reed;

10One will go thirsty,

and the other will starve.

11I will not quench your thirst to know the future,

nor will I feed your hunger to know the secrets of my inner council.

12For I, YHVH. alone am your bread,

and I alone am your living water.

 

6:24.   1An oracle of consolation for those who wait for God to act:

2“On the day you were born, my breath was taken away

I was stunned when I beheld what I had created.

3I loved what I beheld,

My heart overflowed for the life I held in my hands.

My voice trembled as I promised you my care;

4I shook to give you my proclamation:

‘I will watch over you and care for you,

I will keep you in my caress, not letting you go for an instant.’

5When you took your first steps, I was proud;

As you spoke your first words, I was overjoyed.

6Simple toys I gave you to see your smile,

My spirit breathed on you, to hear your laugh.

I sent you into the world to speak of my love;

I taught you, so that you could speak my wisdom.

7When you fell, I picked you up,

And when you were bruised, I tended to you.

8But as years passed, I saw your wounds multiply,

And your injuries increase.

9My heart grieved to feel your hurt,

I wept bitterly when I saw your woe.

10I held you close when you were alone,

Tightly when you were inconsolable.

11You are mine, a part of My Being –

For what mother will not feel for the fruit of her womb,

And what father will not take action for what has sprung from his seed.

12I have seen the trials you have endured,

The wrongs you have suffered –

13I shall not keep silent when my children cry out to Me,

I will not stand aside when My dear ones are in danger.

14I am coming, My children, I am coming!

Do not despair, I am almost with you;

Fear not, for My light is at hand.

15A little longer, and you will know Me;

A while more, and I will reach for you.

16I will shake the foundations of the rocks,

And leave no wrong unturned.

17Those who crushed you will stand before Me,

And those who persecuted you will stand trial in My presence.

18But I will bathe you as on the day you were born,

I will wash you, until you are as the time I first beheld you,

And my breath was taken away.”

           –    19a consolation of YHVH for all who dwell on earth; for each human being, and for the nation of Israel.

 

A warning to those who seek the destruction of the Jewish people

6:25.     1The nations set out and they say,

‘Let us destroy the seed of Jacob,

and put out his memory from the earth.’

2They will reason among themselves and proclaim,

‘See, they worship their God falsely,

for their religion is dead,

and their mission no more.’

3But this is what YHVH of the Heavenly Battalions says,

‘Come swarms of locusts,

and packs of ravening wolves,

But they will not be able to destroy

   what I have created for My glory,

4Nor wipe out what I have set upon the earth

   as an eternal witness to My Name.

5For My protection is upon the House of Israel,

and My strength over the House of Judah;

6They have survived as a testimony to My power;

they are a witness that what I say is true forever.’

              7An oracle of warning and consolation.

 

6:26. 1An oracle of warning to those who persecute the Assembly of Israel:

2“For those who hate

           and persecute My people,

So shall it be their lot

           to face hatred

           amongst themselves – 

persecution

           from their own kind.

3Those who sought to create

           confusion and fear

           for Yeshurun,

So shall confusion and fear

           be sown among them;

They shall become

           their own worst enemies.

 

4And if the leaders of those peoples

           do not repent of the sin

           of their ancestors,

Then I shall pursue the stain

           of that sin throughout

           every generation,

           until it is no more.

 

5Those who make war against my chosen ones,

Have in reality chosen to do battle against Me.

6Why do you seek the impossible?

Do you know of any mortal who has ever prevailed against Me?

7For if they are holy to Me, and act with justice and equity,

then I will protect Israel,

and I will not let her be expelled or defeated.

 

8I will strengthen ten against a thousand,

and I will fortify a hundred against tens of thousands.

8Indeed, should all the families of the earth turn against Me –

those who hate Me –

then none shall prevail,

for I am holy.

9Yet I am a merciful and compassionate God –

for Ishmael is my son, and Peleset is my daughter

10And I shall not utterly destroy what I have made –

as I have promised,

for the sake of My Name.”

 

6:27. 1An oracle of warning, from the Davar, against the husband of Peleset:

2This is what YHVH says:

“Do not listen to those who only give My people despair;

Pay no heed to those who close off the roots to My salvation.

3For how long will the leaders of My people continue to lead them astray?

How long will blood feed the soil of My Land?

4Therefore, seek peace in the right places before My fire consumes all.

5The wicked and the guilty will be swept away;

Not one stone throughout the Land will be left untouched.

 

6Let not those in Gaza say, ‘Victory is ours!’

And let not those in Jerusalem say, ‘Righteousness is with us!’

7When My breath speaks, it devours evil-doers,

And in flames consumes the desecrators to ash;

8In Gaza and Jerusalem, it will consume!

 

9I will not ignore the cries of My Firstborn, Yeshurun,”

says YHVH,

“But Peleset, My errant child, I will not turn away.

10Her husband abuses her,

‘Violence’ is the name of his house.

11He cries out to his neighbours,

who think him noble,

But under his roof,

his wife Gaza weeps.

 

12In marriage, Peleset has become his captive,

She bends and breaks to his whim.

13But her husband cares nought for her;

He throws their children to the sword,

like broken sticks on a fire;

14He sacrifices his children to the fire –

Something which I have not commanded,

Nor ever conceived.

15But you, O Israel, where have your princes taken you?

You have appointed them as shepherds of your flocks,

16But they have driven those flocks onto poisoned pastures;

They feed on salted ground.

17If you walk into a lion’s den,

Will you not be torn to pieces?

If you stand in front of an angry bull,

Will he not gore you?

18Mud and soot will not make snow –

You must be blameless before Me.

Instead you act recklessly, in spite of what I have done to help you.

19Turn to Me,

and do not let cruelty be the reputation of My Name;

20let peace be My testament to all Nations,

and Justice the inheritance I leave to the peoples of the earth.”

21An oracle for peace, to exhort Yeshurun to blamelessness, and against the wicked husband of Peleset who keeps her captive; at the start of the Gaza conflict of July-August 2014.

 

6:28. 1A Message of YHVH to those who seek to take their own life:

2Do I not mourn the death of those who die by their own hand?

Is not My heart pierced with grief,

as a mother mourns the death of her precious children?

3For I have lost a child I held dear to Me –

A perfect, beautiful child!

 

4Am I not angered by the wicked who drove my child to their death?

My grief burns against them!

5The tormentors will have to come before Me,

and I will judge them with justice.

6And am I not sorrowed

           by the despair that plagues

           My children,

the anguish that drives them to ruin?

 

7But there is no release in it,

My children,

There is no joy –

Over and over and over –

Your pain;

There is no joy in it.

8When you seek joy in death,

you will not find joy but darkness.

You cast yourself into the darkness –

Over and over and over –

until your souls are wearied and exhausted.

9In My tears,

I call out to My precious children in the darkness,

But they do not hear My voice.

 

10And when you finally yearn for release from the darkness,

You will not find it until the day that was assigned to your death –

for the day of your death was written from the beginning.

11Once the darkness has shown you the very things you sought to escape from –

Only then will you find release.

 

12And then, when you have lived through the very things you sought to be spared from,

and have been cleansed of them,

13Only then will you be released to sit at My table,

at My left hand.

 

14The one who falls from a ledge

to grab a rope,

Only has one chance.

If you fall,

I will catch you.

15Your life is mine to protect –

I will catch you,

if you fall.

16I will guide you,

when you are afraid;

I will comfort you,

when you are in pain,

17I will console you,

when you have no consolation.

18You are mine,

I will not abandon you.

 

19I will cleanse you, heal you and bring you home;

for just as the ash is cleared from the altar at the end of the day,

so also I shall gather up the souls

who have spent the flame of their lives on earth.

20But I will not cast you aside;

I will bring you home.

 

21Seek your true home, not the wayside.

For I send you out,

so that you might return –

come back to dwell in My Glory forever,

and sit at my right hand.

 

22Eternal happiness is the great reward of those who had no peace in life;

their recompense is My wisdom and Glory and peace.

23Those who knew only pain in life on earth

shall dwell in eternal bliss in heaven

– by My side,

in My love,

forever.

24An oracle of warning and consolation for those tempted to commit suicide.

 

A warning against allowing oneself to be manipulated by Sociopaths or Narcissists

6:29. 1There will come lords of deception,

who will decry fairness and knowledge;

and they will hold sway over the poor

and the less educated.

2They will say,

“The learned are not to be trusted!

You must not follow the example of sainted folk!

And what has been given to protect you from disease

will in fact do you only harm!”

3These lords will deceive the poor and less educated,

and cause them to believe

that everything which God gave them

for their betterment,

is in fact for their detriment.

4They will make them believe that everything good

is in fact evil;

and that anything that raises them up

will in fact cast them down.

5They will promise to share their wealth with the poor,

but not a crumb will come to them.

 

6These lords of deception do this

to create fools they can control,

to fashion slaves who will obey their deceptions,

and who will eagerly believe every falsehood and fiction they are told,

7so that the lords of deception can create chattel

from whom they can milk meagre taxes and paltry wealth,

until the cow is dry and diseased.

8Then they will throw out those who faithfully slaved for them,

like dead grass that is swept up

and thrown into the fire,

and then forgotten.

9On that day,

those whom they duped will say,

“But we served you loyally,

and we carried out everything

you told us to do!”

10But on that day,

the lords of deception will turn on them

and say,

“We did what we did against you

because we enjoyed seeing your suffering

and your misery;

11your pain paid for our luxuries,

and our riotous living,

and we held our heel against your necks

because we could.”

 

12But you who love YHVH

can protect your poor

by educating them,

and by teaching them the ways of YHVH –

13to love knowledge,

and to value the liberating power

of thinking for oneself,

and not follow the majority when they do wrong.

14You can protect God’s beloved children

by showing them how to recognise

when they are being lied to

and manipulated

by the lords of deception.

 

15Then the ways of YHVH will save them,

and shelter them from the diseased words

of the lords of deception.

16An Oracle against psychopathic plutarchs who seek to manipulate the poor and less educated.

An Oracle I received on Yom Tru`ah in Sept 2020, during my Shabbat petitionary prayers:

6:30.     1My God! My God! How the darkness falls!

     A shadow and deepest gloom crashes over my eyes!

2Behold, the Presence of God is withdrawing from you!

     The Light recedes into God’s heaven!

3Behold, a darkness comes!

     A deathly gloom overspreads the earth!

4The gates of Sheol open,

     and all its spirits of sin are poured forth!

5The innocent and the righteous protest,

     They speak out against the deathly gloom.

6But the minions of darkness will not hear;

     they stop up their ears to the protest;

     they close off their hearing to the Message.

7For them, goodness and compassion are weakness;

     Weakness for them is peace and security.

8For them, strength is anger and war;

     Strength is the arm of the oppressor,

     and crushing the souls of those they hate.

9The rich scheme with them and say,

     ‘Make me rich, so that I can help you!’

10But the gold that flows into their coffers

     is as dead as the salt of the Dead Sea.

11Repent, O Children of Deception!

     Repent, O hearts of darkness and death!

     Repent, O souls of hatred and bile!

12For the Day of YHVH is coming!

     The Day of YHVH’s judgment!

13The innocent will be pulled down with the guilty,

     But many more innocent will survive the Day of Destruction.

14Abaddon will also pass over those who repent;

     Perhaps YHVH will repent of God’s coming!

15If the willing servants of Darkness do not repent,

     and put away their robes of death;

16If they do not clean their hearts of their filth,

     and empty out the garbage of their hatred,

17Then a fire will sweep across the face of the world,

     and terrible will be its burning!

18It will consume all deceit, lies and fakery in its path;

     It will eat up violence and love of violence in its fury.

19Then the fakers will show how little they cared about God;

     How pointless were their flatteries and proclamations –

God cared nothing for them;

     God did not even hear them.

20The Darkness will come, and it will consume its own soldiers –

     the very men and women who longed for its coming!

21If there is no repentance,

     no pleading to the Holy One for forgiveness,

22Then the fire of the Holy One will cast them forth,

     and there will be nothing of them left to be saved.

23The War they longed for will come;

     the Conflict they licked their lips for will happen.

24But it will take them

     in fire and disease, it will take them.

25If the righteous choose good,

     then the wicked, to spite them, will choose evil,

     and it will completely consume them.

26Then they will come before the Holy One,

     the Sovereign of All the Universe,

27Whose Name is Zealous,

     and burns with a consuming passion.

28Then God will ask them,

     “What have you done?

     And how have you lived the life I gave you?”

29And they will answer:

30“I hated those I hated,

     I declared the good weak,

     and the wicked, I proclaimed strong!

31The righteous I oppressed,

     and the lovers of justice I mocked.

32I spat at the compassionate,

     and I threw dung in the faces

     of those who feed the poor,

     and those who clothe the foreigner.

33I cried filth at the alien,

     and called down death

     upon those who would not agree with me.

34I am not sorry for any of what I have done;

     I am proud of all of it!

35I cheered at the suffering of those I hated;

     I exulted in the deaths of the righteous!”

36Then they will step forward in their arrogance,

     to face the fire of God’s Glory,

37And they will be utterly consumed!

38There will be nothing left of them,

     Not even their flecks of white ash.

39Those who believed them will look on,

     aghast at what they have seen.

40They will say, “What have we done!

     We gladly walked into an abyss,

     and we let them convince us to do it!”

41 And then they will say,

42“Can You ever forgive us, O God?

     O how we have sinned!”

43The full weight of their sin will come upon them;

     they will realise the full depth of their depravity.

44“We stood by while the righteous were mocked;

     we said nothing as the just shed their tears.

45We laughed as the legs of the good were broken,

     and we rejoiced when the eyes of the merciful were poked out.

46We stood by the blood of our neighbour,

     and held our haughty silence.

47Those who eagerly followed after the wicked

     will not be acquitted;

48they will come to know the fullness of the pain

     they cheered on.

49Their penalties and fines they will pay in the Pit;

     in Abaddon, they will weep and gnash their teeth.

50Repent therefore, you wicked!

     You men of deception!

51Repent, you willing and eager servants of the wicked

     while you can,

     and perhaps you might survive the Day of YHVH’s Coming!

52Perhaps you may survive,

     to crouch at the foot of God’s table,

     to eat meagre scraps.

53For the righteous you persecuted

     will be clothed by God in Glory,

     and they will sit at God’s right hand.

54The just and the merciful you scoffed at

     will be clothed in light,

     and be seated at the head of God’s table.

55They will dwell forever in light,

56For in spite of the terrors you inflicted on them,

      they did not turn from God’s Way.

57What you saw as weakness

      was strength in God’s sight.

58They were strong,

     because God was with them,

     though you did not see it –

59God was at their head,

     and God’s Glory was their rear-guard!

(A warning against Fascists who secretly work to subvert democracy, and those among the general public who eagerly believe them)

 

Scroll Seven: Sermons and Ethical Teachings

 

Sermons for the Guidance and Uplift of Followers of the Way

 

On God’s Love:

7:1.    1God’s love comes without price, without pre-condition. It simply is. 2If there is one absolute, one sure thing that you can rely on, one certainty that will never change from the beginning ’til the end of time, is that God loves you – completely, totally, to the point where you can lose yourself in it, hide securely in it, and shelter safely in it.

           3God’s love will never hurt you. You can open up and let yourself go in God’s love, release yourself – be yourself, 4and you can be sure that God will always lift you up, and raise your spirit to a peaceful, eternal place of powerful contentment, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sadness, no mourning, no grief.

           5God’s love is pure, boundless salvation, because by it, when we trust in God’s love, we are saved from uncertainty, fear and anxiety. 6We are saved from the pit of despair, and insecurity of spirit. We can venture into the darkest night, and the deepest unknown, because truly, even there, is God’s love.

           7God’s love is cleansing, purifying, renewing. 8When we turn to God, and show genuine remorse for any wrongs we have done, God’s love is so powerful, so boundless, so infinitely enduring, that the power of God’s love alone is enough to cleanse us, and from that moment on, our sins are forgotten; it is as if they had never been committed. 9We are refined purer than any goldsmith could refine gold, and washed cleaner than any fullers earth could cleanse. For God’s love is pure, and keeps no permanent record of wrongs past.

           10Our own ability to love, to care and show kindness, to be just, to be merciful, to forgive – these are all because of the spark of God’s Glory which God placed within each of us before we were sent here. 11Therefore, by spreading the mantle of God’s kingdom of mercy, kindness, justice and love over the face of the earth, we work towards spreading the Glory of God, 12and one day indeed, God’s Glory will cover the earth, just as the waters cover the sea.

           13And when the time draws near when we shall depart from this life, death itself shall hold no fear, because it is our gateway to reunion with the One Love from whom we first came, the Light of eternal Wisdom which first gave us our being.

           14God’s love is – without condition.

 

Be true to who and what you are, and do not force others to become something God did not create them to be:

7:2. 1YHVH has created wondrous variety throughout creation; everything exists to attain the fullness of what God created it to be. 2If a rose cannot put forth its perfume, who then will approach it to admire its thorns? If a peacock cannot unfold its tail, how then shall it attract its mate? 3If a fig-tree bears no edible fruit, who then will plant it? And if a stalk of wheat bears no grain, who then will harvest it?

           4The love within each human being has been placed there carefully by God, in order that it might grow and reach fruition, not so that it will be sterilised or burnt away. 5Some people’s love is like the rose’s perfume, and some the peacock’s tail. For others however, their love is like the delicious fig, or the richness of golden wheat.

           6All love is a gift from God, a creation of God; it exists to be nurtured and fed, not oppressed or hidden; 7for the oppression of love builds only a miserable society, not a joyous one – a society where people walk around like empty husks that bear no light within them, or like shadows that shuffle around without any worthwhile purpose.

           8Find your one person to love – that one soul who completes you, and love that person with your whole heart and soul. 9Love is what love is: a rose cannot be forced to become a fig, and a peacock’s tail cannot be forced to become an ear of wheat. 10Every human love has its gifts to contribute to the sum of human happiness and prosperity; therefore, every human soul deserves to be completed.

           11YHVH is love, and compassion is the heart of love. 12YHVH is neither a rose, nor a peacock, nor a fig-tree, nor a wheat-plant – and yet we love YHVH, because YHVH has love for us; and YHVH loves us, even though we are not like God, simply because we are God’s children. 13All human beings are children of love, because they are children of the God of love. 14Therefore, if you oppress God’s children, and demand that they extinguish the love that lies within them, will they not cry out to YHVH? 15And if they cry out to YHVH, will not YHVH hear! 16For love is compassionate; Love is YHVH.

 

Messianism is not God’s Plan for Israel – Why isn’t YHVH enough for you?

7:3.    1Every community in the ancient Middle East had kings. In the original Israelite religion, however, they alone had a king that no one could see. 2They alone had a king who would treat them justly, rule them with equity and impartiality, not take advantage of them, would not make extortionate demands on them, and who would protect them and care for them. 3This King was YHVH.

           4In ancient times, kings were the leaders of armies. They were the ancient equivalents of generals. When ancient peoples sought someone to lead them and save them from their enemies, they turned to their human kings.  It was not to be this way with Israel.

           5In times of conflict, Israel was supposed to turn to YHVH, and YHVH would appoint a temporary human leader. 6This ‘deputy general’ would follow God’s instructions and so save them from their enemies. 7Gideon was such a man during the time of the Judges (or ‘warrior-defenders’) of Israel. 8When Gideon gained victory over Israel’s enemies, the Israelites sought to make him their king, but this was Gideon’s answer: 9‘I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. YHVH alone will rule over you.’

           10This was the original Yahwist ideal. But after generations of demanding a human king, God finally relented, and gave them Saul. 11Unfortunately, Israel’s experience of human kings was a disaster. Her kings were constantly unfaithful to YHVH, and were sometimes cruel and unjust. 12They made ruinous decisions which put their people into the hands of their enemies.

           13With such a history of bad kings, Israel and Judah began to long for an ideal king. Thus was born messianism – the idea of a king-saviour. 14Fuelled by contact with the Persian religion of Zoroastrianism (which taught belief in a similar king-saviour), Israelites began to long for a king who would rescue them from a world of darkness, and deliver them into the world of light. 15What many Israelites just could not understand, was that instead of turning to a human king-saviour, they had only to turn back to their original King-Saviour – YHVH – and they would be delivered from their woes.

           16To those who advocate messianism – the idea of a human king-saviour – I ask this: Why isn’t YHVH enough for you? 17Why isn’t your heavenly Father sufficient – your living God, who loves you, who cares about you, who teaches and guides you, who comforts you in times of distress, who shows you the error of your ways and heals you, 18who understands every pain and sorrow that you endure, who knew you before you were born, and who has given you the promise of eternal life in heaven, in the presence of God’s radiant Glory? 19Why isn’t YHVH enough for you?

           20YHVH, through the purifying power of God’s Glory, is able to cleanse us of our sins, forgive us and make us whole – not through any blood or death, but through God’s Glory. 21YHVH is the love that does not have to be bought, and the happiness that does not have to be suffered for.

           22YHVH is the father who guides you, the mother who loves you without condition, the best friend you can ever have, who loves you so much that God lives for you so that through God’s life, you can have happiness here on earth, and eternal life in heaven; 23YHVH is your defender who saves you on a daily basis, your advocate who fights your corner, the healer who cares for you in times of sickness, and the wise counsellor who provides every answer. 24YHVH is the bread that comes without price, the drink that is completely free, the food that sates every hunger, and the wine that slakes every thirst.

           25To those awaiting a messiah-saviour I ask, why do you need more? 26What exactly is the ‘more’ that you need? 27If you need a god whom you can see, one that will stand among you at your head, then have you not committed the sin of the golden calf?

           28You have a great and powerful King in YHVH; why do you need another one? 29Why do you await another saviour? 30If you are one of these people, my advice is this: Search in your heart of hearts – is not YHVH the true, living God that you know – the God whom you were created and born to know? The God whom you have always known? Why then seek someone else?

           31Modern Talmidaism holds to this original Israelite ideal of YHVH alone as our King-Saviour. 32It has turned its back on messianism as the failed practice of putting trust and belief in imperfect human beings; and of hankering after what might be in the future, while forgetting to live in the present. 33We don’t have to wait for a king-saviour to arrive, because our true King-Saviour is already with us, here and now.

 

The Universal Covenant: the Covenant written on the human conscience

7:4. 1There will always be the particular criticism of us, that we project back onto Yeshua` the values of the Gentile West – for example reason, humaneness and tolerance. 2This mostly comes from a lack of understanding of what our faith teaches. 3As Followers of the Way, we realise that Yeshua` had a limited mission – to call people back to God’s ways so that as many as possible would be spared from the tribulation about to visit the land of Israel.

           4You see, Talmidaism is much more than Yeshua`, James and his early community in Jerusalem; Talmidaism is the sum of the best of Yahwist Israelite values, divested of its failures and flaws, 5and that presents a God who is against superstition, who encourages us to be fair and just towards our neighbours, and instils within us a discernment for wisdom, justice and understanding. 6Much of this is to bring out from within us what God has already placed there – a reasoning, humane and understanding heart.

           7Anyone who thinks Torah has nothing to do with social justice, doesn’t understand Torah! 8For what is reason but wisdom by another name; what is humaneness but social justice; and what is tolerance but mercy, compassion and love. 9Surely these things are the heart of YHVH’s Message!

           10In Hebrew, there is a term, brit `olam. It literally means, ‘eternal covenant’. 11Every time this phrase is used, it refers to the Covenant with Israel – except for once. 12That one occasion occurs in Isaiah 23.5. There, the prophet describes how the earth will be ravaged and laid waste. 13This will not be for breaking the laws of Torah, but because “. . . the earth is defiled by her inhabitants, because they have transgressed (humane) laws, they have violated (moral) principles, and broken the universal covenant (brit `olam).” 14This covenant is referring to a covenant that covers the whole of humanity.

           15Now, there are some who say that this covenant is just the one with Noah or even with Adam. 16However, this cannot be the case, because there are some things criticised by the Hebrew prophets that would not be covered by either of these two covenants. 17For example, Amos criticises the people of Moab for burning the bones of the King of Edom, and for this God would mete out His divine justice against them. 18But this act is not covered under either the Adamic or Noachide laws or covenants.

           19The Universal Covenant is in fact the natural moral law that exists between YHVH and the whole of humanity. 20It is not written on any scroll or parchment, nor are its terms recorded in any book. 21The only place it is written is on the human heart – the human conscience, inscribed there with the creation of every human soul. 22The Universal Covenant is what gives all human beings the sense of moral outrage when any human being does something wrong. 23Even though the wrongful act is not outlawed by any mitsvah or proclamation, we inherently know that a word or deed is wrong, because of the Universal Covenant which has been written on our souls. 24Even what is right has been written there; for the ancient Israelites, the unwritten laws of hospitality, which appear nowhere in Torah, were part of the Universal Covenant too.

           25Take also the question of, ‘What law or covenant were the people of the earth judged under before the Great Flood?’ 26Gen 6.11-13 reads like an indictment in a court of law. However, without the universal covenant – without that set of unwritten laws – no righteous judgment could be made by a just God against humanity. 27In God’s court of law, humanity could otherwise say, ‘But you gave us no law or code to live by, so how could we be accused of breaking any laws?’

           28In the Israelite religion, the natural religion of the human soul is Tsedeq – that is, righteousness, justice or uprightness. 29The laws that govern natural human religion have been written on the human heart – the human conscience, not on any parchment or scrolls; 30these are the laws that Noah followed before the Deluge, the laws by which God judged him blameless – 31after all, he didn’t have a bible or Torah to refer to (and neither did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, or anyone until the Revelation and Theophany at Horeb.

           32Even though other nations do not have Torah, they do have God’s heavenly law of Tsedeq – the Way of Righteousness spoken of in the Book of Proverbs, 33which from the day we gained sentience, was written on the human heart, giving us the knowledge to tell the difference between good and evil.

           34Knowing as we do that no additions to God’s covenant can override what is previously given, it is important to be stated here that even Torah cannot override Tsedeq – the written Torah cannot override what God has already written on the human heart. 35Righteousness and Wisdom – both of which are from God – are the two pillars by which we apply and interpret Torah; 36just as priests entered the Temple of Solomon between two pillars, so also humankind should practice religion, while approaching God between the twin pillars of Righteousness and Wisdom. 37If we apply religious law without wisdom or righteousness, we set our faces against God, and set ourselves up for judgment.

           38The terms of the Universal Covenant are simple: the positive instructions are, ‘Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.’ 39The punishment for violating this is also simple: as God tells us through the prophet Ovadyah, ‘As you have done, so will God do to you.’

           40This is the covenant that the people of Nineveh broke, and necessitated Jonah being sent to call them to repent. 41This is the covenant under which the Philistines were condemned by Amos, because of the cruelty they had shown to other nations (i.e. not just Israel); 42this is the covenant under which all the prophets condemn other nations for their unjust actions, regardless of which people their cruelty is directed against.

           43The Universal Covenant was the very first Covenant – even before the one with Adam, and therefore applies to all humanity, even the Jewish people. 44It proceeds from Tsedeq, the law of heaven, and the natural religion of the human heart. 45It preceded the Torah given at Sinai, and the covenant cut there. 46Since no covenant with YHVH can be revoked, emended or cancelled – only added to – this covenant of natural moral law applies even to the Jewish people. 47As I previously mentioned, the implication of this is that no law in the written Torah should be applied in such a way that it causes a deep sense of moral outrage in the human soul. 48The Universal Covenant was meant to be the ultimate moderating influence against all other covenants and laws. 49In other words, God never expected any Follower of YHVH to apply their religion in such a way, that it violated their God-given conscience.

           50Sometimes, fundamentalists and extremists will do something wrong that provokes our natural sense of moral outrage – the covenant that YHVH has written on the human heart. 51These fundamentalists will say to us, ‘We have done nothing wrong – show me where it says I cannot do this!’ 52And there will be occasions where their actions are not explicitly forbidden by Torah, and they have not broken the Sinai Covenant. 53But they havebroken God’s natural principles of Tsedeq, as well as the Universal Covenant, and God will demand an accounting for what they have done; as they have done, so God will do to them.

           54The first humane and natural laws of the Universal Covenant have not been written down and codified by sages, nor have they been subject to the rulings of rabbis – no religious teacher can ever rule against Tsedeq. 55Any human being can appeal directly to God for justice under it, Israelite and Gentile, 56and any man or woman who has been wronged, can raise their voice to God and call for justice against their adversaries, saying, ‘May YHVH judge between you and me!’

           57Religious fundamentalists will hate the Universal Covenant, because it is the only religious writ that they cannot corrupt and deliberately misrepresent for their own ends. 58When a religious person does something that fires the human sense of outrage, and they answer you and say, ‘Point out to me where it is written in scripture that what I have done is wrong,’ you can say to them, ‘Read my heart – the eternal words that God has written there – and they say that what you have done is wrong!’

           59Tsedeq and the Universal Covenant are not in opposition to Torah – they are in fact the very foundation of Torah!

 

Live lives that demonstrate to the Nations who your heavenly Father is

7:5.    1Although every man is a son of God, and every woman a daughter of God, very few of us live our lives in a way that demonstrates this astonishing truth. 2And in spite of the vital mission which every man and woman alive was sent to Earth to fulfil, few of us have any interest in carrying out that commission.

           3Therefore, I tell you this: as one who strives to follow the Way of YHVH, learn to live a life which manifests your sonship and daughtership of our One Heavenly Father, and pursue that path in earnest to the end. 4In your dealings with others, open your hearts and your minds, and let God’s loving-kindness shine through. 5Reflect His mercy and His forgiveness in your actions; speak His consolation and His comfort in your words. 6And let His power and His majesty so overwhelm your soul, that you walk with dignity and humility in this world, so that those around you may see your Heavenly Father’s light, and raise their hands to Him and praise Him.

           7Become living vessels through which God can show His love for us. In so doing, we make ourselves into doorways through which the Glory of God can pierce, and eventually – one day – burst through into this world.

           8Therefore do not seek revenge, nor reply to baseless slights against your character. 9Do not entertain hatred in your heart against your neighbour, nor let envy fester in your thoughts. 10Do not fret over evil, nor seek to get even when you are wronged.

           11Set YHVH at the centre of your life. The goals and values of His Kingdom must drive your every thought and action, directing your sight to see the world with new eyes. 12Even knowing that the fulfilment of His Kingdom will not happen in your lifetime, still do and observe His will accordingly, being aware that you will be witness to God’s Glory when you stand by God’s throne in heaven. 13For just as a man plants the sapling of a cedar, knowing that he will never see the great majesty of that tree in his lifetime, so also we sow the seed of the Kingdom now, assured in the knowledge that our works will not have been in vain; 14our descendants will see the Glory of God spread out all across the Earth, like a mantle over the sea, and we ourselves will witness that sight from our place in God’s heaven.

 

Bring honour to the reputation of your heavenly Father

7:6.        1The fifth proclamation starts with, ‘Honour your father and your mother’. Modern culture gives us two aspects of this commandment, but it doesn’t allow us an understanding of what the commandment goes on to promise: ‘so that you may endure a long time upon the land YHVH your God is giving you.’

              2When we think of this proclamation of God, we think of respecting our parents, and of being obedient to them as their children. These are two vital and important components of how to fulfil this commandment. 3However, there is a third aspect to honouring our parents that is now absent in modern western culture – that of acting in such a way that you do not bring dishonour to your parents’ reputation, 4but rather that you behave with dignity, grace, justice and compassion in this world; in this way, your parents will have no reason to regret calling you their son or daughter. 5When a child acts with righteousness in the world, the reputation of their parents will increase.

              6If the reputation of your parents is upheld, collectively the honour and dignity of your people will spread far and wide. 7If you are widely respected and held in high esteem by other nations, then naturally you will endure long in the land YHVH your God is giving to you – in peace, without fear of attack or exile.

8If this is how we are to behave towards our earthly parents, how much more so are we to behave like this towards our heavenly Parent. 9We honour our heavenly Parent by acting, thinking and speaking in a way that brings renown to our heavenly Father. 10We honour God, who is our father and our mother, by living honourably in this world that God created, daily increasing the renown of God. 11Because we are talking about Israel in the second part of the fifth commandment, if Israel is held in high esteem, then it naturally follows that YHVH, the God of Israel, will be held in high esteem – the reputation of God will be increased, and the kingdom of God will spread. 12The benefit to Israel therefore, is that she will be respected by her neighbours, and not live with the constant fear or threat of war.

 

Good and bad religion

7:7. 1A religion can be a like a medicine, a placebo, or a cancer.   A tiny amount of either the medicine or cancer can have a huge effect. 2On the other hand, religious placebos are those religions which have no effect on their adherents; they are the same horrible people after their conversion as they were before they converted.

            3A religion that creates war and conflict everywhere it goes is like a cancer. 4Such a religion makes good people do evil things. 5YHVH never intended human beings to give up their God-given conscience, and suspend that innate barometer within their hearts, that enables them to tell what is right and what is wrong. 6If a religion requires you to suspend your intelligence or your ability to detect falsehood, then it is from human beings, and not God. 7Evil does not come from devils or demons; it comes from the evil in human hearts, and some religious people wish to spread that evil, and successfully manipulate others into participating in that evil. 8You will know the wicked person by what they are attracted to in scripture – that is how you will know them.

            9A religion, however, that helps you to take control of your life, your mind and your heart, and become the best version of yourself, that religion is from God. 10A religion that acts like a medicine heals a society, makes people the best they can be, and creates a happier, balanced world. 11I like to think that the Way of YHVH is like a medicine – only a little is needed to begin the healing of the whole. 12If we are willing to surrender ourselves to YHVH, and let ourselves be holy instruments of YHVH’s will, then YHVH will be able to work through His holy servants to heal nations and even other religions, and further God’s kingdom on earth.

              13YHVH loves all God’s children dearly and abundantly, no matter what religion we belong to. 14We just have to turn away from whatever theological gods we have created, and open ourselves up to who God really is.

            15YHVH, who loves us dearly, will always do God’s best to answer God’s children regardless, and by understanding more of what YHVH is truly like, we will understand more of what God is trying to show us.

 

Offering up to God a pleasing spirit

7:8.       1In the Book of Numbers, we are given a list of daily offerings. The way the offerings are described, makes them sound as if God can eat and smell what is burnt and offered up.

2However, the Book of Psalms says,

“If I were hungry I would not tell you,

For the world is Mine, and all it contains.

3Shall I eat the flesh of bulls

Or drink the blood of male goats?

4Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving instead,

And pay your vows to the Most High;

5Call upon Me in the day of trouble;

I shall rescue you, and you will honour Me.”

 

6Ultimately, the food is instead given for the priests to eat – remember, they have no other way of obtaining food except through offerings and financial gifts given to the Sanctuary. 7It is their symbolism which is what matters to ordinary people like you and me.

8For example, the verse goes on to speak of ‘an aroma pleasing to YHVH’. It gives the unversed reader the impression that God can somehow smell. 9The true significance of this phrase is not immediately obvious, except in Hebrew. The word for ‘aroma’ – reyach, and the word for spirit or breath – ruach, is very similar, and comes from the same word root. 10The aroma that is pleasing to YHVH, is symbolic of our own spirits – our thoughts, words and deeds – which are pleasing to God, and therefore worthy of being offered up to God on a daily basis.

11Here therefore are some examples of daily goals which create a pleasing spirit that rises up to God:

–             12to strive for right thought, right words, and right action

–             13to realise our mutual responsibility to one another in society, and not take advantage of our fellow human beings, whether rich or poor

–             14to have a daily regard for the stability of our relationships and of our society

–             15to strive to see God’s world with a right mind, so that we might gain a greater understanding of Creation, and of our personal duties within it

–             16to acquire knowledge with humility, so that our souls are rightly prepared to seek YHVH’s wisdom

–             17to maintain the healthy wholeness (shleimut) of our life-force (néfesh), by putting right what we have done wrong, through repentance and by acts of contrition

–             18to seek our heavenly part of ourselves, and endeavour to become more like them

–             19to live according to our means and needs

20I could go on. These are just some of the things one can do to help one’s soul, on a daily basis, to offer up a pleasing spirit or ‘aroma’ to YHVH. 21The daily animal offering itself was a symbolic message and affirmation that we have looked after the Land, and the wine and oil offering was a reminder of the crops we are given for looking after what God has given us. 22The daily offering (tamīd) is therefore an eternal reminder to us of our spiritual duties to ourselves, to others and ultimately to God.

23It becomes a daily form of thanksgiving and communion with the Great Plan that YHVH has for us all and this earthly realm.

 

On the proper use of religion

7:9. 1When used properly, and applied with a healthy and sensible spiritual philosophy, religion is a way for a human being to take charge of their own mind – 2to sturdy their psyche in times of trouble, to control the excesses of their worst passions, to steer them through minefields of doubt or quandry, and give them the strength to make just and fair decisions.

              3Healthy religion enables an individual to achieve these things quickly and efficiently without wasteful trial and error – without the individual having to cast about while searching for the best way to handle their doubts and anxieties. 4A healthy religion enables positive techniques to be passed on from generation to generation; and it enables a person to do these things supportively in the company of others of like mind.

              5A healthy religion should bring out the best side of a human being; it should assist us in searching our minds to find the good and the positive, because our God is a good Parent, who wants us to be the best that we can be.

              6A healthy religion enables the establishment and continuance of a strong sense of community, where the disadvantaged, the poor and the old are not cast aside and forgotten – a community where they are valued and not belittled, or treated as garbage.

              7A healthy religion helps us deal with the fear of death, and recover from the injury of grief. 8It helps us to use the good and the positive among the memories of those who have passed on, and leave behind what is best left in the past.

              9Lastly, a healthy religion helps us to see the bigger picture and the long-term future; it helps us to see beyond ourselves, and not be obsessed by what sits at the end of our noses; 10because what is far off may seem irrelevant now, but it will one day journey to meet us at our very door. 11If a problem is dealt with while it is still a long way off, then it will stay there.

 

Don’t whip up expectation for the speedy fulfilment of God’s plans, before God is ready to give them to us

7:10.   1Consider the lesson of the unripe pomegranate. If we eat it before the fruit is ripe, it will bode ill for us. 2The fruit will be bitter, we will have stomach pains, and we will be turned away from this fruit in the future. 3But if we wait for the due season when it is ripe, then its flesh is sweet, it nourishes our body, it strengthens our health, and we look forward to more of what its tree can provide. 4So it is with what God has promised. We are often too eager to taste of the future, and we want to hasten God in His plans. 5The expectation makes us anxious, and too much anxiety will drain us and make us ill. 6But God fulfils His plans in His own time, and on the day that He has appointed. 7Just as the fruit is not yet ripe because its season has not yet come, so also the time for God’s plans is not yet ripe, nor has the season yet arrived.

           8Yet God has not forgotten that we need nourishment daily. So He gives us what we need when we need it. Each day God feeds us with bread fitting for our souls. 9Therefore do not be anxious about the future, because believe me I tell you, nothing can possibly defeat the designs and intentions of God.

 

Don’t let the wickedness of others break your spirit; deduce the good you should do, whenever you see the unpleasant behaviour of others

7:11.   1Learn this lesson from the vexatious persons of this world. Each day we will encounter men and women who will test our spirit, and tax our soul. 2Each time we encounter them we say, ‘Heavenly Father, why do you send me such people who wear me down, and burden me?’ 3Then God says to us, ‘Do you understand how these persons cause anguish to your heart? If you can identify their ways, you will discern that such ways are not from Me – their ways are not My ways. 4The cruelty that others show to My children pierces My heart and wounds Me too. 5Become wise therefore from what you have experienced, because it will drive you all the more to teach others what you have learned.’ 6To be constantly arrogant, disapproving, overbearing, irksome and critical are not actions that will lead to peace of the heart, or the light of our Heavenly Father.

           7And then we will say, ‘But it doesn’t let up! I rarely encounter people who treat me with any respect!’ 8Then God says to us, ‘Look then at the opposite of what those people have done to you. If someone has been arrogant towards you, show humility and understanding in your dealings with others; 9if someone has been disapproving towards you, show encouragement to those who are struggling in life. 10If wicked people have been overbearing and irksome, then you will have learned to show to others acceptance, and not judge or condemn. 11Be courteous and pleasant, and uphold the dignity of all those you meet. 12And if someone has nothing but criticism for all your efforts in life, be therefore positive and constructive in how you help others to grow. 13Bring up the good things I have placed in your heart from the beginning, and behold, others who have that kindness of spirit will come to you.’

           14The ill-behaviour of others, should therefore teach us the right behaviour expected of us by God.

 

YHVH as our Provider; a country that runs itself on YHVH’s values will not see its poor go hungry

7:12.     1You know how it is written: “If you pass through your neighbour’s vineyard, then you may eat any grapes as you wish until you are sated, but you may not put any into your basket. 2If you pass through your neighbour’s field of grain, then you may pick kernels with your hand, but you may not put a sickle to your neighbour’s standing grain.”  3This was given to us to show the charity and kindness of our God, to give to hungry travellers on their way to and from their homes. 4YHVH is our true landlord, and all land belongs to God. 5YHVH provides for the hungry traveller, and those who do not have enough money to buy provisions sufficient for their whole journey.

             6As a passer-by, you have the obligation to take what you can for your journey, so that food-growers are not brought to ruin, but if you are poor, and don’t have enough food for the whole journey, then YHVH will provide for you if you run out. 7Only if we are hungry are we to glean; we should not ruin those who have grown our food.

8As a passer-by, we trust in YHVH to provide for us. If we run out of food on our journeying in the Land, we should not fret or worry, because God, as the Provider of the poor, has made adequate provision for us. 9Therefore, do not worry or become anxious about providing for your needs in the Land. 10Become passers-by, and so trust in YHVH to provide for you.

 

What is the point of being good, when we see bad people succeed over us?

7:13. 1The rich grow rich, the poor get poorer, the wicked are rewarded, and the righteous come upon misfortune. 2The oppressed ask, ‘Where is God’s justice?’ Chasing justice is like chasing the wind, which no one ever catches. 3We wake up in the morning, and we are beaten down by the time night falls. 4We see the lives of good people cut short, and the lives of selfish and arrogant people are without end. 5When we see these things, we ask ourselves, ‘What is the point of trying to be good? Where is the justice?’

           6But the unjust die as well as the just, and the wicked suffer the same fate as fools. 7The rich lose their wealth when they die, and the proud are humbled in their graves. 8But the good and the just can take the wealth of their deeds with them, and their suffering is exchanged for joy. 9Follow the laws of lovingkindness and holiness, and a treasure far greater than gold awaits you before your heavenly Father’s throne.

 

 

The good and the bad are both part of what life is – a realistic way of looking at the good and bad in life

7:14.   1YHVH is Sovereign Ruler of everything, of heaven and earth. YHVH is supreme over both the good and the bad.

           2There is nothing in this universe that can defeat His plans in any way. God knows whatever is coming, and God puts in place contingencies to help us deal with these things.

           3Our Heavenly Father knows that our lives will consist of many good things – times of happiness and great joy – as well as of times of sadness, times when our sadness is unbearable and our pain seems unending. 4This mix of good times and bad times is the nature of the world in which He has placed us in, the world in which we were sent to live in.

           5There are some who call out to God and say, ‘I will follow you if you ensure that bad things never happen to me or to those I love.’ 6But these people will never have their call answered.

           7None of us deserves the tragedies and misfortunes that befall us. Sometimes they are so traumatic that they are all we can focus on.

           8God’s kingdom here on earth is furthered, not by focussing on the tragedies of life, but on how we deal with them – on how we strive to remain decent people and retain our dignity in spite of what happens to us; and on how far we go to help those around us less capable than ourselves. 9God’s Kingdom is not about the woes of misfortune, but rather about how we handle that misfortune.

           10YHVH knows that good and bad are both integral parts of the nature of this world. 11Unfortunately, the world in which we live now is just not set up to handle it.

           12This world trains us to expect that if we work hard, we will all be rich and earn lots of money; and if it doesn’t turn out like that, well, it’s your own fault, because you just weren’t trying hard enough. 13We are brought up to believe that if we are careful with our money, we will never fall into debt, that we will always be able to pay our taxes and dues, and that if we always do the right thing, our lives will go smoothly and we will all be happy.

           14But even those who work hard lose their jobs; even those who are careful with their money are visited by unexpected expenses that they can’t cope with; and sad things happen even to good people.

           15The expectations of this world are not realistic; that is why we get so upset and become so miserable when even minor things go wrong – we seek to place blame on someone or something for those wrongs; we always look for the ‘why’ when something bad happens. 16But often there isn’t a why; things just happen.

           17It is unrealistic to pray that bad things will never happen to us – because they inevitably will. 18However, what is realistic, is to pray that YHVH will give us the strength to deal with whatever comes our way, that people will be around us to help us cope, or that He will lead us into circumstances where we can make contact with people who can help us out of our difficulties.

           19God’s laws take the good and the bad into account. 20They envision a society where the weak will be supported, the rich are obligated to help the poor, and where the under-privileged and disadvantaged are entitled to be helped by others. 20God set up a system whereby the least able in our society would not be left behind.

           21And if tragedy and misfortune should befall any of us, His laws were designed to create human beings who would realise their own vulnerability, frailty and impermanence; that we would thereby be moved to recognise these things in others, and so have compassion and help others. 22God’s laws take misfortune into account, and that is how YHVH is Sovereign even over the bad.

           23The Way of YHVH accepts that YHVH is supreme over every aspect of the events of our lives; not that misfortune is a judgment or a punishment, but rather that everything that happens is ultimately to be overcome by His mercy and lovingkindness. 24It accepts that we have to become a people that will grow and learn how to cope with the good and the bad together.

           25Rather than trying to justify why suffering exists, the more gainful spiritual concern is to help those in trouble, and try to lessen those in physical, emotional or spiritual pain. 26The intrinsic nature of this realm we exist in – within a universe of infinite dimensions and possibilities – is that it is not perfect, and rather than trying to explain why it isn’t perfect, it’s more profitable to accept that this is a realm of both good and bad; 27and that a fully lived life is one where you extract the most out of your good times, so that your bad times don’t seem so bad – or at least, your good times give you sufficient strength to endure through your bad times.

           28“YHVH has given, and YHVH has taken away; blessed be the Name of YHVH!”

          

Concentrate on the study of good and progress, rather than dwell on evil and suffering

7:15.   1If you set out to fully comprehend suffering, temptation, sin and evil itself, you will take yourself to a very dark place, a domain we as sons and daughters of YHVH were not meant to go. 2It is enough to have our trust set and locked firmly in the light of YHVH’s Presence; it is sufficient to acknowledge YHVH as our great shield and defender, and not to fret over evil. 3Seek to know enough to enable you to cope with misfortune and discomfort, but no more excavation of the meaning of suffering and evil is necessary. 4I have come to realise that there are things that we were not meant to know or understand, because there are some things that are too terrible to understand.

           5‘Don’t be afraid!’ The Miqra constantly tells us this. Do not be afraid of what you don’t know. 6If you are one of those people who thinks that they are constantly surrounded by sin, evil and death, you are going to end up mentally ill! 7If you think that the imperfections of this world, this life, are going to overtake you, then they will. 8If you constantly think that ‘Evil is out to get you’, then you will end up a paranoid wreck. 9Some religions will want you this way so that they can control you more easily, but that’s not how God wants you. 10Step back; do not let these matters eat away at your soul.

           11Your heavenly Father wants you strong. He wants you courageous, He wants you to realise how wonderful you are, that you can succeed, that you have a worthy life, and a purpose given to you at birth. 12If you look only to your imperfections and weaknesses, then you will stumble at every turn; if however you look to every good that He presents you, then you will succeed.

 

Why praise God?

7:16.   1When we praise God, we are the ones who benefit. Praising God strengthens the spark of holiness which God places within us. 2By ascribing every good, positive, wondrous and glorious attribute to God in praise, thereafter when we think of YHVH, that brilliantly positive, awesome image of God gives us hope, lifts us up, and fills us with God’s infinite love.

           3When we praise God, we allow God to strengthen us, to see the good in ourselves, to enable us to find peace, even to touch a piece of heaven and shed our human burdens even if but for a moment. 4Praising God helps us to overcome life’s troubles, and get through the storm.

           5Praise God when bad things happen, because in so doing you will be able to tap into God’s strength, and you will be filled with courage.

 

The power of prayer on oneself

7:17. 1You have often heard about the power of prayer – how it can change the lives of others, help us to achieve our dreams, and make great things happen. 2But few speak of the power of prayer on oneself. 3On the spiritual level, prayer maintains the link between our earthly minds and God, and between our earthly selves and what our heavenly selves once were. 4Keeping this connection open helps to remind us what kind of beings God intended us to be.

              5On an earthly, scientific level, what prayer and meditation do is reinforce the positive pathways of the human brain, so that when we need to think or act quickly, our decision-making process automatically jumps to the pathways which have already been laid down and pre-programmed by prayer. 6It ensures that a man or woman who is otherwise good, decent and honourable, does not do something hateful or violent in the heat of the moment. 7Prayer allows an individual to exert a greater control over their own mind.

              8However, if prayer and meditation are neglected, there is a danger of negative pathways being laid down in the brain. 9When we undergo tribulations and trials, without regular meditation and prayer the subconscious mind becomes slave to resentment, anger – even the emotion of violence.

              10As time goes on, these pathways become reinforced, and in the heat of the moment, the brain will make a decision on how to speak or act according to these negative pathways that have been laid down.

              11In the worst scenario, an otherwise good and righteous person, who has never hurt or said a bad word to anyone, might find themselves acting completely out of character. 12They could end up insulting, verbally abusing or even physically hurting someone.

              13This mere thought should terrify us into taking remedial action. 14Prayer and meditation have the power to send us into positive mood, improve mental health, and make us better people overall. 15The change will be dramatic, noticeable especially to those who know us well.

              16Our Great Creator has designed us to be this way; there is not one single culture on earth that does not know what prayer is – even the remotest tribes of the earth. 17There are things which are just natural to the human mind and body, and prayer is one of them.

 

The amazing result of letting the Presence of God take hold of our souls; God’s Kingdom within us

7:18.   1When the living, breathing, active Presence of YHVH seizes a person’s soul, that person is transformed from the inside outwards. And they are moved to live the way of a fulfilled life and walk in God’s ways. 2A man or woman who has been consumed and purified by the fire of God’s living Presence shows that by the way they live their life; their heart and soul bears good, sweet fruit.

           3Such a soul has no place for boundaries or barriers. 4To that person, all men and women are to be loved with equal vigour, and not just those with whom that person agrees or shares common beliefs. 5A person upon whom YHVH our God has breathed His living breath, sees the beauty in every soul that our Heavenly Father has created, and is awed by each one. 6How can such a person not love completely and absolutely? How can such a person not hold every human soul precious?

           7Surrender everything that prevents you from allowing the Presence of God to take hold of you; raise your hands to your Father in Heaven, and allow His active Presence to live within you.

           8When you truly experience the Presence of God, you will begin to live the Kingdom of God.

 

The Fence of the Mind

7:19.     1There are those will tell you that one purpose of the Oral Law is to build a fence around the Torah – to forbid certain things so that it becomes impossible to break the actual commandments of Torah. 2For example, it is forbidden to buy and sell on the Sabbath, so to make that commandment impossible to break, the commandment was invented that one must not even carry money on the Sabbath – 3if you don’t have any money with you, you cannot spend it or collect it in payment for something.

4The prophet Yeshua` said a number of things which at first glance seem unreasonable. For example, he said,

5‘The commandment was given to our ancestors, “You shall not commit murder”; and whoever commits murder will be liable to judgement. 6But let me just say, that everyone who’s angry with their neighbour shall be liable to judgement – 7whoever says to their neighbour, “Worthless moron!” shall be answerable to the Great Sanhedrin, and whoever says, “Fool!” shall be cast into the outer darkness!’

8When approaching a complex ethical matter, many thinkers ask themselves, “Where do you draw the line?” 9With so many difficult issues and thorny subjects, there is almost a gradation between what is acceptable and what is not. 10Between the two is a grey area within which it is difficult to give any kind of judgment.

               11In his teaching, Yeshua` was not making our thoughts sinful, but was rather advocating self-control over our thoughts. 12In this saying of Yeshua`, his solution was to build a mental fence before you even got to the grey area, so that moral uncertainty doesn’t even become an issue.

               13Take a look at the example of the Oral Law. Forbidding people from carrying money stops them breaking the biblical commandment, but some people will still wish they could buy and trade, impatient for Sabbaths and New Moons to be over so that they could carry out their normal business again. 14Yeshua` saw that a change of heart would be needed, not a change in legislation. 15God’s teaching needed to be implanted in people’s minds – written on their hearts – so that in time it will become second nature.

               16Today in our society there is a stark lack of respect for the individual. 17For example, you have people who see nothing morally wrong with watching someone being humiliated, and being made fun of – it begins with a lack of empathy for the person being harmed. 18In time, this leads to a lack of respect for the dignity of the individual, and so people become more willing to humiliate others themselves; 19that in turn leads to an attitude where they do not consider it wrong to humiliate someone; some will take it further, to the point of physical humiliation, even bodily harm; 20a few will go further, to the point of seeing their victims as less than human and having no regard for life, to a point where they are willing even to take a life.

               21I hear people every day decrying the fact that robberies and murders take place, but in the next breath they mention how much fun they get out of humiliating people, or playing practical jokes on people that lead to real distress. 22Attitudes need to change in society; a good Follower of the Way should not take pleasure in humiliating someone; 23someone who enjoys playing pranks on others, delighting in the misfortune they have inflicted, needs to seriously examine the nature of their conscience.

               24Part of Yeshua`’s solution on changing society’s attitudes was this fence of the mind – the rule of ‘don’t even go there!’ 25Taking the example I mentioned, you build a mental fence at the point before you even get to ‘I enjoy seeing people being made fun of’. 26You build a fence before you get to the stage of, ‘I am so angry I could imagine hurting someone’; 27you build a mental fence before you get to the state of mind where you could call someone ‘raqa’ (worthless moron).

               28The fence of the mind results in a state of being where there is no grey area, because our thoughts – and consequently our actions – don’t even go there in the first place.

 

Fundamentalist religion presents a false image of God

7:20.     1Religion has debased itself to the extent that what is corrupt, obnoxious and unjust about religion has been transferred onto the character of God, so that the failings and injustices of human beings with regard to religion, have now become the failings and injustices of God.

               2Fiery-mouthed preachers, religious fundamentalists, religious extremists – all have offended God by misrepresenting His reputation. 3They have made ordinary people think that what they say is from God. But they have said false things about God.

               4They have said angry, hateful and evil things, things that would never enter the mind of God. 5They have portrayed God as a raging, vengeful tyrant who is more like a deranged despot than an enlightened, wise, compassionate and loving God. 6They have tarnished the holiness of God, and darkened God’s good Name.

               7To falsely represent God like this is to defame the holiness of God; the firebrands and fundamentalists who have nothing to say but death and condemnation, who speak hatred and violence with their words – these people incense God deeply; they call out to God and claim to follow Him, but they do nothing that He says. 8It is a principle of the Israelite religion, that sins against human beings can be forgiven, but sins against the holiness of God can never be forgiven.

               9If we put forward a faith that is angry, oppressive, intolerant, belligerent, hateful and judgmental, then we are not representing God; we are only representing our own human inadequacies, sins and failings. 10But if we do something extraordinary and go beyond ourselves – show ourselves to be boundless in our compassion, merciful in our understanding, reaching out to those who are on the edge of human society, caring for those who cannot care for themselves, and providing for those who have little or no means, then we truly do represent the wondrous and awesome Being who is YHVH, the holy and living God.

 

The fundamentalists among the Jewish people will prevent God from fulfilling God’s plans for the Jewish people

7:21. 1The stone-hearted – those who follow their own teachings and not God’s – they will be the death of Israel. 2If they could take God to court and make the Holy One bend to their will, they would do it! 3When YHVH calls to the lost tribes to return to the Land, the stone-hearted will prevent their return unless they convert to their teachings and their law; 4when God chooses His Anointed, the stone-hearted will oppose him, unless he abandons God’s will and follows their will and their commandments. 5And when God chooses the manner and circumstances under which the Temple shall be rebuilt, the stone-hearted will oppose the Temple, unless it is rebuilt in accordance with their plans, and not God’s.

 

The best way to interpret scripture is first to seek YHVH

7:22.     1Take counsel from the words of King David to seek YHVH. Seek the living God who is YHVH, and understand the Scriptures in the light of what we know of YHVH, not the other way round. 2Many people filter God through the sieve of the Miqra. 3True followers of YHVH stake their foundation firmly in the compassionate mercy of a loving and powerful God of Glory and majesty, a living God who can be experienced and felt. 4They then read the Miqra from that living experience; to do it any other way is to proclaim that YHVH is not a living God.

 

God has given Godfearers and converts a Jewish soul, so that they will seek out YHVH

7:23. 1Those to whom God has given a Jewish heart and soul, who love the Jewish people, who revere the God of Israel in awe, and who yearn to align their future with the Jewish people, who embrace Torah with every fibre of their being – these should not be cruelly separated from the House of Israel.

              2It should not matter if the stone-hearted, in opposing God’s call to souls created by God’s own hand, declare that someone is not Jewish; 3the olive tree remains an olive tree, even if ten rabbis declare it to be a vine; the cedar remains a cedar, even if a hundred rabbis declare it to be a fig tree; 4and a soul that God has called, and upon whose heart God has written His name – a soul that God has declared a son or daughter of YHVH, remains a child of YHVH, even though a thousand rabbis declare that such a man or woman to be merely a Gentile.

              5We must encourage Godfearers, and do everything to facilitate Godfearers in their journey towards feeling Israelite. 6And if this cannot be accomplished by an adult in their lifetime, then nevertheless, their children can be brought up with an Israelite identity.

 

The exclusivity of the Israelite faith is not a call to intolerance; it is more like the monogamy of marriage

7:24.     1In the ancient world, it was a common principle that you were free to worship any god you wished. 2You could even devote yourself to several gods, or many. 3Allegiance to one particular god was unheard of. Except, of course, if you were a follower of YHVH.

               4In the Roman world, one principle of the Pax Romana was that you could follow your own culture, your own customs, and your own gods, but you also had to pay homage to the ‘divine’ emperors of Rome. 5For the polytheistic citizens of the Empire, this was not a problem. 6Because of this prevailing attitude, the Romans just could not comprehend why it should pose such enormous difficulty for us as sons and daughters of Israel.

               7Today, we live in societies that do not follow the Israelite faith; that in itself is not the problem. 8The problem arises when we are expected to pay homage to the symbols of our host countries’ faiths.

               9In ancient times, when religious allegiance was fluid, it was unique and unusual for a God to come along and say, ‘You are my treasured possession’, and ‘Serve Me alone’. So we need to understand why this should be.

               10Our relationship with God is like that of a husband and wife. 11As a husband in ancient times took a wife ‘for his possession’, so also God took Israel ‘for His possession’ – 12that’s not how we see husbands and wives nowadays, but that’s how they saw things then, and it’s easier to understand the vocabulary of the relationship between God and Israel if we understand how they saw things then. 13The faithfulness of Israel was therefore not like faithfulness or allegiance to a religion; it was like the faithfulness and allegiance of a wife to her husband (and, likewise, of a husband to his wife).

               14This faithfulness not only covers worship, but principles and values too. 15When Aaron created the golden calf for the Israelites to worship, he wasn’t deviating from monotheism; this idol was after all supposed to be a manifestation of YHVH, the God of Israel. 16The Israelites had not asked, ‘Make a god for us’ – they were not asking for a new god to be made; they asked, ‘Make God for us’ – that is, so that we can see Him and follow Him – so that He can go before us.

               17In the manner of their punishment – grinding up the golden calf, mixing the powder with water and making the Israelites drink it – Moses was treating them as adulterers. 18They had not gone after other gods, but they had gone after other ways, and so gone against God’s principles. 19They had gone against the Yahwist principle that God has no physical form, and was certainly not to be worshipped as an idol.

                20The ancient Israelites were not only forbidden to worship other gods, but they were also forbidden to follow the customs of other gods. 21To do so was adultery against YHVH. But how should we react in such a situation?

                22Let me ask you this: If you have a spouse or a partner, and someone who is unaware of your ‘attached’ status comes up to you and proposes having a relationship with you, how do you react? 23Do you become rude and aggressive, abusive and violent? 24Or do you politely but firmly explain that you are already in a relationship; that you are more than happy with your partner, and intend to remain completely faithful to her or him?

                25I hope it would be the latter. So it should be when someone invites you to participate in Gentile festivals. 26If you were to become confrontational and aggressive, you would be doing YHVH our God an extreme disservice, dishonouring God’s good reputation. 27However, if you wish your acquaintance well, thanking him or her for their invitation, but calmly explain that you are an Israelite or a Godfearer, and that your faith requires you to observe only Israelite festivals, then you will be upholding the good reputation of our God among the nations.

                28You have to make a distinction between exclusivity of allegiance, and exclusivity of God’s salvation and love – they are not the same thing. 29God allows all religions; it is not God’s will that every human being should belong to the same religion – we do not make nuisances of ourselves by insisting everyone join our religion. 30While pagan gods were the gods of one particular people or another, YHVH was and is the God of Israel and of all nations. 31YHVH’s guidance, love and blessings are available to all humanity, regardless of their faith, or absence of one. 32What YHVH requires of humanity is a just and righteous way of behaviour towards one another. 33This is why the Israelite religion does not believe in exclusivity of salvation or divine blessing.

                34It does, however, believe in exclusivity of allegiance. 35There is nothing wrong with other people’s husbands or wives; we just do not sleep around with them. 36In the same way, there is nothing wrong with other people belonging to other religious traditions; we just do not get involved with those traditions. 37It’s not a judgment or a condemnation on those religious traditions.

                38And for those of you who were brought up in other faiths, choosing YHVH is like choosing your spouse. 39Becoming an Israelite is like entering a marriage, an exclusive marriage, where there is no room for outside dalliances.

                40If you are thinking of becoming an Israelite, and of following the Way of YHVH, you have to understand this attitude of an exclusive marriage. 41Just as most people look forward to being with their spouse for the rest of their lives, and must therefore think very carefully about who they are choosing, and the reasons for that choice, so also we must think very carefully about YHVH, who we are choosing, and why.

                42Faithfulness to YHVH, is like the faithfulness of marriage. A relationship with YHVH has the dignity, respect and worth of such an exclusive, lifelong relationship.

 

Having a strong identity for what is ‘us’, does not mean hating what is ‘them’

7:25. 1There are many facets to the question of how exactly we are to ‘love our enemy’. 2It is a very special person who can deliberately go out and actively show care and consideration for complete strangers – intentionally meeting unknown people and, without even knowing anything about them, to treat them as special, unique and full of worth. 3Unless we have a specific vocation from God to do this, this is not what most of us are being asked to do.

4In the wording of the Great Commandment, the writer could have used the word racham – to have compassionate, unconditional love for someone, but he didn’t. 5He used a much broader verb, ahav, and that is simply behaving in a way towards others which is not negative. 6By the use of the words ‘as yourself’ in the commandment, it implies that we also take a moment to consider our actions on others, as if our actions were being done to us. 7We need to ask ourselves, ‘how would I feel if I were on the receiving end of what I am doing to others?’

8I strongly believe God causes our paths to cross with certain strangers. 9For the people God wants us to meet, we can respect them, treat them fairly, and do them no harm. 10And of course, there are different ways of showing such love. 11When we encounter someone for a few short moments, someone we will never see again, it’s expected that we will be courteous, respectful, not frown or pull a face that implies we are annoyed at someone interrupting us. 12‘Loving’ such a person in that instance, does not mean getting involved in a full-blown emotional relationship with them! 13It’s the very basic things – treating someone in the same way as we would wish others to treat us – no more, no less.

14With someone who is not one of ‘us’, it may be more difficult, depending on the degree of difference from what is ‘us’, 15but in such a situation, it means ‘not hating them in our heart’ – not wishing them harm, not rejoicing over their misfortune, not putting obstacles in their way, not begrudging helping them, and so on.

16Now, there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone. There is nothing wrong with holding very clear-cut views and beliefs. 17One does not even have to meet someone half-way to their opinions or even share their ways in order to love that person. 18You simply have to be at peace with yourself, and not be threatened by the fact that someone does not agree with you. 19The fact that someone believes something very different to you, does not automatically negate everything you believe.

20When Yeshua` said, ‘Love those who hate you,’ he wasn’t just talking about those who despise us, he was also referring to those who are not one of us – those outside our group. 21There are those who are not us, yet do not hate us, and are not our enemies. We are commanded to love them too.

22We have a strong tendency to come at this with the associations the English language has given to the word ‘love’. 23The bottom line is that the English word ‘love’ is actually very limited, implying ‘liking someone an awful lot’, and in Hebrew, it isn’t limited to that. 24It isn’t restricted to the emotional level, but covers how you deal with other people as well. 25In English, when we hear the word ‘love’, we automatically think of things we should do to the object of our love, but in the Hebrew mindset, you are also meant to consider the things you shouldn’t do. 26When you love someone, there are just some things you simply don’t do, and what you wouldn’t do to a friend whom you love, likewise, don’t do those things to an enemy, an adversary, or just someone who is different.

 

Although you can do things to separate yourself from God, nothing you do can possibly separate God from you

7:26. 1The prophet Isaiah said, ‘But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.’ 2For those who have only heard Paul’s teaching, with his emphasis on us being separated from God, and his teaching that only death can reconcile that separation, it makes us think, either God doesn’t want to be reconciled unless there’s blood and death, or He can’t be reconciled unless there is blood sacrifice. 3So when we read something like this passage, we automatically think that by sinning, God is separating Himself from us; and that God is hiding His face from us.

4But look at it again. It’s not God separating from us, it’s us separating from God. 5God hasn’t hidden His face; our sins have caused us not to ‘see God’s face’ – not to experience God’s Presence. 6If you read further, you see that what this all implies is that we have become stubborn and unrepentant. 7For that reason, God will not hear us – that is, until we actually do repent. 8There are therefore three things we should always remember in our journey to repentance and atonement:

9Firstly: There is nothing you can possibly do that can separate you from God.

10We can turn our face from God, we can disobey God, we can even separate our minds and our ways from anything to do with God, but there is nothing, NOTHING we can possibly do to separate God from us. 11Even in our darkest, most disobedient hour, YHVH is still closer to us than our own breathing. You cannot run away from God.

12Secondly: There is nothing you can possibly do that can harm God’s relationship with you

13Many people think that it would go without saying that God is unharmable, yet we still persist in ways of thinking which imply precisely that. 14There are a few religious people who give the impression that, by sinning, by rebelling against God, we are hurting God’srelationship with us. They’ll say, ‘If you do bad things, God won’t love you anymore,’ or ‘God will abandon you.’

15What we hurt and damage is on our part, not God’s. 16When we do wrong, we can harm the way we relate to God, we can damage our view of God, and we can impair our ability to relate to God, but we cannot stop God from loving us, or wishing the best for us, or caring about us. 16We can break our connection with God, but we cannot break God’s connection with us.

17Thirdly: God is not someone who stands permanently over us, ready to beat us and crush us when we make mistakes.

18There are a lot of unenlightened religious teachers who still have this image of God – ‘If you’re bad, God’s gonna get you’, as if God were some kind of divine bogeyman. 19The reality of this kind of thinking is, that it creates a negative image of God, and thereby desecrates the holiness of God’s reputation.

20Yes, YHVH is a God of righteous discipline; YHVH is a God of justice, and just retribution. 21But there is a difference between a parent who teaches and guides their child with love, and one who stands in anger with a whip or a stick ready to beat their child at the slightest mistake. 22The second kind of parent is a seriously disturbed – even psychotic – individual, yet there are some people who would paint God as such an individual.

23Those who are basically good people, and do their best to be good, have nothing to fear from God, even if on occasion they fail. 24The only people that need to tremble before God are those who deliberately set out to do harm to others, oppress others, do injustice and cause suffering. 25God’s just laws are there to protect the good majority from the wicked minority, not to oppress the good – even though some religious people will abuse God’s laws to oppress the innocent. 26But still, God does not enjoy the death of the wicked; God would rather that they change their ways and live.

There are no such things as demons that cause illness: on having compassion for the sick, no matter their illness

7:27.     1According to the beliefs of many pagan peoples in the ancient world, skin diseases, sexually transmitted diseases, and death were all caused by demons; other instances of ritual unfitness (‘or ‘unwholeness’) were not normally attributed to demons. 2However, in the world of Yahwist monotheism, there are no such things as demons. 3To someone who sees demons and devils around every corner, this is an astonishing revelation.

4In Yahwist belief, there are no such things as devils who were created by an evil being, to purposefully wreak havoc and misery on human beings. 5Yahwism rejects any belief in supernatural demons, whose purpose is to deliberately do evil, or knowingly cause us harm.

6In the opening verses of Numbers chapter five, three types of sick people were to be removed from the camp of the Israelites in the Sinai to a place outside. 7They were removed, because they were threat to the holiness of God’s reputation, not because of their illness itself. 8These people might think, ‘I have been made ill by a demon, therefore God is not a holy God’. 9There was a concern that they might therefore cause the Presence of YHVH to withdraw from the camp, and in so doing, leave the Israelites vulnerable. 10The reason for the removal was not any danger to human persons, but rather “so that they do not defile the camp of those in whose midst I dwell.”

11Having left Egypt – where belief in demons was commonplace – many Israelites may also have carried over a belief in demons and devils into their personal faith. 12It seems that even a belief in demons was enough to get them removed – remember, it wasn’t ritual unfitness itself that was the problem (otherwise all ritually unfit persons would have been removed). 13The objectionable part of their condition was the possibility that they – and those around them – might think their afflictions were somehow connected to demons; in true Yahwism, that simply was not acceptable. 14The clear and present danger to the holy way of thinking was too great, and could only be combatted by physical removal of the afflicted individuals (of course, they would still be cared for outside the camp).

15There is a certain range of thought that poses a danger to the fullness of God’s holiness dwelling among us. 16For the Pharisees and Sadducees, ritual purity were things that you avoided; physical things contaminated you. 17For those who seek a true understanding of our living God, there is a realisation that certain ways of thinking push God’s holiness away from us – that certain ways of thinking contaminate you.

18Believing that demons and the devil are behind every bad thing that happens to us, causes God’s holiness to withdraw from our lives – just look at how superstitious and judgmental that people who believe in this stuff have become! 19For example, believing that perfectly natural catastrophes are a punishment from God upon an entire nation, also causes God’s holiness to withdraw – because that’s not how YHVH works in this world. 20And believing that a particular sickness is a punishment against a certain group of people, also causes the goodness and compassion of God’s holiness to withdraw from our lives.

21The evidence that God’s holiness has withdrawn from those people who think like this, is plain for all to see: they become cold, judgmental people who are quick to condemn; 22they see life as a battle to be fought; they are fearful people who see dark forces behind every corner; 23and just like the ancient pagan peoples who saw demons behind every minor upset in life, each day becomes a struggle against the fear of the unknown – they become terrified of the future, and wonder, ‘Where is God in all this?’ 24Believing in demons, and seeing their presence around every corner, causes a person to cease being able to see the presence of God.

25In total contrast, knowing that the very Presence of YHVH is to be found in the human help given to those who are sick, actually invites the holiness of God’s Glory to open up to us; 26knowing that if we are striving to live our lives closer to God’s compassion, then we realise that natural catastrophes are not a punishment – this change in our perspective invites God’s holiness in; 27and seeing God’s active Presence in the compassion of those who care for the sick and the dying, rather than in the disease itself – this calls forward God’s holiness into our hearts.

28The plain, visible evidence of God’s Presence in the lives of those who think this way is this: that those in suffering, trial and pain are greatly moved by the compassion of God’s real servants, and are thereby inspired to draw near to God; 29those who are despised and rejected by society are warmed by the radiant love of YHVH for the shunned and the outcast in the actions of God’s servants, and are filled with renewed faith and awe for God. 30And the sick and dying who before have known only condemnation, suddenly see forgiveness and kindness in the actions of God’s true servants, and reach out to the living God of mercy.

31None of us can dictate to God whom God should and shouldn’t be compassionate towards, for thus says YHVH: 32“I will show mercy to whomsoever I choose to show mercy, and I will have compassion upon whomsoever I choose to have compassion”. 33The lesson drawn from these few short verses therefore, is this: think and speak in such a way that YHVH’s holiness draws near to you; and do not think or speak in ways that will drive God’s Presence far from you, because evidence of both will be obvious to those in sore need of God; 34such people will know whether God is near to you, or far from you, because of what you say and do.

 

The unwritten Israelite principle of ‘Mutual responsibility’

7:28. 1In the Israelite faith, there is the unwritten principle of ‘mutual responsibility’. 2In any given situation or relationship, in order for God’s just ways to work and come to fruition, there are responsibilities on both sides. 3While your duty to be just is not dependent on the other party being just towards you, you cannot expect to be forgiven, if you yourself do not also forgive; 4you cannot expect to be treated with respect, if you yourself do not also respect others; 5and you cannot expect justice or mercy, if you yourself do not treat others with justice and mercy.

              6For example, where hospitality is concerned, there were unwritten obligations both on the host, as well as the guest. 7The host was not to be abusive to his or her guests, or ill-treat them in any way.  8However, at the same time, the guest was not to take advantage of the kindness or generosity of the host. 9Even though the host traditionally told the guest, ‘My home is your home; eat and drink your fill’, the guest was not to trash the place, consume everything or bring the host to ruin.

10When we go to another country and live as aliens, as Jews we have always held it as an important principle to respect the laws and culture of the country to which we are exiled. 11We have never been subversive, or instigated the overthrow and subjugation of our host nations; 12when we are immigrants or refugees in a foreign land, it is our duty to adhere to the unwritten laws of host and guest, because if we abuse and take advantage of our hosts, we cannot then turn round and expect the people of that land to treat us fairly. 13If we are just and fair to our hosts, and their people still ill-treat and oppress us, then all the greater is their sin before God, and the greater will be their sentence from God; 14the greater your innocence, then the greater is God’s judgment against the wicked who do you harm.

15A similar code of mutual responsibility existed with gleaning rights.  You were not meant to set off on a journey thinking, ‘Oh, I don’t need to take any food with me, because I can take from other people’s fields’. 16This would have been an abuse of the gleaning laws. 17The gleaning laws aided you if you were very poor and didn’t have enough for the whole journey, or if you unexpectedly ran out of food.

18So again with the relationship between parent and child. Just as a child was to be obedient and respectful towards its parents, so also a parent had a responsibility not to give their child an evil or immoral command to follow. 19In such a case, the child has no obligation to obey a harmful or evil command from their parents. 20A parent was also not to abuse or treat the child in such a way that would mentally scar them for life.

21So, when you enter into any kind of interaction with another party, no relationship is ever one-way – teacher and pupil, immigrant and host-country, politician and voter, orator and audience; 22although your duty to be a good and righteous person is not dependant on the other party showing you the same consideration, in order for the fruits of that relationship to grow and ripen, both sides have obligations to each other.

23If you wish to be respected and treated with dignity, you must treat others with dignity; 24and when you go to another country, you must not look on the citizens of that place with disdain, or tell yourself that they are beneath you. 25The one that goes everywhere thinking, ‘I am better than everyone, and am entitled to be treated well by everyone, because they are all inferior to me; even if I am cast ashore and find myself with nothing, I demand that those who save me treat me as their superior’ – 26if you think like this, don’t be surprised if you are once again cast adrift.

 

Being tolerant of others does not mean becoming the same as others, or abandoning Israelite values and distinctiveness

7:29. 1One of the hallmarks of Talmidaism is tolerance, and from this should grow a willingness to understand differences.

              2To be tolerant, you do not have to become the same as what is ‘other’. 3Celebrate and value differences, but it is essential to also value your own identity. 4It is not necessary to abandon who you are in order to be accepting of others. 5To demand that everyone become the same, is like finding a tropical rainforest, cutting it down and replacing all the wonderful, rich diversity of plants with just one type of plant; 6and then you will find that this type of plant dies, because it once lived in an ecosystem where it needed all the other plants to flourish.

              7Nor is it necessary to say that one’s own culture is better and superior to other cultures in order to value your own culture. 8It is not necessary to celebrate your people’s conquests over other cultures and nations, in order to find something to value. 9Look at your customs and traditions, your literature, language, dialect, cuisine, music and festivals. 10Furthermore, don’t hide what is unpleasant in your people’s history – remember the sorrowful actions of the past, while celebrating the good in the present and the future; 11this will give you a balanced and reasonable picture of who and what you are.

              12I want to close by saying something about ‘tolerance-fascism’. 13This is where people are so eager to show that they are tolerant, that they are willing to turn a blind eye to the wrongdoings of outsiders, and make excuses for the unpleasant things that an individual does; 14or where they even walk back against their own values in order not to seem prejudiced. 15Remember that both sides in a relationship need to treat each other equally; therefore, you cannot openly discuss the sins of one group, and yet cover up and ignore the evils of another. 16Pointing out an individual sin does not mean tarring everyone with the same brush; recognise the wrongdoing, and work to eliminate it, without persecuting an entire group of people.

              17Being tolerant does not mean tolerating what is intolerant; it does not mean becoming naïve or abandoning your values and all your common sense. 18Use the wisdom that God gives you – treat one another equitably, encourage when encouragement is deserved, but do not cover up wrongdoing, since covering up misconduct is itself a sin. 19If you do cover up and make excuses for the offences of others, you will diminish the standing of your society in the world, and you will show yourself a fool, instead of a wise child of YHVH.

 

The first and quickest answer you come to, is not always the right one; the importance of valuing all parts of human society

7:30.     1It’s interesting how it happens that the eldest does not always count as the first. 2Eisav (Esau) was the firstborn, but it was Ya`aqov (Jacob) who inherited God’s promise. 3Among the sons of Levi, Gershon was the firstborn, but it was the descendants of the second-born, Kohath, who got the privilege of carrying the most important objects in the Mishkan (such as the Ark).

4But let me talk to you about jigsaw puzzles first! When I was a small boy, my grandma gave me a lot of jigsaw puzzles. 5I always wondered why – I never asked for them. They weren’t particularly great jigsaws, not that complicated, and the pictures weren’t that fantastic. 6To look at these 50-year old pieces of scrappy wood now, with their pictures fading and falling off, they really aren’t worth that much, but these days, as I struggle to regain my mental health, I realise what an invaluable gift these jigsaws were. 7If I tried to give them to someone else, they would never understand their true value – 8not only the lessons I learned, but the special relationship I had with my grandma, and the love she showed me as a small child.

9You see, most people these days want things fast. They want a quick answer, they want the job done quickly, time is money, and so on. 10If the mayor is up for re-election, then he/she wants all crimes solved yesterday; it doesn’t matter if you throw the wrong person into jail, just as long as you get someone for the crime. 11People nowadays want answers, and as long as they get them quickly, pronto, it doesn’t matter if those answers are the wrong ones.

12One thing jigsaw puzzles taught me was patience. You don’t get the big picture straight away. 13It also taught me that, when you are trying to solve a problem or a mystery, then firstly, you don’t force pieces of the puzzle to fit when they self-evidently don’t fit; 14and secondly, you don’t discard any of the pieces when they don’t fit – you never know if they are actually integral parts of the greater whole.

15There are some people who think that simply being members of a particular religion makes them instant experts on the Bible, and privy to the mind of God. 16They think that mere belief is enough to tell them all there is to know about God. 17But when they deliver their ranting sermons in public places, what becomes obvious is that they have forced pieces of the puzzle together, bits that just don’t belong together. 18Anything – any evidence – that cannot be forced together is just thrown away and ignored, never to be seen again. 19These people then end up with a faith that is based purely on the simplest of personal belief, on gut-faith, stuck together with superglue and fuelled by the drug-trip of their fundamentalist endorphins, and not based on anything that will stand up to the test of reason.

20When you come upon a puzzle that is seemingly insoluble, then you might encounter pieces that at first, don’t seem to fit. 21But you never throw anything away. You put them to one side. 22You might then concentrate on parts of the puzzle that do fit together more easily – on faces or objects that are recognisable. 23Then you come across a piece that doesn’t fit with what you are currently working on, but nevertheless you recall that you didhave a piece a while back that it would have fit with. 24As time goes on, each of these disparate sets of pieces get bigger and bigger, until you realise that yes, the disparate sets of pieces do all fit together – maybe not in the way that you first thought, but they do actually fit together eventually.

25Someone who thinks this way will not find quick answers, but the answers they eventually come up with will be the right answers. 26The picture they put together will be a beautiful picture – an inspiring picture. 27So there are two types of people in this world: people who want simple answers and solutions fast, and then there are people who want the right answers.

28Now, let’s return to the sons of Levi and their duties carrying the Mishkan. 29It wasn’t the descendants of the eldest that got the most important job, but those of the middle son. 30In a conventional society, someone who gets the lesser job will feel hard done by. 31In societies with hierarchies, someone with the lowliest job might feel they have gotten the short end of the stick – all they have is that rotten cleaning job, or that worthless rubbish collection job, or that dead-end night-porter’s job. 32And with everyone looking down on them, what else can they think?

33Without a social hierarchy, you begin to see that everyone’s job matters. 34No job is actually more or less important than anyone else’s. 35Like a jigsaw puzzle, everything fits together, and there are no discardable parts. 36The Yahwist piqqud (principle) of mutual responsibility then comes into play. 37Those with high-profile jobs should have respect for those with lowly jobs, and vice versa – because without each other, neither would have a job. 38Not everyone can be big-shot financiers, company CEOs, area managers for multi-national retail firms, or brain surgeons. 39And think what our cities would look like if we had no cleaners, garbage collectors, street-sweepers, and so on. 40What we all do matters – just like the Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites, regardless of what parts of the Mishkan they ended up carrying.

              41In many developed nations, there is an underclass developing. 42In societies where all that matters is making money and accumulating wealth, people with limited qualifications or ability increasingly have little to do, and limited prospects for improving their lives. 43Doggedly refusing to understand or value the place that everyone plays in human society has created this underclass. 44In our developed nations, this underclass has reached a point where they have no reason to have any stake in the society in which they live. 45They have no connection with their society, and no stake or interest in the well-being of their neighbours.

46The solution is not by conning everyone into thinking they can become rich. Not everyone is capable of financial or commercial ruthlessness. 47And by devaluing the work of the lowliest, one should not be surprised when no local person wants such jobs, and then they get filled with immigrants instead (and then the immigrants get the blame)! 48The solution begins with stopping treating others as your enemies, and realising that they are your brothers and sisters. 49They may be on a lower social scale, but in a Yahwist society, the tevunah (ideal) we are working towards, is one where one’s social level doesn’t matter, because everyone is due equal respect as human beings, as sons and daughters of YHVH. 50What matters is that you help your brother, you take care of your sister. 51After all, you don’t look down on your own family if they do a lowly job, so don’t look down on your neighbours when they do lowly jobs.

52It isn’t the complete answer, but it’s a beginning. It will set any underclass back on the road to believing in the society they are a part of. 53This mindset will give them back their self-worth, and provide them with a reason for giving to their society, instead of just taking from it wat they can or destroying it.

              54Similarly, in the functioning of the Assembly of Israel, every sect and religious community matters. 55Regardless of which sect or denomination you belong to, within the body of Israel, we all matter. 56We may argue with one another, we may criticise and disagree, but in the end, we are all brothers and sisters, and we all matter to one another. 57So when you see something wrong within any given community, remember that you are not criticising them to bring about their destruction, because in fact you would be seeking the destruction of your own siblings, your own family.

58If you suppress the energy and potential of any particular sector of your society, then all you are doing is building up problems for another day. 59Human society is not an open-ended tube that you can squeeze out whatever you don’t want; rather it’s a closed tube – if you squeeze one part of it, whatever was in there will simply be forced to another part of the tube. 60Eventually the pressure in the crowded part of the tube will be so great, that it will ignite and explode.

61However, when a nation comes together to act with common purpose, they can act almost as one person, with one body. 62And when there is a powerful, ancient philosophy of divine wisdom behind that people, then there is no stopping what that body can achieve.

              63The Assembly of Israel is the emissary of YHVH to the nations. 64Our God has no body, or any voice that most people can hear, but the Emissary of YHVH does have a voice and body. 65The Assembly of Israel has a voice – its priests, elders, sages and scribes; it has clothing – the daily deeds of ordinary Israelites and Godfearers; its body has bones – the customs, laws and principles our society is built on; and it has its lifeblood – the justice, love and compassion we need to show towards one another.

66You’ll notice there that I have left out the head, the mind. That is still of YHVH; YHVH is the head of Israel’s body.

67The Merarites packed up and carried the bones of the Mishkan (the pegs, poles, posts, planks and sockets); 68the Gershonites carried the flesh and clothing of the Mishkan – the coverings, hangings, cords and cloths; 69but the Kohathites carried the heart and mind – the menorah, the table of showbread, and most importantly the Ark.

70In order for a society to function, respect has to be given to all its constituent parts. 71You take away what matters to even the smallest part of that society, and you will destroy it – first the feet, then the legs, the hands, and arms; and when the body dies, so does the head.

72The leaders of many countries pander only to the heads of their society, and ignore the needs of the rest of the body. 73They starve the rest of the body, and then they scratch their heads in stunned bewilderment when their society falls into violence, crime, and social unrest.

74Once upon a time, Ephraim was a powerful kingdom – bigger and more powerful than Judah. 75But they forgot YHVH who gave them that status; they abandoned the values that God built their country on, and now they are no more. 76When God calls Ephraim back one day, and Ephraim returns to God, we will never again regain that greatness, but Ephraim will find his place, by his sister Judah’s side. 77On his own, Ephraim is nothing; on her own, Judah struggles. But Ephraim is the arrow in Judah’s bow, and as one stick in God’s hand, we will be strong enough to fulfil God’s will.

78Every piece of the puzzle fits together; no piece is worth less than another. No job is less than any other. 79No person is less than any other – no individual person’s worth before God is greater or less than any other; no man or woman has more privilege before God than another; like Manoah and his wife, even the lowliest will have the boon of ‘seeing the face of God’ (coming into God’s Presence, the presence of their King).

80YHVH is the head of the body; YHVH directs us and guides us; YHVH gives us our ideals, principles, laws and our very lifeblood. 81When others see the Followers of YHVH, if we act in a way that feeds and gives respect to each of its parts, then others will see the true heart that guides us in all our ways, and gives us life.

 

On reacting badly to doubt and difficult questions

7:31.     1Please, don’t react to searching questions from others with anger, physical violence or threats. 2Don’t punish people for their doubt or unbelief. 3Reacting this way defames the holiness of YHVH, and shames the honour of your religion. 4If you do find yourself being angry with someone who doubts or asks challenging questions, it most certainly means that you are disturbed by something you don’t have an answer to. 5Rather than make something up which is not true, admit that you don’t have an answer – it is no shame to lack knowledge in a matter. 6Both a good person and a wise person will not be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” 7To them, a new question is not something to fear, but rather a new opportunity to learn.

 

The true gifts of God’s spirit and Presence

7:32.     1In rabbinic parlance, the term ‘Holy Spirit’ simply means ‘the spirit of God’; the use of the word ‘holy’ is simply a further example of an avoidance of the word ‘God’. 2In Yahwist terms, this refers to the observable influence and action of YHVH’s Presence in this world. 3Unfortunately, the 2nd century inheritors of Paullist theology eventually came to believe that ‘the Holy Spirit’ was actually a separate entity, a third person within one God.

4This is like saying that the strength of force that is displayed by the roaring waters of a raging river, is actually a separate entity or element of the water, rather than being an inseparable quality of what the water does; 5or that the wetness of the water is a separate and distinct element of the water, instead of being an intrinsic quality of the water itself. 6YHVH’s spirit is the observable power of God in this world, not an entity possessed of a separate consciousness or will.

7Some religious communities have a skewed idea of what effect the Presence of God has on a person. 8Such communities think that God’s Presence makes you ecstatically happy, causing you to sing and clap uncontrollably. 9While God is certainly true happiness, this is not the sign that God is with a congregation; it’s just a sign that they are happy about God.

10There are others who think that inspiration under God’s spirit means saying the first thing that comes into your head. 11I have heard such people tell me, “God wants me to tell you that . . . etc etc”. 12The words that subsequently come out of their mouths show little evidence of the inspiration of God, but rather the prejudices and false beliefs of their own hearts.

13So what are the real signs that God’s spirit is with someone? 14The prophet Isaiah tells us that one of the gifts of God’s Presence in a person’s life is fortitude (Hebrew gevurah). 15Indeed, the truest sign of the gift of God’s Presence in a person’s life, is that they are able to achieve things that they would not normally be capable of doing, or have the strength to do. 16When you achieve goals that are beyond your normal range, and display wisdom and understanding beyond your capability, that is proof that YHVH is with you.

17The same verse in Isaiah goes on to say that four other major gifts of God’s Presence are wisdom, understanding, counsel, and knowledge. 18The Book of Exodus also lists three of these gifts – wisdom, understanding and knowledge. 19For example, the Prophet Amos was an ordinary man who tended orchards, so when he started voicing things that could not have come from him, people knew that God was with him. 20Simply being ‘happy-clappy people’, or talking in a loud, trembling voice does not mean that God is working through you; 21when you speak with great wisdom, discernment and understanding, that is a sign that God is with you.

22Conversely, if what you say displays no wisdom, no knowledge and no understanding, what you have said cannot possibly be from God.

23When God’s spirit – that is, the living power of God’s Presence comes upon a person – they speak knowledge that they could not have known. 24With their disabilities and handicaps, they achieve things that they could not otherwise have achieved. 25With the imperfections of their personalities and characters, they realise acts of mercy and compassion that they could not have otherwise undertaken, given their own limitations. 26You know that the spirit of YHVH is with a person, because they say, do and teach things, with such an understanding that they could not otherwise have had.

27The gift of counsel (Hebrew `eitsah) is double-edged. It can mean ‘advice’ – that one is able to give advice. 28However, it also refers to advice received i.e. from God. In this respect, it can also mean ‘plans’ or ‘purpose’.

29For example, Isaiah 45.11 literally says, “a man of my purpose” – that is, a man whom God uses as an instrument to bring about and realise God’s plans. 30For this reason, the spirit of counsel is not just the ability to give advice, but also the ability to accept God’s advice, and become an instrument of God’s Divine purpose.

31Any man or woman upon whom God’s spirit rests, displays a profound and intense desire to seek the living will of YHVH and God’s purpose, putting aside his or her own desires, opinions and beliefs. 32Such a person yearns to believe what God believes, and does not allow their own weaknesses, hopes or theories to overrule God’s plans or justice. 33This comes from a profound realisation of the power and might of God, and of the true importance of bringing God’s will to its full realisation.

34The last gift of God’s Presence in a person’s life is the reverent awe of God (Hebrew yir’ah, often translated as ‘fear’). 35A person who has a reverent awe of YHVH, realises the tremendous living power of YHVH. 36The gut-punching impact of this realisation causes a person to fully recognise that there is nothing you can do to alter God’s purpose or will to your own.

37There are many religious people who think to themselves, ‘This is how I want the world and humanity to be. I will therefore create a god and a belief system in my image who will justify what I want.’ 38It is more important to such people that they are right, rather than be trustful in the rightness of God. 39Such people are nothing more than idolaters, who have created a god in their own image – even if they claim to worship only one God, they are still idolaters, because the one god they worship is one that they themselves have created.

40The person who reveres YHVH in awe, realises that he or she can never claim something that God has in fact never said or taught, or hide anything from God. 41Many religious people commit wrongs against God, deceiving humanity for their own purpose, without fully realising that God is completely aware of what they are doing, and will judge them for it. 42Someone who has a reverent awe of YHVH will not use or abuse religion for their own benefit, but will fear and respect the power of God.

43When people realise that the spirit of God is far more than simply being ecstatically happy, jumping up and down, clapping wildly and singing in a loud voice, some people will then be disturbed by the fact that the spirit of God does not rest on everyone. 44Their religion has told them that the power of God’s spirit falls on everyone who believes their religion’s beliefs, accepts their religion’s saviour, and belongs to their faith. 45When they come to realise that this is not true, there develops an empty feeling within them.

46They will look at what God requires of them, see the enormity of the task, and inevitably say, ‘I am not a perfect person!’ The response to that is: That is not what is important; that is not what is being asked of you. 47Remember, perfection (shleimut) refers to the healthy wholeness of your being – keeping your heart, mind and soul healthy, keeping them working as they were designed by God to work. 48The power of God’s spirit rests only on those who can be trusted to fulfil God’s purpose with integrity. 49A heart closed to God’s will, cannot be filled with the Glory of God.

50What is important therefore is the intent of your heart. 51If your heart is inclined towards doing good, if your mind and soul are directed towards the effort of fulfilling God’s will, then even if you stumble and fail, it is enough that you keep trying; God’s blessing and favour is with you simply because you are doing your best. 52When we fail, we repent and make expiation, and we make good on any mistakes we have made. 53God will not bestow eternal punishment on anyone for trying their best and failing. God loves you, no matter what.

54There are some who would fool us into thinking that the mere human propensity for stumbling and failing, means that our souls have been irrevocably poisoned by sin – such that only the death of a god-man can cure this ailment. 55In contrast, the Israelite religion gave us a way of healing after our mistakes, by turning to YHVH in a spirit of repentance and of striving to do better – of approaching the healing power of YHVH, so that God’s Glory can wipe our souls clean of the wrong we have done – completely.

56The power and effectiveness of a community to work for good and stand against evil, is not dependent on the perfection of the human spirit, but on the perfection of the spirit of YHVH among them – remember, we are holy because it is YHVH who sanctifies us and makes us holy. 57We simply have to do the best that we can do, and YHVH’s holiness will magnify a genuine and sincere heart.

58A human soul will be filled with God’s spirit when it is ready to be directed by God’s will, rather than by our own will and desires.

 

Differentiating Oracles from Prophecy

7:33.     1There is a difference between a prophet proper (navi), and an ecstatic (mitnabbei). 2In heaven, all knowledge and wisdom is open to you; all awareness of past, present and future is open to you, and the full realisation of what is good and what is evil is available to you. 3But on earth, in our limited human bodies, our minds could not contain such enormous amounts of information. 4God therefore deals out to us information as and when we need it, throughout the length of our days.

              5When the spirit and power of YHVH’s Presence comes to rest on a person, it is as if you suddenly have access once more to all that wealth of information that you had access to before your birth, when you were in heaven. 6Your mind cannot contain it at first, and what comes out of your mouth does not at first make sense. 7You see past, present and future all together; you see the joy and suffering of the generations; and for a split moment you see the whole, Divine purpose and plan, and you black out with the effort of making sense of it all. 8When you awake, you are glad simply to be still alive. But you have a renewed sense of purpose; a remnant of that faintly glimpsed message – that Davar – remains with you.

              9An ecstatic will not be able to learn how to filter through all the messages he or she is receiving from God, and will speak short phrases that, when strung together, don’t make much sense. 10I must say that this is not the same as those who claim to ‘speak in tongues’, when what people are saying is in fact complete gibberish and nonsense. 11What an ecstatic says makes partial sense. 12What a prophet says makes complete sense, because a prophet says verbatim what God tells them to say. 13Bystanders can understand the individual words of both the ecstatic and the prophet. 14An ecstatic interprets what he or she has seen, and tries to put feelings and images into human words; a prophet has no choice in what he or she says – a prophet can only repeat the words of God, word for word.

 

Jews and Efras are one family

7:34. 1I recall reading how, during some persecutions, certain Israelites avoided anti-Semitic persecution by insisting that they weren’t technically ‘Jews’. 2I can understand fear, and God certainly appreciates the desire to save life, but it needs to be said that we cannot pick and choose who we are, as and when the situation demands. 3Our calling, our identity, is from God, and we would be throwing away that sacred vocation if, in times of difficulty, we were to stand by and witness our fellow Israelites being taken, just to save ourselves.

4Ruth said, “wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you dwell, I will dwell. Your people shall be my people, and your God shall be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried.” 5The fate of all Israelites is therefore the same, regardless of which tribe we belong to. 6The fate of an Efrathite is the same as that of a Judahite; Jews and Efras are bonded and joined – Jews and Efras are brothers and sisters, our God is the same God, and we are cut from the same cloth. 7If it is possible to save both Jews and Efras, and needs must, then hide your identity if that is the right action to save everyone; 8but if Jews are being singled out and taken, then they shall take Efras as well; we should not abandon our family.

 

On investing in your faith

7:35.     1I had a friend whose reading glasses cost him a few pounds, but whose long-distance glasses cost him hundreds of pounds. 2He often misplaced his reading glasses, and several times he had to replace them because he had sat on them or stepped on them. 3However, his long-distance glasses were carefully looked after, and he never misplaced them or broke them.

              4What doesn’t cost you much, and what you have invested little into, is generally not looked after or valued. 5I have found that this is the same with religious faith. 6Perhaps we will value our time in heaven all the more, because of the experiences we will have undergone here on earth. Perhaps our afterlife will be all the more meaningful, for having lived this life. 7The ultimate, everlasting pleasure is all the more satisfying, because we will have worked for it here; the final end of a quest is exquisitely treasured for the journey we have made to get there, far more than if we had been taken to our goal right at the start.

8Now, I am unashamedly a moderate, and most human beings are moderate in their outlook, but why is it that strict religions are growing, while moderate religions are failing and dwindling?

9As moderates, we have a tendency to make things easier for people to do, so that it is not a burden on them. 10Unfortunately, the net result is that the religious faith we then give them is not valued; there is no emotional investment in it – there is no cost. 11Making things tooeasy is counter-productive; it devalues what is found at the end of the search – the things that are gained easily are invested with little value.

12In a dream, God told me that I would never be wealthy or have a loving relationship, and that I would always be alone. 13And in spite of everything I tried to do to change that outcome, God’s prediction has turned out to be true. 14This has been the enormous cost of my faith to me. 15The reward however, is that God has given me wonderful answers, insight and astonishing knowledge; I would never even consider trading that for anything that I have been unable to have.

16I pray that the cost of our faith to others will never be as high as what it has been for me, but I need to put this to the future leaders of our faith: 17without being authoritarian, sadistic or inflexibly rigid, you need to ask, what does our faith actually cost the Follower? 18How much are they invested spiritually and emotionally in their faith? If there is no investment or cost, they will not value it.

              19In the Scandinavian countries, they pay a high level of tax, but for that cost, they receive a great deal in return, and what they get is of good value. They are therefore willing to pay that cost.

              20If you are seriously ill and in danger of dying, but are given an option to undergo a course of treatment that although painful, will be guaranteed to cure you, then you would be willing to endure the pain in order to live and get better.

21In order for someone to be willing to pay the price of faith – as I was – the reward must be something substantial and worth paying. 22Followers need to be able to feel that they belong to something worth belonging to – something that, in real terms in the real world, is worth paying the price for. 23They want support in their hard times, they need somewhere to turn to for community and fellowship; they need the reassurance that in their old age, they will not be abandoned or ill-treated; and they need reliable knowledge and good-quality insight from their teachers. 24Their faith needs to be enjoyable, deep, meaningful, warm and supportive.

25So, I speak now to my future brothers and sisters who lead our faith: 26if you are going to ask of our co-Followers to contribute to the community, and to live according to a prescribed way of life where much is expected of them, do not expect them to give that to you for nothing; people will look after and treasure something that has great value – and you must never fake value.

Scroll Eight: Community Rulings, Guidelines and Talmidi Ethics

 

8:1. 1Whenever you encounter a situation in life that is not expressly covered in the written Torah, it was always God’s intention that you should gravitate towards what is good, wise, noble, just, fair, beautiful and compassionate – 2because YHVH our Sovereign is the very Essence of all these things; and whatever we decide, must always proceed from God’s Love. 3When interpreting Torah, you should look at the spirit and purpose behind why a commandment was given; 4don’t over-analyse everything, or assign meaning to every single letter, because you will only create problems and controversies for yourselves that are not even there.

              5We can either apply Torah with a warm heart, or with a cold heart. 6Neither way breaks the letter of Torah, and both follow the letter of what is written, but the cold heart breaks the spirit and principles of Torah, and defiles the holiness of God.

           7You can follow the laws of kashrut, and the cold heart will look upon non-kosher animals with contempt and hate them, but the warm heart will treat non-kosher animals with compassion, and simply ritually cleanse themselves before performing a sacred duty. 8You can follow the laws of menstruation, and a cold heart will banish women to live apart from men, but a warm heart will accept the ritual impurity for those who do not need to be in a state of ritual impurity; 9and men who do need to be in a state of ritual purity in order to perform religious rites, will take themselves off to dwell temporarily apart in ritual purity. 10Doing Torah is not always easy, but it can always be applied with God’s principles of compassion, mercy and justice. 11I exhort you therefore, my brothers and sisters, to apply Torah with a warm heart, and thereby give glory to your Father in heaven.

              12Slavish and blind adherence to commandments, without admitting to the possibility of exceptions, will do more harm than good. 13And don’t be like the one who says, ‘If the Bible were to say that two plus two equals five, then I would be obliged to accept it’.

           14Furthermore, what-ever is written in books beyond holy scripture, in order to cover what is omitted from Torah, is only a guidance, explanation and exhortation, not a fixed or immutable commandment. 15Whatever is agreed upon by the community, always remember that it was human beings who decided upon these things, to keep our feet on the path of the Way of YHVH, so that we turn neither to the left or the right.

 

On Slaves and Slavery

 

8:2. 1No one who strives to apply the compassion of YHVH should keep slaves; no Follower should seek to own another human being, or to have them under their possession. 2No Follower should ever say to themselves, ‘I can punish my slave at whim, since as long as they remain alive, I can strike them’. 3Do not think that God gave this commandment to allow us to strike a slave, 4but rather to make us think, ‘I do not want to become a person who thinks they can strike another human being with impunity; 5therefore, I shall not keep slaves at all.’

 

Women’s issues

 

8:3. 1No woman should be excluded from holding any job, post or office in the Talmidi community, on the basis of her gender alone. 2The only position closed to women would be that of the Aaronic priesthood, a position which most Israelite men would also be excluded from. 3If a woman – or a man – wishes to fulfil the duties of a priest outside the Temple, then they can take up the Nazirite vow for life; 4for the Nazirite vow enables an ordinary Israelite to fulfil all the duties of a priest outside the Temple.

 

8:4. 1With regard to ritual purity issues, connected to the natural processes of a woman’s body: 2do not diminish the life of your soul by banishing the women of the community to languish outside their home, during the time of their ritual unfitness; this is not the compassionate thing to do. 3If the men of a household have to be in a state of ritual purity for something, then the men themselves can take off to buildings or places set aside for living in ritual purity, from which they can then engage in their sacred duties. 4If the men do not need to be in a state of ritual purity, then the compassionate thing to do would be to accept that they are also in a state of ritual unfitness alongside the women of the household, 5and that they will remain so until the women have ended the time of their ritual unfitness.

 

8:5. 1The eye-witness of a woman has weight equal to that of a man who has seen or heard the same thing.

 

8:6. 1The opinion of a woman is equal to that of a man; 2the ruling of a learned woman is equal to that of a learned man of the same learning.

 

8:7. 1In debating issues which directly affect women, women should not be excluded from the debate; 2they should have a strong say in that which affects them, just as men should not be excluded from a debate that directly affects them.

 

 

On Justice

 

8:8. 1In making decisions that directly affect the lives of a particular section of the Talmidi community, or any interest group among you, do not exclude them from discussion and decision-making; 2for in governing the Congregation of the Way, remember that they are human beings – you are not herding cattle, prodding them with sticks and telling them where to go and not to go.

 

8:9. 1If a judge judges righteously, especially in difficult cases, and neither shows partiality before anyone, nor fears the presence of any individual, 2then that judge should have nothing to fear or feel ashamed of, because all righteous judgment is from God.

 

On Treatment of the Poor

 

8:10. 1Anyone who abuses, ill-treats, afflicts or oppresses the poor, the underprivileged, the destitute, the disadvantaged minority, the sick or the dying, the widowed or the orphaned – 2once found guilty, they should be cut off from the community because of their abuse, for these people are all under the protection of God, their Great Defender; 3and those cut off should not be accepted back into the community until they have turned their backs on their oppressions, and made good on their wrongdoings.

 

On Marriage

 

8:11. 1Marriage is not a man and a woman who have undergone a legal ceremony, and are thereafter joined together by a legal piece of paper – that is not what constitutes the sum of a marriage. 2For if love is absent in the hearts of one or both partners by the time of the final wedding ceremony, then that is not a marriage, and it is not God’s law that has joined them together, but human law alone.

           3If one or both partners enter the contract of marriage with no intention of being exclusively faithful to one another, then that is not a marriage, and no legal document can make it so.

           4If someone is forced against their freely given will to marry, then that is not a marriage, but rather an abomination in the sight of God. 5And even if the coerced partner has been threatened to say that he or she is marrying freely, it is God who will know the truth, even if human beings have been fooled; for one cannot lie to God, and therefore it will not be a marriage before God.

           6The marriage that God has joined and blessed is this: when two people come together to mutually commit themselves to one another in love and faithfulness; 7to have a mutual respect and admiration for one another; 8to support one another through good times and bad, 9through extraordinary times, and ordinary, mundane times; 10to accept one another’s perfections and imperfections – 11one should never enter a relationship thinking, ‘I can change, shape and mould this person into my perfect partner’, 12for it is the job of each individual to change themselves into becoming a worthy marriage partner, not anybody else’s job.

           13In a marriage, you grow together to become something greater than the sum of its parts; 14one partner is not the servant, and the other the master – neither partner exists for the other to be obeyed or served. 15A marriage is a contract of equal partners with equal authority.

           16This is what a marriage is – what God has joined together, and this is something that no human being can break apart.

 

On freedom of personal religion

 

8:12. 1No one should be forced to join any religion, nor be forced to leave any religion, for to do so is akin to rape.

           2No one should be forced to adhere to the laws of any religion to which they do not belong, for to do so is akin to a forced marriage without love.

           3No one should be made to suffer on account of their religion not being the religion of the majority, and no one should be made to suffer disadvantage because their religion is not the religion of the majority; 4for to do so is akin to persecuting the poor and the lowly, the fatherless and the alien, and thereby reviling God.

           5No one should be threatened with death simply for disagreeing with a religion, and no one should be put to death for leaving their religion, 6for to do so is akin to giving human beings less freedom than the lower animals.

           7Any religious person who promulgates these wicked things is not from God, 8but a religious person who refuses to enact these wickednesses shall be blest by YHVH, the God of freedom, and held in high honour in his kingdom; 9for YHVH is not a despot or a tyrant; YHVH does not rule the innocent with fear, nor terrorise God’s children with injustices.

 

8:13. 1However, if a person has been brainwashed by a cult, and their mind has been stolen – if their soul has been endangered and their wellbeing put in harm’s way, 2then to convince them to leave such a harmful religion is akin to saving a life, or to freeing a slave.

 

8:14. 1There will be occasions when people who have grown up in the Talmidi community wish to leave. 2Perhaps they have difficulty believing in God; perhaps they have reasoned that they can no longer subscribe to the tenets, principles, practices or beliefs of Talmidaism. 3If this happens, be wise, courageous, noble and like unto God, whom you serve.

           4Create a social environment where such a person can talk about what they are going through and feeling, without fear of judgment, persecution or condemnation; 5and do not hate them, like other religions do with their dissenters. 6If a son or daughter is having problems, and if a loving parent will listen to them with patience, care and love, how much more so will God! 7And shouldn’t we always try to emulate YHVH our God, who is the greatest, noblest and most perfect good?

           8Let the person who wishes to leave speak and have their piece, because you might actually learn something important from their doubts, 9which will then enable you to see the faults of your community, and so realise where you are going wrong, and what you can do better. 10For God is perfect, but religions are not.

           11Sometimes, a person can no longer accept our beliefs; you will profit much if you try to understand why. 12There is no point in trying to convince a person otherwise when their mind is made up, unless they actually ask you to respond and explain our standpoint.

           13Sometimes, a person can no longer believe in God. Some people are naturally unable to experience God, and you cannot judge them for that; it’s not their fault. 14Even if they have reached atheism through intellectual reason and logic, be patient and listen; respond only if they ask you to respond or explain. Loss of belief in God does not take away one’s status as an Israelite.

           15If a person wishes to leave the Talmidi community, be compassionate. 16If there is no reconciliation, let them depart in peace and friendship, in the love and warmth of YHVH. 17Do not act towards them in such a way, that they leave with bitterness or anger towards our faith.

           18When they leave, exhort them to live a life of justice, compassion, mercy, wisdom and love. 19Exhort them to live a good life, not to do intentional harm to others, and endeavour to live in peace with their neighbours.

           20As a religion, Talmidaism strives to know the perfection, highest good and heavenly beauty of YHVH; 21anything that is unpleasant, reprehensible or disagreeable in Talmidaism has come from human beings, not God. 22YHVH is the highest wisdom, the highest good, and the highest love; 23nothing that exists in this mortal realm – not even a religion or a sacred book – can ever, possibly compare to God.

           24And YHVH will heal those who leave, as well as those who remain.

 

8:15. 1No leader who operates their community like a cult should be admitted into the congregation of the Way. 2The leader who demands absolute obedience to his or her words, is not from God. 3An authoritarian leader has no authority given to them by God.

           4The group that loves increasing levels of hierarchy, does not have God at the top of that hierarchy. 5The group that operates secretly, and bans its members from being open or telling the truth, has no secrets to offer humanity from God, and has no divine Truth to give. 6The group that isolates its members from human society, from their natural family and from outside knowledge, isolates itself from the Wisdom and love of God, and sets itself outside the Kingdom of God.

           7The group that openly proclaims that they have all the answers, only makes this claim because they in fact have no answers. 8Any religious community that does not allow its members time for their own interests or relationships, has no time for God.

           9The group that says acceptable and soft things to outsiders, and lies to them and permits deception, and then speaks differently to their own followers and oppresses them in secret – the group that hides abuse of its members and goes out of their way to cover up its wrongdoing, that group is doomed to darkness.

           10And the group that instils obedience in its followers through stress and fear, is an anathema and an abomination in God’s sight; 11such a group should not be admitted into the congregation of the Way, until they have completely renounced their ways, and have turned from their evil.

           12Teach yourselves therefore how to recognise coercive, manipulative and controlling people, so that you will not be attracted or fooled by their initial platitudes and false kindnesses.

 

On Membership and Expulsion from the Congregation of the Way

 

8:16. 1Membership of the Assembly of Israel and the Congregation of the Way is not based on racial identity:

           2There is but one race – the human race. Within it, there are many nations, peoples and tribes. 3You all have one common female ancestor, and one common male ancestor, from whom you are all descended; therefore, you are all brothers and sisters.

           4All Israelites are the spiritual descendants of Abraham and Jacob. 5However, during the history of the Israelites, there have been noble marriages with people of other nations – 6did not a mixed multitude join Israel when she left Egypt? Did not the Kenite tribe of Midianites join Israel in her wanderings? Have not historians told us that the Shasu joined us, as well as the Jebusites? And was not Ruth, the ancestress of David, a Moabite? 7And has not God promised that God will shake out members of other nations, and call them to join the congregation of Israel? 8All these ancient peoples joined Israel, not because they were the biological descendants of Jacob, but because they followed YHVH. 9The children of YHVH all share the same heart and the same soul; you are therefore all children of Yisra’eil because of that fact.

           10You were a child of YHVH from before you were born. 11You might be born into a community that does not know YHVH, but YHVH will call you out from among the Nations, and will instil within you a yearning to belong to YHVH.

           12The people of YHVH are not a nation based on ethnicity, born of the same biological root stock, but you are drawn from the same spiritual root. 13Let Followers of the Way admit to no form of racial identity; let us not recognise skin colour, or geographic origin among us. 14Let our identity as a people be defined solely as, ‘those who follow YHVH alone, have been admitted into YHVH’s Covenant, and their descendants’. 15Therefore, let there be no racial supremacists among you – do not admit them into the congregation of the Way. 16There are those who are genuinely descended from the stock of Jacob – of Yisra’eil, but there are also others who are not, and yet are still members of the people of Yisra’eil according to God’s law – they are to be considerd ‘as those native-born’. And God’s Law overrides the edicts of racists.

           17Those who belong to YHVH are one nation, and one people; YHVH has created you for God’s Name.

 

8:17. 1These are the people whom you should never admit into the congregation of the Way: psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists, for they will pollute the holiness of the community, and turn it into a curse against God. 2They will bring your religion into disrepute, and turn something good and holy into something wicked and evil; 3for they have already done the same to other religions, and they will do this to yours as well.

           4If you do admit them, they will prey on your innocence and goodness – they will manipulate you as a compassionate child of God, and deceive you with honey-sweet words and friendly pleasantries, so that they can gain power over you. 5In this matter, ’though you are innocent as doves, you must be as cunning as wolves, and as shrewd as serpents; this is for the protection of your very lives and your souls.

           6You should also not admit men who abuse and beat their wives, nor wives who abuse and beat their husbands. 7Furthermore, you should refuse to admit those who sexually abuse others. 8Follow this guidance, and you will avoid a plague of scandals later on – these very same scandals that other religious communities have become embroiled in, these outrages that tarnish them and bring them down.

           9You should also refuse admittance to those who abuse the poor – people in public office who, by their harsh policies, make heavy the burden on the poor and needy, and display no compassion or understanding towards those who are without.

           10Be holy to YHVH!

 

8:18. 1These are the people whom you should expel from the community, without fail or exception, without any chance of being readmitted:

– those who abuse and beat their spouses;

– 2those who sexually abuse others;

– and those who prey on children, or abuse them.

 

3These are the people whom you should expel, if they do not change their ways and repent, or if they habitually return to their offences:

– 4those in public office who abuse the poor and the disadvantaged;

– those who corrupt the processes of justice;

– 5and those who use their religion to bring harm to others.

 

              6All these things profane the Holy Name of our God, because they bring the reputation of a community dedicated to the holiness of God into disrepute, and because they are crimes against those under YHVH’s special protection.

           7These people should be cut off from the congregation of the Way altogether, and their status as Israelites revoked, once their guilt is proved. 8Since in our community, membership of the House of Israel is not based on one’s biological ethnicity, cutting someone off from their people means revoking their Israelite status. 9You should expel these people from your midst, so that the holiness of YHVH’s Glory will not become closed off from you.

           10Be holy to YHVH!

 

8:19. 1Be ever vigilant against those who sexually abuse others, especially those who are ministers of religion, or who hold any position of authority or influence in the community. 2You have already seen the scandals that have shaken other religious communities, and how it has diminished them.

           3Do not make victims face their abusers – do not make them face their suffering again, and do not give the abuser the opportunity to have any power or threat over their victim. 4Be thorough in your investigation; your priority is to pursue justice, and do not try to cover up or deny the sins of the guilty. 5And don’t simply dismiss the case because there are no witnesses – in most cases, the only witnesses will be the victim and the abuser. 6And don’t exclude the police or civil authorities.

           7Be wary also of false accusations, because a false accusation will destroy the lives of the innocent. 8Although it is the teaching of our community not to swear oaths at all, in this instance it will strengthen the case of the victim, and protect an innocent from being falsely accused.

           9Therefore, when a victim comes to you, administer an oath in the Name of the Holy One – have them swear a solemn oath in the Name of YHVH that what they say is true, 10because to swear a false oath is a sin against the holiness of YHVH, and there is no forgiveness for such a sin. 11If they refuse to swear an oath, then their accusation is false.

           12When interviewing the victim, be sure that the person who interviews them is of the same gender as the victim, unless the victim allows otherwise. 13Ensure that your processes do not humiliate the victim.

           14Then you shall investigate the accused. 15You shall likewise administer an oath to them – you shall make them swear a solemn oath in YHVH’s Name to tell the truth, and answer your questions honestly – 16this is no different to the commandment requiring an oath when an animal is lost after being entrusted to another person, and how both parties are obliged to swear solemn oaths in order to determine the truth. 17And similarly, if the accused refuses to swear, then they are guilty. 18For if they swear a false oath, it is YHVH who will know that they have sworn falsely, even if the human judges have been fooled, and the guilty who swore falsely will never be forgiven, for they have profaned the holiness of God.

           19The abuser who is found guilty should, without fail or exception, be expelled from the community, and never be readmitted under any circumstances, even if they apologise; 20they should be cut off from our people, and have their status as Israelites revoked. 21In this aspect of the matter, it is important to understand that their ongoing presence will continue to traumatise their victims, and you risk further incidents. 22In this case, the principle to forgive does not apply, because doing so protects the abuser, and re-traumatises the victim – have the courage to use your common sense in these matters.

           23You should also, without fail or exception, expel anyone who helped the abuser to cover up their crimes. 24Furthermore, you should inform the congregation briefly of why the guilty party was expelled from the community, 25so that they can protect themselves, and so that the abuser cannot inveigle their way back into the congregation’s favour.

           26In bringing the guilty to justice, and in protecting the victim, you will be protecting the good reputation of YHVH’s holy Name – for YHVH is the protector of the innocent. 27Have the courage therefore to pursue the truth and justice, for in doing so you will be holy to YHVH!

 

On the Treatment of Animals

 

8:20. 1YHVH said that the first-born of our donkeys belongs to God, but were to be redeemed. 2Now Torah also says that ‘if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck’. 3This was given, not so that we could have a way of avoiding the redemption tax, but was given in the same spirit as when Solomon decreed that the disputed baby should be divided, and each half given to its two claimants.

           4The ruling to ‘break its neck’ was therefore given to cause us to have compassion on the young donkey – even though it is only a donkey – and to do all in our power to redeem it from death.

           5In this way, YHVH gave us a way of telling the wicked from the compassionate; 6for those who would willingly and happily lay their hands upon a young donkey to break its neck, are no different from those who would lay their hands upon their neighbour’s neck to murder them.

 

8:21. 1Simply because an animal is deemed ‘not kosher’, this is no permission to ill-treat and abuse such an animal. 2’Kosher’ means, ‘not suitable for ritual sacrifice or human consumption’. 3An ‘unclean’ animal (hayyāh temei’āh) does not refer to an animal that is to be feared, looked down on or neglected; it refers only to its suitability for religious ritual, secular use and eating. 4After all, are not horses and donkeys both ‘unclean’ animals? And yet they are ridden by anointed kings and consecrated priests! Was not Rebecca considered a good prospective wife for Isaac, because she had compassion on Isaac’s servant’s camels – and yet camels are non-kosher!

           5Consider also the dog. While all the Israelite scouts feared entering the Land, only Joshua and Caleb – who was named after the Dog – alone remained confident of YHVH’s promises. 6Caleb was named after an animal renowned for its loyalty, companionship, unconditional love, and for its selfless ability to defend to the death those whom they consider family. 7Caleb was named after a noble animal, not a spurned, repulsive or evil one.

           8The family of humankind took the dog into its home long before Israel or the Hebrew language ever existed, long before YHVH swore the Covenant between Abraham and his descendants, and long before writing was ever known to enable the fact to be recorded. 9God gave dogs to humans, and humans to dogs, so that we would benefit one another. 10Over tens of thousands of years, we have grown with each other, and we have become better with each other.

           11Now they depend on us for their food, their care, and their shelter. Without us, most of them would no longer know how to survive in the wild. 12When we take a dog into our homes as pets, it is almost as if we are taking into our homes a newly adopted child; we are their caregivers and their guardians for as long as they live. In return, they benefit our emotional health.

           13Indeed, any animal that we take into our home is not a light responsibility, to be discarded when it becomes inconvenient; do not ever take into your home any animal, if you are not able to care for all its needs. 14If, for whatever reason, you are no longer able to give any animal a home, do not just abandon it to its own devices, because to do so is the same as abandoning a human child to an unforgiving wilderness. 15If through sickness, incapacity or poverty, you are no longer able to look after your pet, ensure that it has a good home to go to; don’t just abandon it to a place where its life will be ended alone and unwanted.

           16And after it has lived a full and happy life, and has reached the end of its natural length of days, do not abandon it like unwanted trash. 17Do not abandon it into the hands of a stranger, to die amongst those it does not know. 18Let its life end in peace, amongst those whom it loved, and who loved it; for in its final moments it will look for you, and it will take comfort in your presence. 19Being with your beloved pet in its final moments will be painful, but once the pain is gone, you will never regret it – the experience will strengthen you for the hardships of life, and YHVH, who is the ultimate owner of the animal, will bless you.

           20Otherwise, if you can so heartlessly walk away from a pet that has reached its end – a pet whom you loved – then you have given yourself the ability and permission to abandon a human being in their final hours, even those whom you love, and who love  you.

           21Yes, a dog is ‘not kosher’; it is considered tamei (‘unclean’), but by all the laws of Torah, human beings are also not kosher; we are also tamei. 22Remember what ‘not kosher’ and tamei actually mean; our pets are members of our family, and we do not sacrifice or eat members of our own family.

 

8:22. 1You should not expect a donkey to carry more than a quarter of its own body-weight, or to pull more than twice its body-weight; 2any more than this is cruelty, and you should not inflict cruelty upon any of your animals.

           3If even what you have placed on its back, or what you have given it to pull, causes the donkey to collapse, then you must realise that even what you have given it is too much for it. 4Moreover, be considerate towards the animals in your charge, for they all belong to God, 5and God will demand an accounting of you for anything you do to harm the animals which God has loaned you.

8:23. 1No faithful Follower of the Way of YHVH should allow themselves to enjoy the suffering or death of an animal. 2People who have a mind for the welfare of the creatures around them have a mind for God.

           3Therefore, none of us should embark on the pastime of hunting animals for sport – to kill an animal simply to enjoy its suffering or death, or take pride in bringing down the majesty of a creature that God has created.

           4When a hunter kills an animal only for food, he has done what was necessary to feed his family and save them from starvation; 5but when a hunter kills for sport, he has defamed the Name of God, for he has taken pride in his own cruelty. 6There is no pride to be had in causing suffering or death, and YHVH will give you no honour, or grant you any reward; for God’s tender mercies are over all God’s creatures.

           7Nor should you make animals fight each other for sport, for then you are causing suffering to an animal that has otherwise done you no harm. 8The one who sets animals against each other, in order to watch them injure and kill each other, is no better than the one who enjoys seeing a human being injured or killed, because the soul that is able to take pleasure in these two things is the same. 9And YHVH will always demand an accounting of such a soul.          

 

On being attracted to the negative side of religion

 

8:24. 1Time and again, Torah tells us that the penalty for various crimes and sins is death. 2Yet again, admiration or wariness of this aspect of these laws should separate the wicked from the compassionate – those with a vengeful, angry or empty heart, those who love violence and death, will build their faith upon the commandments in Torah for death and capital punishment; 3but those who are wary of the death penalty – those who revere YHVH in trembling awe, and who love the just wisdom of God – will listen to the voice of God that is written elsewhere.

           4For YHVH has commanded us, ‘You shall not execute the guiltless or the innocent’, for to execute the innocent and the guiltless in order to ensure that all the guilty die is a heinous and abominable sin. 5If there is even the tiniest shred of any doubt that someone might be innocent, for fear of rebelling against God not to execute the innocent or the guiltless, should one not then be cautious? 6Did not YHVH also command us to be merciful? 7Refraining from putting someone to death for a religious infraction is not breaking the commandments of God or ignoring Torah; for mercy triumphs over judgment.

           8The nation that loves putting people to death, and leaps forward eagerly to put people to death, that country will find instead that crime in their land increases, and their jails will be filled to overflowing. 9Seek justice therefore, and not vengeance; for vengeance is the prerogative of YHVH, and YHVH will not acquit the guilty.

 

8:25. 1On the use of Kabbalist Stars in Religious Symbolism:

           2I exhort you, please be careful with the use of star-symbols, such as the six-pointed star of David, the eight-pointed star of Abraham, the five-pointed star of Solomon, the twelve-pointed key of Solomon, or the other pointed stars, seals and shields.

           3I tell you the truth: star-symbols did not originate with the Israelite religion, but rather with Kabbalism and the dark study of the control of demonic forces; 4these various stars were used to supposedly exert control over demons – even though there are no such things as demons; it is a pagan concept. 5These star-symbols are therefore not holy symbols; they are not holy to the God of Israel, and do not come from the Holy One.

           6One of these stars, the star of David (or ‘the Shield of David’), has come to be strongly associated with the Jewish people over the last millennium; 7the occurrence of the word ‘shield’ in the Miqra is not proof that these symbols were ever used by Abraham, David or Solomon; it is a false and misleading proof.

           8The guidance on this matter therefore is this: avoid using these star-symbols on sacred things – on anything set apart for religious use; 9these symbols are not holy, since they originated with the practice of magic arts – something forbidden in the Israelite religion. 10I strongly advise you to restrict the use of the Star of David to the tribe of Judah, and then only in secular contexts; 11be holy to YHVH.

 

8:26. 1On having sects, and choosing a Nasi:

           2Talmidaism will have sects – this is a given, because we are a religion made up of, and operated by, imperfect human beings. 3Some will be more conservative or traditional, some will be more liberal or progressive. 4You must allow each other that freedom – for nothing that any one sect has can possibly contain what God is. 5As long as you stay anywhere within what defines you as a Follower of the Way, then you must respect one another’s differences; 6anyone who does not, and begins to persecute or hate their brothers and sisters, cannot call themselves a Talmidi Israelite, 7because you show who your heavenly Father is by the love that you show towards one another, and the Nations will see that, and have an awesome respect for you – they will know that God is with you.

           8Each sect should be allowed to choose their own chief elder, who will guide them, and watch over the interests of their sect. 9There should then be a council of elders, made up of an equal number of elders from each sect if possible, including the chief elder; 10you will be the successor of the ancient Council of Elders in Jerusalem, and so number no more than seventy-one members, including the Nasi who sits at your head; 11you should discuss a mechanism of how to represent the breadth of the Talmidi community fairly on this council, so that neither the left hand or the right hand has sway; you must learn to get along with one another.

           12Now, from amongst your community, you must eventually choose a leader to be Nasi for you, to be successor to Jacob the Pious, Shimon son of Qlofas, and the line of Nasis that came after them. 13Let voting for Nasi be restricted to current members of the Council of Elders; such a vote should not be a populist vote, open to everyone, in order to guard against those who are able to manipulate and stir up the wrongful passions of the public.

           14You must choose a man or woman of wisdom and holiness, someone who will be noble enough to watch over and shepherd all the sects of Talmidaism, and be an older brother or sister to all Followers of the Way.

           15A Nasi should not show favour to any one sect, but rather be holy to YHVH; they should also not show partiality, either to Efras or to Jews. 16The Nasi should be the guardian of the history of ancient and modern Talmidaism, ensuring that the latter remains a worthy successor to the former. 17The Nasi is the bulwark against syncretism – ensuring that Talmidaism does not take on alien beliefs or practices; 18the Nasi must guard against Paullist and pagan beliefs and practices, and protect the community from the prejudices of those who insist that we take on the shackles of the Oral Law, and thereby turn against the ordinances of YHVH.

           19The Nasi is the representative of the Talmidi community among the Nations, a light for the values of the Way, and an ambassador for YHVH. 20The Nasi will therefore be judged with greater strictness than any other Talmidi.

           21Select a new Nasi once every seven years, during the Sabbatical year, the election to be held during the Festival of Booths.

           22The Nasi should be a man or woman of prayer, of piety, of holiness, and of good repute; any candidate should be a person of fortitude, wisdom, understanding, counsel, and knowledge; and someone who is a willing instrument and servant of God. 23The candidate should be a scholar of learning, who is well-versed in the Torah, and all the principles, ethics and morals of YHVH; 24the candidate should be at least thirty years of age – the age when the human mind becomes settled; 25and should be a dyed-in-the-cloth Talmidi, not a recent convert – someone who will not depart from the faith of Yeshua`, Jacob or Shimon.

           26The Nasi should not be of questionable mind, a sociopath or a narcissist, nor should they act as dictator, or demand to be obeyed – in all things, they should seek God’s will. 27If a candidate for election uses bribery, threats, blackmail or quid pro quo tactics, then they must be disqualified; only a weak candidate will resort to these devices, because they know they do not have God’s approval. All candidates for election should be judged on their policies, spirituality, wisdom and knowledge.

           28Once in office, if a Nasi turns to the left or right of YHVH’s path, and becomes a blemish to the reputation of God or the community, 29then you should set up a process whereby such a person can be removed from office, culminating in the vote of a two-thirds majority of the entire adult population of Talmidis over the age of twenty.

           30If a Nasi is strong in compassion, love and warmth, but weak in knowledge; or if a Nasi is strong in knowledge and intellect, but weak in love or warmth, 31then let such a person choose advisors who will support him or her, assistants who will make up for any deficiencies. 32On the whole, it is better for a Nasi to be weak in knowledge and intellect, than to be weak in love and compassion.

           33If a Nasi is to be respected, any man or woman who holds that office must be worthy of that respect, because the office does not automatically hand that respect to you. 34No one should yearn to be Nasi, saying, ‘One day I want to be Nasi; I shall therefore train and prepare myself for the office’, for it is God who calls a Nasi to office; it is God who chooses your Nasi. 35Let YHVH therefore guide your choices and your voting; do not say, ‘this is the candidate I want’, but rather, ‘I will pray, and I will vote for the one whom I think that God wants.’

           36My Sister or Brother Nasi, you are like a gardener, who tends their garden carefully, so that it flourishes and blooms, becomes lush and vibrant, and attains its greatest beauty and health; when people walk through, they will admire that beauty, and give glory to your Father in heaven. 37You are a shepherd of the flock; therefore, watch over them with love and compassion, protect them from the wolves and the vultures, and don’t abandon the lost or the strays; 38and be a worthy successor to Jacob and Shimon, and guide your sisters and brothers in the love and holiness of YHVH.

On not extinguishing a flame or fire on the Sabbath

8:27. 1We are explicitly commanded not to kindle a fire, but Torah does not explicitly forbid us from extinguishing a flame. 2However, as Followers of YHVH, we seem to have a natural aversion to destroying light on the Sabbath. Why is this?

           3Through the prophet Isaiah, we have the sacred principle from God not to desecrate the Sabbath. 4Light on the Sabbath represents the goodness and the holiness of God; light therefore beautifies the Sabbath, so to destroy light would be to kill and destroy a sacred feature of the Sabbath. 5And consider this: God did not extinguish the light of the Sun or the Moon when God came to rest on the Seventh Day!

           6The exception to extinguishing fire, would be where the flame or fire presents a clear danger to life or property; we have to use our common sense in this, as with all things in the practice of religion.

           7If a light is not needed, for example, during the hours of sleep, it can be moved to a place where it is not intrusive to sleep or rest. If it cannot be moved, we can shield ourselves from being disturbed by its light.

 

Scroll Nine: Closing words

 

9:1. 1Mark well, my brothers and sisters, for I humbly ask that this be the final passage of The Exhortations from henceforth, until the Glory of God shines, and there is no more night:

              2I have tried my best to take you all on a journey of new understanding. Much of what I have told you has not been said by any sage or teacher since the days of Ya`aqov the Pious and Shimon of Jerusalem. 3For behold, I have told you of the Prophet Yochanan, who warned of the Great and Terrible Day of YHVH. I have told you how he called to the great and the powerful for repentance, so that the Day could be averted. 4I told you of the Prophet Yeshua`, who taught his followers the true Way of YHVH, so that God’s people would know how to endure the Day to come; that by following the way of life they would be sheltered from the terrible Day. 5He went to the ordinary people of the Land – he taught them to follow the paths of justice, peace, mercy and forgiveness, and so add to the number of those who would sit on the clouds of heaven in God’s presence.

              6Then I told you of our Ya`aqov, called the Righteous One, whose prayers delayed the coming of the Terrible Day. 7Then I told you of how the assembly of Followers were warned by means of a vision, that the Day was almost upon them, and that they were to leave Jerusalem, that fated city. 8I told you of how, in the days of Shim`on son of Qlofas, that Great and Terrible Day arrived – how it came in fire and sword, anguish and terror. 9I told you of how the Sun was blotted out from the sky, and how the cries of the righteous went up to God.

              10Then I told you how, when all was in ruin, the just lamented over the broken foundations of the place where God had set His Name – the place that had been desecrated by violence and human blood.

              11Then I told you of how the faithful praised God for His mighty deeds, and lost no hope, but strengthened their faith in the power of the Holiest Power in the Highest Heaven.

              12These tragedies and calamities were prophesied, and now they are past. If you build your faith on woes, on the blood and destruction of the past, then that is the dark and terrible place your heart and soul will remain. 13But if you live in what God has promised for the present and for the future, and build your foundations in our heavenly Father’s light, then your soul will grow to its fullest magnificence, and God’s kingdom will increase.

              14And so I tell you this: do not let the sufferings of the righteous have been in vain. 15For those of you who feel called by God to teach or preach the faith, I say this to you: Go out into this world, and teach the peaceful ways of God’s Kingdom to all those who have an ear to hear, and an eye to see. 16And this is the good news you should teach: Justice, understanding and reconciliation to people of all faiths and of none; to exalt wisdom and knowledge; to learn to act responsibly towards one another; not to forget or oppress those who are without; 17to be ever watchful against injustice, and backsliding from what has been gained through the labours and struggles of the righteous; to warn against those who desecrate God’s Name by doing violence and murder in God’s Name; and above all, to love one another. 18Go, tell them that whatever righteous way they follow, they are all children of One God, in whose image their souls were created.

              19Go out into the world – you who are called by God to do so, and teach all peoples the ways of mercy and compassion, of understanding and constancy in their daily lives. 20Teach them to live the Way of Life – not to oppress the poor, not to be ruled by vengeance, not to be governed by hatred or disrespect, nor allow partiality to destroy judgment.

              21Go out, and teach them that they are all brothers and sisters, and that whatever quarrels they might have, their importance pales before the mission of the final coming of God’s Kingdom on earth, 22when perfected humanity shall be raised on the clouds of heaven, and sit beside the throne of God in heaven.

              23Let the peoples of the earth judge us according to our words and our deeds. 24If we bring richness of spirit, hope, reconciliation, a wealth of love and compassion in our wake, then the peoples of the earth will know that YHVH the Living God is with us. 25But if we are an embarrassment to God, and bring nothing but disharmony, division, destruction and despair, then the peoples of the earth will know that God has abandoned us – that God has judged us, and found us wanting.

              26Therefore, bless the Holy Name and reputation of God in your words and in your deeds, and make the reputation of God’s Name wonderful throughout the earth. Blessed be the Holy Name of YHVH forever! Praised be to Yahh!

 

 

 

 

© Shmu’eil ben Naftali

‘Sefer ha-kitbey’

(International Talmidi Version,

First collection published Aug 2005

Most recent revision Aug 2019 )

 

If you have any comments or questions, please email: shmuliq.parzal@googlemail.com

 

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