‘Distinction Theology’ or Distinguished By Love?

Upon attending a Messianic Jewish congregation for quite some time recently, I was introduced to a relatively newer labeled theology unfamiliar to me known as ‘Distinction Theology’, which sets apart Jewish people from Gentiles even if both are believers in Yeshua/Jesus. The congregation used resources from First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ), a Messianic Jewish ministry, which is how I discerned this fascinating, but what I believe to be false doctrine. Moreover, it reveals the importance of being familiar with the word of God, having the Holy Spirit, and discerning all that is being taught as well as the fruit manifesting from various doctrines. In FFOZ’s recently published Messiah Journal, they define Distinction Theology as such:

What is distinction theology? It’s the premise that there is a difference between Jewish people and Gentiles, even after they become Yeshua followers.” , D Thomas Lancaster, First Fruits of Zion, “Distinction Theology and Diversity in the Communities of Yeshua”, Messiah Journal Issue #134, Summer 2019

In the article, Mr. Lancaster goes on to explain this theology is based off of Exodus 19:4-6, which defines Israel as a holy nation and set apart priesthood. After breaking down the verse being exclusively for Israel being the chosen nation and chosen elite priests, Lancaster pens the following,

Likewise, as a holy nation, Israel is set apart. The Jewish people have special priestly duties that the rest of the nations do not. There are things they are required to do that the rest of the nations are not required to do. They also have privileges and prerogatives that the rest of the nations don’t have. That’s what distinction theology is about.

The distinction between Priest and High Priest by uniform and duties could be a prophetic clue to come.

However, when we study the entirety of Scripture along with Exodus 19:4-6, what we will find is the only ‘distinction’ God seems to stress upon believing in His Son, Jesus/Yeshua, and receiving His Holy Spirit, which is the same Holy Spirit dispersed to all of us, is that we be distinct from the worldly lifestyle as set apart people not distinct from one another. In fact, numerous Scripture reveals that once a person believes in Jesus/Yeshua as Messiah, they are considered to be united with Him and others in Him. I suspect in an effort to thwart Anti-Semitism and the false notion that Yeshua came to start a new religion, distinction theology, promoting ethnic Jews and Judaism, was birthed. But rather than emphasizing our genetic and cultural differences, and yet still esteeming Israel at the same time, Scripture seems to implore Jewish believers to no longer view Gentile believers as a lesser ‘unclean’ (Acts 10) class and for Gentiles who believe and follow Yeshua to no longer self-identity as ‘Gentiles’, for Gentiles were not of God, rather now, having been ‘brought near’ or ‘grafted-in’, Gentiles now are apart of Israel…they now are also apart of an eternal, holy nation, a greater or enlarged priesthood alongside believing Jews, and therefore, NOT distinct from Jewish believers in Yeshua. Believing Jews and Gentiles were worshiping together in the early assemblies/synagogues after Yeshua’s resurrection until the works of some UNholy spirits divided them.

Moreover, now that we are a new creation in Messiah (2 Corinthians 5:17), consisting of one unit, one body, one faith in Him, we are to be one as we are set apart or distinct from a worldly lifestyle, not each other. Compare the following Scriptures:

  • “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh– who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13 (NKJV)
  • “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29 (NKJV)
  • There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. ” Ephesians 4:4-6 (NKJV)
  • “You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief (faith & obedience) they (natural Israelites) were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear (keep God’s laws). For if God did not spare the natural branches (Israelites/physically Jewish people), He may not spare you either (grafted-in Israelites/spiritual Jews/former Gentiles). Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but towards you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they (natural Israelites/physical Jews) also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” Romans 11:19-23 (NKJV)
  • “Fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, let nothing be done in selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Philippians 2:2-3 (NKJV)
  • Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19 (NKJV)
  • “not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;” 1 Thessalonians 4:5
  • And do not pray like the Gentiles…do not be like them..” Matthew 6:7-15
  • “This is what the LORD says: “Do not learn the ways of the nations (gentiles)…” Jeremiah 10:2 (also see Deut. 12:4,29-32; 13:1-8)
  • Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and LAWLESSNESS, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” 2 Corinthians 6:14 {Note the antithesis to being right with God (righteousness) is lawlessness (not obeying God’s laws).}
  • “So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; 19 and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. 20 But you did not learn Christ in this way, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, 22 that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, 23 and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth. ” Ephesians 4:17-24

Furthermore, since Distinction Theology emphasizes the priesthood being exclusive to those of Jewish descent, let’s see what God has to say about the priesthood throughout Scripture for further insight. We see the Apostle Peter directly references Exodus 19:4-6 in 1 Peter 2:9 as well as earlier in verse 5 when He addresses believers in Yeshua are as priests.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. ” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

One could argue that the Apostle Peter, being a minister to the Jews (Galatians 2:7), was directing his letter to Jewish believers as hinted at by addressing those in the Diaspora/dispersion of Jews throughout the world in 1 Peter 1:-1-2. Fair enough! Keep in mind though, Peter writes some important truths in this letter such as “the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work..” in 1 Peter 1:17 and believers are to “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God…” (2:17). We also see the Apostle Peter says in chapter 4:3, “For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles-when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, abominable idolatries..” So even though all of Peter’s writings can easily be applied to a believing Jew and believing Gentile, let’s just say for the sake of argument, Peter was definitely writing specifically to believing Jews and not Gentiles indicating the believing Jews are exclusively the priesthood. But then how would you explain away in Revelation 1:6 the Apostle John’s reference to the non-Jewish (Gentile) ekklesia/assemblies/churches (for they all were in Gentile areas such as Ephesus, according to Revelation 2-3) when John states Christ “made us kings and priests to His God and Father..” ? These are clearly Gentile churches he is writing to as “priests”. Or how would you explain Revelation 20:6 which defines those who made the first cut, the first resurrection, as, “priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years” as being exclusive to Jewish believers? By the argument distinction theology is trying to convey, this would mean only Jewish believers in Messiah will be resurrected, so obviously we can throw that logic out. Not to mention, as a side note, the logic of First Fruits of Zion establishing a ministry called ‘Torah Club’ teaching Torah to the Gentiles, when according to their own distinction theology, Torah is not for the Gentiles (they believe only the 7 Noahide Laws apply, but Gentiles can tag along in the other commands if they want). Also, how would one reconcile their Distinction Theology with Revelation 5:10 where it defines these believers also “reigning on earth” (with Christ/Messiah) just like Revelation 20:6 and Revelation 1:6 infer as the priests do? Additionally, the Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian ekklesia/church, who were non-Jewish, the same exact sentiments that the Corinthians (formerly known as Gentiles) will also rule and reign judging the earth (1 Corinthians 6) imploring them to learn how to discern and judge spiritual matters now for it is all practice for what is to come. Indeed! We need to better discern through the lense of the Holy Spirit rather than fleshly spirits the entirety of the Word of God and stop fashioning doctrines off one or two verses to appease tradition and other motives while producing bad fruit of division and pride.

Now that we have reviewed a plethora of Scripture revealing there absolutely is NO distinction between Jewish and Gentile believers in Yeshua/Jesus while understanding both believing Jew and Gentile are apart of Israel as well as the priesthood, let’s examine the bigger purpose as to what the role of the chosen enlarged priesthood actually is all about. First, we have already discovered in the above mentioned verses, our set apart calling is not about our flesh or ethnicities for our flesh is temporary, but it is all about the eternal Spirit within us and what it produces in us and through us. In other words, our role in Messiah is not about how we were naturally born nor our ethnic upbringings, but it IS about how we are supernaturally born and that we be brought up to love God and others by serving them like the priest demonstrated.

If we want to understand what our purpose is and how we are to be distinct from the nations/unbelievers, being we are one nation of Israel in Him as believers in Messiah, we would be wise to look at the Biblical priesthood described for such concepts seem to be prophetic clues to our future.

–> First and foremost, we know Yeshua/Jesus is The High Priest (Hebrews 7-10).

–>Second, we know there were numerous distinct roles within the priesthood. So if you are hoping to be “distinct” in God’s perspective, then you will want to pay close attention to this next point.

–>Thirdly and moreover, the purpose of the priests were to serve God and serve others…in other words, they had to specialize in loving God and loving others while teaching others to do the same. The priests had to be experts in knowing God’s instructions, in knowing His boundaries, in knowing His laws, knowing the difference between holy and unholy, clean and unclean, and how to teach the people in such matters. The priestly role also required many other legal transactions such as judging matters that inevitably manifested.

And they shall teach My people the difference between the holy and the unholy, and cause them to discern between the unclean and clean. In controversy they shall stand as judges, and judge it according to My judgments. They shall keep My laws and My statutes in all My appointed meetings, and they shall hallow my Sabbaths.” Ezekiel 44:23-24 (NKJV)

Simply put, the priest need to lead in love…they need to be firmly rooted and matured in love or perfected in love (Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 3:14, 1 John 4:12). Since we see all throughout Torah how the priests were indeed discerning or judging delicate matters as well as teaching people God’s instructions accordingly, those historical inspired writings would seem to be a good role model for how we are to live today as the “priesthood” as well as prophetic clues to our roles in the Messianic Era when Yeshua returns to rule and reign. Perhaps when Yeshua/Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19 that whoever teaches others not to live by His commands, His instructions, His Torah, will be “considered least in His Kingdom” could be because of the priestly roles established in the hierarchy. Under the High Priest, you had many priests, even broken down into families, each with a separate but highly important role all working as one priesthood…in the Spirit of love and authentic worship. Some were performing the sacrifices (Leviticus 1-6), some were singers (1 Chronicles 9:33), some were gatekeepers/security (1 Chronicles 9:17-21), some were taking things down and were meant to protect the sacred items (Numbers 4:4-14), some were in charge of the oil and menorah lighting (Numbers 4:16) and making ointment of spices (1 Chronicles 9:29-30), some carried the curtains, chords, screens (Numbers 4:21-28), some manages the pillars, boards, sockets (Numbers 4:29-33), some were bakers (1 Chronicles 9:31-32), some were schlepping sacred objects around (Numbers 4:15), whom I affectionately call the “schleppers”, etc. Perhaps likened to the hierarchy of the Levitical Priesthood, there will be a similar manifestation when we all are gathered to Israel upon His return to rule and reign with Him, with Yeshua our High Priest. Depending on if we are good stewards in the flesh now or how we lead in love now may determine our priestly role in our transfigured spirit bodies one fine day. So be careful what doctrines you teach and that you not devour one another in the process or you could end up a “schlepper” in the priesthood to come. Ha ha!

In all seriousness though, after a careful study of Torah and the Scriptures penned afterwards, we know the spirit of all of God’s word is to love God and love others; hence, the instructions on HOW to do so. The Apostle Paul declares over and over again the laws of God are fulfilled when we love God and one another for the Torah and all of Scripture is all about love, including tough love, discipline, self-control and overall distinction from the ways of those who don’t believe in Abba Father and His Son…who don’t have His Holy Spirit guiding them and instructing them, not distinct from those of us who believe in Jesus/Yeshua for we are to be one priesthood.

Like the Apostle Paul described, we are one body with many roles and many giftings and yet, without love, we are just clashing cymbals (1 Corinthians 13:1-5). If you want to be distinct, be distinguished by your love for God and for one another.

Shalom and Amen.

Carrie R Turner 10.24.19

The Gift of Grace: Do You Have It? How Do You Know?

Christian culture is centered on the concept of G-d’s gift of grace made possible through His Son, Yeshua/Jesus’ death and resurrection. If you have been exposed to such important concepts, surely you have heard the famous toted verse found in Ephesians 2:8-9:

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

These two verses, and these verses alone, are what most Christians think of when they think of grace. However, the very next verse (10) in that same passage seems to be encouraging good works as if grace and good works are related by saying, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” The following verses go on to tell the new believing Gentiles in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:1, 3:1), who Paul calls “saints” (Ephesians 1:1) not to behave like the lawless Gentiles because now through believing Yeshua is the Messiah, Gentiles are also part of the covenants (see verses 2:11-13). He emphasizes Yeshua’s death and resurrection provide a way for unity (Ephesians 2:13-19) while seeming to re-emphasize although genetically you are non-Jewish, you are considered a “saint” in G-d’s eyes. The Apostle Paul goes on to explain in the following verses of Chapter 2, Yeshua the Messiah’s death and resurrection paid the debt or the consequence or curse of breaking the One True Living G-d’s covenant or relationship by disobeying Him (see Deuteronomy 28-29) now providing the eventual promise of eternal life through our own resurrection one fine day. HalleluYAH!

Could “grace” somehow cause us to do “good works”?

Earlier in the book of Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes that upon trusting and believing in the gospel message, you will be sealed with the Holy Spirit (see Ephesians 1:13). Acts 2:38-39 says essentially the same thing stating the promised gift of the Holy Spirit is for all who repent and are baptized in the authority or identity of Jesus/Yeshua The Messiah.

But did you know receiving the Holy Spirit is a distinct event in a believer’s life? I did not know this either until it happened to me unexpectedly in 2009 many years after believing Jesus is the Messiah (some 26 years later!). Many preach that receiving the Holy Spirit is an automatic, seemingly secret event that occurs instantly upon believing Yeshua is the Messiah, but according to Scripture, it is a distinct, separate, and undeniable event in one’s life.

Acts 2 revealed receiving the Holy Spirit is a noticeable spiritual event that causes a physical reaction. Likewise, in Acts 8:14-17, we see some in Samaria believed in the gospel message and had even been baptized, but they had not yet received the Holy Spirit until the Apostles laid hands on them and prayed for them, then the Holy Spirit fell on the believing people. Evidently, it caused some form of physical reaction for them to observe and record the Holy Spirit falling upon them to where they could surely verify the had received the Holy Spirit. Similarly, in Acts 10, the Holy Spirit provided a vision and the interpretation of the vision to the Apostle Peter, who typically ministered to Jews (Galatians 2:7-8). Through that vision and interpretation, Peter came to understand that the Gentiles were just as loved and wanted by G-d as well as the Jews and no longer considered unclean (Acts 10:34-36; Galatians 2:6) and shortly thereafter, the Spirit provided an opportunity for Peter to minister to the Gentile household of Cornelius and the Holy Spirit also fell on Gentiles causing a physical reaction (Acts 10:44-48). Additionally, in Acts 19:1-6, the Apostle Paul asked some Gentile believers in Ephesus if they had received the Holy Spirit yet, but they answered they hadn’t even heard of the term Holy Spirit prior to then and evidently they had not been baptized yet either. Moments later, they decided to get baptized, Paul laid hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them just like it fell in Acts 2, for the Samaritans, for Cornelius’ crew, and now for these believers in Ephesus, causing a physical reaction to what was happening in the spiritual.

Let’s unpack this:

1) First, we can see receiving the Holy Spirit is a distinct separate event to occur sometime after a person believes Yeshua/Jesus is indeed the Messiah.

2) Secondly, we see receiving the Holy Spirit is not limited to some formula of first believe, then be baptized, then receive the Holy Spirit for although some of those believers had already been baptized (Acts 8:14-17; 19:5-6), others had not (Acts 10:44-48) and yet they received the Holy Spirit. Incidentally, this is what manifested in my case as well (first received the Spirit then baptized by immersion into Him). We can deduce from this that not only is receiving the Holy Spirit a separate, noticeable, and distinct event that occurs sometime after trusting the fact that Yeshua is Messiah, but it is not limited to first being baptized or another outward expression of faith.

3) Thirdly, we can see them receiving the Holy Spirit was no act or choice of their own, an event that could not be forced or manipulated, but rather, an event given only by the grace of G-d, in His time, and His way, after they simply trusted Yeshua is their Messiah, their Redeemer, who paid for the cost of their lawlessness, and were open to receiving His Spirit of Grace.

4) Fourthly, we learn from these passages that receiving the Holy Spirit causes some sort of physical reaction to what is transpiring in the spiritual (i.e. speaking in tongues, but not limited to speaking to in tongues). Similar to when G-d, who is spirit (John 4:24), spoke, then something physical manifested (Genesis 1). What transpires in the physical often reveals what is happening in the spirit realm.

5) Lastly, we can discern from these passages, that G-d does not discriminate for the Holy Spirit was poured out on both Jews and Gentiles.

Did you know the Holy Spirit is not just referred to as the ‘promised gift’ (of the Father- see Acts 1:4-5, 2:38-39), but also the ‘gift of grace’ (Ephesians 2:8), and ‘the Spirit of grace’ (Zechariah 12:7; Hebrews 10:29)? So it would seem to me, when various authors in Scripture refer to G-d’s grace, they are referring to not just believing Jesus/Yeshua is Messiah, but the manifested promise of believing in Yeshua through receiving His Holy Spirit, which did not become readily available to all until Yeshua the Messiah rose from the dead (see Galatians 4:6)!

Did you know even though the Holy Spirit has existed from the beginning (Isaiah 63), it is what makes the new/renewed covenant distinct from the other covenants? Jeremiah 31:31-33, as well as Ezekiel 11:19-20, and Ezekiel 36:26-27, and Hebrews 10 as well as other passages like Joel 2, informs us while various chapters in Acts demonstrate to us Abba Father will pour out His Holy Spirit on those who believe (Yeshua is Messiah) as a sign of a new covenant made, similar to physical signs He has provided other times when He made a spiritual covenant with His people (Romans 4:9-14) and that the purpose of that Holy Spirit being deposited within us, also known as the ‘Spirit of Holiness’ is to cause those who believe to do that which is holy (Romans 7:12), to seal G-d’s laws on the hearts of His disciples (Isaiah 8:16), and to educate, encourage, and empower us to obey His Kingdom Constitution or put another way, The Father’s household instructions being found in the Torah and elaborated on throughout the rest of Scripture.

In other words, the gift of grace is receiving the Holy Spirit, who then takes us from living a lawless, unholy lifestyle to a lawful, holy lifestyle in His time little by little, step by step. In our natural selves we cannot to do so nor want to (Romans 8:7), but the supernatural being within our flesh causes a physical reaction to do the good works Ephesians 2:10 refers to! HalleluYAH!

But I Thought The Law Was Just For The Jews, Not Gentiles?!

Many believe, however, that obeying Abba Father’s instructions only applies to Jews and not Gentiles, but my Bible does not seem to teach that the Jewish people receive a different Holy Spirit than the Gentiles. In fact, the Bible seems to reiterate there is no partiality or difference in Abba’s perspective between His natural kids (Jews) and His adopted kids (Gentiles), He loves us all the same and His household rules applies to all His kids. Just the very essence of referring to the G-d of the universe, the One True Living G-d, as Father, infers He is our authority, our parent. Just as children are taught to honor their father and mother by obeying them, Abba Father’s spiritual kids must do so also. Unfortunately, there is an ugly spirit of sibling rivalry among believing Jews and believing Gentiles seeming to assert one’s status over another.

I have discovered along my faith journey that there are various teachings found in the Body of Messiah that seem to teach a different lifestyle of holiness or infers (perhaps unknowingly) that a different Holy Spirit is poured out onto Jews than Gentiles. Here are the 3 common teachings regarding obeying G-d’s laws in summary: 1) We are not under law so neither believing Jew or Gentile in Messiah ought to keep Torah anymore; 2) Only the Jews in Messiah are required to keep Torah, being the Jews are the chosen priesthood, but for the Gentile obeying Torah is optional; 3) Upon receiving G-d’s grace and being filled with the Holy Spirit, a believer in Messiah, whether genetically a Jew or Gentile will be Spirit-led to obey Torah in His time.

It’s About His Blood, Not Our Blood

From what I have discerned from Scripture thus far is the gospel message that is repeated over and over again (within the pages of the Bible) is not only that we become apart of G-d’s family through faith in Yeshua alone through His blood, not our blood, not our genetics (Romans 3:28-30, 5:9, 9: 6-8, 10:9-13) but that Abba Father shows no partiality between genetic Jews and genetic Gentiles. I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as I share with you numerous verses leading me to this conclusion.

Since we were just discussing Ephesians, please investigate Ephesians 4:4-6 which reads,

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Does it say there are different faiths or a different Holy Spirit given depending on if you are Jewish or Gentile? Do we have a different Father?

In Acts 10, the Apostle Peter, who typically ministered to Jews (Galatians 2:7-8) came to understand after seeing a vision that Abba is after the hearts of not just the Jews, but the Gentiles as well. “Then Peter opened his mouth and said, ‘In truth, I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.” Shortly thereafter, as discussed earlier, Peter witnessed first hand the Holy Spirit falling on the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-48).

{warning: theology rant}

The Apostles expressed numerous times that there is no difference between His genetic Jewish kids and His genetic Gentile kids for we are one family in our Father’s house upon believing Yeshua is Messiah; hence, the tearing of the veil (Matthew 27:51), the breaking down the barrier between Jew and Gentiles (Ephesians 2:14) for Yeshua is our High Priest (Hebrews 5-10) and all in Him, including Gentiles, are His Chosen Priesthood (1 Peter 2:5-12; Romans 11). He is not concerned with your physical dna, per se, rather He is more concerned about your spiritual DNA…your circumcised heart, your spiritual maturity gleaned through your spiritual giftings and overall role in His body. Do you have different backgrounds, different experiences, different genders, eye color, shapes and sizes, and natural tendencies? Of course! But neither your past or your flesh have a place in the kingdom in light of eternity for He is making you a new creation in your identity in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). Stop making it be about genetics for that is carnal. In the end, our DNA is a fading flower. The flesh is temporary, the spiritual is eternal. Put another way, it’s not about your physical temporary body, it’s about HIS spiritual eternal body.

Likewise, do you have different spiritual gifts? Different spiritual roles in G-d’s kingdom (i.e. apostles, prophets, teachers, evangelist, pastoral, etc)? Of course, and yet, you are still one, according to 1 Corinthians 12. Just as there is no one gift better than the other or how no one body part in the human body can properly function without all the others working in unity, neither is woman better than man (1 Corinthians 11:11), man better than woman (I Corinthians 11:11), Jew better than Gentile, or Gentile better than Jew. “Distinction Theology”, a relatively newly defined theology circulating in some of Messianic Judaism and some even more limited circles of Christianity, fosters division elevating Jews above Gentiles, by teaching Torah is required for Jews, being they are G-d’s special chosen people, His actual priesthood, but the Gentiles can do their less serious role by adhering to the moral laws of Torah. It like “Replacement Theology” are false doctrines that foster division and discord. “Replacement Theology”, the most predominant theology circulated for centuries throughout Christianity, creates division by elevating Gentiles above Jews and typically teaches the Torah is irrelevant to both Gentiles and Jews. Both of these contradict Scripture and demonstrate sibling rivalry at its best or more accurately, worst! If I had to pick a theology that best describes my perspective regarding unity and honoring Abba Father’s instructions for His kids, it would be “One Law Theology”, circulating in the Hebrew Roots Movement as well as Messianic Judaism, but even that could use better clarification because it implies every single command in Torah applies to every single person, which it does not. For example, can a man obey the commandments provided in Torah specifically for woman (i.e. her menstrual cycle)? Do the commandments intended for farmers or the military apply to everyone? Do the commandments pertaining to the Levitical Priesthood apply to the average person (i.e. what clothing to wear or not to touch dead people)? Moreover, it is clearly difficult to label and explain the mysteries of G-d and His family dynamics plus we are all at different mile markers on the same narrow path (hopefully). I certainly can appreciate attempting to explain various revelations, but we must do so being founded in the entirety of G-d’s word and in His love while fostering the atmosphere of being in one accord. Is our theology demonstrating fruit of the Spirit, demonstrating love or are we creating doctrines that place one over another? Is that the Spirit of Grace? The Spirit of Holiness? Yeshua taught us to serve others, to be humble, to love. He ministered to all walks of life lowering Himself even to the point of death for ALL of us. Perhaps a better label could be “One Family Theology” or “One Love Theology” or “One Father Theology” or “The Functional Faith Family Theology”. It grieves me to see those who claim to believe in One G-d be so divided.

It grieves me to see those who claim to believe in One G-d be so divided.

Some of the Messianic Judaism communities seem to attack the Hebrew Roots communities while some of the Hebrew Roots communities seem to attack Christianity and some of Christianity seems to attacks its own variations/denominations…it is never ending division. Hopefully, you are hearing my heart on these important matters for when the trumpets start blasting in the end (see Revelation 8-11), I promise you, you won’t care what your theology is called, you will need each other and finally start fulfilling the heart of Torah by BEING love, as the Body of Messiah, simply to survive.

I invite you to explore the following verses that foster wholeness and the heart of our Father…

“..God shows no personal favoritism to no man..” Galatians 2:6

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise….And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, ‘Abba Father!’ Therefore, you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 3:26-29, 4:6-7

Now therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.” Ephesians 2:19

Incidentally, do you remember Paul referenced believers in both his letters to the Ephesians and Romans as “saints”? Did you know the Apostle John in the Book of Revelation refers to “saints” as those who both believe in Yeshua as Messiah AND keep G-d’s commandments (see Revelation 12:17 & 14:12)? It doesn’t say the “beast” makes war with just the Jews or just the Gentiles, does it? But Scripture says in 2nd Thessalonians and Revelation, the LAWLESS one, the beast, goes after those saints who believe in Yeshua and do G-d’s Torah/Law! Let that sink in for a bit.

Back to being one family obeying the Parent…

that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel.” Ephesians 3:6

Set your mind on things above and not on earthly things for you died and your is now hidden with Christ in God….Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all in all.” Colossians 3:2-11

But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.” Colossians 3:25

Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are His,’ and ‘Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.‘ ” 2 Timothy 2:19

..for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, stife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos’, are you not carnal?…For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:3-9

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Romans 1:16 (see note below)

But to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness- indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek; but glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For there is no partiality with God.” Romans 2:8-10 (My interpretation of this phrase ‘to the Jew first’ mentioned here and in Romans 1:16 is the Jews were offered salvation and blessings of obedience first and then such things were also made available to the Gentiles – see Romans 9-11).

For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. ‘For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.‘ ” Romans 10:12-13

For if God did not spare the natural branches (Jews), He may not spare you either (Gentiles).” Romans 11:21

Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” Romans 3:29-31

Before I proceed, notice Paul writes in the last phrase of Romans 3:31 “we establish the law”. But if the Jews are already well-acquainted with Torah, having had it established thousands of years prior, then who were the Apostles focused on establishing the law with in addition to the Jews? The Roman Gentiles (Romans 1:1-7). Not to earn their salvation, but because of their salvation..because of their repentance for sin, which sin is Biblically defined as breaking Torah or being without Torah (1 John 3:4) and then the eventual receiving of the Holy Spirit, who in turn, causes those who have believed and received to obey Torah. Paul writes in Romans 1:5-6, “Through Him we have received grace and apostleship FOR OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH among all nations for His name, among who you also are the called of Jesus Christ..

I see believing Jews as being the “oldest” in the family, the firstborn, the ones who know better and who can help instruct the younger siblings in what Abba Father expects. That seemed to be my role as oldest and best explains this family dynamic too.

We have learned thus far, we are in a new covenant and a sign of that covenant is the outpouring of Holy Spirit onto both Jew and Gentile alike. But why make a Holy Spirit anyway as a sign or gift? Why not make a glowing cross in the sky when a person believes Yeshua/Jesus is the Messiah like G-d made a rainbow when He made a covenant with Noah? The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to help us honor Abba Father by obeying Him, by obeying the terms of all the previous covenants (to those that apply anyway) since clearly without the Holy Spirit, it could not be done – Welcome to the Renewed/New Covenant (see Ezekiel 36:27). In addition to it’s not about if you are genetically Jewish or genetically a Gentile, it’s also not about converting to Judaism, not that there is anything wrong with being a Jew, Gentile, or practicing Judaism, in fact, I do practice Messianic Judaism the best I know how at this time in my faith journey. Overall, dear reader, in my interpretation of Scripture, it is about making disciples and cultivating an authentic lifestyle of holy worship upon receiving G-d’s gift of grace.

In summary, having obtained grace is having obtained the Spirit of grace/the Holy Spirit, in G-d’s time and His way, through no merit or doing or manipulating of our own, other than simply choosing to believe Yeshua is the Messiah. We will receive the promised Holy Spirit when G-d deems it time – His grace. That Spirit of Holiness, once received, will begin spiritually circumcising our spiritual hearts, removing the unholy and replacing it with holy, eventually causing our flesh to follow accordingly. In other words, the inward spiritual workings of the Holy Spirit, will produce physical outward works, good works (Ephesians 2:10), which if led by the Spirit, will produce love, joy, peace, patience, self-control, etc (Galatians 5:22-23). Similarly, G-d’s presence and law are centered in Jerusalem, likened to a heart, but will be circulated and enforced throughout all the nations one fine day likened to the body when He returns and the Spirit of Holiness encamps the whole earth bringing us into shalom, into wholeness, unity, and one accord (see Isaiah 2, 51; Micah 4; Zechariah 14:16+). Can’t wait! 🙂

Moreover, upon receiving the ‘gift of grace’ or ‘Spirit of holiness’, which is the Holy Spirit, He begins to teach us the heart of the Father, and what love looks like as exampled by His Son. The Spirit flowing in us and through us, explains, educates, encourages, and empowers His kids to walk like our big brother Yeshua walked, to follow Him, and to love G-d, His word (all of it), and consequently, we will love others for love is the summary of Torah- it’s what His Torah and the Gift of Grace is all about!

Shalom and Amen.

Carrie R. Turner, 10.6.19 and 10.9.19

*Please note these conclusions are my own and don’t necessarily represent the beliefs of Messianic Judaism.

Never Forget 9-11 or Romans 9-11

If there is one thing Americans and Israelis have in common is the unwanted hateful attention from certain populations. Americans old enough to remember the horrifying events of 9-11-01 will never forget the needless terror and murder of the innocent that tragic day.

In much different terms, but eternally important, is the call of Romans 9 -11, where the Apostle Paul beckons those who believe Jesus is the Messiah, but who are not of Jewish DNA (Gentiles) to never forget their role in God’s plan for Israel. Unfortunately, most Christians don’t realize their duty and how God desires to use them as believing Gentiles, also known as ‘grafted-in Israelites’ or likened to ‘spiritual Jews’ (Romans 2:28-29) to provoke the Jewish people to jealousy (Romans 11:11)! Are they jealous because Christianity typically teaches Jesus taught against God’s Torah? Certainly not for to the Jew, Jesus is an idolater and false prophet according to Deuteronomy 13. Would Jews be jealous of Gentile believers breaking Torah or God’s instructions for life? Certainly not for most Jews believe Gentiles only need to adhere to 7 Noahide Laws (very similar to the 10 Commandments) in order to be considered righteous – not the 613 commands of Torah as were given to the Israelites and those aligning themselves with Israel believing in the One True Living God. Would preaching a law-hating grace-loving gospel accompanied by sensational miracles said to be of the “Holy Spirit” make them jealous? Certainly not for Jews know in the new covenant, according to the prophets, God will give a new Spirit, which will cause one to WANT TO DO Torah (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 11:19-20,36:27) not hate Torah! So how are Christians to fulfill Romans 9 – 11? Watch this brief video to learn your role in God’s plan and how you can be part of the fullness of the Gentiles as the Apostle Paul references as do many prophets!

What Is the Torah Portion & Haftarah About?

Did you know when Jesus / Yeshua read Isaiah 61 in the synagogue on Shabbat (Sabbath/Saturday), which we can read about in Luke 4:16-30), He was reading from that specific week’s “Haftarah” portion? For thousands of years, those of the Judaism faith have read from the Torah and Haftarah. A major part of the Jewish worship service since the days of escaping Babylonian captivity (see books of Ezra & Nehemiah), is the public reading of the Torah.For the Jewish people learned the hard way while under Babylonian captivity to forsake God’s instructions will inevitably lead to physical and spiritual bondage. The Torah is the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Law, or God’s instructions for life. Each week, in today’s congregations of Judaism, Messianic Judaism, and many Hebrew Roots’ congregations read a certain portion of the Torah in their services. So the whole world (of those groups) is studying the same portions in unity. However, many years ago, circa 175 BC, when Antiochus Epiphanes conquered the temple, he outlawed the public reading of the Torah, replaced the holy artifacts with pagan gods within the temple, slaughtered pig, an unclean and abomination according to Leviticus 11, Deut 14, and Isaiah 65-66, as a means to mock God’s ordained sacrificial system, and even tormented and killed Jews for holding to their belief in the one true God and their desire to adhere to His laws. All of this was an “abomination of desolation”, which will happen again according to prophecies found in the Books of Daniel, Matthew, and Revelation. Consequently, the rabbis of those days researched and prescribed related passages of the Torah found in the Prophets to be read each week instead of the Torah during that tumultuous time. This became known as “Haftarah”, which means “conclude”. After that horrific time, the practice of reading from the Prophets stuck so today, passages called portions from the Torah and the Haftarah, which are related are read. In Messianic Judaism (and possibly Hebrew Roots too), related portions from the Brit Chadesha (Renewed/New Covenant) are read as well. This photo captures this week’s. The Torah portion’s title is selected from the first few words of the passage. You will notice all of these passages have to do with sending out (i.e. spies & apostles). I hope you had a peacful, wholesome #Shabbat!

Torah Portion: Behar

This week’s Torah portion is/was Behar, which means “On The Mountain”. While on Mount Sinai, Abba (Father) shared with Moses the need to let the land rest every 7 years and the consequences for the failure to do so manifested many years later. The concept of resting every 7 days and every 7 years is prophetic of the future Messianic era when Yeshua reigns…It also reveals to us that we can rest knowing Abba will provide for us on the 7th day and in the 7th year. #torahportion #shemitah #sabbath

Torah.Behar.FFF

One Law For All

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Did you know just as each nation has it’s own set of laws, as does the United States of America has a constitution, so does God’s nation or kingdom? God’s kingdom’s constitution is the Torah, His laws found throughout the first five books of the Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) and repeated throughout the prophets, demonstrated by Jesus / Yeshua, and taught by the Apostles.

Unfortunately, due to Anti-Semitic leaders, starting with the Emperor Constantine, and early church history, poisonous false doctrines of men were handed down throughout the centuries leading Christians away from God’s holy constitution even persecuting Messianic Jews, also called Christians, for honoring the Heavenly Father’s commands.

As time went by, it’s been said that the laws of God were only for the Jews and not Gentiles, meaning anyone not of Jewish descent. However, we see in His word, which is God’s written or recorded voice and will (Deut 30; John 10), also known as ‘The Way’ (Acts 9:2; 19:9; 22:4), that God’s instructions were given to not just the Israelites (those of the 12 tribes of Israel), but they also were for anyone who aligned themselves with that faith. Numerous people, who were not natural descendants of Israel, left Egypt along with the Israelites in the Passover/ Red Sea crossing over event (see Exodus 12:37-38) and yet adopted God’s instructions as they were revealed. Another example would be the story of Ruth (read Book of Ruth), a Moabite, who aligned herself with the Jewish people, married Boaz, and was a direct ancestor of not only King David, but Yeshua / Jesus too (Matthew 2:5-6)! When Ruth declared, “Your people will be my people and your God will be my God..” (Ruth 1:16), she became one or was in one accord with the Jewish people. Physically she was not of Jewish descent, but spiritually in her heart and by her physical actions she aligned with the One true God and His nation making her one of His people too! For what comes out of the heart reveals the transformation within (Mark 7; Deut.6:29, 30:6-8).

Throughout history and Scripture, eventually the term “Jew” became interchangeable with those of the tribes of Israel meaning a physical descendant of ancient Israel. “Jews” is actually a slang term derived from the tribe of Judah. Judah, was one of the 12 children of Jacob (Genesis 35:23-26; Genesis 49), who’s name later was changed to Israel (Genesis 32:28). Abraham, was Jacob/Israel’s grandfather, whom God made a covenant with stating Abraham would have as many descendants as the stars and grains of sand (Genesis 22:15-18). Indeed, despite ongoing Anti-Semitism, the Jewish people are as many as the stars and grains of sand. Not by coincidence, this promise was given when Abraham was about to obey God by sacrificing his son, Isaac, but instead God provided a sacrifice, all of which foreshadowed God sacrificing His Son and Lamb, Jesus/ Yeshua, so that Abba Father / God could also have many descendants or children of God through faith in Jesus – as many as the stars and grains of sand! Moreover, we learn when anyone believes in Jesus/Yeshua as the redeemer of their lawlessness/sins and repents of such evil doings in their lives, they become part of the commonwealth of Israel or grafted-in Israelites or as the Apostle Paul seems to infer likened to ‘spiritual Jews’ having been circumcised of the heart (Romans 2:28-29). All of which validates the message of the first testament stating God’s laws weren’t just for the “native” Israelite but also for the stranger within or those grafted-in or brought into the flock so to speak. These concepts we see reiterated in the Messianic Era, when Yeshua rules and reigns on Earth (see Ezekiel 47:21-23; Isaiah 2; Micah 4-5). Check out these Scriptures for many other examples:

  • “Then the children of Israel journeyed from Ramses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. A mixed multitude went up with them also..” Exodus 12:37-38 (NKJV)
  • One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” Exodus 12:49 (NKJV)
  • “You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations,: either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you.” Leviticus 18:26 (NKJV)
  • “All who are native-born shall do these things…and if a stranger dwells with you, or whoever is among you throughout your generations..One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.” Numbers 15:13-15 (NKJV)
  • “You shall have one law for him who sins unintentionally, for him who is native-born among the children off Israel and for the stranger who dwells among them.”Numbers 15:29 (NKJV)
  • “But the person who does anything presumptuously (intentional sin), whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the LORD, and he shall be cut off from among his people.” Numbers 15:30 (NKJV)
  • “Carefully follow the terms of this covenant, so that you may prosper in everything you do. All of you are standing today in the presence of the Lord your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the Lord your God, a covenant the Lord is making with you this day and sealing with an oath, to confirm you this day as his people, that he may be your God as he promised you and as he swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I am making this covenant, with its oath, not only with you who are standing here with us today in the presence of the Lord our God but also with those who are not here today.” Deuteronomy 29:9-15
  • “Do not let the son of a foreigner (not a natural Israelite) who has joined himself to the LORD speak saying, ‘The LORD has utterly separated me from His people’; nor let the eunuch say, ‘Here I am, a dry tree.’ For thus says the LORD: ‘To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.” Isaiah 56:3-4 (NKJV)
  • “Also, the sons of the foreigner, who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants – Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant– even them I will bring to My holy mountain (Zion // Jerusalem), and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:6-7 (NKJV)
  • “Thus says the LORD God: ‘Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be in one in My hand…and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be over them…they shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 37:15-23 (NKJV)
  • “You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief (faith & obedience) they (natural Israelites) were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear (keep God’s laws). For if God did not spare the natural branches (Israelites/physically Jewish people), He may not spare you either (grafted-in Israelites/spiritual Jews). Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but towards you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. And they (natural Israelites/physical Jews) also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.” Romans 11:19-23 (NKJV)
  • “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:26-29 (NKJV)
  • “Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh– who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:11-13 (NKJV)

And lastly, we see the Book of Revelation describes believers or saints as not just those who believe in Jesus / Yeshua, but who also keep God’s laws, His kingdom constitution. Because in Jewish/Hebraic culture, verses western interpretations, to believe is to do. Abba isn’t interested in lip service, He wants your heart…to love Him with your entire being and if you intend on dwelling in His holy nation one fine day upon our Messiah’s return, His Torah will be the law of the land (Isaiah 2, Micah 4, Zechariah 14).

  • “And the dragon (Satan/Anti-Christ) was enraged with the woman (Christ), and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring (Bride of Christ / children of God/ saints / believers), who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17 (NKJV)
  • “Here is the patience of the saints: here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12 (NKJV)

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So you see, dear brothers and sisters, Abba Father’s household rules or kingdom constitution is His Torah, His commandments, His laws, which are eternal (Psalm 119:160). His instructions teach us HOW to love Him, HOW to love others, and HOW He wants to be worshiped. If we say we are of Him, believe in Him, and accepted His amazing grace, we will be given His Spirit of Holiness and will want to submit to His authority, His ways, His will, which are found in His kingdom constitution, the Torah. May we not be like illegal immigrants who want to access our great nation of the United States of America and reap it’s benefits, but refuse to unite with us by obeying our laws. For if they were interested in being true citizens, uniting with us and our ways, they would have entered legally and continue to abide in our laws just as Yeshua said we will legally enter through Him and ought to abide in Him and His Father’s laws.

Shalom and Amen.

Where Are We “Raptured” To?

If you have read our testimony found on our home page, ‘Walk His Way’, as to how Abba (Father God) called us out of our very own proverbial Egypt or Babylon to follow His cloud so to speak wherever He leads us, then you know He has incorporated the ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ also known as the ‘Feast of In-Gathering’ into our journey. In the beginning of this peculiar quest, my husband and I had an elementary understanding of this prophetic and important feast of Yahweh. I certainly did not know then what I know now and am so grateful His Spirit (Ruach) continues to teach us more and more about Him and His way the more we surrender the lies we once believed and instead embrace His truth.

I must warn you though it is far harder to surrender a lie than it is to embrace the truth.

It is far harder to surrender a lie than it is to embrace the truth.

The Gathering

Did you know what most refer to as “the rapture” is more accurately referred to as the gathering throughout Scriptures? Here are a few examples:

  • “And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of the earth to the farthest part of heaven.” Mark 13:27 (NKJV)
  • “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all the countries, and bring you into your own land.” Ezekiel 36:24 (NKJV)
  • “And it shall come to pass in that day (day of the LORD – see verse 1), that the LORD will thresh, from the channel of the River to the Brook of Egypt; and you will be gathered one by one, O you children of Israel.” Isaiah 27:12 (NKJV)
  • “For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you.” Isaiah 54:7 (NKJV)

To read more about gathering, study these verses: Deuteronomy 30:3-4; 1 Chronicles 16:35; Nehemiah 1:9; Psalms 106:47; 107:2-3; 147:2; Isaiah 11:11-12; 43:5; 56:8; Jeremiah 29:14; 31:8,10; 32:37; Ezekiel 11:17; 20:34,41; 28:25; 34:13; 37:21; 39:27-28; Hosea 8:10; Micah 2:12; Zephaniah 3:20; Zechariah 10:10.

Now that we have established the more accurate terminology is referred to as the gathering of the saints verses the not once mentioned word of the rapture according to Scripture, we can investigate where believers are gathered to.

All of YHVH’s Feasts are His Holy Holidays and prophetic in nature. The Spring feasts being Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, and even Pentecost/Shavuot were already fulfilled in Yeshua/Jesus’s first coming while the Fall feasts of YHVH will be fulfilled at His second coming. It is no coincidence the Bible connects the gathering with the ‘Feast of Ingathering’ for that is when they would rejoice in the gathering of their harvest and celebrate their freedom from sin and a corrupt culture such as their freedom from Egypt (Exodus 23:16; 34:23; Leviticus 23:33-44). Remember, ‘Feast of Ingathering’ is also referred to as ‘Feast of Tabernacles’ or ‘Sukkot’ in Hebrew.
Where Are Believers Gathered To?

Scripture makes it very clear where we are gathered to upon Yeshua’s second coming. At the last trumpet, the graves will open, the sleeping saints or sleeping beauties if you will, shall awake..shall be resurrected when the Prince returns, and the saints who endured the horrible persecutions of the tribulation shall be gathered to a specific location where Yeshua, the Prince, will rule and reign along with His saints (Matthew 24-26; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:1-11; 2 Peter 3; Revelation 11; 14; 20).

Contrary, to popular modern doctrines of mainstream Christianity, we aren’t whisked away to heaven at Yeshua’s return with the ‘to hell with ya’ll mentality’, although we do meet Yeshua in the air (I Thessalonians 4:17), we are gathered to…

  • “Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.” Ezekiel 37:12 (NKJV)
  • “So it shall be in that day; the great trumpet will be blown; they will come, who are about to perish in the land of Assyria, and they who are outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” Isaiah 27:13 (NKJV)
  • “I will bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel My glory.” Isaiah 46:13 (NKJV)
  • “So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with singing, with everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Isaiah 51:11
  • “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound the alarm in My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand:” Joel 2:1 (NKJV)
  • “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the remnant who the LORD calls.” Joel 2:32 (NKJV)
  • “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness..” Obadiah 1:17 (NKJV)
  • “Thus says the LORD: ‘I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, The Mountain of the LORD of hosts, The Holy Mountain.’ ” Zechariah 8:3 (NKJV)
  • “I will bring them back, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. They shall be My people and I will be their God, in truth and righteousness.” Zechariah 8:8 (NKJV)
  • “Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads.” Revelation 14:1 (NKJV)

To read more verses about where we are gathered to, study Psalms 2:6; 48:1-2; 74:2; 78:68; 87:1-7; 102:16; 125:1; 132:13-14; Isaiah 2:3; 59:20; Jeremiah 3:14-18; Micah 4:2, as some examples. If you only pick one of these to follow up, read Jeremiah 3:14-18.
So where are we gathered to at Yeshua’s return?
Is it heaven? Where are verses stating we are raptured to heaven? There is none. Instead, Scriptures state very clearly we are gathered to..
MOUNT ZION, JERUSALEM, ISRAEL.

Shalom and Amen.

Carrie R. Turner

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5 Traits of the Anti-Messiah / Anti-Christ Spirit

The Holy Scriptures give us a few traits or clues to beware of when discerning the Anti-Messiah or Anti-Christ spirit. As we sojourn the halls of various places of worship, carry on conversations with others, or peruse social media, be on the look out for any of these 5 traits:

  1. The most obvious clue is anyone who denies the fact that Yeshua/Jesus of Nazareth was/is the Son of YHWH (G-d), died for the sins of the world, and was resurrected on the 3rd day. Anyone who rejects Yeshua as Messiah is a carrier of the Anti-Messiah spirit. 1 John 4:1-3.
  2. The Anti-Messiah spirit will seem to be culturally “cool”, very likeable, popular, persuasive, and intriguing, even offering people many lucrative incentives, but inwardly he/she/they are infected with a dangerous spirit. Daniel 8:25; 11:21,23,24,25.
  3. The Anti-Messiah spirit will seek/has already sought to speak against, change and distort G-d’s laws. The Anti-Messiah spirit is even referred to as ‘the lawless one’ (one without Yah’s laws). The Anti-Messiah spirit will proclaim their will, their laws, their way is the correct interpretation verses G-d’s will, laws, and ways written in His word. Essentially, the Anti-Messiah does away with the One True G-d and His will by replacing G-d with a god of their own ideologies. Daniel 7:25; 11:28,36-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; 2 Peter 3:14-18; Revelation 11:1-2.
  4. The Anti-Messiah spirit will slander, shun, persecute, torment, and eventually seek to kill those who keep or practice G-d’s holy covenant, namely those who keep G-d’s commandments and believe Yeshua is Messiah. This vile spirit is very anti-semitic/anti-Jew/anti-Israel/anti-Hebrew in all forms conceivable for the Anti-Messiah spirit knows not only was Yeshua a chosen Jew from Israel, but those who are chosen as native Israelites as well as the grafted-in Israelites, who both believe in Yeshua the Messiah and keep their Heavenly Abba(Father)’s commandments, are being a light to the ever-increasing dark world. Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 51:4,7-8; Daniel 8:24; 11:28,30; Revelation 7:1-8; 12:13-17; 14:1-13.
  5. Conversely, the Anti-Messiah spirit will reward those who don’t keep G-d’s commands, are against G-d’s temple, and sacrifices, which are a part of G-d’s covenant in the Torah. Daniel 11:30-35; Revelation 11:1-2; 13:4-18; 17:8,15.

Is The ‘Lulav’ Connected To This Adventure?

Learned something new this week. The Ruach (Holy Spirit) continues to blow me away as He reveals more and more particularly about the Feast of Tabernacles. That feast has been a central theme to our journey as He takes us from new land to land.

In the Feast of Tabernacles, also known as Sukkot in Hebrew, a ‘lulav’ was waived while the people rejoiced much like a flag in today’s worship services. The lulav consists of three different tree branches all woven together. Each branch has symbolism and meaning, but more on that to come…

Amazingly, the 1st place Abba (Father in Hebrew) took us to upon calling us to follow Him was Myrtle Beach, which matches the 1st myrtle branch in the ‘lulav’. Then, after 18 months, He led us to Kemah, Texas, which not only means ‘tabernacle’, but has palm trees everywhere matching the 2nd piece of the ‘lulav’. Makes me believe the final destination will be connected with the 3rd piece of the ‘lulav’ which is the willow tree. I wonder where that will be… In His time and His way, He will reveal it. In the meantime, we rejoice where we are at all the while learning and growing more as His servants. It was neat to discover too how the palms used just before Passover is connected to Sukkot (see post below).

Have a great weekend and Shabbat Shalom! 🌴

How is Palm Sunday Is Connected To Feast of Tabernacles?

This upcoming Sunday is Palm Sunday according to Christian tradition. Did you know when the Jewish people used palms shouting, “Hosanna” as Jesus/Yeshua rode the donkey several days before becoming Passover’s sacrificial lamb, that they were recognizing Him as the Messiah (John 12)? They had witnessed many miracles including the resurrection of Lazarus and so they believed Yeshua/Jesus was the Messiah. However, the Pharisees or religious leaders of that day, were blinded by their own religious doctrines and interpretations of the Scriptures and quickly took action to hide the truth from the Jewish and Gentile people.

In the Feast of Tabernacles, the last fall Feast of the LORD (Lev.23), the Israelites would wave the ‘lulav’, which is a branch made up of a myrtle tree, a palm tree, and willow tree bound together. In that feast, also known as ‘Sukkot’, the Israelites are commanded to rejoice and celebrate the arrival/return of Messiah. They would sing praises shouting “Hosanna” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of YHVH”. Many scholars have notated that Jesus/Yeshua was most likely born during the fall Feast of Tabernacles/Sukkot , according to all the Biblical facts provided, and will one fine day return during Feast of Tabernacles. Sukkot/FOT also represents the millenial kingdom reign of Yeshua, the Messiah.

Isaiah 53 fortold the Messiah as a gentle, humble servant or lamb in His first coming, while Isaiah 65-66, Zechariah 14, and numerous other passages including the Book of Revelation portray Messiah returning as a fierce and just lion in His second coming.

The religious leaders back then expected the Messiah to be more like a roaring lion making all things right and holy, but instead He was a loving lamb. Today, many religious leaders portray the Messiah as a loving, hyper-grace lamb chop, who doesn’t mind sin, when in reality, according to Scripture, He will return as a roaring lion correcting, judging, and revenging according to what He calls sin verses holiness while making all things right.

May we continue to seek Him and His Word for ourselves so we are also not deceived by these latter days religious leader’s teachings and thereby unable to know our Messiah nor recognize His holy and just judgment at His return to rule and reign.

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