August 20, 2014

Gnostics and modern Christians

The term “gnosticism” is derived from the Greek word gnosis, meaning “knowledge”, because secret knowledge was so important to the Gnostics. Gnosticism forced its way into prominence during the first few centuries, and the Apostles and early Christian leaders opposed this heresy. In fact, much of the early Christian writings were focused on addressing the threat of Gnosticism.

It is important for us to understand the Gnostics and their relationship to early Christianity because it will help us to better understand certain New Testament verses that are written in direct opposition to Gnosticism. It is also important to understand this heresy, so that we can identify it’s influence on the modern Church, and so that we can avoid repeating their mistakes.

The Gnostics were a heretical movement based in early Judeo-Christian beliefs, and did not usually refer to themselves as “Gnostics”, but simply thought of themselves as Christians, followers of Jesus, or enlightened ones. Historians and scholars have sought to find its origins but with no consensus. Some suggest Hellenism and Greek thought, while others say it is rooted in Babylonian thought. Jewish gnosticism predates Christianity by hundreds of years, and Judaism was in close contact with Babylonian-Persian and Hellenistic ideas for hundreds of years, which led into Gnostic Jewish beliefs.

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July 23, 2014

Thief in paradise

As a result of my teachings on the Resurrection and eternal life, I am often asked if the thief on the cross is in heaven. The gospel of Luke tells us about a brief encounter that Yeshua had with two criminals while He was hanging on the tree. One criminal spoke mocking words against our Messiah, while the other criminal showed reverence and fear of the LORD. The second criminal also made an interesting request when he said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." But I am afraid that many people have misunderstood Yeshua's response to his request.

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June 30, 2014

Is polygamy a sin

I have heard people argue that polygamy is not specifically listed as a sin in the Bible, and it should be allowed today because certain people in the Bible had multiple wives. What does the Bible really say about this subject?

Our Messiah (quoting the Torah) said, “the two shall become one”, indicating that marriage is between two people (not three or more). He was making reference to what happened in the garden when God created one woman for Adam to be his wife. He pulled her from his side, and gave her back to him as a bride. This was God’s plan for marriage from the beginning. The unity between a man and woman in monogamy represents the love and faithfulness that God has for his people.

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June 12, 2014

Keeping the commandments

On multiple occasions, when someone finds out that I teach that we should keep the commandments, they typically respond by saying that it is impossible to keep all of the commandments in the Bible. But is that true? Is it really impossible keep all of God’s commandments? What does the Bible say on this subject?

In Exodus 16, God gave commandments about collecting manna for six days and resting on the Sabbath, and when some of the people ignored His instructions about not gathering manna on the Sabbath, God spoke these words:

“And the Lord said to Moses, “How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws?” (Exodus 16:28)
It seems that when God gave the commandments concerning the collection of manna on the Sabbath, He expected the people to obey. Look at what He says in another place.

“Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!” (Deuteronomy 5:29)
Can you hear the longing He has for His people to obey Him?
But some will say, “The commandments are too difficult, I cannot possibly keep them all”

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April 27, 2014

A conversation with the Black Israelites

I had an interesting conversation today with a group of people who call themselves the "Black Israelites" (I have also heard them referred to as the "Black Hebrews" or the "Black Jews").  I saw a group of  8 or 9 guys dressed in strange costumes, holding signs, and standing on the corner at a 7 Eleven near my neighborhood today. I knew by their costumes and the writing on their signs that they were the "Black Hebrew Israelites" that I have heard about online, and I thought this was a good opportunity to ask them a few questions about what they believe. It was an interesting conversation to say the least.