The Refiner's Fire is a huge website containing hundreds of articles. We've therefore capsulized some of the most frequently asked questions and invite you to write to us if you require further explanations.

Quick references: Just click on a question and to jump to the answer!


Is the Netzarim faith some new revelation from God?

What are the Names of God and is He a Trinity?

Is Yeshua the same as Jesus?

What is the correct spelling of Yeshua's Name?

What is Torah?

Wasn't Torah just for the Jews?

Why do we insist that Christianity is off the mark?

Are we supposed to pray "in Yeshua's Name?"

In Mark 7:19 - did Yeshua really declare all foods clean?

When does the Sabbath start?

Are angels male or female or either?

Do you follow the Talmud (Oral Torah that was written down)?

Do Gentile men have to be circumcised?

Who was God talking to when He said, "Let us make man in our image"?

Reader question: How did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and others before Moses observe the Torah if it wasn't written yet?

Biblically speaking, are women allowed to teach men?

Does life begin at conception, or are babies not human until they're born?

Do women have to wear head coverings all the time?

Should women wear tzit-tzit?

Are believers allowed to celebrate birthdays?

Are there degrees of sinning - meaning, are some sins worse than others, or are they all considered equal in God's eyes?

There are no kosher butcher shops in our area. Is there any way we can "kosherize" the meat we buy from our local grocery store?

Do infants have to be baptized?

Does the Bible suggest that women have to wear dresses?

Why do bad things happen to good people?

How do we know Saturday is the Seventh Day?

Will there be a Third Temple?

What about deliberate sinning? Are we forgiven?

The Bible seems to suggest we are not to call anyone "rabbi". But is this true?

But doesn't Acts 15 basically state that Christians don't have to bother with Torah?

Who was Lucifer?

Is the Netzarim faith some new revelation from God?

No. Netzarim, or Nazarenes, were the original followers of Yeshua who, to this day, try to live according to Torah and the Ketuvim Netzarim (writings of the Netzarim). Yeshua Mashiyach (whom Christians call Jesus) who had a Divine Nature, provided a way for each one to receive the anointing of the Ruach HaKodesh (Set-Apart Spirit) and learn His Word according to the Tanach/"Old Testament" which consists of the Torah/Divine Instructions in Righteousness, the Neviim/prophets; and Ketuvim/writings. We observe Torah as did Yeshua and His Talmidim (disciples).

Netzarim follow an ancient and future calendar based on Torah which is the authoritative Word of YHWH. For Netzarim the Good News/Gospel is the entire Bible. We regard Yeshua (who was a tallit-wearing, Torah observant, Seventh Day Sabbath and Feast-keeping, kosher JEW) as Lawgiver and Teacher of all Righteousness. For more please see our "What is the Netzari Faith" page.

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What are the Names of God and is He a Trinity?

First of all, our Creator only has ONE Name that is YHWH - most like pronounced "Yah-way". Many don't seem to realize He only has ONE Name, but many "titles" (i.e., God, ELOHIM, ADONAI, etc). On this website we use the correct Name of our Creator YHWH, and His Divine Son, Maschiyach (Messiah) Yeshua (which in Hebrew means "YHWH is Salvation"). We call the Holy Spirit by the Hebrew Name, Ruach haKodesh.

It is imperative to remember that YHWH is absolutely not a "trinity" as "trinity" when referring to our Creator is a completely pagan concept! Some have attempted to say that YHWH is a plurality because of Yeshua and the Holy Spirit, and because "Elohim" is the plural form of "Eloah." Well, YHWH is plurality (but NOT "trinity") for many reasons; in part, because He is "majesty" and majesty is always referred to in the plural form. Please read this indepth explanation.

Perhaps a better way of explaining the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" concept is this: Everything that comes from Him, including Yeshua and the Ruach...they are simply "part of" YHWH. It's almost like the heat from a fire: YHWH is the fire, and the heat is the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit) which permeates onto and warms all who are near. And Yeshua can be likened to an ember that jumped from the fire, onto the Earth. ALL are part of YHWH, but that does not make Him a "trinity"....

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Is Yeshua the same as Jesus?

Sorry to say - absolutely not! The Christian "Jesus" was a Torah-less entity who supposedly came to abolish all of His Father's original Divine Instructions. But the Messiah Yeshua found in Scripture was a Torah observant Jew who kept all the commandments and "walked in Torah" to the letter and tried to teach us to do the same. For more please see Explaining Yeshua.

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What is the correct spelling of Yeshua's Name?

There have been a myriad arguments in Messianic circles concerning the "correct" spelling/transliteration of Yeshua's Hebrew Name: . Some insists it's spelled "Yeshua" or "Y'shua" while others will damn you to hell if you don't adhere to their preferred spelling of "Yahshua", or even "Yahushuah". (The "Yahshua" crowd is especially vicious when it comes to the spelling, and therefore, we've written an article to clear this matter up: Transliteration of Yeshua's Name. It's very wrong to get caught up in the "correct pronunciation" fights! Recognize the various spellings for what they are: TRANSLITERATIONS!

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What is Torah?

Torah refers to the first five Books of the Bible, which contain all of YHWH's Divine Instructions in Righteousness - His "do's and dont's." In those Books we find He has certain rules for His people to follow - not unlike parents who set down rules for their children. Our parents potty train us and teach us table manners, and explain that we will be electrocuted if we stick our fingers into an electrical socket, and to look both ways before crossing a street. Well, YHWH has rules, too and these rules include more than "just believing in Jesus." Think about it: Would "just believing" in our parents have saved us if we decided to cross a street without looking both ways? Of course not! We have a responsibility to apply what our parents taught us if we wish to live safely in this world and make it through life....

Same thing with God. We "believe in Him" but just "believing" doesn't save us from the world. In order to belong to Him and to be considered holy in His Eyes, we must obey and conduct our lives by His Rules - and those rules are contained in Torah! How else could we become holy? He gave Adam and Eve some rules and among the first was, "Don't eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden!" They didn't listen and consequently, their disobedience resulted in them and all their offspring (right down to you and me!) having to live in a fallen world full of evil, pain, death and destruction! That, in itself, was a clue as to how important obedience to YHWH is!

Once the world's population grew, YHWH had to provide more and more rules. Some were only for men, some only for women, some were meant for a certain point in time, and many were only for the priests, once the priesthood of Levites was established. But He gave some "forever" commands and among those was the Seventh Day Sabbath and His annual Feasts - all of which are practice for the Millennium when Yeshua will rule and reign for a thousand years and ALL will be keeping the proper Sabbath and observing the Feasts! What makes us think we don't have to bother with them NOW? Yeshua kept them. The Sabbath and the Feasts are our weekly and annual dates with God; when and where were ever we told that they would be abolished after His death? Nowhere!

Without Torah we would have NO blueprint for moral, holy living. As a matter of fact, in 1 John 3:4 we are told that "sin" is "transgression of the Torah." It is simply God telling His people how to be holy unto Him; it is our guide for life.

Many insist that Torah is only for the Jews, but the thing is: Torah has been around since the beginning when YHWH told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil! In Genesis 4 we see that Cain and Abel were Torah observant when they offered sacrifices and in Genesis 7 and 8 we see that Noah knew the difference between clean and unclean animals. Yet none of THEM were Jews! There were no Jews until Jacob begat the Tribe of Yehudah, where the term "Jew" originated. Yet EVERYONE who believed in YHWH up until then was Torah observant!

Torah is for anyone who has accepted the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (see Numbers 15:13-16, where God tells us FOUR times in a row that those who have accepted Him MUST do as His chosen people do - and His chosen were all Torah observant! His Divine Son Yeshua was Torah observant and, contrary to popular belief, so was the Apostle Paul whom many like to misquote to defend their misconception that Torah was abolished. But the fact is, all of His Apostles and Disciples and all of His followers for at least one hundred years after the death of Yeshua were Torah observant. So, what makes US think we can ignore it?

Please see our Challenging Mainstream Christianity page which contains much info and many articles to show why Christianity is off the mark. Two "must-read" pages are Torah explained in simple terms and Proclaiming Torah where we've outlined the bare-bones basics of WHY believers must keep Torah.

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Wasn't Torah just for the Jews?

No! There were no "Jews" until Jacob begat the Tribe of Judah (Judah - Genesis 29:35; Matthew 1:1-2)! "The Jews" has simply become a blanket description for all Israelites - but in actuality, only someone born into the Tribe of Judah can claim they are Jews. The Tanach (OT) shows that His Chosen were called Hebrews (see Genesis 12 through 14). Abraham, our first patriarch, was BORN A GENTILE in Ur of the Chaldees - Babylon - and he BECAME a Hebrew, which means "to cross over." This happened when he physically left Babylon and spiritually became a child of YHWH, doing YHWH's will.

So, logically, we can come to the conclusion that back when YHWH created the world and made the Seventh Day holy (Genesis 2:2-3), He wasn't talking to "the Jews"! Adam and Eve, to whom He gave His first rules weren't Jews, and neither were Cain and Abel who offered the first sin sacrifices (Genesis 4:3-5). And Noah, who also was not a Jew, knew the difference between "clean and unclean" animals (Genesis 7:2-3), and clearly understood and used a "7-day" period....There was already a Torah for EVERYONE!

This totally negates the Christian claim that they don't have to obey God's Law! Anyone who believes in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is to be Torah observant, and God even said so FOUR TIMES IN A ROW in Numbers 15:13-16! And this was reiterated in Jeremiah 31:32 when YHWH made His New Covenant with the Houses of Israel and Judah - both of whom were Torah observant.

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Why do we insist that Christianity is off the mark?

Because Christians insist that "Jesus nailed the Law to the cross" - when, in fact, He was our Final SIN Sacrifice who came to proclaim the Kingdom of YHWH (Luke 4:43) and to do everything the Father told Him (Deuteronomy 18:15-19). He even said He did NOT come to abolish but to fulfill (which did not mean "put an end to") (Matthew 5:17-20) the Tanach prophecies and He ultimately martyred Himself as the Final Sin Sacrifice (see the Gospels).

(NOTE: Our use of the term "martyr" is intentional because traditional Jews love to point out that "G-d never required human sacrifice!" Well, Y'shua wasn't a "human sacrifice" because nobody "sacrificed" Him. He was a Divine Sacrifice who willingly went to the cross/stake. As a human being, He had the choice to obey YHWH or not. As we see time and time again, He CHOSE to obey. He KNEW who He was....)

Christians have continued the Catholic abomination of changing God's times/seasons and laws (Daniel 7:25) while ignoring YHWH's commanded Seventh Day Sabbath and Biblical Feasts and blindly accepting the pagan customs of Christmas and Easter. For more on this please see our How mainstream Christianity is off the mark page.

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Are we supposed to pray "in Yeshua's Name?"

According to Acts 2:38 we are!

Acts 2: 38. Shimon said to them, "Repent and be immersed [1] each of you in the name of Master YHWH-Yeshua [2] for the forgiveness of sins, that you may receive the gift of the Ruach haKodesh. (Aramaic English New Testament)

[1] Shimon was preaching from the steps of the Temple in Jerusalem. Just below him were hundreds of mikveh (immersion) baths. Both the steps he spoke from and the baths are visible today outside the Western Wall. In Peter's day baptism wasn't an act of conversion from one religion to another, but an act of purification from sin. A person repented of their sin, prayed, and then entered into the waters of the mikveh (baptism) to symbolize atonement.

[2] MarYah and Y'shua appear next to one another! Therefore, Keefa (Peter) is saying that the divine part of Y'shua and YHWH are one and the same; he is referring to Him in both ways.

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In Mark 7:19 - did Yeshua really declare all foods clean?

Most Greek Bible versions in Mark 7:18-20 have added the sentence, "Thus Jesus declared all foods clean" (or some form thereof). Example:

Mark 7: 18 "Are you so dull?" he asked. "Don't you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him 'unclean'? 19 For it doesn't go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body." (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods "clean.") (NIV)

Unfortunately, Yeshua never uttered those words! This sentence was added in order to support the Christian idea that today we are allowed to eat anything we want!

God was clear from the beginning about what we could and couldn't eat. Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 provide a list of animals that are not to be eaten as food; and included in this list of "unclean" foods are some of man's favorites: pork, shrimp, lobster, crab, catfish, squid, rabbit, squirrel, etc. The New Testament, on the other hand, seems to indicate that God changed His mind somewhere along the line, which is absolutely untrue. Here is what the original documents stated (i.e., the Khabouris Codex - the oldest NT ever discovered, which some scholars date between 120 - 160 AD):

MARK 7: 18. He said to them, You are likewise slow to understand. You do not know that everything which enters into a man from the outside is not able to defile him. 19. Because it does not enter into his heart, rather into his belly and is cast out by excretion, which purifies all the food. 20. But anything that goes out from a man is that which defiles a man. 21. For from the inside, from the heart of the sons of men proceeds evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, theft, murder, 22. Extortion, wickedness, deceit, lust. An evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. 23. All these evil things, they do proceed from within a man and defile him. (AENT)

Footnote: This chapter showcases one of the greatest discussions of oral versus written Jewish law that exists in these writings of the Renewed Covenant. In many ways this presages the heated exchanges that would be recorded in the Talmud some 200 years later. However, a major misunderstanding of this verse found its way into the modern translations with the parenthetical comment "in so doing Y'shua declared all foods clean." Neither Aramaic nor early Greek manuscripts include this in the text, which is clearly an attempt by Gentile or Christian editors to abandon Torah's dietary laws. The point being established is that if you plot things like murder, lies, adulteries and so forth, then why be concerned about the food you eat, when weightier things are making you much more unclean than your food? Even if a person kept a perfectly kosher diet, but had such unclean thoughts, such a one would rank among the most unkosher of people. See Luke 11:40.

ROMANS 14: 14. I know indeed, and am persuaded by Master YHWH (who is) Y'shua, that there is nothing which is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks any thing to be unclean, to him only it is defiled. (AENT)

Footnote: The context of this discussion (verse 2) concerns meat versus a vegetarian diet. There is no discussion here about unclean foods according to Torah, because this is already clearly understood by Greek followers of Mashiyach. However, mainstream Christians twist this verse to teach that unclean food was made clean by Paul, which is a lie. Paul was joined together with the other Shlichim in Jerusalem when the Ruach haKodesh spoke through Ya'akov HaTsaddiq, and instructed the non-Jewish converts to avoid unclean foods; i.e., foods sacrificed to idols, and blood. Notice also in Acts 15:20-21 that the expectation of the non-Jewish converts was that they would learn Moshe (Torah) as they grew in their relationship with Mashiyach and his people.

Anything fit to be "food" is required to be from a "clean" animal and be properly prepared. The issue is to not question the good intentions of a host who by tacit agreement would have made an effort to drain the blood from the meat, as Torah requires. It was and is considered rude to go into the kitchen of your host, right before a meal, to act as a "kosher policeman." If your host erred, it would be he, not you, who transgressed; therefore, don't cause an uproar over this issue during the meal.

ACTS 10: 10. And he hungered and desired to eat. And while they prepared for him, a stupor fell over him. 11. And he saw heaven being opened and a certain garment being held by four corners. And it resembled a great linen cloth. And it was descending from heaven to earth. 12. And there were in it all creatures of four legs, and creeping things of the earth, and birds of heaven. 13. And a voice came to him that said, "Shimon! Rise up. Slaughter, and eat!" 14. And Shimon said, "(Elohim) forbid, my Master, because I have not ever eaten anything that is defiled and unclean!" 15. And again a second time a voice came to him that (said), "That which Elohim has cleansed, you should not consider defiled!" 16. And this happened three times, and the garment was taken up to heaven. (AENT)

Footnote: Gentiles are called to enter into the Malchut (Kingom) Elohim to follow Mashiyach and observe Torah; this is not about the consumption of unclean food. Yeshua casts demons into a herd of swine Matthew 8, Mark 5, Luke 8. Swine meat is unclean, demons are unclean; Y'shua destroys both. Peter never ate unclean animals before or after this vision; followers of Y'shua don't eat unclean foods. The Hellenized Christian church endorsed eating unclean foods, because non-Jews have always eaten it as a cultural normative. It is a continuum of pagan culture. Isaiah 66:17-24 clearly prophecies of a rebellious people who dine on swine's flesh, eat mice and choose to defy the Word of YHWH and His Mashiyach. Gentiles must not assume that these teachings single them out as unclean; Yehudeans are equally as unclean when choosing to defy YHWH and His Mashiyach (see Haggai 2:14; Ezekiel 44:22; Ezra 9:10-10:1; Isaiah 30:6-12; 65:2, 3; Jeremiah 5:22-31). It is very important to differentiate between that which is Kosher according to YHWH, and religious "tradition." If unclean food is prohibited for Jewish followers of Yeshua, it is also prohibited for non-Jewish followers; the Kingdom of Elohim is not divided. If unclean food has been proven unhealthy, then it is unhealthy for Jewish and non-Jewish bodies alike; there is One Mashiyach and One Torah.

Put another way: The passages in Romans are dealing with animals YHWH gave us to eat and whether they are ceremonially clean and can be eaten at that time. Even in Peter's vision (Acts 11), Peter would never have eaten the treif (non-kosher) animals. The vision was to show that, as Peter knew which animals were clean and which were not because as God had shown him, thus Peter was to accept the Gentiles as God had now shown him they were "clean", that is "accepted". The rest of the passage in Acts 11 shows that this is the correct interpretation and what the vision was all about (see Acts 11:18). (Borrowed with permission from Carmen Welker's Should Christians be Torah Observant?

Those who don't know their Bibles very well will argue that, since the death of Jesus, we can eat whatever we want. But, since Malachi 3:6 declares that God does NOT change, why would He have changed his mind about what constitutes "clean" and "unclean" foods? Why would the foods listed in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14 now be okay to eat?

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When does the Sabbath start?

When you can't see the sun anymore. Someone once asked the question as to when the Sabbath starts in places like Alaska where there is no sunset for six months out of the year. Our response was: That's why God gave us clocks! A.M. is A.M. and P.M. is P.M. wherever you live. In places where the sun sets, even when cloudy, you can SEE when it sets. There's no need to get rabbinical about a few minutes either way. In places like Alaska, they must rely on their clocks and use their brains to understand that when Friday evening comes around, "sunset", give or take, the Shabbat has arrived. The idea of obedience is simply to DO what YHWH said, and not quibble about the minutiae. This is the kind of stuff Yeshua came to try to do away with...YHWH said keep the Sabbath, period. He is not sitting in Heaven checking to see if you're keeping His Sabbath at some "moment" when someone said the Sabbath began! He just wants you to obey the command and keep the Shabbat holy!

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Are angels male or female or either?

Contrary to popular belief (as depicted in greeting cards and in the movies, etc), angels are NOT female! All angels in Scripture are referred to as "he": See Genesis 19:10-12; Revelation 7:2; 8:3; 10:7). Matthew 22:30 seems to indicate that angels are "sexless," or without gender: "30. For in the resurrection of the dead, men do not marry women, nor are women given to husbands. Rather, they are as the Messengers of Elohim in Heaven." If angels do not procreate, there is no need for gender, at least not in the sense of human gender distinctions. It seems that angels are genderless, just as is our Creator YHWH, and that masculine language is used to describe them and their role in serving God.

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Do you follow the Talmud (Oral Torah that was written down)?

No, we do not follow the Talmud. While the Talmud has some amazing information from the sages of old who were doing their best to understand Torah, it is not the Word of YHWH; it is merely man's opinion. Yeshua warned against rabbinic traditions:

Matthew 23: 1. Y'shua then spoke with the crowds and with his disciples. 2. And he said to them, The scribes and the Pharisees sit on the seat of Moshe. 3. Therefore everything that they [1] say to you that you should keep and do. But not according to their deeds, for they talk, but do not. 4. And they bind heavy burdens and place them upon the shoulders of the sons of men, but they do not desire to touch them with their fingers. 5. And they do all their deeds that they might be seen by the sons of men. For they widen their Tefillin [2] and lengthen the Tekhelet [3] of their robes. 6. And they love the chief places at festivals and the chief seats at the assembly. 7. And a greeting in the streets, and to be called Rabbi by men. 8. But you should not be called "My Great One", [4] for there is only one Who is Great and you are all brothers. 9. And do not call yourself Father [5] for your Father is one who is in heaven. 10. And you should not be called leaders, because one is your leader, the Mashiyach. 11. But he who is greatest among you, let him be a servant to you. 12. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Footnotes:

[1] A very late and unattested reading in Shem Tob Matthew states: "everything 'he' (Moshe) tells you to do, do it." This rendering is nonsense; Y'shua would not mention Moshe when the Pharisees are "they" who sit in Moshe's seat. Peshitta and Greek texts agree that since the Pharisees sit in Moshe's seat they should teach Moshe but, instead, they elevate their oral traditions above Torah. The fact of the matter is, if they would actually study Torah, they would know Y'shua is Mashiyach. Y'shua returns to this point in John 5:46-47.

[2] Leather box/straps containing Bible verses that traditional observant Jews bind on their arms and foreheads during daily prayer, except on Shabbat (Deut. 6:8).

[3] The "ribbon of blue" of the "tzitzit" (fringes), as commanded in Num. 15:38. "Tekhelet" can also refer to tzitzit, or even the whole prayer shawl/talit.

[4] Aramaic here does not mean "Rabbi" as in "teacher" per se, as in Matthew 28 Y'shua commands his disciples to teach the world. Instead, Y'shua is addressing the more literal meaning of "rab" which is "great" as shown in Genesis 6:5, "the wickedness of man was great on the earth." The previous eight verses teach against elitist behavior, so "do not be called My Great One, for you have One that is Great, YHWH." This is directed to the Rabbis (leaders) themselves, not to the followers. Certainly this does not win popularity among the Rabbis.

[5] This prohibition against calling leaders "father" is to avoid giving high status to men which is due unto YHWH. Catholics openly defy this commandment, but all institutions who use flattering titles for leaders are culpable; see Job 32:21-12. Isaiah 56:10-12 exposes leaders who "can never have enough" and who keep their "followers" in spiritual and often financial poverty by seeking personal gain for themselves. See also 1 Timothy 4:3 and Appendix on Religious Leaders and Unity versus Hierarchy.

In virtually every miracle Yeshua performed he broke various parts of the "Oral Torah". He also constantly berated the Pharisees for making the commandments of YHWH of no effect because of their traditions. No one gets to add or subtract commandments from the written Torah given by YHWH. Rabbis who add and subtract from Moshe, are in fact doing the exact same thing that gentile "pastors" do when they add and subtract from Torah.

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Do Gentile men have to be circumcised?

Yes. Same God, same rules. Please see our circumcision response.

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Who was God talking to when He said, "Let us make man in our image"?

Depending on what version one uses: Genesis 1: 26 "Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

YHWH could NOT have been addressing angels because angels do not create; they are created beings and we are NOT made in their image at all, or else we would have wings and many eyes, etc. That rules out angels as creating us in "our image."

So, who was He talking to?

Although this cannot be proven biblically, we believe He was talking to His own "plurality". Since no one today has ever seen YHWH (God the Father), we cannot know what He looks like or what comprises Him. We do know He is ONE - ECHAD (plural form of One). He is NOT, as people like Kenneth Copeland have suggested, a six foot tall human with wavy hair and blue eyes! He is SPIRIT and we humans are to "reflect" that Spirit and holiness. That is how we are "in His Image." Our "image" is not one of "looking like Him", rather it is having some of His characteristics.

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How did Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and others before Moses observe the Torah if it wasn't written yet?

YHWH personally spoke with people in various ways. He literally walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:8), and He somehow spoke with Cain and Abel who knew to offer sin sacrifices (see all of Genesis 4) and he spoke with Noah in Genesis 9, and He personally spoke with Moses on Mt. Sinai (Exodus 19) and in the desert (see the Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) - and He even spoke through a donkey (Numbers 22). Those are just a few examples. Whether He spoke to them personally or through His prophets, people back then knew to DO His will; they heard and obeyed. If you've carefully read the Old Testament, you can't help but conclude that Torah was progressively revealed to those willing to hear it.

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Biblically speaking, are women allowed to teach men?

Absolutely! Please see: Women teaching men.

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Does life begin at conception, or are babies not human until they're born?

Regardless as to what the "pro-abortionists" say, life is a gift from YHWH, and it begins at conception....

Isaiah 44: 2 Thus says ADONAI, who made you, formed you in the womb, and will help you: Don't be afraid, Ya'akov my servant, Yeshurun, whom I have chosen. (CJB)

Psalm 22: 9 But you are the one who took me from the womb, you made me trust when I was on my mother's breasts. 10 Since my birth I've been thrown on you; you are my God from my mother's womb. (CJB)

Job 31: 15 Didn't he who made me in the womb make them too? Didn't the same one shape us both before our birth? (CJB)

Ecclesiastes 11: 5 Just as you don't know the way of the wind or how bones grow in a pregnant woman's womb, so you don't know the work of God, the maker of everything. (CJB)

Could bones grow if they're not living substance/tissue? Can an embryo grow if it's not living tissue? If you left the embryo alone in the womb, does it not become a human baby? Since an embryo GROWS and is formed inside the womb, then it is a living human being that is murdered during the process of an abortion.....

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Do women have to wear head coverings all the time?

There is no verse in the Bible that suggests anything other than that a woman should never pray or prophesy with her head uncovered. It doesn't say a woman has to keep her head covered ALL the time; only when she's praying or prophesying. If she wants to wear a covering all the time, that's fine, but nowhere in the Bible will you find that women have to wear head coverings continuously.

1 Corinthians 11: 4. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered, dishonors his head. Please see (head coverings for men.) 5. And every woman, who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered, dishonors her head; for she is on a level with her whose head is shaven. 6. For if a woman be not covered, let her also be shorn; but if it be shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7. The man, indeed, should not cover his head, because he is the likeness and glory of Elohim: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8. For the man was not from the woman, but the woman from the man. 9. Neither was the man created for the woman's sake, but the woman for the man's sake.

10. For this cause ought the woman to have on her head the mark of authority, because of the Messengers. 11. Nevertheless, the man is not without the woman, nor the woman without the man, in our Master. 12. For as the woman was from the man, so the man is by the woman; and everything is from Elohim. 13. Judge for yourselves, among yourselves; is it becoming that a woman pray to Elohim with her head uncovered? 14. Does not nature teach you that in a man, if his hair grows long, it is a reproach to him? [1] 15. But for a woman, if her hair is abundant, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. [2] 16. But if any one is contentious about these things, we on our part have no such custom, nor has the assembly of Elohim. (AENT)

Footnotes:

[1] It's a shame for a man to grow long hair, if his goal is to look like a woman. Torah requires that there be a clear distinction between male and female (Deuteronomy 22:5). Each person must be clearly recognizable according to their natural birth gender. Long hair on a man is NOT the sole issue; those taking Nazarite vows wore long hair some for life (Samson) and others for a season. Paul himself took a Nazarite vow. Rav Shaul is teaching against pagan sexuality practices, of those who do things to make themselves appear as the opposite gender. This an issue of gender distinction and understanding the Image of Elohim in both male and female.

[2] Or rather, as an additional covering, i.e., on top of proper clothing for worship and having her head covered. This does not mean a woman's hair is in place of a head covering.

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Should women wear tzit-tzit?

Sure, if they really wish to! YHWH told ALL ISRAEL to wear tzitziot. "All Israel" includes both men and women! We are all to remember YHWH in our daily walks.

Numbers 15: 37 ADONAI said to Moshe, 38 "Speak to the people of Isra'el, instructing them to make, through all their generations, tzitziyot on the corners of their garments, and to put with the tzitzit on each corner a blue thread. 39 It is to be a tzitzit for you to look at and thereby remember all of ADONAI's mitzvot and obey them, so that you won't go around wherever your own heart and eyes lead you to prostitute yourselves; 40 but it will help you remember and obey all my mitzvot and be holy for your God. 41 I am ADONAI your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt in order to be your God. I am ADONAI your God."

For those who insist that women are NOT to wear tzit-tzit, please check out Numbers 15:38-41, and then ponder this: The Hebrew word BENAY does in fact mean "sons" literally. However, the Rabbis admit there are times when it can be argued it's a mixed gender group and the term does not "turn" female until the whole group is designated "female". It is true also that a clearer word for "people" in Hebrew would be AM (people), but that doesn't mean BENAY always and only means "sons"; it is a matter of interpretation that may never be resolved. However, there is nothing in the Torah that FORBIDS women specifically from wearing tzit-tzit either, and therefore, worst case, it is OPTIONAL for women to do so - but not a violation of Torah IF they opt to do so.

Look at this simplistically! The commandment to wear tzitzit is to "look at them and not go do whatever your eyes tell you to do, but instead, to remember the commandments of YWHW!" Would this only apply to men and not women?

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Are believers allowed to celebrate birthdays?

The only birthday parties mentioned in the Bible are those celebrated by two pagans:

Genesis 40: 20 On the third day, which was Pharaoh's birthday, he gave a party for all his officials, and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his officials. (CJB)

Mark 6: 21, Then there was a notable day when Herodus gave a banquet on his birthday for his nobles and captains and heads of Galeela. (AENT)

There's nothing wrong with celebrating the day of one's birth, as long as we make it all about YHWH instead of ourselves. After all, HE is the reason we are here. When we throw birthday parties for our children or friends, we must remember to instill that idea in them/sow some seeds. "Johnny/Janie, although this is your birthday, you need to take some time to thank God for creating you."

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Are there degrees of sinning - meaning, are some sins worse than others, or are they all considered equal in God's eyes?

Yes and no. Telling a lie is obviously a "lesser" sin than murdering someone or committing adultery. But the fact is, both are sins in YHWH's eyes and, unless you repent and turn from those sins as soon as you recognize you've "messed up," both of those sins will keep you out of heaven. YHWH cannot and will not be in the presence of sin or sinners. Only those who are washed clean with the blood of Messiah, committed to living their lives without intentional sin, and who have recognized their inadvertent sins and repented will have a chance at eternal life. Those who continue to sin for whatever reason have NO sin sacrifice and will consequently lose their salvation.

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There are no kosher butcher shops in our area. Is there any way we can "kosherize" the meat we buy from our local grocery store?

You can "kosherize" your own meats by either dousing them in salt for approximately half an hour (the salt draws out the excess blood), or by covering it in water and boiling it for approximately 5 - 10 minutes in the microwave which also draws out the blood. Don't get too hung-up on this. Even the "proper" way to kill and bleed an animal in the "approved" kosher method, still leaves some blood in the meat. But when we can't get "kosher" meat, there is nothing wrong with drawing the remaining blood out, and cooking thoroughly to comply with the commandment to "not eat the blood" (Leviticus 17:10-11).

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Do infants have to be baptized?

The Bible doesn't say that babies have to be baptized at all; it just says baby boys have to be circumcized on the eighth day (Genesis 17:12). The bottom line is: Before anyone can get baptized, one must be able to:

(1) Hear and understand Torah and the Gospels (Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:36,41).

(2) Believe in and confess Yeshua as our Final Sin Sacrifice (Mark 16:15,16; Galatians 3:26,27; Acts 8:36-39; 18:8; Rom. 1:16; 10:13-17; Romans 10:9,10; Acts 8:35-39).

(3) Be able to recognize and repent of their sins (Acts 2:38; Matt. 3:9; 10:21; 21:28; John 8:39).

Water baptism in "living waters" (water that flows or can be drained) is a prerequisite for every believer who is old enough to recognize and publicly admit that YHWH is his/her Creator; Yeshua is the Messiah who martyred Himself on our behalf; and who is willing to recognize and admit they have sinned and ultimately repented for those sins. Please see our article Water Baptism.

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Does the Bible suggest that women have to wear dresses?

No. All the Scriptures tell us is that women must dress modestly. Back in Biblical times, both men and women wore loose robe-like clothing and tunics. The bottom line of what the Scriptures suggest is that women not flaunt their beauty by wearing revealing clothing and adornments designed to attract others in a sexual way.

1 Peter 3: 1. So also you wives, be subject to your husbands; that by your pleasing behavior you may gain over without difficulty those who are disobedient to the Word, 2. when they see that you conduct yourselves with reverence and chastity. 3. And don't adorn yourselves with the external ornaments of curls of the hair, or of golden trinkets or of costly garments. 4. But adorn yourselves in the hidden person of the heart with a mild and pure spirit, an ornament that is precious before Elohim. 5. For so also the Set Apart women of old who trusted in Elohim, adorned themselves and were subject to their husbands....

1 Timothy 2: 9. So also, that women (appear) in a chaste fashion of dress; and that their adorning be with modesty and chastity; not with curls or with gold, or with pearls, or with splendid robes; 10. but with good works as is becoming to women who profess reverence for Elohim.

Titus 2: 1. But as for you, the things that belong to wholesome doctrine. 2. And teach the older men to be watchful in their minds and to be sober, and to be pure, and to be sound in the faith, and in love and in patience. 3. And so also the elder women that they be in behavior as is becoming to the Fear of Elohim; and not to be slanderers; and not to be addicted to much wine; and to be teachers [1] of beautiful things, 4. making the younger women to be modest, to love their husbands and their children, 5. to be chaste and Set Apart and to take good care of their households and to be obedient to their husbands, so that no one may reproach the Word of Elohim.

[1] In 1 Timothy, Rav Shaul commands that women keep silent in the assembly and not assume authority over a man. However, here in Titus 3:2, the older women are instructed to lead by examples of their own piety and to teach the younger women in the Fear of Elohim. (The word malpan most certainly means to teach.) Y'shua is frequently called a Malpana almost as often as he is called a "Rabbi." The concern in 1 Timothy seems not so much about women speaking, but to not speak out of turn while the official leader is teaching. Surely, such action is disrespectful universally; neither is it normal for men to be given such liberty. Rav Shaul encourages the older and spiritually mature women to both teach and be examples for the younger women, as they are able to help safeguard young men and women from "worldly lusts." We don't see endorsement of women congregational leaders in Paul's writings, but we certainly do see encouragement for women to exercise leadership in modesty and be Set Apart unto YHWH.

Matthew 6: 31. Therefore, do not be anxious or say, What will we eat? Or what will we drink? Or what will we wear? 32. For all these things, the peoples those of the world require these things, and your Father who is in heaven also knows that you require all these things. 33. But first seek the Kingdom of Elohim and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you. 34. Therefore, be not anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow is anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its evil.

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Why do bad things happen to good people?

The short answer is, we are in a fallen world. God allows us to suffer sometimes because:

• We inherited our sinfulness from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

• YHWH does some of His best work in and through "broken vessels" - those who have suffered and grown stronger in their faith because of their suffering.

• We must learn to recognize that "bad times" are part of our growing process. When the sun always shines, there's a desert below....

The bottom line is: We are in a fallen world and bad things can happen to anybody. The key is how we react to both, the good and the bad times/situations. Do we immediately whine and cry and blame God whenever things are bad? Or do we act like mature believers who trust that YHWH has our best interests at heart and recognize that "stuff happens" and that YHWH is in control, no matter what? Your reactions to life's situations will help YHWH separate the sheep from the goats on Judgment Day....

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How do we know Saturday is the Seventh Day?

Please see our articles: God's Calendar and the Seven-Day Week and also True Sabbath Day.

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Will there be a Third Temple?

Absolutely! Scripture tells us that there will be a literal Third Temple because sacrifices will be taking place prior to the second coming and even during the thousand year reign. For this to occur, there must be an altar and some sort of structure - be it a stone temple or a tent similar to Moses' or David's tabernacle. In the Scriptures, we see that Ezekiel clearly describes a future physical temple (given to him in a vision from YHWH (Ezekiel 40:1-4) because, how else could we explain the fact that Levites and descendants of Aaron will be ministering there?

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What about deliberate sinning? Are we forgiven?

If you are a child of YHWH and continuously and deliberately sin, simply "expecting" to be forgiven, you are hosed!

Numbers 15: 30 "'But an individual who does something wrong intentionally, whether a citizen or a foreigner, is blaspheming ADONAI. That person will be cut off from his people.

Hebrews 10: 26 For if we deliberately continue to sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but only the terrifying prospect of Judgment, or raging fire that will consume the enemies.

The idea of "grace" as a "get out of jail free" card as taught in most of Christianity is a horrible myth! Yeshua Himself taught that we are to be as diligent as we can to obey YHWH's rules for living and try our best not to sin. Indeed, for those who are simply expecting to be "automatically" forgiven for their intentional sins, i.e., the "lukewarm", face eternal damnation! (Revelation 3:16)

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The Bible seems to suggest we are not to call anyone "rabbi". But is this true?

Please see our article on this, which expounds on this:

Matthew 23: 8. But you should not be called "My Great One", [1] for there is only one Who is Great and you are all brothers. 9. And do not call yourself Father [2] for your Father is one who is in heaven. 10. And you should not be called leaders, because one is your leader, the Mashiyach. 11. But he who is greatest among you, let him be a servant [3] to you. 12. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (AENT)

[1] Aramaic here does not mean "Rabbi" as in "teacher" per se, as in Matthew 28 Y'shua commands his disciples to teach the world. Instead, Y'shua is addressing the more literal meaning of "rab" which is "great" as shown in Genesis 6:5, "the wickedness of man was great on the earth." The previous eight verses teach against elitist behavior, so "do not be called My Great One, for you have One that is Great, YHWH." This is directed to the Rabbis (leaders) themselves, not to the followers. Certainly this does not win popularity among the Rabbis.

[2] This prohibition against calling leaders "father" is to avoid giving high status to men which is due unto YHWH. Catholics openly defy this commandment, but all institutions who use flattering titles for leaders are culpable; see Job 32:21-12. Isaiah 56:10-12 exposes leaders who "can never have enough" and who keep their "followers" in spiritual and often financial poverty by seeking personal gain for themselves. See also 1 Timothy 4:3.

The focus of Yeshua's instruction has to do with desiring praise of man for self-exultation, rather than being a true servant who keeps in mind that YHWH is God, Yeshua is His Messiah, and we are simply passing along what Yeshua our REAL RABBI taught. If someone "loves" to be called Rabbi, then this is a problem to him because he is putting the focus upon himself and deceiving those who follow him.

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But doesn't Acts 15 basically state that Christians don't have to bother with Torah?

Acts 15: 19 "Therefore, my opinion is that we should not put obstacles in the way of the Goyim who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write them a letter telling them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from fornication, from what is strangled and from blood. 21 For from the earliest times, Moshe has had in every city those who proclaim him, with his words being read in the synagogues every Shabbat."

No, it does not! Note verse 19 which says: "Therefore, my opinion is that we should not put obstacles in the way of the Goyim who are turning to God"! Read in context Acts 15 plainly states that the expectation of the non-Jewish converts was that they would learn Moshe (Torah) as they grew in their relationship with Mashiyach and his people. Read in context, Acts 15:20-21 shows there is one Torah for Israel and the Gentile who dwells with her - yet, many try to use it as "proof" that Christians don't have to keep Torah. That is because they don't realize that Acts 15 is referring to man-made laws and not the Torah itself....

Please think about this:

• When Avraham was called out of Ur of the Chaldees (Genesis 12), there were no "Jews"; there were no "rabbis"; there was only one man who listened to and obeyed YHWH. Avraham, who both left his homeland and came out of paganism by accepting YHWH became a "Hebrew" which means "to cross over."

• When Moshe led the people put of Egypt, he was accompanied by a "mixed multitude" (Exodus 12:38) and he shared "the Law" with ALL when he came down from the mountain. He did not send the "foreigners" away!

• While Joseph lived in Egypt (Genesis 30-50), born to him from an Egyptian wife were Efrayim and Mannasheh who were given tribes within the nation of Israel. Though half Egyptian (pagan) they were given equal status with the sons of Israel.

YHWH made it perfectly clear that ALL who accepted Him were to OBEY Him:

Exodus 12: 48 If a foreigner staying with you wants to observe ADONAI's Pesach, all his males must be circumcised. Then he may take part and observe it; he will be like a citizen of the land. But no uncircumcised person is to eat it. 49 The same teaching is to apply equally to the citizen and to the foreigner living among you."

Leviticus 17: 8 "Then you shall say to them, 'Any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, 9 and does not bring it to the doorway of the tent of meeting to offer it to the LORD, that man also shall be cut off from his people.

Leviticus 24: 22 You are to apply the same standard of judgment to the foreigner as to the citizen, because I am ADONAI your God."

Numbers 9: 14 If a foreigner is staying with you and wants to observe Pesach for ADONAI, he is to do it according to the regulations and rules of Pesach- you are to have the same law for the foreigner as for the citizen of the land.'"

Numbers 15: 13 "'Everyone who is native-born must do these things in this way when he brings an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD. 14 For the generations to come, whenever an alien or anyone else living among you presents an offering made by fire as an aroma pleasing to the LORD, he must do exactly as you do. 15 The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you; this is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the alien shall be the same before the LORD: 16 The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.'"

Deuteronomy 31: 11 when all Isra'el have come to appear in the presence of ADONAI at the place he will choose,you are to read this Torah before all Isra'el, so that they can hear it. 12 Assemble the people-the men, the women, the little ones and the foreigners you have in your towns -so that they can hear, learn, fear ADONAI your God and take care to obey all the words of this Torah;

We are told in Exodus 22: 21 "You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt". In other words: As believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we are one in God's eyes, and are therefore required to act accordingly.

How much clearer could it be? The "foreigner" (anyone who is not a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who has decided they want YHWH as their God MUST obey His Divine Instructions in Righteousness! Remember, YHWH did NOT make His New Covenant with Gentiles; He made it with the Torah observant Houses of Israel and Judah (Jeremiah 31:32). As "grafted in" Christians are part of Israel - which means they must do EXACTLY the same as YHWH's "natural children."

Nowhere in the "New Testament" are we ever told that "Jesus" abolished the need for Torah! Anyone who says otherwise is a liar and does not know their Bible! Anyone who attempts to refer you to the much-misunderstood writings of Paul (who, incidentally was Torah observant and NEVER spoke against Torah!) needs to be reminded that YESHUA, not Paul, was the DIVINE Son of God, and we are to obey GOD!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: If Acts 15 is an exhaustive list of forbidden behavior then Christians can lie, steal, ignore the widow and the orphan, use imbalanced scales when selling produce, and provoke their children to wrath, pray to the dead, consult wizards and astrologists, and not think that there is only One True God, YHWH, just to name a few.....

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Who was Lucifer?

Lucifer was the most beautiful and powerful angel in heaven...who became arrogant enough to want to usurp YHWH's power and was ultimately kicked out of heaven along with his followers. Lucifer, as you know, became Satan - the one who now roams the earth to deceive as many as he can before Judgment Day. (See Isaiah 14:3-20, 2 Peter 1:19 and Revelation 12 and 20).

Isaiah 14:12 "How did you come to fall from the heavens, morning star, son of the dawn? How did you come to be cut to the ground, conqueror of nations? 13 You thought to yourself, 'I will scale the heavens, I will raise my throne above God's stars. I will sit on the Mount of Assembly far away in the north. 14 I will rise past the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.' 15 "Instead you are brought down to Sh'ol, to the uttermost depths of the pit. 16 Those who see you will stare at you, reflecting on what has become of you: 'Is this the man who shook the earth, who made kingdoms tremble, 17 who made the world a desert, who destroyed its cities, who would not set his prisoners free?'

Second Peter 1: 19. And we have furthermore a certain Word of Prophecy; and you will do well if you look to it as to a light that shines in a dark place until the day will dawn and the sun will arise in your hearts; (AENT)

NOTE: See Malachi 4:2. Some English translations insert "day star" here which is a reference to Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-17) as the light bearer or day star. Lucifer or "light bearer" is "heylel" in Hebrew. Helel refers to the King of Babylon which is what haSatan installed as a counterfeit hierarchical religio-political system; albeit, this is what traditional religions such as Catholicism and Rabbinical Judaism are modeled after.

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