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Dear Refiner's Fire...

(NOTE: The following are excerpts of ongoing conversations that we finally had to put an end to because the person harassing us finally admitted they had never even read the Bible through - yet they felt qualified to harass us concerning the nonexistent "greater exodus" issue....)

I have written you several times before and I usually like your responses, but I am totally baffled that you refuse to believe in "another exodus!" Yes, okay, I admit I'm new to Torah and that I haven't ever read the Bible from cover to cover - but I've been studying and learning from people like Monte Judah, and I truly believe that there will be another exodus. Have you ever read his book called "The Greater Exodus"? He points out the scriptures that indicate that this will happen. Long before I read this book, I found scriptures saying that He was going to protect His righteous, set apart remnant in the end times. Monte's book was my discernment!

Our Response...

We are glad you've found your way to Torah, but would caution you to be careful about whose teachings you wish to follow. While Monte Judah of Lion and Lamb Ministries does have some good teachings, he also insists the Book of Hebrews should be banned from the Bible!

Like many "biggies" in the Hebrew Roots arena, Monte Judah has a huge following, even though his antics include daring to engage in vicious lashon hara (gossip/making several unfounded, unproven allegations he obtained purely from "hearsay") on a Shabbat (for instance in a podcast on 12/13 Aug. 2011, approximately 50 minutes in, he bashed a couple of people based on nothing but hearsay, because he wasn't personally present to witness any actual events). He also has a habit of making false prophecies (i.e., his claim that 1993 was the beginning of the Tribulation, that the Abomination of Desolation would be set up in 1997, and that Prince Charles is the Antichrist (lionlamb.net/v3/YAVOHArchives/Volume7/11)....

It's very troubling to see that someone who admits to being new to Torah has has never even read the Bible from cover to cover, feels qualified to to write to The Refiner's Fire to engage us in a battle about this nonexistent "second exodus" - a term that cannot be found in all of the entire Bible! It's a man-made term, thought up by people who are misinterpreting the Bible. Therefore, this will be our final correspondence with you concerning this issue.

So, here are our FINAL thoughts concerning the supposed "second exodus" - and we would appreciate it if you kept any further comments to yourself - at least until you have at least read the Bible through, once! (Amazingly, in Googling "second exodus", one has to weed through tons of different teachings from the nearly 40,000 different Christian denominations. [There's even a teaching on this from the "Islamic House of Israel"! We didn't realize there is such a thing....] Regardless, which "denomination" should we believe?)

Although there is NO scripture to support the "second exodus" "second exodus" idea, there is a full dogma built on these verses - so much so that books are written about it, and myriad web sites discuss it and examine it, and Churches even take the name "Greater Exodus"! It is seemingly based on a "first exodus" and the apparent importance that all these verses discussing the scattered house of Judah and Israel, and a "calling back" or a "return" and that the righteous will once again dwell in the Land.

We see the many scriptures which, on their own, and in English say these things which convey to us there will be a gathering and the righteous will physically be recalled to Israel, etc. But knowing that most English translations of the Tanach we have today are taken from Greek translations of the original Hebrew manuscripts, we can't help but worry that we are internalizing a single meaning to a verse or set of verses and taking from them only what it conveys to us - in English! We hesitate to lump all these prophecies into a name - "second/greater exodus" - as if this was the intent, rather than what we believe is actually being said, and that is a mass returning to YHWH, much of which will be centered, rightfully, in Israel, but includes the metaphorical "returning" spiritually!

So we are left "scratching our head" over the dogma because it is based largely on the "first exodus", which, at the risk of sounding crazy, never happened! What? The Exodus never happened? Of course it happened, but that is not what we are saying. What we mean is the word "exodus" is not found in the Tanach - anywhere. Moshe did not know he was leading "the Exodus", the departure from Egypt was not known as that, and he did not describe it as that. And what we know today in the Bible as the "Book of Exodus", is actually the "Book of Names".

The names of the five Books of the Torah (Pentateuch) come from the first word in each Book. The first is "Bereshit", which is typically translated as "In the beginning", but we can't have a Bible book named "In the beginning", so it became in English, "Genesis". The 3rd Book is properly in Hebrew "Vayikra", for which there is also no English word, so it became "Leviticus" from the Latin which literally meant "Book of the Levites". But the 2nd Book, which we call "Exodus" is actually the Hebrew word "Sh'mot" and Sh'mot does not mean "exodus" at all! It means "Names"!

So the whole idea of the "second exodus" or "greater exodus" dogma is based on the Bible book "Exodus" which does not even exist! Instead, "Exodus" is a name WE have given to the 2nd Book of Moshe. But Exodus is mostly about how the nation of Israel takes shape and how YHWH raised up a leader to bring them out of slavery, and how they rebelled and how YHWH tolerated them as He tried to show them who He is! He even had them build the Tabernacle in the desert and He dwelled with them there.

The climax of the book of Exodus is not even that the people made it to the promised land! They didn't! The climax is the receiving of YHWH at Mt. Sinai, and the giving of the Torah, and YHWH's charge to the people that all they had to do is obey, and live well! If all the people had not said in unison "Everything YHWH has spoken, we will do" (Exo 24:7), then the entire departure from Egypt and receipt of the Torah would have been for naught!

The great Jewish sage, Ramban calls the Book of Exodus the "Book of Redemption" because this was the message he perceived. YHWH brought the people out of Egypt, chose them to be His people, redeemed them, and gave them the Torah. So truly, is the only message we see in Exodus is that it was the "first exodus" and that we may be in the 2nd or "greater"? Or is it possible that the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Revelation are really saying that in the end times, YHWH, having reached His last ounce of patience, will, once again, offer redemption if we will only turn to Him during the approaching and unfolding horrors? Shouldn't the words from Ezekiel 11, verses 19-20, for example, carry a "wow!" factor as great or greater than those verses implying a physical "return"?

They read: "...and I will give them unity of heart. 'I will put a new spirit among you.' I will remove from their bodies the hearts of stone and give them hearts of flesh; 20 so that they will live by my regulations, obey my rulings and act by them. Then they will be my people, and I will be their God."

This is the SAME message as in the "first Exodus"! It seems the message is not so much that there will be a "second exodus" as much as it is that for us to be redeemed, there needs to be a home within us for holiness. Only if we become the people prophesied by Ezekiel that our hearts of stone are renewed as flesh, and we are unified, wherever we live with YHWH as our God, do we see our role in the end times.

And back to Monte Judah's book "The Greater Exodus", we are reminded that Ezekiel also prophesied: "Human being, prophesy against the prophets of Isra'el who prophesy. Tell those prophesying out of their own thoughts, 'Listen to what YHWH says! YHWH ELOHIM says: 'Woe to the vile prophets who follow their own spirits and things which they have not seen!' " (Ezekiel 13:2-3)