Friday, May 19, 2017

The Real Yeshua Torah Readings for May 20th

The Real Yeshua Torah Readings for May 20th are:

Exodus 22:26-23:33
Isaiah 49:3

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thanksgiving and Blessings were a Regular Part of Yeshua’s Life

The follow quote is from a very good book written by Dr. Brad H. Young, Jesus the Jewish Theologian (Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.; Peabody, Massachusetts; pp. 119-120). I changed the word “Jesus” to “Yeshua”, and added highlights to the text, to better fit the subject matter of this blog.

The actions of Yeshua and his disciples regarding prayer have deep roots in the Jewish customs and practices of the Second Temple period.

Already in the daily life of Yeshua and his disciples, thanksgiving and blessing were an integral part of their everyday experience and customary practice. For instance, pronouncing a blessing to God before eating was the common practice of Yeshua and his circle of followers. Reflected both in early Jewish literature and in the liturgy of the synagogue, from Bible times to the present, it is a fact that the Jewish people have made giving thanks a significant part of every aspect of daily life. In Jewish theology no tasks should be considered mundane, because God sanctifies every facet of human experience in the life that he gives.

The rabbis viewed all people as stewards of God’s benevolence. Each person is created in God’s image. Every one is given responsibility to obey God in God’s domain and to care for the beautiful world that God designed for his people. The foundation of the Jewish understanding of thanksgiving and blessing was the belief in God’s goodness and his creation. The people were taught to give thanks to God for his goodness.

The sages developed a radical approach to life which encouraged a person to bless God and give thanks for every benefit received from God’s creation. Hence, at every meal a person should give thanks to God, who provided the food. The written word of the Bible itself formed the basis for this approach to God’s provision.

Deuteronomy 8:10 is the basis of the Jewish concept of giving thanks to God in the form of a blessing for a meal: “You shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” The foundation of blessing God for his goodness is derived from the Torah. The phrase “and you shall bless the Lord your God,” was understood, in part, as a way of giving thanks to God for the grace he gives to all people.

Did you note that “one blesses Yahweh;” “one does bless material objects (food or drinks)”? Today, the Jewish blessing you hear at meals is the one below. Notice that “the Lord” (Yahweh) is blessed, not the “bread,” which is understood to mean “meal.”

Barukh atah Adonai Elohaynu melekh ha-olam
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe

ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz. (Amein)
who brings forth bread from the earth. (Amen)

Above Dr. Young stated, “The foundation of blessing God for his goodness is derived from the Torah.” I would modify that statement to say this – “The foundation of blessing God for his TOVness.”

The first creation account in Genesis reveals how the Creator prepared the Heavens and the Earth for the arrival of mankind. Day after day the Creator examined his work for each day; the text says, “And God saw that it was TOV” (translated “good”). In that context “TOV” describes “acts that are beautiful and pleasing to the eyes that protect lives, preserve lives, make lives more functional and/or increase the quality of lives.” They bless God for many other things daily, because they are surrounded by things He created for mankind – they are blessing Him for His TOVness!

If someone wants to know what is “TOV and praiseworthy” that he or she should “thank God for,” they are to consider what life would be like without it – all of the things we require for survival “suddenly become sacred things that Yahweh deserves thanks for!” Think about that for a few minutes and you will understand why some Jews today easily blessing Yahweh over 100 each day for those things. Things that are often considered common today become holy when we bless God for creating them for mankind.

Jim Myers

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Clarifying the term “Judaism”

A very important and informative book in the search for the historical Jesus, Yeshua, is Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith by Marvin R. Wilson. We recommend this book highly. Marvin is not only a well-qualified scholar, he is a very good man. The following quotes are from pages 30-31 of this book.

It is important that we seek to clarify the term Judaism before going further. Judaism may be defined as the religion and culture of the Jewish people. Jewish civilization includes historical, social, and political dimensions in addition to the religious. The word Judaism derives from the Greek Ioudaismos, a term first used in the intertestamental period by Greek-speaking Jews to distinguish their religion from Hellenism (see 2 Macc. 2:21; 8:1; 14:38). In the New Testament the word appears twice (Gal. 1:13-14) in reference to Paul’s prior consuming devotion to Jewish faith and life.

Hebrew religion began to give rise to Judaism after the destruction of the Temple and the Exile of Judah in 586 BCE. The term "Jew," in its biblical period evolved through such historical stages as the intertestamental, rabbinic, and medieval to the modern period of the nineteenth century with Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism.

Throughout its history, Jewish religion took on new teachings and practices. But the lengthy development of Judaism and its many changes make it incorrect to posit, as some have done, that Jewish history produced two separate religions: an Old Testament religion of Israel and the post-exilic religion of Judaism. Despite the shifting phases of its history, the essence of the religious teaching of Judaism has remained remarkably consistent, firmly rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament).  . . .

Within the biblical concept of covenant, Judaism sees at least four pillars upon which it rests: God, Torah, the people of Israel, and the land of Israel, each one depending on and interacting with the others.

When reading the words of Yeshua, it is important to remember and look for those four pillars – God, Torah, people of Israel, and the land of Israel. It is also important to view his Judaism as that of the intertestamental period, not of the medieval or modern periods.

Jim Myers

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Yeshua and the Essenes

The following information is from Jesus Within Judaism: New Light from Existing Archaeological Discoveries by James H. Charlesworth (pp. 70-71). The name “Jesus” in the original quote has been changed to “Yeshua” and the layout has been changed to highlight specific ideas.

Yeshua shared with the Essenes a theology that was thoroughly monotheistic (there is only one God) and eschatological (the present is the end of all time and history). 

It is misrepresentative to claim that the Essenes “thought of the present as the end-time, but they did not match Yeshua’s note of realized eschatology.”

Yeshua differed from the Essenes regarding the nature of the future, the understanding of the approaching Kingdom of God, and most significantly on how one must prepare for its coming.

The attempts to compare Yeshua with the Dead Sea Scrolls have foundered on numerous fallacies, misconceptions, improper methodologies, secondhand, even insufficient understandings of Yeshua and the Essenes, and misguided apologetics. To be specific, the most prominent, pervasive, and significant faults are the following:

(1) The desire to prove Yeshua is totally unique and the incarnate Son of God.

(2) The tendency to read red-letter New Testaments as if one has been given Yeshua’s unedited authentic words.

(3) The opinion that the Qumran Essenes over three centuries espoused the same theology and that those who went to Qumran in the middle of the second century BCE were the ones living there in the first century CE.

(4) The confusion of a search for a relationship with evidence of borrowing.

(5) The tendency to miscast the role of historian, who works only at best with probabilities, so that only what is a certainty is to be judged reliable.

An understanding of the Essenes, Sadducees, Pharisees, Herodians and Zealots enhances our ability to better understand the teachings of Yeshua by making us aware of the times he specifically addresses key points in their teachings.

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Time for Christians to resurrect the heritage of their Jewish roots

Read the Gospels again and focus on all the distinctly Jewish elements of Jesus’ story and message. Ask yourself, “What difference does it make that Jesus was Jewish?” I promise you this. You will spend the rest of your life finding the answer to that question, and the rest of your days enjoying the Bible like never before. Jewish and Christian foundations are as intertwined as the Jews and Christians who walk through Jerusalem today. How tragic that so few in either group recognize the kindred spirits in the other. Read complete article at --

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Love of God and Love of Fellow Humans are Inseparable

It is easy to determine how much one’s personal or group’s beliefs are like the core teachings and values of Yeshua and his Movement. Yeshua’s core message also reflects a universal spiritual principle -- Helping oneself and helping others are inextricably intertwined. We can see this in the account below:

A Pharisee asked Yeshua, “Teacher, which commandment in the Law is the greatest?

Yeshua answered, “`You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:24-30)

The point is that one cannot love God without loving his neighbor and himself. Keep in mind that the question came from a Pharisee and that doing religious rituals without corresponding acts of TZEDAQAH, righteousness, is a reoccurring issue.

Tal Ben-Shahar, a lecturer at Harvard and consultant to multinational corporations, reveals some important points about this powerful spiritual principle in his book, Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment.

Helping others and helping ourselves are not mutually exclusive possibilities. In fact, as he philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson explains, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. Helping oneself and helping others are inextricably intertwined: the more we help others, the happier we become, and the happier we become, the more inclined we are to help others.”

Contributing to other people’s happiness provides us with meaning and pleasure, which is why helping others is one of the essential components of a happy life. If we do not make the pursuit of our own happiness a priority, we are hurting ourselves and, by extension, our inclination to help others. An unhappy person is less likely to be benevolent – and that leads to further unhappiness.

Yeshua’s teaching on entering into eternal life was based on people doing acts that helped other people – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, etc. (Matthew 25:31-46).

Determining how much one’s personal or group’s beliefs are like those of Yeshua and the Yeshua Movement is easy. Just answer the following questions:

(1) Do they inextricably intertwine love of God, love of one’s self and love of fellow humans as a lifestyle?

(2) Do the group’s core teachings focus on the interconnection of loving God, love one’s self and loving fellow humans?

(3) Is the group’s salvation teachings inextricably linked to doing acts of loving God, loving one’s self and loving fellow humans?

What impact would it make on lives around the world if followers of Yeshua and believers in Jesus incorporated this information in their lives? One thing we can safely say is that so many churches wouldn’t be half-empty or closing if their focus was on demonstrating what Yeshua taught – and the members would probably also be much happier!

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Friday, May 12, 2017

The Real Yeshua Torah Reading Schedule for May 13th

The Real Yeshua Torah Readings for May 13th are:

Exodus 21:1-22:25
Jeremiah 34:1

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Was Yeshua a Pharisee?

Beliefs about Yeshua are like channels on a TV. Depending on what one believes about him determines what they see when they read their Bibles. None of the Christian belief systems people view him through today existed in the early first century when he lived and taught. So, what belief systems did they view him through?

The four popular belief systems (religious sects or parties) in Israel at that time were the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and Herodians.

(1) The Sadducees represented an older establishment of priests, aristocrats, and wealthier merchants. They exerted less influence on the religious views of the larger community, but dominated the Temple worship and the Sanhedrin, the central religious council based in the Temple.

(2) The Essenes were a pious brotherhood of separatists who lived in isolated monastic communities in the desert.

(3) The Herodians were a religious party allied to Herod the Great. (Hillel p. 9-10)

For many Christians, “Pharisee” is a dirty word. A sentence that is repeated multiple times in Matthew 23 has branded the Pharisees as the “bad guys” in Christian minds -- But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! (Matthew 23:13)

However, during the time of Yeshua, the Pharisees were the most popular sect by far and they represented the huge mass of the people. The main focus of the Pharisees was on the primacy of the Torah, and their leaders were the expert interpreters of Torah. (Hillel p. 10)

Are you ready for a surprise?

Yeshua spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do . . .” (Matthew 23:1-3)

Thanks to the work of archaeologists we now know that the phrase “Moses’s seat” refers to a literal seat. It was a special chair of honor in synagogues where recognized teachers of the Torah sat while teaching and interpreting the words of the Torah. Below is a picture below of a “seat of Moses” unearthed at the synagogue in the city Chorazim

Yeshua’s problem with the Pharisees concerned their actions, not their interpretations of the Scriptures:

“. . . but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.(Matthew 23:3b-4)

On the other hand, the Pharisees’ primary problem with Yeshua was his interpretations of the Scriptures. We know this from one of his very famous teachings.  

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
(Matthew 5:17-18a)

Sadly, most Christians do not understand what he said because they have not been taught the correct meanings of the underlined words. Many people have been taught that this meant that “Jesus did away with the Law.” He and the Pharisees would be very upset with that!

Apparently Yeshua had been accused of “abolishing the Law or Prophets” and he was responding to that charge. An account is recorded of a teaching by Rabbi Gamaliel, the grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder, in which he unlocks the meaning of the phrases:

(1) “Abolish” means “misinterpret.”

(2) “Fulfilled” means “to interpret correctly.” Talmud (Shabbat 116a-b)

Now let’s update the translation:

Do not think that I have come to misinterpret the Law or the Prophets;
I have not come to abolish them but to interpret them correctly.

These words make it very clear that Yeshua viewed himself as a teacher and interpreter of the Torah, not someone who came to do away it. Therefore, Jewish audiences that heard the words of Yeshua above would most likely view him as a Pharisee, not Sadducee, Essene or Herodian.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May 2017 edition of Understanding Our Biblical Heritages Online

Articles and features in the May 2017 edition of Understanding Our Biblical Heritages:

A Conversation about “the Bible”
By Dr. Ike Tennison & Jim Myers

When Nothing Will Ever Be the Same
By Rabbi Jeffery Leynor

By Jim Myers

Some Tips for Better Understanding Yeshua’s Life & Teachings
By Jim Myers

The Spanish Inquisition
By Jim Myers

May Memorials
Remembering those whose lives inspired us.

Read or download this newsletter in PDF format – CLICK HERE

America has a Chronic BS Problem

Monday, May 8, 2017

Parenting Lessons from the First Murder of the Bible

There is no question about who committed the murder – Cain murdered Abel! But when we look at the entire context of the story, which began in Genesis 1:1, it raises some interesting questions like these -- Did Cain understand the potential consequences of his actions? Was it possible for Cain to even understand what murder was? Keep in mind no human had witnessed or experienced at this point in the text. This was a first in human history. Read complete article at --

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Is your belief system large enough?

Jim Myers created this guideline in the late 1980s as a guide for people to use in his Bible studies when disagreements arose over conflicting beliefs. It is now the Primary Guideline of the Biblical Heritage Center and the TOV Center. If you agree please share it.

Friday, May 5, 2017

The Real Yeshua Torah Reading Schedule for May 6th

The Real Yeshua Torah Readings for May 6th are:

Exodus 18:1-20:22
Isaiah 6
Isaiah 61:6-10

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Monday, May 1, 2017

What Yeshua Did Not Do (WYDND)

● Yeshua did not create a new religion called “Christianity.” It was after the crucifixion that followers of Paul were the first to be called “Christians” and that was in Antioch.

● Yeshua did not found or attend a church. It was his custom to attend synagogues.

● Yeshua did not change the Fourth of the Ten Commandments. His Sabbath was not on Sunday; it began at sundown on Friday and ended at sundown on Saturday.

● Yeshua did not do away with the Law (Torah). He even said that not even the smallest Hebrew letter of the Torah would be changed and that he came to correctly interpret the Law of Moses and the Prophets.


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● Yeshua did not teach in American English. He taught in Hebrew and Aramaic.

● Yeshua did not teach from the New Testament. It did not exist. Yeshua’s Scriptures were what Christians today call the “Old Testament.”

● Yeshua did not travel to Gentile nations to teach his gospel.

● Yeshua’s birthday was not December 25th. It would be centuries later that Christians adopted that day and ritual.

Why are so many Christians doing WYDND? Do you think Christians should at least engage in conversations about why they do WYDND? I do!

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Jim Myers