Here on Torah for Women you will often see the name Jesus or the word "God" appearing alone in the sentence, or in parenthesis following Yeshua (Jesus) and Yahweh (God) or Abba (father). There's a very good reason for this: one of our goals here is to share His teaching, Torah, with everyone that we can, everyone He brings to this site. Jew and gentile, believer and non-believer, follower and seeker. This includes those who identify as Messianic and Christian, no matter what sub-group, denomination, or doctrine you profess. We are here to deliver the truth to all that come and in terms they and you understand.
I am sure many of you have been there, at the beginning of your journey, hearing all the discussion about which name is correct and which ones are pagan or not. Maybe you switched from Yeshua, to Yahushua, to YAHshua, to YEHshua, and back again. From YHVH (yod hay vav hay) to Yehovah, to Yahweh. Maybe you are even still looking for the correct pronunciations of Moshe (Moses), Shimon (Simon), Yakov (Jacob, also known as James), and Yochanan (John). Then, what happens when suddenly the name of Jesus slips out of your mouth because you have used it for 30, 40, 50 years, and it is what you know, all you have known, and are used to using?
This is a legitimate internal struggle for some and sometimes a stressful time because they have a deep desire to please God in every aspect of their lives. They have read the promises about saying His name, and they have a deep desire to not "get it wrong". Some are almost fearful that He won't answer prayers or hear them if they say his name "incorrectly".
That is why you will see us use Yeshua (Jesus, sometimes even Christ), Yahweh (God), and Abba (Father) when we discuss topics or publish books. Everyone, everywhere is at different levels of understanding and learning. We cannot know their understanding just by starting a conversation with them for a few minutes or quickly chatting with them online, and we cannot know who we will reach with our teachings.
In the Torah movement, we have seen everything from individuals who are trying to teach people the basics and Hebrew names with loving kindness to pure inexcusable venom, insulting and hurting people until they are crushed. I honestly cannot say I have seen it all because, sadly, I seem to be surprised each week by someone new that I meet who crosses a line into wickedness toward another believer. It pains me to see the whole thing play out.
As followers of Yahweh, we can either choose to be forceful and harsh, gentle and mild, or somewhere in between. Or we can choose to follow His spirit and teach the truth. His truth. As Yeshua taught. We are keepers of His word, seekers of His truths ourselves, you know. Weren't we once there, in that place, trying to discover, trying to figure things out?
In daily life we come in contact with so many people, and we may find that we need to adapt the message for their comprehension. I am not suggesting or even implying that we adapt it to compromise or soften His Truth, as so many in the churches are doing today. However, we must be ready to teach in "their language," just as you would teach someone in Chinese, French, or any other foreign language, while still holding firm to The Word.
This was driven home to me the day we excitedly showed a video to a loved one who is not on the same Torah walk yet. We could not wait to share the message we received from the program, but the creator of the video used names that she had never heard before. He used all Hebrew names for the apostles, the books of the bible and the Hebrew name for Jesus. This might be fine and acceptable for a Jewish person that spoke Hebrew, but you could see on her face that she had no idea of whom he was speaking. She became frustrated, and I don't believe the message we had hoped she would receive was the message she got. In fact, I am not sure she got much of a message at all. What would have been the result, though, if the maker of the video had used names she recognized: Jesus, God, Moses, Paul, etc. Would she have heard the message in a way that would touch her heart? I believe so. I know some people want to use Hebrew when they speak or write for accuracy, but why do people use Hebrew when they are speaking to an audience that has no understanding of Hebrew?
At TorahforWomen.com and our main ministry, Shofar Productions, we have been called to reach souls and touch lives for the kingdom. We take to heart the example of Ezra and the other priests "They read from the book of the Law of God and clearly explained the meaning of what was being read, helping the people understand each passage." Nehemiah 8:8 NLT
If you find fault with this and feel a spirit of contention, then we challenge you to examine your attitude against the numerous scriptures that speak against stirring up strife, against pride, speaking evil, and spreading false statements.
"I must work the works of him who sent me, while it is day. The night is coming, when no one can work." John 9:4 WEB
NLT - Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, Copyright 1996' 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015, by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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The Name Game
A lot of the topics we discuss on Torah for Women come from actual things we have seen or heard amongst believers in Yahweh and Yeshua as they try to find their new path in a purposeful life. It is common to see both men and women turn from everything Christian, including all the things that are good and right in their “old” Christian faith. In an effort to distance themselves from those things that are legitimately incorrect or inaccurate, we have seen many people who have decided to give up on the truth that they had learned in their previous Christian walk, and that brings great concern.
Imagine for a moment you leave a church and faith that has distinct pagan traditions or untruth running rampant through their doctrines, activities, and belief system, but that church also has a strong faith in healing or a strong teaching in repentance and baptism. Should you forsake the truth, they shared with you and now create new dogmas or doctrines that contradict the truth you learned just so that you can be different from what you used to be?
I remember being there at that stage where suddenly you see contradictions in so many areas that you have to purge your entire thought pattern and do a mind dump just to find Yahweh. I remember being over-zealous and anxious to share my new knowledge with everyone. The interesting thing is that as time wore on and I conducted deep biblical studies, I discovered some of the things I had learned as a young adult and as a mother, in that “pagan” religion were true and biblical. I was taught in my old church that many of the churches on the earth draw NEAR to Abba, but none is entirely truthful. Of course, they went on to teach that only THEY held the FULL truth of Yahweh; only THEY have all the words and teachings that men are to follow. It seems that each and every religion believes this about their own doctrines. Remember the best lies always contain some truth.
When you take a much deeper look at every mainstream religion currently practiced, it is easy to see that some of the teachings are quite obviously false. For example teaching that the Ten Commandments are no longer to be followed, they are obsolete. Other church doctrines are close enough to Yahweh’s teachings that they seem plausible or believable, and yet others are very close to His truth. Whether Protestant, Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, or any other “Christian” religion, each has some truth, some half-truth, some untruth, and it becomes necessary on the journey to remember to keep the beliefs that are the truth. Yet what we have seen often is men and women throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
Believers on their new Journey back to the Biblical roots of their faith have often been hurt by their previous church, the leaders, or the members and that anger and pain can drive a believer to claim every little thing about those people and that religion is completely false, a lie, pagan, or heretical. The concern comes when others see the “new believer” in Torah become so engrossed in fighting against the past that they forget to search for the spirit in all things. It is important to discover the truth in the Word and then turn to teach that truth with love and kindness to those who have been left behind in your previous Church. We must, as believers in The Way, find it in ourselves to forgive, love, and find a way to fill our hearts with the same compassion and patience Yahweh has shown to us in our own journey, and lead others down a similar path.
Which way do you wish to be treated? Would you prefer Yahweh teach you by screaming and yelling at you, cussing and cursing, and blasting you for believing what you believed before, all the while ranting about what beliefs you had that are all “PAGAN!!!” Or would you learn better by being taught with gentleness and patience? Maybe the next time you feel the urge to combat another “Christian” or someone considering becoming an “Ex-Christian,” you could take that into consideration. . . just food for thought.
1 Thesalonians 5:19-21 WEB
Don't quench the Spirit. Don't despise prophesies. Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good.
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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