xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#'UA-81427306-1 Wisdom and Folly: 2016

Sunday, August 14, 2016


I have recently decided to move my blog to a new host.  The new blog is called "A Light to the Nations".  

This blog will continue to work for the time being.  I am in the process of moving all of the content to the new page. Making revisions and editing all of the content takes time.  

There is a contact link on the new page if you have any ideas you would like me to explore or just to say hi.

Thank you so much for making this blog a success and I look forward to writing for all of you in the future.  

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Where Does it Say We Need a Mediator

A mediator is someone who stands between two parties which are at some variance.  In this sense, a mediator cannot be on either side.  A true mediator should not receive benefit from either side.  If they do receive benefit, it must be from both sides in equal proportion.  That is the only way a mediator can remain impartial.  A mediator can make suggestions to both sides in an effort find a solution.  Both sides can then agree or not.  They might make a counter offer of some kind.  The mediator is only there to make suggestions to both parties and in some disputes, get the ball rolling towards an agreement.  This is the job of the mediator.  

So the church teaches, and it is written in their bible, that Jesus was a mediator between man and G-d. Let's take a look at what their bible says.  1 Timothy 2:5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity."  The way this is written gives the impression that there are three distinctly different beings; G-d, the mediator, and man.  This fits with the definition above.  On a side note, I find it odd that Paul goes out of his way to tell us he isn't lying.  It has been my experience that when someone goes out of their way to say they aren't lying, that is exactly what they are doing.  In 1 John 2:1-2 we are told, "...And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."  This concept is among the most basic tenets of the church.

The idea of a mediator contradicts both the Hebrew Scriptures as well as other church doctrines. The church teaches that Jesus is G-d, that he and the father are one.  If this is so, how can he be a mediator between G-d and man?  By definition, a mediator is someone who stands between two parties which are at some variance.  The church may tell you that he is fulfilling his role as a part of the trinity,  The problem with this argument is that the trinity is not even mentioned anywhere in their bible.  The idea of the trinity was not believed by many of the early church and did not take its current form until the fourth century.

As far as the Hebrew Scriptures are concerned, the idea of needing a mediator between G-d and man is completely foreign.  In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we are told, "14 And My people, upon whom My name is called, humble themselves and pray and seek My presence and repent of their evil ways, I shall hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land."  There is no mention of a mediator here.  If this were the only passage in the Hebrew Scriptures to contradict the idea of needing a mediator, that should be sufficient proof.  If something contradicts one passage of scripture, then it does not line up with any of it.  But there are many places in the Hebrew Scriptures that contradict the mediator theology of the church.  Psalms 5:2-4, "2 Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation.3 Hearken to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for I will pray to You.4 O Lord, in the morning You shall hearken to my voice; in the morning I shall arrange [my prayer] to You, and I shall look forward."  Psalms 16:2-4, " 2 You should say to the Lord, "You are my Master; my good is not incumbent upon You.  3 For the holy ones who are in the earth, and the mighty ones in whom is all my delight.  4 May the sorrows of those who hasten after another [deity] increase; I will not pour their libations of blood, nor will I take their names upon my lips."  

All through the book of Psalms, we see the Psalmist talking directly to G-d.  There is no reason for anyone to think they need a mediator to go to G-d on their behalf.  In fact, we are commanded to pray in Exodus 20:25.  Your soul yearns for you to connect with its creator.  This is impossible to do through someone else.  It is impossible to do in someone else's name.  You can call out to Him.  You can cry to Him.  You can meditate on Him.  You can pour your heart out to Him.  You can know Him. But you must pray directly to Him.      

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Can Someone Die For Your Sins

Where does it say that someone can die for the forgiveness of sin?

The church teaches that Jesus died so that we could be forgiven for our sins.  They use this as a tool to get people to join them.  It works like this.  People learn right from wrong at a young age.  So, everyone knows they've done wrong at some time in their life.  They tell the prospective convert that they will be cast into hell if they are not forgiven for their sins.  No one wants that.  At this point, the person begins to wonder about the things he or she has done.  The only logical question they can ask is, "what can I do?"  They tell the person that all they have to do is believe that Jesus died so their sins can be forgiven.  Someone who does not know the Bible will probably be relieved.  After all, the church is standing in a position of trust.  

The church has maneuvered itself into this position quite effectively.  Everyone in the church trusts their leaders.  The leaders trusted those who came before them.  After all, the church does a lot of good in the community.  The run soup kitchens, food pantries, other things for the poor.  They have built themselves into their position of trust, so whatever they say must be true.  Why would they lie?

The sad thing is that they don't know they are lying or even perpetuating a lie. As I said, the leaders trusted those who came before them.  They believe the things they are teaching.  The problem is that it doesn't line up with what the Bible says. 

What The Bible Says

So what does the Bible say about this?  In Exodus 32: 30-35, Moses attempts to give his own life for the sins of the people.  HaShem tells Moses that the one who sinned is the one who will die.  It might be nice if we could do this.  Many parents would gladly give up their lives for their children to live. But it doesn't work that way.  We are all accountable for what we do.  Deuteronomy 24:16 teaches expressly against this, "Fathers shall not be put to death because of sons, nor shall sons be put to death because of fathers; each man shall be put to death for his own transgression."   

There is no way this concept makes any sense.  If I sin, it's my fault.  I pay the price.  The church teaches that Jesus laid down his life for his friends.  As admirable as this might be, it doesn't work that way.  People do actually lay down their lives for others all the time.  Soldiers have done this as well as police and firefighters.  Some people donate organs and die later because the organ that remained failed.  People have pulled others from being hit by a car or a train only to fall in front of it themselves.  Yes, they gave their life but this cannot excuse what the one who survived had done.  

Ezekiel 18 goes into more detail on this subject.  In the beginning of the chapter, HaShem declares that all souls are His.  v4 says, "Behold, all souls are Mine. Like the soul of the father, like the soul of the son they are Mine; the soul that sins, it shall die."   This is telling us that He alone has authority over the souls of men.  Later in the chapter, it lists several sins and what happens to the one who commits them.  In v20 it says, "the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself."  There is not greater accountability than this. 

There is Hope 

But there is hope.  He does give us a way to be forgiven.  It does not involve a blood sacrifice.  It does not involve someone else dying for us.  All that is required is repentance and a commitment to follow the laws and execute justice and righteousness..  v21 tells us, "And if the wicked man repent of all his sins that he has committed and keeps all My laws and executes justice and righteousness, he shall surely live, he shall not die"  In v22 He tells us that those sins will be forgotten.  So repentance not only brings forgiveness it gives us a new beginning.  Now, this new beginning comes with a warning.  As it says in v.24 He warns us that, "And when the righteous repents of his righteousness and does wrong and does like all the abominations that the wicked man did, shall he live? All his righteous deeds that he has done shall not be remembered; in his treachery that he has perpetrated and in his sin that he has sinned, in them shall he die."  

At the end of chapter 18, He tells us to "repent and cause others to repent and it will not be a stumbling block of iniquity for you."  He is giving us a task to do in causing others to repent.  It is not enough for us to repent but we should also help others.  In v32 He tells us "For I do not desire the death of him who dies, says the Lord God: so turn away and live!"   It is His desire that all shall live.

To answer our question, where does it say that someone can die for the forgiveness of sin?  It definitely does not say this anywhere in the Holy Scriptures.  In fact, this notion  is the exact opposite of what it says.  


Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bible Knowledge: 10 Questions Your Pastor Should Be Able to Answer

There is a difference between asking questions and questioning something.  Most people don't mind if you ask them a question.  Many are happy to answer.  But If you question something they say, however, they are usually not happy at all.  They get mad at you.  Churches are famous for this.  Most preachers and teachers are very nice people who will happily answer your questions.  But there are questions to which they have no answer since the teachings of the church are actually contrary to the original scriptures.  When they have no answer, they become uncomfortable.  Many will launch a counter attack.  They will question your beliefs.  Some may even tell you not to ask such questions. My question for you, at that point, is don't you deserve to know?  If they can't answer your questions, you have no choice but to look them up for yourself.  Here are a few questions about the Bible which every church leader should be able to answer. Test their knowledge.  I will give you the answers I found.  But, in order that you understand them, you must read them for yourself.  Here is a link for your convenience.  The Complete Jewish Bible.     

3.  Where does it say there is a trinity?
4.  Where does it say that G-d's law will change?
5.  When are we told the Messiah will come?
6.  Where does it say that the devil is the adversary of the Creator?
7.  Where does it say the Messiah will be G-d incarnate?
8.  Can we choose how to worship the Creator?
9.  Is human sacrifice permissible?
10.  What is idolatry?

1.  Nowhere.  This concept is contrary to scripture.  There is not one example of one dying for themselves or anyone else in order to be forgiven.  This is interesting to me because if someone could be forgiven by death, wouldn't anyone who died be forgiven?  What about those who died because of their sin?  Also, if one could die in order for someone else to be forgiven, why couldn't they die for their own forgiveness?  None of this makes any sense.  This is why we are told that the wicked person will die [ or be punished] for their own sins.  If the wicked person repents, then his sins will be remembered no more.  It is as though it never happened.  (Ezekiel 18: 20- 24)  

2.  It does not.  The idea of needing a mediator to talk to G-d on our behalf is foreign to Judaism.  It is not in the scriptures anywhere.  That being said, there are many places where people did pray for others.  We are expected to pray for each other.  But we don't need anyone to pray in our place.  We are actually commanded to pray.

3.  The trinity comes from pagan religions.  Many of the pagan religions employ the concept of the trinity.  Not being like other religions is what has set Judaism apart from them since the beginning.

4.  Some people believe that the law was fulfilled and thus does not need to be followed. However, the Torah teaches us that His law will never change.  Deuteronomy 13 teaches us that we are not to change the laws either by adding to them or taking away from them.

5.  It is written that the Messiah will come sometime after the fourth kingdom in  Daniel 2 is divided in two.  Rome, the fourth kingdom, was divided in the year 285 of the common era.  While it is true that the Messiah has not yet come.  It is impossible that he came prior to 285 CE.

6.  The church has used the devil as a means to scare people into following them.  There is the one known as the satan but he is in no way an adversary.  He is called the accuser   The word satan is Hebrew for 'prosecutor'.  Here is a great article which describes his roles in depth.  Link    

7.  This is another myth of the church.  The word messiah means anointed.  Prophecy teaches us that the messiah will be a man.  He will be anointed by the prophet Elijah as king of Israel.  The idea of the Creator becoming a man has its roots in pagan religions.  The church didn't incorporate this idea into its doctrine until the year 325 at the council of Nicea.  This idea is also not in the Hebrew scriptures.

8.  The story of the golden calf in the Book of Exodus teaches us that our Creator only wants to be worshiped in a specific way.  The Torah teaches us how we are to worship Him.  Worshiping Him in a different way always proved catastrophic for the Children of Israel.  In my article The Second Golden Calf, I describe this in more detail.

9.  The rules for sacrifices are outlined in the Torah.  While there are several different types, none of them include human.  In addition, the sacrificial animals were required to be unblemished in any way. The church's idea of the sacrifice on the cross does not adhere to any of the requirements in the Torah.  Human sacrifice is also contrary to scripture and is thus forbidden.  We have already determined that we can't alter the Law in any way.

10.  This question is a bit different than the others but it is possibly the most important.  The Torah teaches us that we are to worship only the Creator.  When we worship anything else we are insulting the Creator.  The church will tell you that anything can become an idol.  This is true.  They give examples like cell phones, televisions, entertainers, your car, etc.  When you look back through these questions you will find several clues as to what idolatry really is.  An idol is any person or thing that is worshiped.  We are commanded not to make any image of anything that has been created and not to bow down to it.  Their definition is lacking.  It's okay to like your cell phone, a lot even.  That isn't worshiping it.  We know that Jesus was a man and that man was created.  Worshiping him is idolatry. There is no other way to explain that away.  We know that G-d is not a man.  If you are worshiping him, you are guilty of the sin of idolatry.  Fortunately for you, you read this far.  Back in number 1, I showed you that you can repent of this sin of idolatry and it will be forgotten.  You must repent, which means to turn away, from worshiping your idol.   You also must not return to it.  I urge you to take a serious look back through these questions and answers and repent of your sins.   Talk to the Creator, not in the name of anyone else.  Talk to Him like you'd talk to your best friend.  He wants to be your best friend.        

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Monday, July 18, 2016


"A person should always endeavor to grasp general principles. Each general principle includes numerous individual details. When a person understands one principle he automatically understands a great number of details." --The Ramchal

This is a basic principle for learning the Bible.  It works equally well in all other aspects of our lives.  There is no coincidence in this idea.  As we learn the general principles of the Bible, we are also learning the general principles of our lives.  The idea that the average person could never really understand the Bible was first put forth by the Catholic Church.  In the early years of the church, the general public was forbidden to own or even read the Bible for themselves.  This worked well for the church.  All they had to do was tell people what it said, then force them to believe it, then collect huge amounts of money for doing so. Those who didn't believe what they were told were labeled heretics and found themselves in a precarious position. Many were killed.  

Fast forward to today.  We are free to read the Bible whenever we want. Unfortunately, many people are still stuck in the past.  They are afraid to read the Bible for themselves.  They are afraid they won't understand it in the way their priests and pastors have explained it to them.  It's not surprising.  For centuries we were told we were either too stupid to understand it, or that G-d only reveals the true meanings to the clergy. We have no business trying to understand such things.  It is foolish to think that a loving G-d, who wishes to connect with us, would give us a text we are unable to understand.  Moses said, "teach me your ways so that I may know you."  

So, to know G-d, we must learn His ways.  His ways are outlined in the Torah. We have to read it in order to understand it.  It is not good enough to listen to others once or twice a week. You will never learn it that way.  You will only learn what that other person wants you to learn. This gives way to corruption, either intentional or unintentional.  That lack of personal understanding forces you to go back week after week in hopes that you will finally understand.  It never happens.  I know people who have been in church for years and understand very little about the Bible.  The realist in me needs to interject here that the church expects you to pay week after week for them to teach you. Therein lies the corruption.  It is estimated that, in the US, if churches were to lose their tax-exempt status, it would generate $71 billion in tax revenue per year.*  In Judaism, it is forbidden to charge to teach Torah.   

So, how do you know if what you think is the true meaning of the scripture?  Go back to the idea of general principles.  Learn the simple things first.  Much of the Bible contains simple meanings.  By learning the simple meanings of several things, you will begin to see for yourself that you already understand the deeper meanings.  The simple principles are the foundation.  When you look at the foundation of a building, at first it doesn't look like much.  One thing you can see is where the exterior walls will be.  Now you have two parts, the foundation, and the walls.  You can apply the same principle as when you just had the foundation.  Looking at a building with just walls, it becomes easy to see where the door should be.  This process can be continued until the full building is complete.  So long as you don't forget the foundation.  The simple meanings don't change and the deeper meanings will never contradict the simple meanings.  This is a safeguard built into the Torah.  If you start getting into something and you think you understand it, but you aren't sure, go back to the foundation and see if it will still stand with what you are learning.  If you arrive at a conclusion that is contradictory to the simple meanings, you've got something wrong somewhere in your thought process. Always go back to the simple meanings.  If you are the type of person who can only understand the simple meanings, you still have the complete guide for how to live your life according to G-d's plan.  If you apply His plan to your life you can still connect to Him.    

G-d gave us the Torah at Sinai.  In Deuteronomy 5:1 we are commanded thus, "And Moses called all Israel and said to them, "Hear, O Israel, the statutes and ordinances which I speak in your ears this day, and learn them, and observe [them] to do them."  Here we are commanded to do three things, to hear, to learn, to observe to do.  All three of these are part of studying.  G-d did not command us to study Torah and not give us the ability to understand it. Some Torah scholars merit to see the most secret of the secret meanings hidden within the scriptures.  Do not be dissuaded because you have not been given this level of understanding.  Each one of us is given the level of understanding we need to live our lives.  Those with greater understanding are the ones to whom the rest of us should listen.  There will always be someone who knows more than you.  Learn from them. However, there will also be those who know less than you.  Teach them. You must not begrudge the more learned, nor look down on the less learned.  We all have our place in this world.  This is part of the divine order of things.  To begrudge someone of their greater knowledge is to say that G-d made a mistake.  The same goes for those with less knowledge. The Torah was not given to angels in heaven.  It was given to humans. We make mistakes.  We get things completely wrong sometimes.  Keep this in mind when dealing with others.  
G-d has given us three tools with which to study Torah; wisdom, understanding, and knowledge.  Blessed is He who bestows knowledge.           

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Is There Forgiveness Without Blood

There are several places in the Bible where it speaks of forgiveness.  Many believe that forgiveness can only come from the shedding of innocent blood.  This is not a Biblical concept.  But many people believe it.  From where does this idea come?  Throughout history, many religions have adopted this concept.  These ideas come from the ancient pagan religions which were deemed idolatrous.  So then, the shedding of innocent blood for the forgiveness of sins comes from idolatry.  Many of you will argue the Israelites used animal sacrifices for forgiveness. This is somewhat of a misconception. The sin sacrifice was to make atonement for unintentional sins.  Atonement and forgiveness are two different things.  Atonement is what we do once we have asked for forgiveness.  The Hebrew word for atonement is kaparah  which literally mean wiping up. This word is derived from the word kofer (ransom).   With the sin sacrifice, the priest actually made the atonement for the person who had sinned.  A modern term which  I think fits is restitution.  You see, the sin is forgiven by G-d, not by the blood.  Think of it like this.  If I break something of yours, I will ask for forgiveness and tell you I'm sorry.  Even if you forgive me, the item is still broken.  If I buy you a new one, I have atoned for what I did.  It is the same when we break a commandment.  It remains broken even after we have been forgiven.  The blood is for the atonement and not for forgiveness.

Now that you know what atonement is and more importantly, is not, we can look at forgiveness. When HaShem forgives us, the slate is wiped clean.  Here is a good definition from the Tanach.   Ezekiel 18: 21 And if the wicked man repent of all his sins that he has committed and keeps all My laws and executes justice and righteousness, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 All his transgressions that he has committed shall not be remembered regarding him: through his righteousness that he has done he shall live.  This is forgiveness without  a blood sacrifice.  This is the forgiveness for the intentional sins committed by the wicked man.  I would say that what this man offers as his atonement  is his turning away from his wickedness.  It really is that simple.  And why shouldn't it be?  What do you think is more important to G-d, a blood sacrifice or a repentant sinner? Hosea 6:6 says. For I desire loving-kindness, and not sacrifices, and knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.  Isaiah 1:11-12 says 11 Of what use are your many sacrifices to Me? says the Lord. I am sated with the burnt-offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle; and the blood of bulls and sheep and hegoats I do not want. 12 When you come to appear before Me, who requested this of you, to trample My courts?  It is plain to see that He desires repentance.

You may have been told, as I was, that there is no forgiveness without a blood sacrifice.  This is the very foundation of the church.  As you can see from scripture, this is a false doctrine.  The sacrificial system outlined in the Torah is very different from the sacrificial system of the church.  The former system was not only for atonement.  There are many different sacrifices, all of which are very specific and require certain animals.  The church's idea is that of human sacrifice.  They will tell you that Jesus died as a sin sacrifice.  They will also tell you that he was the sacrificial lamb or Passover offering.  These are two very different things.  Nowhere in the Torah does it describe a single sacrifice for two different purposes.  The church is rooted in pagan idolatry and has nothing in common with Judaism.  While it is true that Christianity had its beginnings among the Jews of Galilee, those same Jews forsook their beliefs and turned to idolatry.     

If you truly want to be forgiven for the sins you have committed, you must repent.  Repent means to turn away from those things.  It means to make a definite change in how you live your life.  The sin of idolatry is one of the worst things you can do.  When you worship an idol, such as Jesus, you are insulting the creator of the universe.  The church has many idols which they worship; the cross, Mary, Paul, the blood of Jesus.  They incorporate these things into their worship.  They pray to saints.  They place the devil on the same level as G-d.  They say he is G-d's adversary.  To be an adversary, one must be on the same level or else they could not be an adversary al all.  The call him the god of this world.

Below are some passages from the Hebrew Bible that deal with forgiveness.  If you've never read these before, please do so.  Forgiveness is a wonderful gift which HaShem wants to give to everyone.

Psalm 25:7. Do not recall the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; remember me in accordance with Your kindness, because of Your goodness, O Lord.
8. Good and upright is the Lord, therefore He directs sinners along the way.
9. He guides the humble with justice, and teaches the humble His way.  10. All the paths of the Lord are kindness and truth for those who observe His covenant and testimonies.
11. For the sake of Your Name, O Lord, pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
12. Whoever is a God-fearing man, him will He teach the path that he should choose.
13. His soul will abide in well-being, and his descendants will inherit the earth.

Psalm 32:3 When I was silent, my bones decayed with my moaning all day long.
4 For [both] day and night Your hand is heavy upon me; my freshness was transformed as in the droughts of summer, forever.
5 I would inform You of my sin, and I did not conceal my iniquity; I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and You forgave the iniquity of my sin forever.
6 For this let every pious man pray to You at the time that You are found, only about a flood of vast waters [that] should not reach him. 

Ezekiel 33:8 When I say of a wicked man, Wicked one, you shall surely die! and you did not speak to warn the wicked man from his way-he is wicked and for his iniquity he will die, but his blood I shall require of your hand.
9 But you-if you warned a wicked man from his way, to repent thereof, and he did not repent of his way-he will die for his iniquity, and you have saved your soul.
10 Now you, son of man, say to the house of Israel; So have you spoken, saying: For our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and because of them we are melting away, so how can we live?
11 Say to them: As I live, says the Lord God, I do not wish for the death of the wicked, but for the wicked to repent of his way so that he may live. Repent, repent of your evil ways, for why should you die, O house of Israel!
12 And you, son of man, say to the members of your people: The righteousness of the righteous will not save him on the day of his transgression, and the wickedness of the wicked-he will not stumble upon it on the day of his repentance of his wickedness, and a righteous man cannot live with it on the day of his sinning.

Joel 2: 12 And even now, says the Lord, return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with lamentation.
13 And rend your hearts and not your garments, and return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and He repents of the evil.
14 Whoever knows shall repent and regret, and it shall leave after it a blessing, a meal offering and a libation to the Lord your God.

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

About That Truth You're Holding On To

Truth is a fact or belief  that is accepted as true.  By this definition, truth is only what we accept. This acceptance can come from a variety of places.  Sometimes we prove things to ourselves and accept them because we can see the result of some personal experience we've had.  Sometimes acceptance comes from our trust in others whom we perceive as either more intelligent or more experienced than ourselves.  Part of being human is the ability to learn things, either on our own or from others.  For many people, the things they learn on their own are given less weight than those things learned from others.  The trust they place in those other people is stronger than their trust in their own abilities to figure things out on their own.  One might think that this lack of self-trust is an attribute of people of lower intelligence.  That is not the case.  Many people who are very smart will still trust the opinions and beliefs of someone whom they perceive as either smarter or more experienced, even if they've never met.  The opposite of this is also true.  Many people who think they are smarter than someone else will completely discount anything that person says, even if it can be proven.  I see both examples quite often.  

What happens when there is conflict introduced into our beliefs?  For example, you read a word for which you don't know the correct pronunciation.  In your mind, you hear it a certain way according to what you believe is correct.  It sounds right.  Later, you hear someone else say it differently.  There are now two conflicting thoughts in the mind at the same time.  This causes a feeling of uncomfortable tension.  This is called cognitive dissonance.  There are three factors which cause this dissonance to increase.  They are, the importance of the subject to us; how strong the thoughts conflict; and the inability to rationalize and explain away the conflict.  In the example of the word pronunciation, the importance would most likely be slight.  The strength of the conflict would also be slight.  We can see how the word could also be pronounced in such a way.  Finally, it would be easy to rationalize and explain away the conflict.  The result would be either we would start pronouncing the word differently or we might ask a third party how to pronounce it.  

There are three results that can arise from this feeling of discomfort.  We will either change our beliefs; justify ourselves by changing the conflicting cognition, or justify our beliefs by adding some new thought as a means to explain it.  When we apply these concepts to our religious beliefs, that uncomfortable feeling can be extreme.

I have seen this take place in many conversations I've had concerning the validity of the New Testament and Christianity as a whole.  Christianity roots itself in the idea that Jesus was the messiah foretold in the Hebrew scriptures.  Christians all over the world believe this without hesitation.  But, when faced with the Hebrew scriptures which refute that claim, cognitive dissonance kicks in with a vengeance. They are so uncomfortable with the thought that their Jesus could not possibly have been the messiah that they have to do something.  If they refuse to change their beliefs, they are left with two options, both of which include justifying their beliefs by either changing something or adding something.  Unbeknownst to them, the changes and additions were already made for them many years ago.  In order for the church to continue teaching that Jesus was the messiah even after his death, they were forced to change the scriptures to make it appear that he was the messiah.  They also added things to the scriptures to further convince  themselves and others that he was the messiah. The worst part of this is that the scriptures plainly say that they can't be changed.  The church uses this to their advantage as well.

Most Christians know that the scriptures can't be changed.  The church is counting on this.  The poor, unknowing Christian actually believes that their bible was never changed.  What they don't know, is that the ideas of the original scriptures have not changed.  They just don't know what those ideas are. When faced with these facts, most of them become so uncomfortable, they refuse to even listen to what they are being told.  A simple internet search will prove that their bible was changed in order to fit the Christology.  If you do such a search, look for reputable sites which are not run by a church or claim to be Christian.  Most Christian sites won't ever admit the truth. The church admits openly that they don't know who wrote the gospels.  The names were ascribed in later years to make them look like they are eye-witness accounts.  They were written may years after the death of Jesus.  The church has amended the bible several times throughout history.

Where does this leave us as individuals?  If you are reading this as a Christian, you have some options.  You can read the Hebrew Scriptures for yourself and trust that G-d will give you the understanding you need to comprehend it.  You can trust your church because your perception of them is that they are smarter than you or more experienced than you.  You can trust me if you think I am smarter or more experienced than you.  You can justify your beliefs by adding something else to them.  You can justify your beliefs by changing what you have learned.  I recommend the first option. If you will just read the scriptures for yourself and allow yourself the dignity of not reading it according to what someone else has told you, you will see the truth.  Think about it like this.  Why would G-d give us the Torah and make it where only a select few could understand it?  Remember, as a human, you have the ability to learn.  There is nothing in the Bible that you cannot understand, no matter what level of understanding you have.  You must get rid of any preconceived notions and read it with a clear mind.  Trust Him.  Ask Him to show you the truth.  You don't need anyone to tell you what it says.  Let G-d tell you what it means.  One of the magnificent things about the Hebrew Scriptures is that as you continue reading and studying, you level of understanding will increase. There are simple meanings and deeper meanings which require more advanced study.  Give it time, you can get there.  Trust only in the G-d of Abraham and no one else.      


Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What Good is the Law?

רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ הַיּוֹם אֶת הַחַיִּים וְאֶת הַטּוֹב וְאֶת הַמָּוֶת וְאֶת הָרָע:

Deuteronomy 30: 15 Behold, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil,
16 inasmuch as I command you this day to love the Lord, your God, to walk in His ways, and to observe His commandments, His statutes, and His ordinances, so that you will live and increase, and the Lord, your God, will bless you in the land to which you are coming to take possession of it.

For years, I was told that the Law of Moses didn't matter anymore.  There were a lot of different ways of saying it.  It was nailed to the cross was a good one.  No one could do it anyway so God sent His son to replace it.  You get the idea.  It's the New Testament.  Christianity.  The good news.  These are all false claims because they don't hold up to Scriptural scrutiny.  That is to say, if you actually read the scriptures, you can come to no other conclusion than this; Christianity is and has always been one big sham.  None of it fits; Jesus the messiah, Jesus the son of G-d, Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins, etc.  None of these claims can be substantiated through scripture.  Even if they could, it would still be false.  

Look at the scripture reference above.  According to this, what does one have to do to live?  Love the Lord your G-d, walk in His ways, observe His commandments, statutes, and ordinances.  That's it. The most basic premise of Christianity is not to keep the law.  It's not necessary because Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins.  So, even if you transgress the law, he's right there to smooth things over for you.  

If you look at the entire chapter of Deuteronomy 30, and I encourage you to do so, you will see what is being described are the blessings and the curses associated with keeping or not keeping the Law of Moses.  Also, keep in mind to whom this is being addressed; the Children of Israel.  So, when Jesus came, attempting to change the law, Deuteronomy 30 goes into effect.  To reject the law and follow Jesus is certain death.  

When we get to the end of the chapter the point is made again.  19 This day, I call upon the heaven and the earth as witnesses [that I have warned] you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. You shall choose life, so that you and your offspring will live; 20 To love the Lord your God, to listen to His voice, and to cleave to Him. For that is your life and the length of your days, to dwell on the land which the Lord swore to your forefathers to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob to give to them.  It says choose life so that your offspring will live.  That sounds pretty serious to me.  Would you choose the death and destruction of your children?  G-d forbid you would do that. Verse 20 says "for that is your life and the length of your days."  What is life?  "To love the Lord your God, to listen to His voice, and to cleave to Him."

Let's put some of this together.  For a Jew to accept Christianity is to reject the law.  To reject the law triggers the curses of Deuteronomy 30 which is ultimately death.  But what of the non-Jew?  Non-Jews were never expected to keep the law in the first place.  So why did the church go to all the trouble to attach itself to Judaism?  The simple reason is that Christianity cannot exist without Judaism.  They had to have something on which to base their beliefs.  It is true that much of Christianity comes from pagan religions.  But the pagan religions were weak and couldn't possibly for a strong base on which to build.  So the early church leaders, most of whom were Romans and Greeks, took what they could glean from Judaism.  They took the G-d of Israel and the concept of the messiah from the prophets and made their base,  The sad thing is that they corrupted it so much that what they were left with was useless.  Then they added in some pagan concepts; the trinity, forgiveness of sins, the resurrection, the twelve disciples, the cross.  Then they had to piece it all together.  They spent several hundred years fine tuning everything into what you see today. Fortunately for them, most people back then couldn't read.  The average people had to rely on what their church leaders taught them.  For their part, those leaders were pious men.  They built their trust with the average people.  

These days we take reading for granted.  It's easy to pick up a Bible and read what it says.  The bad thing is that those church fathers who wrote and adjusted the Bible are still trusted today.  They are venerated as saints when they were nothing more than con artists.  They added things when they saw fit to do so.  The last part of the book of Luke was added centuries after the beginning.  This is why I invite you to read the Hebrew Scriptures for yourself.  It is a fascinating text.  If you are a Christian and you made it this far, there is still hope for you.  You don't have to convert to Judaism, although you can do that.  You can live a moral life without the idolatry of the church and still have a place in the world to come.  I invite you to learn about the Noahide Movement which is currently sweeping across the globe.  There is a good life to be had without Christianity.  I have a few great links on the homepage if you are interested.

The Torah is life.  Anything that is not Torah or is opposed to Torah, or seeks to change Torah is death.  Choose wisely.  Your life and the lives of your children and their children are at stake.  


Copyright 2015 by:
William Bouker

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Final Redemption is Here

The world in which we live is currently going through its biggest change since the flood and it's happening right under the noses of those whom we thought should be expecting it.  It's called the Redemption or Geulah.  I heard Rabbi Tovia Singer speaking about the Redemption.  He said that it will happen in stages, similar to the redemption from Egypt.  There were ten plagues which, according to Rabbi Singer, spanned a period of eleven months.  The Redemption is happening in stages in order to give the greatest number of people the opportunity to return to HaShem.  Which stage we are in right now is hard to say.  I am of the opinion that the stages have been going on throughout history.  

It could have started in 1948 when Israel became a country again. That would be a good starting point.  But it could have also started in 70 CE with the fall of Israel.  This could also be a good place to start seeing the beginnings of the Redemption.  The final Redemption could also have started at Mount Sinai with G-d revealing Himself to the children of Israel.  This is a really good place to start in that G-d, at that time, created the Nation of Israel to be a light to the nations.  That light can be seen as the trigger mechanism to the final Redemption. Wherever you look to find the beginning is less relevant than when it will be completed.  That completion and ultimate Redemption of the world is getting very close.  The end of this age is drawing near.   

In a recent episode of Beyond the Matrix (Israel NewsTalk Radio), host Ira Michaelson is heard to say that there are thousands upon thousands of people leaving other religions and turning to the truth of Torah.[Paraphrased]  This is an astounding estimate.  This is the Redemption happening now.  At no other time in history have so many people turned to the Jewish People to find truth.  In fact, quite the opposite has been true since the time of Solomon.  The prophet Zechariah said in chapter 8: 23 So said the Lord of Hosts: In those days, when ten men of all the languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you." This is exactly what we are seeing.  I would go as far as to say that the reason it has been the way it has been for so many centuries (antisemitism) is so that when we see this happening now, we can know for certain the Redemption is coming soon.

Ezekiell 36 gives us some insight into the final Redemption.  36: 34 ...And they shall say: This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited. 36Then the nations that are left round about you shall know that I the LORD have builded the ruined places, and planted that which was desolate; I the LORD have spoken it, and I will do it.37 Thus saith the Lord GOD: I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock.  38 As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed seasons, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am the LORD .  These things are happening now.  The land of Israel was a desolate wasteland not so many years ago.  If you seek proof, you have but to do an internet search for old photos of the land of Israel.  Once you get a feel for the barrenness. look up some current photos of Israel.  The once deserted areas are awash with green.  In verse 37 it says "I will increase them with men like a flock."  In other words, there will be a great inpouring into the House of Israel as we are seeing today.

Most of these people are coming out of Christianity, with the largest portion, like myself, coming from the Baptist denomination according to Rabbi Zalman Weiss, author of Adon Olam: A Search for Meaning. The Christian bible contains what they call the old testament.  It is an adulterated version of the Hebrew Tanakh.  Even with all of the changes put in place by early church fathers, there is still enough evidence that Christianity is a false religion.  I like to equate Christianity to the story of the golden calf in Exodus.  In the story, the Israelites attempt to worship HaShem through the golden calf; in a way which He forbids.  Christians also attempt to worship HaShem through Jesus.  This is the reason why Jews consider Christianity a form of idolatry.

The Final Redemption is happening now.  Yes, it is coming in stages, but we don't know when it will be complete.  The prophets only give a small amount of information concerning this and yet there have been volumes written about it.  For at least two millennia, the Jewish sages and scholars have studied it.  People have hoped and prayed to be fortunate enough to witness it.  Countless millions have wanted to be a part of it and prayed these words, "I believe with complete faith in the coming of Moshiach, and although he may tarry, nevertheless, I wait every day for him to come." (Ani Maamin)   Every day for thousands of years people have waited to see what you are seeing right now.

But know this,  there is no place for idolators in the world to come. Fortunately for you, there is still time.  The true religion, Judaism, is the only religion that does not require you to join it in order to be a part of the Redemption.  That's right.  Righteous Gentiles will have a place in the world to come. You must only adhere to the seven laws of Noah.   Follow the link for more information or visit Netiv,net for in-depth Torah learning on the subject.  I can only hope and pray that you make the right decision.

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Monday, May 23, 2016

Turning Evil into Good- The Conclusion

There is plenty of talk about all of the evil in the world today.  Murder, rape, violent crime, and terrorism are just a few examples.  When we take a deeper look at the evil in the world, we find domestic violence, child abuse, robbery, corruption, even animal abuse.  All of these are good examples of some of the evils in the world today.  As a society, we like to think that our generation faces more evils than the world has ever seen.   If we look at the Bible we find this to be false. Genesis 6: 5-6 tell us that there was so much evil in the world before the flood that HaShem regretted having created us. 5 And the Lord saw that the evil of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of his heart was only evil all the time.6 And the Lord regretted that He had made man upon the earth, and He became grieved in His heart.  It says that every imagination of his [man's] heart was only evil.  That's a lot of evil.  It is foolish to think that the evil we face today is any worse than the evil they faced in those days.  Ecclesiastes 1:9 teaches us that  9 What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.    

What do we know about evil?  One of the major breakthroughs of the information age is research. There have been countless studies into what makes people commit evil acts.  Any of us can go online and look up these studies and learn for ourselves what science tells us are the reasons for these acts. What science cannot tell us is the source of evil in the world.  Again, I turn to the Bible for the answer.  Isaiah 45:6-8 tells us the source. 6 In order that they know from the shining of the sun and from the west that there is no one besides Me; I am the Lord and there is no other. 7 Who forms light and creates darkness, Who makes peace and creates evil; I am the Lord, Who makes all these. 8 Cause the heavens above to drip, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let salvation and righteousness be fruitful; let it cause them to sprout together; I, the Lord, have created it.    Also in Amos 3:6 Will a shophar be sounded in the city and the people not quake? Will there be evil in the city if the Lord has not done it?  Yes, you read that correctly.  Evil comes from the Lord.  In Deuteronomy 30: 15-16 it says, 15 Behold, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil, 16 inasmuch as I command you this day to love the Lord, your God, to walk in His ways, and to observe His commandments, His statutes, and His ordinances, so that you will live and increase, and the Lord, your God, will bless you in the land to which you are coming to take possession of it.  Why has HaShem put evil in the world?  The reason is very simple.  It is in order to give us the ability to choose Him.  Without giving us this choice, we don't have free will.  Without evil, we could not know hatred.  Without hatred, we could not know love.  Can you imagine the world without love?       

Throughout the Bible, we find stories where G-d turns something evil into something good.  Joseph was sold into slavery, spent time in an Egyptian prison, and later became second only Pharoh. Within this same story, we find that G-d sent a famine into the land of Cannan where Jacob and his family lived.  They were forced to go to Egypt looking for food and as a result, Jacob was reunited with the son he thought was dead.  There are many stories just like this.  All of these stories have an underlying theme.  G-d can take something which we perceive as evil and make it good.  Not only does He make it good.  He makes it extremely good; so much so that it could only be His will that makes it happen.  Could the children of Israel have simply walked away from over two hundred years of bondage without divine intervention?  Could Abraham have survived when Nimrod had him thrown into a furnace?  Likewise with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego?  Daniel was thrown into a den of lions, survived without a scratch and was made Viceroy.  Moses fled Egypt, running for his life and later returned as the greatest prophet of all time.  Elijah fled for his life.  David fled for his life.  Jacob fled for his life.  In all of these stories, they faced an evil which HaShem used to perform miracles.   

After the times of the Bible, Israel would face some of the most evil times in its history.  The Romans devastated the people.  They flayed the flesh from the great Rabbi Akiva for the crime of teaching Torah.  The Roman Empire would later spilt, with the remnants becoming the Roman Catholic Church. These later Romans spent centuries killing Jews who refused to convert to Christianity. They were forced out of Spain at the hands of the Inquisition.  Many submitted to conversion. Others fled to Portugal.  Part of the deal made with Queen Isabella to finance the journeys of Columbus included running the Jews out of Portugal.  Many Jews from this period were received by the Muslim-controlled Ottoman Empire.  Antisemitism later reached a climax in twentieth century Germany where at least six million Jews were savagely murdered.  Some estimates put that number at close to nine million Jews whose only crime was being Jewish.  Civilized people of today don't understand how this could have happened.  Many are now denying that it did happen.  This is a foolish claim since much of it was filmed at the time.  After two thousand years of hatred, forced conversions, killings, and varying degrees of rampant antisemitism, we were blessed with the reformation of the state of Israel in 1948.

The title of this article is "Turning Evil into Good- the Conclusion".  I chose this title because we are approaching the conclusion of this age.  The biggest evil in the world which the Jewish people have faced since the time of the Bible has been Christianity.  While it is true that the Holocaust saw the murder of the largest number of Jews in recorded history, it too had its roots in Christianity.  Hitler was a fan of Martin Luther who also supported, even called for the mass killing of the Jewish people. It is no doubt that Christianity has been the leading cause of death among Jewish people since the time of Jesus, who ironically, was a Jew.

Christianity,of course, has its roots in Judaism.  The early Christians were Jews who were misled by a false prophet.  By the end of the first century, however, Christianity was its own entity.  It was no longer made up of Jews.  It was made up of Romans and Greeks, both of whom hated the Jews. What happened all those years ago set the stage for the final and biggest example of HaShem turning something evil into something amazing for the Jewish people; the Messianic Age.  Isaiah 53 explains that the Jewish people, after having been despised and rejected (vv 3-4), will be used by G-d to vindicate the just (v11).  You see, G-d has always used the little guy to further His purpose. Look back at the stories we discussed earlier.  Joseph, Jacob, Moses, David, Daniel, and Elijah were all the little guy.  G-d uses the small and weak to show His glory to the big and the strong.  This is exactly what will happen in the final story.

Look at the Jewish people.  Compared to other religions of the world they are the smallest. Christianity is the biggest by far.  Christianity is the Goliath that will be destroyed by a son of David. Like Egypt, Christianity has been allowed to become grand.  In their grandiosity, they have oppressed the Jewish people.  They are like Esau, who could have supported his brother Jacob, but decided to stand aside and let His brother be destroyed (Obadiah 1).   They are the fourth kingdom of Daniel chapter 2 that will be destroyed when G-d sets up the kingdom that will not be destroyed.

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What the New Testament Doesn't Say

There are a few phrases that are not found in the New Testament.  They include: thus says the L-rd; G-d said; the word of the L-rd came to ...  These phrases are not found anywhere in the New Testament for a very good reason.  It is not from HaShem.  There is no true prophecy in any of those books.  The books of the prophets are alluded to in many places by the New Testament writers. Most are misquotes, some are not quotes from the prophets at all, the rest are just wrong.

Prophecy is a peculiar and often misunderstood thing.  Most people think it is something like fortune-telling, that it is a way of telling the future.  We know that during the time of the Bible, there were many prophets.  King David had Nathan the Prophet who would come to him and tell him what G-d had said.  Such was the job of the prophet, to relay what G-d had said regarding something that had happened, was happening, or was/is going to happen.  Out of the thousands of prophets who lived, only a few left any documentation as to what HaShem said to them.  The last of the prophets was Malachi, thought by many to have actually been Ezra the Scribe.  After the time of the Book of Malachi, there was no more prophecy in the world.  The reason so many prophets were left out of the Bible is because what they had to say didn't pertain to us.  It wasn't necessarily about the future.    

The Bible instructs us how to identify a false prophet.  Deuteronomy 13 gives plain, easy to follow instructions.  Take a moment and read the text for yourself.  Know that it is not giving you permission to stone anyone.  The death penalty can only be imposed by the Sanhedrin, that is the central rabbinical supreme court of ancient Israel, composed of 71 sages.  There are many signs and wonders outlined in the New Testament.  But the central theme is that of doing away with the Law of Moses and following the teachings of Paul.  This is in direct violation of Deuteronomy 13.  The last verse sums it up. 19 For you shall hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you this day, to do that which is proper in the eyes of the Lord, your God.  Does this really sound like the words of Paul?   If Paul agreed with this scripture, there would be Christians all over the world keeping kosher and observing the Sabbath.  Obviously, Paul wanted something different for his church.  

We know from church history that the gospel writers are unknown.  The names were assigned many years later.  Searching the Catholic Church's online encyclopedia proves this. (I do not link to their site because their policies don't allow it).  We know from reading the gospels that they are not attributed in any way to being divinely inspired.  They are riddled with inconsistencies from one to the other.  These are not prophetic works.  That is to say, they are not the word of G-d.  In fact, G-d is barely mentioned in the New Testament, other than to say that He sent Jesus.  Isaiah 42: 6-10 tell us that HaShem will not share is glory with another.  The church would have you believe He shares His glory with both Jesus and the holy spirit.  That is a complete contradiction.  6 I am the Lord; I called you with righteousness and I will strengthen your hand; and I formed you, and I made you for a people's covenant, for a light to nations. 7 To open blind eyes, to bring prisoners out of a dungeon, those who sit in darkness out of a prison. 8 I am the Lord, that is My Name; and My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to the graven images. 9 The former things, behold they have come to pass, and the new things I tell; before they sprout I will let you hear. 10 Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise from the end of the earth, those who go down to the sea and those therein, the islands and their inhabitants.  Notice verse 9.  "the new things I tell; before they sprout I will let you hear."  If the New Testament was actually from HaShem, He would let us hear about it.  How does HaShem let us hear?  Through prophecy.  This never happened.  

Isaiah 42 poses a huge problem for the church.  There are only two ways to interpret this problem. Either Isaiah is lying or the church is lying.  If we say that Isaiah is lying, then everything else in the Book of Isaiah is suspect.  Since the church uses Isaiah to justify itself, if he is lying, the church ceases to exist.  If we say that the church is lying, then everything else it says is suspect.  To rectify this question we will look at Isaiah 1.  In the beginning of the book, he identifies himself as well as his father and the reigns of the kings during which he prophesied.  This lends credence to what he is saying.  The gospel writers don't do this. We have no idea who is writing or even when.  All we have is what the church tells us.  So without knowing the authors, all four gospels become suspect. They have no validity.  Their authors won't even put their own names to what they are writing.  

Paul, on the other hand, has no problem identifying himself in his books.  Have you ever wondered why the church does what Paul says and not what the gospels say?  According to the gospels, Jesus said to follow the Law of Moses and to do everything the Pharisees say.  Paul says the Law of Moses can't be followed and it seems, means very little to him in his teachings.  The Christian church is essentially the church of Paul and not the church of Jesus.  The teachings of Jesus in the gospels mean absolutely nothing to Paul or the church.   I will prove it to you.  If you are still a Christian and part of a church, go to your pastor or a teacher, or an elder and ask them this question.  "Why don't we follow the Law of Moses as Jesus instructs us in Matthew 5:17-19?"  See if they don't refer you to something Paul said.  This is one of the issues I had with the church.  The church claims that Jesus died for us.  Doesn't it stand to reason that they should be following his teachings?

If you are a Christian I urge you to ask that question.  If you are not  Christian but know someone who is, please get them this information.  There is truth to be found in the Holy Scriptures, the Tanakh.  The inconsistent ramblings of the gospel writers combined with inconsistent ramblings of Paul can never contain truth.  They contradict each other.  You know there is no truth in contradictions.    

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker


Sunday, May 8, 2016


Joshua 1:8 This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth; you shall meditate therein day and night, in order that you observe to do all that is written in it, for then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper.

These days we place a great deal of value on prosperity.  We worry about it.  We have sleepless nights.  We work long hours only to find we still don't feel prosperous.  Our houses aren't big enough. Our furniture isn't as good as our neighbor's.  The money we make never seems to be enough to get the things we want.  We obsess over what we have and don't have.  Prosperity, or the desire for it, is becoming the thread that binds us together as a society.  As with all the other areas of our lives, we have but to look to the Bible to find the answers.  

In the first nine verses of Joshua, HaShem is speaking with Joshua.  He informs Joshua that Moses has died and that He will be with Joshua as He was with Moses.  But Joshua must do something: Just be strong and very courageous to observe and do in accordance with all of the Torah that Moses My servant has commanded you.  He had to observe the Torah of Moses.  If he did this he would succeed in all his ways and then prosper. 

I find it interesting that it says he would succeed and then prosper.  So prosperity comes after success. That seems simple enough.  This simple concept is what is plaguing society today.  We all have little successes in our lives.  Each one of them comes with a small degree of prosperity.  But successes like this only lead us to want more success.  For many people, success is an addiction. There is a rush one gets in that instant when success is realized.  There is a problem with these little successes.  Having a success here and there is not having success in all your ways.  It is having success in some of your ways. Partial success can also be considered partial failure.  Failure cannot lead to prosperity.  This is where our society has broken down.  We expect prosperity from failure. We can only find prosperity when we succeed in all our ways.  So, if you want to succeed in all your ways, you should do as Joshua, observe to do all that is written in the Torah.  

Another big problem is the way in which we define prosperity and success.  Prosperity is defined as the state of being successful usually by making a lot of money*    Success is defined as  favorable or desired outcome; also :  the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence.**   Both definitions have to do with making a lot of money.  While being successful in business will bring you money, this is only one kind of success. There are others which must be considered.  These include family success, personal success, spiritual success, charitable success and numerous others.  Remember what the Bible says, "then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper."  You can see that being successful in one way might make you rich, but it won't make you prosperous.  Our definition of prosperity must be flawed. 

True prosperity can only come by connecting to HaShem.  We connect to Him by keeping His commandments and doing mitzvot.  Mitzvot is the plural form of the Hebrew word mitzvah.  The simple meaning for doing a mitzvah is the act of keeping a commandment. For example, we are commanded to give charity.  When we actually give charity or help a poor person in some way, we are performing a mitzvah.  There are countless acts that can be considered a mitzvah.  But, you can only be credited with performing a mitzvah when your intent is to keep the commandment.  For example, we are commanded not to murder. People all over the world don't commit murder every day.  If you refrain from committing murder because it is illegal and you might go to jail, you have not performed the mitzvah because your purpose was not to keep the commandment, but that of personal safety.

Prosperity is so much more than riches.  It is finding favor is the sight of G-d.  It is the lengthening of your days.  It is living in peace.  It is pleasantness, understanding, security, and charity.  Take a moment and read Proverbs 3 for the Biblical understanding of prosperity.  

Joshua 1:8 This book of the Torah shall not leave your mouth; you shall meditate therein day and night, in order that you observe to do all that is written in it, for then will you succeed in all your ways and then will you prosper.      

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

* "Prosperity." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 4 May 2016.
** "Success." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 5 May 2016.

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Warning Within Shema Yisrael

Sh'ma Yis-ra-eil, A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu, A-do-nai E-chad.

Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G‑d, the L-rd is One.

This very simple line is recited millions of times per day by Jews all over the world.  It comes from the book of Devarim or Deuteronomy, chapter 6:4.  It speaks of the oneness of G-d.  That oneness is completely unique to Him.  This line is also a warning to Jews.  It warns us to stay away from idolatry.  It reminds us who is our G-d.  Other religions try to lure us away from the G-d of Israel. They say yes G-d is one, but He is also three.  This line refutes this claim.  It is repeated daily so that it won't be forgotten.  It is of utmost importance that we remember that He is one.

Hear means to listen.  When someone says to listen, they are telling you that what they are about to tell you is important.  You need to hear this O Israel.  When one uses the word O or Oh, before a name it is adding to the importance of what was just said.  In this case, it is the word "hear".  Oh is indicative of the yearning for us to understand.  It could have said "listen, Israel" but it didn't.  This is important, possibly more important than what was previously stated.  Let's look at verse 3.  And you shall, [therefore,] hearken, O Israel, and be sure to perform, so that it will be good for you, and so that you may increase exceedingly, just as the Lord, the God of your fathers, spoke to you, a land flowing with milk and honey.  You see in the highlighted line He is saying that He was the G-d of their fathers.  Yes, this is important.  But it is more significant for us to know that He is our G-d in the here and now.  It is also important for us to know that He is one so that we will not be lured away.  In verse 12 it tells us exactly this.   Beware, lest you forget the Lord, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

In the Shema prayer it goes on to say, "and you will not follow after your heart and after your eyes by which you go astray - so that you may remember and fulfill all My commandments and be holy to your G‑d."  This is also a warning.  Hashem knows that there are things in this world that have the appearance of something good.  This is how we can be lured away.  One cannot be lured away by something that doesn't have a goodly appearance.  Lies camouflaged by a tiny bit of truth are still lies.  The heart is even more susceptible to being lured away.  Other religions know this and use this as a tool to lure us away.  They are warm and inviting.  They use friendly words to make us feel loved.  Be warned, it is very hard to leave a group that is showing you genuine love and affection. This is the warning of Sh'ma Yisrael.  We must know who is our G-d and that He is one, else we be lured away by those who would convince us that He is three.  

Translation of the full Shema

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker

Thursday, April 21, 2016

People and Their Beliefs

The other day I was accused of interpreting the Bible according to my own beliefs.  Had they not been serious, it might have been laughable.  The subject was tithing, but it could have easily been any other Biblical topic.  I explained to this person what the Bible says about tithing and also what it does not say.  Now I didn't use scripture references and quote exactly word for word.  I have at least a basic understanding of the subject and feel comfortable discussing it freely.  I explained to this person that the tithing, as outlined in the Bible, has nothing to do with giving money. The tithe went to the Levites who also gave a portion of what they received to the priests.  None of this went to the Temple.  Money for the Temple was collected annually as the "half-shekel" offering. This was not a tithe.  One of the good things about this method is that it removes partiality.  A rich man could not give more, nor could a poor man refrain from giving or offer less.  

The exact opposite is true in the church.  Wealthy members curry favor and position by giving more. Poor members are riddled with guilt because they cannot give as much.  Wealthy members are placed in positions of esteem.  Poor members are looked down upon for their inability to give.  I've heard ministers tell poor people to give up various aspects of their lives in order to give more to the church. I've also heard them praise the "big tithers".  This is scandalous and has nothing to do with tithing as outlined in the Bible. Please look this up for yourselves.  I will give scripture references below. Personally, I equate the church's position on tithing to that of the used car salesman.  The salesman tells you whatever he has to in order to get the most money from you.  He doesn't care if it is a hardship for you.  Some used car dealers are notorious for ripping people off.  My advice to the person in my conversation was this, don't base your beliefs on what someone is teaching you when they stand to make money from that belief.  You wouldn't trust the car dealer who tells you that some beat-up piece of junk has nothing wrong with it.  Don't trust the church telling you to give more, when they are the ones getting the money.  This is one big conflict of interest.  

As I said before, this could have been a discussion on any subject.  This time, it happened to be tithing.  I am always amazed at how few Christians actually read their bibles.  These same people somehow seem to get into conversations with me and begin to say things that can't be found in the Bible at all.  For example, another person entered the conversation above and actually said, "It is not "His way" or the Highway. God is all about freedom. Trusting Him, to me, is all about believing that His grace is sufficient..."  Are you kidding me?  Where in the Bible does it say that things don't have to be His way?  That is exactly what it says.  But I was the one "arrogantly" giving my own interpretation to the scriptures.  Another person said that Genesis 28:21 talked about tithing.  It does not.  Who is teaching these people?  These are good Christian people and they know nothing.

Conversations like this go on every day and Christians seem to line up to believe such drivel.  The question I have is why do they believe it?  The answer is simple.  They believe what they are told to believe without question.  Many of you know that I was once a Christian.  I'm not proud of that fact, but it is true.  But when I was, I actually read the bible.  I wanted to know what it said, not only for myself but so that I could teach others.  It's no wonder that reading the bible is what made me leave that life behind.  The funny thing is, I was reading the Christian bible.  Imagine my surprise when I started reading the Tanakh.  Those of us who have left the church run into problems like this all the time.  Personally, I don't claim to have any more than a basic understanding of the Torah.  I understand that there are more advanced concepts which I have yet to uncover.  But I don't stop learning.  I don't take anyone's word for what it says either.  I look it up.  I learn from those who are far more learned that I am, but I still look it up.  A good Torah teacher expects this.  It simply amazes me when some Christian tries to tell me what the bible says when they have barely read it.  Even church leaders, the ones who are supposed to know, have only a cursory knowledge of the bible. They simply say what they are supposed to say, whether it makes sense or not.  "Bring the tithes into the storehouse."  I can't count how many time I heard that one.  It's from the Book of Malachi, chapter 3.
This chapter is dealing with the two houses of Israel coming together in the future.  Yes, it does speak about tithing, but it does not give the regulations pertaining to tithing.  This is why the church uses it instead of Leviticus when teaching about tithing.  Most Christians are surprised to learn that there is more than one kind of tithe.

I didn't want this article to be about tithing, although it seems to have taken that path up until now. The things we call our beliefs must come from somewhere.  Mine come from G-d's word.  The person to whom I was speaking actually told me "as a Catholic, in no way do we depend solely on the Bible." He went on to say "You are the one hanging your hat solely on scripture, and then determining that you have the authority to get it exactly right. The arrogance of that view is breathtaking."  Now, I never said I had the authority to get it exactly right.  I just tell people what the Bible says. In my own defense, I do know how to read.  I understand what the words mean. Deuteronomy 8:3 teaches us that "whatever comes forth from the mouth of the Lord does man live." While I am far from perfect, I do my best to do just that.  This is also found in the Christian books of Matthew and Luke. Wherefore do they not depend solely on the Bible?  This is a contradiction of their own book.  Now that is arrogant. Christians believe this stuff. They would rather believe something like this because they are told to do so rather than simply read. Their own scriptures say otherwise yet they don't believe it when someone like me tells them.  The complacency of the rank and file of the church will ultimately be their demise.

For many Christians, it is all about what makes them feel good.  Of such is the person who said "God is all about freedom. Trusting Him, to me, is all about believing that His grace is sufficient..."  From which version of the bible is this person reading?  Obviously, they are not reading it.  This is the type of person who sits in the church on Sunday morning just waiting for that aha moment.  This is "feel good" theology at its best.  There is another group of Christians who live at the opposite end of the spectrum, the guilt lovers.  They like to call it long-suffering.  What it is is self-deprecating. The long-sufferers feel like they deserve to suffer for something they have done.  Many of them suffer from depression because of it.  These people are also not following their book.  If their idol really did die for their forgiveness, from whence does the guilt come?

For those few who do read their book, they don't have it any better.  With all of the inconsistencies in the new testament, they can't seem to make any sense of it.  It's no wonder so few read their bibles. It's confusing for them.  This could be why my friend thinks I'm so arrogant.  If they would look through the Christian bible they would find their rendition of the Hebrew Scriptures.  They might find things like "no one may die for the sins of another," or "Have no other gods before me."  They don't know what to do with that.  The new testament says otherwise.  How can that be?  They can't explain it so they stop reading altogether.  If they do ask about it, they are given some canned answer from someone they don't dare question.  The vast majority in the church are in this group. They want to be a good Christian but they can't figure it out.  So they go to church and listen to the sermon, sing the songs, turn in their "tithes" and socialize.  It becomes no better than a social club.

But what if there is more than that?  What if there is a way to actually attach to the Creator, blessed be His name.  The church never mentions this because they have the wrong concept of the Creator.  I like to look at it this way.  The Christian says G-d is everywhere.  The Jew says everywhere is G-d. You see, when you say G-d is everywhere, what you are saying is that everywhere is a place and He is there.  If you go some place you will find Him there.  When you say everywhere is G-d, you are saying He actually is the place.  The entire universe is only a small part of Him.  When you understand the difference between these two concepts, you can then begin to understand G-d, in as much as is humanly possible.  When Moses wanted to know G-d he said, "And now, if I have indeed found favor in Your eyes, pray let me know Your ways, so that I may know You," Exodus 33:13.  Here we learn how we can get to know G-d, by learning His ways.  Does this sound like we can do it our way?  Of course not.  When we learn His ways and keep His commandments, we (our souls) actually attach to Him.  This is one of the most amazing concepts in Judaism.  This idea has to be foreign to Christians because they have been taught not to keep His commandments.  They are taught that the commandments were nailed to the cross and are no longer in place.  All of the feel good sermons in the world can not replace actual attachment to G-d.  

If you are a Christian and you have made it this far, you must have many questions.  There are answers.  I will put some links to some very helpful sites.  Don't worry, not one of them will ask you for a dime.  You see it is actually forbidden to charge to teach Torah.


Deuteronomy 14:22-29 
Deuteronomy 26:1-19
Leviticus 22
Deuteronomy 12

Copyright 2016 by:
William Bouker