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

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