Paul Mauls Deuteronomy 30 – by Jim

Throughout his letter to the Romans, Paul contrasts two means whereby one might try to be righteous before God. One means is through the Law, a means by which, according to Paul, one can only experience failure, for the Law is too difficult for one to keep and only reveals to one the need for some other means to attain righteousness. The other means is through faith in Jesus, and it is this means that is efficacious for the attainment of righteousness. All through his epistle to the Romans, he misrepresents the Hebrew Scriptures, Tanach, in order to “prove” his case. For example, in order to prove that no one can be righteous through the Law, he misrepresents Ps. 14, quoting: “There is no one who is righteous, not even one…” But the psalm is speaking about the fools that say in their heart that there is no God. Paul turns a statement about a specific type of person and makes it appear to be a statement about the universal condition of humanity. He goes along through his letter in this way, representing falsely statements and phrases in Tanach to impose upon them his own theology. Perhaps no portion of Tanach is more ill-used than Deut. 30.

In order to support the opposition of these two means toward righteousness, Paul uses Deut. 30 in support of the idea that righteousness comes through faith in Jesus. Note the juxtaposition in the language of the first Romans 10:5 and 10:6. Verse 5 begins: “Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law…” And verse 6: “But the righteousness that comes from faith…” Just as he has done throughout the letter, he is going to juxtapose the Law and Faith.

In support of his thesis that righteousness comes through faith, he quotes Deut. 3:11-14:
“But the righteousness that comes from faith says, ‘Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’’ (that is, to bring Christ down) or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim), because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:6-10).

To make comparison easy:
“Surely, this commandment that I am commanding you today is not too hard for you, nor is it too far away. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross to the other side of the sea for us, and get it for us so that we may hear it and observe it?’ No, the word is very near to you; it is in your mouth and in your heart for you to observe.” (Deut. 30:11-14).

Paul has so badly misrepresented these verses, performed such an act of violence against them, that he clearly had no love of the truth and no fear of God. Of course, he does to this passage what so many Christian misrepresentations do, he makes it to be about the person of the Messiah. His interjections about “Christ” have no relation to what Moses is speaking about in Deuteronomy 30. But this is almost the least of his crimes in regard to this passage.

Paul has made Moses’ words to be about Paul’s word of faith. But Moses is speaking about the Torah, about the Law, the same Law to which Paul has juxtaposed Faith. Paul has turned the passage on its head entirely. Moses, in telling the people not to seek “it” in the heavens or across the sea, is not talking about Christ but the commandment. It is the very opposite of what Paul has made the passage seem to say. (Paul also changes the relation to the sea from “across” to in its depths, which is a minor point compared to the other points. However, this misquote leads to the interjection about “bringing Christ up from the dead,” which imagery would not make sense with the original relation.) When Paul goes on to say that “the word [that] is near you” is the word of faith, this is an absolute lie. Moses is talking about the commandment, the teaching of the Torah, in Paul’s terminology—the Law. Paul attempts to hide this by omitting the end of Deut. 30:14, which continues where Paul stops. Moses indicates that the people have been given the Law just so that they can observe it, that it is not impossible to keep the Law. But, because the thrust of Paul’s argument is that the Law is impossible to keep, he must omit the end of v.14.

Omitting the end of the quote also allows Paul to impose a new meaning upon the portion of v. 14 that he does quote. He relates the lips to the confession that Jesus is Lord and the heart to belief that God raised Jesus from the dead. However, this is clearly not what Moses was speaking about. These misrepresentations by Paul would make no sense if you quoted the end of the verse, which talks about observance. Moses has given the people the key to Torah observance, internalizing it and speaking about it constantly. When one’s focus is on the Torah, he will be able to keep it. But Paul’s whole argument is the antithesis of this: he claims that the Torah is impossible to keep.

Paul has made the promises of God into nothing. As Deut. 30 continues, it says that obeying the commandments of God brings blessing and life. And, disobedience brings curses and death. According to Paul, however, because no one can keep the Law, it does not bring blessing and life, only curses and death. It is bad enough that he would make this argument at all, but it is particularly brazen to hinge this argument in part upon a passage that is the antithesis of his doctrine.

Paul greatly abused Tanach in his letters. He treated Torah like it was his plaything, rather than the holy words of God. He created his own doctrines, and then he misrepresented Torah in order to make his teachings appear to be divine. In so doing, he misled a great many people. His letter to the Romans is littered with his misrepresentations. His misrepresentation of Deut. 30 stands out for its being so blatant, but it is only one of his many crimes against Torah.

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Dr. Brown Apologizes

Posted in Response to Dr. Brown Line of Fire, Videos | 4 Comments

Apology and Correction

Apology and Correction

Between May 15 and July 24 of 2017, I posted an online debate together with Dr. Brown about the Real Jewish Messiah. At the close of the debate I felt that Dr. Brown had deliberately misled the audience. This was not a conclusion that came to me lightly. The evidence was all stacked up and it did not seem to leave me with another option.

For starters, in his opening segment Dr. Brown presented an argument that I had already clearly and decisively refuted. When I took the time and effort to expose the fallacy of his argument in my rebuttal, Dr. Brown did not acknowledge the truth of what I said. Instead he told the audience that I had misrepresented his argument when in fact I had done nothing of the sort.

Furthermore, in his third and final video of our debate, Dr. Brown falsely accused me of putting an argument into his mouth in order to refute it while in this same video, he himself put two different arguments into my mouth in order to refute them.

To make things worse, Dr. Brown did all of this in the forum of our debate, a forum that I had been trying to avoid and that he had been demanding for a long time. And here, when I finally gave him a compromised version of this forum, he went ahead and violated the mutual trust that is inherent in that forum.

With all of this evidence in front of me, I came to the only conclusion that seemed reasonable at the time. It was obvious to me that Dr. Brown is a con-man who is consciously deceptive. I read the rest of Dr. Brown’s arguments and strategies in light of my understanding and on this basis I wrote several articles exposing what I felt were his deceptive tactics.

So I was surprised to receive a personal note from Dr. Brown in which he took objection to my articles. I couldn’t figure out what it was that he took objection to. Which word of what I wrote was not true?

We entered into a lengthy e-dialogue and I discovered that I had misjudged Dr. Brown. Yes, Dr. Brown did accuse me of crimes that I did not commit, he did put words into my mouth in order to refute them, he used a less than honest calculation to make an argument and he failed to acknowledge the truth when I called him out on it. But I am now convinced that he did not do this intentionally or with foreknowledge.

In the course of our communication I learned that Dr. Brown never grasped my refutation to his argument that I had published before the debate. I learned that when I presented the argument in the course of the debate, Dr. Brown also did not understand it. I also learned that Dr. Brown was convinced, on the basis of certain misunderstandings that occurred between us, that it was I who was being consciously deceptive, and that I had violated the forum of our debate and it was this that brought him to read my arguments and strategies in a negative light.

Furthermore, in the course of our communication I discovered that Dr. Brown had a very different view of the context of the debate. While I saw our debate as a continuation of our ongoing conversation, Dr. Brown saw it as a recap of the arguments that we had already presented for the sake of those who are not familiar with them. With all of this it was almost as if we were speaking two different languages.

In light of this new perspective on where Dr. Brown was coming from I now realize that my accusation against Dr. Brown as a conscious liar has no basis in reality. I hereby apologize to Dr. Brown and ask his forgiveness for making that accusation.

I will now go through the points in my “Open Letter” that need to be corrected in light of what I discovered through our communication.

The first point I raise in my open letter is a challenge to Dr. Brown. I ask him how he could in good faith introduce arguments that I have already responded to. I now realize that Dr. Brown saw this as the purpose of the debate, to recap the arguments that we had previously presented for the sake of those unfamiliar with them.

The second point I raised in my open letter is that I accused Dr. Brown of employing a deceptive strategy. I said that he crammed his opening video with many questions so that he can turn around and accuse me of failing to answer them, knowing full well that it is impossible for me to answer all of his arguments in the time allotted to me. I now realize that this was not Dr. Brown’s intention. Again, he saw this debate as a forum to recap our many arguments for the sake of those who hadn’t heard them yet. It was for this reason that he presented all the arguments that he did and it was not done to give himself a deceptive strategic edge.

The third point I raised relates to Dr. Brown’s response to my refutation of his “diminishing reference” argument. I accused Dr. Brown of consciously deceiving the audience in order to hide the fact that his argument had been refuted. But in fact he simply did not understand my refutation and he was not trying to deceive anyone. He has now publicly acknowledged that his argument was faulty and that my refutation was valid.


In the fifth point that I raise in my open letter, I tell the audience that Dr. Brown accused me of quoting Scripture out of context but that he failed to substantiate his accusation. Through our communication I learned that Dr. Brown felt that my quote of Isaiah 26:2 as a proof that the word “tzaddik” (righteous one) does not connote perfect sinlessness is inaccurate. I disagree with Dr. Brown’s read on the verse, I disagree with Dr. Brown’s assessment of my quotation but I stand corrected on my statement that Dr. Brown failed to substantiate his accusation. He did substantiate his accusation (to his mind) although he could have done so with greater clarity (i.e. he could have told the audience that this is what he meant when he accused me of quoting Scripture out of context).

The sixth point I raised in my open letter accused Dr. Brown of being inconsistent. In his book he lists three interpretations for the Messianic Temple prophecies and only the third of the three options visualizes the physical rebuilding of the Temple. At the same time, Dr. Brown opens his first segment of the debate assuring his listeners that he “shares” the Messianic expectation for a Temple with traditional Jews who see the Temple as foundational to the Messianic vision.

I now see that Dr. Brown was not contradicting himself nor was he trying to mislead his Jewish viewers. When he said that he “shared” the Messianic expectation, he was saying that he stands together with traditional Jews in interpreting these passages as Messianic, but not that he accepts the details of the traditional Jewish interpretation of these passages.

These are the areas in which my misunderstanding of Dr. Brown’s motives and perspective caused me to misjudge him and again, I apologize and ask his forgiveness.

However, this apology does not in any way mitigate any of the arguments that I presented in the debate. I stand behind every word that I said in the debate and my lengthy communication with Dr. Brown did not mitigate a word I said in the debate. Our communication brought him to see the rightness of my refutation to his “diminishing references” argument and helped him realize that it was he who had violated the forum of our debate and not I. I am satisfied that the arguments that I presented in our debate will help you learn the truth about the Real Jewish Messiah.

Furthermore, in no way does this apology mitigate the staggering error that Dr. Brown committed in this debate. He brought a dishonest calculation to the table and when he was called out on it, he failed to realize his error. It was not until November 15 2017, several months after the debate was over, and after an intense exchange of e-mails, that Dr. Brown finally realized his mistake. This incredible inability to see his own error, a mathematical error mind you, an error that can be proven black on white, puts all of his arguments into a certain context. If it takes him this long to realize that an argument of his is faulty when the evidence is so readily available, how fast will he realize the flaws of his arguments that are wrong on more subtle levels?

But after everything is said and done, the fact that this error was not committed with intention to deceive and the fact that Dr. Brown had the courage to acknowledge his error publicly gives me hope for the future. If all of Dr. Brown’s errors are rooted in misunderstanding as opposed to intentional deception we could more hopefully look forward to the day when Dr. Brown recognizes the rest of his mistakes and returns to the faith of his ancestors.

Posted in Response to Dr. Brown Line of Fire | 16 Comments

All the Nations

All the Nations
“For then I will change the nations [to speak] a pure language so that they will all proclaim in the Name of the Lord to worship Him with a united resolve.” (Zephaniah 3:9)
The prophets looked forward to a time when all the nations of the world serve the Creator of the universe shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel. This does not mean that the nations will convert to Judaism. The prophets made it clear that the various nations will maintain their own identity and they will be serving God as gentiles; not as Jews (as an example see Zachariah 14:16).
The picture that emerges from various historical texts is that during the Second Temple Era there were many gentiles who joined the Jewish people in their worship of God but did not join the covenant community through a complete conversion. The Ibn Ezra explains that when the Psalmist makes reference to “those who fear God” (Psalm 116:11; 118:4) he is referring to these gentile worshippers of the God of Israel.
With the rise of Christianity and Islam this phenomena went into decline. No longer were there gentile individuals associating with the Jewish communities on the level of worship or religious devotion in any way. As a consequence of this historical fact the Jewish community no longer has a clear precedent of such interaction that could guide us in a practical way. The general attitude of the Jewish community as it relates to the spiritual state of gentiles is “either in or out”. We don’t seem to have a clear cultural model that would guide us in relating to a gentile who loves and reveres the God of Israel but does not see it as their calling to join the covenant community.
This has had another sad consequence. The entire relationship that is possible between a gentile and the God of Israel is seriously underappreciated. Both Jews and gentiles tend to look at a relationship with the Creator as a “Jewish” thing. But it is not. The prophets taught us that a relationship with God is a “human” thing.
In recent decades this trend has started to reverse. Many gentiles have let go of the false teachings of the church and have come to embrace a relationship with the God of Israel. These people generally use names like Noachide or Bnei Noach to identify themselves and their beliefs.
This is certainly a positive development in this area but there still is much to accomplish. Perhaps it is the Jewish community who needs to develop and build both an appreciation for the gentile relationship with God and a practical community structure to be able to interact with these gentiles.
The relationship that is possible between every human being and the One Creator of all is deeply meaningful and fulfilling. This relationship has the breadth to encompass every aspect of life and imbue it with holiness and purpose. It is important that both Jew and gentile develop an appreciation for this relationship. The gentile benefits from the study of this relationship because this is the gentile’s calling in life. The Jew benefits from the study of this relationship because it is the calling of the Jew as well. The Jew is not exempt from developing a relationship with God as a human being. The covenantal relationship of the Jew does not cancel out the Jew’s relationship with the Creator as a human being. The covenantal relationship is built on the foundation of the Jew’s relationship with God as a human being. A building cannot be stronger than its foundation.
By developing a stronger appreciation for the gentile’s relationship with the God of Israel we can make our world a holier place.
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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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Twilight Man – by Jim

Twilight Man

Dear Philip,

That you should feel a little lost after leaving the Church is only natural. What you are going through is akin to a divorce. Those people with whom you have long socialized and identified now feel distant to you. Some of them resent you leaving; some feel you are a threat to the community. Even those who try to show you understanding and compassion may not share with you the intimacy that they once did. In your search for the truth, you have sacrificed your sense of belonging. It is painful.

You have lost your sense of identity, beyond even your lack of community. You feel that you no longer have any positive identification. Rather, you are identified by what you are not. Every title you apply to yourself appears to be a negation. What are you? Not-a-Christian. You have discovered that the Torah is the truth. Are you then a Jew? No, you are not-a-Jew. This is how you have come to identify yourself: in terms of what you are not. You are a Twilight Man, no longer in the darkness of the Church but not dwelling in the full light of the Torah.

You truly feel that you are trapped between these two worlds in some way. You feel that the full Torah is denied to you. You wonder: Why may I not lay tefillin? Why may I not adorn my doorway with a mezuzah? Why am I not even permitted to study the whole Torah tradition? You have come to believe that the Jew has been granted a full relationship with God, while you are left in the cold, glimpsing the light of Torah from afar. Indeed, you see the Seven Laws as nearly insulting. By and large, they are things that even a schoolchild knows not to do. They appear to you too easy, that God has asked little of you as if you are capable of little. It was unlikely that you were going to eat from the limb of a living animal. So, you are a Twilight Man, receiving just the barest fraction of the Torah, a not-a-Jew.

Even Judaism’s terms for you emphasize your lack of identity. They emphasize that you are not-a-Jew. When you are called a ben Noach, a child of Noah, this is contrasted with being a child of Israel, a Jew. It appears to you that the term is no different than “non-Jew,” just another way of saying not-a-Jew. The term “Noahide” appears to be nothing more than another way of saying, “child of Noah,” or “one that is not a Jew.” “Goyim,” similarly emphasizes to you non-Jewishness: you have the Jewish nation and then all the others. The Torah observant world has created two kinds of people, Jews and those that are not Jews, it seems, and the ones that really count are those in the first class. Others—you—are not given positive identification. You are only identified by what you are not. Not-a-Christian. Not-a-Jew. A Twilight Man.

But you are not a Twilight Man. Though, right now, as you have so freshly divorced yourself from your community, you feel a lack of identity, you should know that the Torah does not see you as a non-being. Rather, you are a human being, among the most precious of God’s creations. You know that the Torah does not teach that it is only the Jew that is made in the image of God. It is the human being that is made in the image of God. And it is this that you are—a human. You have intrinsic worth.

As a human, you have the capacity for the greatest good. It is the human being that is able to act with wisdom. It is the human being that is able to act unselfishly. It is the human being that is not moved solely by instinct but may govern himself through reason. He is the moral creature. And when he acts with wisdom, kindness, and justice, he is the most exalted of creatures. Also, because of his capacity, when he acts foolishly, selfishly, and unjustly, he is the most debased of creatures. It is your humanity that gives you great nobility or ignobility. Your identity is not found in what you are not but what you are—a human being, made in the image of God.

It is a mistake, therefore, to consider yourself a Twilight Man. Not-a-Christian and not-a-Jew are not opposing points on a spectrum. These two means of identifying yourself do not express the same thing. When you state that you are not-a-Christian, this is a statement of rejection. You have rejected the false teachings of the Church and indeed made your way out of darkness. But this is not what you mean when you say that you are not-a-Jew, for you do not reject Judaism. So, when you say that you are not-a-Jew, you are acknowledging that you do not have the same responsibilities as the Jewish people have, just as one from the tribe of Judah does not have the same responsibilities as a priest. Christianity and Judaism are not two points between which you are trapped, then, as the statement that you are not the one is not the same as the statement that you are not the other. You must not see yourself as excluded from the light of the truth of Torah.

Those terms by which you are called and seem to affirm you to be a non-entity generally refer to the difference in responsibility between the Jewish people and the non-Jewish people. The terms “non-Jew,” “child of Noah,” or “Noahide” do not assert the inferiority of you as a person. They do not steal from you a positive identity. They indicate only that you have a different obligation, that of the human generally, in contrast to the Jewish people who have further obligations. A child of Noah must refrain from those actions forbidden to humanity through Adam and again through Noah. (The Seven Laws of Noah are so-called in the opinion of some, because the law forbidding one to eat from a still-living animal was not given to Adam but to Noah, permission having not been granted to eat animals until after the Flood. See Genesis 9.) The term “Noahide” is often employed to mean the same thing. At other times, Noahide is employed to mean, “one that acknowledges that God has given the Seven Laws of Noah and accepts them upon himself.” Some even use the term “ben Noach” or “child of Noah” this way, in which usage the term does not denote a negation. The term “Noahide,” then, can serve as a statement of acknowledgement of Torah, a counterpart to the negative “not-a-Christian,” the rejection of the New Testament and the Church. In any case, Judaism does not deprive you of a positive identity with these terms. They indicate your obligation under the Seven Laws of Noah.

The Jewish people have certain obligations that have not been imposed upon the rest of the world. The Jewish people are commanded to study the Torah; you have no such command. They are commanded to affix mezuzot to their doors; you are not. They are forbidden to perform any creative work on the Sabbath, while you may perform such tasks. This is because the Jewish people have a mission on behalf of the rest of the world. They are a nation of priests and God’s witnesses. Within that nation the priests also have certain obligations that do not apply to non-priestly Jews. However, this does not diminish the non-priestly Jew; nor are you diminished by the priestly nation.

Indeed, the Jewish people are a gift to you. If they are priests, they are priests on your behalf. If they are witnesses, they bear witness to divine truth for you and me and the entire non-Jewish world. The Jewish people were given the Torah. You and I were given the Jewish people. They are appointed by HaShem to be our teachers. You must not suppose that their special role means that God loves only the Jewish people. On the contrary, the creation of the Jewish people is proof of God’s love for you.

Nor must you believe that the Seven Laws of Noah, due to the seeming ease with which they may be upheld, indicate your inferiority. If they were so easy to uphold, the world would not be full of murder, theft, and all manner of injustice. But it is. This is to say nothing of idolatry and sexual degradation. Without question, the world would be much improved if the greater number of humanity refrained from the unjust actions proscribed by the Seven Laws. Humanity would experience a much greater harmony than is now known. Peace would be nearly found. Virtually no one would deny this; yet injustice flourishes.

It requires attention to live in accordance with the Seven Laws. Most people acknowledge that it is wrong to steal, yet many steal anyway. How is it possible? Multiple reasons can be found for this. For example, it is often the case that when someone steals, it does not occur to him that he has even performed a theft. Or, the theft may appear insignificant. Or, he is overcome by desire. The danger of taking the Seven Laws for granted is that one may find himself violating them when opportunity and temptation presents itself, because they are not internalized. No philosophy is ever internalized by hearing the summation of a matter and asserting that one understands and accepts it. Whoever treats the Seven Laws cavalierly, as so obvious that they need no reflection, will not be truly guided by them.

This need not mean that he will violate them, but that they will not be his guiding philosophy. The idea of eating from a living animal does not appeal to many. To some, the law will appear superfluous, even insulting. The law may appear to him to be necessary only for the most barbarous of peoples, not to the modern American. However, this attitude is of no benefit. First, one must consider why the law is kept. If one only adheres to the law because he does not find eating from a live animal appealing, then he obeys his own code and not divine law. His action is correct, but it is devoid of piety. Second, the one that shrugs off the law as obvious will have little reason to contemplate its philosophical underpinnings. A law against eating from a living animal preserves a sensitivity in the human being. He is not to allow himself to inflict unnecessary pain, lest he turn himself cruel. Moreover, such a law rests upon the principle that the world and all that is in it belongs to God and not to human beings. Humans may only use what is in the world with God’s permission. If this is the case, he ought also not to use the objects he finds in the world wastefully. He should not use resources thoughtlessly. One can benefit greatly from studying and reflecting upon the laws, rather than briefly acknowledging them.

Similarly, though the Seven Laws are all prohibitions, with greater reflection, one will find positive actions he should take in order to align himself with the philosophy of the Seven Laws. It is tempting for one to say that he was not going to murder anybody and so the law did not much enlighten him. However, when one considers the reason given in Genesis 9 for not taking a human life, one must ponder the further consequences. Genesis 9 emphasizes that the human being is made in the image of God. The human is sacred and of intrinsic worth. If one truly sees the intrinsic worth in others, he will not merely refrain from murder, he will promote the welfare of others. When he sees that others are sacred, he will treat them always with dignity. The Seven Laws, therefore, inform one’s philosophy and actions beyond the actual prohibited actions.

The Seven Laws are not a consolation prize for the non-Jew. He has not been given an inferior Torah, one that does not allow him to draw close to HaShem. The rabbis famously taught that the child of Noah that studies the Seven Laws is like a high priest. He can indeed draw close to HaShem through the Seven Laws. One must not disregard them, then, but devote oneself to their study. He must internalize them and let their philosophical underpinnings become the foundation for his thought and action. In so doing, he begins to understand God’s will for humanity and to fulfill that will. He draws close to God.

He will not be a Twilight Man, receiving only the faintest light of the Torah. Rather the Seven Laws—his Torah—will illumine his life. His actions and thoughts will be informed by the Torah. He will no longer resent not receiving the commandments of the Jewish people, for he has been given the Jewish people themselves, as teachers. He will not feel like a non-entity, for he will have the full dignity of being a human being. He will be defined by what he does and not by what he rejects. Give yourself time to heal. Leaving a community is a painful experience. Just know that the Torah does not see you as an inferior being.


Posted in Jim, The Righteous Gentile | 71 Comments

Wicked Success – Habakkuk 2:4; Esther 5:13

Wicked Success – Habakkuk 2:4; Esther 5:13

“Behold the fortified, his soul will never be settled within him; but the righteous will live with his faithfulness”

“… and all of this is worthless to me.”

The prophet Habakkuk opens his book with an outcry to God about the success of Nebuchadnezzar. Habakkuk cannot understand why God allows the wicked to succeed in their quest for more wealth and more power. Why does God allow these wicked men to crush the righteous and the innocent?

In response to Habakkuk’s quest for understanding God says: “Behold the fortified, his soul will never be settled within him; but the righteous will live with his faithfulness.” God is telling the prophet to look just a bit beneath the surface. A man like Nebuchadnezzar, who is constantly seeking to augment his power, to build a bigger and better fortress for himself, is a man who never lives. The very fact that they are so busy building their power base is a sign of weakness and want. People who feel secure don’t need to keep on acquiring new sources of power and strength. People who are happy are not obsessed with the work of obtaining more and more wealth. As much as these people amass strength, power and wealth they will always be confronted with another weakness, another want, another deficiency that they will need to overcome according to their scheme of life. This constant never-ending race leads to nowhere and doesn’t allow their souls to find peace within themselves.

The righteous, on the other hand, live in a different world. They live in the world of “emuna”; honesty, trust, faithfulness and loyalty to God. The righteous recognizes that what God did not allot to them in life will not help them. The righteous trusts that it is God who placed him in this world and will take care of his needs and wants. The righteous has a calling in life and he is faithful to that calling. And the calling of the righteous is to be loyal to the God of truth and kindness.

The righteous doesn’t spend all of his time building a fortress for protection. Such activity cannot rightly be considered “living”. The work of establishing a strength and protection is just a means of fending of a threat so that life can go one undisturbed. But what is life itself? Is the point of building one wall to be able to live another day so that I can build another wall?

The righteous are shepherded with their faithfulness in God (Psalm 37:3). They recognize that the Master of the universe guides every instant of their existence. They trust in Him for protection and they trust in Him for all of their needs and with God as their shepherd they never lack (Psalm 23:1). Every moment is a moment of life, a moment suffused with purpose and with meaning. The righteous see every step of life as part of a walk with God and with God at your side you will not falter (Psalm 16:8; Isaiah 41:10).

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Yisroel C. Blumenthal

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You Are My Witnesses – part 2

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