(by Christopher Fredrickson)
Over the past several years, as a radio show host, I would often get several individuals send me blog posts, youtube videos, or some sort of interpretation why the end is near. Sadly, when I was a part of the "two house" movement I even had people on my radio show as guests who were big names in the Hebrew Roots movement setting dates for that very year. Many of these interviews go back to 2010, 2011, by 2012 I wised up.
Now the Bible says, many times that we have a job to expose the false prophets, however we are also required to act on chesed (loving kindness) before we do so and to show grace. For this reason I am not mentioning any names (except for one who said "If I am wrong, then expose me as a false prophet"). Many will want me to name all the names, but if I did that then I would be acting out with my yetzer hara (evil inclination) and therefore, I as well would be a teacher whom you shouldn't trust if I acted through the yetzer hara. The reason for this, in Jewish thought is because then I wouldn't be acting to glorify Hashem but rather I would be acting in a way that exemplifies ego, haughtiness and the antithesis of the attributes that Hashem has placed within the divine spark he put within us all. I am simply making the point that we have a real credibility problem in the Messianic faith that needs to be corrected.
Date and season time stamping of the return of the Messiah is nothing new, this was happening during the Crusades, it happened during the time of Nero, it happened in every war that had ever happened in history, despite the region of the world it took place. Given that the prophecies in the Bible are written on the sod level of interpretation, it is so easy to take natural inclinations of man, and natural events and say "this was prophesied". I remember when I was 21 years old, September 11th was marked by many as being the start of the "Great Tribulation". Every hurricane, major earthquake, war, medical condition; you name it, has been marked as a sign by many. In recent times, school shootings, public policy, and even the Olympics have been signs by these individuals as "a sign of the end".
Now I have to ask, Is Hashem worried more about how much you cling to Him, and how well you progress in your faith to the best of your ability? Or do you get a big gold star in the Olam Haba that says, "good job you got the date right"? From what I can see from the Scripture and Jewish thought, Yeshua, our Messiah said he didn't even know the date. So if our Messiah didn't even know the date, then how can we be so arrogant to think we can?
There were hundreds making predictions for September 23rd 2015, as there has been every single fall season since I have been pursuing observance. Every year, new YouTube videos go up with predictions being made and central figures who have "figured it out". This year we had the Shmitah and the Blood Moons debacle.
In 2010 a prominent teacher made a sweeping prediction that Gog and Magog were going to happen in October of that year based on his Muslim Karaite calendar that is always off schedule. He has made several predictions based on his calendar and none of them have ever happened. Apparently the same teacher has had the same issue for years, the same teacher in 2000 was booted from the Prophecy Club for date setting and for other activities going on behind the scene. Former friend of this very same teacher even made this prediction in 1993 hoping that people would forget about it:
"The Middle East Peace Accord of 1993 started the 70th week of Israel. Therefore, I am warning others to look for specific events to occur in 1996 and 1997 consistent with the timeline and the center event of the 7-year period, the Abomination of Desolation. To that end, I am preparing and warning others that the Great Tribulation spoken of by Daniel and Yeshua will begin Feb/Mar of 1997. These dates were set by God when He started the 70th week. Because I teach people to look for specific things, I am criticized as a "datesetter." But in defense of the argument, I remind people that I didn't make the Middle East Peace Accord of 1993 happen, nor did I select the Feast of Booths by the mouth of Zechariah. I am drawing a conclusion based on a Scriptural understanding. Further, I have openly called all men to examine my words and scrutinize them. If what I say does not happen, then brand me as a false prophet, listen to me no more, and heap the ridicule on to prevent others from making the same mistake. But I would remind you in accordance with the Scripture not to despise a prophetic utterance until it has been proven false. The irony of this whole situation is stunning. I call for the testing of all prophets. I have made my message and its measurement clear. If the altar is not stopped in Feb/Mar of 1997 in Jerusalem, then throw me on the trash heap. But if the altar service is stopped 3 1/2 years after the peace agreement, will you then trust God to deliver you? Will you believe the other prophecies that follow?"
(Monte Judah: Yahvoh Magazine, February 1996)
Somehow false teachers like Monte Judah do not seem to learn their lessons. Every year Monte claims "in about 2 weeks the alter is going to be built in Jerusalem"......never happens. Just like his prophecy that in 2013 Prince Charles was going to be revealed as the anti-messiah. The list goes on and on. One of Monte's best friends stays in step with him with his podcast "The 5 minute update" making weekly predictions of end times events and like Monte Judah, saying, "Any day now".
This has become so common in our faith that most teachers in the Messianic faith set dates because they want that publishing deal, they want to be featured on TBN to display their secret knowledge, they want World Net Daily to make them a contributor to make prophecy columns and release a DVD about their prophecies. These individuals have no clue the harm they are doing and have done.
These actions cause many to fall away from the Messiah because so many are thoroughly convinced that these teachers were given a message from G-d. When we confuse G-d with our own self perceived intelligence and proclamations from within. It is a clear sign that we are not doing what it is G-d has commanded us to do. Which is to actually talk with him, in deep prayer without ceasing. Yet DVD and CD teachings on hitbodedut do not sell, because people have been conditioned to want the secret knowledge. The forbidden fruit from the tree in the Garden. We have been conditioned to think we are on a higher madrega if we can just get a round about time period right, then we think we will receive special favor from G-d. Friend, the fact is though knowledge should be pursued, chochmah and da'as are wonderful things, they are not what brings us favor with Hashem. Sometimes we worship our own brains, our own minds and we worship the letters on a page as opposed to the Creator of Heaven and Earth himself. We tend to play Dr House and that we have to put together the puzzle pieces of the forbidden fruit. And let me tell you, it is the job of the yetzer hara to put your trust in other things than the Holy One of Israel. We must battle the yetzer hara every day of our life, this is why we have our morning prayers. How is it that we can expect to identify the manifestation of the adversary on earth when we cannot even identify the adversary within? There is a famous story in the Talmud that warns us of this very thing:
Our Rabbis taught: Four men entered the ‘Garden’, namely, Ben ‘Azzai and Ben Zoma, Aher, and R. Akiba. R. Akiba said to them: When ye arrive at the stones of pure marble, say not, water, water! For it is said: He that speaketh falsehood shall not be established before mine eyes. Ben ‘Azzai cast a look and died. Of him Scripture says: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. Ben Zoma looked and became demented. Of him Scripture says: Hast thou found honey? Eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. Aher mutilated the shoots. R. Akiba departed unhurt. (Chagigah 14b)
Here we had several rabbis, the brightest minds of their time, they entered into the sod level of the PaRDeS, which is the highest level. The level of prophecy and mysticism. And out of all 4 of these great rabbis, only one departed unhurt. Should this not be a warning to us?
(by Christopher Fredrickson)
"This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."
The sacred name movement is a relatively new invention that grew out of a grassroots movement in home studies from individuals who had left the Christian institutions on a pursuit of learning Torah. It is understandable how many have drawn the conclusion that we need to recite a variation of the 4 letter name of G-d based on the tenants of hyper-literalism which had brought them to the ideal that Torah is a tenant of a believer's life. They may have read Jeremiah 10 or Ezekiel 8 or maybe even Deuteronomy 13 and based on hyper-literalism they got the correct correction in their walk. As we hopefully know, there are Jewish hermeneutics that is known as PaRDeS, so often times the literalist view cannot be taken when it comes to parable, or documents like Revelation, Daniel etc. Otherwise we would be seeing 6 headed monsters. And in the english translations, it is hard, if not impossible at times to pinpoint on which level of PaRDeS something is equated. However, luckily for us, in terms of things with the sacred name of G-d and whether it is or isn't commanded is very easy to see in the Hebrew.
Whenever we see the phrase in the Bible of "Praise my name", "In my name sake", "in my name" etc. The word for "name" is שֵׁם (shem). Now the word שֵׁם is drastically different than the english ideal of "name" though it does represent an ideal of indication and differentiation and uniqueness. In that, the word שֵׁם (shem) in hebrew, and the word "name" in english are indeed similar and parallel. The difference however comes with full meaning, and making sure we do try and juxtapose westernized idom into the word שֵׁם. Because שֵׁם is not a literal term, it is a term pointing to the essence of uniqueness and a mirror. This is why when a person chooses for themselves a Hebrew name when they convert, they do not choose names from individuals mentioned in the Bible. Instead they are proclaiming what makes them unique and their divine spark, for instance if a person's Hebrew name is Eved, they are saying they are a servant. This premise is also taught by our Mashiach when he said: "that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me." (John 17:21).
In witchcraft, there is an ideal of recitation of sounds, in a streaming order to receive favor and to cast spells and to connect with the various higher powers. Leviticus 19:31, Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:9-12, Leviticus 20:27, Leviticus 20:6, Isaiah 8:19, etc warn us of adopting the ways of witchcraft. Sadly, the sacred name cults believe the same as the witches and warlocks. They think that if you recite four letter name of G-d (יהוה) a certain way that the advocate for sacred name theology ascribes to then you will receive favor from the Almighty. And I will discuss one of these later in this article that has gained a lot of support in the past few years. It's important to note also that almost 100% of individuals who ascribe to sacred name theology, do not speak Hebrew, and could not write "hello, I am fine, how are you doing?" in Hebrew. But at the same time they claim to know how to say the 4 letter name of G-d, when even the Jews in Israel who speak Hebrew as their primary language will honestly say, "we don't know how to say it". But yet, the individuals who cannot read from a Torah scroll claim to know to say the 4 letter name of G-d. Very interesting.
Now there are several variations of the 4 letter name of G-d that are popular in the fringe groups today. Now it is important to note that obviously you can tell I am not an advocate for the sacred name fringe groups, so don't expect me to give you any indication as to what the four letter name could be, instead I am going to show you where many of these commit horrible error.
Yahweh: There are several issues with this one and the major one being the W sound. Hebrew can indeed have a similar sound but not a hard W sound. In Isaiah 68:4 there is nikkud present with the two letter form (יָהּ) which indicates an "a" sound. The little notation that looks like a capital T below the yod in the verse does indeed indicate an "a" sound in that verse, but when using basic Hebrew phonetics that does not necessarily mean that the full 4 letter name would also have an "a" sound. For instance this can be shown in the name of Yehoshua ben Nun (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ) for example. Also in other shortened forms of Elohim, such as Eloah, Elohai, etc. So this does not necessarily mean that the "a" sound is carried on over to the full name.
Yehovah: There is some slight scholarship being his variation, but however this form of יהוה pronunciation is known as "the concealed name". And the reason is because in the 13th century vowel points were added to the masoretic text, and for the name of G-d the vowel points were added to make it phonetically say "Yehovah", yet they also admit at the same time those vowel points were added to throw people off, as to not profane the holy name of G-d. So admittedly, they say "no that is not how you say, G-d's holy name". But kuddos to those who can read Hebrew.
Yahuah: Now this one is rested on zero scholarship and actually translates to a pretty blasphemous statement. It actually translates to "Yah is mischievous" or "Yah is trickery" or "the yod is mischievous" or "the yod is trickery". Huah is also the name of an Egyptian sun god, but I will let this final point slide with a little bit of da'as because you cannot juxtapose words from other languages and claim they have the same association across other languages, so to be against "huah" because of that would be intellectually dishonest. But its roots, come from two different places. There was a cult in the 1970s known as "The Source" they were a psychedelic, sex, drugs, rock and roll, vegan, Hindu Kabbalah cult (way different than Jewish kosher Kabbalah). The leader of the cult who's birth name was Jim Baker (not to be confused with the other Jim Baker), decided to call himself "Father Yod", later when he consulted with Hindu spiritualists they told him the 4 letter name for G-d was "Yahuah" and branded himself with that name. There is a second story, that comes from head shop owner, Lew White (who was a fan of The Source) who brought this form of the 4 letter name to the forefront. White says, "if you take the word יְהוּדָה (Judah) in Hebrew and take the dalet out, you get the name Yahuah". This is one of the worst explanations ever concocted and it does not follow any sort of Hebrew structure order and the very ideal that this is how you get the 4 letter name of G-d is also pretty blasphemous. Because Mr White is suggesting that you take a created entity יְהוּדָה and you subtract from it.....to get G-d. Which would say that G-d is less than the very entity that He himself created! The only part of the point that is slightly accurate is that the vav can sometimes make an "oo" or "u" sound. But this is probably the most illy educated variation of them all, because it has no support in Hebrew word structure or in any kind of education in the original languages.
So the question then becomes. Why is the sacred name cult so popular? And why has it gained weight and prestige in our faith? The answer is simple. 1993 copyright law. There was a ruling in Supreme Court that if a person changes 10% of a song, or a document, the "new version" gets it's own copyright. For instance if I took Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer, and changed 10% of the lyrics of that song, like changing "Tommy and Gena" to "Tawney and Geno" and said they were "fishing on a pier" as opposed to "living on a prayer" that song then becomes my song and is considered an original work by me, Bon Jovi gets no royalties from my version, or can have any claim to it. In 1992 you had basically one "Messianic" Bible, it was the Complete Jewish Bible. In the mid 90s you had dozens and now hundreds. Why? Because now I can do a "find and replace" using Microsoft Office or Open Office and easily change 10% of a text within the matter of minutes and have a "Messianic Bible" on sale within a day, using whatever Bible translation I wish to use. Take for instance, James Trimm, did this very thing with The Way International Version Scriptures, they took him to court, and Trimm won, not because his translation was proven to be his own they in fact ruled that his translation was the translation of The Way International. But they could not do much of anything because of the 1993 parody law, because when he did a "find and replace" and changed G-d to a version of the sacred name and changed L-rd to Elohim and Jesus to Yeshua as well as other Hebrew names and terms he knew offhand, it then was more than a 10% change to the original text of the Way International's version. So there is no real scholarship behind 90% of these translations, they are basically something that was created in 10 minutes on a person's PC and they upload their file on Lulu or CreateSpace and vuala "a new translation" is birthed. And so the Hebrew Roots is heavily invested in sacred name theology because it brings in a lot of money and helps them saturate the Google search engines, especially if they can create a really obscure version of the 4 letter name of G-d.
And to preserve the cash cow, they then come up with talking points that have been said enough to the point that enough people think it is fact. Here are a few examples:
The word G-d is pagan and is not in the Bible: They claim there was a deity named "god" that was a deity of fortune and luck. Ok.....find me one deity that wasn't called "god". Also, how would one translate the word Elohai or Eloheinu into English? Well the translation is G-d. So to say that the word G-d, doesn't appear in your Bible is an absolute falsity.
The word L-rd means Ba'al: Does not the Scripture tell us to be a Baali Teshuvah (Master of repentance)? Is not Hashem your Master (Baal)? There are different nikkud for the entity Ba'al that is a two syllable than the word Baal for Master. In fact in the New Testament, in the original Aramaic the word used often, referring to G-d is Mariya (Master), which is the Aramaic equivalent to Baal. Many will cite Hosea chapter 2, not realizing the context of Hashem wishing for the people to not see Him as a tyrant, but rather as a loving husband where the covenant is two sided from the Torah. It is not talking about playing word games.
What about the Messiah and all the variations there? There are dozens of different manuscripts, some ancient and some modern of the New Testament in both Aramaic and Hebrew. Deuteronomy 4:2, Revelation 22:19, Matthew 5:17, and Proverbs 30:6 all give us a stern warming to not add nor take away even a single letter from the Word of Hashem. In the 21st Century there was a move by Michael Rood to "restore the ה back into the name of the Messiah". Yet not a single codex has a ה after the י in the name of the Messiah. Not a single one exists. So Rood had then pushed an agenda to add a letter to the name of the Messiah to fit his own theology, and to do so he made several claims that are unfounded in hermeneutical thought, or in theological thought, proving himself to be an uneducated novice at best. This has been going on for several years with him and even recently he had taken key verses out of his "Chronological Gospels" project that disagreed with his own personal theology. Rood has not been successful in fooling the masses with his subtracting verses from the gospels but he has been successful in making the mainstream, who cannot tell a difference between Hebrew and Hindi, believe that the name of the Messiah is Yahshua. Yet not a single codex from any time period has ever referred to the Messiah as Yahshua.
One argument that is prominent by YouTube theologians is that the name "Yeshua" ישוע is feminine. Just as Lucy or Christina would be in English. Some claim there has to be a ה after the י to make it masculine. So they fill this vortex of linguistics with things that are not so and make these claims to advocate for their cause that the name of the Messiah has to be יהושע and it could never be ישוע despite that every single ancient and modern text renders ישוע (Yeshua) and not a single one renders יהושע.
However, there are things found in drive-by theology that can cause one to believe that the Messiah should be rendered with an extra ה. Because the name of Joshua son of Nun is spelled יהושע בן נון and the ideal that the Messiah's name is יהושע is based on what is written in many Christian study Bibles, most make note that the name of the Messiah in proper English is "Joshua" and not "Jesus". So the thought pattern by Mr Rood was that since Joshua is rendered in the Tanach as יהושע then that means the Messiah's name has to be rendered as such. So Rood then claims a world wide amnesia and conspiracy to take out the ה (which actually was never there to begin with) and put it back into the name of the Messiah.
But lets, also investigate the claim that the name Yeshua is a feminine name. This also is based on a small element of fact but there is another factor to this argument. There is a feminine word in Hebrew that is pronounced the same way but it is spelled differently, and believe it or not....the feminine version has an extra ה. The word יְשׁוּעָה (Yeshuah) is the word for "salvation" and it is indeed feminine. Where the confusion comes in for novices like Michael Rood, is that both words are very similar sounding when spoken. The main difference is how the syllables are broken up and an elongated "a" sound at the end of יְשׁוּעָה. So in conclusion on this point יְשׁוּעָה (Yeshuah) is feminine and ישוע (Yeshua) is masculine.
But this is also where we get many goofy variations of name for the Messiah in the sacred name movement. For instance a great many who don't know Hebrew from Hindi will try and incorporate Rood's talking point that it has to be spelled יהושע and they come up with Yahshua, Yahushua, Yahoshua etc. Yet with every manuscript throughout time in both Hebrew and Aramaic the name is always rendered (and it includes nikkud vowel points) as ישוע (Yeshua).
There are also several other issues with the sacred name theology that I have covered at length, one is an mp3 teaching at Kehilat Melech Mashyach, and the other is another article I wrote as to why the name was hidden. Both links can be accessed below:
Theological Insights from Rabbi Eved Banah the North American Rebbe of Ani Judaism