The Third Temple  The Center for
Messianic Learning 

Unapologetically Pro-Torah
Unashamedly Pro-Israel
Irrevocably Zionist
ב״ה
“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)
Jew and Gentile (Synagogue and Church), one in Messiah. (Ephesians 2:14)
“For He is our peace, Who made both one, and broke down the middle wall of partition, …”

If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!
If you “curseGod’s Bride, Israel, you “curse” the God of Israel!
If you don’t believe Genesis 1:1-11:32, how can you possibly believe John 3:16?

“Indeed, all who want to live a godly life united with the Messiah Yeshua will be persecuted.” (2Tim 3:12)
It is what you actually believe that determines how you walk out your faith, “but avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, quarrels and fights about the Torah; because they are worthless and futile.” (Titus 3:9)

Caricature of Rick Sawyer pointing to the paragraphPlease Note: Absolutely nothing on this website should be taken as anti-Church or anti-Rabbinic. I am not anti-anything or anyone. I am only pro-Torah and pro-Truth (see “Philosophy”), but sometimes the Truth upsets our long-held beliefs. I know it certainly upset mine! For example, see “Why Isn’t My Theology Consistent Throughout the Website?”

For Yehovah of Armies says this: “In pursuit of His glory, He sent me against the nations plundering you, for whoever touches you touches the pupil of My eye.” (Zech 2:8)
Illustration of a waving Israel flag   WE STAND WITH ISRAEL, WITHOUT QUESTION!  
Read the UN Report “Sexual Violence in Conflict
Illustration of a waving Israel flag
The UN expert working to end rape during wartime remains gravely concerned for the safety and well-being of hostages still being held by Hamas militants, especially the 15 women captives, 75 days after the extremist group’s brutal incursion into southern Israel.

About This Web Site:
Philosophy and Organization

Preface

In essentials, unity;
in non-essentials, liberty;
in all things, charity.

Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430),
John Wesley (1703 – 1791)

Old English capital letter TThis page provides a very brief overview of my personal philosophy and the design and content of the website; it may be helpful if you understand these things about the site before you decide to spend much time here. (You may decide this website is not for you, and that’s perfectly OK.)

It is not my desire to get you to believe what I believe. It is my desire to cultivate in you a thirst for God’s Word as it was undertood when it was written.

First of all, I perceive my primary role as that of an educator.[6] It is not my goal to change your mind about anything unless you came here with the intent of possibly learning something new. My primary goal in that regard is to provide at least one possible answer to something you have been wondering about, or at least one possible alternative to something you have been taught or something you have learned on your own. Or perhaps, at least, to provide an answer to the question that a dear friend has often asked me: “Where did you get that from?” Whatever you choose to do with the opinions I express is totally between you the the Holy Spirit.

Additionally, as an educator it is not my role to teach you what to think or what to believe. Neither is it my role to “convert” you to my belief system. My role is only to present you with what are possibly some new ideas — some things that you simply may have never considered before — and to give you some tools to help you think about the information that I have presented.

Except where specifically indicated, all opinions expressed on this website are my own personal opinions, and mine alone. They are not intended to represent the opinion of all of Messianic Judaism or of any group or person other than myself. This website is all about what I personally believe, and nobody else. Your theology is what you think about God; it is highly doubtful that any two people on this planet share exactly the same theology. Nor should they! I believe that God is a personal God, and your relationship with Him should be personal!

Some will consider many of my opinions and conclusions as highly speculative in nature and open to many different interpretations, some interpretations perhaps far better than my own. They are probably absolutely correct. I don’t pretend to own a monopoly on Truth. It is your God-given right to disagree with my opinions and interpretations of Scripture. I do not expect, or even want, you to accept my opinions as your own unless Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) leads you to those opinions.

In matters of theology, there are some issues that are “salvation issues.” That is, they are key matters that define what is required in order to be “saved” or to live in a right relationship with the Creator. In those areas we must agree in order to have meaningful fellowship with each other! In other matters — such as what do we eat, what do we wear, when do we worship — these are matters in which we may disagree and still have fellowship with each other. But in all matters we must always be civil with each other and grant to each other “the God-given right to be wrong.”

Site Philosophy

Pro-Torah: The Torah that God gave to Moshe at Sinai is not just for Israel, but for all people in all places. As God’s sovereign law it is to be obeyed by all.

Pro-Israel: The people of Israel are God’s Chosen People. Whoever touches Israel touches “the Apple of God’s Eye” (Zech 2:8; Deut 32:10; Ps 17:8). Thus, whatever is brought against Israel is brought against the God of Israel.

Irrevocably Zionist: God gave all the land from the Nile to the Euphrates (Gen 15:18) [MAP] to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as an everlasting covenant; the entire land is undisputedly theirs forever.

As stated in the page banner, this website (like me) is unapologetically pro-Torah, unashamedly pro-Israel, and irrevocably Zionist. It is not anti-Church; it is not anti-Islam; it is not anti-Rabbinic Judaism; it is not anti-anybody. But it is blatantly pro-Truth (see “What is ‘Truth’?”).

My “religious”[1] philosophy might possibly be described as somewhat close to Messianic Karaite[2] (very probably an oxymoron, in that Karaites hold only the Tanakh as authoritative). I hold only the Tanakh (the so-called “Old Testament”) and the Apostolic Writings (the so-called “New Testament”) as divinely inspired, or God-breathed (2Tim 3:16, CJB). Since God requires that we are to neither add to nor take from the word that He commanded Moses  (Deut 4:2; 12:32; Prov 30:5-6; Rev 22:18-19), I hold them to be the only source of authority (sola scriptura) for faith and practice. I follow the teachings of Yeshua of Nazareth, the Jewish Messiah, and strive to follow the mitzvot of Torah which apply to me.[GN] I do not accept the Talmud (the “Oral Tradition”) as part of Torah, because (a) “Moshe wrote down all the words of ADONAI” (Exodus 24:4) and (b) HaShem said, “Everything I am commanding you, you are to take care to do. Do not add to it or subtract from it” (Deut 12:32); I therefore do not accept the rabbinical takanot or minhagim as either a part of Torah or as having authority, though I do respect the Talmud as valuable as any other man-made commentary on the Scriptures.

Do I think that observing the takanot and minhagim, in and of  itself, is wrong? Is it wrong to wear a kippa or a talit, or to wrap tefilin? Not at all. I myself wear a kippa and/or a talit from time to time, espeially when attending a Messianic Congregation in which such is their practice. What I believe is very wrong is to recite the required blessing for these ritual objects which includes the words “Blessed are You, ADONAI our God, ... Who commanded us to ...” when no such command was ever given by ADONAI, but rather by men who had the audacity to claim that they had the same authority as God to issue “commends” to men.

Rabbinic Judaism holds these man-made rules and regulation as equal to, or often more important than, the written Torah. What makes those rules so wrong is that they were created by men who claimed, based upon an out-of-context interpretion of Deuteronomy 17:9-11, to have more authority than the Almighty Himself, and that the Almighty Himself may not disagree with their interpretation. This is the sin of Lucifer, who tried to place himself above HaShem. Many adherents of Messianic Judaism agree with them, based on a faulty interpretation of Matthew 23:2-3, which is likely not accurately translated in English Bibles, as Nehemia Gordon discusses in great detail in this video.[GN]

That being said, even if I did consider the takanot and minhagim authoritative (and I absolutely do not), I would not be able to follow them. Why? Simple! Until I can grow to the point in my walk where I can follow as much Torah as applies to me,[GN] why take on even more that I cannot faithfully follow? Why make a vow to HaShem (to follow takanot) that I cannot possibly fulfill? (Deut 23:21-23) If you personally feel that HaShem is calling you to follow them, then by all means, please listen to Him and not to me! (or to Nehemiah!)

A biological descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Levi, I was raised totally assimilated in a devout Evangelical Christian home, the son of a then bi-vocational Christian pastor.[3] I cannot remember a time when I did not know Israel’s Messiah Yeshua as my Lord and Savior,[4] although at that time I only knew Him by his Gentile name, Jesus. As “a preacher’s kid,” I began teaching “little kids’” Sunday school when I was about 10 years old and have been studying and teaching the Bible ever since (I am 78 years old in 2024). My first pastoral appointment was in 1965 and I was in active pastoral ministry from then until my retirement in 2008. My ministry activities are now limited to this website.

My opinions and interpretations are based on more than 60 years of intense personal study of the Scriptures, including over ten years of seminary training culminating in a master’s degree (MA) in Biblical Studies, a master’s degree in Systematic Theology (ThM) and two doctoral degrees — one in Theology (ThD) and and one in Ministry (DMin).[5] My theological opinions are very difficult for anyone except Ruach HaKodeshthe Holy Spirit to change or influence, and He changes my opinions frequently; thus my theology is not consistent across the pages of this website, as explained below. In about 1998, Ruach HaKodesh began to radically convict me that what I had believed and had been teaching since the early ’60s was simply foundationally wrong, and sent me down a new path of understanding — one based on what the Bible actually says, and not what I wanted it to say or what I was taught by others to accept that it says.

My formal theological education was in non-charismatic, fundamentalist, dispensational, supersessionist (i.e., Baptist) theology. After seven years of college and graduate school, plus the equivalent of ten additional years of seminary, and over 40 years of pastoral ministry, I finally admitted that much of what I had been taught, and much of what I had been teaching, simply did not track with what I read for myself in the pages of Scripture. In about 2002 I made a painful decision to leave “the Church” (in obedience to 2Cor. 6:16-18) and to teach only that which I could actually clearly prove from the Bible only, without the human tradition and outright paganism that I found in the Church. [More important information about my personal spiritual journey HERE.]

In spite of what you may think you read in these pages, absolutely nothing on this site is intended to be anti-Christian, anti-Church, or anti-Jewish. When the Catholic priest and reformer Martin Luther first presented his The Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, he had no intention of leaving the Roman Catholic Church and starting what was to be later known as the Protestant Reformation. He only was pointing out what he believed were serious errors in the Church, and intended only to call those errors to the attention of Church leadership in hope they would be corrected.

I have no such aspirations, nor do I view myself as a “reformer.” My only aspiration is to teach the Scriptures as accurately as I am enabled by Ruach HaKodesh. In fact, I believe that the Church has fallen too far into apostasy (2Thess. 2:3-4; 1Tim. 4:1-6) for it to be corrected from within until Messiah Himself returns to provide the remedy. My hope is to awaken the individual slumbering, apathetic Christian into becoming a good Berean (Acts 17:10-11) who will faithfully examine the Scriptures to see if what he/she hears from the pulpit is true, who will challenge the pastors and elders when it is not, and “come out from their midst and be separate” (2Cor. 6:17) if the error continues unchanged.

I expect nobody to agree with me completely; I expect very few to agree with most of what I say; I expect most to disagree with just about everything here that is different from what they have been taught. Virtually every person will find something on this site with which they take offense or disagree. If you disagree with my opinions, please CLICK HERE before contacting me. If you are truly offended by this site’s content, I really couldn’t care less, that’s totally between you and God.

Scripture Quotations

Most Scripture quotations on this website are taken either from the Complete Jewish Bible (copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. Distributed by Messianic Jewish Resources) or from the New American Standard Bible® (copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, Calif.) Both are used by permission (see also Copyright and Permissions for other versions used).

Scripture quotations marked “literal” are my own attempt at translation and should not be considered authoritative. Upon occasion, I have felt that a different translation of a particular word or phrase better represents the original intent. In these cases the changed text is enclosed in [square brackets].

Site Organization

This is a very large website with well over 2,000 pages. It has been constantly growing since I first launched its predecessor in about 1994. I have divided the content as carefully as I could into appropriate categories. Major categories are listed in the “buttons” imediately below the masthead at the top of the page. Links to sub-categories and individual pages are found immediately above the page title.

Why Isn’t My Theology Consistent Throughout the Website?
Added 11/06/20

As stated above, “My theological opinions are very difficult for anyone except Ruach HaKodesh to change or influence, and He changes my opinions frequently.” When I launched the first version of this website in 1994, it was launched as a Christian site with very strong Baptist leanings. Much of the original material was either material that I had written and taught as a seminary professor as early as 1980, or strongly based upon that material. In about 2000, HaShem had begun to reveal the Messianic Restoration to me, and I found it necessary to unlearn much, or nearly all, that I had believed since my early youth, formalized during my years as a seminary student, and taught as a pastor and seminary professor of theology. Virtually every time I sit down to study the Scriptures, or hear the teaching of Torah teachers whose opinion I deeply respect, Ruach HaKodesh reveals something to me that causes me to change some aspect of my theological position. With now well over 2,000 pages on this website, every time I “tweak” my theology, it is simply not possible for me to go through every page on the site and edit it to bring it up to date with my “current theology.” So, there are some things that remain on the site that I no longer hold as absolutes. However, they are not “salvation issues” but merely matters of opinion. As I run across them, I try to update them to my current thinking.

External Links

Presence of links to other websites are provided for you to compare with what you find on this site. Those links do not necessarily indicate my agreement with the positions presented on those sites.

Video Disclaimer

Presence of teaching videos on this website does not indicate that I agree with everything that person teaches, or even everything contained in individual videos.


  1. I really don’t particularly like the words “religious” and “religion” because they tend to lump true biblical faith in with of all the world religions that serve false “gods.” The Apostolic Writings make a clear distinction between false and true “religion” (e.g., Acts 25:19; 26:5; 1Tim 6:5-6; 2Tim 3:5). The true biblical definition of “religion” is to fear God and obey Him. As others have pointed out, true biblical faith is a relationship, not a “religion.” [BACK]

  2. Karaite Judaism is a Jewish religious movement characterized by the recognition of the written Torah alone as its supreme authority in halakha (Jewish religious law) and theology. Karaites maintain that all of the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the written Torah without additional Oral Law or explanation (Exodus 24:4). Karaism is distinct from mainstream Rabbinic Judaism, which considers the Oral Torah, codified in the Mishnah and subsequent works, to be authoritative interpretations of the Torah. Consequently, Karaite Jews do not consider the written collections of the oral tradition in the Midrash or Talmud as binding.

I personally accept the Apostolic Writings (aka “New Testament”) as the only writings subsequent to the Tanakh[GN] as authoritative for faith and practice. Nehemia Gordon is a Karaite Jew who provides this brief discussion on the subject. In this video Nehemia mentions that Michael Rood says that he is of Jewish ancestry but raised a Baptist. I am personally of Jewish ancestry, raised in the Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) in the time before they joined the theologically liberal (and, I believe, heretical) World Council of Churches, then trained and ordained as a Baptist in the Conservative Baptist Association, now called the Venture Church Network, in which I served for over 30 years. [BACK]

  3. My father was an elder in our church and served as an interim pastor of a number of rural churches for many years. At the age of 52, he enrolled in Bible school and was ordained to full-time pastoral ministry upon graduation, in which service he continued until failing health forced his retirement shortly before his death. Unfortunately, he never knew that he was a descendant of Levi. His parents were not at all religious, and he never knew his genealogy. I did not discover our heritage until I was in my late 30s or early 40s. [BACK]

  4. I made my “public confession of faith” in our home church on the Easter Sunday two months prior to my 6th birthday, was examined my my pastor and parents that week, and was immersed the following Sunday. [BACK]

  5. My MA degree is in Biblical Studies, Old and New Testament. My ThM is in Systematic Theology. My ThD is also in Systematic Theology with a concentration in Cults and Comparative Religion. My DMin is in Bible School Administration and Curriculum Development. I also hold an MBA in Organizational Management with a concentration in Church Administration. [BACK]

 6. On this website, as well as any other online presence, I sometmes refer to myself as a “rabbi.”  I only use the term in its original linguistic intent as a “teacher.” My use of this term is in no way intended to suggest that I have been trained as an expert in halakhic issues or ordained as a “Jewish clergyman” in any way. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a recovering Baptist pastor, ordained as such in 1991 in the Conservative Baptist Association. My first Messianic credentials (“Messianic Minister” or M.Min.) were granted in 2001 by Messianic Bureau International. Messianic Bureau International ceased operation shortly after the death of its founder and president, Messianic Rabbi Dr. David Hargis (1949-2006). [BACK]

Minor revisions on Tuesday, 22 September 2020
Page revised on Friday, 06 November 2020
Page revised on Monday, 21 December 2020
Minor revisions on Shabbat, 21 August 2021
Revised again on Wednesday, 06 October 2021
Updated footnote 2 on Saturday, 24 December 2022
“Preface” added on Shabbat, 13 May 2023
Minor revision on Thursday, 29 June 2023

Page last updated on Monday, 15 April 2024 09:13 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

Anxiously awaiting Mashiach’s return
ANXIOUSLY WATCHING FOR MASHIACH’S RETURN,
SPEEDILY AND IN OUR DAY. MARANA, TA!

Blue Letter Bible Search Tool

Range Options:

e.g. Gen;Psa-Mal;Rom 3-9