Category: Torah Class – Hollisa Alewine

Dr. Hollisa Alewine has her B.S. and M.Ed. from Texas A&M and a Doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford Graduate School. Her area of research is adult education with an emphasis on correctional education. Additionally, two of her three Master’s Degrees (one in Rabbinic Theology and one in Religious Education) emphasized research in Nazarene Judaism of the First Century. Now retired from a career in federal law enforcement, Dr. Alewine writes and teaches extensively in the Jewish roots of faith. She is the author of Standing with Israel: A House of Prayer for All Nations, The Creation Gospel Bible study workbook series, and a programmer on Hebraic Roots Network. Her newest project is called BEKY Books (Books Encouraging the Kingdom of Yeshua), and she is joined in the project by some of her favorite authors and teachers. Proceeds from her Creation Gospel workbook series have helped to build and provide monthly funds to the LaMalah Children’s Centre in Kenya. Dr. Alewine is a student and teacher of the Word of God.

Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 98 (Return or Resurrection?)

Return or Resurrection?

Footsteps of Messiah

In the Footsteps of Messiah series, we’ve used the Song of Songs as a prophetic working text to help us understand the preparation of the Bride of Messiah: “Come with me from Lebanon, my bride…” (So 4:8)

Some passages of the Song describe the relationship between the Bride and her Beloved, and some describe the perfecting conditions in millennial kingdom. What is puzzling is how the resurrection of the righteous dead aligns with the more natural-sounding earth prophecies such as this one in Isaiah:

’For I know their works and their thoughts; the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations: Tarshish, Put, Lud, Meshech, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have neither heard My fame nor seen My glory. And they will declare My glory among the nations. Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,’ says the LORD, ‘just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.’ (Is 66:18-20)

The ancient boundaries of the coastlands (nations) were according to language and family:

From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations. (Ge 10:5)

In the millennial kingdom of Messiah, it appears that those boundaries don’t disappear. Maybe they are re-drawn according to the original assignments, or maybe the shifting of peoples and their languages results in re-drawing. I’m not sure whether that’s important, only that the boundaries of Tzion are established and respected.

Isaiah prophesies that all nations and tongues will gather. The only event(s) we know that fit this prophecy is the gathering to the House of Prayer for All Nations, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:16 prophesies the nations will begin to observe the feasts of Adonai in the millennium. Zechariah’s prophecy seems a little more aligned with Isaiah’s vision of the millennium, a time that still seems very much within a perfecting, but yet physical, world.

How, then, do we see the Bride’s gathering into the cloud (1 Th 4:16) to remain in the Presence of Adonai versus being a “sign” for the gathering of the nations? Are we in the Presence of Adonai or active among the nations? Maybe it’s not an either/or question, simply one of learning from both prophecies.

A thousand years is a very long time.

A thousand years ago, the Vikings were terrorizing Europe and beyond by sea, and the Byzantine Empire still sailed the Mediterranean. There were castles and kings. The samurai in Japan were beginning to arise as a warrior class. The Mayans had not yet reached the pinnacle of their empire.

We’ve come a long way, baby Bride.

And the nations will have a long way to go in the millennium.

From the text in Exodus describing the giving of the Torah, an identity evolved of Israel as a Bride. In Jewish thought, Moses is the one leading the Bride out to meet the Bridegroom at Sinai. From here, the prophets (Je 2:2 among others) take up the Bride as an identity of Israel who is willing to do and hear the commandments of her Elohim. She’s saved from Egypt and bound in covenant of her free will. The New Testament Scriptures extend this identity and elaborate upon it.

Likewise, the Feast of Shavuot is seen as the time at which the Bride will be sealed. The Feast of Trumpets is the resurrection of those sealed and the righteous dead, but what of the ten days until Yom HaKippurim? Those days are seen as an opportunity for the “intermediates,” or as Yeshua calls them “lukewarm,” to repent and return to the Covenant before the gates close at the conclusion of Yom HaKippurim.

What are the sealed righteous doing during this ten days? According to some sources, Israel is like the indentured Hebrew servant, now free at the sound of the shofar on Yom Teruah in the seventh “year.” She spends the next ten days feasting with her Master and His family, and then when the Jubilee shofar sounds at Yom HaKippurim after ten days, she returns to her original inheritance. She goes home to her own territory in the Land.

The wicked and the unrepentant? Well, read the Book of Revelation.

What about those left among the nations from the tribulation? Zechariah 14:6 clarifies:

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”

If we pair the Isaiah prophecy with Zechariah’s, then it is the people of Adonai, survivors, maybe the Bride herself, who will be dispatched during the millennium to the nations to teach them the Word. They will need to be instructed in the Word in order to know how to approach the Holy City and the powerful Presence of Adonai that abides there:

Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the Torah,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Is 2:3)

Just as Yeshua always taught and reasoned with the people in Jerusalem at the feasts, it sounds as if he will continue doing so. But again, how will the nations approach? In total ignorance of sin? The full power and glory of Adonai would kill them, probably even before they set foot inside a city gate!

Zechariah explains further about Sukkot in Israel and Jerusalem:

“In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the LORD’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them…” (Zech 14:20-21)

When the nations come to celebrate, they will cook festive meals: the Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot sacrifices. Just as the feast-meal plates were smashed in ancient times (pottery is like gravel around the site of the Tabernacle in Shiloh!) because they were only for holy use, so in the future the nations who come will have the opportunity to partake in the holy feasts. Who will prepare them to come in a state of holiness to hear Yeshua teach and share in the holy meals?

Isaiah saw this: “…the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and see My glory. I will set a sign among them and will send survivors from them to the nations…”

It’s unclear whether the “sign” from among the Israelites is the actual Bride or those who repented during the ten days. Whomever it may be, they are able to teach Torah and their skin will be full of the glory of Adonai. It is thought that the original skins of Adam and Eve were light, and only after sin were they covered with “animal skin.” The two words in Hebrew even sound alike: or:

skin – ???

light – ????

The transformed, sinless, resurrection physical skin shines a little of the glory of Elohim as at the Creation. The survivors from among the nations need to hear the Good News of Yeshua which is found in the Torah. The Torah will educate them in the critical details of holiness required to approach the Holy One. Whether it’s the Bride or the reformed lukewarm, they know the Word and can teach it. They can prepare the survivors of the nations to attend the feasts in holiness and rejoice.

Perhaps this is why we were born where we were and why we speak the language we speak. We know the language, the culture, the local customs and history of those locations. We can teach in a known tongue. We can prepare others even though that nation is no longer our home, for our home is in the Land of Israel. Could it be that we will rotate between enjoying our inheritance land and going on special teaching missions? These are things to contemplate if only to motivate us to learn every bit of the Word we can in preparation for our assignments.

An interesting detail is that those who are set among the nations to teach so that the nations’ survivors can see His glory are called a “sign.” A sign is an ot, something visible. It is a miracle sometimes, or evidence, an appearing. The nations who did not see the glory of Messiah Yeshua, the glory of the Father, have an opportunity to see it in the resurrected skins of their Torah teachers. They start with the little signs of glory, which motivates them to prepare and go up to hear Yeshua teach at the appointed Feasts of Adonai and worship in His Presence.

Being a sign is an important distinction. A sign has to be seen by everyone even if not comprehended by everyone. There will be no more alibis. The righteous teachers will likely have bodies like Yeshua’s, able to function in both realms, the natural world we see and the supernatural world which we rarely can see. Yeshua went into and out of realms whenever he needed to, but only when he needed to. If someone were trying to kill him, he could disappear into the spiritual realm. If he wanted to walk on water in a pesty storm, he did. If he needed to get somewhere fast, he just appeared there. Otherwise, he lived a very natural, visible life. He ate and drank, comfortable in both realms. He came in the flesh.

Our flesh, too, will be transformed. Nevertheless, it sounds as if we will have a very natural existence and will not rely on “superpowers” to get around unless it’s necessary. We will walk and ride with our students as Yeshua did. The nations will be so grateful for the signs that they will commandeer every kind of transportation to make pilgrimages with their teachers to Jerusalem at the appointed times:

“Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,’ says the LORD, ‘just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.’”

All kinds of transportation are used in the millennium to arrive at the moedim: re-fitted war vehicles, ambulances, commercial vehicles, and even personal vehicles. While that may be a stretch…my main question is where would they park all those vehicles…the prophetic value is immense because it demonstrates the changed hearts of the survivors who seek the Word and keep the feasts.

Isaiah even prophesies that just as Yeshua was our own clean sacrifice, so those who are signs to the nations will be brought back to the Temple as clean “grain” sacrifices. Grain often represents the seed of the Word. Those who lead the nations to Jerusalem will be acknowledged as bearing the image of Yeshua and the Holy One, for they bear His Word in their vessels. They maintain their vessels in holiness, like the “clean vessels in Jerusalem and Judah.”

This returns us to our Footsteps of Messiah working text from the Song of Songs:

“Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, may you come with me from Lebanon. Journey down…(So 4:8)

“Journey down” in Hebrew is the verb tashuri. The scholars see a secondary reading to tashuri. Based on its used in the following passage, it also means a gift:

“Then Saul said to his servant, ‘But behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sack and there is no present [??????????? teshurah] to bring to the man of God. What do we have?’” (1 Sa 9:7)

A gift is a teshurah, and in the verse above, the future King Shaul speculates that he has no gift great enough to bring a great prophet. What is the only gift that is great enough and holy enough for the nations to bring to King Messiah Yeshua?

Only the Bride.

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – A Better Torah Starter (with guest Timothy Herron)

A Better Torah Starter

Yitro

The Torah Portion Study Habit

This week’s Torah portion is Yitro, or Jethro, named after Moses’ father-in-law who had some very practical ideas for the fledgling nation. It should make us grin to see Moses fall into a very common trap, thinking he had to do everything on his own instead of assembling and teaching a team to help him carry the load.

Why do leaders do this?

Often it’s from a fear that he or she protects the sheep from harmful influences, others who might lead or teach the people astray. It’s a heightened sense of responsibility when the leader feels there is no one else qualified. Very understandable, but needs improvement.
Sometimes it is ego-centric. The leader likes being the leader and having everyone consult him/her on every issue. He/she likes the feeling of power that comes with being in charge. Needs heart improvement. The Father’s sheep are not there to boost our self-esteem.

There are probably lots of other reasons, but I suspect the best of Moses, which is what we should do. Suspect the best intentions. In spite of his good intentions, Moses was wearing himself out as well as those who need help and guidance! In fact, the sages say, Yitro is pointing out that it’s disrespectful to the people to make them stand in line all day. Don’t you feel disrespected when you have to sit in the waiting room for an appointment for hours? Your time is valuable, too!

And how many times did Moses have to repeat himself each day? What if everyone who had a similar question could be addressed in a particular court? Local judges could take on the responsibility of teaching the most common laws and applications so that it became common knowledge, like what happens when four cars approach a four-way stop at the same time. Not that they were driving cars in the wilderness. I’m sure it was donkeys or ATVs.

Yitro’s practical advice sparks Moses into training and setting up judges to help him carry the load so that he can become the Supreme Court to hear cases that the primary leaders and appeals courts couldn’t handle. This was a better way. Our medical system implements this model to train physicians. In a teaching hospital, you might first see a med student who does an initial exam and workup, then there will be an ascending level of expertise called in to treat the patient and train those learning: interns, residents, attendings.

Yitro’s name comes from yoter in Hebrew: more. Yoter tov is better, more good. More good better. Yitro reminds us that sometimes there is a more good better way of doing things, and that way is more respectful of people’s time, need, and their own responsibilities. Since the Israelites were newcomers to the Torah, they needed an appropriate level of instruction to get started.

This is a stop sign. It is red with white letters and has eight sides.
The letters spell STOP.
It means to come to a complete stop.
Look in all directions.
If more then one of you approach the stop sign at the same time, then let the donkey on the right go first.

Isn’t that easier and more good better than thousands of donkeys galloping around the wilderness trying to figure out which Hebrew word means “Stop”?

On this week’s Shabbat livestream, I’ve invited Timothy Herron to join us and teach a sample lesson from his Seedtime and Harvest workbook series designed for newcomers to the Torah. Like Yitro, Tim said, “There’s a better way to introduce folks to the weekly Torah portions.” Many people begin to study Torah haphazardly, or maybe they never start because they’re discouraged by all those Hebrew words we’re using and how comfortable we seem with feasts and commandments they’ve never studied. New language, new laws…no wonder it’s intimidating!

Tim’s workbooks ease in the beginner to Torah with smaller bites of information and an introduction to the structure of the Torah portions. The point is to help the learner establish a study habit instead of a reading habit. Anyone can read through the Bible in a year. Not everyone remembers or understands what he or she read at the end of that year. This Seedtime and Harvest “Torah Tuesday” series introduces good study habits and new words in a manner that the beginner can acquire without feeling overwhelmed:

Five volumes – one for each book of the Torah based on the 54 traditional Torah Portions.

Each volume contains:

Torah Portion name in Hebrew and English
Hebrew Mini which introduces the reader to Hebrew letters.
Nutshell is seven highlights of each portion.
Seven Readings from each portion with selected commentary
Suggestions for further study
Simple Thoughts by the author

If you’ve been looking for a good starter program for friends, family, or your Bible study, it is worth checking out this preview lesson on our Shabbat YouTube livestream. And if you’re looking for the accompanying videos to the study, they have now begun airing on Hebraic Roots Network. More will be added soon.

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 97 (The Day of the LORD – Understanding the Chosen)

For believers in Yeshua who observe the Shabbat, we are reminded frequently…make that every week…that most of the world has not chosen to honor the Seventh Day as His chosen day. For many, they’ve simply not been taught about it. For others, they’ve been taught incorrectly. For others, they know, and they don’t choose to honor it. It’s a matter of choice. Our choices reflect both what we

1) understand

and/or

2) prefer

In the internet age, we are harassed multiple times per day to “rate” a product or a service. With a greedy disregard for the value of a purchaser’s time, the vendor expects to take a minute, five minutes, or even longer, for the purchaser to fill out surveys and questionnaires on preferences in order to help the seller adjust products and selling techniques to make more money.

Shouldn’t they be paying us?

I don’t work for free in my secular job, only in ministry. You probably don’t either. There is rarely an offer of more than a trinket of thanks in return for our valuable time, but sometimes we give it to them because we are flattered that someone would want to know what we think or we have an opportunity to vent even though a real human being is not likely to see or care what we write. In that sense, the business takes our money, takes uncompensated time, and then largely ignores the specific concern and buries it in a mass of number data. What a deal!

The process depends upon what we choose. Why did we choose that product? That company? That day? That salesperson?

Now here’s the question: Because we chose that particular product from that particular company on that particular day from that particular salesperson, does it mean we HATED every other choice?

Of course not. We simply did our shopping and research (hopefully), and we preferred one over the others. Choice. We found the right thing for us personally. Unfortunately, many approach Shabbat and the Word with a similar mindset. They see it as a personal choice of what best suits them rather than a process of learning what their Creator has chosen and mirroring His choices.

Esau is a great example of one who knew what to do, yet chose differently. This is why Esau, Edom, “The Red One” represents the untamed appetites of the soul: appetite, emotion, desire, and intellect. It is a tremendous life force designed by the Creator, yet in its design, the spirit of a man was chosen to rule over it. It doesn’t mean Elohim hates the soul in an emotional sense: quite the contrary! He loves us so much that He sent His Son to save our rowdy souls. The spirit of a man comes from above, from Elohim Himself. He wants that Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) to rule over the soul. He CHOSE that modality.

• The oracle of the word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. “I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have You loved us?” “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau, and I have made his mountains a desolation and appointed his inheritance for the jackals of the wilderness.” (Mal 1:1-3)

It can be confusing when reading Scripture to understand being “chosen.” In context, it can simply mean preferring one over the other, not hating the one who was not chosen. Because we associate hate with an extreme emotion, we lose the grasp that what is chosen is loved in the sense of preference and precedence in certain matters, and what is hated is what is ranked beneath it in certain mattters.

In our culture, we rarely use “hate” if the feeling of loathing and disgust is not attached to it. Herein lies the problem. The human experience is only a parable of reality, which is found in our Creator. Our experience of emotion, desire, and intellect only mirrors His, but His is perfect. When we see love and hate only as strong emotions, then we can miss the nuances of Scripture where He is teaching us the importance of good choices based on His preferences instead of ours. He’s not offering us a survey to find out which of the commandments we prefer or even if we prefer to do them at all. He’s observing us.

The times in Scripture when people felt rejected, they also felt unloved, so they acted in reprehensible ways. Kain killed Abel. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery. King Saul tried to kill David, and so on. Their story is our story. The problem is that when Adonai expresses a preference for those who do His will instead of their own, we miss the issue, just like Kain. Kain knew what to do in order to have his sacrifice respected. That’s all he had to do. Choose and do what Elohim preferred. Here is another example of the choosing-lesson:

“He also rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.” (Ps 78:67-68)

Joseph/Ephraim were not rejected as people, only their territory as the resting place of Adonai’s glory. Instead, the Judah/Benjamin territory was already chosen as The Place of the Temple Mount for the peoples to come worship. The Father loved Mount Zion, which means He loved His People…all His People who would go up there to worship. It would be a House of Prayer for ALL nations to worship. He loved the world. It is hard to accept “God so loved the world” if we trip over “He rejected Joseph and did not choose Ephraim.”

In context, the choice indicates the great plan of salvation and the geography of how it will be accomplished, not a qualitative assessment of everyone descended from Joseph. We do tend to get stuck when we’re not chosen for something, and if we can’t step back and decide

1) is it a “Kain Question,” of whether I need to modify my own behavior and choices to do better?

or

2) does it really have nothing to do with me and my choices, only how a greater plan is being executed? Divine plans and design.

The world really does struggle with words like Zion, Zionism, Zionist. Why?

• Because I love Zion, I will not keep still. Because my heart yearns for Jerusalem, I cannot remain silent. I will not stop praying for her until her righteousness shines like the dawn, and her salvation blazes like a burning torch. (Is 62:1)

• Then the angel said to me, “Shout this message for all to hear: ‘This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: My love for Jerusalem and Mount Zion is passionate and strong.’” (Zec 1:14)’

• “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: ‘My love for Mount Zion is passionate and strong; I am consumed with passion for Jerusalem!’” (Zec 8:2)

Zion and Jerusalem are the Covenant People walking in righteousness, assembling at “The Place.” The Father has passionate love for them, for they are instrumental to His ultimate plan.

Zionists are people who obey their Creator and choose what He chooses.

Righteous nations and people accept this pattern. Like Joseph and Ephraim’s territory, their rejection was not being left unloved and scorned, the way human beings hate, but to highlight the way of His choice so they could find that path of obedience to salvation in Yeshua, who will rule and reign from Jerusalem. The Father loves and chooses those who love and choose what He loves and chooses. It is His way of guiding the people of the earth to Him because He loves them all.

Jeroboam set up golden calves in Beth-El of Ephraim and in Dan because he didn’t agree with Adonai’s choice of geography or tribes and priests in the design. Because he did not love what his Creator loved or choose what He chose, he’d do anything to divert the chosen people from the chosen place so that they would lose their identity as those who loved and chose Zion (Tzion). “For out of Tzion shall the Torah go forth, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” (Is 2:3)

Those who reject Tzion and Tzionists try to dominate or control The Place and People, thinking it will destroy the terms of the Covenant, the Word, the Torah. Tzionism is to choose the Father’s plan. Since Judah has leadership, the nations believe controlling or exterminating Jews is the first step toward ruling the whole earth. After that, re-directing the obedience of the nations is next. Esau has always coveted his father’s love, yet did not love the Father enough to obey His plan. “Jacob” obeys, in which case the Father “loves” Jacob and “hates” Esau. In the earth-story, Isaac emotionally loved Esau in spite of his disobedience. In Biblical language, love and hate can be a matter of preference, not necessarily an emotion of hatred.

Let’s extend this principle to the Lord’s Day, Shabbat:

• “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot from doing your own pleasure on My holy day, and call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the LORD honorable, and honor it, desisting from your own ways, from seeking your own pleasure, and speaking your own word…”

In the English text, “your own word” is a bit of a stretch from the simple Hebrew word davar. Take a look at the concise definition of davar:

?????? (H1696)

speech, word, speaking, thing

speech

saying, utterance

word, words

business, occupation, acts, matter, case, something, manner (by extension)

The translators are reading more into the simple word davar. They see “your OWN word” rather than word. The reason for this might be due to the many ways davar is translated in its many contexts:

The KJV translates Strong’s H1697 in the following manner: word (807x), thing (231x), matter (63x), acts (51x), chronicles (38x), saying (25x), commandment (20x), miscellaneous (204x).

What sticks out is the number of miscellaneous words davar is used for: 204!

A davar is a word. A davar is a thing. In Hebrew, the word is the thing.

In context, the translators see a contrast between Shabbat behavior, thinking, emotions, and yes, choices versus Days 1-6. It is not that Adonai rejects Days 1-6 to destroy them. Each of those days is full of goodness and good choices. He’s not un-creating Days 1-6. He is, however, choosing and designating Day 7 like he chose and designated a people and place called Tzion. We must choose to let His choosing prevail, and help advance even, the purpose of that choosing by also choosing to honor and enjoy it differently than the other six days of the week.

In fact, all the things we’ve prepared in the first six days of the week become part of Day Seven. If we didn’t prepare it on one of those other six days, then we don’t have it on Shabbat. It’s not a love-unloved, hated-not hated proposition in the sense of emotion, but of design. The soul was chosen for its purpose; the spirit was chosen for its purpose; the body was chosen for its purpose. They work together under the discipline of the spirit to live, not to chop off soul and body. We’d call that being dead!

Esau’s territory will be made a desolation as a discipline for not accepting the choices and design of Elohim. The soul will finally see the death and devastation in the body, formed from earth, that is caused when it does not choose to follow the Creator’s will and design. Likewise, all the 7s in the Book of Revelation hint to the devastation the world must experience in order to acknowledge His choices, starting with the first principle, Shabbat, the Seventh Day.

Understanding the many uses of the word davar, now it makes sense in context. “Your own words” are business words, occupation words, preparation words, the things you talk about and do on weekdays. We can reject those conversations and things in order to choose the words and things of Shabbat.

• The Gemara cites what we learned with regard to the following passage: “If you keep your feet from breaking, from pursuing your affairs on My holy day, and you call Shabbat a delight…, the Lord’s holy day honorable, and you honor it by not going your own way, from attending to your affairs and speaking idle words.” Mishneh Torah, Shabbat 113a:14

Idle words are reik, or empty, worthless. A word that would be valuable if spoken Sunday-Friday is worthless and empty on Shabbat. Words that would be valuable, honorable and delightful on a different day are not on Shabbat. By choosing the Shabbat and its instructions for ceasing from creative work, we exercise a choice to be chosen and loved.

We choose to rest in our salvation in Yeshua, knowing we cannot add or subtract anything from what was already finished on Day Six. All we can do is walk in and honor the Davar that was established “from the foundation of the world.” It is not ours to re-draw the boundaries either of Creation or the Word. It is ours to hear and do. To honor and respect. To delight in and rejoice in.

When we choose and love HIS Day, we have lots of personal choices WITHIN the boundary of Shabbat. What to eat, what to wear, who to have over for a meal, what Torah discussion we can have that is not idle, empty, controversial, or likely to kindle a fire. The Father’s love is strong, passionate, and eternal toward us. Chosen.

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 96 (Double Life Pt 2)

This week we continue with “Living a Double Life”

To review: The challenge is that many of the commandments are given as nos, or the “you shall nots.” At least half of life is managing the nos, the boundaries, and the good fences that preserve our lives. 

If life is at least half no, then fostering a great relationship with the no commandments is the key. We can discipline ourselves to engage the nos with as much enthusiasm as the yeses, which really, is what makes a disciple. Just like Yeshua told Peter, we are transformed from a person who always wants to be in charge to one who is willing to be led of the Ruach HaKodesh in every circumstance, even down to the time and way we die.

Some disciples discipline the nos faster, and some not so fast. It is important, though, for if we cannot engage the simple commandments of yes and no, then how will we hear the more subtle still, small, voice of the Ruach HaKodesh is our daily dilemmas that don’t come with a chapter and verse attached to them?

This week, let’s look at another “commandment principle” of life: the possibility of living a double life. It starts with the first commandment given at Mount Sinai in Exodus 20:1-5:

Then God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them…’

The commandment is not to put another created entity as an “elohim” in front of Elohim, the only Creator. The idea is that there is nothing else created that could possibly be Elohim. By definition, Elohim is the Creator of all things, and a created elohim (judge, appointed ruler) is not. It is merely another created thing originating from Elohim. All other things go behind Him. He is the first, and there is no second to compare to Him.

Sometimes a glance at a more literal Hebrew helps. “You shall have no other gods before Me” is:

??? ???????????? ???????? ???????? ????????????

or

You will not be to yourself another god on My face.

When a human being fabricates an image from wood, stone, or other substance, or attributes the Ruach Elohim to an existing created substance such as a tree, water, cloud, etc., then the human has put a “face” on Elohim. The urge is so strong that this is the first commandment, a “yes” paired with a “no.” Yes, He is Elohim, and no, do not tamper with Him by fabricating an image to put a face on Him, for it will be inaccurate and a product of human imagination.

A philosopher once said that “imagination is man’s most God-like characteristic.” We can also say that based on the primacy of the first commandment, imagination is man’s most god-like characteristic, his primary place of vulnerability to idols.

The moment we put a face on Elohim, we become susceptible to idolatry, looking to that object for intervention on our behalf: success, health, sustenance, good, peace, prosperity, comfort, joy, etc. For instance, rather than partner with Elohim for our life-path of prosperity, prerequisite to putting His Kingdom first, we forge our own ideas about how much wealth we need and when we need it without regard for our spiritual discipline and agreement to put Elohim first in all things.

In ancient times, people sought out gods of prosperity, fertility, strength, war, and so on. Rather than partner with Elohim, “who teaches my hands to war,” (Ps 18:34) they consulted principalities and powers and made war. Because the worship of these entities requires the imagination, effort, time, and faith of the human being, the powers of the entity reflect the human who turns to it, not the true created ability assigned to that power by Elohim for it to manage its particular realm, whether in the heavens above or earth below.

Are there other powerful spiritual beings and human organizations in our universe? Yes. Are they the Creator and worthy of our time, attention, and resources? NO!

These entities are not ours to petition or order around. In selecting the attributes of certain entities, we put a human, animal, or other physical face on Elohim. While He is often hidden from human beings, He does not need a mask of our choosing. We desperately need to believe that so that we don’t live a double life, claiming to worship Elohim while putting our trust in other created entities. That is done today not so much by worshiping an object, but by putting faith in the leopard’s spots.

Remember our lessons on the beast kingdoms? The leopard was Greece. The spots were its organizations: medicine, art, philosophy, education, drama, military, government, politics, sports, music, etc. The Romans took those organizations and expanded them, and even when the Roman Empire fell, those systems are disseminated all over the world to influence and control human beings. Now human beings are conditioned to look to those organizations to supply every human need. When we put faith in them, they become a god on Elohim’s face.

They are to be used lawfully, not trusted.

We are in Babylon, the whole earth. The golden head of Babylon is still attached to the whole image: Babylon’s golden head; Medo-Persia’s silver chest; Greece’s bronze abdomen; Rome’s iron legs; and those organizations mixed with all humans made of clay are standing on the whole earth. When King Messiah, the Stone, smashes the feet of the world’s organizations being worshiped, then it will also tumble the cumulative effect of the whole image, and Babylon will be fallen once again.

Can we use these systems? Go to a doctor? Vote? Write and paint? Play sports? Defend our country? Receive an education? Absolutely! We are in Babylon, but we are not OF it. “Come out of her” is a yes commandment, but we can’t come out of the world itself without also saying some nos. Those iron and clay feet are everywhere. The key is don’t participate in Babylon’s sins:

“I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;’” (Re 18:4)

Being in the earth and its systems is inevitable; participating in its sinfulness is not. The Ten Commandments are the Cliff’s Notes of how to master the yeses and nos of the Word. Inevitably, all those organizations will be destroyed by King Messiah Yeshua. They are each being exposed even now. While they meet many needs, just like a created power in the heavens above or earth below, they are not Elohim.

When those organizations begin to exercise sinful power, influence, and control over human beings, especially because human beings WANT them to do so in order to derive the benefit, just like ancient idolatry, THEN they begin to function like a face on Elohim. It is our responsibility to never let these things replace our faith in Elohim as the Lord of Armies, the Healer, the Provider, the Creator, and the many names of Who He is to His Creation.

“To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” (Dt 4:35)

???? ???? ??????????

Ain od m’ilvado.

There is no other beside Him.

There is nothing more than His oneness.

This week a rabbi explained the first commandment to have no other gods. He said it is to be double-minded! To think that any other power or force on earth is our source rather than the One who created us. That reminded me of something I memorized in high school:

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (Ja 1:1-8)

Now that I’m older, I can read the contextual and symbolic phrasing.

The letter is written specifically to disciples of Yeshua in the dispersion, not in Judea. These believers are among the nations, not in the defined land of Israel itself. Emphasizing this, James (Ya’akov) describes them as being in a place the sea where “wind” tosses. The sea alludes to the nations, and the tossing wind is “ruach,” those created spiritual entities that rule them, such as the Prince of Persia. Each nation has its assigned ruler until it is shaken down just before King Messiah returns to set up his government on earth.

Wisdom, or “chokhmah,” is the first of the seven spirits of Adonai listed in Isaiah 11:2, the Holy Spirit. They are seven manifestations of the ONE Ruach HaKodesh, for the menorah was hammered from one piece of gold. James is giving believers an exhortation from the first commandment: There is only one Elohim; believe it!

Being among the wind-tossed sea of nations is to be vulnerable to those who have made spiritual powers into their gods by believing they had power independent of Elohim’s will, or they have created organizations to accomplish the same goals as those who worshiped idols of their imagination from ancient times. Indeed, those “princes” are responsible for their assigned territories, but they do not report to nor heed another created being. Only Elohim. There is none other. James knew we’d need this reminder not to absorb the nations’ reliance on their systems instead of our Creator Elohim.

An idol is nothing but an inaccurate, pathetic, self-serving, figment of the human imagination placed like one of many faces on Elohim. In these lands of exile among the nations, we are to turn to the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of Elohim, Who is One, to meet all our needs in His time, not ours. In His quantity, not ours, When we begin to “work the system” apart from His perfect will in our lives, we’ll be double-minded. Like the Israelites, we will fall into fear and uncertainty. Although they said “We will do and we will hear” at the mountain,” there was still some double-mindedness.

Could they really do the yes and not do the nos? Even the first commandment, to believe Elohim created all things and would provide all things…even their perfection at the resurrection, was so unbelievable that they thought they’d die. They asked Moses to talk directly to Adonai and relay the messages and their answers. It is difficult to judge them. After all, do we really believe that we can be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”?

We have no control over the fact we’re in the exile and Babylon. What we do have control over is sin! Before we get past ten commandments to 613, we examine our hearts toward Elohim and His people:

Hear, O, Israel. YHVH our Elohim, YHVH is ONE.

You shall love… And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

In our hearts, we must accept that there is none other. First, Elohim is Creator. He created everything that is BEHIND Him, including our neighbor. Ain od m’ilvado. Once we accept that, then we can hear the Ten Commandments without dying. After that, we can learn the details of all 613 in the “seas,” the wilderness of the nations, our dispersion.

Elohim’s pre-eminence is the key to coming out of Babylon, to not placing our faith in human systems. We must evaluate whether any of those systems is influencing us or coercing us to sin. If so, the Word of the commandments will provide the answer as to whether we are being double-minded. Gradually, like Peter going to his own cross, we stop living a double life and thinking with a double mind. We quit placing our masks on Elohim.

Worry is evidence that the Ruach HaKodesh is still working on the second mind-mask whispering that Elohim is not fully to be trusted to be our Creator, Provider, Healer, Protector…and even the One Who will resurrect us to life when our worst fears come true. And isn’t that the key to not fearing? May Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. One mind. The worst fear, death, is our greatest hope. Ain od m’ilvado. No human being, principality, power, or human organization can resurrect us from the dead to live in the Presence of Elohim forever. Only ONE can and will.

The ONE we believe…and our doing is evidence of our believing…will bring us to perfection by His Ruach HaKodesh. What if we’re not entirely perfect when we die?

We’ll leave at least a few things not perfected. Otherwise, we’d be Messiah himself with the power of resurrection, but we’re not. We are depending on Yeshua’s sinless life to raise us sinless from the dead, not the other way around. Yeshua is the Living Word. The Word is the Torah. The Word is the Commandment. The yeses and the nos of Torah are life from the dead.

So next time we’re worried about the economy, war, family, disease, politics, and every other care of the world, we have an opportunity. The Ruach HaKodesh is giving us an open window to put Elohim first. The imposter mind is being exposed as a fake! The person worrying is not us. It’s just a man-made image-ination trying to put a distorted mask on our Deliverer. We need only a single mind in every trial: Ain od m’ilvado!

There is none other than Him!

Perfect.

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 95 (Double Life Pt 1)

Living a Double Life

Last week in the Shabbat livestream, we looked at the human relationship to two types of commandments, the “Yes,” or you shall commandments, and the “No,” or you shall not commandments. In general, human beings like to hear yeses instead of nos. The challenge is that many of the commandments are given as nos, or the “you shall nots.” At least half of life is managing the nos, the boundaries, and the good fences that preserve our lives.

If life is at least half no, then fostering a great relationship with the no commandments is the key. We can discipline ourselves to engage the nos with as much enthusiasm as the yeses, which really, is what makes a disciple. Just like Yeshua told Peter, we are transformed from a person who always wants to be in charge to one who is willing to be led of the Ruach HaKodesh in every circumstance, even down to the time and way we die.

Some disciples discipline the nos faster, and some not so fast. It is important, though, for if we cannot engage the simple commandments of yes and no, then how will we hear the more subtle still, small, voice of the Ruach HaKodesh is our daily dilemmas that don’t come with a chapter and verse attached to them?

This week, let’s look at another “commandment principle” of life: the possibility of living a double life. It starts with the first commandment given at Mount Sinai in Exodus 20:1-5:

Then God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them…’

The commandment is not to put another created entity as an “elohim” in front of Elohim, the only Creator. The idea is that there is nothing else created that could possibly be Elohim. By definition, Elohim is the Creator of all things, and a created elohim (judge, appointed ruler) is not. It is merely another created thing originating from Elohim. All other things go behind Him. He is the first, and there is no second to compare to Him.

Sometimes a glance at a more literal Hebrew helps. “You shall have no other gods before Me” is:

??? ???????????? ???????? ???????? ????????????

or

You will not be to yourself another god on My face.

When a human being fabricates an image from wood, stone, or other substance, or attributes the Ruach Elohim to an existing created substance such as a tree, water, cloud, etc., then the human has put a “face” on Elohim. The urge is so strong that this is the first commandment, a “yes” paired with a “no.” Yes, He is Elohim, and no, do not tamper with Him by fabricating an image to put a face on Him, for it will be inaccurate and a product of human imagination.

A philosopher once said that “imagination is man’s most God-like characteristic.” We can also say that based on the primacy of the first commandment, imagination is man’s most god-like characteristic, his primary place of vulnerability to idols.

The moment we put a face on Elohim, we become susceptible to idolatry, looking to that object for intervention on our behalf: success, health, sustenance, good, peace, prosperity, comfort, joy, etc. For instance, rather than partner with Elohim for our life-path of prosperity, prerequisite to putting His Kingdom first, we forge our own ideas about how much wealth we need and when we need it without regard for our spiritual discipline and agreement to put Elohim first in all things.

In ancient times, people sought out gods of prosperity, fertility, strength, war, and so on. Rather than partner with Elohim, “who teaches my hands to war,” (Ps 18:34) they consulted principalities and powers and made war. Because the worship of these entities requires the imagination, effort, time, and faith of the human being, the powers of the entity reflect the human who turns to it, not the true created ability assigned to that power by Elohim for it to manage its particular realm, whether in the heavens above or earth below.

Are there other powerful spiritual beings and human organizations in our universe? Yes. Are they the Creator and worthy of our time, attention, and resources? NO!

These entities are not ours to petition or order around. In selecting the attributes of certain entities, we put a human, animal, or other physical face on Elohim. While He is often hidden from human beings, He does not need a mask of our choosing. We desperately need to believe that so that we don’t live a double life, claiming to worship Elohim while putting our trust in other created entities. That is done today not so much by worshiping an object, but by putting faith in the leopard’s spots.

Remember our lessons on the beast kingdoms? The leopard was Greece. The spots were its organizations: medicine, art, philosophy, education, drama, military, government, politics, sports, music, etc. The Romans took those organizations and expanded them, and even when the Roman Empire fell, those systems are disseminated all over the world to influence and control human beings. Now human beings are conditioned to look to those organizations to supply every human need. When we put faith in them, they become a god on Elohim’s face.

They are to be used lawfully, not trusted.

We are in Babylon, the whole earth. The golden head of Babylon is still attached to the whole image: Babylon’s golden head; Medo-Persia’s silver chest; Greece’s bronze abdomen; Rome’s iron legs; and those organizations mixed with all humans made of clay are standing on the whole earth. When King Messiah, the Stone, smashes the feet of the world’s organizations being worshiped, then it will also tumble the cumulative effect of the whole image, and Babylon will be fallen once again.

Can we use these systems? Go to a doctor? Vote? Write and paint? Play sports? Defend our country? Receive an education? Absolutely! We are in Babylon, but we are not OF it. “Come out of her” is a yes commandment, but we can’t come out of the world itself without also saying some nos. Those iron and clay feet are everywhere. The key is don’t participate in Babylon’s sins:

“I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;’” (Re 18:4)

Being in the earth and its systems is inevitable; participating in its sinfulness is not. The Ten Commandments are the Cliff’s Notes of how to master the yeses and nos of the Word. Inevitably, all those organizations will be destroyed by King Messiah Yeshua. They are each being exposed even now. While they meet many needs, just like a created power in the heavens above or earth below, they are not Elohim.

When those organizations begin to exercise sinful power, influence, and control over human beings, especially because human beings WANT them to do so in order to derive the benefit, just like ancient idolatry, THEN they begin to function like a face on Elohim. It is our responsibility to never let these things replace our faith in Elohim as the Lord of Armies, the Healer, the Provider, the Creator, and the many names of Who He is to His Creation.

“To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” (Dt 4:35)

???? ???? ??????????

Ain od m’ilvado.

There is no other beside Him.

There is nothing more than His oneness.

This week a rabbi explained the first commandment to have no other gods. He said it is to be double-minded! To think that any other power or force on earth is our source rather than the One who created us. That reminded me of something I memorized in high school:

James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings. Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (Ja 1:1-8)

Now that I’m older, I can read the contextual and symbolic phrasing.

The letter is written specifically to disciples of Yeshua in the dispersion, not in Judea. These believers are among the nations, not in the defined land of Israel itself. Emphasizing this, James (Ya’akov) describes them as being in a place the sea where “wind” tosses. The sea alludes to the nations, and the tossing wind is “ruach,” those created spiritual entities that rule them, such as the Prince of Persia. Each nation has its assigned ruler until it is shaken down just before King Messiah returns to set up his government on earth.

Wisdom, or “chokhmah,” is the first of the seven spirits of Adonai listed in Isaiah 11:2, the Holy Spirit. They are seven manifestations of the ONE Ruach HaKodesh, for the menorah was hammered from one piece of gold. James is giving believers an exhortation from the first commandment: There is only one Elohim; believe it!

Being among the wind-tossed sea of nations is to be vulnerable to those who have made spiritual powers into their gods by believing they had power independent of Elohim’s will, or they have created organizations to accomplish the same goals as those who worshiped idols of their imagination from ancient times. Indeed, those “princes” are responsible for their assigned territories, but they do not report to nor heed another created being. Only Elohim. There is none other. James knew we’d need this reminder not to absorb the nations’ reliance on their systems instead of our Creator Elohim.

An idol is nothing but an inaccurate, pathetic, self-serving, figment of the human imagination placed like one of many faces on Elohim. In these lands of exile among the nations, we are to turn to the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of Elohim, Who is One, to meet all our needs in His time, not ours. In His quantity, not ours, When we begin to “work the system” apart from His perfect will in our lives, we’ll be double-minded. Like the Israelites, we will fall into fear and uncertainty. Although they said “We will do and we will hear” at the mountain,” there was still some double-mindedness.

Could they really do the yes and not do the nos? Even the first commandment, to believe Elohim created all things and would provide all things…even their perfection at the resurrection, was so unbelievable that they thought they’d die. They asked Moses to talk directly to Adonai and relay the messages and their answers. It is difficult to judge them. After all, do we really believe that we can be “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”?

We have no control over the fact we’re in the exile and Babylon. What we do have control over is sin! Before we get past ten commandments to 613, we examine our hearts toward Elohim and His people:

Hear, O, Israel. YHVH our Elohim, YHVH is ONE.

You shall love… And you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

In our hearts, we must accept that there is none other. First, Elohim is Creator. He created everything that is BEHIND Him, including our neighbor. Ain od m’ilvado. Once we accept that, then we can hear the Ten Commandments without dying. After that, we can learn the details of all 613 in the “seas,” the wilderness of the nations, our dispersion.

Elohim’s pre-eminence is the key to coming out of Babylon, to not placing our faith in human systems. We must evaluate whether any of those systems is influencing us or coercing us to sin. If so, the Word of the commandments will provide the answer as to whether we are being double-minded. Gradually, like Peter going to his own cross, we stop living a double life and thinking with a double mind. We quit placing our masks on Elohim.

Worry is evidence that the Ruach HaKodesh is still working on the second mind-mask whispering that Elohim is not fully to be trusted to be our Creator, Provider, Healer, Protector…and even the One Who will resurrect us to life when our worst fears come true. And isn’t that the key to not fearing? May Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. One mind. The worst fear, death, is our greatest hope. Ain od m’ilvado. No human being, principality, power, or human organization can resurrect us from the dead to live in the Presence of Elohim forever. Only ONE can and will.

The ONE we believe…and our doing is evidence of our believing…will bring us to perfection by His Ruach HaKodesh. What if we’re not entirely perfect when we die?

We’ll leave at least a few things not perfected. Otherwise, we’d be Messiah himself with the power of resurrection, but we’re not. We are depending on Yeshua’s sinless life to raise us sinless from the dead, not the other way around. Yeshua is the Living Word. The Word is the Torah. The Word is the Commandment. The yeses and the nos of Torah are life from the dead.

So next time we’re worried about the economy, war, family, disease, politics, and every other care of the world, we have an opportunity. The Ruach HaKodesh is giving us an open window to put Elohim first. The imposter mind is being exposed as a fake! The person worrying is not us. It’s just a man-made image-ination trying to put a distorted mask on our Deliverer. We need only a single mind in every trial: Ain od m’ilvado!

There is none other than Him!

Perfect.

Read More

Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 93 (The Two Olive Trees)

Have you ever encountered something…in Bible study or any area of life…and within a day or two, bam! You run into it again!

Often it is noticeable because it is now in our conscious thought where it wasn’t before. In that sense, it’s not really a coincidence. Sometimes, though, you know the odds are pretty remote that you’d encounter the same thing twice in such a short period of time. That happened today, so I think this would be a good prophecy insight to share.

The prophecy is Zechariah’s vision of the High Priest Yehoshua and the governor Zerubabbel after the return from exile in Babylon:

“Then the angel who was speaking with me returned and roused me, as a man who is awakened from his sleep. He said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it; also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side.” (Zech 4:1-3)

This particular prophecy is the subject of many interpretations, each offering a different possible fulfillment of the prophecy. In this case, we’re looking at its significance through ancient eyes. It is important to have the historical timeline in mind when reading the Prophets. Aside from the proto-prophecy of the Torah which guides all prophecy, the prophets either prophesied before the destruction of the first Temple and the Babylonian exile or afterward. For instance, Ezekiel prophesied before Judah was conquered by Babylon. His vision extends even until the Messianic era, but regardless, the actual lifetime of the prophet is important. Typically, the prophecies will address both: the prophet’s immediate lifetime or very near, and then a future time, often as far as the Messianic kingdom.

In Ezekiel’s lifetime, Judah had fallen into severe apostasy like the Northern Kingdom. The Temple services were conducted by a corrupt priesthood failing in its appointed service. That generation is referred to as “copper, tin, and dross.” Zechariah’s prophecy after the exile in Babylon, however, describes Israel (the lampstand) as pure gold. The Midrash Rabbah (Shir HaShirim to Chapter 4) explains the prophecy of the menorah and two olive trees:

“The verse’s plain meaning refers to the Second Temple; however, the Midrash take it to be metaphorically describing Israel in the Messianic era…Ezekiel 22:18 refers to Israel as ‘copper, tin, and dross’, yet Zechariah describes them as pure gold in the Messianic era.”

Zechariah sees a troubled community as pure gold after its return from Babylon. In spite of the filthy garments worn by the high priest, symbolizing the uncleanness of exile in Babylon, he is re-clothed in clean linen garments, symbolizing the purification of Israel and its priesthood.

Like Balaam saw Israel without blemish even though clearly Israel had some sin blemishes in the wilderness, so Judah’s return is seen as a step toward its ultimate purification in the Messianic kingdom. They were seen not as they were, but as they would be, like Father Abraham, justified by faith as they returned until the ultimate circumcision of the heart.

In their present return from the exile (Zechariah’s time), Judah was messy and even God-forbid…political? Look at the pattern. Ezra and Nehemiah were up to their eyeballs in messy when the Jews returned from the Babylonian exile. This should sound familiar:

Marriage to idolatrous spouses and painful divorces
Political intrigue and accusations instigated and stirred by Arabs
Terror attacks by Arabs while Jews restored Jerusalem’s walls
Selfish individualism instead of a willingness to work together to rebuild the Temple for gathering
Blatant Shabbat and feast-breaking

“Zechariah the prophet said, ‘I saw all of the house of Israel as pure gold.’ and behold-there is a menorah made entirely of gold with its bowl on its head [veh-gulah al rosha], etc. There are two olive trees over it, etc.’ Zechariah’s prophecy is directed at Zerubbabel who lived in the time of the Second Temple and not in Messianic time. The Midrash takes ‘Zerubabbel (v. 6) to be King Messiah, whose progenitor* he was.” (Shir 4§16)

*Substituting the ancestor’s name for a descendant is common in Scripture, such as “my servant David” standing for King Messiah, the offspring of David. It can also be used to describe the Divinely-gifted spirit of a particular individual appearing in a later generation, such as John the Baptist coming in the “spirit of Elijah.”

Why two olive trees? This is oblique, and open to multiple ideas, and the sages offer a homiletic (preaching/teaching) interpretation of the word gulah from gulah al rosha “a bowl on its head.”

????????? ????????????

In that explanation, they interpret gulah as golah, or “an exile.” One said that the word is to be expounded as it was written, go’alah, which means, “its redeemer.”

The Midrash adds:

“The one who said ‘exile’ was referring to the fact that when Israel went into exile in Babylonia, the Divine Presence went with them. And according to the one who said ‘its goel,’ meaning ‘its redeemer,’ for it is written, ‘Our Redeemer, Whose Name is HASHEM, Master of Legions, etc.” (Is 47:4).

Using their teaching application, Israel is the one who went into exile, and Adonai is the “bowl” on their head, the anointing of the Ruach HaKodesh watching over them. In the first explanation, Adonai went with them into exile, and in the second explanation, He redeemed them from exile. This is why Zechariah saw two olive trees. The redemption from “Babylon” would occur in two separate time periods: once in Zechariah’s generation and again in the future return from Babylon as also prophesied by John.

This is how they explain,

“You are entirely fair, my beloved, and there is no blemish in you.” “Although the Midrash says that the word gulah refers to Babylonian exile, it means to include as well the current exile. It interprets the Zechariah verse where this word appears to be speaking of the Messianic era, which will follow the current exile. Although the Isaiah passage speaks of redemption from the Babylonian exile, it serves to teach about the Future Redemption as well, that is ‘Jews’ becoming pure gold in Messianic times.” 4§17)

The information above was the subject of our Torah classes this week. It’s specific information relating the return of the exiles into the Messianic kingdom from “Babylon,” the place of their exile. Even John’s prophecy “Babylon the Great is fallen, fallen,” refers to two time periods: the fall of the historical Babylon, and the future fall of Babylon, all those Babylonian systems that extend across the earth in the clay and iron feet and toes of the Beast’s image.

Just as the first return from Babylon was very messy, so the second will be characterized by a people in need of cleaning up their devotion to Adonai. Nevertheless, Zechariah sees them as pure gold, the same pure gold lampstand standing before the Throne in Revelation. (Re 1:4, 20) They are gathered through seven sacred convocations (the moedim), a pure gold menorah anointed by the bowl of anointing oil and Messiah’s redemption on their heads. Hallelu Yah!

The text below is excerpted by permission from today’s Ulpan-Or email newsletter [12/29/23], a Hebrew language school in Israel:

This Shabbat we will read the Torah Portion “Va’Yehi”, which concludes the book of Genesis.

This Torah portion contains the famous blessing bestowed by Jacob on his grandchildren Ephraim and Manasseh, which has been used over generations as a blessing of father to his sons.

????????? ???????? ???????????? ?????????????

“May G-d make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.” (Ge. 48:20)

Jacob’s blessing to his grandsons is the only scene of grandfather giving blessing to his grandchildren in the Torah. And the Torah describes the circumstances under which this blessing was given. Jacob asks Joseph to bring the two grandchildren near so that he can bless them.

Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel’s left, and Manasseh (the firstborn) in his left hand towards Israel’s right, and brought them near him.

But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim’s head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh’s head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn.

Joseph was displeased when he saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim’s head. So he took hold of his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head and said to Jacob,

????????? ?????? ???-??????, ???-??? ?????: ????-??? ????????, ????? ????????? ???-???????

“No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”

????????? ??????, ????????? ?????????? ????? ??????????–????-???? ???????-??????, ?????-???? ????????; ????????, ?????? ???????? ???????? ?????????, ?????????, ??????? ?????-?????????

“But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.”

??????????? ???????? ??????, ???????, ????? ???????? ?????????? ??????, ????????? ???????? ???????????? ?????????????; ????????? ???-?????????, ??????? ?????????

He blessed them that day, saying:

“By thee shall Israel bless, saying: God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’ And he set Ephraim before Manasseh.”

Why did Jacob favour Ephraim over Manasseh?

Jacob knew two things, and it is here that the explanation lies. He knew that the stay of his family in Egypt would not be a short one. Before leaving Canaan to see Joseph, G-d had appeared to him in a vision:

?????????, ??????? ????? ??????? ???????; ???-??????? ??????? ???????????, ????-?????? ??????? ?????????? ????

???????, ????? ??????? ???????????, ?????????, ???????? ???-?????; ????????, ??????? ????? ???-????????

Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes. (46: 3-4)

This was the start of the long exile which G-d had told Jacob’s father Abraham would be the fate of his children.

The other thing Jacob knew was his grandsons’ names, Manasseh and Ephraim.

These have specific meanings in Hebrew, as the Torah describes:

?????????? ?????? ???-???? ?????????, ?????????: ????-????????? ???????? ???-????-???????, ????? ????-????? ?????

????? ???? ?????????, ????? ?????????: ????-????????? ????????, ???????? ???????

“Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh, saying, ‘It is because G-d has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’

The second son he named Ephraim, saying, ‘It is because G-d has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'” (41: 50-52)

In Egypt Joseph had risen to greatness. In Canaan, he had been the youngest of eleven brothers in a nomadic family of shepherds. Now, in Egypt, he was at the centre of the greatest civilization of the ancient world!

The past was a bitter memory he sought to remove from his mind. Manasseh – ???? ( The Hebrew root is ???) means “forgetting.”

By the time his second son was born, Joseph undergone a profound change of heart. He had all the trappings of earthly success – “G-d has made me fruitful” and he called his second son – Ephraim – ?????

(The Hebrew root is ???) – means “fruit”.

But Egypt had become “the land of my affliction.”

Why?

Because it was exile.

Jacob knew that these were the first two children of his family to be born in exile.

Knowing too that the exile would be prolonged and at times difficult and dark, Jacob sought to convey a message to all future generations that there would be a constant tension between the desire to forget – to assimilate and the promptings of memory that our real home is somewhere else.

Jacob blessed the “child of forgetting” Manasseh – ????

However, the blessings of a child Ephraim – ?????, who remembers the past and future of which he is a part, should be greater.

(Based on Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ lesson).

And now a little bit of Hebrew:

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew word for ‘exile’ is:

????? (GOLAH)

And the Hebrew word for ‘redemption’ is:

????? (GEULAH)

The difference in spelling of these words is the addition of the letter “Aleph” – ? to the word ????

Letter “Aleph” represents the creator ???? (ALOOF)

If one inserts an aleph into the word ???? (exile), exile is empowered and transformed into ????? (redemption).

And the name Ephraim ????? starts with the letter Aleph, possibly alluding to that transformation.

**

So you be the judge: is it just a coincidence or a sweet kiss from Heaven that our weekly study focused on the return from exile and it is synchronized with Ulpan-Or’s Hebrew lesson? We can become fruitful in the places of our exile, shedding the sins and uncleanness of Babylon. King Yeshua will gather us back to the Temple clean, without blemish, to forget all the sins and afflictions by which we were purified with Salvation’s (Yeshua’s) clean garments of righteousness.

Look up and listen closely. I think I hear the Footsteps of Messiah.

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 92 (Vayigash – Freedom from Edom)

Then Judah went up to him and said, “Oh, my lord, please let your servant speak a word in my
lord’s ears, and let not your anger burn against your servant, for you are like Pharaoh himself. 19
My lord asked his servants, saying, ‘Have you a father, or a brother?’ 20 And we said to my lord,
‘We have a father, an old man, and a young brother, the child of his old age. His brother is dead,
and he alone is left of his mother’s children, and his father loves him.’ 21 Then you said to your
servants, ‘Bring him down to me, that I may set my eyes on him.’ 22 We said to my lord, ‘The
boy cannot leave his father, for if he should leave his father, his father would die.’ 23 Then you
said to your servants, ‘Unless your youngest brother comes down with you, you shall not see my
face again.’

24 “When we went back to your servant my father, we told him the words of my lord. 25 And
when our father said, ‘Go again, buy us a little food,’ 26 we said, ‘We cannot go down. If our
youngest brother goes with us, then we will go down. For we cannot see the man’s face unless
our youngest brother is with us.’ 27 Then your servant my father said to us, ‘You know that my
wife bore me two sons. 28 One left me, and I said, “Surely he has been torn to pieces,” and I
have never seen him since. 29 If you take this one also from me, and harm happens to him, you
will bring down my gray hairs in evil to Sheol.’

30 “Now therefore, as soon as I come to your servant my father, and the boy is not with us,
then, as his life is bound up in the boy’s life, 31 as soon as he sees that the boy is not with us, he
will die, and your servants will bring down the gray hairs of your servant our father with sorrow
to Sheol. 32 For your servant became a pledge of safety for the boy to my father, saying, ‘If I do
not bring him back to you, then I shall bear the blame before my father all my life.’ 33 Now
therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the
boy go back with his brothers. 34 For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I
fear to see the evil that would find my father.” (Ge 44:18-34)

Some say this is the moment that Judah was awarded royal authority over the tribes.

Judah conquered “The Red One,” of the soul. He wants to feed others, not be fed. He’d overcome his jealousy of his brother, his murderous thoughts toward his brother, his lack of honor for the wishes of his father, and confessed his relationship with Tamar to ensure the righteous offspring of Judah
would live to fulfill the covenant promise of inheritance in the Land of Israel.

Esau (Edom) has never conquered his jealousy of Jacob, his murderous inclination toward Jacob, and his lack of honor for the wishes of the “father” in marriage. Esau spurned the birthright of protecting the offspring and sold it for food.

The Jewish sages say it was not then, nor when he was chosen to bring the first dedicatory gifts to the Tabernacle, nor when he was appointed to take the first step in the Camp movement to follow the Cloud and Ark. These foreshadowed. It was not until Israel entered the Land and Joshua died. After
that, Judah was given leadership when he was chosen to lead his brothers in war against the Canaanites. Others add Boaz when he was kind to Ruth. [Midrash Rabbah to Shir HaShirim 4§16]

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 91 (Three Wise Men and A Red One)

“We had a wonderful Sukkot in the Land. And then when we woke up on October 7th, something had changed. And I guess long story short: k-boom. A lot of k-booms. And you find out who you are inside. I think when the k-booms start going off, and you have no control over them… You know, I think most people are used to–at least familiar with-weapons, that it’s probably not going to go–it’s not supposed to go off-unless you do specific things to make it go off. But when you have no control over what’s going over your head, it’s a completely different dynamic.

And so, I’m still learning how to deal with that one. I’m not used to being shot at. It’s different. So I’m glad to be here tonight. It’s good to be back with Jacob’s Tent. And the larger tent that we see often around the feast times. And what I want to do tonight is not necessarily seem Chanukah-forward. But I think we’re in a time where we need to be encouraged because if you’re like me, since October 7th, you’ve kind of been stuck in a certain place.

It’s hard to know what’s on the horizon, but you definitely know what’s behind you. And so you’re beginning to ask yourself: “All this that I’ve been learning, you know He’s brought me out of some system that I was in and maybe happy with, maybe unhappy with, but He brought me out of that system. And I can’t help but think He brought me out for some reason in this generation in particular. I wasn’t born in a different generation. I was born into this generation.

And we know every generation has its tribulation. That’s not new. Is this the tribulation of our generation? And I think the answer’s going to be “yes” to that. I’ve not experienced anything like this. I’m used to them lobbing rockets at Sukkot, that’s what they do. If you didn’t go to Israel because they lobbed a few rockets, you would never go to Israel. But this is different. And it really feels as though everything we have been doing has prepared us for this moment in time. What’s on the horizon? We don’t know. That’s why I feel a little bit stuck in a certain place. I feel like everything’s outside our control right now, but hasn’t it always been? It’s always been outside of our control. He’s been preparing us for this time when it’s going to feel so much as if things are out of our control. And the good news is, there is no Plan B.

In the beginning, there was plan A. We would like to think that our sin is just so powerful that Adonai just has to keep coming up with new plans like B, C, D, E, F. He never did. He never changed His mind. He never changed the goal. Now, it might be taking us a little longer to get there, but He hasn’t changed His mind, and the purpose for which you have been called hasn’t changed because there is a war in Israel. That has not changed. He has been preparing you for this moment.

What I want to do is take a look at the history that has brought us to this point. We might call it prophecy, we might not. I mean, what people usually call prophecy, I just call deep Torah study. There’s no prophecy without Torah. And so as we look at some of the prophecies, and tonight I want to look at a passage in the Song of Songs of all things, we think it’s a love song but it’s actually a prophecy of the return of the exiles. And this is the way that the rabbis construe it. This is not Hollisa Alewine sitting too long with too many cups of coffee. This is the way the rabbis have put it together. The only thing I can see that’s missing from the way they’ve put it together is the fact that they haven’t yet recognized Yeshua as that Messiah that they’re talking about.

Part of that you can see even in the gospels when it was teaching about the circumstances surrounding Yeshua’s birth. We have all sorts of things: Shepherds by night. Stars. We have peace on earth. We have all of these things that are associated with the particular season, and we say well what happened here? I want to go back and look at what happened in order to figure out why Herod was so upset that the wise men were there and why in particular he was upset. I want to go back to Abraham because he’s our forefather. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re descended from Abraham by blood or by faith, you are still a child of Abraham and Sarah. And so I want to call this: Three Wise Men and a Red One.

And I know, we don’t know for sure that there were Three Wise Men; we just tend to say that because there were three specific gifts. I want to trace this prophecy to Abraham all the way up to the time of Herod and the birth of Yeshua and see if there’s something about those three gifts that should ring a bell with us, but should also encourage us about this particular moment in time in which we live. Because I believe one of the problems that the Jews of the first century had with Yeshua is that they were expecting what we are experiencing. They were 2,000 years too early. But on the other hand, we don’t want to be lulled to sleep. What we want to do is look at the prophecies of Micah and Isaiah and say “What should we look for next, and how should our feet be planted?” And understand we’re still part of Plan A.

He still had a plan to gather us in. He’s not abandoned it. And that’s the danger of just studying prophecy in isolation. It’s like an amusement park. It’s fun. It’s exciting. But if you get on the rollercoaster it always ends up back at the same stop. If you get on the Ferris wheel, you still get off at the same place. If you eat the cotton candy, you still get sick to your stomach. This is prophecy as it’s usually taught. It’s exciting and we get to sit around and speculate as to who’s got the right insight to the prophecy.

But so many times, if we’ll just go back into the Word, back into the Torah, and we look at some of the insights from the people who have studied those prophecies for thousands of years, it might be much simpler than it seems. It doesn’t have to be an amusement park. That’s when we can turn it into the field. The field has the Word in it. And so we have to labor in that field like a farmer, with patience. Not on a rollercoaster ride, not with cotton candy, but planting very patiently until we can see that fruit of that labor. You don’t see a lot of farmers in the field screaming at each other, and holding their hands up. Right? It’s a much more serious approach. But there is joy at the harvest. And I want us to have some of that joy tonight. Where we can see the end. Where we can see the seed He has planted thousands of years ago, and there’s no Plan B. And we get to be part, hopefully, of that harvest.

So if you would turn in your Bibles to Song of Songs 4:6, we’re going to look at the passage from Song of Songs 4:6 to verse 8 and that’ll be our text for tonight and for tomorrow. We’ll stay on this same section. We’re going to look at the promises made to Abraham and see, “Why is there always conflict over Jerusalem? Why is there conflict over the Temple Mount? Why can the nations not just leave Israel alone?” I think it’s for the same reason that Adam and Eve had an entire garden full of trees and there was one they couldn’t just leave alone. You tell people they can’t have that one thing, and that’s exactly what they’re going to covet.

But this starts out, this is very beautiful, it says:

6“Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.

So I’m going to do a quick significance definition for you. If you like to take notes, this is where you would take notes. In prophecy, often there is a significance to particular terms. The mountain? That can be either Mount Sinai, or it can be the Temple Mount. In this case, it’s going to be the Temple Mount. This is the mountain of myrrh, and the hill of frankincense. It’s also called the Holy Hill. So we’re talking about the Temple Mount right here.

I will go my way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.

Where is the Messiah coming to? He’s coming to the Temple Mount. It’s called the Mountain of Myrrh and Frankincense because this is where the incense offerings are offered. And if we understand what those incense offerings are about, we understand these are the prayers of Israel being offered up on behalf of the nations. And one thing to remember about the incense service is it could not be conducted without animal sacrifice. The coals had to come from the outer altar. If there’s no animal sacrifice–this is going to make sense when we talk about the Beast–if there’s no animal sacrifice, there’s no incense service. The Beast has to be sacrificed. He says,

7You are altogether beautiful, my darling, and there is no blemish in you.

8Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, may you come with me from Lebanon. Journey down from the summit of Amana, from the summit of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards.

So that’s what we want to do: let’s unpack these. Tonight, tomorrow. Let’s take a look at these terms and say, “What exactly is this prophecy about?” It’s about the return of the exiles.

First of all, let’s look at the summit, or the mount, the “head,” of Amana. Now some of you who can speak a little bit of Hebrew, you can hear a word in there that you’re familiar with. Amana sounds a whole lot like…? Emunah. Right. Exactly: faith. So let’s turn to Genesis 15:5 through 7. Let’s go back to father Abraham. Because in the end, I can’t remember exactly how Brad used to put it, but in summary it’s always been about a land, a covenant, and a people. A land, a covenant, and a people. And I want to show you how that land, covenant and people are very specific and set aside as it pertains to the other nations. So it says,

5And He took him outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.”

“So shall your descendants be.” What is He talking about? That many? It can be. That’s the plain sense of the verse. But we also understand that the stars sometimes in Scripture represent principalities and powers. And He’s saying, “Your descendants…” if we look at the significance, “…will be like these principalities and powers. They will rule over the earth someday.” That’s a pretty big promise.

6Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.

He believed. There’s our emunah. The heh-amin.

7And He said to him, “I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it.

So the promise is to Abraham, to his descendants, and it’s about a specific land. And this belief–you know we talk a lot about faith. There was even a movement called Word of Faith movement. Faith is a big thing if you’re a believer. But what exactly should this faith focus around? Faith in Yeshua? Yes. But let’s go even farther back. How would the people of the First Century even come to look at Yeshua in faith? They would look back to their father Abraham as a pattern. So the heh-amin, the faith, it…was reckoned to him as righteousness because he believed. He believed that that specific land would be given to his descendants to possess.

To this day a very small percentage of the earth believe. Whether we talk about believing that the people who are there are the descendants of Abraham…there’s all sorts of conspiracy and protocols and things out there that are trying to subvert the position of the Jews within the covenant. But it really goes back to: does Adonai have the right to promise this little piece of land to these people? Do we believe it? If we believe it, it can be among those things that are accounted to us as righteousness.

Let’s look at another passage, very similar, Genesis 17:1 through 8. And this was when Avram was 99 years old.

Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless. I will establish My covenant between Me and you, and I will multiply you exceedingly.” Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you will be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

Right there we know that Abraham’s descendants will be out among the nations.

I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come forth from you. I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. I will give to you and to your descendants after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

Now how many times did He repeat Himself in that passage as if we didn’t hear Him the first time? He knows we’re not hard of hearing. But He also knows that we need to hear things more than once to get it. It’s about a covenant between Abraham and his descendants concerning this particular land that He has established. You cannot talk about the covenant without talking about the Land. And you can’t talk about the land and the covenant without talking about the descendants of Abraham. Those three things are the essentials if we’re going to talk about faith, emunah.

If we are going to come from the summit of Amana, there is a summit of faith we must reach. And who is first associated with faith? Abraham. If we are descendants of Abraham, we have to exhibit that same kind of faith. Even though Abraham is told, ‘this is going to be a land of your sojourning’, in other words, ‘Abraham, you’re not really going to be able to call this your home. But your descendants will come back and they will be able to call it home.’

So let’s look at another passage, Genesis 13:17. And again, it’s about a specific land area and a specific people group. Again, talking to Abraham:

Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.

And I emphasize “I”. Adonai is giving to Abraham and his descendants this specific land. It’s not for people to give it to Abraham or his descendants. Human beings do not give that land. Ever. A human being cannot transfer that land. It’s not under our authority, even as the tree of knowledge of good and evil was not under our authority. And it never will be ours to buy, to sell, to trade, to give away, to conquer. It’s always His. And it’s these terms that the nations have always coveted.

Everything we just read…? The nations have coveted that tree. Out of all the trees in the world, they want this tiny piece of Land that’s promised to a specific group of people. And what is the big thing today? You have some people who would tolerate a few Jews in the land, but they would never tolerate Zionism. Zionism is the hot word.

It’s Zionism to which they object so strongly because Zionism is associated with this covenant of an eternal promise between the Creator of the universe, Abraham, and his descendants. They can’t tolerate that. Because as long as there are people on earth who hold that covenant, then there is proof that there is still an Elohim. That there is One GOD.

That’s what they’re fighting. They’re not fighting Jews. Jews are just in the way. They’re fighting their Creator. They want to say, “I get to subjectively choose my boundaries.” And we all do that to an extent, don’t we? We all want to define our own boundaries? And then we look into the Word and we say, ‘well I can’t do that anymore, because the Word says this is My boundary.’ We can’t be like King Solomon and say, ‘well that one doesn’t apply to me, that one doesn’t apply to me, that one doesn’t apply to me.’ We don’t get to do that. We have to say, ‘His boundaries apply to me in every area. It’s just a matter of me learning where those boundaries are. That’s the only question: have I learned them yet? And as I learn them, will I accept them? Or will I rise up like Cain and kill my brother? Will I rise up like Esau and try to kill my brother? Will I rise up like Ishmael and mock my brother?’

And so there’s a deep human disease that has been here from the time of the garden, and it’s coveting that which is not yours. Because as long as it’s not yours, you’re not GOD. If you can’t possess it, then you’re not in control. Adonai is the only one who gets to define what is acceptable sacrifice to Him. He’s the only one who can define acceptable behavior for a human being. No matter what your race. No matter what your nation. He’s the one who defines the boundaries. He made the design of the earth, He determined the inheritance of the nations, the reward of the nations, and Cain and Esau didn’t want to live within those boundaries. In fact, have you ever heard bigger crybabies? I mean cry baby, cry baby. What did Cain say, “My punishment is more than I can bear.” Well bless your heart. Criminals tend to get like that in the courtroom, don’t they?

Here’s what Esau does, Genesis 27:34, once he finds out that Isaac has given the blessing to Jacob.

When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!”

Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” So Esau lifted his voice and wept.

It’s all about crybaby. The Father in Heaven may not have given us something and we sit around and cry, “Do you just have one blessing? Could I have one too? Could I have what he has?” We look at things and we covet them. Well we’re supposed to covet the better gifts. But if it’s not your gift? It’s not your gift.

And so what will Esau do? Esau is the Red One. Since we’re going to talk about Three Wise Men and a Red One – Esau is the Red One. He came out red and hairy all over. And he’s referred to in Jewish literature as Admon. The permanent red one. Edom. And so there’s Esau, which is bad enough, and there’s the worst end of Esau, which we call Amalek, may his name be blotted out.

Here’s what Esau wants to do. He wants to dominate. He wants to possess. He will kill if it serves those ends. But to him, simply maintaining control and power is usually to his satisfaction, that he is more powerful than Elohim. If he’s just got the power, he’s convinced he’s god. It doesn’t matter how many names he calls on. How many times he says it’s great. That’s not what he believes; he believes he’s great.

Amalek, remember, was a descendant of Esau. And it’s worse. It’s the worst end of Esau because he will kill you. He’s not there to just control you. Amalek is there to kill you, and he will kill you through craft. He will kill you through animal violence. He’s much more on board to actually exterminate the Creator. Esau wants to control so he can say, “You don’t control me. I control me. I’m god.” Amalek actually wants to exterminate the Creator Himself. If he can get rid of the people of the covenant, then he’s to step one.

But this is it, controlling the covenant people and their assigned habitation has always been the key to the aims of the Beast. The Beast is nothing new in Revelation. The Beast was created on Day Six. On the same day as a human being. And as we look at those four beast kingdoms – as we look at Babylon, we look at Medo-Persia, we look at Greece, we look at Rome, and then the systems, the organizations that have spread over the earth today in the feet – it has always been their aim to control the assigned habitation of Abraham’s descendants.

Whether it’s the Temple Mount itself or even those nations that were prophesied to Abraham, that’s why their systems have been established all over the world. By the way, the leopard spots? Of Greece? If you go back into the Hebrew, the word can actually refer to organizations. And that’s what Greece had. Greece brought us medicine, literature, education, philosophy, politics, and the military. Rome comes along, they might change the names of the gods, but they perfect those systems of organization. And to this day we go to coliseums. And to this day we use the Latin language when we talk about medicine. Those systems, those leopard spots, were perfected by Rome and now they’re in every nation on earth still trying to control people.

Now I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I mean, surely there are conspiracies out there; it’s not my job to find them. It’s my job to find Yeshua and point out that he ultimately will defeat the Red Beast.

It’s so funny sometimes when people think they’ve found the anti-christ. Like it wasn’t that hard, was it? I mean, seriously? Every generation has one. It’s not unusual to find an anti-christ. What is unusual is to find somebody who will follow Yeshua with a whole heart as a descendant of Abraham and never stop believing that Plan A is still in effect. If we look at the resistance that is mustered by these Beast Kingdoms, we can see again that pointing to the stars, not just as numerous those stars, but one day, Abraham, your twelve tribes, they will judge from the twelve gates of Jerusalem. They will judge the earth with king Messiah. They will take their rightful place, what they were created to do with Plan A–it was to be a special people who will rule and reign from Jerusalem. Still Plan A, folks.

He’s still raising us up. He’s teaching us how to be prepared to know His Word, to know how to judge nations, to have something on the resume other than a name and a phone number. And that’s why learning these Torah portions, it’s critical. How are you going to judge the nations? How are you going to be a star of Abraham if you don’t know the fundamentals of the Torah? What other measurement do you think He’s going to use? U.S. Constitution? Fine choice, but that’s not it.

His Word stands forever. And we can see that in history, like in the Book of Daniel, you had Gabriel. Daniel is praying. He needs an answer. Gabriel is coming with an answer. But he’s resisted by the Prince of Persia. And it takes one more thing to overcome the Prince of Persia. The Prince of Persia is assigned to Persia. It’s his job to defend the interest of Persia. And those powers are very single-minded. They just do one thing. They don’t really multitask. And so a message is coming that is going to prophesy the overthrow of Persia. Does he want that message to go through? No, that’s his job, to maintain that nation and its boundaries. So he stands against Gabriel which means “the strength of El.” But MikhaEl, Michael, comes along and he breaks through. Because “who is like El”? There is none higher. Even that created entity called the Prince of Persia had to bow to Who Is Like Unto El. There’s no one higher. He’s a created being. Even the devils believe and tremble.

They must obey when they’re confronted with the strength and that oneness of Elohim. And we can see there will come a time in the book of Revelation when it says these stars will be moved out of their places. These principalities and powers will be moved out of their places over the nations. Because who is supposed to arise? The star of Jacob is going to arise, and with him, the descendants of Abraham who were created to rule and to reign from Jerusalem. They’re going to take those places of judgment under King Messiah.

So let’s get a little more detailed. Let’s go to Isaiah 41. And I wanted to find a word here so we’ll understand this envy of the nations against Israel. And it–I know for you guys, you’re probably like me–there is no pretense of logic and reason in the world today as it pertains to the modern state of Israel. There’s nothing that even makes sense. And there’s a reason it doesn’t make sense. He’s dividing people out. He’s unmasking them. And it’s all going to come down to: Do we have a Creator? Do we accept Him as Supreme and the One to assign our job as human beings? Is He the only One worthy of worship? If you don’t believe that, then you’re going to have trouble with the logic and the reason of Zion because the Torah is going to go forth from Zion. There is only one measure. What are they fighting against? A few Jews and tanks? That’s not who they’re fighting. They’re fighting The One Who holds the Covenant. And He says, “Only by this will the world be judged.” They don’t want to be judged by that.

In Isaiah 41:1 (ESV), I want to look at verse 1 and then skip down to 8 through 10. I want you to see who it’s addressed to. It says,

Listen to me in silence, O coastlands;

let the peoples renew their strength;

let them approach, then let them speak;

let us together draw near for judgment.

So the nations, the coastlands, the peoples, He says “renew your strength” and I want you to approach Me and we’re going to have judgment. There’s nothing scarier to me than Adonai saying, ‘Come on, approach the bench. Let’s hear your case.” Then we skip down to verse 8, He says,

But you, Israel, my servant,

Jacob, whom I have chosen,

the offspring of Abraham, my friend;

you whom I took from the ends of the earth,

and called from its farthest corners,

saying to you, “You are my servant,

I have chosen you and not cast you off”;

No Plan B.

10fear not, for I am with you;

be not dismayed, for I am your God;

I will strengthen you, He’s telling the nations, ‘strengthen yourself if you can,’ but He’s telling the people of Israel, “I will strengthen you.” It’s not by your strength, it’s by His.

I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

His righteous right hand Yeshua. Now do we want to be part of the coastlands who approach the throne in our own strength for judgment? Or do we want Yeshua, our advocate, standing beside us? And standing in his strength. Standing in his righteousness. I want Yeshua. I can’t stand on my own strength anyway. So the coastlands are being challenged: “approach for judgment.

To define who these coastlands are, even though the internal text tells us it’s the nations. Alright? Can you see the inner definition within the verse there? The coastlands are the nations? The specific word is actually “ee” (???). Which is kind of a funny word to me like “ee”, “ee”. And “eeyeem” (????????) would be plural. Coastlands. All that means is a habitable spot, dry land, a coast, an island. But it can be any habitable dry land. It doesn’t have to mean like the beach. The coastlands. The first mention of coastlands is going to be Genesis 10:5 (NASB 1995). It says,

From these the coastlands of the nations were separated into their lands, every one according to his language, according to their families, into their nations.

So the coastlands of the nations indicate this is where He set their boundaries. He set their boundaries the same way He set Abraham’s boundaries. And He set it according to language and family. These were the nations’ assignments. The nations didn’t like where they were assigned. Did you ever get a seat assignment you didn’t like? You ever get – you ever sit next to that one on the plan? They’re going to fall asleep on your shoulder and drool? Yeah. Or they’re going to stick their dirty feet up on the back of your seat? Some people, we don’t like our assignments. But in this case we better like our assignment.

What they have been doing from the beginning is to reassign the boundaries and to absorb the descendants of Abraham. It’s not under their authority. They don’t get to change where the boundary is. But they want to. And the Messianic reign is going to be a time when the nations apparently will be forced to retain those assigned territories. Now does everybody have to go back from where they came from? I don’t know. I don’t intend to be here. I intend to be somewhere in the land as a descendant of Abraham. Because I believe. I believe.

The children of Abraham will also live in peace on their assigned territory. And you say, ‘well where am I? Where am I supposed to be?’ You all know Galatians 3:29 (NASB 1995):

And if if, conditional you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.

Heirs according to the promise. What promise? The land, the covenant, the people are the promise. You have a people and you have a land. Whether you’re there yet or not, it’s just a matter of yet. But if you believe on Messiah, then you are entitled to become an heir in that assigned territory to Abraham’s descendants. And you say, “But I don’t know what tribe I come from?” Most Jews don’t either. After the destruction of the second temple, most of the records were lost. Usually the Levi’im, the Levites and the priests, know who they are. They say it’s going to be Elijah’s job at the End of the Days to sort everybody out into their tribal territory. So they don’t know either. You’re not alone.

You say, “But what if I don’t have any blood relation to Abraham.” Ezekiel 47:21 (NASB 1995) says,

So you shall divide this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel.

Not according to what the nations tell you. According to the tribes of Israel.

You shall divide it by lot for an inheritance among yourselves and among the aliens who stay in your midst, who bring forth sons in your midst. And they shall be to you as the native-born among the sons of Israel; they shall be allotted an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. 23“And in the tribe with which the alien stays, there you shall give him his inheritance,” declares the Lord GOD.

There’s still no Plan B. You’re still there. If you believe. And if you belong to Messiah, then you are Abraham’s descendants. So I don’t know if you are an Issacharite, a Gadite, a Zebulonite, it doesn’t really matter to me. It basically, according to Ezekiel, just whatever ‘–ite’ you feel like that morning, then go there. Join yourself. And that route into the land, going back to the time of Abraham, as we look back at the text that we started with in the Song of Songs, it talks about (NASB 1995, chapter 4):

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, may you come with me (down) from Lebanon. Journey down from the summit of Amana, also in Lebanon

From the summit of Senir and Hermon, is actually on the Israeli side today, but we’re talking about the same area – it’s in the northern part of Israel, the southern part of Lebanon. Abraham came down through that route. He came down through Haran. And from Haran we know that eventually his journey did take him to the mountain of myrrh and the hill of frankincense. It took him to mount Moriah where he offered Isaac. And then later, the offspring of Jacob would also be seen camped according to this passage of prophecy without a blemish.

So yes, Abraham, proto-prophecy, he goes to the mountain of frankincense and myrrh. But then remember the prophecy of Balaam. Later as Israel is coming out of Egypt, they’re returning to the land, they’re returning to their inheritance, Balaam looks out at Jacob’s tents and he says, “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob. Your dwelling places, O Israel.” (Numbers 24:5) It’s one of the most beautiful prophecies of the Bible and–do you guys sing that on Shabbat? It’s prophecy. You’re singing of yourself without a blemish. You’re saying, “Well, I don’t know about that. ” He’s seeing forward, ok? It’s not exactly this moment.

What He’s seeing is far into the millennial reign. He seeing that far where no longer does this bride have any blemish. She’s become perfect. And so that prophecy is actually a song of return to the land. It’s the gift and a sacrifice without blemish. What gifts do you bring to the altar? That without a blemish. Israel will be a sacrifice like it’s Messiah – without a blemish.

And again, this is where are located the mountains mentioned here. Not just Amana, the mountain of faith like Abraham. And remember, Abraham is reckoned as righteous because of his faith. How are we reckoned as righteous? The same way. Because of our faith. So let’s look at that verse 8 again in the Song of Songs, chapter 4. It says,

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, may you come with me from Lebanon. Journey down from the summit of Amana, from the summit of Senir and Hermon, from the dens of lions, from the mountains of leopards.

Right there you hear two of the Beast kingdoms mentioned. You hear Babylon the original beast kingdom, the golden head of the image. You hear about the leopard of Greece. You hear about the bronze belly, two of those beast kingdoms. And so He’s asking us, ‘come out of the belly of the beast. Get out of the head of the beast.’ Remember, the golden head of Babylon is associated with the lion. Get out of the lion’s head. Get out of the head of the beast. Journey down with Me from there. Come out of the belly of Greece. Get out of those organizations that have first, enticed you. And if you couldn’t be enticed, then they coerce you, and the Greek pattern, since we’re talking about Chanukah at this season, since you couldn’t be enticed or coerced, then you would be killed.

He’s saying, get out of that belly. Get out of the belly of the beast. But you’re going to have to journey down. We’re all stuck out here in the kingdoms of the beast. How do we do that? He says, the way to do that is to journey down. Journey down. Abraham was told, ‘Lech Lecha – go for yourself, walk the land, inspect the land.’ He had already done that. You say, ‘Why is he being told to do that again?’

Because he’s told to arise. That’s very specific language in prophecy that can pertain to ‘resurrect’. Arise, come up to a different level. I want you to see the garden hovering over this land. I want you to see Plan A, Abraham. Because I want you to see your descendants here. I want you to see your descendants as occupying a land that’s more than sand and rocks. I want you to see the realm above it, so arise and walk and see the garden that is here. Inspect it. This is the land that your offspring are going to possess. There is a natural Israel, and there is a garden that is hovering just above it that is waiting to be married back to the natural land.

So He says tashuri. In Hebrew, tashuri, ‘journey down.’ (Behold, Look, https://biblehub.com/hebrew/7789.htm) And shur, if we look it up in Hebrew, means go around for inspection. That’s what lech lecha means to Abraham, go around and inspect the place. See something here you’ve never seen before. Spy it out. Survey it. Observe it. Perceive it. Regard it. And it can even mean “lurk”. Like an animal. Lurk around. Observe.

That word is first mentioned, tashuri, like ‘come on Bride, journey down, I want you to come with me. You’re blameless. You’re walking out your faith now. Come with me.’ So let’s go to the first mention of shur. Come with me, journey with me, regard. It goes back to Numbers 23:9 (NASB 1995). The first uses of shur. This is the prophecy of Balaam concerning Jacob’s tents. He says,

As I see him from the top of the rocks, and I look at him (shur; I’m observing him, I’m regarding him, I’m perceiving him) from the hills; behold, a people who dwells apart, and (they) will not be reckoned among the nations.

They’re different. He sets their boundaries. The nations do not set their boundaries. Journey down, you’re going to come to a place where the nations cannot set this boundary because it was eternally set by the Holy One of Israel. And then if you skip down to Numbers 24:17 (NASB 1995), he’s still prophesying. He says,

I see him, but not now;

I behold him shur, same word, I perceive, I regard, but not near;

A star shall come forth from Jacob,

A scepter shall rise from Israel,

And shall crush through the forehead of Moab,

And tear down all the sons of Sheth.

So if we take those first uses of the word ‘shur’ for ‘journey down’ that we’re seeing in the Song of Songs, we say ‘Okay, what’s the prophecy of the Song of Songs about?’

It’s about what Balaam is seeing right here. He’s seeing into the future. He’s even seeing the Garden. Remember how he talks about the buckets of water that are flowing? He’s seeing Israel planted in the garden. And remember the beloved says ‘Come, come journey with me.’ He says, ‘You are altogether beautiful my darling, there’s no blemish in you.’ Well clearly Israel was blemished at that time. But there will be a time. Because in between those two uses we saw of “shur” for journey down. Numbers 23:21 (NASB 1995), it says,

He has not observed misfortune in Jacob; nor has He seen trouble in Israel; the LORD his God is with him, and what did He say to Abraham? ‘I will be with you.’ And he says, And the shout of a king is among them.

How can they be without a blemish? How can they be without iniquity? How can they be without wickedness? They can be without wickedness because the Lord his God is with him and the shout of a king is among them. Teruah. You know what a teruah is, when we play all those different notes on Rosh Hashana, on the feast of trumpets, it’s about resurrection from the dead. How can they be perfect? They are resurrected in perfection. That’s how Balaam is seeing them. Resurrected in perfection and not reckoned among the nations. They are now back in their assigned territory. And the shout of the king is going to scare any nation that would presume to move a boundary stone. I dare say they wouldn’t get a finger near a boundary stone at that time. We are perfect in our resurrection in our Messiah. The shout of a king is among us.

So we know we are in exile. We know we are in the belly of the beast. We know we are in the head of the beast. But we are told to come out. ‘Come out from among her.’ We have to live in the world, but we don’t have to be of the world. And sometimes we feel like Adonai is not looking. He won’t see this. Or we hadn’t heard from Him in awhile, He probably won’t care if I do this. That’s not smart thinking. Because I think more than ever before as we look around at what’s going on in history, we have to say He’s watching. And it’s in Hosea 13:7, Adonai is prophesying about Israel in exile. He says:

So I will be like a lion to them; like a leopard See how He’s using the Beast kingdoms? I will lie in wait by the wayside.

Lie in wait by the wayside, that word is SHUR. “I’m watching them.” He’s actually lurking out here among the Beast Kingdoms watching us. Waiting. He’s lurking to do good for us. He’s lurking to bring us out of the belly of the beast. He’s lurking to clear up our heads. Our confused heads. We get out here in the world and we get confused about what we’re seeing. We get confused about what we’re hearing. And He’s like, ‘No, stay in My Word. Stay in My Word. Believe. There is no Plan B. You stay in My Word, and I will be lurking right next to you to do good. To deliver you.’

He sent Israel away for idolatry. But He’s still lurking to redeem us from the Red Beast of Exile. From Edom’s domain. There’s specifics that we’re given in this prophecy to help us understand how the return from the exile will occur. It’s going to connect with our passage from Song of Songs, and it’s from Hosea 14:4. Israel has been sent into exile. There it is called night. Sometimes if you see “night” in prophecy it means “a time of exile”. And here’s what He’s lurking to do for us. He says,

4I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from them. 5 I will be like the dew dew also represents resurrection by the way to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, and he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.

Where are we supposed to come from? Come down with me from Lebanon. He’s saying, “Come on!”

6His shoots will sprout, and his beauty will be like the olive tree and his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. 7Those who live in his shadow will again raise grain, and they will blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon. 😯 Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you.

That word there for ‘look after’? It’s our word, shur. I’m lurking out there in the nations. Here, He says, “I’m looking after you.’ You might be out in Lebanon. Where did Jacob go to find a bride? To Lebanon. He went into exile to find a bride. And now He’s saying, ‘Come away with me my love. I’ve been looking after you, Ephraim. Ephraim, you’ve been out here among the nations as punishment for your idolatry, but I’m not angry with you anymore. I’m going to resurrect you. I’m going to be the dew of Israel. You’re going to blossom like the lily. Even in these lands of your exile, you’re going to start to take root and emit a fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon.’ He says, ‘It is I who answer and look after you’:

I am like a luxuriant cypress;

From Me comes your fruit.

And this is what Adonai is doing. He’s lurking out here in the nations to resurrect His people, the descendants of Abraham, from their idols. And then they can be immersed in His Word and emit this fragrance of Lebanon. Because the meaning of Lebanon, other than a place of exile for Jacob, has several meanings. Sometimes it’s a euphemism for the Temple because the bones of the Temple were made from the cedars of Lebanon. So imagine the fragrance inside the Temple.

You are little temples, and you, as you study in His Word and follow hard after Adonai, you obey Yeshua, and you will start to smell like a cedar tree. You are a little Temple. And you are going to come with Him from Lebanon, but you will begin to thrive out here in Lebanon. You will begin to thrive in the place of your exile because He says you’re putting down these roots, shoreshim. You’re learning where you came from. And He’s preparing to take you back there. There’s still Plan A, but He has to teach proper behavior, and you have to accept the boundaries. You can’t define your own commandments. They’re not subjective. You have to obey My commandments, and then I will then place you on the mountain of myrrh and frankincense.

Now there’s other meanings to Lebanon. It can also mean pride. But it can also relate to Eden-like conditions. He’s preparing us to bring us back that same route that Abraham took. What route did he take? Faith. He believed.

What route is he bringing you? Faith. Because you believe you’re doing something. Because you believe, you’re studying Torah portions. You’re studying to show yourself approved. Because you believe, you’re developing an identity with Israel. You’re coming out of replacement theologies that say, “Well it doesn’t really matter what happens to the Jews because we’ve replaced them all.” No. Your thinking is getting untwisted. And it’s beginning to become fragrant.

So we know that the boundaries of Israel according to the millennial boundaries, it’s much bigger than it was even in the time of the 12 tribes. Much, in fact, it goes all the way to the Euphrates River. The only time we know that that occurred was during the era of King David. He actually did make war as far as the Euphrates. I don’t know of any other time that the boundary would have extended that far, but it makes sense that the son of David would also extend the boundary to the Euphrates because remember, He’s going to dry up the Euphrates to entice the kings of the East. ‘Come on in.’ Where did the wise men come from? Didn’t they come from the east? That was a good trip. The one in Revelation doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a good trip.

Our passage is focusing on Lebanon. If we’re looking at the time of Abraham, it’s saying, ‘This is prophesying how we’re going to retrace his steps,’ at least his spiritual steps. The sages say those mountains that are referred to in the passage would be considered North and West. And sometimes directions are more symbolic than actual, like you wouldn’t necessarily look at a compass to get the answer. You would look at their symbolism. That’s the area from which Abraham had to go to retrieve Lot. When Lot was stolen and taken off, he had to go through there. And so those kidnapped were retrieved from the territory of Dan. In fact, to this day it’s referred to as Dan. If you’ve been up there you can actually see the altar that was built. The pagan altar that was built up there.

Dan held the northern banner. Of the encampments of the tribes, it was Dan who was in the north with two other tribes. But what those four encampments represented was the directions of the four winds, and we know we’ve got the angels of the four winds. We’ve talked about the principalities and powers. Eventually, the tribes of Israel will judge. And again they will ascend to rule and reign with King Messiah. And they’re going to judge four-square Jerusalem with its twelve gates.

The rabbis say Messiah is hidden in the North. Tzafon is North in Hebrew. It means hidden. So it’s a play-on word. So they say that King Messiah is going to come from the North. He’s been hidden in the North. But they also say that the Divine Presence is concealed, or hidden, in the West. And they say this Presence–you might have heard it called the Shekhinah, based on shaken, which means to dwell–they say that the Divine Presence is out there, like the prophecy says, lurking among the exiles. He’s not forsaken them. And when the time comes, those exiles will come from the West with Messiah from the North. And they will come over these mountains that it’s talking about in the Song of Songs. And they say that’s what’s going on. The Presence of Adonai is out here among the nations represented by the West watching over them.

And what they’re saying is not necessarily for you to think by literal direction. It’s giving you spiritual directions. They’re saying when the exiles come home, it’s because they’re coming home through covenant faith. They’re coming through emunah, just like our father Abraham. Those exiled children will come back into the kingdom of Kingdom Messiah. In the same way that our forefather Abraham was credited for righteousness for his faith, they say his descendants will come the exact same way. Is that not preached in pretty much every church? Habbakkuk 2:4 (NASB 1995), it says

Behold, as for the proud one, his soul is not right within him; but the righteous will live by his faith.

We will live by faith. In fact if you look at Amana in the Song of Songs, it’s a play-on Word. It’s “her faith”. Her faith. Come away with me, my Bride. Come with your faith. The children of Abraham, the daughters of Jerusalem, they’re going to return to the head, the origin, the rosh, the head, the peak of her faith, which is going to be the Star of Jacob that Balaam saw through prophecy. The star of Jacob. The shout of a king is among them making them perfect in their faith. And He says there’s a scepter, there’s a royal king among them. There’s a shout of a king among them, and they are going to return in perfection with this king to the mountain of frankincense and myrrh.

And so just to wrap it up for tonight before tomorrow when we get into the specific fears that Herod would have had and the language of the seven shepherds and the eight princes, and the Red One, let’s read Matthew 2:10 through 12. It’s talking about the wise men. It says,

When they saw the star Which star would that have been? The star of Jacob. Amen., they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.

So two out of the three gifts: They brought the frankincense and the myrrh. We know the context now. It’s prophesying of the return of the exiles. They’re coming to this infant Yeshua and saying, ‘Here is the star of Jacob. Here is the scepter that will arise from Judah. And he will return the exiles from the nations.’ He will regather them according to every Jewish expectation this is what King Messiah must do. And then there’s the third gift. It’s the gold. And where does the gold come from? The twelve tribes were set in gold. They were carried on the priest’s shoulders. There’s the onyx stones. The names of each tribe are inscribed, and each is set in that gold filigree. And so here is a priest of Israel who is going to bear the exiles home on his own shoulders. And what does it say? The Government will be on his shoulders.

It will be.

So the gold, the frankincense and the myrrh weren’t random. It was a mindset within the way Jews think about scripture. They know that this passage in the Song of Songs is prophesying the return of the exiles. The disciples knew about it, they asked Yeshua, ‘At this time are you going to restore the kingdom? Are you going to gather them in?’ And he says, ‘It’s not really for you to know that right now.’ And when Yeshua is challenged in the Temple during the time of Chanukah, he’s asked a very specific question, and he gives a very specific answer. He starts talking about sheep. Tomorrow we’ll talk about those sheep and how the exiles actually do get home.

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 90 (The Seven Shepherd Vs The Red One)

Maybe a better title would be The Circumcised Heart vs The Red One.

In last week’s epsiode, we referenced the Jewish expectation of the Seven Shepherds during Chanukkah. It explains why Yeshua (salvation) was challenged specifically about his Messiahship during Chanukkah at the Temple:

Bare Your holy arm and hasten the end for salvation – Avenge the vengeance of Your servant’s blood from the wicked nation. For the triumph is too long delayed for us, and there is no end to days of evil, repel the Red One in the nethermost shadow and establish for us the seven shepherds. 

The siddur explains the key players of the Chanukkah liturgy: “The Red One (Admon) refers to Esau/Edom, whose descendants brought the current exile. The seven shepherds of Micah 5:4 will conquer Israel’s oppressors.” (Scherman, p. 832) The Red One whose descendants brought the “current exile” is Rome. In Daniel’s vision of the Beast, Rome’s iron legs were mingled with clay in the feet and toes, representing the many beast “systems” that have now infected the nations of the world.

The Chanukkah prayer refers to the Seven Shepherds and Eight Princes prophecy of Micah, which gives us a glimpse of how the Kingdom of Heaven will one day defeat and repel the infected world systems. The central shepherd of the seven is thought to be David, and the eighth of the princes to be Messiah. (Micah 5:5)

Although Roman Christianity went to a solar calendar and began to observe “Christmas,” they retained the date of the 25th (although it now fell in a solar “month” of December instead of Kislev). Their holiday still includes original Chanukkah symbology associated with prophecy and its institution as a second Sukkot: shepherds and sheep, the birth of a king, a prince of peace, a sukkah, a light to the nations, etc. as depicted in the Gospels. When King Messiah returns and re-calibrates the earth with its Scriptural calendar month, Chanukkah will not be so hard for them to understand. They’ve been awfully close to the Chanukkah prophecies of Messiah in the Books of Haggai and Micah all this time!

King Messiah will rule and reign during the Seventh Millennium, preparing the world for the Eighth Millennium, a period associated with “circumcision.” A circumcised heart no longer struggles against the Spirit of its Creator and no longer desires to dominate the Creator with its own will. The Red One is simply the great world systems attempting to keep human pride over its Creator alive and dominating the rule of the world (or so it may seem).

The Feast of Trumpets (Rosh HaShanah) kicks off the fall season of feasts that includes Atonements and Sukkot. Sardis, which represents Rosh HaShanah in the Book of Revelation, literally means “Red Ones.” Enemies scatter when the Torah goes forth on Shabbat, and the Red Ones along with the Wicked One are scattered in winter, Chanukkah.

The other mention of “winter” in the Brit HaChadasha (New Testament) was the inquiry addressed to Yeshua in the Temple:

At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then gathered around Him, and were saying to Him, ‘How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.’ 

King Solomon dedicated the First House, so it was no accident that Yeshua was questioned in the portico of Solomon. Are you the Prince of Peace? Are you the prophesied Eighth Prince King Messiah? “The Jews” ask Yeshua if he is the 8th Shepherd Prince desired at Chanukkah to deliver the Temple from the Romans, Edom, the Red One, The Wicked, the Abomination that Causes Desolation. Because Messiah Son of David is the last of the seven shepherds, the Jews say that it is time for Yeshua to speak plainly…and he did! 

Yeshua spoke of himself as the central Shepherd, the Son of David, calling sheep, but he says that the doubters cannot hear his voice. In the desire for short-term deliverance from Rome (also called Edom), the doubters had forgotten long-term salvation spoken of by the prophets in the context of the Seven Shepherds. Deliverance from the Red One is not merely deliverance from Rome or any other regime in a given generation, but deliverance from the Red One within the man that wars against the Ruach Adonai (Spirit of Adonai).

Apart from the Ruach, the man is nothing more than a human who conforms himself to the image of the beast-serpent, icons in Revelation that are familiar to Bible readers. Because Adam and Eve disregarded the Spirit of the commandment and conformed themselves to the soul-driven desires of the beast, they fell to their earthy, animal nature. Without the Ruach, what differentiates a man from a beast? Such a man becomes a Red One, for his base substance was taken from the earth (adamah) like a beast, and the earth’s Hebrew root is also the root of the color red (adom). 

Like every human being who has ever lived, those who challenged Yeshua in the Temple at Chanukkah were looking for the “Red One” to be vanquished outside of themselves. If only Assyria, Babylon, Greece, or Rome could be vanquished… Those things, however, are outside the control of the individual. The Red One within is under control of the individual with the help of the Ruach HaKodesh, the Comforter sent from the Father. 

The serpent-beast appeals to a human being at the level of his soul (appetite, emotion, desire, and intellect). He entices the soul to dominate the ruach within a man. If the serpent can seduce the man with his “red” desires to dominate the Ruach within, then the beast is the victor. The man’s ruach, however, longs to connect with the Ruach HaKodesh, the Spirit of God that sets him apart from the animal kingdom. The evil inclination may be described as that animal soul striving against obedience to the spiritual commandments, for Paul writes that the Law is spiritual. 

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 89 (The Red One in Winter)

In last week’s episode, we reviewed the essential understanding of the red beast, Esau (Edom is from adom, red), or The Red One, as he came to be called within Jewish literature. The Red One holds a place of special concern during the Chanukkah season because of the Seven Shepherds and Eighth Prince prophesied to deliver Israel from invading enemies.

In The Seven Shepherds: Hanukkah in Prophecy, I demonstrated how we can use Yeshua’s template concerning celebrations like Chanukkah and even learn prophecy, especially expectations concerning The Red One. What helps as well is to understand the history of Israel and the Temple that lends insight to the First Century Jewish mindset. In this case, the month of Kislev, or the Ninth Month, is one in which the Greeks installed an abomination that causes desolation idol on the 15th of Kislev and offered sacrifices to the abomination on the 25th of Kislev.

Once the Greeks were driven off, the Temple precincts were purified from the abomination, the Temple was rededicated to holy worship on the 25th of Kislev in an eight-day celebration. The eight days of celebration and re-dedication commemorated a missed festival of Sukkot due to the abomination. In effect, it became a “Sukkot sheni,” or second Sukkot, a “makeup” permission established in the Torah when a festival was missed due to uncleanness or being absent from the place of celebration.

By the time of Yeshua, the Greeks, who were the third beast kingdom, had been replaced by Rome, the fourth beast kingdom. Rome was thought to be descended from Esau, and was called Edom, The Red One. First Century Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were controlled by the Romans politically and militarily. Jews of the First Century were looking for the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Seven Shepherds and Eight Princes who would be raised up to defeat Edom. This is why at the Feast of Dedication (Chanukkah) in winter, Yeshua was asked whether he was the Messiah or not. If so, then they wanted him to declare himself, raise up his kingdom, and overthrow The Red One.

When Yeshua answers by talking about sheep, it is not a rambling, random answer. It is rooted in the Jewish expectation of The Seven Shepherds, and very precise. The problem was that no one wanted to hear the answer, which was that there were many other sheep who would have to be gathered first. The gathering would take a long time, and the scarlet beast would not be completely overthrown until Yeshua gathered them. Like most of us, the listeners didn’t want to hear that answer. Our mindset is: Destroy all evil right now!

What follows is an additional section of The Seven Shepherds:

In the New Testament, there is only one other mention of “winter” other than the mention of Yeshua walking in the Temple at the Feast of Dedication, Chanukkah. Words means things, and so does their placement. The winter celebration of Chanukkah was significant in its placement in the Book of John, not random. Likewise, the other mention of winter in Matthew adds more context to the apocalyptic Jewish expectations of Messiah.

Therefore, when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains…But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath.

There are two times that Yeshua doesn’t want his sheep to take flight: winter or Shabbat. The Jewish liturgy gives the rationale. Every Shabbat, the Torah, the covenant Word of God, is removed from the ark and held up for the congregation to see. The congregation responds with these words initiated by Moses:

Arise, O Lord, and let Your enemies be scattered; and let them who hate You flee from You. From for Zion will forth the Torah, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Blessed be He, Who in His holiness gave His Torah to His people Israel.

Those who flee and scatter from the Holy One on Shabbat are His enemies! Shabbat is the Waterloo of spiritual battles, for it is the eternal sign of betrothal between the Holy One and Israel. The wicked are destined to scatter on a great Shabbat to come.

Why not flee in winter? The only significant date in winter is Chanukkah. The synagogue liturgy reinforces the apocalyptic nature of the feast:

Bare Your holy arm and hasten the end for salvation – Avenge the vengeance of Your servant’s blood from the wicked nation. For the triumph is too long delayed for us, and there is no end to days of evil, repel the Red One in the nethermost shadow and establish for us the seven shepherds.

The siddur explains the key players of the Chanukkah liturgy: “The Red One (Admon) refers to Esau/Edom, whose descendants brought the current exile. The seven shepherds of Micah 5:4 will conquer Israel’s oppressors.” (Scherman, p. 832) Yeshua did not want his sheep to be scattered on Chanukkah, for it would mean that they were running from him, the Shepherd Prince!

…to be continued!

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Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 88 (The Red One)

The Red One is a monster you already know about. In the Book of Revelation, the scarlet beast is a fearsome creature, hunting the children of Israel. It is a conglomerate beast of Babylon, Persia-Media, Greece, and Rome. How The Red One unfolded through history from Day Six of Creation to Esau to the Edomite/Idumeans to the Roman Empire to the current conglomerate of organizations that facilitate the scarlet beast is important to understand. It helps the reader understand the Scriptures as one continuous, unfolding prophetic text.

Oddly, The Red One holds a place of special concern during the Chanukkah season because of the Seven Shepherds and Eighth Prince prophesied to deliver Israel from invading enemies. This is also concerning because so many believers don’t understand the place of Chanukkah in prophecy, preferring instead to debate whether it is “adding to the Torah” instead of studying its seeds in the Torah and Haggai, and even how it unfolds in the Gospels and Revelation.

In Truth, Tradition, or Tare?, I demonstrated Yeshua’s approach to “man’s traditions” and how some he observed and others he dismissed. Better yet, I gave the reader a template to use based on Yeshua’s teaching so that one could test traditions against the pattern. In The Seven Shepherds: Hanukkah in Prophecy, I demonstrated how we can use Yeshua’s template concerning celebrations like Chanukkah and even learn prophecy, especially expectations concerning The Red One.

What follows is the first section of The Seven Shepherds’ chapter entitled The Red Shadow. As we delve so deeply into the prophecies of the Footsteps of Messiah, sometimes it helps to review the basics for newcomers:

The Torah holds the Seed words from which the rest of the Older Testament (TANAKH) and Newer Testament grow. Those books of Scripture between Joshua and Revelation document traditions grown from the Torah. In fact, even the Torah seeds the idea that customs will grow from the Torah itself:

Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.

This ancient battle between Esau and Jacob is a Seed pattern demonstrating both the struggle of mankind and the practice of traditions to preserve the memory of a Seed event in the Torah.

The sensitive areas of both the foot and the hand are symbolic in Scripture. The foot, specifically the heel, represents the soul. In Hebrew, the soul is the nefesh. The shortest definition of the soul is a bundle of appetites, emotions, desires, and intellect. The heel becomes very hard and calloused, but the sole (Hebrew: caph) remains highly sensitive. When Jacob is born, he is holding onto red, hairy Esau’s heel, pointing to the place of Esau’s vulnerability, his appetites. The heel is the point of vulnerability to Eve’s “seed,” yet the point of vulnerability to the serpent-beast is the head, the symbol of the spirit.

In his appetite for the “red stuff” and Canaanite women, Esau is both hardened predator and vulnerable prey, like a beast. He hunts for game and that which pleases his soul, and this is exactly how Jacob deceives his father Isaac out of Esau’s blessing and bargains with Esau for his birthright in Genesis 25. His soul appetites were what made Esau the prey, for all that is needed to bait a Red One like Esau is food, the hunt (competition, games), sexual pleasure, emotional pleasure, or intellectual achievement. Being governed by these desires instead of mastering them with the Spirit are the beast’s vulnerabilities.

Esau represents the red stuff, a rowdy soul seeking pleasure and achievement. When Jacob returns to the Land to face Esau, he struggles one night with a “man,” whom he declares has the face of God, and Jacob names the place of the wrestling match Peniel. This struggle resulted in Jacob being smitten in the thigh socket, the caph.

Before Jacob could face his twin Esau, he had to wrestle the Esau within. Jacob was notorious for relying on his own heel, which in Jacob’s case, was the hardened intellect of his soul, to obtain the result he wanted. Jacob, too, needed for his spirit to prevail over his red soul in order to conquer Red One within, for this is a competition worth winning. It changed Jacob’s walk to do so, as it will any disciple’s walk when he practices walking after the Spirit instead of his soul. When a disciple walks in the Spirit, it is with the sensitivity of the sole of his foot to the Spirit, not the vulnerability to his red desires.

In Revelation Three, the fifth assembly is Sardis. It literally means “Red Ones.” In rabbinic tradition, Esau (Edom) is the Red One, for he was born red and hairy all over like a beast, and Esau’s Biblical nickname Edom comes from adom, or the color red. The Sardinians are singled out as conforming to the image of the hairy beast Esau, a man controlled by his appetites.

The Seed of the Torah hints to the principle of the first born beast, for in Day Six of Creation, the beast was created first, yet the second-born man was created to rule over the beasts, for the man was made in the image of Elohim, who is Spirit.

When he walks into to his father’s tent not knowing that Jacob has already deceived his way to the blessing, Esau tells his father, “I am your firstborn, Esau.” Because his father Isaac has been deceived through his own red soul, his vulnerable appetite for wild game, the Red One Esau is right on target. Isaac began his walk with the God of his father Abraham by sowing seed in the field and reaping a hundredfold, yet at a critical time of rendering the blessing to the firstborn, Isaac is vulnerable to the appetites of a man who hunts in the field instead of sowing seed in it!

These are critical links between the serpent, the most cunning beast of the field (Gen. 3:1) and the man of the field, Esau (Gen. 25:27).

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