The 5 W’s and an H of Holiness- Session 1...Read More
Category: Torah Class – Hollisa Alewine
One of the most distressing…if not THE most distressing thing…about learning Torah within a community is that it too frequently leads to learning Torah outside a community. In our livestream on Shabbat, I plan to present a simple overview of leadership principles that may help you whether you are a congregational leader, home fellowship leader, family leader, or just want to learn how to be a good follower.
Those community principles are often challenged because we don’t have good study tools in our toolbox, and without them, we can adopt all kinds of variations of understanding and practice from a single commandment. Those variations become divisive when it affects what the community can observe together.
In this week’s newsletter, I’d like to pass on to you what I spent lots of time and money learning in college. No charge! It can be of tremendous help when navigating through divergent understandings of Scripture. If we understand the difference between meaning and significance, it could squash a lot of arguments over what a Scripture means, especially when we look as smug as our friend up there when we’re convinced we found THE explanation instead of ONE explanation.
For instance, over the last couple of years, we’ve been studying the Song of Songs. It is a parable, poetry, song, commentary, elucidation of Torah, and prophecy, so it is rich in symbolism, and we’ve enjoyed deriving lots of interpretations of each verse’s significance based on passages with similar context and even Hebrew wordplay. When one encounters Biblical symbolism, it is important to remember:
When parsing a passage of Scripture, the application of wordplay should not derive a new meaning even though a new significance is expected.
Let’s review these two principles of hermeneutics and the definition of hermeneutics.Read More
“A canopy (apiron) has King Solomon made for Him, from the wood of Lebanon. Its pillars he made of silver; its covering was gold, its seat was purple wool, its inner side was decked with love by the daughters of Jerusalem.” (So 3:9-10)
This week, we continue from last week’s lesson on the chariot of King Solomon. If you didn’t have a chance to read it or print it, click here. We’ll weave in a couple of themes from this week’s Torah portion, Vayera, particularly the second time Avraham calls Sarah his sister and the binding of Isaac on Mount Moriah.
Vayera “and appeared”
2 Kings 4:1-37
There is an old parable of the king’s daughter that explains some points of the developing relationship between the King and His daughter, Israel, from the time He removes her from Egypt to the time He brings her across the Jordan into her inheritance. (Midrash to Shir HaShirim 3§15)Read More
Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 45 – (Time Travel in the Footsteps of Messiah Pt 2 & Chariots of Fire)
If the picture of Israel coming up from the wilderness to cross into her inheritance is of the tribes, then those tribes are guarded and surrounded by those among them who can expertly wield the Word of Adonai, full of the Spirit and flowing with its Rivers as promised by Yeshua during the Feast of Sukkot (Jn 7:38). Even in the “terrors of the night,” the exile, these warriors commit themselves to protecting against the flood of evil that threatens the holiness of the House of Israel.
“The sixty mighty men-these are the sixty myriads (600,000) that came out of Egypt from the age of twenty years and above/below.” 3§14
“Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.” (Ex 12:37)
“But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet You have said, ‘I will give them meat, so that they may eat for a whole month.’” (Nu 11:21)
“…even all the numbered men were 603,550.” (Nu 1:46)
“…a beka a head (that is, half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary), for each one who passed over to those who were numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for 603,550 men.” (Ex 38:26)
Why the disparity in the Midrash? Is it sixty myriads of mighty men above the age of 20 or below?
The Midrash points back to the exact wording of the text from Song of Songs 3:7:
“…sixty warriors around it, of the warriors of Israel.”
?????? ???????? ?????????????? ????????? ?????????? ?????? ???? ??????????? ???????????
The repetition in the verse describes sixty warriors from the warriors of Israel. The Hebrew preposition and prefix mem is read as “from,” so “from the mighty warriors of Israel.”
If there were sixty myriads in the wilderness 1) at the time of the Exodus, then the prophetic implication is that at the time of 2) the greater Exodus, there will be sixty myriads of mighty warriors descended from the original sixty myriads of the twelve tribes. As the verse could also describe 600,000 immediate descendants under the age of twenty, children from the original 600,000, so it could describe descendants of Abraham and Jacob who would also become sixty myriads of mighty warriors surrounding those traveling to the Promised Land.
“I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face. Just as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord GOD…and I will purge from you the rebels and those who revolt against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they reside, but they will not enter the land of Israel. So you will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek 20:34-36; 38)
Although many have been instructed in the Word, a day of judgment is coming for mankind. Either we will accept the measures of the Word in the wilderness of the peoples, or we will rebel against them, just as many Israelites did in the wilderness. Those who “come up” from the wilderness to reign with King Messiah will be those who accept the Word and agree to remediate any misunderstandings or gaps in understanding so that they may be faithful judges with King Messiah. From the Creation, the appointed times were set as measures of iron so that mankind could thrive on earth.
This helps us to draw an inference pertaining to the Creation Week.
On the First Day, Light was separated from darkness, and the earth had light, but not dependent upon sun or moon. Plants grew in the Light on the Third Day. In Revelation, plants once again grow in this supernal Light. (Re 21:23-26; 22:2; Ezek 47:12)
On the Fourth Day, the sun, moon, planets, and stars were put in place “for the sake of the moedim.” This proto-prophecy alerts us to the fact that there would be exiles of the night in which we would no longer spiritually discern the appointed times as in the Kingdom of Heaven, but would instead depend upon signs in the night. The shomrim (guards of the Torah and especially Shabbat) and sovevim (night watchmen) know the night watches.
This significant day of Creation was emplaced within a Creation that already had Light!
In CG Workbook One, you learned of the play-on word of moed, “from eternity.”
The moedim are spiritually-discerned times, discernible from the Beginning, and discernible at the End, without the need of the natural substance of the heavenly bodies.
Although they were put as signs in the heavens, placing too much emphasis on the minutiae could lead one to forget that strife over such things may lead him/her AWAY from the goal of developing the spiritual perception of what time and times actually are: openings for obedience that stands eternally. In the reign of King Messiah Yeshua, mankind will regain the wisdom of the stork, who knows her “moed.”
Even the stork in the sky knows her seasons [???????????]; and the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane keep to the time of their migration; but My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Je 8:7)
What we learn of the moedim in natural time, we simply transfer into the realm of supernatural time, which does not depend upon the physical signs of sun, moon, or stars. It is spiritually discerned:
I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Re 21:22-27)
There will be no “night” there, which means the inhabitants are no longer subject to the nights of exile from the Holy City Jerusalem.
And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever. (Re 22:1-5)
The fruit will still be borne according to “time,” the months, yet a perception of the month beyond the physical world is granted to those who eat of the tree of life and are healed by it.
So is the Torah a Tree of Life or a Sword? Is the Word a rod of iron or an ageless support of Truth?
It’s never been a matter of whether the Torah was life and instructions in godliness. It’s only ever been a matter of how mankind perceived its seasons and brought forth its fruits. As we come up from the wilderness of the peoples, we travel in Clouds of Glory, or as the rabbis call them, Sukkot of Glory. We learn the Torah of Moses. We bring forth fruit with the Spirit promised by Yeshua at Sukkot. We aren’t just marking time in the wilderness of the peoples; we are dwelling in Sukkot, a privilege we celebrate as the seventh moed, a number of completeness.
Each Sukkot, the ushpizin, or Seven Shepherds and the Eighth Prince ask, “How have you dwelled in Sukkot of Glory?” Have you dwelled in what masquerades as reality, the natural world, or have you dwelled in the Spirit of Glory, using the natural world as a mere vessel and glimpse of that Kingdom for which you prepare each day?Read More
Are you a beginner to the feast?
Are you “seasoned” in the feast?
Did you literally travel to Jerusalem, or did you travel to Jerusalem in your sukkah?
Our Sukkot trip to Israel was, as usual, filled with “kisses on our cheeks” from the Holy One, especially a visit from the ushpizin! I’m sure, however, that your Sukkot was filled with joy and wonder as well, whether it was in your backyard sukkah, on the apartment balcony, or camping with like-minded believers. While I would have loved to spend an evening with each one of you during Sukkot, reflecting on how our last several newsletter lessons from the Song of Songs was preparation for our “coming up and out of the wilderness” celebration, we’ll have to settle for a review via email. Next year…in Jerusalem!Read More
Song of Solomon 3:7-8
“Behold, it is the traveling couch of Solomon;
Sixty mighty men around it,
Of the mighty men of Israel.
“All of them are wielders of the sword,
Expert in war;
Each man has his sword at his side,
Guarding against the terrors of the night.Read More
Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 42 – (Shaking Principalities and Powers Part 6 : The Sorcerer’s Tail Pt 3)
As the serpent was a deceiver in the beginning, so he continues to deceiver or commit sorcery, against humankind who cling to Babylon, the first beast kingdom:
“…and the light of a lamp will never shine in you again; and the voice of the groom and bride will never be heard in you again; for your merchants were the powerful people of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your witchcraft.” (Re 18:23)
The righteous who obey the Word with the power of the Ruach HaKodesh will never illuminate the way in fallen Babylon again, for they have risen into the Garden, their inheritance. The merchants’ “witchcraft” deceived the nations, and the vehicle was the “powerful people of the earth,” those who controlled the leopard-spot systems perfected by Rome. Here is the reference information on witchcraft:
pharmakeía, from G5332; medication (“pharmacy”), i.e. (by extension) magic (literally or figuratively):—sorcery, witchcraft.
Outline of Biblical Usage
the use or the administering of drugs
sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it
metaphorical of the DECEPTIONS and seductions of idolatry
Before we condemn all medicine and the entire medical system, let’s put pharmakeia in context.
The Hebrew cognate to pharmakeia is our familiar word for flaming ministers of fire: lahat.
Its root is also lahat, the flame of fire that describes the ministering angels or the consuming fire of Elohim. Oddly, the same flaming fire can describe both heavenly ministers of fire and sorcerers:
“Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they too, the soothsayer priests of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts [?????????????].” (Ex 7:11)
Drugs can be sorcery when we misuse them to deceive into disobedience of the Word. They deceive us into engaging in immoral, deathly, hopeless, faithless behaviors that perpetuate slavery to sin and death. Poisoning, however, is an important definition because the wormwood poison of Israel is to HEAR the Word, yet in their hearts believe that Elohim would not judge them for their sin!
“Now it is not with you alone that I am making this covenant and this oath, but both with those who stand here with us today in the presence of the LORD our God, and with those who are not with us here today (for you know how we lived in the land of Egypt, and how we passed through the midst of the nations through which you passed; moreover, you have seen their abominations and their idols made of wood and stone, silver and gold, which they had with them); so that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood. And it shall be when he hears the words of this curse, that he will consider himself fortunate in his heart, saying, ‘I will do well though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart in order to destroy the watered land along with the dry.’ The LORD will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the LORD and His wrath will burn against that person, and every curse that is written in this book will lie upon him, and the LORD will wipe out his name from under heaven. Then the LORD will single him out for disaster from all the tribes of Israel, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant which is written in this Book of the Law.” (Dt 29:14-21)
Drugs to treat a legitimate health issue are not sorcery! In most cases, they are not ideal, but they can preserve or prolong life. Drugs, however, are frequently used to transgress the boundaries of life as defined in the Word, creating “soul trafficking.”
If a human being wants to be deceived or blur the lines of obedience, then drugs offer a way to tap into a realm forbidden to human beings. Drugs must be used with caution because they can be illusionists, like sorcerers, that enable belief that death is life. Perhaps this is why the Greek pharmakeia reflects the Hebrew lahat, a flaming minister of fire. This fire will destroy those who attempt to manipulate it for evil and rebellion, just like those who hear the Word and poison their hearts into determining that there will be no judgment for sin. Of course there will!
The worst drug is the one with which believers (Dt 29 wasn’t written to heathens!) poison themselves, injecting a determination to sin in spite of the Word they heard from Moses.Read More
Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 41 – (Shaking Principalities and Powers Part 5 : The Sorcerer’s Tail Pt 2)
In last week’s issue of Footsteps, we explored how “sorcerers” can produce signs and wonders that imitate the Heavenly wonders. As the Footsteps of Messiah approach, even the elect must guard themselves from a particular hazard: sorcery (Re 9:21; 18:23). The Beast will be given the power to produce signs and wonders, even the ability to call down fire from Heaven like the two witnesses (Re 11:5). But is it real, or is it a sorcerer’s illusion catering to what rebellious humankind WANTS to see? Review these couplets/equivalencies: “He makes the winds (ruachot) His messengers, Flaming fire (lahat) His ministers.” (Ps 104:4) These flaming ministers of fire can consume, for they are “serving” the fire of Elohim’s judgment… We looked at a midrash commentary to Jacob’s wrestling match with the angel. At the conclusion of the night, the angel corrected Jacob’s thinking that he was dealing with a “man” all night. In fact, he was dealing with a ministering angel, a fiery minister, some believe Esau’s angel.Read More
Dr Hollisa Alewine – Footsteps of Messiah Part 40 – (Shaking Principalities and Powers Part 4 : The Sorcerer’s Tale Pt 1)
In last week’s issue of Footsteps, we considered how powers and principalities functioned in their tasks and how Israel is not like the other nations even though she is scattered among them. As the Footsteps of Messiah approach, even the elect must guard themselves from a particular hazard: sorcery (Re 9:21; 18:23).
The names of the Torah portions provide a unique narrative when we put them together week to week. Last week, it was Ki Teitze, “When you go out.” This week, it is Ki Tavo, “When you go in.” The details in the mitzvot might distract us from the spiritual inheritance for which these Torah portions prepare us: The Land of Promise, Israel, and the Garden, our original inheritance hovering just above it, waiting to be “married” to the physical territory once again.
Once the righteous are resurrected like Yeshua, once again they can navigate physical and spiritual realms as the Father designed, but they will need to have internalized the commandments that rule our exit Ki Teitze and re-entry Ki Tavo to that special place prepared for us. In preparation, Israel must study the Word so that she will not be deceived by sorcery and witchcraft, tools of the Beast. As there are holy signs and wonders, so there may be deceiving signs and wonders.
These are the words of the covenant that the Lord commanded Moses to make with the people of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant that he had made with them at Horeb. And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God. And when you came to this place, Sihon the king of Heshbon and Og the king of Bashan came out against us to battle, but we defeated them. We took their land and gave it for an inheritance to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of the Manassites. (Dt 29:1-8)
Review these couplets/equivalencies:
“He makes the winds (ruachot) His messengers,
Flaming fire His ministers.” (Ps 104:4)
These flaming ministers of fire can consume, for they are “serving” the fire of Elohim’s judgment…
“His breath sets coals aglow, and a flame goes forth from his mouth.” (Job 41:21)
“Like fire that burns the forest, and like a flame that sets the mountains on fire.” (Ps 83:14)
forest=stronghold of the beast mountains=nations
“Fire goes [“walks”] before Him and burns up His enemies all around.” (Ps 97:3)
Fire also “walks,” such as the voice of Elohim walked in the Garden seeking Adam and Eve after they sinned. The enemies are saviv, encircling, as the Rivers did the Garden. The cheruvim, flaming ministers of Elohim, were placed at the entrance of the Garden with flaming swords to prevent re-entry and access to the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden. This information helps us to understand that there is proper and authoritative spiritual fires who perform the will of Adonai. The more we walk in the Ruach, the more we can differentiate between ministers of holy fire and deceivers who may appear to work wonders in fire.
Let’s turn back a few lessons to re-examine Yeshua’s sheep speech and how it relates to Jacob’s wrestling match with the angel. Yeshua, when questioned as to whether he was the Messiah at Chanukkah, started talking about sheep knowing his voice. Tradition says that the wrestling match with Jacob and Esau’s angel began with sheep!
This is strange, but it explains Yeshua’s sheep speech as a clarification of Kislev 25 when the Mishkan (Tabernacle) to house the Divine Presence was completed in the wilderness, surrounded and covered in the “Clouds of Glory” or *Sukkot of Glory. The Feast of Dedication was Chanukkah in winter. The context s not just an allusion to the celebration of Chanukkah as a “Sukkot sheni,” like a second Passover which could be celebrated if a person were unclean or on a far journey. Chanukkah became a Sukkot sheni after it was missed due to the Greek Abomination that Causes Desolation. For the whole story, see The Seven Shepherds: Hanukkah in Prophecy.
The setting of the challenge to Yeshua was significant, for if the Mishkan were completed during Chanukkah, then as Messiah, Yeshua would be the one who would unite the twelve tribes and lead them out of the “wilderness” of exile into their inheritance, destroying all their foes. Yeshua’s answer to the challenge of his authenticity was a sheep speech.
This is from the Midrash Rabbah:
The angel appeared to Jacob that night at the Jabbok stream as a shepherd and robber chief. “This one (Jacob) had sheep and that one (the angel) had sheep. The angel said to Jacob, ‘Bring across the Jabbok stream what is mine, and I will bring across what is yours. The angel brought across Jacob’s flock in the blink of an eye…” 3§6
With that illustrative story in mind, now consider Yeshua’s answer:
At that time the Feast of the Dedication took place in Jerusalem; it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area, in the portico of Solomon. The Jews then surrounded Him and began saying to Him, “How long will You keep us in suspense? If You are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep. My sheep listen to My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus replied to them, “I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?” The Jews answered Him, “We are not stoning You for a good work, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God.” Jesus answered them, “Has it not been written in your Law: ‘I SAID, YOU ARE GODS’? If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be nullified), are you saying of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” (Jn 10:22-38)
The “blink of an eye” reference in the Midrash points to Yeshua’s “eternal life” statement. We will be resurrected to eternal life in the blink of an eye. Yeshua is the holy flame that protects the Father’s sheep so they may re-enter the Garden of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob’s inheritance.
The Midrash goes on to tell how Jacob kept going back across the stream, and there would be more sheep…all night long! The night is the exile. Finally, Jacob realized it was sorcery, an illusion that there were more sheep each time, and he said, “Sorcery! Sorcery! You are a sorcerer, for sorcerers are successful at night!” 3§6
Jacob’s sheep would have followed him, for they knew his voice. These other sheep were “Esau’s.” They belonged to The Red One. Once the illusion was discovered, the angel knew the day was breaking, and he revealed himself to Jacob.Read More
What was unique about the exodus from Egypt was that an entire NATION was taken out of another one. Such things may happen after a defeat in war, but typically it is not an entire people group. In the case of the exodus, the entire nation of Israel was removed from another country. Unprecedented! It is so unprecedented that the Torah documents it so we can understand the greater exodus. Miraculously, Israel will be removed from all the nations where they are scattered. Intact. It is such a big deal that it is mentioned three times (Dt 4:20; 1 Ki 8:51; Je 11:4) in reference to Egypt as the “iron furnace” of refining. Israel who passes through the fire in the “wilderness of Egypt” will be brought out intact:
“…which I commanded your forefathers on the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, ‘Listen to My voice, and do according to all that I command you; so you shall be My people, and I will be your God,'”
Egypt was a “pre-wilderness” to refine out those who had fallen too far into idolatry to even begin the wilderness journey to the Promised Land:
“I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; and I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter into judgment with you face to face.Just as I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you,” declares the Lord GOD…and I will purge from you the rebels and those who revolt against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they reside, but they will not enter the land of Israel. So you will know that I am the LORD.” (Ezek 20:34-36; 38)
An incredible refining takes place in the wilderness of the peoples, but the good news is that it is preparatory to the journey home! The rescue from “Egypt” will follow the first refining process. However, as in the days of the first exodus, some will rebel in the greater exodus, and they, too, will not cross the borders of their inheritance. From furnace to furnace.
The first miracle in the journey, however, is how an entire nation was removed from Egypt; in the greater exodus, it will be how an entire nation is removed from all the nations.Read More
In last week’s issue, we took a simple look at how angels function in their tasks. In this issue of Footsteps, we will consider how powers and principalities factor in those tasks. Also, we’ll see how Israel is not like the other nations even though she is scattered among them. How Israel is supposed to interact (or not) with those powers and principalities over the nations is related to the shaking of those powers to prepare for the Footsteps of Messiah and a greater exodus from the nations.Read More