Category: Understanding Torah

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


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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