|I hope your week was blessed. This has been a busy week for us, and I'm just now answering some emails that came in while I was away from home in October and November. We've also continued working around the house to finish our "to do" list of remodeling chores. The newly-built and freshly-stained custom shutters were lined up beautifully on the garage floor a couple of weeks ago, and imagine my horror as Shine chased Uzi across each one, leaving a mudtrail of paw prints. This week Big Daddy and I were able to install each of the shutters. I'll have to post a picture of one of the signed works of art on Facebook.
After scanning through the CG Workbook 5 Vol II commentary for this week's Torah portion, I decided it would be too confusing to take only an excerpt for the newsletter. The concepts are too interconnected. Instead I thought I'd continue with a sample of some additions to Workbook Three, the Spirit-filled Family. I posted a bit of it previously, so we'll pick up there for continuity. The topic is wise counsel, which is in very short supply in this generation. In fact, I can't recall many instances (if any) of a young person actually obeying the commandment to rise before an older man or woman. We've restored much of the Torah in this generation, but it seems respect for age, wisdom, and experience hasn't yet made it on the agenda.
The natural result is a generation with little respect for any kind of authority. As Abraham once said of Avimelekh's territory, "There is no fear of God in this place." A people who does not respect YHVH eventually refuses respect to people. The two are interconnected. Having worked in law enforcement for 23 years, it's troubling to see how much trouble both young and old bring upon themselves not by committing heinous crimes, but by compounding the gravity of a lesser offense by challenging any authority figure who attempts to correct it.
Such people readily admit they have "problems with authority," but I don't know that such a statement completely describes the problem. It's not that the authority figure is the problem, but that the individual wants to exercise it himself or herself. Maybe those who have problems with authority are correct, but the problem is the elevation of their own authority above anyone else's. No wonder we can't rise before the aged.
We are a people who avoid suffering and discomfort at all costs, especially emotional suffering, but suffering builds character in a way that only positive affirmations do not. Authority is derived from obedience. Obedience is experienced through suffering.
The Hebrew word for "safety" in the Proverbs verses is teshuah, a derivative of yasha, or salvation and shavah, to cry aloud for help. Good counsel should be a safe relationship that results in the freedom for the single to act or decide according to the mentor's experience in walking the Word. The counsel should improve the singles' walk, for an evil counselor or the lack of counsel will eventually result in the single's "fall." It is not safe to have an evil counselor, nor is it safe to conduct one's life without counsel.
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, (Hebrews 5:7-9)
"Piety" in the passage is Strongs G2124, eulabeia, a feminine noun which denotes caution and careful respect. Yeshua learned obedience? Why? Yeshua was the Living Word, but a word is only a word until it is tested for a obedient response in the physical world. The Spirit of Yeshua may have been slain from the foundation of the world, but Yeshua "in the days of his flesh" experienced the suffering in the flesh that results from submitting the flesh and soul to the Spirit of the Father's spoken Word.
To learn something at the deepest level is to experience it, not merely read it in a textbook. Yeshua cried out to the Father, crying out for help to be obedient. This is directly related to the word teshuah, for "safety." Obedience to the Word in the physical world will assuredly bring the suffering, but like Yeshua, a disciple should cry out for help from the Father and like-minded elders, mothers and fathers in faith. The obedience brings suffering, yet spiritual authority can only be derived from obedience.
Obedience leads to
Suffering leads to
Is there ever danger in a multitude of counsel? Yes! The Scriptural pattern of someone who can counterbalance the individual, whether single or married, mature or underage, is that the counselor can actually contribute a valid counterpoint. Job had three counselors, yet they all so closely resembled one another that it is hard to tell them apart! If a youngster only takes counsel with counselors his own age, then it really is not counsel at all, but heaping his own counsel to himself.
The habit of righteous men and women in Scripture, such as Abigail, Esther, and Abraham, was to have either naarim or naarot who accompanied them. That translates as young men or young women. While it may appear as though it is the older, wiser one who counsels and mentors the youngsters, and this is true, the younger can also offer a counterpoint to the sage. For instance, recently a very famous rabbi sent out a recorded video email message to his followers. He said he did so at the urging of his students.
I had listened to this rabbi's audio messages and read his books for a number of years, but seeing the actual person was a blessing. The kindness I'd heard in his voice and the wisdom I'd read in his words for years was also transmitted in his facial expressions. It made me appreciate the person, not just the rabbi. His students were able to influence this rabbi who was willing to learn from someone younger. Indeed, it is a blessing to behold the face of the righteous.
Youngsters, however, do not always attach themselves to a mature mentor. Because this more experienced person may not validate every thought, decision, or interpretation of Scripture, the mother or father in faith is rejected in favor of a more age-similar peer group. This is the equivalent of taking counsel with one's self. Counsel should be age, experience, and wisdom divergent. An episode in the succession of Elisha to Elijah's ministry demonstrates:
And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria. (2 Kings 2:23-25)
What is translated as "little children" is naarim ktanim. The word naar usually refers to a young person of marriageable age, so these youngsters were adolescents. Interestingly, some investigation into the Hebrew root of naar suggests the growling of a lion or the motion of the lion shaking his mane. In other words, the young men had more mouth and posturing than they had maturity! As sometimes is the case with youngsters, they had banded together to mock the balding Elisha. Had they sought counsel outside of their age-similar group, they might have avoided two angry mama bears.
Their name-calling alluded to the fact that
1) Elisha did not have a majestic mane of hair like his mentor Elijah (2 Kings 1:8), and
2) they did not believe he was as great a prophet as his mentor Elijah who went up with the chariots of fire.
These arrogant youngsters did not have the same spirit as Elijah and Elisha, whose ministry relationship was one of mutual respect. Elisha valued Elijah's mentorship so much that when Elijah was taken up, Elisha cries out, "My father; my father!" and rends his garments as one would for an earthly father. Indeed, Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16 command an Israelite to honor father and mother, and seven more times in Scripture are those verses quoted.
The most telling thing about Elisha's relationship to Elijah is that he genuinely mourned his mentor and spiritual teacher like a family member. If his discipleship was merely self-serving; that is, he merely wanted to hang around long enough to take the double-portion if Elijah's spirit and best Elijah's other disciples, then he'd have been glad to be rid of Elijah so that he could take the position of primary prophet. No. Elisha had forged a relationship out of humility with his mentor.
Later Yeshua passes mentorship of his disciple John to his own mother: "Then He said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' From that hour the disciple took her into his own household." (John 19:27) As righteous as James, Yeshua's brother, was, there was a spiritual bond between his beloved disciple and his mother, and they continued to minister the Word together even into Mary's (Miriam) old age.
Authority is derived from obedience, and the best disciples are those who obey from humble hearts that desire to ascend only in the relationship to the Father of their fathers and mothers in faith. Elisha was able to take up the mantle of spiritual authority from Elijah only because he walked so closely with his mentor. Elisha could not only bring himself to "rise up before the hoary head" in respect to his teacher, he embodied heartfelt love for the teacher as much as the wisdom and legacy of the Spirit that the teacher could pass on to him.
Pastors need pastors. Teachers need a teacher. Evangelists need to be evangelized. Preachers need to be preached to. When a minister or any other believer believes that he or she has attained a level at which no further counsel is needed, then that person has violated the examples of Scripture and is on a path to insignificance. Authority is derived from obedience. Good counselors improve the quality of obedience. They detect hypocrisy, bad timing, and any number of problems that infect unilateral decisions. Satan works in unilateral decisions, and if a peer group merely reflects one's own thought process, Satan is still working.
In seeking a mentor whose counsel will work "against" the individual, there are a few things that are valuable. The person should be a true counterbalance even though of like kind and like mind. The key is that he or she is not of IDENTICAL kind and mind. Male balances female. Older balances younger. Academics balance creative thinkers. Experience balances energy. Mercy balances justice.
Another consideration is the actual area of expertise in which one seeks counsel. If one needs academic insight, then a greater scholar should be the person of first resort. Need advice on relationships? A person with success in relationships is the wiser choice. Need guidance in negotiating congregational problems? The one with a successful congregation has the best counsel. Need business advice? Consult a successful businessperson. Although a wise person can learn from everyone, the wise choice in counselors is one whose knowledge and experience exceed the one who seeks counsel. To locate such a person is an act of humility, for a belief in self-sufficiency is the character of a fool.
Avoid the temptation to surround one's self with sycophants and "yes men." A good counselor can correct twisted thinking and disagree without destroying the spirit of the individual. Of course, it will take a lot of painful work on the part of the one seeking counsel, for sadly, human beings are hypersensitive even to the most compassionately worded criticism. Expect to die at the hands of a good counselor, but the wisdom gained will guarantee a resurrected life of spiritual significance and continuing improvement.
 Leviticus 19:32: "The hoary head" is the Hebrew word seybah, which is a feminine noun for a gray-headed, or mature person in years. The verse is a parallel verse, continuing: "Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man (zaken), and fear thy God: I am the LORD." (KJV) Although the second part of the verse denotes a male, the use of the word seybah, a feminine noun, hints that the mature female also deserves respect. In the wordplay of Leviticus 13:29 concerning the "man or woman who has an infection on the head or in the beard," even the zaken (old man) can hint to his female counterpart in certain situations. The word zaken (H2205) refers to women as well as men in some contexts in the Tanakh.
This Creation Gospel workbook series in five volumes is the Torah lessons over the weekly parashot. The Creation Gospel paradigm of the Seven Spirits of Adonai, the Seven Days of Creation, the Seven Feasts, and the Seven Assemblies of Revelation appears in each of the portions, yet the Scriptural narratives release the human struggles of the matriarchs and patriarchs, which encourages all who follow in their footsteps of faith. As with all Creation Gospel teaching, an effort is made to tie together the whole Scripture thematically from Genesis to Revelation.
Although the lessons draw from the traditional Jewish sources, the work is not designed to be a typical scholarly Torah commentary. This work delves into the human aspects of each portion or elicit points not typically addressed. For instance, is the seven-branched menorah concealed within the four Rivers of Eden? What do donkeys and camels symbolize in Scripture, and what do they have to do with prophecy? What can each portion teach that will transform lives? The Ruach HaKodesh is invited to move over the words so that disciples of Yeshua can mature in their relationships with the Body of Messiah, with the Father, and even with enemies. Recommended for both individual and group weekly Torah study. Includes study/review questions on each portion.
"Have you ever wondered what it would be like to swim at the deep end of the pool? If you are among those who desire to dive into the cool depths of Torah study, then your library will not be complete without Dr. Hollisa Alewine's workbook 5 series. This five volume set devotes each volume to one of the books in the Torah. The teachings are broken down by weekly Torah readings, making it the ideal study text for group environments. It is truly one of the few study texts which offers an abundance of material for both beginners, advanced students, and everyone in between. Based on her renowned Creation Gospel study approach, Dr. Alewine guides the reader beyond the surface-level understanding of the Bible, and into the deeper watery currents of interpretation. Not only will readers reap a harvest of Biblically-sound insight, but they will also glean the techniques by which to unveil other concealed gems of understanding. Taking a dip into the waters of workbook 5 will leave you refreshed and well-hydrated in the Word!"
Scott Aaron, Torat Chaim
Children's Home in Kenya
Children are moving into their new (Torah-observant) home in Kenya. THANK YOU to all of you who donated for construction, water tank, and beds. YOU ARE AWESOME for putting your money where the Torah is! A special "Thank You" goes to our home congregation, The Olive Branch of London, KY, for giving us the funds to finish purchasing the beds, mattresses, and sheets. We hope to post some updated pictures of the facility soon. If you would like to make a recurring donation for monthly support of the staff and food provision, see the information below under "Donations."
To all those who emailed expressing interest in the WebEx online CG course plus optional teacher training, I will be sending you an informational email either late this afternoon or early Sunday. If you do not receive an acknowledgment email by Monday morning, please resend your email to email@example.com. Click on
to create your WebEx account so you can join CG on line courses. You'll be prompted during sign up to download WebEx drivers to your computer, tablet or smartphone.
We'll be in our first editing session of the BEKY Books (easy-to-read booklets for newcomers, curious friends and family) next week, so keep us in prayer. We'll be starting with BEKY Books on Shabbat, Messianic Shabbat Service, Kosher Colossians, Pharisees: Friends or Foes?, and a few others. We have many books "cooking" in the ovens of our lady authors, including books on the menorah, intro to Jewish sources, Hebrew prayer, truth vs tradition, havdalah, mezuzah, and many others. If there's a BEKY Book you'd like to see written, feel free to send in suggestions.
For those of you who would like to make a
, you may do so by
or by check. Our mailing address is:
The Creation Gospel
PO Box 846
East Bernstadt, KY 40729
If you would like to designate to the Kenyan Children's Home, you may do so on the memo or comments line, and we will direct the donation there instead of general expenses.