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   And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force, Matthew 11:12. We can understand confusion as the nature of violence.
   The kingdom is still suffering violence, and the violent are still seeking to take it by force. We’re not talking about a violence of guns and bullets…but a violence of words, as deadly as guns and bullets.
   The “Hebrew
TORAH Restoration,” for want of a better cognomen, is suffering from an identity crisis. We’re talking here about nomenclature — Sacred Namers, Two-House, Messianic Torah Observant, Hebrew Roots of Christianity, etc., etc. — and such division, that rivals the protestant Christianity from which many have come out. We’re talking about four principal “works of the flesh:” variance, emulation, strife, heresies (Gal. 5:19, 20).
   Many don’t know who they are because they won’t sit still long enough under one pulpit to find out. Quite, are they, fulfilling Daniel’s prophecy:
Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased, Daniel 12:4. But in their running to and fro, they’re being tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of divers and strange doctrine (Eph. 4:14; Heb. 13:9). Always, will one only grow in grace and knowledge where he is planted. Too much moving about, transplanted here, transplanted there, produces first, confusion and then, indifference.
   Elsewhere, among some, pretending to be what they are contending to be, the outward adorning of tallets, tefillim, kephas, and tzitzits (the longer, the better … not really) are made to become a test of fellowship and, sadly, a replacement for “the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of Yahweh of great price” (1 Pet. 3:4).

Beware the Wolf
   Yes, too many instructors; too few fathers; too many persuasions of divers and strange doctrines presented on too many internet platforms. So many choices have produced so few connections and so little commitment but commensurately, made very many of them who think themselves “somewhat in conference” (Gal. 2:6) and very much of contentions, debates, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults, and strivings over Names, the Law, the calendar, etc., etc. (2 Cor. 12:20).
   The very thing which the Apostles Paul and Peter warned against, is come to pass: Brethren, ye have been called to liberty; only use not…your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness…but by love serve one another…as servants of Yah, Galatians 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:15.
   And annual convocations on unity have not been able to withstand this lawless, unruly free spirit — and the reason? Because at the heart of their meetings are the very things of contentions, debates, backbitings, whisperings, swelling, tumults, and strivings over Names, the Law, and the calendar and also, because there is yet, no King in Israel that has come to rule with a rod of iron (Judg. 17:6).
   Men first in their own cause are come into the Assembly, emboldened to speak presumptuously spurious, perverse things (the better with which to draw disciples after themselves) bringing in even, “damnable heresies...doctrines of demons...lies-in-hypocrisy” (2 Pet. 2:1; 1 Tim. 4:1, 2). They come in, proclaiming everyone his own private interpretation and putting forth ways that seem right, unaware there are some who by reason of use, have their senses exercised to discern Truth from their error (Acts 20:30; 2 Pet. 1:20; Prov. 20:6, 18:17, 14:12; Heb 5:14).
   Indeed, come are some…surreptitiously even, as wolves seeking to catch sheep and scatter them from the sheepfold (John 10:12) — Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves, Matthew 7:15 — distributing their media materials without having first obtained the imprimatur and nihil obstat (permission) of the resident presbytery of elders to do so. Their presumption but sows discord among brethren (Prov. 6:19).
   Always, one thing leads to another. Left unchecked, that lawless, unruly free spirit going up and down, and to and fro; that lawless, unruly free spirit that’s found its way into, and among the Assemblies, will become so emboldened even, to give out itself as some great one (Acts 8:9), railing upon, and disrespecting resident elders as they which have the rule, and inciting others to do so (1 Tim. 5:1).
   Presumptuously, will they usurp authority neither delegated them by Yahweh, nor by the resident presbytery, under the auspices of assigning the words of the Apostle to themselves, saying, “I magnify mine office” (Rom. 11:13). (But note well, the Apostle was not magnifying himself; rather that appointment he had received of Yahshua who had counted him faithful; enabling him, putting him into the ministry and committing to him, the glorious evangel of the Blessed Elohim) (1 Tim. 1:12, 11). And so, left unchecked, none need to doubt whereunto this lawless, unruly free spirit will grow, and already, has grown. For the next step beyond giving out one’s self as some great one, is declaring himself the great power of Elohim (Acts 8:10).

Touch Not, Harm Not Mine Anointed Prophets
   And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Master, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake … Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you and admonish you, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17.
   The Scripture says, Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father... 1 Timothy 5:1.
   Entreat? Yes. From 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, we have provided us fifteen definitions given us of LOVE. One of the fifteen definitions of LOVE is, IT is not easily provoked. (Oh, and incidentally, the Scriptures speak of only two kinds of provocation: a provocation to wrath (Eph. 6:4) and a provocation to love and good works) (Heb. 10:24). From James 3:17, we have provided us eight characteristics of WISDOM. One of the eight characteristics of WISDOM is, IT is easy to be entreated. So, we conclude that LOVE and Wisdom easily entreat and avoid easily provoking one to wrath.
   Therefore, to presume to reprove or otherwise rebuke an elder without cause of sin, is not only disrespectful, but stands the speaker in jeopardy of JUDGMENT, as it is written: “Touch not Mine anointed; do My prophets no harm, 1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15. To presume to reprove or otherwise rebuke an elder without cause of sin, is a presumptuous sin and crosses over the line.
   If ever occasion should provide with opportunity, one needs only to ask Miriam and Aaron who in Numbers 12:2, challenged the Elder, saying, “Hath Yahweh indeed spoken only by Moses? Hath He not spoken also by us?” And Yahweh heard it.
   We trust, moreover, occasion should not provide opportunity to inquire of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram who in Numbers 16:3, asserted, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and Yahweh is among them, wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of Yahweh? And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face.
   “… And Yahweh Heard It… And When Moses Heard It, He Fell Upon His Face,” why? because he knew, “It Is A Fearful Thing To Fall Into The Hands Of Consuming Fire” (Heb. 10:31, 12:29).
   Aaron, Miriam, Korah, Dathan, Abiram - They found out the hard way, that it should have been better to have very highly in love, esteemed the Elder which labored among them; who was over them and admonished them, and to have obeyed him that had the rule over them, inasmuch as he was watching for their souls, that his accounting before the Throne, could have been done with joy and not with grief (1 Thess. 5:13, 12; Heb. 13:17).
   They found out the hard way, had they been respectful of the Office, and of him who occupied the Office, they, together with “all the congregation,” might have avoided wandering the wilderness for forty years until everyone of them was reduced to carcass (Num. 16:3, 14:33-34). But of course, the unruly, lawless, free spirit won’t much care for what Yahweh says! They found out the hard way, TOUCH YAHWEH’S ANOINTED, BE TOUCHED; HARM YAHWEH’S ANOINTED, BE HARMED!
   Now, we’ll pause, right here, and digress to acknowledge what some may be thinking. “Well, what about Moses? Yahweh prevented him from traversing the Jordan into the Promised Land for having spoken unadvisedly and afterward, with uplifted rod, striking the Rock?” (Num. 20:10-11). Yeah, so what about Moses … this one whose shepherd’s heart suffered long, ten times enduring the contradiction of a disobedient and gainsaying people which opposed themselves but who nevertheless, supplicated in their behalf when Yahweh was disposed to slaying the whole lot of them and starting afresh, nation-building through his seed as he had with another elderly man, Abraham? (Num. 14:12).
   Instead, they which put forth the finger, ought to consider it was Yahweh’s mercy to permit Moses to see from atop Mt. Nebo that Land of Milk and Honey without having to continue one more day, with a people whose every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts was only how to further withstand authority. How many times, we won’t know, that perhaps Joshua, too, wished the mantle had been passed to another instead of to him.
   And from that time to this time, the only thing that’s changed in man’s disobedience and disrespect toward the authority, is man’s disobedience and disrespect toward authority has gotten worse.

The Shepherd’s Heart; Both Rod and Staff
   The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder… Feed the flock of Yahweh which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being masters over Yahweh’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away, 1 Peter 5:1-4.
   The first prerequisite, therefore, belonging to those whom He chooses and ordains and sets into Oversight Ministry is that they must possess, as Moses, the Shepherd’s Heart ... willing to spend and be spent; willing to love more abundantly, though they should be less loved (2 Cor. 12:15); willing to use both ends, the staff and the rod : to SERVE and to PROTECT. For there will be occasions when overseers have to assume positions that are uncomfortable – the staff is, after all, easier to administer, than the wielding of the rod. Always, to SERVE, FEEDING His sheep, is easier than to PROTECT them from the roaring lion come to steal, kill, destroy and devour (John 10:10; 1 Pet. 5:7), under cover of subtlety, cunning, and sleight. Always, getting one saved is easier accomplished than keeping him saved!
   Now, someone might say, “How come certain things are allowed to go on and on without the elders’ intervention?” Well, another attribute of them possessing the Shepherd’s Heart is that they, like Moses, and like Yahweh, are not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance and to acknowledging Truth and to recover themselves out of the snare of the tempter (2 Pet. 3:9; 2 Tim. 2:25-26). And perhaps each one of us should pause to consider, how long it has taken, and how long it takes, us to overcome what had, and does, so easily beset us and then, perhaps, we might appreciate the longsuffering of Yahweh’s love, and that of spiritual oversight, toward ourselves and to every other one.
   Nevertheless, the time does come, when one who being often reproved without presenting evidence of contrition and fruit meet for repentance (Matt. 3:8), will have to be shown the door with the instruction not to return unless and until, (1) Spiritual Oversight has discerned by the Measure of the Word, the Newness of Life (Rom. 6:4) apportioned him, and (2) That he will in the Assembly and in the world, behold what manner of person he ought to have been, and be (2 Pet. 3:11), by behaving himself in the House of Yahweh (1 Tim. 3:15) Whose House he is (Heb. 3:6): a holy temple, a habitation of Yahweh through His Spirit (Eph. 2:21-22).
   The Scriptures are profitable unto all things, for instruction, correction, reproof, admonition and when occasion requires, the sharpness of such rebuke that will not spare what’s in the flesh (2 Tim. 3:16, 4:2), and we may learn something of authority through a narrative that is given us in the Record.
   In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 5, the Apostle Paul addressed a matter not commonly reported, even today … a matter not so much as named among the heathen even, that a man should trespass (sleep with) his father’s wife (see Lev. 18:8). This Apostle who had spent and was spent (2 Cor. 12:15), laboring among the Assembly at Corinth for a year and a half (Acts 18:11) was included among them about whom he wrote, Besides those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the ekklesia, 2 Corinthians 11:28, was repulsed that such sin was not addressed, and the sinner corrected unto repentance or excommunicated from the Assembly. Exercising what might be thought today, an uncommon authority, he was ready to deliver the subject of this transgression over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (1 Cor. 5:5).
   (Parenthetically speaking, delivering such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh is an exercise purposed as a temporal chastisement for continuing in sin, the transgressor suffering in his flesh until he should cease from the sin that had beset him (1 Pet. 4:1) and begin to produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:11). Some, like our subject here in the 1 Corinthians narrative and Aaron and Miriam in the Numbers 12 account, repented and theirs was but a means to accomplish the end of contrition and repentance that should work redemption, salvation, and deliverance (2 Cor. 7:10). In the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, however, their deliverance to Satan might have been but temporary in duration and not had its fatal outcome, had it been accompanied by fruit meet for repentance. Nevertheless, whether but of short duration or fatal, its effect proposes to strike fear in them which give witness (Acts 5:11), lest a like thing should be imposed upon them for willfully continuing in sin.)
   But Paul, like Moses, and like Yahshua, the Chief Shepherd, had the Shepherd’s Heart...willing to spend and be spent; willing to love more abundantly, though he should be less loved (2 Cor. 12:15). But this was a situation, uncomfortable as it was, that called for the rod. Note well, his reticence: But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness… And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice… For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears… For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent... 2 Corinthians 2:1, 3, 4, 7:8. Paul’s “much affliction and anguish of heart,” however, was honored by them to whom he addressed himself, and the Assembly was as refreshed with the transgressor’s righteous repentance, and their own, as the Apostle was with the report of the same (2 Cor. 7:6-13).
   But not every matter that is become subject to the overseer’s purview is redressed with Redemptive Grace, however. For we read of other instances, besides the matter of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Num. 16): Ananias and Sapphira in Acts, Chapter 5:5, 9-10; Simon Magus, who might have fallen under the rod of the Apostle Peter in Acts 8:24; Elymas the sorcerer who in Acts 13:11 was smitten with blindness for withstanding the Apostles Barnabas and Paul; Hymaneas and Alexander, whom Paul delivered unto Satan in I Timothy 1:20 that they might learn not to blaspheme; in I Corinthians 11:30, the Apostle wrote that many there, were weak and sickly, and many slept because they ate and drank, not discerning the Passover.

Conclusion: What Will You Do?
   So, faced with the several administrations of wholesome words and sound doctrine and hard sayings come from them who have studied to show themselves approved that they might rightly divide Truth and speak as an Oracle, that which corrects, reproves, instructs-in-righteousness, exhorts and rebukes (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 4:11; 1 Tim. 6:3; Tit. 2:1; 2 Tim. 3:16, 4:2; John 6:50), “What will you do, and which way will you take? Will you endure the Narrow Way, to the end? or will you faint, stumble and fall along the broad way until you find the wide gate that opens to perdition?” (Matt. 6:13-14).
   For there were many in His day, which followed the Master but who went back and walked no more with Him (John 6:66). Maybe, they, too, had witnessed “strange things…never so seen in Israel…on this fashion” (Luke 5:26; Matt. 9:33; Mark 2:12) of Whom it was affirmed, Never man spake like This Man… How knoweth This Man letters having never learned, John 7:46, 15. But others, always just the few, would choose that Good Part: sitting at His feet, hearing His Word (Luke 10:42, 39) and having heard, and giving heed, exclaim, To whom shall we go? Thou hast the Words of Eternal Life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Messiah, the Son of the Living El, John 6:68, 69. Now, Go, And Do Thou Likewise!

-Elder John W. Reece

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