Tag Archives: Yeshua/Jesus

Unleavened Bread: First-born of Israel grow in grace and knowledge

The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread pictures the beginning of a new living way. But that new living way was not joyous when Israel left Egypt — days of affliction — and our departure from our “house of bondage” isn’t either. They were learning to live in a way, and so are we.

The Messiah rode into Jerusalem on a small male donkey, on the day that we call Palm Sunday. Why was the donkey so important that God said to break its neck if you don’t redeem it by killing the lamb instead. Imagine sacrificing a lamb to save a donkey?

Today is the day that you are to redeem your first born son and make him holy. Did you know that your first born son is holy to God? Did you know that the donkey, even though it’s an unclean animal, is holy to God?

God writes His law deep in our hearts, which flow with “living water.” We are to grow in grace and knowledge as we get older. We never stop growing, even when we are very old.

Continue reading Unleavened Bread: First-born of Israel grow in grace and knowledge

John 16:16–33: Grief turned to joy

In John 16:16, Yeshua repeats the warning He would be separated from His disciples physically (Mk. 9:31–32; Jn. 7:33; 12:35; 13:33; 14:18–24; 16:5). 

The Eleven are a little confused and didn’t understand or want to understand His proverb: “you won’t see Me then you will.” The  Greek word that is translated as “little while” is μικρός mikros (Strong’s lexicon No. G3398). It’s a word that is the root of words such as micro, micron. It means something very small.  It seems to refer to the “three days” of Yeshua’s death and resurrection. It’s Hebrew equivalent is katan. For example a talit katan, is a small talit often worn as an undershirt. 

However, other Scriptural uses of mikros and related words βραχύς brachus (G1024) and ὀλίγος oligos (G3641) point to Yeshua’s time as a human and the time leading up to the Day of the LORD being a brief time (Heb. 10:37 (quoting Hab. 2:3); Jas. 4:14; 1Pet. 1:6; 5:10; Rev. 6:11; 17:10). 

Critics say that the disciples use of the word mirkos was based on their misunderstanding but that is not the case. The expectation of “a little while” is really a little while because in God’s time, all of time is “a little while.” 

Why does God keep using the term “a little while” and says He is not going to tarry, when from the time of Habakkuk to Yeshua was 400 years? Or even Moshe’s foretelling of a Messiah was over 1,400 years before He came. 

We have to live as if He is going to come today. Today, if you hear God’s voice, is when you are to respond and make your choice. 

Since the times of Moshe and Israel’s exilic prophets ― about four centuries ― the people had waited for the Coming One (ὁ ἐρχόμενος ho Erchomenos, Matt. 11:3), aka the Mashiakh.

Yeshua taught via a string of interconnected parables and proverbs that we must always be ready for the Day of the LORD (Luke 12:16–53):

“And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes.’ ” (Luke 12:42–43 NASB)

One lesson of this parable is that we are to respect other people. We are to treat those in our realm of responsibility and contact with respect today, not to wait until we get our act together. This is the point of the  “second-greatest commandment.” (Lev. 19:18; Mt. 19:19; Mk. 12:31; Lk. 10:27; Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; Jas. 2:8). 

We are to remember that we are in the presence of the Master. We are not to become obsessed with pleasure, leisure and departure. People like to “tune out” in various ways, but taking ourselves from situation doesn’t really take us away from the situation. 

Pleasure, beauty and laughter are enjoyable, but they are fleeting. Excesses lose their fun, wrinkles come, and jokes get old. Thankfully, sorrow can be as fleeting, if we let it go. What we put into the lives of others, that is what lasts through time. 

The apostles likened our training as ambassadors for the Kingdom of God to preparing for endurance in sports:

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” (1Cor. 9:24–25 New American Standard Bible Update)

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Yeshua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1–2)

If we are going to “run” as God’s servants, we have to be careful not to run faster than we’ve trained to, otherwise, we set ourselves up to get “winded” and quit. If we are running faster than the Spirit, we can exhaust that Spirit. 

Some of God’s servants have gotten so caught up in the work, they forget to pray, to take care of their house and they burn out. This is what happens when we presume that the call of God is a sprint when it’s actually a marathon.

We are racing against our former way of life before the covering of Mashiakh’s death and invitation of the Spirit of God. We are to rejoice at every milestone we pass. Yeshua repeatedly told the congregations they were to overcome. Each congregation had to overcome a different issue but they all were called to overcome to reach their goal.

As we wait for the “little while” we can see where God has changed us and moved us from the old life to the new life.  

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.” (1 Corinthians 9:24–25 NASB)

We are not racing our fellow believers in Yeshua as though we are in competition with each other. That old life lacked self-control and shrank away from persecution, leading one to want to decide the Kingdom of God isn’t worth the personal sacrifice.

For Yeshua, washing people’s feet, like the lowest slave, was not an issue for Him. He knew where He came from and where He is going. What the world considers as a high or low status meant nothing to Him. 

We are sons and daughter of the Kingdom of God. That is not a pollyanna goal that we will never attain. You are not looking at yourself as God sees you. God told Paul that He had a lot of people in Corinth. Corinth was one of the most decadent cities in the Roman Empire but God was looking at the inside, not the outside. 

The Apostle Paul in Romans 12 revealed to us the point of the offerings in the Torah: sacrifice all of what’s inside of us that keeps us from siding with the Creator of the Universe and His direction for how life works best. The Torah is not a slaughterhouse manual, it’s about a transformation of a nation and the entire world. It’s how to erase the old man or old woman and to bring out the new man or woman. 

The needed endurance training is what Yeshua had been telling the Eleven that Pesakh, recorded in John 13–15: God’s Helpers ― the Mashiakh and the Ruakh haKodesh ― are essential to starting and maintaining the new life as a guilt-free. 

Just as in the Torah, you see how leadership moved from Moshe to Joshua is similar to how Yeshua was preparing the Eleven to take over leadership. From the one who spoke to God face to face to ones who have the Spirit of God in a different kind of fullness. 

“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full.” (John 16:24 NASB)

What are we asking for? We are asking for the Helper to help us and move us into the new realm. 

Read Deuteronomy 30-32 to get the whole context just as you read John 13-17. I encourage you to feel the same emotion that is going on through a transition in leadership. Yeshua would be leaving the Eleven, but they were not going to be left behind, powerless and alone. Neither are we.

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Tammy. Because of a technical problem, there is no recording of this discussion.

John 15:25–16:11: Tag-team Comforters of Israel

Apostle Yokhanan frequently describes Yeshua’s role as Advocate and the Spirit’s role as Helper, particularly in John 14–16. The gospels of Mark and Matthew use the term a couple of times. 

The Helper not only will remind believers of Yeshua’s words but also fully bring prepare them to  comfort. 

The Greek word for helper in Jn. 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7 (cf. Mt. 10:19f; Mk. 13:11; Lk. 12:11f) is παράκλητος paraklētos (G3875), derived from the word παρακαλέω parakaleō (G3870).

God’s Parakletos for Israel foretold

In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the “Old Testament”), parakletos is used for the Hebrew word נחַם nocham (H5164, repentance) and its verb root נָחַם nacham (H5162, to breathe deeply or to sigh out of a deep sorrow). This is the kind of deep sorrow, a sorrow too deep for words that the Holy Spirit translates for us and lifts up to the Father. 

In the intertestamental literature (between the time of the writing of Malachi and Matthew), the name Menakhem, or “instrument of nacham,” is another name for the Mashiakh (Messiah, Christ). The Menakhem would be the consolation of Israel. The prophets promised return from exile(s) and foretold the coming of the Mashiakh. This idea of the Menakhem was not just someone who would come in on a horse but also one who would take away one’s distress and bring comfort. 

The Comforter is also an Advocate who speaks to us before the Father and the Messiah also is an advocate who brings comfort to His people. You see this mirrored in Revelation, when the Menakhem will take away the sorrow and there will be no more distress or anguish. 

Just as God breathed into man to become living being and to become a “reborn” person in the Kingdom of God, God “sighs” over the agony of those who suffer.

According to Scripture, both the Mashiakh and the Spirit of God act as “the consolation of Israel.”

Hated without a cause

Yeshua returned to the message of God’s Helper ― παράκλητος / מְנַחֵם. 

“They hated me without a cause.” (Jn. 15:25)

Those who persecute Yeshua and His disciples hate God, Who sent the Messiah.

The power of God displayed through Yeshua’s words, miracles and actions were in line with Messianic prophecy testify, and the Spirit confirms these by reminding us of them and putting them into the context of the plan of the Kingdom of God. The Jewish leadership were well-versed in Torah and had memorized large portions of Scripture so knowledgeable speakers could quote just a small snipped of Scripture and the hearers who were very learned would understand the entire context of the snipped quote. 

Yeshua is warning His Apostles that just as people hated Him, they will hate them too. 

This is a quotation from Psalm 35:

“Do not let those who are wrongfully my enemies rejoice over me; Nor let those who hate me without cause wink maliciously. For they do not speak peace, But they devise deceitful words against those who are quiet in the land. They opened their mouth wide against me; They said, ‘Aha, aha, our eyes have seen it!'”(Psa. 35:19–21; cf. 69:4)

What is “winking maliciously”? This is “narrowing the eyes” or pinching your eyes together. There’s a lot of angst and anger in the expression. It’s an outward sign of aggression. The Hebrew euphemism is שֹׂנְאַי חִנָּם sheyn’ai khinnam = hating graciously, i.e., freely, without cost. 

What is “hating graciously”? The Talmud gives us an insight into that phrase. Sages reflecting on the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70 also noted how “free hate” was a big problem for that generation. This hatred was like an illness eating away at the heart of the people of Israel:

“Why was the Second Sanctuary destroyed, seeing that in its time they occupied themselves with studying Torah, obeying mitzvot and practicing charity? Because in it prevailed hatred without a cause. That fact serves to teach you: gratuitous hatred weighs in the balance against the three cardinal sins of idolatry, fornication, and murder.” (Yoma 1.3.5.R–S (9b))

Yeshua touched on this issue when He rebuked them saying: 

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23 NASB)

You see this in the kangaroo court nature of the proceedings against Yeshua, Stephen and later the Apostle Paul. The Jewish court was not concerned about justice and doing what was right. They did not protect their fellow Jew but threw them to the Roman wolves.

You see this also in the story of King Saul and David. Saul knew that he had sinned so egregiously that his crown and anointing was given to David. Saul had been chosen as the leader but he was deviating from God’s instructions. God stopped talking to Saul and that pain of that silence was devastating to Saul but he took it out on David. He even tried to break into God’s back door by speaking with mediums. 

David wrote Ps. 35 during this period of turmoil. 

Israel had stopped listening to God during the Maccabean period moving into the First Century. There was a revival when the people returned to the Land after exile in Babylon but they quickly devolved after that. The people stopped listening so God stopped talking. The prophets who were heralding the consolation of Israel, the Messiah, were ignored. 

The Sages shifted their views in what the Messiah was supposed to be to the point where today there are many different views of Messiah but none of them match the truth. 

You can understand why Yeshua is quoting Psalm 35 here. The majority of the leaders thought they were doing the will of God by helping Saul chasing down David. 

Spirit convicts on sin, righteousness, judgment

The three convictions by the Spirit upon the world will be “sin and righteousness and judgment” (Jn. 16:8). 

They didn’t want to listen to God or ask for God’s help to understand what was coming. They didn’t want clarity from God. There were a few who reached out to Yeshua such as Nicodemus. There were also a group of priests we read about in the Book of Acts reached out too, but they were not the majority. 

Most of the Jewish leadership heard the words of God about the coming Menakhem–Mashiakh, but they didn’t want to listen or ask for God’s help ― Helper ― to discover and recognize God at work. They were more concerned about the Romans taking away their position than they were about knowing their Messiah. They hated Messiah Yeshua without cause. 

“and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;” (John 16:10 NAS95)

Dependence on visual signs of God’s power at work can be a roadblock to trust in God.

Yeshua said to a royal official from Capernaum who asked Him to come heal his sick son: “ ‘Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe.’ ” (John 4:48) He trusted Yeshua’s word without Yeshua being physically present with his son. That fait was rare. 

You also see that Yeshua had “breathed ― passed along ― the Spirit to 10 closest students, Thomas the Twin came in but wanted lots of physical evidence of Yeshua’s resurrection. On Yeshua’s visit to them eight days later, Thomas confesses not only the truth of Yeshua’s resurrection but Yeshua’s identity as God. Thomas didn’t even touch Yeshua to confirm. Yeshua told him: 

“Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.'” (Jn. 20:29)

This is the reason that Yeshua, the Parakletos had to leave and the other Parakletos had to come. They needed more boldness and more power now that Yeshua would not be physically present on the earth. 

“In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1Pet. 1:6–9)

This is why Yeshua had to leave. We see the immense, horrific trials that people who hate God freely do to those who trust in God, yet they trust God with their lives. For example, the martyrs who have been butchered by ISIS in Syria, Libya and Iraq are not throwing their lives away but are making a proclamation of God’s greatness. 

It is not random that the Apostle Yokhanan uses the same word to describe both Yeshua and the Holy Spirit. The people kept demanding a sign and Yeshua said the only sign you will get is the sign of Jonah. The people of Nineveh were told that 40 days and you will be dead. They repented so much that they even made their animals repent. This foreign nation had more trust in God than the nation the prophet Jonah came from.

They had a prophet Yokhanan the Baptist, they had Yeshua, they had the Apostles going two-by-two throughout the land. They had a chance to repent and did not take it. 

Everyone has a bias. There is no such thing as objectivity and detached. But you can test and see if your bias is valid or not. You can have a hypothesis but as the experiment goes, do you skew your readings to fit your hypothesis or can you acknowledge the hypothesis is wrong? 

Even those who have no fleshly connection to Yeshua can put their trust in God because of the Holy Spirit. 

“concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (Jn. 16:11) Light had come, so darkness (places unlit) must run:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jn. 1:1–5; cf. spiritual things being spiritually discerned, 1Cor. 2:14)

The English word translated as comprehend is καταλαμβάνω katalambanō in Greek (G2638), which means to lay hold of so as to make one’s own or to seize. That’s why some translations use overcome or overpower.

People shrink from the light because they don’t want their deeds to be exposed. The ruler of this world brings darkness and confusion but in the light, it goes away because of the tag-team of Messiah Yeshua and the Holy Spirit. 

You become a new person with a new heart. It’s not a matter of a list of do’s and don’ts but God changes your inclinations so that you don’t want to do what is wrong. Yeshua and the Holy Spirit knows our deepest anguish. Yeshua lived it Himself and the Holy Spirit experiences it in us. That is why the Holy Spirit can translate our deepest groaning to God for us. 

Speaker: Jeff. Summary: Jeff and Tammy.