Shabbat Bible Study for January 20, 2018
©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 2 Sabbath 44 – 20Jan2018
Lev. 25:1-38 – Jer. 36:6, 32:6-27, Eze. 34:1-31 – Psalm 88 – John 10:1-33
Lev. 25:1-7, 20-22 – Today’s Torah portion is about Sh’mithah [Sabbath] and Yovel years. Schottenstein’s Chumash has a very good prefatory statement on pg.174. Moshe must have been visiting Sinai, either by going up to it or by entering the Tabernacle’s ‘spiritual space’, all the time, for this passage is a few months after he’d come down from Sinai with the 2nd set of tables. As we are to rest from our labors on the 7th day of the Shabbat cycle, so we are to let our land rest on the Sh’mithah years. And, as we are to number the 50 days to Shavuoth by 7 sets of 7 day Shabbat cycles and celebrate the Feast of Weeks on the 50th day, so we are to number the 50 years to the Yovel by 7 sets of 7 year (Sh’mithah) cycles and then allow the land another year’s rest as IT celebrates ITS ‘Feast of Shavuoth’ on the Yovel year. When Israel came into the land they never kept a Shabbat year, which is the reason Y’hovah gave for exiling Judah into Babylon for 70years.
In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of Y’hovah came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. (Daniel 9:2)
For thus saith Y’hovah, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. (Jeremiah 29:10)
Since it was the land that was to rest, this commandment is for Israel to perform when they would enter Canaan, not before – and technically, not after they were exiled from the land, either. But when Y’hovah gives a command, I think it is always wise to follow it, even in exile. He said, “When you come into the land that I give you.” He did not say, “will give you”, nor did he say, “have given you”; the gift is present tense in the same way as ‘by his stripes we ARE healed’ is present tense. That means he is constantly giving it to Israel – it is a perpetual gift. The gift itself is constant and is, therefore, not subject to time/space/matter constraints. Like our life in Moshiach, it dwells in Y’hovah outside of this creation; it neither ages nor requires anything to sustain it; as Moshe fasted 40 days and nights on Sinai and neither aged nor hungered nor thirsted. The gift of haAretz is eternal, but the commands to be performed are temporal and related to Israel when it dwells baAretz – in the land.
The command was to plow and plant and harvest the land for 6 years and then, in the 7th year, to let the land have its own Shabbaton, just like we were to work for our living for 6 days and then, in the 7th day, to rest. In this 7th year, they were not to actively farm the land, though they could go into the fields and use the produce of it, whatever came up of itself, for their immediate needs. They could USE the produce, but not engage in commerce with it. That should not be a problem for them, though, since Y’hovah promised that he would give them 3 years’ worth of produce in the 6th year of the Sh’mithah cycle to carry them through the 7th year and up to the harvest at the end of the 8th year, the 1st year of the next Sh’mithah. Do you see that Y’hovah is using the SAME pattern here as he used in Ex.16? If they used the 6th year as a preparation year and allowed the land to have its shabbaton, they could use the 6th year’s abundance for their staple and also use the produce of the fields for fresh fruit and veggies in the Sh’mithah for their immediate use (no canning or putting up for storage in the land’s Shabbaton), after which they could farm the land again and reap its harvest the next year. This also illustrates that there is no sin in eating that which you pick for your immediate use on the Shabbat, as Yeshua’s talmidim did on a couple of occasions.
I can understand why a sight walk would influence Israel to NOT keep the Sh’mithah. I think that when they saw the produce of the preparation year they thought, “If this land gives this much produce every year, we’ll be rich!”, and that induced them to plant in the Sh’mithah year. But it was Y’hovah’s intent that everyone and everything in his land would take a sabbatical, including his land. Covetousness reared its ugly head, in my opinion, and the land never saw a national sabbatical (though I assume that godly men, like Boaz, personally honored them and probably were prospered for doing so). They did not, as a nation, apply the lesson of the Shabbat cycles of days to the Shabbat cycles of years. They are beautiful illustrations of each other. Q&C
Vv.8-19 – What does ‘Yovel’ mean? The Hebrew word is H3104, which denotes a trumpet, properly a silver shofar, from the root 2986, yaval, which means to flow or bring, like a river flows bringing the water of life. The silver shofar blast was to keep flowing, bringing the good news of redemption to the Israelite bondservants. I think that means the blast would as closely as possible approximate the blast heard from Sinai in Gen.19-20 on Shavuoth – one long and increasingly louder, quavering blast.
Y’hovah was announcing Israel’s deliverance from her bondage and to her inheritance in Mt. Sinai. It was equivalent to the nation’s initial Yovel, which was to be remembered and reinstated every 50th year. The Yovel also was meant to teach Israel that they did NOT own the land, but were its tenants. The Landlord, Y’hovah, would not allow permanent change of ownership. If you sold anything of the land, it was only the produce of the land – and that, at most, only until the next Yovel. One COULD sell the produce of the land until the next Sh’mithah, as well. But noone could sell his inheritance in perpetuity. So, in the Yovel year the silver trumpets announced the release of all debt and the reinstatement of all lands let for a price. It seems that an Israelite could let himself and his land into indentured service for a certain price commensurate to the length of time until the next Yovel. If he were to come into enough money to redeem himself, he could do so with no questions asked.
The Yovel year was an additional Shabbaton year, so in the 6th year of the 7th Sh’mithah, Y’hovah would have to produce enough food to feed the people for 3+ years; the rest of the 48th year, all of the 49th and 50th years, and the 2nd year of the new Sh’mithah until the harvest. Israel never found out if Y’hovah could or would do so, because they never kept a Shabbat year, much less a Yovel baAretz, in the land.
Vv.23-38 – The land was an inheritance from Yhwh and was ultimately still His possession. Each family inheritance was a trust from Yhwh to that family and they were to pass it on to their children. It could NOT be sold to anyone else. The PRODUCE of it could be sold for a specified time [until Shemitah or Yovel], with the understanding that it would revert to the inheritors after that time. And the land’s produce could NOT be sold to a ‘stranger’, but ONLY to a brother Israeli. The word [v.24] KJV translates as ‘possession’ is may’achuztho מ׳אחזתו, and the root, achaz אחז, literally means ‘to take personal hold of’; and the word KJV translates as ‘redemption’ is g’oolah ג׳אלה [root ga’al ג׳אל], literally ‘to release’ as from danger or ‘to ransom’. To sell a piece of Yhwh’s inheritance in perpetuity is as if your child or spouse was kidnapped and you refused to do anything to get him/her back. And for that reason Yhwh says we are to ‘redeem’ it as soon as practicable if we do have to sell its produce for a time.
The means by which we are to keep the land in the family and tribe is by helping our less well to do brethren through the rough patches as prescribed in vv.25-28. The sale of produce was only until the next shemitah, at the longest. If the one who sold his produce is able to redeem it early he is pay only what remains of the possession, i.e.; if he sold the produce for 5 years, but is able to redeem it 3 years early, he pays back 3/5s of the original purchase price of the produce. Whatever happens, the land reverts to the original inheritor in the Yovel.
Property within a walled city is not subject to the instructions on redemption after the appointed time, one year from the date of sale [vv.29-30]. The property seller has a 1-year right of rescission; he can rescind the sale any time in the 1st year. Afterward, the sale of walled city property is in perpetuity. If there is no wall [v.31], the land in the towns/villages are handled as if they were in the countryside and cannot be sold and reverts to the original inheritor in the Yovel or Shemitah.
A Levi [v.32-34] can sell his Levitical city property, but, since the Levitical cities are the inheritance of the Levi’im, that property reverts to the original Levi family in the Yovel.
In vv.35-38, even the ger toshav can apply these provisions, if he needs to. He is to be treated as a brother, not a stranger. If the ger toshav needs relief, he may sell his produce and repurchase it when he can or it will revert to him in either the shemitah or Yovel. A Native Israeli may not charge the ger toshav interest on the loan, for that is what all this passage is about, but must treat him as a brother. To ensure they obey, Yhwh once again cites the ‘enabling clause’ which shows His right to demand compliance; “I am Yhwh Elohechem, who brought you forth out of Mitzraim to give you the land of Canaan and to be your Elohim.” Q&C
YirmeYahu 36:6 – In vv.1-2, Y’hovah gave YirmeYahu total recall of everything he had prophesied to the government of Israel. Then Y’hovah moved on his prophet to go ‘over the King’s head and directly to the people. That is what we see here. YirmeYahu was in prison for what he’d prophesied to them, so he gave the order to Baruch, his scribe, to write it in a book (I think the one we are reading from right now) and to go and read ALL that Y’hovah had prophesied against Israel to the kings and priests through YirmeYahu. And Baruch followed his orders. In v.9, what Baruch told the people moved THEM enough that they were in a fit to tar and feather the king. So the king called for a national day of prayer and fasting.
YirmeYahu 32:6-27 is ONE of the prophecies that Baruch read in the people’s hearing in the court of the Beit haMikdash. Y’hovah had revealed ahead of time that Chaname’el, his cousin, would come to him to redeem his uncle Shallum’s property, for YirmeYahu had the right of redemption. Shallum was the 4th son of king YoshiYahu (1Chron.3.15), the last righteous king of Yehudah, so for Shallum, the king’s son, to be YirmeYahu’s uncle, he must have married YirmeYahu’s Levite aunt. YirmeYahu was a son of Pinchas, son of Elezar, son of Aharon and had been in training for the High Priesthood when Y’hovah called him to prophesy. Now, YirmeYahu had been prophesying in Y’hovah’s Name that Israel would be taken into captivity and exiled into Babylon, but that they would return in 70 years (cf. Daniel 9.2 and YirmeYahu 29.10, quoted above).
Now it was time for YirmeYahu to put his money where his mouth was. Chaname’el, and by extension haSatan, was testing him to see if he was REALLY a prophet of Y’hovah. He didn’t hesitate, knowing 1) it WAS his duty to redeem the land, if it was in his ability to do so and 2) that Yehudah would be back in just a little over 70 years. Of course, by that time, Shallum’s land would have reverted back to him and YirmeYahu would not see anything for his redemption price, but he also knew that he would stand blameless before Y’hovah. This was a perfect example of how Y’hovah wanted the kinsman redeemer ordinance to be done – with no thought of how it would prosper the redeemer, but how the land would be saved for the principle heir. Remember also that YirmeYahu was a religio/political prisoner (v.3), which I expect we are going to see happen pretty widely in the near future. How would he be able to WORK the land he was purchasing? There was NOTHING in this redemption for YirmeYahu except obedience to Y’hovah.
Chaname’el means ‘Elohim has favored’. Shallum means ‘exact retribution; to requite’. Perhaps the whole ‘redemption’ idea was a way for Shallum to secure retributive justice, to his mind, for the negative prophecies YirmeYahu had pronounced against Jerusalem and Shallum’s brother, king TzedikYahu (Y’hovah is righteous). See what YirmeYahu told Baruch, the honest scribe that EVERYONE trusted, in.vv.13-15:
13 And I charged Baruch before them, saying, 14 Thus saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth, Elohim of Israel; Take these evidences, this evidence of the purchase, both which is sealed, and this evidence which is open; and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days. 15 For thus saith Y’hovah Tzavaoth, Elohim of Israel; Houses and fields and vineyards shall be possessed again in this land. (YirmeYahu 32.13-15)
The king and his family knew that the end of their line was in sight. Chaname’el knew that the land would not be used, but the king’s family and the priests would be carried off to Babylon in the first wave of exiles, as YechonYahu had been about 20 years before. So, he sold it to YirmeYahu, thinking they would never be back to haAretz or the city. So, after the transaction had been duly witnessed, all the evidences subscribed, and the signatures in ink and the ink blotted dry, YirmeYahu told Baruch to put the contract in the nearest thing they had to a safe, because they were coming back. It would be about 50 years or so, but it was possible that even YirmeYahu and Baruch would personally return. His prayer to Y’hovah rehearsed the Exodus and Y’hovah’s power and outstretched arm. He as much as told Yehudah that they STILL were not trusting Y’hovah, even though they were finally believing the prophecies Y’hovah had given YirmeYahu. They had given up their false optimism and the expectation that Y’hovah would deliver them from Babylon because of whose sons they were, rather than because they actually believed that they had to obey his Word and were willing to do so. Shades of 21st c. CE ‘believers’, eh? Like the Mexican banditos in the movie, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, “TORAH!? We don’t need no STINKING Torah!” Q&C
Yechezkel 34.1-31 – Yechezkel’s prophecy reiterates YirmeYahu’s above. He takes the priests to task for their self-seeking attitude and disobedience to their proper duties before him. They feed off the people’s offerings, taking more than Torah allowed and thereby robbing the people of their portion of the offering and robbing Y’hovah of his portion. TSK has this comment on v.2;
The shepherds of Israel, signify their kings and princes, priests and prophets; the flock, the whole of the people; the fat and wool, the tithes and offerings, taxes and imposts: these they exacted with great rigour, and even oppressed and destroyed the people to enrich themselves; but they bestowed no pains to provide for the welfare of the state, or for the souls of those entrusted to them. They knew nothing about their flock. It might be diseased, infirm, bruised, maimed, strayed, or lost, for they watched not over them.
The people were not being led in Torah instruction or observance. He gives example in vv.3-6, and pronounces judgment against the civil and religious rulers in vv.7-9. Notice how He repeats Himself in v.7 and v.9. Anytime Y’hovah repeats himself, you may be assured that it will come to pass
Then, in vv.10-16, He begins to tell of how he will recall chol Yisrael from their exile, with or without the ‘rulers of the people’ doing their part, which ruler’s part is to protect His flock. Since the shepherds won’t keep watch and bring warnings to the flock of impending doom, but instead take more than they are due and enrich themselves at their flocks’ expense, He, the Chief Shepherd [1Pe.5.4], is going to call the flocks out of their exile [v.12] and bring them to their own land. By that I take it that he will deliver chol Yisrael to their tribal inheritances in the Land through others, not of the shepherds he is addressing. Kefa implores the elders [rulers] of Yeshua’s flocks in
1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Mashiach, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2 Feed the flock of Eloha which is among you, taking the oversight, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over Eloha’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. [1Pe 5.1-4]
It is the responsibility of every shepherd to guide and guard the sheep. The shepherds of Yisrael were feeding off the sheep. But the Great Shepherd [Heb.13.20], Y’hovah Yeshua haMashiach, gave himself willingly for His sheep. In TTRT’s studies of the in the land leaders of Yisrael, we have seen that not ONE of them was up to the job. The Great Shepherd IS. The prophecies that tell how He will bring us out of exile are too numerous to list, but here are a few references to look up; Yechezkel 11.17, 20.41, 28.25-26, 37.21-22, YirmeYahu 23.3-4, 8. YeshaYahu 11.11-16. That list is NOT exhaustive.
V.16 is full of exile imagery; lost, driven away, broken, sick; and it ends in judgment for the self-serving shepherds/elders of Yisrael who allowed, perhaps caused, the exile to happen.
In vv.17-21, He is still speaking to the elders, but calls them His flock. They are being called back to His service BY the judgment He pronounces against them. Yhwh is ALWAYS about teshuvah [return, repentance] and tikkun [repairing, straightening, reconciliation]. They know the scriptures and His righteousness [tzedikah], though they have not served Him or His flock as they should. But they can turn back to His Ways and perform their proper function. Then He will judge between the ‘fat’ cattle and the ‘lean’ cattle; those of the flock who do their teshuvah and repent and those who do not or grow worse; the fat and the lean. The way I see it, the lean cattle are those not after Ruach haKodesh who drive away the sheep who are after Yhwh’s heart. He is going to rescue His flock [v.22], by one means or another. He would prefer that his appointed shepherds would repent and recall the flock they have been given to oversee. I’m sure that He will use those called out and set apart for the service as shepherds to do much of it. Rav Sha’ul reiterates Zeke’s call to all of us,
18 And all things of Eloha, who hath reconciled us to himself by Yeshua haMashiach, and hath given to us the ministry of tikkun; 19 To wit, that Eloha was in Mashiach, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of tikkun. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Mashiach, as though Eloha did beseech by us: we pray in Mashiach’s stead, be ye reconciled to Eloha. 21 For He hath made Him sin for us, who knew no sin; that we may be made the tzedikah of Eloha in Him. [2Cor.5.18-21]
I think vv.23-24 is speaking of Millennial Kingdom, and ultimately of the Olam Haba, the world to come.The flock in the Millennial Kingdom will have the Chief Shepherd on His throne and His resurrected Talmidim as local shepherds that truly DO care for their flocks. David can be seen in a lot of ways here; resurrected king David or High King [think Narnia] Mashiach Yeshua or both on their respective thrones. Remember that king David was dead these 400 years in Zeke’s day. Everyone knew he was speaking of the prophetic, end of days, future and Mashiach ben David. Everyone was watching for Him to appear. One generation about 2K years ago had it right. And the chief shepherds missed him when he was here because they were like the shepherds of Zeke’s day; caught up in the trappings of greatness and luxury and not willing to humble themselves and give it all up.
Vv.25-28 can refer to nothing except the Olam Haba, a creation in which nothing exists except tzedikah, righteousness. Look at the conditions that will exist; Shalom will be ubiquitous, evil beast will not exist, one camping in the wilderness will have nothing to fear; [v.26] inhabitants will be a blessing, their homes and towns will be a blessing, the blessings will be as ubiquitous as the dew; the trees [v.27] will yield fruit after their kind and the earth will universally germinate and produce its grains, berries, other edibles; there will be no fear of invasion or harm from the outside, because Y’hovah shall rule through Yeshua haMashiach. The last oppressor[s] will be vanquished in the Rev.20 judgment that I see in v.27, where the guilty will be annihilated in the Lake of Fire, and the New World that replaces the old will know no sin or iniquity. The inhabitants of the Olam Haba [v.28] will dwell safely because there will be none without a renewed nature, who might threaten the Shalom that exists.
1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [Rev.21.1-2]
Vv.29-31 says there will be a plant of renown. Could this be any other than the Tree of Life that will grow in the New Jerusalem that will come down out of Heaven, as we are told in
1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, the tree of life, which bare twelve fruits, yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree for the healing of the nations. [Rev.22.1-2]
I don’t know about you, but … I CAN’T WAIT!
Tehellim 88.1- The psalm opens with Y’hovah Elohei Yeshuati – Y’hovah, my Mighty One’s Salvation, or My Mighty One is my Deliverer. To my mind, this is Yeshua’s full Name. The psalmist is calling on Y’hovah to deliver him and his nation from their trouble. The trouble may have been the one addressed in the title of this Psalm, which says A Song, a Psalm for b’nei Korach on Machalath [afflictions] L’anoth [of the eyes], which to me carries the idea of the nation taking stock of their sin and repenting of them. The opening verses bear that out. Vv.3-9 hold a list of metaphors for exile from haAretz Yisrael; the grave, the pit, among the dead, like them who lie in the grave, cut off from Y’hovah’s hand, in darkness, in the deeps, afflicted w/waves, far from acquaintance, abomination, shut up, affliction.
Vv.10-12 speak of a dead body in the grave, where none gives Y’hovah glory or witnesses to his mighty works and ways. All men will be resurrected and Y’hovah will receive all men’s glory. The choice we have is to do so willingly and give him the praise he is due in our true submission and obedience on THIS side of the grave or to make grudging and feigned, fearful submission just before being thrown into the Lake of Fire to be dissolved in the nuclear conflagration. EVERY knee will bow to Y’hovah’s glory. The question is, “How?” The idea of Yeshua speaking to the spirits in prison may have come from this and similar passages of scripture and apocryphal books like the Maccabees, Enoch and others. While a dead body cannot praise Y’hovah, the spirit of a man severed from the body may yet be able to do so. The author certainly knew of the resurrection. V.11 speaks of the only 2 possible outcomes for the dead, resurrection or destruction, eternal life or eternal death. An annihilated soul and body cannot praise anyone or thing. From the Lake of Fire, the only declaration that will be made is “Yeshua is Y’hovah, Master of Life”, but by then it will be too late to affect any deliverance and the 2nd death will be on the verge. Deliverance from sin and death can only be affected in THIS life. Vv.11-12 have all Elohim’s wonders revealed to the sons of disobedience and the despair that parts their lips is palpable.
In v.13, the psalmist says that he will be praying every morning, first thing, but even at that, Y’hovah is waiting – his early morning prayers do not fall on deaf ears. They do not go ahead of (prevent) Y’hovah, he is there awaiting them. The condition of the exiled believer is discouraging. But our exile is not capricious or without reason. Our fathers went after other gods and were cut off from Y’hovah’s light. We were born in bondage and await our deliverance from exile. While in the far off darkness of affliction, the outlook is bleak, unless we keep his promises to bring us back into his presence if we will repent and start to seek his face and way. Q&C
Yochanan 10:1-33– From my study in the Life of Yeshua haMoshiach ©2003-2014 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries, in which I used the Harmony of the Gospels found in the Thompson Chain-Reference Bible and “The Tree of Yeshua’ Life” for an outline.
(153-155). Parable of the Good Shepherd Jn.10.1-17 – The monologue continues, as Yeshua teaches about who his true followers are. In fact, he hardly takes a breath between Jn.9.41 and Jn.10.1. He was talking to the Pharisees who were with him, whom he said were still in their sins. It looks like the beginning of this part of the narrative was at Jn.8.12 – the light of life reference. These events all seem to have happened over the course of a few hours, or days at most. He started in 8.12 with the light of life, which I think refers to the ‘shamash’, or servant, candle on the Chanukkiah, and in 10.22 we see that it is still the Feast of Dedication, or Chanukah, which is also called the Feast of Lights.
He started with ‘they who do not enter at the door into the sheepfold’ being robbers and thieves. These can be likened to the tares among the wheat in Mat.13.24-30, 36-43,
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
36 Then Yeshua sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear,
or the wolves in sheep’s clothing in Mat.7.15 and Acts 20.29.
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
They don’t enter by the strait gate and walk the narrow way, striving for the mastery (2Tim.2.5).
4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
Please note that the tares and wolves is sheep’s clothing may THINK they are members of the body and in their conformity they certainly look good outwardly – until seedtime. We are told in Jn.14.6 that there is only one way to the Father, and Yeshua is that way. He is the strait gate. That gate meets each of us on our own life’s roads at different places and is wide enough for one person to enter at a time; the entry thereto is personal, not corporate. We are not saved in droves, but by little and little. And each of us has his own personal road to walk, as personal as the gate that allowed us entry. We are all different and we all are on a different road when we receive our gift of life by entering that strait gate, which is Moshiach. For any to insist that each of us walk the exact same road after we are saved would be silly. We walk by the same rules to be sure, but my way may lead me by a different route and through different trials than yours leads you. It is our goal and rules that are the same, not the paths we must traverse. Q&C
But thieves and robbers try to get us to look away from the goal, to rob us of the joy that is set before us. They bring in doubtful disputations, even doctrines of devils to steal away our peace. For this cause we are to study to show ourselves, not others, approved, workmen that need not be ashamed and rightly dividing the word of Truth, which these robbers profane with their vain babblings. Others are on a different road to the same goal. They are to show themselves approved by rightly dividing the Word of Truth. That word is the same, the goal is the same, the rules are the same, and the route is different for each of us because we all enter at a different point along the way. Our way is the shortest distance from the point of entry to the goal. My way may seem strange to you, or yours strange to me, but if we are both striving toward the same goal by the same rules using the same word of Truth, we will never be at cross-purposes, and we will have great fellowship in the Spirit of Abba, our Father. And therein lies the rub of heresy and denominationalism. A man is not a heretic because he sees scripture from a different perspective than I do. Indeed, that is a given. He is a heretic because he doesn’t believe what he reads and adds or diminishes from the word as it pleases him. He has attempted entry without the gate. And so we study to protect ourselves from robbers and thieves. Therefore, do not follow me because I’m ‘holy’ in your eyes, or ‘smarter than the average bear’. If anyone is to follow anyone else, it must be only as he is following Yeshua. It is much better to follow after Yeshua and not any man
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also of Moshiach. (1Cor.11.1)
17 For the kingdom of Elohim is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in Ruach haKodesh. 18 For he that in these things serveth Moshiach acceptable to Elohim, and approved of men. 19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. (Rom.14.17-19)
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Moshiach Yeshua my Master: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung, that I may win Moshiach, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of ma’aseh/tachanoth [works/enactments], but that which is through the faith of Moshiach, the righteousness which is of Elohim by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect [accomplished]: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Moshiach Yeshua. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but one thing [he has grabbed hold of this], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Moshiach Yeshua. 15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, Elohim shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, the enemies of the cross of Moshiach [NOT the tree on which he was hanged, but his mission; the reason he submitted to the stake]: 19 Whose end destruction, whose Elohim belly, and glory in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, Y’hovah Yeshua Moshiach: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (Phil.3.8-21)
24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some they follow after [later]. 25 Likewise also the good works [obedience to Y’hovah’s Toroth] are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid. (1Tim.5.24-25)
9 But they that will be rich [monetarily] fall into temptation and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 11 But thou, O man of Elohim, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. (1Tim.6.9-12).
After all, it is Yeshua who gave his life for you, not me or any other mere man. You can never implicitly trust any mere man with your soul and your spiritual health. Only Yeshua has your best interests at heart all the time. When you start trusting someone else to lead you safely through the pits and speed bumps of life, and don’t keep your relationship to Yeshua through the Ruach haKodesh you let yourself in for a big disappointment and fall. We all need to keep our eyes on the goal. Remember what happened when Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, and others of their ilk fell. Many fell away from the faith. Others went on like there was nothing wrong, forgetting about discernment. This all came about because their eyes were on men and not the goal of the high calling of Y’hovah in Moshiach. I think, those men were (and some still are) hirelings, not shepherds, who cared more for the riches derived from the sheep than for the sheep themselves (2Pe.2). That is, of course, my opinion and it could be wrong, but I also think that I have the mind of Moshiach on this.
If the above is true, those who follow after these hirelings are not wise, to say the least, may even be tares for, according to Yeshua’s words in v.5, ‘a stranger they will not follow.’ If they were truly following after their shepherd, they would not be following some hireling. They would know his voice and follow him. One who is led by Ruach haKodesh will discern very easily those who are after their ‘geld’ and not the heart of Abba. Q&C
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
True followers of Yeshua know the truth and follow after it, for Yeshua is the Truth, even as he follows after Avinu in all things. Yeshua was and is truly a man after Elohim’s own heart, as we ought to be. And so we should follow after him with others who are following after him, thereby drawing both physical and spiritual strength and encouragement along the narrow way toward the prize. We need each other to help keep the truth and the goal in our sights.
“Other sheep I have”, says Yeshua in v.16, “not of this fold.” The children of Yehudah, the Iuaidoi [Jews], were the ‘this fold’ he spoke of. A little history lesson follows. After the death of Solomon (Shlomo), the people of the 10 northern tribes asked Rehovoam, the new king of Yisrael, to give them a little tax relief. The Temple was built and paid for, as were the fleets in Aqaba and the Med, so there wasn’t any need for the high taxes they were paying to maintain services. The high taxes were just there to feed the greed of the king and his young cronies. These cronies advised that he lay heavier taxes on the whining people (so they could party all the harder), while Shlomo’s counselors advised a tax cut. Being a young man, full of P&V (‘pride’ and vinegar), he took the advise of the young men, and told the people he was going to make it even worse for them. They of course, did the Boston Tea Party thing and left him holding the bag (pun intended), which became decidedly less full than it would have been had he relented.
I think all of the people would have left him, except that the portion of BenYamin was where the meeting took place and was under Yehudah’s military occupation [of course, the prophet had told Shlomo that his son would keep Yehudah and BenYamin]. At any rate, Yerovoam became king of the rebels, and he immediately instituted a false worship system to keep the people from going up to Jerusalem for the feasts and thereby reunite with Yehudah. In other words, he did it for political gain. He had two golden calves made, called them Y’hovah, and placed them in Dan and Bethel. Then he instituted a false Feast system, having the 10 tribes come to Dan in the 8th month instead of Jerusalem in the 7th for the feast of tabernacles, as prescribed by Y’hovah. These feasts and elohims had been called by the name of Y’hovah, but the system was not Y’hovah worship. It looked like the Egyptian/Canaanite religions, which in fact it was. They had the form of godliness, but denied the power thereof, like the present celebrations of Xmas and Easter, which were foisted on us by our friends in the RC denomination. Just putting the name of Y’hovah on something does not sanctify it. Just saying, ‘in Yeshua name’ doesn’t make it holy. Taking the name of Y’hovah or Yeshua is not just invoking the name as a type of mantra, but is accepting the character and authority of that name for its sake. This false worship in the name of Y’hovah was and is a perfect example of what was meant by, ‘Thou shalt not take the name of Y’hovah Elohecha [thy Elohim] in vain.’
This denial of the power of the worship of Y’hovah led to their utter defeat in battle, and their being carried away into Assyria to be totally assimilated and integrated into the pagan culture. Y’hovah said, in effect, “You want to worship idols? Well, here you go!” The 10 tribes were absorbed into the heathen nations of the whole earth. Will he do any less, now?
Of course, as is usually the case with Abba, this was a curse to Ephraim/10-Israel, but a blessing to the world. In Gen.12, Avram was promised that in his seed all the nations of the world would be blessed. This was part of the reason Y’hovah allowed Israel to go into idolatry, so he could scatter the children of Israel to the 4 winds and be able to call them out from among the nations in the last days. The 10 tribes are integrated into the nations of the earth and their vast majority has no idea they are descendants of Avraham. Only Yehudah, Benjamin and Levi, the Jews, can properly trace their heritage to Avraham. But Abba knows who are his, even those of us who are gentiles, the sheep of the other fold. He is calling all of us, both Jew and gentile, back to himself and will form of the two folds one flock with one shepherd, as he prophesied in Ezekiel 37.15ff, Zech.14.9 and here in Yochanan 10.16.
Vv.17-18 tell us a lot in light of the previous verses. It is by his laying down his life that it is possible to reunite the two folds into one. Before the death and resurrection of Yeshua, gentiles had to conform to all the Toroth, including the sacrificial system, to be saved. Now, in Moshiach, all have ready access to the throne of grace through the blood of the New, or rather re-newed, Covenant. I say renewed because the greek word for new in Hebrews 8 is kainos, which speaks of freshness, not something neos, or brand new with respect to age. It is the same covenant made fresh by the blood of the Lamb.
What was the covenant? We spoke briefly of it in the last section. The covenant is not the Torah. Torah is the conditions of life in the covenant, not the covenant itself. The covenant is based in the belief (Avram believed Y’hovah and it was counted to him for righteousness) that in Avraham’s seed would all the nations of the earth be blessed (Gen.12). This was reiterated and expanded in Gen.15, where it was solemnized in the blood of animals. The covenant has both physical and spiritual implication. It deals with all of Avraham’s physical descendants whereby I think all the nations may literally be descendants of Abe and thereby blessed. And it deals with the one true spiritual seed, Yeshua Moshiach, by whom all have access to the throne through his blood, if they so choose to approach. Remember that any approaching by any other avenue are thieves and robbers, even ‘Jews’ or ‘Xians’. The new (also can be translated freshened or renewed) covenant in Jer.31.31-34 is to the house of Yisrael (that’s us gentiles) and the house of Yehudah (that’s the Jews) – two folds, two houses, made one in the blood of the new covenant – and it will go into physical effect in the millennium (v.33, ‘after those days’ prophetically means after ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’) into which all who enter will be keepers of the Torah. Some will obey due to fear of the consequences for disobedience, and some will have it written on their hearts. This will also apply to their offspring. If they also accept the conditions of the new covenant – to have the Torah written on their hearts, which implies that they want it written there, they will willingly comply. Abba is no bully who will force his will on anyone. They must choose to be bound by the covenant even as we must to be saved. If they choose to comply by force, they will rebel at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.
You see in vv. 17-18 that Yeshua was also given a choice. He could lay down his life if he chose, or he could keep it. No one could force him to give it, not even Abba – especially not Abba, but he had the power to give it, and thereby had the power to take it up again. There was a condition placed on Yeshua’s power by Abba. He had to lay down his life before he could have the power to take it again. This was his exercise of faith by which we were saved. This was a large part of the faith of Yeshua. Our Father promised him he had power to do it, and he believed it. It hadn’t ever been done before, that a man could lay down his own life and take it back up by his own power. That took faith. And it is that faith that is referred to in
21 But now the righteousness of Elohim without the law is manifested, being witnessed by Torah and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of Elohim by faith of Yeshua haMoshiach unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Rom.3.21-22)
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law [ma’aseh haTorah], but by the faith of Yeshua haMoshiach, even we have believed in Yeshua haMoshiach, that we might be justified by the faith of Moshiach, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Gal.2.16)
22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Yeshua haMoshiach might be given to them that believe. (Gal.3.22)
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of Torah, but that which is through the faith of Moshiach, the righteousness which is of Elohim by faith: (Phil.3.9)
12 Here is the patience of the saints: here they that keep the commandments of Elohim, and the faith of Yeshua. (Rev.14.12)
The faith of Yeshua haMoshiach is the promise of his resurrection power. He took his life up again and has power to raise me up also. I was, am and will be saved by the faith of Yeshua and NOTHING else. Q&C
These sayings caused dissension, in vv.19-21, among the Pharisees that were following him. I think he was weeding out the sign-seekers from among them. Notice I said the sign-seekers, not the sign-readers. Those who were reading the signs he showed were convinced that he was no madman or devil worshipper. The healing of the FBM [formerly blind man, ch.9] proved that to them. Those who followed him simply to see wonders performed were offended by his saying, “I have power, given by my Father to give up my life and to take it up again.” They were driven by their own curiosity or lust to seek signs. They were not driven by Ruach ha Kodesh, or Holy Spirit, to seek the truth of Abba. Those who were reading signs knew Tanakh and were after the truth. They, driven by the Spirit of Truth, saw the scriptures fulfilled and they believed.
The same cannot be said for the sign seekers and the Jewish leadership. In vv.22-31 we see their reaction to his teaching. Remember that the events of Jn.8.58-59 were only a few hours, at most a day, ago. The same feast of Chanukah, the feast of dedication or of lights, was going on as in 8.12.
They said, “If thou be the Moshiach, tell us plainly.” He said, [Mp], “Why should I waste my breath? Look at the wonders I’ve performed in the name of Y’hovah. If you don’t believe me, believe the works that you’ve seen with your own eyes. The very wonders you’ve seen should tell you who I am without me saying so.” Others had come in the past, some quite recently, claiming to be Moshiach, who had, in their pride, brought reproach on the Word of Truth, not being able to deliver on the promise of deliverance from the gentile occupiers. Their very claims had been arrogant, and I think, the Pharisees were probably waiting for his claim so they could denounce him as just another false Moshiach. He was offering the kingdom, but he must first die for the sin and sins of the world before he could be their King. They wanted a political savior, not a spiritual Saviour; a savior from slavery to Rome, not a Saviour from slavery to sin. He knew that and would not put himself in that political position by claiming to be Moshiach in so many words, for he knew they would be misconstrued.
He makes the point with a return to the sheep/shepherd metaphor. He says [Mp], ‘You don’t believe me because you aren’t my sheep.’ He’d told them that the father had given him sheep to bring into the fold, but that they weren’t among them. Did he deny them the ability to believe? No, repentance was still open to them, but he did know they wouldn’t because of the hardness of their hearts, their arrogance and pride at being the ‘Chosen People of Gaw-awd’. He’d told them earlier that his sheep followed him because they knew his voice. They didn’t recognize the voice of the Father speaking to them, and so they would not believe.
Then he told them that he would give his sheep eternal life. Noone but Y’hovah could give life. He was saying he would give eternal life; the same kind of life Y’hovah had given Adam and Eve in the garden. He also said that no man would take them from him by force or subterfuge, and that no man could take them from the Father by force or subterfuge. The word ‘pluck’ would seem to indicate something done quickly, like a surgical strike by commandos. The greek word is harpazo and means to seize. It is the same word used in 1Thes.4.17 and translated ‘caught up’. It has to do with taking something from someone who has been watching for an attack
1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. 3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. 4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. 5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto Elohim, and his throne. (Rev.12.1-5).
In other words, he’s expecting an attack from Satan and his minions, and that attack has come over the last 2000 years in the form of temptation – to wander to the left or right of the way, to espouse false doctrines, to submit to others than Abba, to compromise with the world for the sake of comfort and approbation, among others. We need to be constantly on the alert to these things in our own lives that get our eyes off the prize.
Then he said the thing that eventually got him killed, “I and my Father are one.” He said, in Hebrew or Aramaic (which is the dialect of Hebrew used by the people at that time – Yeshua did not speak greek as a general rule), ‘aniy v’avi echad.’ This is very similar, when you think about it, to “Y’hovah Elohenu Y’hovah echad”, and their reaction is understandable, indeed required from their perspective. By saying this he unequivocally placed himself in a direct relationship to the Father in heaven. He was claiming deity. And so, out come the stones again. I’ve probably said it before, but it makes me crazy when people say that Yeshua never claimed deity. They make themselves dolts, who’ve read the surface words, but never thought about what he said and what the people he spoke to understood. Had he been a mere man, this had been blasphemy. But because he was and is who he claimed to be, there was no sin done here, and no reason for a stoning.
He then used a scripture (one of many he could have chosen. He could have used Daniel 3.25, where the Masoretic Text very clearly says “l’bar elahiyn” – unto a son of the gods, or of Elohim) to make his point all the more clear. The AENT has a good commentary on Yeshua in the Talmud that I think is salient here. Cf. AENT appendix, “Yeshua in the Talmud”. Yeshua quoted Ps.82.6 [Mp], “If he called the men to whom the scriptures were given elohim, why do you say I blaspheme when I say I am the Son of Y’hovah? Have the wonders I’ve performed before your very eyes not shown that I am who I claim to be? Hey, If you don’t want to believe me, that’s fine. But you ought to believe what I’ve done to be from Abba. If you’ll do that, you’ll eventually believe that I am.” OOOO! Were they ever ticked?! They tried to get their hands on him, but he once again blinded their eyes, or disappeared, or whatever he’d done just a couple of hours before, and he escaped to the other side of Jordan and had more multitudes follow him. I think that those many who resorted to him in TransJordan were of the Pharisees, only by the way the narrative flows, perhaps some of those he’d rebuked in chapter 9. Whoever they were, they had been familiar with Yochanan the Immerser’s teaching and had been there when Andrew and Yochanan had talked to him about Yeshua in Jn.1.30ff. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study