Shabbat Bible Study for December 1, 2018
©2018 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3, Sabbath 38
Devarim 20:10 – 21:9 – Yehoshua 24:1 – Tehellim 135 – Yochanan 10:1-31
Devarim 20:10 – 21:9 – Last week, we saw how Y’hovah whittled down the troop strength to make it apparent to the Israelite hosts that it wasn’t their righteousness and strength of arms, but the strength of Y’hovah’s right arm and his righteousness that would win the victory for them. This week we see that he wants them to proclaim an opportunity to live peaceably with the people they would come up against, but who lived outside their inheritances. Then he gave the parameters of that peace. If they agreed, then well. If not, “Oh, well!” – they’d made their choice. I don’t think a LOT of negative choices would be made after the initial 2 or 3. News would travel rather quickly of the stark choice AND the stark difference between the independent, self-serving government BEFORE (as seen in the US and the rest of the world today) and the very equitable government AFTER the affirmative choice was made.
Y’hovah always offers Shalom, peace; before he makes milchamah, war. Cf. Is.27.1-5, which I believe will have its greatest fulfillment at Mashiyach’s physical appearance at the end of the time of Yacov’s trouble (I don’t think there will be an offer of Shalom at the end of the Millennium – they’ll have been living in Shalom for 1000 years, which is why Rev.20.7-10 is so cut and dried, their choice will already have been made)
1 In that day Y’hovah, with his sore and great and strong sword, shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that in the sea. (HaSatan’s final defeat – Rev.20) 2 In that day sing ye unto her, A vineyard of red wine. 3 I Y’hovah do keep it; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day. 4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers thorns against me in battle? I would go through them; I would burn them together (lake of fire after Gog uMagog?). 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, he may make peace with me; he shall make peace with me (Kingdom). (YeshaYahu 27.1-5)
“In that day” in this case indicates the Day of Y’hovah’s wrath, when he brings the fury of his righteous indignation to bear on HaSatan and his followers. After his fury is spent during the “Days of Awe” (vv.1-3), he will coolly execute his judgment against those who will not accept (v.4) his offer of his Shalom to the armies of the earth (v.5). Those who reject Mashiyach’s offer of Shalom will be wiped out, very likely by the weapons they attempt to use against Mashiyach; while those who accept his offer of Shalom will go on to populate the Millennial Kingdom of Mashiyach Yeshua. This deals with people who do NOT live within Israel’s inheritance. Israel’s inheritance is clearly defined in Devarim, but it is loosely defined in Gen.15. Israel has never held all of either. Though it got close in David’s day to CONTROLLING all of the Devarim grant. If the Gen.15 grant is correct to its fullest extent, the land of promise runs from the headwaters of the Euphrates in Armenia to the headwaters of the Nile at Lake Victoria and all land in between, those rivers being the eastern and western boundaries. That would be Messiah’s Kingdom proper, with the rest of the world as tributary. See www.livejournal.com/users/avrom/116574.html for what I consider the minimum expanse of Gen.15’s Eretz Yisrael.
The pagan people who DO live within Israel’s inheritance were to be (but weren’t), and SHALL be either driven out of it or wiped out; including the livestock. Nothing that draws breath of the nations to be dispossessed is to live within Israel’s inheritance (vv.16-18). The Girgashites are conspicuous by their absence from this list. In ch.7 they were listed as one of the 7 nations to be dispossessed.
1 When Y’hovah Elohecha shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2 And when Y’hovah Elohecha shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them: 3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. 4 For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of Y’hovah be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly. (Deut.7.1-4)
Whahoppen the Girgashites? They were first named in Gen.10 (Girgasite KJV) in the genealogy of Ham and Canaan, as well as in 1Chron1.14. In both of those genealogies, they are sons of Canaan, who was cursed by Noach after Ham’s sin against him in Gen.9. According to Wikipedia (it’s gotta be true!) Rashi seems to think that the Girgashites aren’t listed here because they had left eretz Yisrael before this time. That’s plausible, but how he came to this knowledge is not given. If Rashi is correct, I assume that in 7.1, Moshe had listed all the people as they were listed in Gen.15.21, but here he listed the people they would actually have to face in battle.
The reason given for driving all the Canaanites out of the land is that they not teach Israel any of the ways of the people in worshipping their false gods, which would have been abomination to Y’hovah. I think it could also be that the Canaanites were the carriers of the leftover DNA of the genetically modified Nephillim (giants in Num13.33 is Nephillim) via Ham’s wife or the offspring of Ham’s sin against his father, going in unto Noach’s wife [who was NOT the mother of Noach’s sons]. When the spies went into the land in Num.13, they said this about the inhabitants’ of Hevron (though I seriously doubt any of the 10 ‘tourists’ actually went into Hevron; I think they really were thinking with their eyes and not their experience with Y’hovah):
27 And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. 28 Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities walled, very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan … 31 But the men that went up with him said, We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. 32 And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, through which we have gone to search it, a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it men of a great stature. 33 And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. (B’midbar 13.27-29, 31-33)
“In our own sight … and so we were in theirs.” In v. 30, Kalev said (effectively), “Y’hovah has our backs: let’s GO!” Kalev had gone into Hevron, I think, and he knew what he was up against; but he also knew who had his back. I think Kalev would have gone in physically alone; with Y’hovah on his side. Any one of us + Y’hovah = victory over the most atrocious odds. It’s Y’hovah that beats the odds, every time.
Israel is commanded to not destroy every tree, only those that were used as material for making idols. They were specifically commanded to NOT destroy fruit trees or any that could provide food for them. But those that would provide material to build siege works or weapons they were COMMANDED to cut down and use to defeat their enemies. But I think that last sentence says that they should not cut down more trees than they would need for the siege works. I don’t think Y’hovah wants any trees cut down needlessly.
Ch.21.1-9 – What happened if a person was found killed outside a city’s gates; the person obviously killed by another man. First thing to do was to determine whose jurisdiction he was found in. This was done by determining which town the victim was closest to. That would be the one that would do the inquiry and make the sin offering of a heifer. This heifer was to be one that had never been yoked (a picture of marriage?) either for planting or reaping, so it was probably not just a young cow but a yearling. I infer this to picture innocence. And that is what this ceremony is about; to proclaim that city’s innocence in the slaying of this man. The elders would behead the innocent cow in a place not sown with crops, probably where the local trash heap/furnace was, and wash their hands over it while proclaiming that city innocent of the blood split, both in the deed of killing the person and in witnessing the crime. V.2 intimates that there was a diligent inquiry to determine if anyone knew anything about the person’s death, and that the elders were satisfied that their city was innocent. If a person lied to cover the murder, I assume that he would now bear his iniquity and that Y’hovah would hold the city innocent. Q&C
Yehoshua 24:1 – Yehoshua had just gotten finished telling Israel that all the blessings that Y’hovah had promised for belief/obedience in Lev.26 and Dt.28 had come to pass, so they should also rest assured (or not so assured) that when they would transgress and go after other elohim that he would just as surely bring the curses that he’d promised them for unbelief/disobedience in those same passages. So here, he is gathering all the elders of Israel together to get their promise that they would not go after other elohim, nor practice the deeds of the pagans they’d displaced as if it were viable in worship to Y’hovah. The Mishkan is pitched at Shechem, in the valley of decision between Ebal and Gerazim, and he is going to demand a decision from them; serve Y’hovah or serve your belly, for you cannot serve 2 masters. They must take a choice; serve Y’hovah or serve other elohim. He will not force you to serve him, but he shall bring the curses if you have taken his Name on you and then choose to serve idols.
Tehellim 135 – HalleluYah!
The last 15 weeks we have seen the Psalms of Ascent (120-134), the psalms that the pilgrims would sing as they brought their tithes into the 2nd Temple and climbed the steps toward the Huldah Gate. These steps were of 2 different tread lengths; 1 short (about 9-12 inches) like a normal step and 1 long (about 3-4 feet) enough that it stood out and a group could stand on it while singing the appropriate psalm. There were the lower platform, then 13 long steps and then the platform at the top of the stair, making 15 places to stop and praise Y’hovah. Imagine the cacophony of praise rising up to Y’hovah as pilgrims on each step sang their psalms together.
EDIT In Psalm 135 we see a psalm that repeatedly sings Y’hovah’s praises, extolling him for all that he did for Israel in her national history. This psalm is sung IN the Temple proper (v.2), as the previous 15 had been sung on the ascent to the Temple. The word ‘HalleluYah!’ frames this psalm in v.1 and v.21, and the specifics about how and why we are to praise him are spelled out in between. In this psalm there also just happen to be 15 occurrences of the full covenant Name, Y’hovah, and 4 more of the shortened form, Yah. Do those 15 uses of Y’hovah’s full name coincide with the 15 steps and 15 psalms of ascent? I don’t know; just putting it out there. It sure seems coincidental, though.
There are 2 uses of Elohenu (our God) referring to Y’hovah and 1 of elohim, referring to the gods of the nations, as well as one use of Adonenu (our Master) in reference to Y’hovah. The reference to ‘deep places’ (v.6) may have to do with places of which we have no knowledge in the physical, the ‘deep things of Y’hovah’ that can only be revealed to our spirits by his Ruach haKodesh
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Ruach: for Ruach searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (I Corinthians 2:10)
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: (Romans 1:20)
The 9th use of Y’hovah’s covenant Name in v.6 is the antecedent to all the 3rd person pronouns, particularly ‘he’ (4x), ‘who’ (2x) and ‘his’ (1x), referring to Y’hovah in the next 6 verses. Then David uses Y’hovah’s Name 3x in vv.13-14 so that his next uses of pronouns in vv.14-15 won’t be misconstrued, because he moves on in v.16 to a brief interlude in which David contrasts the elohim of the nations with Y’hovah, expressing the reality of Y’hovah and the worthlessness of the nations’ elohim; talking about the atzav (idols) of the goyim (nations), made of keseph (silver) and zahav (gold) by the workings of men’s hands. How can something that I have made be greater in any way than I am? Idolatry is so stupid. These idols have no sense; no touch, no taste, no hearing, no breath of life; and, spiritually, neither do those who make and worship them.
Baruch Y’hovah! 5 times we are commanded to bless Y’hovah as this psalm closes; Israel, Yacov, Aharon, Levi and we who fear Y’hovah are commanded to bless him. ALL of these commands apply to each of us, as we are Israelites, sons of Yacov, priests and firstborn servants of Y’hovah who fear him in Mashiyach.
Yochanan 10.1-16 – 153-155). Parable of the Good Shepherd – The monologue continues, as Yeshua teaches about whom 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, who 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, or the wolves in sheep’s clothing in Mat.7.15 and Acts 20.29. They don’t enter by the strait gate and walk the narrow way, striving for the mastery (2Tim.2.5). 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 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 Mashiyach, the Torah in the flesh. 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 that is the same.
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, 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 Avinu, 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 Mashiyach. (1Cor.11.1)
17 For the kingdom of Elohim is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 18 For he that in these things serveth Mashiyach is 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 Mashiyach Yeshua my Master: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them dung, that I may win Mashiyach, 9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of Torah, but that which is through the faith of Mashiyach, 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: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Mashiyach Yeshua. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended but one thing; 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 Mashiyach 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 Mashiyach: 19 Whose end [is] 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, the Master Yeshua Mashiyach: 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 added words deleted, 1 [added back for flow])
24 Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some they follow after. 25 Likewise also the good works are manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid. (1Tim.5.24-25)
9 But they that will be rich 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).
1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also of Mashiyach. (1Cor.11.1)
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, that’s the set-apart Spirit of Elohim, 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; all because their eyes were on men and not the goal of the high calling of Y’hovah in Mashiyach. I think, those men were and 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 Mashiyach on this.
If the above is true, those who follow after these hirelings are not wise, to say the least, and may not even be saved, 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 between those who are after their ‘geld’ and Avinu’s heart. Q&C
Yochanan 10:14-15, “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 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 of Israel asked Rehoboam, the new king of Yisrael, to give them a little tax relief. The Temple was built and paid for, as was the fleet 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 whiners (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, 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 Benjamin was where the meeting took place and was under Yehudah’s military occupation. At any rate, Jeroboam 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 pagan 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’s 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 pagan 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 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 almost 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, 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 Yisrael to go into idolatry, so he could scatter the children of Yisrael 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 have 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; Jew and gentile; back to himself and will form of the two folds one flock with one shepherd, as he prophesied in Ezekiel 37 and here in Yochanan 10.16. Q&C
Vv.17-18 [This is the portion we’re SUPPOSED to be looking at today] 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, the gentiles had to become Jews to be saved. Now, in Mashiyach, 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, probably, all the nations are literally descendants of Abe and thereby blessed. And it deals with the one true spiritual seed, Yeshua haMoshiach, 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 written on their hearts. This does not apply to their offspring unless 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. 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.
You see in verses 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 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 Rom.3.2, Gal.2.16, 3.22, Phil.3.9, 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.
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 [remember last week’s Torah parsha, where the priests, Levites and captains of the hosts of Israel asked qualifying questions of the tribes to ensure that there would be no divided attention on the battlefield?]. 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 (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 the Ruach ha Kodesh, the Spirit of Elohim, 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 believed.
The same cannot be said for the sign seekers and the rest of the Jewish leadership. Q&C
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 Mashiyach, tell us plainly.” He said, in a Mark paraphrase, “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 Mashiyach, who had, in their pride, brought reproach on the Word of Truth, not being able to deliver on the promise of deliverance from the pagans. 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 Mashiyach. 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 Mashiyach 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, ‘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 (cf.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 to whom he spoke 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 the scripture to make his point all the more clear. (Mark paraphrase), “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 Yarden 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 Bible study.