Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Ask, Seek and Knock

By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International

The video version of this teaching is available at:

Scripture readings for this teaching:
Luke chapters 11 and 12

Yeshua prayed regularly. His disciples observed Him praying and desired to pray as He did. This was a typical practice among rabbis and their disciples. A rabbi would usually include his own short prayer or benediction with the regular daily prayer called the Amidah, or standing prayer. The use of this prayer by a disciple would identify who his rabbi was.
Luke 11:1 NKJV 1 Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
So, Yeshua taught them a prayer, then afterwards, He told a parable and concluded it with the instructions to ask, seek, and knock.
Luke 11:9 NKJV 9 "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
Is this verse saying that God is obligated to give us whatever we ask for as if He was a vending machine in which we deposit our prayers and out pops our selection? Or are there guidelines for our asking, seeking, and knocking? What is the context of this verse and what does it reveal about the character of our God?
Yeshua’s instructions to His disciples to ask, seek and knock came in the context of the prayer that He taught them illustrated by a parable. Let’s examine the prayer that Yeshua taught and what the parable reveals about praying.
The prayer opens with an acknowledgment of God and a desire for His kingdom.
Luke 11:2 NKJV 2 So He said to them, "When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Our God is unique, hallowed or set apart; His kingdom is glorious and those who enter into it are blessed! He is our God and there is no other. The Sh’ma, or daily recitation of the Torah from the book of Deuteronomy opens with these words similar to those Yeshua used in His prayer:
Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one; blessed be the name of His glorious Kingdom forever and ever.
Yeshua’s disciples are to come in submission to God. We are to seek God’s will, not our own will, and desire that it be implemented on earth as it already is in heaven. Yeshua demonstrated this for us by always seeking to do only the will of the Father.
John 4:34 NKJV 34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.
Yeshua said that doing the will of the Father nourished Him! We, also, need to seek that nourishment. That request is the next part of the prayer Yeshua taught His disciples.
Luke 11:3 NKJV 3 Give us day by day our daily bread.
When the children of Israel were in the wilderness, God provided manna or bread for them each day, but only enough for that day. God told Moses that the daily ration was to test them to see whether they would walk in His ways.
Exodus 16:4 NKJV 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
Yeshua tells us that the manna God provided them was a shadow of the true bread from heaven. Yeshua is our daily bread and the true bread from heaven.
John 6:32-35 NKJV 32 Then Jesus said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." 34 Then they said to Him, "Lord, give us this bread always." 35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.
The daily bread we ask for is for both our physical and spiritual needs. It is for our daily ration of life and the promise of eternal life.
After we ask for our daily bread, Yeshua reminds us of the need to forgive and to receive forgiveness.
Luke 11:4 NKJV 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one."
Our sins are forgiven as we forgive others. We acknowledge that we are all dependent on God’s mercy! James, the brother of Yeshua in his epistle tells us that the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself is fulfilled in mercy over judgment.
James 2:8 NKJV 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well;
Then, skipping down to verses 12 and 13:
James 2:12-13 NKJV 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
The last phrase of the prayer Yeshua taught asks God not to lead us into temptation. This seems like a strange thing to ask. Why would God lead us into temptation? James explains that God does not entice us to sin, but rather the weakness of our flesh is what entices us.
James 1:13-14 NKJV 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.
In other words, when we turn away from “your will be done” to “my will be done” we face temptations. Yeshua later clarifies His statement telling His disciples that the weakness of our flesh leads us into temptation.
Mark 14:38 NKJV 38 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Yeshua, himself, was taken into the wilderness and, when His flesh was weak from hunger, Satan threw three specific temptations at Him. These temptations represent the temptations of the world. The apostle John summarizes in 1 John 2:15-16:
1 John 2:15-16 NKJV 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world.
The prayer Yeshua taught concludes with the request that God deliver us from evil. Evil is in this world and, to some extent, it touches or falls on us all. Paul declares God’s faithfulness in delivering him from all the evil that was intended against him.
2 Timothy 4:18 NKJV 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!
Yeshua’s prayer asks that we also be delivered from evil so that we may enter into God’s glorious kingdom.
After teaching His disciples this prayer, Yeshua tells a parable to better understand the importance of prayer and why they are to pray. The parable is about a persistent neighbor asking for three loaves of bread to set before a friend. Even though the man may already be in bed, he will rise to give his friend the bread he asks for because of his persistence. Yeshua states the moral or conclusion of the parable in Luke 11:9 about asking, seeking, and knocking. The NKJV Study Bible explains the meaning of the parable:
Jesus’ point is that in prayer the disciple is to be bold. The example in the parable (vv5-7) is a man who goes boldly to his neighbor to seek what he requires. Likewise, the disciple is to go boldly to God for that which is needed.[i]
We are to pray so that we might receive those things we need. We will receive those things we need only if we have the boldness to ask for what we need. But the requests need to be within the framework of the Lord’s Prayer! James chastises the recipients of his epistle, the twelve tribes, because they ask amiss!
James 4:1-4 NKJV 1 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Yeshua explains that the Father desires to give good gifts to His children using the example of an earthly father giving good gifts to his children.
Luke 11:11-13 NKJV 11 "If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 "Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"
Firstfruits of Zion explains this imagery of stones, serpents, and scorpions in their work Chronicles of the Messiah:
The Master used snakes and scorpions metaphorically to refer to evil spirits. In rabbinic folklore, malevolent spirits are responsible for misfortunes. Good comes from the Holy Spirit, i.e. God. From that perspective, Yeshua was not speaking only about spiritual gifts or the endowment of the Holy Spirit in this passage. Rather, He contrasted evil results to prayer against good results to prayer. If you pray for something good, God will not send evil.[ii]
So, how do we ask boldly of God while at the same time avoiding the pitfall described by James of asking amiss? Luke records that Yeshua was confronted by a man asking Him to judge a dispute between him and his brother.
Luke 12:13-15 NKJV 13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." 14 But He said to him, "Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?" 15 And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."
Yeshua proceeded to tell a parable about a rich man who gloried in the abundance of his riches, building bigger and bigger barns to store his abundance.
Luke 12:19-21 NKJV 19 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' 20 "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' 21 "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
Our hearts and deeds need to be rich towards God. When our hearts are rich towards God, we will not ask amiss. We can expect our Father to give us good gifts. This takes us back to the Sh’ma.
Deuteronomy 11:13-14 NKJV 13 'And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the LORD your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, 14 'then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.
Then, skipping down to verse 18:
Deuteronomy 11:18 NKJV 18 "Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.
So, what are to ask, seek, and knock? We are to ask for our daily bread and the things that we need in accordance with God’s will.
1 John 5:14-15 NKJV 14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.
Even Yeshua only asked according to God’s will. When confronted with death on the cross, Yeshua did not ask that He be spared that death; He asked only for the Father’s will.
John 12:27-28 NKJV 27 "Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 "Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again."
Yeshua told us to ask in the same fashion. Whatever we ask for should ensure that God’s name be glorified.
John 14:13-14 NKJV 13 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
We are to ask of those things that further the kingdom of God and enable us to bear fruit for God.
John 15:7-8 NKJV 7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
What are we to seek? Yeshua tells us that we don’t need to seek for our material needs; we are instead to seek the coming of the kingdom of God.
Luke 12:29-31 NKJV 29 "And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 "For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 "But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.
The Torah tells us that we are to seek God with all our hearts.
Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV 29 "But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.
The Psalmist tells us to trust, delight, and commit to God and we will receive the desires of our hearts.
Psalms 37:3-5 NKJV 3 Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. 4 Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. 5 Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
We don’t need to seek the desires of our hearts; if we seek God’s kingdom, God’s righteousness and God’s will, He will give us the desires of our hearts. And don’t be surprised to find that the desires of your heart are to do the will of the Father!
On what door are we to knock and have it open to us? Chronicles of the Messiah quotes the Megillah 12b as saying:
He knocked at the gates of mercy, and they were opened to him.[iii]
When the gates of mercy are opened to us, we have access to the kingdom of God! So, when we pray we should say boldly and persistently:
Luke 11:2b-4 NKJV 2b … Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one."
God is not a vending machine that He would seek to do our will! Our will is not important unless and until it lines up with the will of the Father to further His kingdom, to bring about His will, and to bring glory to the Father.
Study Questions:
1. The prayer a rabbi taught his disciples became an identifying characteristic of the disciples of a particular rabbi. What does the prayer Yeshua taught reveal about Him? What will those hearing this prayer understand as an “identifying characteristic” of Yeshua’s disicples?

2. “Your will be done” can be seen as a prerequisite of the rest of the prayer. What does John 6:34-40 say about the ultimate will of the Father? How does that change the way you understand this prayer?

3. The parable of the persistent neighbor teaches us to be persistent and bold in requesting what we need. What does Hebrews 10:19-23 say is the source of our confidence and boldness? (How does this relate to question 2?)

4. How do Yeshua’s three temptations fit in the categories of lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life as described by 1 John 2:15-16? How do our temptations fit into those categories?

5. Read James 2:8-13 about the “royal law” of loving your neighbor as yourself. How does mercy demonstrate that love?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International

[i] The NKJV Study Bible. Earl D. Radmacher, Th.D. Thomas Nelson. ©2007. P1618.
[ii] The Chonicles of the Messiah. D. Thomas Lancaster. First Fruits of Zion. ©2014 D. T. Lancaster. P.980.
[iii] Ibid. p.979.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Shabbat Service 5-19-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Fountain of Living Water

By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International

The video version of this teaching is available at:

Scripture reading: John 8:1-11
At the end of last weeks teaching, we observed Yeshua in the Temple courts declaring that He was the living water following the highly anticipated and powerful Ceremony of Water Pouring during the Feast of Sukkot.  For Yeshua to make such a public pronouncement, when he vowed to attend this pilgrimage feast in secret, was a dangerous thing to do.  Many political and religious leaders in Judea sought to have him arrested or killed.  But even with the danger at the hands of His enemies, Yeshua returned to the temple the next day.
John 8:2 NKJV 2 Now early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came to Him; and He sat down and taught them.
In the Temple courts, Yeshua began to teach openly, and crowds of people gathered around him to once again hear the words of the Master.  This certainly drew the attention of the authorities.  Was this their chance to arrest Him?  Was this their chance to put an end to this up-start teacher who challenged the authority of the religious leaders?  What was their plan?  How would they trap Him into making a serious mistake?
Just the previous day, Yeshua had declared publicly the He was the Fountain of living water. Living water was celebrated and remembered at this Feast and spoken of by the prophet Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 2:13 NKJV 13 "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns-broken cisterns that can hold no water.
As Yeshua was teaching in the Temple courts that morning, He was approached by a group of the Pharisees and Torah scholars, dragging a single young woman with them.
Most of us are familiar with the story of the woman caught in adultery in John chapter eight.  This account, although a powerful illustration of the grace extended to sinners by God, is disputed among Bible scholars as to it’s origins.  This account is not contained in the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of John and its style and language is a departure from the rest of the Gospel of John, more fitting with that of the synoptic Gospels. Never the less it is included and provides a powerful lesson in righteous judgment based on Torah principles and law.
As Yeshua was teaching the crowds in the Temple courts, He was interrupted by the Pharisees and scribes, He was told by them of the “sins” of this woman.
John 8:3-5 NKJV 3 Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, 4 they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. 5 "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?"
It is obvious that these Pharisees wanted to catch Yeshua in a no-win situation.  Regardless of His answer to their question, He could not escape their carefully considered trap.  Or so they thought.  How should Yeshua answer this challenge?  At the end of the story, we see that Yeshua sends her on her way without punishment for her sin of adultery.  Is that in keeping with the Torah that demands that such a person be stoned?
Leviticus 20:10 NKJV 10 'The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
And in
Deuteronomy 22:21 NKJV 21 "then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house. So you shall put away the evil from among you.
Many in today’s Christian circles will argue that this incident perfectly illustrates that Yeshua came to replace the old law of wrath and punishment for a new law of love, mercy and forgiveness; That this “new law” absolves this woman caught in the act of adultery of the punishment required under the “old law.”  But is this interpretation consistent with the broader teachings of the Master?  Yeshua Himself told His disciples that He did not come to do away with the Torah of Moses.
Matthew 5:17-18 NKJV 17 "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
The manner in which the Pharisees phrased their challenge to Yeshua was calculated to trap Him.  No matter how He answered them, He would provide them grounds to accuse Him.  If Yeshua were to answer, “Put her to death as the Torah commands”, then they could accuse Him before the Roman authorities since the only Jewish authority authorized to enact capital punishment, the Sanhedrin, was forbidden under the current Roman rule from enacting such punishment.
If on the other hand, Yeshua said, “Show some love and let her go”, they could then accuse Him of advocating lawlessness, or in other words, ignoring or “doing away with” Torah law!  So how was Yeshua to answer them?
John 8:6 NKJV 6 This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.
I can just imaging those whom Yeshua was teaching and the gathered crowds around him rendered silent as Yeshua Himself engaged in a short stare-down of the accusing Pharisees before He then stoops down to write in the dust of the ground with His finger.  After this Yeshua stood to give a short answer and then, once again stooped to write in the dust.
John 8:7-8 NKJV 7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
By asking the accusers of this woman, if they are without sin themselves, then they should be the ones to carry out the prescribed punishment for this woman; they should cast the first stone! Yeshua was in effect telling them that, “If you are a clear and righteous witness, then carry out your Torah duty!”.  According to the Torah, it was the eyewitnesses who were charged with carrying out the sentence in a capital crime.
Deuteronomy 17:7 NKJV 7 "The hands of the witnesses shall be the first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So you shall put away the evil from among you.
Was it Yeshua’s words to the accusers or His actions of writing in the dust of the ground which convicted them and caused them to leave the scene?  What could Yeshua have written in the dust that could have been more powerful than his mere words?
John 8:9-10 NKJV 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?"
Did Yeshua just get this young woman off the hook by a technicality?  It was a common practice by the Sanhedrin to avoid the death penalty if at all possible.  It is recorded in the Talmud that, “A Sanhedrin which executed a person once in seven years was called murderous.”[1]  In most cases avoiding the death penalty was accomplished by disqualifying the witnesses.  The court would automatically disqualify relatives of the accused, an enemy, and anyone with a shady reputation.  The Jewish sage and commentator Maimonides comments on what a qualified witness is:
“The wicked are unacceptable as witnesses according to scriptural Law, as written in Exodus 23:1 “Do not join hands with a wicked person to be a corrupt witness.” The Oral Tradition interprets this as meaning: “Do not allow a wicked person to serve as a witness.”[2]
Yeshua freed this woman from the punishment of the Torah, but He did so from within the provisions of the Torah itself!  Instead of Yeshua Himself openly disqualifying the witnesses against this woman, He allowed each of the accusers to disqualify himself by the very same Torah!
First Fruits of Zion in their work, The Chronicles of the Messiah summed it up this way:
“Contrary to the opinion that this story shows how our Master disregarded the Torah in favor of a new order of live and grace, the story actually shows how He used the commandments of the Torah to save the woman.  The commandments regarding the witnesses are part of the Torah too.”[3]
By this manner Yeshua was able not only to save this woman from a certain death, but also escape the seemingly clever trap set by the Pharisees against Him.  Unlike the accusing Pharisees, in their zeal and determination to destroy the work and ministry of the Master, Yeshua showed a genuine compassion for this woman. She answers Yeshua’s question about where her accusers were:
John 8:11 NKJV 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."
Yeshua used the Torah to save her and set her on a pathway to a redeemed life!
But what about the accusers?  What was so powerful about Yeshua’s response to their accusations that would cause them to quietly walk away?  If these “witnesses” and accusers of this woman were quick to use the Torah against her and to trap Yeshua, then Yeshua was prepared to hold them to the letter of the very same Torah and to their own literal and narrow interpretation of it.  His answer to them has many facets and fascinating implications.
As we have seen through our recent studies, the political and societal situation in Judea and Jerusalem at this time was anything but peaceful and stable.  Corruption and greed were rampant, and the religious leadership was not immune to it.  The Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees and teachers of the Law reflected the worst manifestation of the evils condemned by the prophets. Isaiah writes of God’s response to this in
Isaiah 1:15-17 NKJV 15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. 16 "Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, 17 Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
Even though they had a form of godliness going through all the rituals of Temple worship and daily living prescribed in the Torah, they were corrupt in all the ways that really mattered. We see that same pattern of corruption from the very beginning of Yeshua ministry when He first goes up to Jerusalem for the Passover and throws out all the moneychangers.
John 2:13-16 NKJV 13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!"
These Pharisees and teachers of the Law were in fact, in several ways, violating the very same Law they were trying to entrap and accuse Yeshua of violating!  In other words, they themselves were sinning and Yeshua was pointing out their sin and the mockery they were making of the Torah!
We have identified that this incident took place on the eighth, or final day of the Feast of Sukkot or Tabernacles.  This day was known as Shimeni Atzerat which is observed as a Sabbath.  The entire Feast is a time of celebration and rejoicing. The rejoicing on the eighth day takes the form of the Torah itself rejoicing in God’s salvation. It was a day for studying the scriptures, teaching one’s disciples, holding discussions among the Rabbis and dancing through the temple with the Torah scroll itself.
Besides the violation of civil law that these accusers were engaged in, they were also clearly violating the Torah in two specific ways.  First; they only brought the woman for judgment where the Torah says to bring both.
Leviticus 20:10 NKJV 10 'The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
Second, they did not bring witnesses.
Deuteronomy 19:15 NKJV 15 "One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.
The woman’s accusers; these Pharisees and teachers of the Law; those who certainly should have known the Law, violated the intent of the rejoicing of the Torah by breaking the Sabbath. On this day on which the Torah itself is said to be rejoicing, they grieved both the written Torah by breaking its commandments and the Living Torah of Yeshua by subverting the Torah to their own ends.
Yeshua sees through their trap and answers them in the only way possible.  The first thing that Yeshua does is to stoop down and write in the dust with His finger.  He then stands and says to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." As we saw in John eight, verse seven, before He again stoops down to write in the dust.  What could Yeshua have written in the earth that would cause them to eventually acknowledge that they were sinning?
Let’s look back at the events of the previous day. The Ceremony of Water Pouring was an integral part of the daily celebrations during the seven-day Feast of Sukkot or Tabernacles, and just the day before Yeshua has openly declared that He was the Messiah, the fountain of Living Water!  These Pharisees would have been very familiar with a passage of scripture from the prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah 17:13 NKJV 13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You shall be ashamed. "Those who depart from Me Shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, The fountain of living waters."
The Hope of Israel is a name for the Messiah! Again in
Jeremiah 14:8 NKJV 8 O the Hope of Israel, his Savior in time of trouble, why should You be like a stranger in the land, and like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?
The Feast of Tabernacles is the third feast celebrated within a three-week period. First is the Feast of Trumpets, celebrated on the first day of the month of Tishrei; the second is Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement on Tishrei ten. One of the themes for the feasts of Trumpets and Yom Kippur, is examining one’s life to ensure that one’s name is written in the Book of Life and not the Book of Death for coming year. The rejoicing at the Feast of Tabernacles is rejoicing and celebrating in God’s salvation; of being written in the Book of Life. 
On this day, following the seven days of the Water Pouring ceremony, the Jeremiah 17:13 passage would be fresh in their minds.  And just the day before, Yeshua declared that He was the Fountain of Living Water; the most powerful and direct public declaration yet that He was the Messiah!
We can only speculate what exactly Yeshua wrote in the dust of the ground that day when confronted by these Pharisees and teachers of the Law.  But with this incident on the day following Yeshua’s public declaration that He is the Messiah, the very Fountain Living Water, it is quite possible that the first thing He wrote was the Jeremiah 17:13 scripture followed by the names of the accusers!  Did Yeshua write their names in the earth? Were they forsaking the Fountain of Living Water as it says in Jeremiah?
Once again Yeshua proved Himself as the Messiah by executing righteous judgement! It is only after mercy and longsuffering are exhausted that judgment takes place.  Yeshua Himself said that He came to call sinners to repentance, but when he comes again it will be for the ultimate salvation of those who love Him and for the ultimate judgment of those who don’t.
Study questions:
1.      What new insight did you gain by watching this video? How do you respond to this new insight? How will you realign your life based on this new understanding?

2.      Jeremiah 2:13 contrasts the fountain of living water with broken, man-made cisterns.  How does this point out the contrast between Yeshua and the woman’s accusers in John 8:1-11?

3.      How is the passage in Isaiah 1:15-17 reflected in Jewish society during the time of Yeshua?

4.      The prophets frequently refer to Israel as an adulterous wife.  How does Yeshua’s handling of this whole incident illustrate the promise of redemption for Israel?

5.      Jeremiah 17:13 says that those who forsake the fountain of living waters will be written in the earth.  Discuss the similarities of this scripture to this incident with the woman caught in adultery in John 8, The words of God to Adam in Genesis 3:19, and the disposition of Korah in Numbers 16:30.  What other places in scripture present the same or similar theme?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International

[1] m.Makkot 1:10; b.Makkot 7a
[2] Hilkhot Edut 10:1
[3] FFOZ The Chronicles of the Messiah. D Thomas Lancaster. Vol. 3, P935

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Shabbat Service 5-12-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Friday, May 11, 2018

His Hour Had Not Yet Come

After His transfiguration, Yeshua began to explain the suffering and type of death He would face. He began an extensive tour throughout Israel preaching the good news of the kingdom and teaching His disciples about the time to come. The controversy about Yeshua’s identity, goals, and purpose continued to grow. Some people sought Yeshua out eager to be His disciples while others sought to kill Him. At the time of the fall feast of Sukkot or Tabernacles, Yeshua was in the Galilee carefully avoiding Judea because the Jewish authorities wanted to kill Him.
The Torah requires that all males go up to Jerusalem three times a year to worship the LORD during the pilgrimage fests. Sukkot is one of those three pilgrimage feasts. How could Yeshua fulfill the command to go up to Jerusalem while at the same time staying out of the hands of those who wanted to kill Him?

Monday, May 7, 2018

Shabbat Service 5-5-2018

Join us each Shabbat at 10:00 am Pacific time for our weekly service.  Watch our midweek video teaching on Wednesday nights, download the discussion questions from our midweek teaching and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat.  We live stream our service on and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

So, You Want to be a Disciple of the Master?

By Dan and Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International

The video version of this teaching is available at:

Scripture reading for this teaching:
Luke 9:51-10:42 (Matthew 8:19-22)

In the Gospel accounts we see that Yeshua made frequent trips from His headquarters in Capernaum on the northern shore of the Galilee to Jerusalem, almost always at the time of the Feast days.  The time of Passover was approaching with the Feast of Unleavened Bread beginning the day following Passover, and since it was a pilgrimage feast, all males were required to go up to Jerusalem, specifically to the Temple, at this time each year.

Luke 9:51-53 NKJV 51 Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. 53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.

There were several routs one could take from the Galilee to Jerusalem, the most direct route would mean traveling through the dangerous territory of the sometimes-hostile Samaritans.  Why did Yeshua choose this route for their journey?  After the transfiguration event, and knowing the fait that awaited Him in Jerusalem, Yeshua was determined that His disciples understood the dangers and costs that they too would face in the years to come as one of His disciples.

What does the Master Yeshua tell those who want to follow him?  What must be the priorities as a disciple of Yeshua?  What is the cost of true discipleship?

Again, Yeshua was most likely traveling with an entourage larger than just the inner circle of the twelve as they traveled through the territory of the Samaritans.  As we just read in Luke 9:52, Yeshua sent messengers ahead to prepare for their over-night stay in a Samaritan village.  Verse 53 indicates that they were not welcomed in the village when it was revealed that they intended to travel on to Jerusalem for the Feast day.  The Samaritans did not recognize Jerusalem as the legitimate location of the Temple of God and resented the Jews for worshiping there.  Their place of Temple worship was on Mount Gerizim.

This rather open hostility between the Samaritans and the Jews would intensify over the ensuing decades, resulting in open attacks against the Jews making their way from the Galilee to Jerusalem.
The origin of the Samaritans is a bit murky, but dates back to the Assyrian exile in 722 BCE.  The Assyrians “replaced” the Jews forcibly removed from their land with another people. The Samaritans consisted of a mixture of imported foreign settlers and a small remnant of the locals who escaped exile. Over the ensuing centuries, they had come to believed that they alone were the true descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Jews in the land at that time were imposters.  Sound familiar?

Many of the Samaritans refused to take in the traveling pilgrims.  In the ancient near-east culture, this was considered an insult and a deplorable evil.  One such Samaritan village was so proud of their inhospitality toward travelers, they even named it “Kefar Bish,” which means, “Bad Town.”  The Disciples reported back to the Master Yeshua about the Samaritan town refusing to receive them.

Luke 9:54 NKJV 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?"

I suppose they were recalling the words of Yeshua as recorded in Matthew 10:14-15.

Matthew 10:14-15 NKJV 14 "And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 "Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

Yeshua rebuked the disciples for their apparent over reaction to the hostile reception they received in the Samaritan village.

Luke 9:55-56 NKJV 55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 "For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." And they went to another village.

When John and Peter returned to these very same Samaritan villages just a few years later bringing the good news of salvation to both Jew and Gentile, they received a different welcome.

Acts 8:14-16 NKJV 14 Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Here it seems apparent that Yeshua was teaching them a lesson about forgiveness and mercy in the face of hostility and evil.  As we see in just a few short years, Peter and John called down a different kind of fire on these Samaritan villages!

As Yeshua and the disciples continued their journey up to Jerusalem, Yeshua is approached by three individuals seeking him out to become followers or disciples.  Perhaps these men wanted to commit themselves to true discipleship; to study and learn at the feet of the Master; to be one whom Yeshua would send out to the highways and by-ways of Judea and Samaria to prepare for the later arrival of Yeshua. Perhaps they even witnessed first hand signs and wonders performed by the disciples or Yeshua Himself.  In the story of each of these three men, we see they each encounter and were confronted by an obstacle in their lives which would prevent them from obtaining what they seek.

Luke 9:57 NKJV 57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go."

In Matthew’s gospel, in this same encounter, the man is identified as a scribe; a Torah scholar.  He would, most likely be, not a first-born son, but a younger son of a relatively wealthy family, sent off to study the Torah as a full-time occupation supported by his family or perhaps independently wealthy enough himself to pursue Torah study full time.

Yeshua invited him to follow but issued a stern warning.

Matthew 8:19-20 NKJV 19 Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, "Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go." 20 And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

In other words, Yeshua was letting him know that being one of his disciples would require him to dispense with his comfortable life as a scribe and Torah scholar.  He would be required to “hit the road” as an itinerant disciple with no apparent means of supporting himself, relying on God through others for his daily provision as well as even a place to lay down his head at night.

For this man, the cost of discipleship may have been too high.  If he was indeed wealthy and comfortable in his life as a scribe, which seems likely, what was his answer to Yeshua’s challenge?  What would be our answer if faced with a similar choice?  Did this man choose then to follow Yeshua and reconcile himself to an itinerate lifestyle?  We do not know; the Bible makes no further mention of him.

In the next verse of Luke’s gospel, we see another man asking to join with the Master.

Luke 9:59 NKJV 59 Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."

Yeshua immediately invites this man to follow Him, but the man has an objection or condition to his commitment to discipleship.

Luke 9:60 NKJV 60 Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."

Yeshua was telling this man, first things first.  In other words, there are priorities to following Him.  Discipleship must take precedent over other obligations and duties of one’s life.
Yeshua’s answer is a bit puzzling, however, in light of the commandment to honor one’s father and mother.  Certainly, burying one’s father is an important obligation and should take priority. Yeshua taught at length about honoring one’s parents and even rebuked some Pharisees for neglecting their parents in favor of sacrifices and offerings.

Mark 7:10-13 NKJV 10 "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' 11 "But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban"-' (that is, a gift to God), 12 "then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, 13 "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."

Would Yeshua encourage someone to neglect such an important obligation?  Would burying his father be so incompatible with discipleship?  I don’t think so, but what is implied by Yeshua’s words to this man?

In the ancient world, as it is today in Jewish culture, a person is usually buried within twenty-four hours of their death.  I suppose that would imply that this man’s Father died that very day.  If that is the case, then why is he out speaking with Yeshua, inquiring about becoming a disciple rather than attending to his family obligations?

Perhaps the man’s father was ailing and near death and he wanted permission to wait until after the death of his father.  Another explanation for this odd request would be the traditional method of burial at the time.  After a person dies, their body is placed in a burial chamber, usually a cave naturally occurring or one that has been carved out of the rock.  The body is placed on a stone shelf within the tomb and sealed for eleven months.  The ensuing eleven months are a mourning period where the surviving sons recite the kiddish daily.

After the eleven months are completed, the burial tomb is re-opened and the body, now just bones, is gathered and placed in a small stone box called an ossuary, which is then stored somewhere else in the family tomb.  After this second burial, the tomb becomes again available and the daily mourning ritual ends.  Perhaps it was during this eleven-month period that this man approached Yeshua about becoming a disciple.

In this case, Yeshua’s answer makes more sense.  If the man’s father was already dead, he had no further obligation to his father. He may have been requesting time to complete this second burial of his father’s bones.

Yeshua apparently regarded this request as an unnecessary objection to immediate discipleship. The Talmud records the tradition of placing equivalent importance on the obligation of honoring one’s parents, including the burial of deceased parents, and on the study of the Torah. Yeshua was asking this man to set aside the other equivalent obligation of burying his father to pursue the immediate need for proclaiming the kingdom of heaven. Did this man drop everything and follow Yeshua?
When a third man approached Yeshua to inquire about becoming a disciple, Yeshua had yet another kind of answer.

Luke 9:61-62 NKJV 61 And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." 62 But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."

Yeshua’s answer to this man’s request is reminiscent of the story of Elijah and Elisha.

1 Kings 19:19-21 NKJV 19 So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. 20 And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" 21 So Elisha turned back from him and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen's equipment, he gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah and became his servant.

In the 1st Kings account we see that Elijah consented to Elisha’s request. Yeshua did not consent to this man’s request to return home to say his goodbye’s.  Yeshua’s lesson here may be one of divide loyalties. His words in verse 62 sound proverbial.  If a plowman looks back over his shoulder, he will most likely veer off course and not plow straight furrows.  In the same way, a true disciple committed to following the Master, cannot stay on the straight path while looking back or with divided loyalties.
Serving the Master Yeshua is a true privilege but there is a cost to discipleship.  These three potential new disciples or followers received specific warnings, but the other disciples should take lessons from Yeshua’s encounter with these three as well.  They too would face life or death challenges in the years ahead.

Yeshua went on to declare that all things had been handed down to Him.

Luke 10:22-23 NKJV 22 "All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him." 23 Then He turned to His disciples and said, "Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see;

The Greek word translated here as delivered is number 3860 in the Strong’s dictionary meaning to yield up, transmit or to put in trust. It implies a handing down of knowledge or tradition from a teacher to pupil. Yeshua was declaring that He had received all insight and revelation from the Father and He was able to reveal this knowledge to His disciples.

First Fruits of Zion in their work The Chronicles of the Messiah put it in these terms.

“The simple meaning is that no one knows a man as well as his son, but at the same time, no one knows a son as well as his father. Yeshua applied this concept to His unique filial relationship with God.  He drew upon the esoteric wisdom-tradition of early Judaism which personified Wisdom in relationship to the LORD. The one who issues forth from Him, rejoices before Him, and reveals Him to men, but is ultimately known only to Him.[1]

The writer of Proverbs 30:2-4 laments that he does not know the name of the son of the Holy One and complains about a lack of knowledge.

Proverbs 30:2-4 NKJV Surely, I am more stupid than any man, and do not have the understanding of a man. 3 I neither learned wisdom nor have knowledge of the Holy One. 4 Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son's name, if you know?

The disciples of the Master did indeed stand in a unique position of knowledge and revelation.  They were given divine wisdom in the form of the Son of God in their midst! The Father chose them to reveal His Son and the Son in turn revealed to them the fullness of the Father. Luke 10:23-24 from the Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels.

“O, the gladness of the eyes that see what you see! For I say to you, many prophets and kings have longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you are hearing but did not hear it.”

Peter states it quite well in his first epistle.

1 Peter 1:10-12 NKJV 10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven--things which the angels desire to look into.

Generation after generation of righteous men; prophets, priests and kings as well as the common man of the past, had waited patiently for the revelation of the Messiah.  But when God sent His Son to dwell among men, He revealed His kingdom not to the wise and intelligent kings, scribes and Pharisees, but to the common fishermen and the despised tax collectors.

There is a Messianic blessing in a Jewish text which I will leave you with.

“Blessed is the generation whose eyes behold Him! Blessed is the eye which waited for Him whose lips open with blessing and peace, whose speech is pure delight, whose heart meditates in trust and tranquility.  Blessed is the eye which has been given the privilege of seeing Him![2]

We are also called to be disciples of the Master.  We too, through the power of the Holy Spirit are privileged with knowledge and wisdom like that imparted to the original disciples.  If we wish to be a true disciple of Yeshua, we face the same choices and challenges that the three inquirers did on the road to Jerusalem.  How will you answer the call to true discipleship?

Study Questions:

1. What new insight did you gain by reading this blog? How do you respond to this new insight? How will you realign your life based on this new understanding?

2. The Samaritans appear to be the first people to practice a kind of “Replacement Theology.”  Discuss how their practices are like those of the Gentile based Christian Church arising from the 4th century AD.  How is replacement theology manifested today?

3. When Yeshua and the disciples faced the inhospitality of the Samaritan village, in His response, Yeshua referred to Sodom and Gomorrah.  Referencing the story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, how are the two situations alike?
4. In Luke 10:13 Yeshua speaks a condemnation of the Galilean towns of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum.  Why would Yeshua speak a condemnation of the very towns and villages where he spent most of His time and where He performed most of His signs, miracles, and wonders?

5. Yeshua sent messengers ahead to Samaria. After this event, Yeshua sent out seventy messengers to “every place and town He sought to go.” (Luke 10:1).  Yeshua previously sent out just twelve disciples.  What is the significance of first the twelve, then the seventy? How was sending out the twelve and the seventy different than sending messengers ahead to Samaria?

6. Hospitality was lacking from the Samaritan village (Luke 9:52-56). Contrast this lack of hospitality with the hospitality Yeshua received when He visited another village where Mary and Martha lived. (Luke 10:38-42)

© 2018 Moed Ministries International.  All rights reserved

[1] FFOZ Chronicles of the Messiah, D Thomas Lancaster, V3 P887
[2] Pesikta Rabbati 37