Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Sign of Jonah to be released July 1, 2013

Brenda and I are proud to announce our new book titled "The Sign of Jonah" is to be released soon!

What is the sign of Jonah? The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Yeshua (Jesus) asking for a sign that proved He was the Messiah. He chided them that, although they could read the signs in the sky about upcoming weather, they could not understand the signs heralding the coming of the Messiah. Disgusted with them, He told them the sign that they were missing. This sign was the sign of Jonah.

Matthew 16:4 NKJV 4 "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah." And He left them and departed.

Yeshua’s words indicate that this sign should have been one they were familiar with. Although earlier in His ministry, Yeshua explained what this sign is, in this interchange, He references the sign of Jonah without telling them what He is talking about. In other words, Yeshua is giving them a big hint if they have the motivation to refer to their own scriptures, the sign should be obvious. In this book, we take Yeshua’s hint and search the scriptures for the sign of Jonah, and find it everywhere! Join us as we unravel the mystery of the sign of Jonah!

Click HERE to pre-order your copy today! 

The expected release date is July 1, 2013. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Yeshua in the Counting of the Omer part 9: The Feast of Weeks (Shavuot)

The period of time on the Biblical Calendar known as the Counting of the Omer is the 50 day period from the day after the regular weekly Sabbath which falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot.  In Christian circles this holiday is known as Pentecost but is little known beyond recognition as the day the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and they spoke in tongues.  But this Feast has great significance in the life and ministry of Jesus (Yeshua) and in the lives of his disciples including those of us who follow Him today.  Yeshua was very active during this time teaching and preparing His disciple to go out into the world and preach the Gospel.

The fifty day count up to the Feast of Weeks is now complete. The forty-ninth day was a Sabbath, a day of rest and additional offerings and songs in the temple. The day ends at 3:00 p.m. with the Sabbath offering of two lambs on the altar. The altar is closed although the fire is kept burning throughout the night. The altar will be ready to receive new offerings at 9:00 a.m. the next morning when the priests will begin the Feast day with the daily offering of the lamb and the special offerings of the Feast. What did this day look like in Yeshua’s time? What events did they commemorate on this day?

Like all the feasts, the Feast of Weeks is a remembrance of the exodus from Egypt. The Passover is when the Hebrews killed the lamb and put the blood on the doorposts and lintels of their houses as a sign of their allegiance to God. The firstborn of all the Egyptians died on this night. The Feast of Unleavened Bread remembers their flight from Egypt up through their ultimate deliverance through the Red Sea and the death of Pharaoh’s army in the sea. The Feast of Firstfruits is their exodus from Egypt itself taking with them the bones of Joseph leaving behind an empty tomb. The Feast of Weeks is the day the Israelites received the covenant at Mt. Sinai. God made His presence both known and obvious as a cloud and fire over the mountain. He declared the whole mountain holy or set apart to Him. Moses was the mediator between God the children of Israel. He runs up and down the mountain relaying words back and forth. God outlined His plan for them.

Exodus 19:5-6 NKJV 5 'Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 'And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."

The children of Israel agreed to do all that God commanded them to do. Finally, the word comes down from God; He will appear before all the people.

Exodus 19:10-11 NKJV 10 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes. 11 "And let them be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

On the morning of the third day, God came down on Mt. Sinai.

Exodus 19:16-17 NKJV 16 Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.

After making sure that none of the people would approach too closely to the mountain, God spoke the words we call the Ten Commandments. The people trembled at the awesome display of God’s power. The Midrash, which is a commentary on the Torah, gives further details of the events at Mt. Sinai. The Midrash says that tongues of fire circled and touched all the people gathered at Mt. Sinai. It says that there were thunderings and lightnings plural because God’s voice came in all 70 languages of the nations but only Israel answered and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.”

Yeshua’s disciples knew all of this. They remembered Yeshua’s words that His blood is the covenant sacrifice that brings in the New Covenant spoken of by Jeremiah.

Luke 22:19-20 NKJV 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.
Yeshua said that the New Covenant was ratified with His death. Jeremiah writes God’s terms for the new covenant. The terms are the same; but instead of having the Torah written on tablets of stones which can be forgotten, they are now written on each heart and in every mind of those who agree to the covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31-33 NKJV 31 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- 32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. 33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law (Torah) in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

The Feast of Weeks is also the Feast of Firstfruits of the wheat harvest as well as other early fruits. It is connected to the Feast of Firstfruits of the barley harvest celebrated during the Feast of Unleavened Bread by the fifty days of the omer. Omer means a measure of grain. Each day during the Omer, one omer of new grain is offered on the altar. At the conclusion of the Omer, on the fiftieth day, pilgrims from all across Israel brought their firstfruit offerings. As the day dawned, a priest would walk out of Jerusalem and meet the pilgrims as they arrived calling out, “Rise and let us go up to Zion, to the house of the Lord our God.” They would proceed to sound of the flute, singing and dancing to the temple where, at 9:00 a.m., the service would begin. The high priest offers up two loaves of bread baked with the new grain waving them in every direction. By doing this, they acknowledged God’s provision and sovereignty over all the earth. Each pilgrim would bring his firstfruits offering with the required words as recorded in Deuteronomy. They were to testify that God redeemed them from Egypt, brought them into the Promised Land and is the source of all their blessings (Deut. 26:1-11).  The streets of Jerusalem would be thronged with Pilgrims; according to the historian Josephus, two and half million Jewish pilgrims from all over the Roman world came up to Jerusalem for the Feasts as required by the commandment in the Torah (Exodus 34:23).  All would be eager to get to the temple to watch the offerings.

The disciples who had spent every possible moment over the last ten days in the temple praising God would have been early arrivers. The anticipation is keen. They are ready to testify that Yeshua was crucified and rose again. At precisely 9:00, as the pilgrims enter the temple with their offerings and the high priest lifts the wave offering, the Holy Spirit falls on the disciples as tongues of fire matching precisely the description of God coming down on Mt. Sinai and speaking the word of the Torah.

Acts 2:1-4 NKJV 1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Luke tells us that, like the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, they were in one accord, in unity of purpose. The “sound” from heaven is not a mere sound but a roar like the thunderings at Mt. Sinai. They were in a “house.” The Greek word translated as house is “oykos”, the same word Yeshua uses when talking about the house of God in Matthew 12:4 and 21:13. Tongues of fire, like the lightnings at Mt. Sinai, fall on each disciple who is present. Luke goes on to tell us a multitude of devout Jews from every nation heard the roaring sound and the disciples praising God in their own language.

Acts 2:5-8 NKJV 5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, "Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 "And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?

Where would devout Jews, who have traveled a long distance to be in Jerusalem for this feast, be when the feast began? Where would one hundred twenty disciples be so that a multitude of people could hear them praising God? The word multitude means thousands! There is only one place where this could have taken place and this is at the temple!

Peter and the other eleven apostles stand up and address the multitude. The Holy Spirit literally came with fire upon each and every one of them. With the power and strength from the Holy Spirit, they testify that Yeshua is the Messiah! All of the Jews there are experiencing a reenactment of the time at Mt. Sinai! Peter concludes his discourse with the testimony of Yeshua’s resurrection.

Acts 2:32-36 NKJV 32 "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 "Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. 34 "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool."' 36 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ (Messiah)."

The people cry out in anguish, “What shall we do?” Why do they believe so readily? Because they have just experienced a reenactment of the events at Mt. Sinai when they had promised God that they would do all He commanded them. They were bringing their first fruits where they once again swear their allegiance to God acknowledging Him as sovereign just like they did at Mt. Sinai.

Peter tells them to repent. The Hebraic concept of repent is to turn back to God. Peter’s answer is to us as well as them.

Acts 2:38-39 NKJV 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."

Yeshua is still calling and continues to call until the time of the fall Feasts and His return. He returns at the end of another count of fifty; the Year of Jubilee. The proclamation of the Year of Jubilee on Yom Kippur is a proclamation of liberty to the captives and a proclamation of the day of vengeance of God. Until then, we have a mission to complete—to go into all nations and make disciples teaching them all of Yeshua’s words from Genesis to Revelation.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan and Brenda Cathcart

Visit our web site at

Friday, May 17, 2013

Yeshua in the Counting of the Omer part 8: The last Ten Days

The period of time on the Biblical Calendar known as the Counting of the Omer is the 50 day period from the day after the regular weekly Sabbath which falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot.  In Christian circles this holiday is known as Pentecost but is little known beyond recognition as the day the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and they spoke in tongues.  But this Feast has great significance in the life and ministry of Jesus (Yeshua) and in the lives of his disciples including those of us who follow Him today.  Yeshua was very active during this time teaching and preparing His disciple to go out into the world and preach the Gospel.

The last ten days of the Omer begin with Yeshua’s ascension into heaven. Yeshua had taken His disciples out to the Mt. of Olives for the purpose of witnessing His ascension. Thoughts of Yeshua re-establishing Israel as an independent nation were uppermost in the disciples’ minds. But at Yeshua’s ascension, their thoughts were diverted.

Before examining Yeshua’s actions there on the Mt. of Olives, let’s review the offices of Messiah. First, the Messiah was to be a prophet like Moses.

Deuteronomy 18:18-19 NKJV 18 'I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 19 'And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.

Yeshua fulfilled this role as the prophet like Moses. What did Moses do? What were His actions as God’s prophet? His chief role is to speak all the words God puts in his mouth. Sometimes they are words of rebuke or even praise, sometimes they are words of things to come, sometimes they are reminders of who God is and what He has done. This is the role of all the prophets. But Moses was a special prophet—God spoke to him mouth to mouth.

Numbers 12:7-8 KJV 7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?

The voice of God confirmed that Yeshua was this prophet like Moses at the transfiguration when God’s voice spoke, “This is my beloved son, hear him.”

The second role of the messiah was to be the lamb that God provided for the atonement for the people. Abraham said that God would provide the lamb for the sacrifice. (Gen. 22:7-8) Isaiah says He will suffer for our iniquities and be resurrected to new life. (Is. 53) The third role of the messiah is that of the atoning high priest. Once a year on Yom Kippur, the high priest enters the Holy of Holies and makes atonement for the children of Israel.

Leviticus 16:32-34 NKJV 32 "And the priest, who is anointed and consecrated to minister as priest in his father's place, shall make atonement, and put on the linen clothes, the holy garments; 33 "then he shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tabernacle of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 "This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year." And he did as the LORD commanded Moses.

Not only did the high priest make atonement for the sins of the children of Israel, he made atonement for the tabernacle and the altar itself. The spiritual miasma of sin permeated even into the physical material of the tabernacle and the altar. In the days of the second temple, as the Day of Atonement began, a scarlet thread was tied to the doors of the Temple and the horns of the live goat which symbolically took their sins away.

Leviticus 16:21-22 NKJV 21 "Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man. 22 "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

In the time of the second temple, the live goat would not be merely released into the wilderness. The population was great enough that the goat would always find its way back among people. Instead the priest releasing the goat would push it over a cliff. If God forgave the sins of Israel, then the scarlet thread on the goat and the doors of the temple would turn white. Not only would the temple and the altar be cleansed, but so would the entire nation of Israel.

Zechariah wrote of a specific atonement of the high priest. In his vision, Zechariah saw Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD with Satan accusing him. Joshua was wearing filthy garments.

Zechariah 3:3-5 NKJV 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel. 4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him." And to him He said, "See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes." 5 And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.

God later explains the meaning of the vision to Zechariah. Joshua was a sign of the cleansing of all Israel in one day and the coming of the LORD’s servant the Branch.

Zechariah 3:8-9 NKJV 8 'Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH. 9 For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,' Says the LORD of hosts, 'And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

It is this third role of the atoning high priest that Yeshua entered into as He ascended into heaven on the fortieth day of the Omer.

Luke 24:50-51 NKJV 50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.

The phrase “he lifted up His hands and blessed them” is a Hebrew idiom referring to the blessing that the priests recite at the conclusion of every service. We see its first use when Moses invested Aaron as the high priest over Israel.

Leviticus 9:22-23 NKJV 22 Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, blessed them, and came down from offering the sin offering, the burnt offering, and peace offerings. 23 And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of meeting, and came out and blessed the people. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people,

This blessing is very specific:

Numbers 6:22-23 NKJV 22 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 23 "Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them:

When a priest raises his hands to begin the blessing, the people automatically bow their heads to receive the blessing, gazing at the feet of the priest pronouncing the blessing. Only priests were to say this blessing but by using this phrase, Luke is telling us that Yeshua said this blessing called the Aaronic blessing over His disciples.
Yeshua’s first act as the high priest was to speak the blessing over them. Here are the words Yeshua spoke:

Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV 24 "The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace."'

Imagine the scene. There on the Mt. of Olives, the place where He began His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Yeshua lifts His nail-scarred hands over them. The disciples recognize the gesture and automatically gaze down at Yeshua’s feet where they gaze on His nail-scarred feet. Yeshua begins to speak the blessing and as He does, the disciples see His feet lift from the ground. Their eyes follow His feet upward as He completes the blessing and disappears. Luke records this meeting in both Acts and his gospel.

Acts 1:9-11 NKJV 9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven."

Luke 24:52-53 NKJV 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.

These final ten days of the Omer begin with Yeshua saying this blessing over them as He ascends to heaven. The disciples worshipped and rejoiced! They returned to Jerusalem and spent as much time as they possibly could in God’s temple worshipping and praising God! They spent time together in prayer and petition. Luke clearly states where they spent those final days of the Omer. The count is still continuing; the anticipation continues to grow. What would God do next? What will happen when the Holy Spirit comes on them? Yeshua said that the Holy Spirit would come in just a few days!

Acts 1:5 NKJV 5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

I’m sure they must have discussed the implications of Yeshua declaring that He was the heavenly high priest. The land of Israel and her people surely needed their sins removed. Rome controlled the earthly high priesthood awarding it to the highest bidder! With the land and people being atoned for by such a high priest as Yeshua, surely the nation would be re-established. Zechariah goes on to show that the Branch would be both priest and king.

Zechariah 6:12-13 NKJV 12 "Then speak to him, saying, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: "Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, And He shall build the temple of the LORD; 13 Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both."'

The Feast of Weeks which is the anniversary of the day God gave them the Covenant on Mt. Sinai was just ten days away. Yeshua said His blood ushered in the New Covenant. Something will happen on this Feast day just like the events which happened on the previous three feasts! Yeshua died on Passover, descended to the grave as the Feast of Unleavened Bread began and rose on the Feast of Firstfruits. They must be ready for anything! Peter and the disciples gather together and discuss what preparations they must make. They remember the words Yeshua spoke to them at His last Passover Seder and throughout the preceding forty days of the Omer that they would be witnesses of Him.

John 15:26-27 NKJV 26 "But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 "And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

The first thing they did to get ready was to appoint a new apostle to take Judas Iscariot’s place as one of the twelve. Peter speaks of Judas Iscariot’s fall and the need to replace him in front of about one hundred twenty of the disciples.

Acts 1:20-22 NKJV 20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms: 'Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it'; and, 'Let another take his office.' 21 "Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 "beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection."

The disciples continue to rejoice and worship God. Each day they went to the temple. As the day ended, they returned to the place they were staying and continued in prayer and petition. Until, finally, it is the day before the Feast of Weeks. They are ready to testify to Yeshua’s death and resurrection!

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed,
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Visit our web site at

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Yeshua in the Counting of the Omer part 7: Up to Jerusalem

The period of time on the Biblical Calendar known as the Counting of the Omer is the 50 day period from the day after the regular weekly Sabbath which falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot.  In Christian circles this holiday is known as Pentecost but is little known beyond recognition as the day the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and they spoke in tongues.  But this Feast has great significance in the life and ministry of Jesus (Yeshua) and in the lives of his disciples including those of us who follow Him today.  Yeshua was very active during this time teaching and preparing His disciple to go out into the world and preach the Gospel.

The days of the Omer continue to go up getting closer and closer to fifty and the Feast of Weeks. Luke records that Yeshua continued to appear to the disciples.

Acts 1:1-3 NIV 1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

Some time before the fortieth day, the disciples head back to Jerusalem. This may seem like an arbitrary act; they were just at Jerusalem so why would they return so soon? Many people think that the disciples are still in fear of the Jewish leaders; if they are, why return to very city where the leaders congregate? First, we need to remember that the Omer counts up to a specific event—The Feast of Weeks. This is one of the three feasts of the LORD during which all men were to appear before God with an offering. Second, we need to remember what Yeshua has been telling them! When they were on the mountain in Galilee, Yeshua gave them authority over every thing on earth! He commissioned them to go to all nations and make disciples! There was no longer any reason to be afraid. So, Jerusalem held no fear for them; it held only anticipation. What would happen at the end of the counting of the Omer at the Feast of Weeks? So, the disciples eagerly return to Jerusalem in anticipation of the feast.

The disciples are once again in Jerusalem and Yeshua is teaching them. Perhaps they are in the same upper room in which they celebrated the Passover a few weeks earlier. Again, He tells them of the necessity of His suffering and death, that they would testify to those events, and that He would send the Holy Spirit to give them strength and power.

Luke 24:46-49 NIV 46 He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

This was on the fortieth day of the Omer. The number forty is the number of testing, trial, and growth. Moses spent forty days on Mt. Sinai twice as God gave him instruction while at the same time testing the faith of the children of Israel. Yeshua spent forty days in the wilderness being tempted by Satan. The children of Israel spent forty years in the wilderness because they refused to believe that God could bring them into the Promised Land. During those forty years, God provided manna for them to eat and water for them to drink. Their clothes didn’t even wear out! He was testing and growing their faith.

Deuteronomy 29:5-6 NIV 5 During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet. 6 You ate no bread and drank no wine or other fermented drink. I did this so that you might know that I am the LORD your God.

As the children of Israel are getting ready to go into the Promised Land at the end of the forty year period, Moses recites to them all the signs and acts which God performed for them starting with their exodus from Egypt and continuing through His actions in the wilderness.

Deuteronomy 11:2-3 NKJV 2 "Know today that I do not speak with your children, who have not known and who have not seen the chastening of the LORD your God, His greatness and His mighty hand and His outstretched arm- 3 "His signs and His acts which He did in the midst of Egypt, to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to all his land;

Moses concludes with the purpose of the signs and acts; the reason he recites God’s signs and acts—so they will have strength to obey God take the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 11:8 NKJV 8 "Therefore you shall keep every commandment which I command you today, that you may be strong, and go in and possess the land which you cross over to possess,

Luke and John tell us that Yeshua performed signs and proofs that He was alive.

John 20:30-31 NKJV 30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

Yeshua was convincing them that He and the Father were one. He was equipping them to take the “Promised Land” as they shared the good news of God’s salvation with both the Jew and the Gentile!

On the fortieth day, Yeshua took them out to Bethany on the Mount of Olives. This is the site of so many events through the years. It is the probable site of the ram caught in the thorn bush by its horns that Abraham sacrificed in Isaac’s place. It is the site of the preparation of the ashes of the red heifer used to cleanse a person who was unclean from touching a dead body. On the southern end of the Mt. of Olives, Solomon set up altars to foreign gods for his foreign wives. By the time of King Josiah who tore down the altars, it was called the Mt. of Corruption!

2 Kings 23:13 NKJV 13 Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon.

The Mt. of Olives is also the last place the spirit of God touched when it departed from the temple days before its destruction.

Ezekiel 10:18-19 NKJV 18 Then the glory of the LORD departed from the threshold of the temple and stood over the cherubim. 19 And the cherubim lifted their wings and mounted up from the earth in my sight. When they went out, the wheels were beside them; and they stood at the door of the east gate of the LORD'S house, and the glory of the God of Israel was above them.

Ezekiel 11:22-23 NKJV 22 So the cherubim lifted up their wings, with the wheels beside them, and the glory of the God of Israel was high above them. 23 And the glory of the LORD went up from the midst of the city and stood on the mountain, which is on the east side of the city.

Yeshua Himself had a long history with the Mt. of Olives. His triumphal entry to Jerusalem was over the Mt. of Olives. (Mt. 21:1, Mr. 11:1, Lu. 19:37) He waited there on the Mt. of Olives while His disciples went to get the colt of the donkey for Him to ride into Jerusalem. In the days leading up to the Passover, it was a favorite place for Him to meet with His disciples. (Lu. 22:39) This is where He told them of the tribulation that would come before His return. (Mt. 24:3, Mr. 13:3) He brought His disciples out to the Mt. of Olives after His last Passover supper. (Mt. 26:30, Mr. 14:26) It was here on the Mt. of Olives that Judas Iscariot betrayed Him to the high priest. The Mt. of Olives is also the likely place of His crucifixion since it was “before the face of God” directly east of the temple two hundred feet higher in elevation so that those on the Mt. of Olives could look down into the temple whenever the doors were open.

This is where Yeshua brought His disciples once again on the fortieth day of the Omer. Once again, He tells them to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit comes on them.

Acts 1:4-5 NKJV 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 "for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

What were the disciples thinking? Where was all this leading? The Jewish people of Yeshua’s day were watching for their Messiah. They expected a suffering servant and a conquering king Messiah—they just expected, and still do expect, them to be two different Messiahs coming at the same time. The disciples have now accepted that the Messiah is Yeshua, that the suffering servant and the conquering king are one and the same. But the disciples still expected Yeshua to set up His kingdom at that time. They ask Yeshua, “Is it time?”

Acts 1:6 NKJV 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?"

They are eager and ready to fight by the side of their conquering king. The prophet Zechariah wrote of the strength the Holy Spirit would pour out on the inhabitants of Jerusalem to destroy her enemies.

Zechariah 12:8-10 NKJV 8 "In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. 9 "It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 "And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.

They are ready and eager to testify that Yeshua was the One who was pierced and is now the conquering King. But Yeshua didn’t answer them directly.

Acts 1:7-8 NKJV 7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Yeshua again repeated that they would receive power from the Holy Spirit. Even as Yeshua was speaking, they watched Him ascend into heaven. The angel’s words were that Yeshua would return to the Mt. of Olives. They knew the words of Zechariah that the King, God Himself, would step down on the Mt. of Olives when He returned.

Zechariah 14:4 NKJV 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south.

Would Yeshua establish His kingdom at the Feast of Weeks just ten days away? The Feast of Weeks is the anniversary of God giving them the Torah essentially establishing them as a nation. Would He do so again? After all, Yeshua hadn’t said that the Father wouldn’t establish the kingdom at that time. What would God do at the culmination of the Omer? All Jerusalem would once again be filled to the bursting point with two and half million worshippers! Something is surely going to happen!

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed,
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yeshua in the Counting of the Omer part 6: Feed My Sheep

The period of time on the Biblical Calendar known as the Counting of the Omer is the 50 day period from the day after the regular weekly Sabbath which falls during the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot.  In Christian circles this holiday is known as Pentecost but is little known beyond recognition as the day the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples and they spoke in tongues.  But this Feast has great significance in the life and ministry of Jesus (Yeshua) and in the lives of his disciples including those of us who follow Him today.  Yeshua was very active during this time teaching and preparing His disciple to go out into the world and preach the Gospel.

After the breakfast of fish and bread by the Sea of Galilee, Yeshua calls Peter aside. Peter needed a special touch from Yeshua. On the night Yeshua was betrayed, Peter declared twice that he would not abandon Yeshua, that he would follow Him into prison and even death.

Luke 22:33-34 KJV 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.

First, the phrase “cock crow” doesn’t refer to a rooster! The Talmud records in the book “Yom Sukka” that the cock crow is the call of a man, specifically that of a priest. At the end of the first watch, a priest is designated to call the priests and Levites to their duties. He calls the priests to “arise for the platform” and the Levites to “arise for your posts.” The cock crow is a call to duty; to fulfill the roles ordained for them.

So when Peter denied Yeshua for the third time just as the “cock crowed,” he was unworthy and unprepared to take up His ordained role.

Luke 22:60-62 KJV 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.

Peter’s anguish was great; perhaps greater than that of the other disciples. Yeshua though is compassionate with us. He understands our frailty and He understood Peter’s frailty. The gospel of Mark records that the angel’s words reporting Yeshua’s resurrection instructed the women to go tell His disciples and Peter that Yeshua would meet with them in Galilee.

Mark 16:7 NKJV 7 "But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."

Yeshua had a special commission for Peter. When Yeshua told Peter that he would deny Him, he also told him that when he had been “turned around,” he was to strengthen His brothers. Peter had fallen and been restored.

Luke 22:31-32 NKJV 31 And the Lord said, "Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 "But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren."

There in Galilee, Yeshua called Peter aside. Three times Peter had denied he knew Yeshua, three times Yeshua asks Peter if he loves Him.

John 21:15-17 NKJV 15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." 16 He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." 17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.

Yeshua gives Peter instructions three times. They all seem the same to us but there is a difference in the word choice. The first time Yeshua tells Peter to feed His lambs. The word feed is a Greek word meaning to bring to pasture. This isn’t feeding sheep by pouring some grain into a manger; this is feeding by bringing them to pasture. It is an active role; you can’t just take them to pasture and leave them. Peter is to bring Yeshua’s lambs, the young ones to pasture and care for them while they are there.

The second time Yeshua tells Peter to tend His sheep. The word “tend” means to tend as a shepherd, to feed, to rule. The Greek word translated sheep means something that walks forward. Peter is to provide guidance and protection for those who walk forward in Yeshua. Finally, Yeshua tells Peter to feed my sheep, to pasture those who walk forward!

God spoke through Ezekiel about the bad shepherds of His flock.

Ezekiel 34:2 KJV 2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

The word feed is a Hebrew word that means to pasture just like the Greek word for feed. The shepherd should bring his sheep to pasture and care for them. God continues His case against the shepherds.

Ezekiel 34:4 KJV 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

The shepherds not only didn’t take care of them in the pasture, they ruled over them with cruelty. Yeshua’s instructions to Peter are that he is to tend and rule them but not like the bad shepherds of Israel.

As we read Peter’s epistles, we see that he took Yeshua’s instructions to heart. He strengthens and has compassion for his brethren in Yeshua. In his first epistle he encourages and exhorts us to have strength as we face trials from without. He encourages us to live holy lives, to love one another deeply, and have compassion on each other.

1 Peter 3:8-9 NKJV 8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

1 Peter 4:7-8 NKJV 7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."

Finally, Peter exhorts the elders of the assembly to be shepherds of God’s flock willingly and with love not as a cruel task master! He passes on the instructions Yeshua gave to him.

1 Peter 5:2-4 NKJV 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

In his second epistle, as Peter faces his own death, he warns against bad shepherds, about false teachers. His last thoughts are about the sheep Yeshua entrusted to him.

2 Peter 2:1-2 NIV 1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-- bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.

God also warned against those same bad shepherds and pronounced judgment against them.

Ezekiel 34:20-22 NKJV 20 'Therefore thus says the Lord GOD to them: "Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. 21 "Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, 22 "therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.

I can’t help but think of the contrast of the good shepherd described in Psalm 23.

Psalms 23:1-6 MKJV 1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

This is the task Yeshua had for Peter while he waited for Him to come. “Peter, do you love me? Feed my sheep.”

The disciples continued to count up to day 50, each day with more and more eagerness as Yeshua explained what they were to do in the days to come.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed,
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

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