Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Disciples of the Master

By Dan and Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International

The video version of this teaching is available at:

As Yeshua traveled throughout the Galilee region, He taught His disciples about who could enter the kingdom of heaven in the Sermon on the Mount and what the kingdom of heaven was like through comparisons in His parables. He continued to heal the sick and cast out demons. More and more people began to flock to Him wherever He went. The crowds grew so large that even He could not meet all their needs by Himself.

Matthew 9:36-38 NKJV 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

It was time for Yeshua to share His mission with His disciples, to send them out as laborers in the harvest. What would this mean for those first disciples Yeshua sent out as well as for all those who would become Yeshua’s disciples over the centuries? What would their commitment to the mission entail? How would their lives change?

Yeshua chose twelve men to be His first apostles. The Greek word “apostles” is #652, apostolos. in Strong’s Concordance it means a delegate or an ambassador. It comes from a word meaning to send. An apostle is one that is sent out to do the will of the one in authority. Yeshua called the twelve to Him and gave them the mission to work the harvest. He gave them power over sickness and demonic forces.

Matthew 10:1 NKJV 1 And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease

Yeshua will later send out seventy disciple to teach about the kingdom of heaven. He will give different instructions to them than He does to these first twelve on this mission. After Yeshua’s death and resurrection, He tells His disciples about their continuing mission.

Matthew 28:18-20 NKJV 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Yeshua delegates His authority to them to make more disciples, to bring more people into the kingdom of heaven. Luke’s gospel includes more details about their mission and that they will receive the power to do so.

Luke 24:46-49 NKJV 46 Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 "and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 "And you are witnesses of these things. 49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."

When Yeshua sent out the first twelve apostles, He gave them detailed instructions on where they were to go and how they were to proceed once they were at their destinations. Their first instruction was that they were to go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 

Matthew 10:5-8 NKJV 5 These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: "Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 "But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 "And as you go, preach, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8 "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

This reference to the last sheep of the house of Israel has given rise to some interesting interpretations, however, the first rule of understanding scripture is to look at it in context. Yeshua is very specifically referring to the multitudes who flocked to Him from all around the Galilee region. Yeshua is not at this point in time instructing His twelve apostles to go out into the nations looking for the Jewish people who had been exiled by the Assyrians under King Shalmanezer or those exiled by the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar. These twelve apostles visited cities in the Galilee region. 

Matthew 11:1 NKJV 1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.

At this point in time, the apostles were instructed to stay away from the Gentiles and the cities of the Samaritans. Does this mean that the gospel message is only for the Jews? Is it only Jews who can accept the message of the kingdom and enter into it? These are doctrines that have been promoted based on this passage. However, Yeshua had already gone into Samaria Himself and stayed two days teaching the kingdom of heaven. Many of the Samaritans came to believe that Yeshua was the Messiah who could provide living water.

John 4:39-41 NKJV 39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, "He told me all that I ever did." 40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of His own word.

If the gospel message can go out and be received by Samaritans and Gentiles, what could be the reason Yeshua restricted the apostles in where they could go? Again, context is important. Part of the reason was the political situation at the time. Yeshua did not yet want to come to the attention of the Roman political leaders. When it became known that He and His disciples were baptizing more people than John the Baptist, He withdrew from Judea and went to Galilee.

John 4:1-3 NKJV 1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee.

This may have coincided with the arrest of John the Baptist.

Matthew 4:12 NKJV 12 Now when Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, He departed to Galilee.

The gospel of Mark relates that King Herod heard of Yeshua during the time that the apostles were visiting the cities of the Galilee.

Mark 6:14 NKJV 14 Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, "John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him."

Herod associated Yeshua with the acts of John the Baptist. Later in Yeshua’s ministry, His brothers refer to Yeshua seeking to be known while at the same time trying not to come to the attention of the authorities.

John 7:3-6 NKJV 3 His brothers therefore said to Him, "Depart from here and go into Judea, that Your disciples also may see the works that You are doing. 4 "For no one does anything in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world." 5 For even His brothers did not believe in Him. 6 Then Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.

Yeshua’s answer to His brothers was that the time to make Himself known was not yet there. So, one of the reasons Yeshua may have restricted the apostles to the Jewish people was to keep from coming to the attention of the Roman authorities.

Another possible reason that Yeshua restricted the apostles to only going to Jewish cities at this time goes back to the writings of the sages about the events at Mt. Sinai when God first took the children of Israel as His own people. Moses records the events as the children of Israel arrived at Mt. Sinai and God offered them the covenant.

Exodus 19:4-5 NKJV 4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. 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.

The sages comment on this passage saying that God had offered the covenant to the other nations as well, but only Israel said that they would do all that God commanded. The Stone Edition Chumash comments on this:

“God offered the Torah to other nations, as well, but they all refused it because the commandments of the Torah were in conflict with their national characteristics.… That Israel was willing to accept the Torah without even inquiring as to its contents was because it had inherited the spiritual heritage of the Patriarchs that its cousins had rejected.”[1]

Because the Covenant of God was with the nation of Israel, Israel is rightly the first nation to be offered the New Covenant. In fact, Jeremiah states that the New Covenant will be with the house of Judah and the house of Israel.

Jeremiah 31:33 NKJV 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 in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Paul explains that the gospel of the kingdom of heaven was offered first to the Jew and then to the Greek.

Romans 1:16 NKJV 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

Paul goes on to say that the rejection of the New Covenant by the Jewish people is what opens the gospel to the entirety of the other nations.

Romans 11:25 NKJV 25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

At the time that Yeshua sends out the twelve apostles, He has not yet been rejected by the Jewish leadership. The offer of the New Covenant and invitation to be part of the Kingdom of heaven is still being presenting to the nation of Israel as a whole. Many of the Jews will accept that Yeshua is their long-awaited Messiah who leads them into the New Covenant. But the leaders of the nation will reject Yeshua as Messiah and the gospel message will go out to the Gentiles.

As the twelve apostles go out on their journey to their countryman, they are not to carry money or provisions; they are to rely on the hospitality of their brethren.

Matthew 10:9-12 NKJV 9 "Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, 10 "nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. 11 "Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. 12 "And when you go into a household, greet it.

To “greet a household” is to confer a blessing on it usually by saying, “Peace to you.”[2] This is reminiscent of the threshold covenant where a guest entering a home is to be treated as one of the family and the guest is to put aside all hostility while a guest in the home. Yeshua instructed His apostles that if the householder did not receive them or their message, they were to depart from that home and village and their blessing would be removed from that household and village.

Matthew 10:13-15 NKJV 13 "If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 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!

By their rejection of the message and the messenger, they would now be open to judgment. Sodom and Gomorrah did not receive the messengers of God with hospitality; they sought to harm them and rob them. This rejection of the messengers of God was the final confirmation of their wickedness which led to their judgment and destruction. At the end of His instructions, Yeshua will explain this judgment. Whoever receives the apostles and their message receives Yeshua and, through Him, the Father.

Matthew 10:40-42 NKJV 40 "He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. 41 "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward. And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. 42 "And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward."

In between these pronouncements, Yeshua interrupts His instructions with the interjections, “Behold!” At this point, His words are meant not just for the twelve apostles but for all of those He will send out until His return. Yeshua explains the commitment and cost of being His disciples. Those who go out in Yeshua’s name will need to expect and be prepared for danger.

Matthew 10:16 NKJV 16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

Those who would teach about the kingdom of heaven will be rejected, especially by those in authority.

Matthew 10:17-18 NKJV 17 "But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 "You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

The word translated as “synagogue” is the Greek word soon-ag-o-gay', #4864 in Strong’s Concordance meaning an assembly. These assemblies that Yeshua’s disciples will be delivered up to may be Jewish assembles, but they may also be any assembly in whatever nation the disciple happens to teaching!

Yeshua promises that when we are called to account by authorities, that the Holy Spirit will give us the words to speak, not necessarily in defense of our position but the words that those in authority need to hear.

Matthew 10:19-20 NKJV 19 "But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 "for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

After His resurrection, Yeshua promised that the coming of the Holy Spirit would give us the power we need to speak the gospel message.

Acts 1:8-9 NKJV 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." 9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.

Not only will those in authority hate the message of the kingdom, so will some of our nearest friends, relatives, and neighbors. Being a disciple is a dangerous proposition.

Matthew 10:21-22 NKJV 21 "Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

Like the twelve were to wipe off the dust of the city of those who rejected them, so also are those of us who are disciples today and tomorrow to turn on backs on those places who reject the message of the kingdom.

Matthew 10:23 NKJV 23 "When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Does this mean that Yeshua will come before the gospel reaches all the cities just of Israel? First Fruits of Zion, in their work, The Chronicles of Messiah, explains that this means that “places of refuge will not run out.”[3]

Being a disciple also requires that we put Yeshua before all else. Yeshua tells us that we can do no better than following in His steps, the steps of our master.

Matthew 10:24-26 NKJV 24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25 "It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master.

We are to put Yeshua before our families and even our physical lives. Yeshua said that anyone who would not put Him first is not worthy of the kingdom of heaven!

Matthew 10:37-39 NKJV 37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 "He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.

We are assured acceptance by the Father is we acknowledge the Son!

Matthew 10:32-33 NKJV 32 "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 "But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

Paul demonstrated this devotion to Yeshua. When imprisoned in Rome and standing before Caesar, he didn’t falter but spoke the words given to him through the Holy Spirit.

2 Timothy 4:17-18 NKJV 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. And I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 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!

Paul gave up his life following His master Yeshua. It cost him everything that this world values, but he received the gift of eternal life. Yeshua has confessed him before the Father and the Father has received him. We know this because of the promise in Yeshua’s words. Being a disciple of the Master is a calling to share the gospel of the kingdom; it is a calling to follow Him each and every day.

Discussion Questions:

1. How do instructions to the seventy disciples in Luke 10:1-12 compare to the instructions given to the twelve? Just before His crucifixion, Yeshua gave new instructions in Luke 22:35-36 and, after His resurrection, in Luke 24:44-46 and in Matthew 28:18-20. Compare this new set of instructions with those given to the twelve and the seventy.

2. Yeshua describes the multitude as “sheep who are weary and scattered” in Matthew 9:36. Mark describes them as “sheep without a shepherd” in Mark 6:34. Yeshua, then, sends the twelve to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel.” How are the multitudes “lost sheep who are weary and scattered without a shepherd?”


3. When going to the Jewish people, the disciples were instructed to enter one home and bless the home. How is this carrying out the threshold covenant that existed between all the families of Israel? What, then, would be the significance of wiping off the dust of the shoes and removing the blessing? Compare this to Yeshua’s words in Matthew 10:21-23 and 34-36.

4. Yeshua describes a reward going to those who receive or honor three different types of people, prophets, those who are righteous, and little ones in Matthew 10:41. The reward received is, also, described as three different types. What is the message behind this verse? How does it connect to verse 40?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved.



[1] The Stone Edition Chumash. General Editors: Rabbi Nosson Scherman and Rabbi Meyer Zlotowitz. Mesorah Publications, ltd. ©2000. Page 401-402.
[2] New King James study Bible. General Editor Earl D. Radmacher, Th.D. Thomas Nelson. ©2007. Pgae 1505.
[3] The Chronicles of Messiah, Volume 2. Lancaster, D. Thomas. First Fruits of Zion. 2014. Page 658

Monday, February 26, 2018

Purim and the Ten Banquets of the Book of Esther

The Book of Esther is all about a man who hates the Jewish people and schemes to kill them. He achieves a high position in the government of Persia and uses that position to enact a decree to kill all the Jews. When the queen, herself a Jew, finds out about the decree, she approaches the king, exposes the man who wants to kill her and all her people, and gets a new decree signed allowing the Jews to fight back. On the fateful day, the Jews triumph overwhelmingly over their foes.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Shabbat Service 2-24-2018

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Wind and the Spirits

By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International

Video version of this teaching available at
https://youtu.be/ntH2blmqEXE

Yeshua again returned to His primary headquarters of Peter’s home in Capernaum on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee.  There He engaged in teaching His followers and disciples about the kingdom of God with many parables.  His reputation was now such that huge crowds gathered around Him wherever He went.  Privacy was nearly impossible, even while in Peter’s house there were multitudes of people gathered outside waiting and calling for the Master to come meet with them.  One day, when evening came, Yeshua had a plan.  

Mark 4:35-36 NKJV 35 On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, "Let us cross over to the other side." 36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him.

Slipping out of Peter’s house after dark, Yeshua along with Peter, James, and John, got into the boat that, earlier in the day Yeshua had used as a speaking platform, and set out to the other side of the Galilee to the Gentile territory of Gadriyim. It would not be an easy crossing.

The Sea of Galilee is located about 400 feet below sea level in a region surrounded by high hills.  High winds and stormy conditions are a common occurrence on the sea and often spring up suddenly, without warning and with great ferocity.  These sudden storms frequently rise up in the late afternoons and even at night in what otherwise appears to be calm conditions.

The common fishing boats used on the Galilee were small, about 20 to 25 feet in length, and sat low in the water to facilitate the handling of the trammel nets.

While the three disciples handled the navigation of the boat, Yeshua slept in the stern when a sudden and particularly violent storm arose on the sea.  

Mark 4:37-39 NKJV 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" 39 Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.

Mark’s description of the storm is rather like the storm described in the story of Jonah. 

Jonah 1:4-5 NKJV 4 But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.

There are some striking parallels between these accounts.  Both have the principle character asleep when a raging storm arises.  Both stories have the sailors terrified and fearful of their boat sinking.  In both stories, the sailors awaken the sleeping individual who in both cases, has the solution to the problem and the storm is immediately halted.  This sudden and miraculous calming of the sea, terrifies both the sailors on Jonah’s boat as well as Yeshua’s disciples on the Sea of Galilee.

The Master Yeshua arose and immediately rebuked the wind and it became still.  It is interesting that the Hebrew word for wind is Ruach, number 7307 in the Strong’s Dictionary and means wind, as in breath.  But it is also the same Hebrew that means spirit.

Yeshua uses the same words in rebuke and calming the storm on the Sea of Galilee that night as He uses to rebuke evil spirits.  He commands the wind to, “Peace, be still!”  In our modern way of thinking, rebuking a weather phenomenon in this manner makes no logical sense.  But in the Jewish culture of the day, a storm of this nature was not merely a storm.  The belief was that the spiritual world manifested itself in the physical world.  In other words, the storm on the Sea that night was a direct, physical manifestation of a spiritual battle, it had demonic origins.

First Fruits of Zion in their work, The Chronicles of Messiah quote the work of Rabbi Samuel Lachs who wrote a rabbinic commentary of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.[1]

(There are) several Talmudic references to a spirit or demon of the sea, a concept that reaches back into Israelite ideas about Yam and Rahab and the forces of Chaos that ruled the waters, and their correlations in Canaanite mythology.

Yeshua spoke His rebuke, and the wind and the waters fled.  The very sound of His voice was enough to calm both the wind and the sea. The Psalmist speaks of the Power of the LORD to calm the sea.  

Psalms 107:23-30 NKJV 23 Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters, 24 They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep. 25 For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. 26 They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble. 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits' end. 28 Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. 29 He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. 30 Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.

As Yeshua speaks and calms the wind and waves, he asks a question of his Disciples in a kind of mocking rebuke of them.  

Mark 4:40-41 NKJV 40 But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" 41 And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!"

Had Peter, James and John, Yeshua’s most trusted and beloved disciples, having witnessed the multitude of miracles performed by Yeshua over the previous months, really lost faith?  Again, their reaction to the calming of the sea was strikingly similar to the sailors aboard the ship with Jonah. 

Jonah 1:16 NKJV 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.

Unlike the fate of Jonah, whom the sailors threw into the sea, Yeshua’s disciples did not throw Him overboard.  After the wind and waves were calmed, they continued their journey across the Sea of Galilee to the area of Gerasenes, or in Hebrew Gadriyim, to one of the cities of the Decapolis. They were about to meet another kind of storm.  

Mark 5:1-5 NKJV 1 Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.

No sooner had Yeshua and the disciples left their boat, then a shadowy figure raced toward them from the tombs cut into the hillside near the shoreline.  The scriptures describe the man as unclean, living in an unclean place, a grave yard, and possessed by unclean spirits.  Luke’s gospel describes him as being naked.  

Luke 8:27 NKJV 27 And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs.

His body would always have open wounds because of his constant gashing of himself against the rocks of the caves. He is often heard through the night screaming and shrieking in and around the tombs on the hillside.  The gospel of Matthew has some additional description citing there were two such men. 

Matthew 8:28 NKJV 28 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.

This man, or perhaps two men, came screaming down the hillside from the burial caves when he spotted Yeshua and the disciples landing on the shore. 

Mark 5:6-7 NKJV 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. 7 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me."

The demonic spirit immediately recognizes Yeshua, not only calling Him by name, but recognizing Him as the “Son of the Most High God!”  He immediately recognizes Yeshua’s spiritual identity.  This is the same reaction as the demonic spirit in the man found in the Synagogue in Capernaum.  

Mark 1:23-24 NKJV 23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, "Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are--the Holy One of God!"

In the typical exorcism, the evil spirits are cast out in the name of, or authority of, a higher power. Namely in the authority of Yeshua as the Son of the Most High God.  Later, the disciples cast out demons in the name of, or authority of, Yeshua.  In this case we see a bit of a reversal.  The demon requests that the exorcist, namely Yeshua, not torment him, as we see in Mark 5 verse 7.  What torture was feared by this demon?  Did he know something of his ultimate end?  Again, the gospel of Matthew may shed some additional light on this.  

Matthew 8:29 NKJV 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?"

It seems that this demon, or more accurately, this legion of demons, know what is coming to them and by who’s hand it is coming!

There are several accounts of judgment coming upon the demonic spirits in apocryphal writings as well as the canonized books of Jude, 2nd Peter and Revelation.  The Master Yeshua Himself spoke of the ultimate fate of the demonic spirits, the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels.  

Matthew 25:41 NKJV 41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

In the apocryphal Book of Enoch, we find an interesting account where the “Son of Man” will judge the fallen angels. 

“You mighty kings who dwell on the earth, you shall behold My Chosen One, how He sits on the throne of glory and judges Azazel, and all his associates, and all his hosts in the name of the Lord of Spirits.”

Are these evil spirits on this hillside anticipating an appointed time of torment?  Are they surprised to see the Son of the Most High God, the very agent of their torment and judgment, so long in advance of the appointed time?  This legion of demons possessing this man, or perhaps two men, immediately recognized Yeshua as the Son of God and the one to be their judge.  All demons know that, one day, Messiah Yeshua will send them into the Lake of fire.  The Talmud records an interesting take on this judgment.

Satan said before the Holy one, blessed be He: “Master of the World!  The light which is hidden under your Throne of Glory, for whom is it destined?”  He said to him; “For him who will turn you back and disgrace you and shame your face.”  He said to him; “Master of the World! Show him to me!”  He said to him; “Come and see him!”  When Satan saw the Messiah, he trembled and fell upon his face and said; “Surely this is the Messiah who in the future will cast me and all the princes of the nations of the world in Gehenna.”[2]

The encounter with this demon possessed man was a kind of spiritual, demonic storm, not unlike the fierce wind storm Yeshua and the disciples faced earlier in the night on the Sea of Galilee.  In previous encounters with demons, Yeshua had succeeded in exorcising them with little to no resistance.  This time it was a bit more difficult.  This time Yeshua demanded to know the name of this demon. 

Mark 5:9 NKJV 9 Then He asked him, "What is your name?" And he answered, saying, "My name is Legion; for we are many."

How many demons were they dealing with here?  A typical Roman legion consisted of 4000 to 6000 men.  Obviously Yeshua was not dealing with one or just a handful of demonic spirits in this case.  He had come across the Sea of Galilee, into Gentile territory and was met by an army of demons!  These demons implored Yeshua not to send them away into exile. 

Luke 8:31 NKJV 31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

There was a nearby herd of pigs, approximately 2000 of them, which the demons begged Yeshua to send them into these swine instead. 

Mark 5:11-13 NKJV 11 Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. 12 So all the demons begged Him, saying, "Send us to the swine, that we may enter them." 13 And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea and drowned in the sea.

Once the demons entered the swine, the pigs then immediately charged down the slope and into the water to be drowned.  This legion of demonic spirits now had no place to go and departed from the area.  This must certainly have left a lasting impression on Peter James and John.  Did they see the bigger picture that was just presented to them?  Here was an unclean man, a Gentile, who dwelt in an unclean place, tombs or a graveyard, possessed by unclean spirits who were, in turn, exiled into unclean animals!

Perhaps the legion which occupied this man symbolically represented the Roman occupation of the land.  Roman Legions carried the symbol of a wild boar on their unit standards.  To the disciples and to those following Yeshua, perhaps the exorcism of the demons and the destruction of the herd of swine was seen as a sign of the toppling of Rome and the liberation of their land!  The Jewish people of the day were actively seeking a conquering King Messiah to over throw Rome.

The disciples, and perhaps Yeshua himself felt that this was enough adventure for one night, got back in their boat and returned across the lake.

In closing, let’s take a closer look at Mark’s account of this encounter with this man possessed by a legion of demons.  Looking at Mark 5:2-6 again.

Mark 5:2-6 NKJV 2 And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.

A: And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
B: who had his dwelling among the tombs;
C: and no one could bind him, not even with chains,
D: because he had often been bound with shackles and
   chains.
D: And the chains had been pulled apart by him,
   and the shackles broken in pieces;
C: neither could anyone tame him.
B: And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the      
   tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
A: When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.

As we examine this passage a little closer we will see a pattern emerge.  We can begin to discern a common Hebraic poetic structure known as a chaisim.  The chaisim is structured in four steps walking inward to a central theme. Step A, we find in verses 2 and 6 with “immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit” and “When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.”  Moving inward to step B in verses 3 and 5: “who had his dwelling among the tombs” and “And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs”.  Step C in verses 3b and 4b: “and no one could bind him, not even with chains” and “neither could anyone tame him.” And the central theme, Step D is: “because he had often been bound with shackles and chains,” and “And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces.”

The central theme of this chaisim teaches us that our own power will never be sufficient to tame the demons or evil spirits that populate this world.  If we try to bind them in our own strength and authority, we will fail every time.

In this account of Yeshua and the disciple,s journey crossing the Sea of Galilee, they encounter two exceedingly fierce storms; one physical with the wind, the ruach; and one spiritual with the legion of spirits or again, ruach.  In both cases, we see that only the power of God through the authority of Yeshua is sufficient to quell the wind and the spirits.  Yeshua is sufficient to deal with the little things like healing the small child, causing the blind to see, casting out a demon or two.  But when the big storm hits in the middle of the night, were the disciples going to trust Him?  Are we going to put our full faith and trust In Yeshua to not only take care of our little needs, but when the major, unexpected storms arise out of nowhere, will we still trust in Yeshua’s power and authority?


Study Questions:

2. What are additional similarities and differences between this account and the story of Jonah?

3. How does Yeshua’s authority over the physical and the spiritual storms demonstrate that He is Messiah?

4. What is the significance of the four unclean things: The unclean man, the unclean place, the unclean spirits, and the unclean animals?

5. What are the deeper meanings revealed in the chiasm in Mark 5:2-6?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International



[1] The Chronicles of the Messiah, D. Thomas Lancaster, FFOZ, Vol.2 p.637
[2] Pesikta Rabbiat 35-36

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Shabbat Service 2-17-2018

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

The Covenants of the Priesthood - Part 2

In part 2 of our series on the Covenants of the Priesthood, we examine the rebellion of Korah. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

To What Can the Kingdom of Heaven be Compared?

Parables were widely used in Jewish Literature to put concepts in terms that people could understand. This is not unique to Jewish literature. Aesop’s Tales are stories designed to teach a lesson or concept illustrating different aspects of human nature. The rabbis of Yeshua’s age made extensive use of the parable to teach concepts about God. Many of these parables have been preserved in the Talmud. Yeshua used parables to teach the multitudes about the kingdom of God. The idea that Messiah would come to bring in a spiritual kingdom was contrary to the expectations of the Jewish people. Yeshua needed to redirect their thoughts. Did Yeshua speak parables to clarify or confuse the understanding of the multitudes? What do the parables reveal about the kingdom of heaven?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Dual Covenant Theology: Is Faith in Yeshua Essential for Salvation?

In this video we address the controversy of the duel covenant theology. What does Yeshuah have to say about the essentials of salvation?

 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Shabbat Service 2-10-2018

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

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Are You the Expected One

Yeshua’s cousin, John the Baptist had been jailed by Herod Antipus and exiled to the desert fortress at Machaerus. From his prison, John the Baptist sent a few of his disciples to ask Yeshua a critical question. Was John having doubts about the identity and mission of Yeshua?  What did John expect to see? Yeshua answers John in what seems to be a cryptic manner. Then, Yeshua turns it back on those following Him. What do they expect to see?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Shabbat Service 2-3-2018

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

The Covenants of the Priesthood - Part 1

Part one of our multi-part study of the Covenants of the Priesthood.  Join us live for these sessions on Livestream.com and Facebook Live at 7:50 pm on the 1st and 3rd Friday nights each month. Visit our website at MoedMinistries.com for details.

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