Saturday, July 28, 2018

Shabbat Service 7-28-2018

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 our website, on vimeo.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

 

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Encounter at the Temple


Moed Ministries International
The video version of this teaching is available at:

The scripture reading for this teaching is Mark 11:12-21
Yeshua traveled to Jerusalem and specifically to the Temple many times in his lifetime.  The earliest account recorded in the gospels is when He is just twelve years old and astounds the scribes and Pharisees with His knowledge of the scriptures.
Luke 2:46-47 NKJV 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.
Throughout the gospels, the Temple is a central focal point of Yeshua’s ministry as well as the center of Jewish faith and practices of the day.  Yeshua observes all the festivals and holidays by making the pilgrimage from His headquarters in the Galilee to Jerusalem.  Along the road He constantly brings the message of repentance for the kingdom of God is at hand.
But this time, as He approaches Jerusalem from the East, something was different.  Yeshua stops and weeps over the city as it comes into view from atop the Mount of Olives. Before entering the city, he approaches a fig tree looking for its fruit, and seeing none, He curses the fig tree, forbidding it from bearing fruit in the future.  What is different about this trip to Jerusalem?  Why does Yeshua weep when He sees the city?  And what is the significance of cursing the fig tree?

The curse of the fig tree, which we discussed at length in our last teaching was, in essence a prophetic sign of the judgement that was to come upon the city and the Jewish people.  It was not, as much of Christianity has taught, a repudiation of the Old Testament, of Judaism and Jewish religious practices, but was a judgment on that generation for their failure to repent and return to God.
Up to this time Yeshua’s entire ministry was about repentance and the kingdom of God, not only coming but being obtainable in the here and now. But this generation had failed to repent, and disaster was no longer avoidable.  The cursing of the fig tree harkens back to a parable involving a fig tree.
Luke 13:6-9 NKJV 6 He also spoke this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 "Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, 'Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?' 8 "But he answered and said to him, 'Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 'And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.'"
Just as the owner of the vineyard and the fig tree in this parable searched for the fruit of the tree, so too was the Master Yeshua looking to find the first fruit of the fig tree that day.
This prophetic sign was not unlike those of the prophets of old; Jeramiah and his belt, Ezekiel with two sticks, etc.  The words of the prophet Micha may have come to the mind of the disciples when Yeshua encountered the fig tree.
Micah 7:1-3 NKJV 1 Woe is me! For I am like those who gather summer fruits, Like those who glean vintage grapes; There is no cluster to eat Of the first-ripe fruit which my soul desires. 2 The faithful man has perished from the earth, And there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net. 3 That they may successfully do evil with both hands-The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together.
Yeshua was looking for repentance and righteousness in this generation, but what He found was violence, corruption and greed.  Yeshua did not curse the fig tree out of anger at not finding something to eat, but to illustrate the failure of this generation to bear the fruit of repentance.
Habakkuk 3:16-17 NKJV 16 When I heard, my body trembled; My lips quivered at the voice; Rottenness entered my bones; And I trembled in myself, That I might rest in the day of trouble. When he comes up to the people, He will invade them with his troops. 17 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls-
At this point, the Jewish people had a long history of failing to follow God and His Torah.  Many times judgment had befallen them.  The temple had already been destroyed once before and the people exiled from the land. Their more recent iniquity dated back to the time of the Hasmonaean kings, an era that was filled with civil wars where many thousands of Jews were killed in battles between rival factions and contenders for the throne.
Under the current Roman rule, the violence and corruption continued.  The Herodians and Hellenists, themselves Jews, brought a mixing of the culture and pagan practices of Greeks and a blending of the worship of idols with the worship of God.  All this being the very same things which resulted in past judgments and exile.
With the failure of this generation to repent, the coming judgment was inevitable.  Yeshua stood on the Mount of Olives, with a panoramic view of Jerusalem before him, and He wept! This generation did not recognize their peril; they refused to heed the call to repentance; they did not recognize the day of their visitation!
Following Yeshua’s triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem, He proceeded to the Temple to have a look around.  He would have observed that the southern portico had been transformed into a market place.  It was the beginning of the preparations for Passover.  Thousands of pilgrims were already arriving.  The temple courts would be filled with people looking to purchase their Passover lambs and other sacrificial items.  The annual Temple Tax of the half Shekel was due and by order of the Sanhedrin, could only be paid with a certain type of coin not in common circulation.  Money changers were present to make the exchange of currency convenient but somewhat expensive. The apostle John describes the scene.
John 2:13-14 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.
After Yeshua’s initial observations, He returned to Bethany with the rest of His disciples for the night.
Mark 11:11 NKJV 11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
The next morning Yeshua returned to the Temple and began to throw out the merchants and money changers.
Mark 11:15-17 NKJV 15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"
Contrary to much of the traditional church teaching, Yeshua did not object to the temple worship practices and, by extension, the sacrificial system.  On the contrary He upheld it!  His actions go to the heart of this unrepentant generation and the judgment that awaits them. Yeshua sought to cleanout the Temple, His Father’s house, of the blatant commercialism and corruption which had taken up residence there. Just as with the practices of the days of preparation before Passover, where one’s home is cleaned of all leaven, Yeshua was cleansing His Father’s house of the leaven, that is the sin, which was present in its courts.
Merchants in the Temple courts would provide livestock, grain, flour, oil, and wine for libations, selling them at a premium to the arriving pilgrims.  The items sold by these merchants would have been “pre-approved” by the priests thereby avoiding the long and arduous process of have one’s own supply “certified” by the priests for use as their sacrifices and offerings.
These merchants and moneychangers operated under license of the high priest and charged a large fee with profits lining the pockets of the high priest, his co-conspirators, and other high-ranking officials.
It probably took some time for Yeshua to go through the Temple courts, chasing the merchants and scattering the moneychangers. and all that time, no one laid a hand on Him. News of Yeshua’s rampage through the Temple courts quickly reached the high priest and the religious leaders.
Mark 11:18-19 NKJV 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.
Yeshua was certainly not the only one to have objections to the rampant marketing and commercialization of the Temple.  Those of His followers who came to Jerusalem with Him on this journey up from Jericho would also have been at the temple that morning preparing for their own Passover celebration.  They would certainly have witnessed Yeshua’s rampage through the Temple courts and perhaps even cheered Him on.
The Pharisees, who were bitter rivals of the Sadducees, and especially of Annas and his son-in-law Caiaphas, the current high priest, were not unhappy with Yeshua’s actions and probably supported it in some ways as well.
Yeshua’s disruption of the merchants and moneychangers was a direct assault on the corrupt leadership of the high priest and the Sanhedrin. The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel wrote of the corruption of the high priesthood.
Jeremiah 6:12-13 NKJV 12 And their houses shall be turned over to others, Fields and wives together; For I will stretch out My hand Against the inhabitants of the land," says the LORD. 13 "Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is given to covetousness; And from the prophet even to the priest, Everyone deals falsely.
And the prophet Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 22:26 NKJV 26 "Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and the unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.
Some forty years later, during the first Jewish revolt, the corrupt Sadducees were all but wiped out when they became the first targets of the Zealots.  They were killed for their collusion with the Romans.
Yeshua’s cleaning out of His Father’s house calls to mind Psalm 69:9
Psalms 69:9 NKJV 9 Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
Much of traditional church doctrine looks upon Yeshua’s actions in the Temple that day as a disdain for the Temple and its practices. But just the opposite is the case.  Yeshua’s love for the Temple is what is demonstrated by His actions!  The prophet Malachi speaks of the refining fire of the Messiah.
Malachi 3:1-5 NKJV 1 "Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming," Says the LORD of hosts. 2 "But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner's fire And like launderer's soap. 3 He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness. 4 "Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem Will be pleasant to the LORD, As in the days of old, As in former years. 5 And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness Against sorcerers, Against adulterers, Against perjurers, Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien-Because they do not fear Me," Says the LORD of hosts.
The Master Yeshua quoted the prophet Isaiah to declare the Court of the Gentiles to be a sanctified and holy part of the Temple.  This area was a more recent addition to the Temple mount, and was built by Herod the Great. Perhaps Annas and Caiaphas justified holding a public market there because it was outside the boundaries of the original Temple area. Yeshua was demonstrating that the Court of the Gentiles, by its very nature and existence was a fulfilment of the Isaiah prophecy.
Isaiah 56:6-7 NKJV 6 "Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, And to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants-Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant- 7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations."
Clearly Yeshua was declaring the court of the Gentiles was indeed a sanctified part of His Father’s house!
After He had finished his work of clearing out the merchants and moneychangers, Yeshua began to teach.
Mark 11:17 NKJV 17 Then He taught, saying to them, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"
In this teaching, Yeshua is quoting from two of the prophets.  The first is found in Isaiah 56:7 which we just read, the other is found in Jeremiah 7:11
Jeremiah 7:11 NKJV 11 "Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it," says the LORD.
Jeremiah was warning the priesthood of his day that their abuses and apostacy would result in severe judgment and ultimately the destruction of the House of God.  By quoting Jeremiah, Yeshua was giving the same warning to Annas, Caiaphas and the corrupt priesthood and leadership of this time as well.  The remainder of Jeremiah’s warning is also recalled here.
Jeremiah 7:12-14 NKJV 12 "But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 "And now, because you have done all these works," says the LORD, "and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear, and I called you, but you did not answer, 14 "therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh.
The priesthood of Yeshua’s day had turned the Temple and its courts into their own “den of thieves!” Yeshua’s actions certainly angered the leaders but they feared to act on the account of the people’s support for Yeshua of Nazareth.
Mark 11:18 NKJV 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
Yeshua’s attack on the merchants and moneychangers may not have had a lasting effect.  Later that same day or the next, it would have been business as usual.  But the effect on the chief priests and leaders was profound and lasting.  They certainly had an even greater motivation after this to have Yeshua arrested and killed.  They would have attempted to arrest Yeshua that very day if it were not for the multitudes who adored Him.
Luke 19:47-48 NKJV 47 And He was teaching daily in the temple. But the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people sought to destroy Him, 48 and were unable to do anything; for all the people were very attentive to hear Him.
It appears that Yeshua’s actions in the Temple along with His teaching took a major part of the day because it became evening and He left the city once again.
        Mark 11:19 NKJV 19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.
The next morning, Yeshua once again entered Jerusalem, this time for the last time!  As they were on the short journey, they again passed the fig tree which Yeshua had sought fruit to eat, the disciples noticed that it had withered.
Mark 11:20-21 NKJV 20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away."
In just one day the fig tree had withered! The fig tree is often used as a metaphor to represent the nation of Israel. Each year, as the trees bear fruit, it is like a generation has come and gone. The generation of this fig tree had born no fruit.  But there is a promise for another generation.  Yeshua taught His disciples using another parable concerning a fig tree found in Mark chapter 13 verses 28 through 31.
Mark 13:28-31 NKJV 28 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 "So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near--at the doors! 30 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
This generation of Israel had rejected Yeshua’s message of repentance and the coming of the kingdom of God.  They had turned away from the hour of their visitation.  But we can hold onto this promise and when we see the tender leaves of the fig tree, look up to the mountain of the LORD because our hour of visitation has come once again!
Study Questions:
1. In this teaching, we demonstrated that Yeshua considered the entire Temple Mount to be the sanctified House of God.  The merchants and moneychangers set up shop inside the Court of the Gentiles. Compare this situation with the prophecy in Zechariah 14:16-21 where he said there would be no Canaanite in the House of God.  Isaiah 56:7 says that the House of God is for “all nations,” Jew and Gentile.  How are these two prophecies not in conflict with each other?

2. Using the fig tree, Yeshua illustrates for his followers that judgement is coming to that generation because of their lack of repentance.  However, many individuals believed in Yeshua as Messiah but also, to some degree suffered the effects of the coming judgment. What are some other examples in the Bible where judgement was executed on Israel as a whole, while individuals were saved?  How were their lives affected by the national judgment?

3. In the prophecy spoken by Yeshua in Mark 13:28-31, verse 30 is often singled out and quoted by prophecy teachers as referring to our own generation today. For instance, the generation born from the time of the founding of the modern nation of Israel (1948) or the retaking of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount (1967). In the broader context of the passage, and in the scope of Yeshua’s other parables and teachings as well as considering the generational aspect of the sign of the cursing of the fig tree, is this common interpretation valid?  What would be an alternate interpretation and perhaps a more likely future fulfillment of this prophecy?

4. In removing the merchants and moneychangers, Yeshua was directing His righteous judgment, not necessarily against them, but against the corruption of the priesthood.  What are the words of the prophets regarding a corrupt and greedy Levites and priesthood?

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Bible Bites: The Fast of the Ninth of Av

The fast of the ninth of Av is in mourning for the destruction of the temple by the Babylonians. There were three other fasts practiced throughout the year concerning the events leading up to the destruction of the temple. The first of these fasts is the fast on the tenth day of the tenth month, remembering when the king of Babylon turned against Judah (Ezekiel 24:1-2). The second fast was on the seventeenth day of the fourth month when the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Babylonian army (Jeremiah 52:6-7). The third fast is the ninth of Av. Finally, the fourth fast was on the third day of the seventh month when the newly appointed governor of Judah was assassinated (Jeremiah 41:1-3) which led to more of the people of Judah being carried into captivity. As the rebuilding of the temple was nearing completion, representatives of the people went to ask the priests and the prophets whether they should continue the practice of fasting on the ninth of Av. The Word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah to address this question:

Zechariah 7:4-7 NKJV 4 Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 5 "Say to all the people of the land, and to the priests: 'When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months during those seventy years, did you really fast for Me-for Me? 6 'When you eat and when you drink, do you not eat and drink for yourselves? 7 'Should you not have obeyed the words which the LORD proclaimed through the former prophets when Jerusalem and the cities around it were inhabited and prosperous, and the South and the Lowland were inhabited?'"

God’s response to the people was that He knew that their fasting about the destruction of the temple was in mourning because of the impact that it had on their own lives not in mourning because of the acts that led to the destruction of the temple. They should have been mourning that injustice, greed, and the lust for power were being practiced in Israel during the times of the kings of Israel and Judah. This mindset and these policies led to the destruction of the temple.

The Word of the LORD again came to Zechariah reminding them of why the temple was destroyed in the first place and, if they fasted, why they should do so.

Zechariah 7:8-13 NKJV 8 Then the word of the LORD came to Zechariah, saying, 9 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, The alien or the poor. Let none of you plan evil in his heart Against his brother.' 11 "But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. 12 "Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. 13 "Therefore it happened, that just as He proclaimed and they would not hear, so they called out and I would not listen," says the LORD of hosts.

God didn’t really answer their question. Instead, He questioned their motivation. Their fasting did not please God because their motivation was totally wrong. The prophet Isaiah, who prophesied during the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel spoke the Word of the LORD regarding the fasts that God found pleasing. God began by describing their fasts as days that they take pleasure in the outward show of afflicting their souls.

Isaiah 58:3-5 NKJV 3 'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and You have not seen? Why have we afflicted our souls, and You take no notice?' "In fact, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, And exploit all your laborers. 4 Indeed you fast for strife and debate, And to strike with the fist of wickedness. You will not fast as you do this day, To make your voice heard on high. 5 Is it a fast that I have chosen, A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head like a bulrush, And to spread out sackcloth and ashes? Would you call this a fast, And an acceptable day to the LORD?

Isaiah was most likely referring specifically to the Yom Kippur fast since the Babylonian captivity of Judah and the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem was still more than one hundred years in the future. But God’s description of their motivation applies to their later observance of the fast mourning the destruction of the temple especially in God’s description of what He looks for in a sincere fast.

Isaiah 58:6-9a NKJV 6 "Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.'

God does not listen to the fast of the selfish or insincere heart; He listens to the fast of the one whose heart has been changed and whose actions reflect that change. He hears those who execute justice and show mercy and compassion. The Word of the LORD again came to Zechariah describing His plan for the fasts in remembrance of the Babylonian exile and the destruction of the temple.

Zechariah 8:16-19 NKJV 16 These are the things you shall do: Speak each man the truth to his neighbor; Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace; 17 Let none of you think evil in your heart against your neighbor; And do not love a false oath. For all these are things that I hate,' Says the LORD." 18 Then the word of the LORD of hosts came to me, saying, 19 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'The fast of the fourth month, The fast of the fifth, The fast of the seventh, And the fast of the tenth, Shall be joy and gladness and cheerful feasts For the house of Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.'

In remembrance of the ninth of Av, let us determine to speak truth, justice and peace.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Shabbat Service 7-21-2018

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 the home page of our website, vimeo and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Isaac: The Promised Seed - Part 2 - An Erev Shabbat Bible Study

This is part 2 of the study from our book, "The Shadows of the Messiah in the Torah, Vol. 4." This book is available for domestic (USA) delivery addresses from our website bookstore and from Amazon.com for all international deliveries. Join us each 1st and 3rd Fridays at 7:50 PM PDT (GMT-8) for our study time via live streaming on the home page of our website. See MoedMinistries.com for details.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Behold, Your King is Coming to You


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The Video version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture reading for this teaching is: Matthew 21:1-17
Yeshua’s final journey up to Jerusalem began in Jericho, the site of the first victory as Joshua brought the children of Israel into the Promised Land. Outside the city, on the plains of Jericho, the children of Israel first ate of the produce of the land and celebrated their first Passover in the land. Yeshua had spent the previous night at the home of the tax collector Zacchaeus who, that day, received salvation. The next day, Yeshua left for Jerusalem accompanied by His disciples and a great multitude.
Matthew 20:29 NKJV 29 Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him.
This last trip to Jerusalem is entirely different from His previous three trips. Six months earlier, Yeshua traveled in secret to celebrate the feast of Sukkot. Afterwards, He again traveled to Jerusalem quietly to celebrate Hanukkah making only a brief appearance at the temple. Then, Yeshua traveled to Bethany just outside of Jerusalem where He raised Lazarus from the dead. This time Yeshua will arrive in Jerusalem accompanied by thousands of followers and be acclaimed the King of Israel. Surely, this is a time of great joy! Or is it? As Yeshua left Jericho in the company of His disciples, He encountered a blind beggar.
Mark 10:46-47 NKJV 46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"
Yeshua stopped and had Bartimaeus brought to Him. He asked Bartimaeus what He could do for him.
Mark 10:51-52 NKJV 51 So Jesus answered and said to him, "What do you want Me to do for you?" The blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, that I may receive my sight." 52 Then Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.
Bartimaeus wanted to be able to see! Yeshua granted His request and Bartimaeus joined Yeshua on the journey to Jerusalem. Imagine the great joy of Bartimaeus as he traveled with the master to Jerusalem, perhaps for the first time, to participate in the Passover celebrations! As we leave Jericho behind, keep these two events, the salvation of Zachaeus and the healing of Bartimaeus in mind.
The Journey from Jericho to Jerusalem is an arduous one. It was about eighteen miles long uphill with an elevation change of about thirty three hundred feet.[i] This journey would take all day so Yeshua arrived late in the evening at the home of Lazarus in Bethany.
John 12:1-2 NKJV 1 Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.
There was excitement in the village that night; Yeshua, the one who had raised Lazarus from the dead, was now in town and visiting with Lazarus!
John 12:9 NKJV 9 Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus' sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead.
But not everyone was glad to see Yeshua’s arrival, the chief priests wanted to hush him up!
John 12:10-11 NKJV 10 But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, 11 because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
The chief priests, along with some prominent Pharisees, had been plotting to have both Yeshua and Lazarus killed from the time they first heard that Yeshua had raised Lazarus from the dead. Now, for the first time since that event, Yeshua was in Jerusalem where they could easily reach him. If this was a murder mystery, the background music would get a little ominous at this point. Outwardly, everything is going well. The crowds are joyful at this time of the Passover Celebration; Yeshua is dining with friends perhaps recounting once again the events of Lazarus’ death and resurrection. Underneath the surface, danger and death await. Yeshua alone knew what was coming although He had cautioned His disciples before they arrived at Jericho about the true nature of this trip to Jerusalem and the feast of Passover.
Matthew 20:17-19 NKJV 17 Now Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the twelve disciples aside on the road and said to them, 18 "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, 19 "and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify. And the third day He will rise again."
Yeshua’s trip to Jerusalem was not so that He could be crowned King of Israel, organize an army to throw out the Romans, and establish His reign over Israel. The purpose of this trip to Jerusalem was to deliver salvation to the house of Israel as He had just delivered it to the house of Zacchaeus.
Luke 19:9-10 NKJV 9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
The name Zacchaeus is of Hebrew origin, #2140, Zakkay, meaning pure. As Yeshua said in Matthew 5:8:
Matthew 5:8 NKJV 8 Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.
The purpose of this trip was to open the blind eyes of Israel just like Yeshua opened the blind eyes of the poor beggar Bartimaeus. The name Bartimaeus is a contraction of the Aramaic word “bar” meaning “son” and the Hebrew word tame, #2931 in Strong’s Concordance meaning unclean. An unclean person is the opposite of pure. The blindness of Israel was caused by the uncleanness of their hearts. Yeshua came to open their eyes so that they would see!
So, at this festive dinner at the home of Lazarus where they are celebrating being together again with loved ones, rejoicing in the upcoming feast of Passover which is, of course, all about the deliverance of Israel, Yeshua is experiencing an underlying thread of sadness and grief.
Late the next day, Yeshua and His disciples leave Bethany and head for Jerusalem. On the way, they pass by the village of Bethphage. The name Bethphage comes from two Hebrew words “beit” meaning house and “pag,” #6291 in Strong’s Concordance, meaning an unripe fig.
When the disciples approached Bethphage, Yeshua sent two of His disciples to bring a donkey for Him to ride into Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:1-2 NKJV 1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me.
Donkeys were a relatively common means of transportation in Israel. To see someone riding a donkey would not be unusual. However, there is no mention of Yeshua ever riding a donkey. This is a significant change from what Yeshua had usually done and would certainly draw attention. Why would He need a donkey for the relatively short and easy trip into Jerusalem from Bethphage when the previous day He had walked eighteen hard miles from Jericho to Jerusalem? Matthew tells us that this was to fulfill the prophecy of the prophet Zechariah.
Matthew 21:4-5 NKJV 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5 "Tell the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'"
The donkey is and was a widely accepted symbol of the coming of the Messiah. Another direct reference to the Messiah which is connected to a donkey is that of Jacob’s blessing over his son Judah.
Genesis 49:11 NKJV 11 Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey's colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes.
Yeshua sending for both the donkey and the colt of the donkey together blends these two prophesies together. The Rabbis also tied these two prophesies together to conclude that almost any reference to a donkey points to the coming of Messiah. This includes the donkey Abraham rode in the account of the binding of Isaac in Genesis 22.
First Fruits of Zion in The Chronicles of the Messiah quote extensively from the Talmud about “Messiah’s Donkey.” They relate a midrash that connects Abraham’s and Moses’ donkey with the donkey Messiah will ride:
“Abraham rose early in the morning… and saddled his donkey” (Genesis 22:3). Upon this donkey Abraham rode. This donkey was the offspring of the donkey which was created during the twilight (of the sixth day of creation). The same donkey was also ridden by Moses when he came to Egypt, as it says [in Exodus 4:20], “So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on the donkey.” The same donkey will be ridden upon in the future by the Son of David” (Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer 31)[ii]
Balaam’s donkey talking to him now makes sense as an allusion to the words of Messiah.
Numbers 22:28 NKJV 28 Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"
This even makes sense of the provision that the firstborn of a donkey must be redeemed with a lamb!
Exodus 13:13 NKJV 13 "But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.
Matthew’s quote about the coming of the king on a donkey is from Zechariah 9:9:
Zechariah 9:9 NKJV 9 "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
Because the prophecy addresses the daughter of Zion, the words of Zechariah 9:9 are often paired with Isaiah 62:11:
Isaiah 62:11 NKJV 11 Indeed the LORD has proclaimed To the end of the world: "Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.'"
In Zechariah, it is the king who is coming; in Isaiah, it is salvation who is coming. By parallelism, the king is salvation! By choosing to ride into Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of a donkey, Yeshua, whose name means salvation, is coming out in the open and declaring that He is the Messiah King. But the donkey that Yeshua rides is even more unusual; it is a donkey that has never been ridden! A donkey that had never been ridden would not easily carry a rider! In addition, this requirement, also, points us to rituals that require the use of animals that have not been used for any other purpose. For example, the red heifer used for the ashes of purification must be one that is three years old and never worn a yoke. First Fruits of Zion in the The Chronicles of the Messiah write:
The colt “on which no one yet has ever sat” signifies that no one before our Master (nor since our Master) could fulfill the messianic prophecies such as Zechariah 9:9. Only Yeshua could “fill those shoes.” The words “on which no one yet has ever sat” also reminds us of the tomb “where no one had ever lain” (Luke 23:53).[iii]
For most of the pilgrims going to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, the last time they would have seen Yeshua was at the previous Sukkot when He made the declaration that He was the source of the Living Water!
For those pilgrims who had already arrived at Jerusalem for the Passover, they would now be hearing about this same Yeshua who had raised Lazarus from the dead!
Alfred Edersheim in The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah wrote that it was the practice during Yeshua’s days for the pilgrims coming up to Jerusalem to greet each other with words of the Hallel Psalms especially Psalm 118. Those who had already arrived would go out to the roads leading to Jerusalem and chant the first refrain of a verse while those who were arriving chanted the second refrain. This continued through the whole Psalm concluding with both groups chanting together the words of Psalm 103:17:
Psalms 103:17 NKJV 17 But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting On those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children's children,
As Yeshua was coming to Jerusalem along the eastern road up from Jericho and over the Mount of Olives with other pilgrims coming along the same road, crowds greeted them with the traditional words. However, something was different. Those pilgrims who traveled with Yeshua began to take off their cloaks and lay them on ground in front of Yeshua. Others began to cut off palm branches and greet Yeshua as if He were a visiting dignitary or ruler!
Matthew 21:8-10 NKJV 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!' Hosanna in the highest!"
The words of the Hallel now took on added meaning and fervor! The acclamations grew so loud they attracted the attention of the Pharisees in the crowd. To have all this clamor for just a teacher was unseemly!
Luke 19:39-40 NKJV 39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples." 40 But He answered and said to them, "I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out."
As Yeshua and the crowds approached Jerusalem, they came over the Mount of Olives and got their first sight of the city. At this point Yeshua stops. Among all the rejoicing and singing, Yeshua began to weep.
Luke 19:41-44 NKJV 41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 "For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44 "and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation."
Back in Egypt, Joseph told his brothers to be ready for the day of their visitation for surely God would visit them and take them out of Egypt into the Promised Land.
Genesis 50:24-25 NKJV 24 And Joseph said to his brethren, "I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." 25 Then Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here."
The word “visit” is the Hebrew word “paqad,” #6485 in Strong’s Concordance meaning to visit, oversee, or give a charge. The Hebrew word “pekkudah” #6486, is derived from “paqad” meaning visitation, judgment, or account. The prophet Jeremiah frequently reminds Israel that there will be a visitation, pekkudah, from God at which time God will require an accounting, pekkudah, of their actions.
Jeremiah 8:12 MKJV 12 Were they ashamed when they had done an abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, nor could they blush; therefore they shall fall among those who fall; in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, says the LORD.
Yeshua wept over Jerusalem knowing that His presence as a visitation from God would not be accepted. Jerusalem would not recognize the day of their visitation, and, thus, an accounting would be required. On the other hand, Zacchaeus recognized Yeshua on the day that Yeshua came to his house. Yeshua proclaimed that salvation had come to that house! Blind Bartimaeus recognized Yeshua as the Son of David and had his eyes opened! But Yeshua’s identity as the Son of David was hidden from Jerusalem. The day of Jerusalem’s visitation and accounting would be one of punishment instead of salvation!
Yeshua continued on His way into Jerusalem. He went to the temple and looked at all the things in the temple.
Mark 11:11 MKJV 11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem and into the temple. And when He had looked around on all things, the hour already being late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
What did He see there in the temple? Did He see where the moneychangers would set up? Did He see the corruption of the priesthood? Did He see and hear deals being made and money change hands? After He looked, He returned to Bethany. The next day as He once again approached Jerusalem, He saw a fig tree that didn’t have any ripe figs.
Mark 11:12-14 NKJV 12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." And His disciples heard it.
The fig tree connects back to Bethphage, the house of figs, where Yeshua had obtained His donkey, and it is representative of Israel. There were no ripe figs because, for Israel, it was not destined to be the season of repentance. They did not heed John the Baptist’s words about the fruits of repentance.
Matthew 3:7-10 MKJV 7 But seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance; 9 and do not think to say within yourselves, We have Abraham as our father. For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10 And now also, the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bring forth good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire.
This time of the Feast of Passover, a time for rejoicing in God’s deliverance contained elements of sorrow. Yeshua came humbly; riding on a donkey to bring salvation to His people. In order to bring that salvation, He would give His life. But many of those for whom He died, the house of Israel, would not receive salvation.
Yeshua comes to you, humbly, bringing you salvation. Will you be like Zacchaeus and accept Yeshua into your home, into your life, and receive the salvation He wants to give to you? Will you be like Bartimaeus and recognize Yeshua as the Son of David and receive your sight? Behold, Your King is coming to you!
Study Questions:
1. We are introduced to the beggar that Yeshua encounters outside of Jericho as “Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus.” Bartimaeus means “son of Timaeus,” so his “name” is repeated in this account. Timaeus means unclean. Discuss why the scriptures would emphasize this name by essentially repeating it.

2. The prophecy connecting Judah to a donkey is that the colt, the foal of a donkey would be tied to the choice vine. In Mark 11:1-4 Yeshua finds the donkey tied to a door in the village of Bethphage, the house of unripe figs. The vine and the fig are repeatedly used together to represent prosperity and the messianic age as in Zechariah 3:10. The absence or withholding of the fruit from the vine and fig represent judgment is in Jeremiah 8:13. Where else do the vine and the fig appear together in scripture? Discuss the significance of the donkey found in the house of unripe figs and not tied to the choice vine.

3. God frequently uses physical props to convey his meaning. For example, Hosea married a prostitute. Ezekiel laid on his left side 390 days and then on his right side 40 days symbolizing bearing the iniquity of the house of Israel and the house of Judah respectively. In what manner is Yeshua cursing of the fig tree in Mark 11:14-14 a physical prop to convey that judgment is coming on that generation? See also the parable of the fig tree in the vineyard in Luke 13:6-9

4. When Yeshua wept over Jerusalem, He lamented that they didn’t know the things that would make for their peace in Luke 19:42. The Passover sacrifice is a type of peace offering. How did Israel fail to recognize the things that would make for their peace?

5. Look up the appearance of a donkey in various accounts. First Fruits of Zion in The Chronicles of Messiah states that “The concept of “Messiah’s Donkey” plays an important role in Jewish Mysticism, and Modern Hebrew uses the phrase “Messiah’s Donkey” to refer to someone who does the “dirty work” on behalf of someone else (page1231). In what way is this demonstrated by the donkey in your account?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International




[ii] The Chonicles of the Messiah. D. Thomas Lancaster. First Fruits of Zion. ©2014 D. T. Lancaster. P.1230-1231.
[iii] The Chonicles of the Messiah. D. Thomas Lancaster. First Fruits of Zion. ©2014 D. T. Lancaster. P.1231.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Shabbat Service 7-14-2018

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 our website, on vimeo.com and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Jericho, The Rich Man, and the Tax Collector


By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International
The Video version of this teaching is available at:
The Scripture reading for this teaching is Luke 19:1-9
Yeshua, the disciples and many followers had spent some time across the Jordan at the place where John the Baptist previously preached and baptized his followers.  Now it was time to go up to Jerusalem.  Now it was time to face the challenge ahead.
Luke 18:31-34 NKJV 31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 "For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. 33 "They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." 34 But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.
Yeshua had spoken about His own death and resurrection on several occasions. But His followers and disciples did not fully understand. They were still looking for the conquering king Messiah promised by the prophets.
The place where Yeshua and His disciples crossed back over the Jordan was most likely at or very near the place that the Children of Israel first crossed the Jordan to enter the Promised land led by Joshua.  They then went to Jericho, just as Joshua did as the first stop on the mission to conquer the Promised Land.
Although Yeshua had just in the days before told them that He was going up to Jerusalem to die and be resurrected, many of His followers, perhaps, seeing that their journey thus far was following in the footsteps of Joshua and the army of Israel, believed that this was the time that He would claim His kingdom and reestablish the throne of David.
Jericho is perhaps the oldest continuously occupied city in the world.  Archeologists have determined that there has been a civilization at the site for eight thousand years - millennia before the time of Abraham.
Jericho is an oasis in an otherwise barren rift valley.  It is on the major ancient East-West trade route as well as a stopping off point for pilgrims traveling between the Galilee and Jerusalem.  There are many natural springs in the area, making it a rich farming community.
Jericho’s major export crop was Balsam.  The sap from the Balsam tree was used to make some of the finest and most expensive perfumes and ointments of the day.  The historian Josephus wrote of the prized crops of Jericho.
“It contains a wide variety of palm trees that are watered by the springs, different from each other in taste and name; the better sort of them, when they are pressed, yield an excellent kind of honey, not much inferior to the sweetness of other honey… It also bears Balsam, the most precious of all the fruits in that place…”[1]
Major empires from the Persians, to Alexander the Great, and even Cleopatra of Ptolemaic Egypt have at one time occupied the city and surrounding land of Jericho controlling the flow of trade and travelers through the region.  Herod the Great built a palace there, the ruins of which are still visible to this day.
At the time of Yeshua, Jericho was still a major crossroad and a border community and as such was still a center of trade and commerce. Along with such international trade and travelers, came a great deal of graft and corruption. The local tax collectors were among those noted for their greed.
Luke 19:1-2 NKJV 1 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich.
Zacchaeus’ name is derived from a Hebrew word that means “innocent.”  However, Zacchaeus was anything but innocent.  Although Jewish, being a tax collector was considered an evil occupation.  Tax collectors were placed in the same category as that of a thief, robber or prostitute. They were shunned from mainstream Jewish society.  The system for collecting taxes under Roman rule encouraged the collector to extort as much money as possible from the travelers and tradesman, therefore tax collectors were considered thieves and robbers as well. However, in their case, they were protected by law and had the legal authority to have a person jailed for non-payment of the demanded amount.
Zacchaeus was chief above many tax collectors in Jericho and his position allowed him to take a percentage of monies from other tax collectors so, consequently he was very rich.
Some of the sages argued that deliberate deceiving of a tax collector was a virtue to be cherished and celebrated.  Avoiding the tax collector was, in many circles regarded as avoiding a wild animal and as such, a mitzvah as found in the Talmud
“When a man enters a town and is accosted by a tax collector, it is like being attacked by a bear.”[2]
Also, tax collectors were not allowed to testify in a rabbinic court because their occupation required them to be dishonest.  Even Yeshua advised against trusting a tax collector, equating them to heathens.
Matthew 18:17 NKJV 17 "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
As Yeshua and his followers entered Jericho, great crowds gathered in the streets to catch a glimpse of this notable and now famous teacher from Nazareth.  Zacchaeus also ventured into the streets to see Yeshua, but being a short person, could not see over the shoulders of the others. 
Luke 19:3-4 NKJV 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way.
As Yeshua and the following crowd drew nearer, Zacchaeus had secured himself a perch in a large sycamore tree. Luke doesn’t explain how Yeshua knows Zacchaeus is in the tree, let alone exactly how he knows who and what Zacchaeus is.  Perhaps his reputation preceded him as well. We can only speculate that the Holy Spirit directed Yeshua to him.
Luke 19:5-6 NKJV 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house." 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.
This didn’t sit well with some of those following Yeshua. The story of Zacchaeus is obviously severely time compressed because of the next verse is phrased in the past tense.
Luke 19:7 NKJV 7 But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, "He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner."
Yeshua did not hesitate to eat at Zacchaeus’ home.  As a matter of fact, Yeshua singled out Zacchaeus for that very purpose.  Zacchaeus, not being a devout Jew, would not have necessarily followed the strict Pharisaic standards for food preparation and Yeshua ate what was set before Him just as he had previously instructed His disciples to do.
Luke 10:8 NKJV 8 "Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you.
This is not to imply that Yeshua condoned the consumption of unclean foods, but His instruction to the seventy disciples in Luke chapter eight, and His practice here as implied in the scripture was directed to Jewish households and did not imply that it was now ok to eat unclean foods.  The seventy disciples sent out by Yeshua went to Jewish households.
Yeshua sat down and had a meal and a conversation with Zacchaeus.
Luke 19:8-10 NKJV 8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold." 9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
There are some interesting implications in these three verses of Luke’s narrative. Zacchaeus probably could not have been more pleased that Yeshua would choose him and his home to dine and rest while in Jericho.  He would stand to gain much prestige among his fellow tax collectors for entertaining this famous rabbi.  Much like someone today having their picture taken with a celebrity or politician. Knowing his reputation, why would Yeshua choose to spend the evening and share a meal with such a person as Zacchaeus?  This was not an unprecedented thing for Yeshua to do however.  He ate at the home of a tax collector in the Galilee region earlier in His ministry.  This tax collector was none other than the disciple Matthew, also known as Levi.
Luke 5:27-31 NKJV 27 After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow Me." 28 So he left all, rose up, and followed Him. 29 Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. 30 And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?" 31 Jesus answered and said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
Again, the people and some of those following Yeshua around could not understand why he would dine with Zacchaeus. To dine with such a person as Zacchaeus would have been viewed as giving credence or approval to the behavior and profession of Zacchaeus.  This certainly crossed over the line of accepted social norms in that day and culture. The Talmud records the general attitude of the sages toward Tax collectors and their families.
“There is not a family of a tax collector in which they are not all tax collectors; nor is there a family of a robber in which they are not all robbers; because the rest of the family protects him.”[3]
We don’t know the course of the conversation that Yeshua had with Zacchaeus that day, but having just met another rich man earlier before coming to Jericho, we can imagine it being very similar.
Luke 18:18 NKJV 18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, "Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Perhaps this was the same question that Zacchaeus asked Yeshua that evening. Yeshua went on to tell this rich man about the commandments of God which the rich man stated that he had been diligent to follow.  He hadn’t stolen from anyone to attain his wealth.  He didn’t cheat anyone in his business dealings and treated his mother and father with dignity and respect as the Torah teaches.  Yet, Yeshua said he was lacking one important ingredient.
Luke 18:22-23 NKJV 22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." 23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
Yeshua was not trying to tell this rich man that he could earn eternal life by just selling everything and giving it to the poor. Yeshua was getting to the real issue of where the man’s heart was centered. This rich young ruler turned away from Yeshua because his heart was on his earthly wealth rather than on treasures in heaven.
The reaction of Zacchaeus was much different than the that of the rich young ruler.  Where the rich young ruler loved his riches and walked away from his encounter with Yeshua, and apparently walked away from salvation and eternal life, the very thing he sought, Zacchaeus, like Matthew before him, accepted Yeshua’s call to repentance and followed him!
Zacchaeus’s life was completely changed by his encounter with Yeshua that day.  Did Zacchaeus expect this outcome?  Did Zacchaeus start out with a willing heart, having perhaps previously heard the message of repentance and salvation from a disciple or even John the Baptist? What did Zacchaeus want from Yeshua in the first place?  Was his original motivation for inviting Yeshua into his home completely turned on its head? Or was he already convicted and sought out Yeshua for confirmation?
There is nothing in Luke’s account to indicate what Yeshua said or did that served to change the life of Zacchaeus.  Yeshua showed honor and respect to him by entering his home and dining with him. Other Pharisees and teachers would have shunned Zacchaeus. Yeshua showed mercy and compassion in a way that no one else had done.
Something clicked in Zacchaeus’ life that night and transformed him from an arrogant, rich thief and robber to a humble and repentant servant.  As we read in verse eight, Zacchaeus committed himself on a course of restitution well beyond the requirements of the Torah. How different from the reaction of the rich young ruler!
Zacchaeus committed to return four times the amount he had stolen from those whom he had cheated.  The Torah only required the return of the amount plus one fifth at the very minimum.
Leviticus 6:4-5 NKJV 4 "then it shall be, because he has sinned and is guilty, that he shall restore what he has stolen, or the thing which he has extorted, or what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or the lost thing which he found, 5 "or all that about which he has sworn falsely. He shall restore its full value, add one-fifth more to it, and give it to whomever it belongs, on the day of his trespass offering.
The Torah required thieves to repay double.
Exodus 22:7 NKJV 7 "If a man delivers to his neighbor money or articles to keep, and it is stolen out of the man's house, if the thief is found, he shall pay double.
livestock rustles were to repay four to five times the amount stolen.
Exodus 22:1 NKJV 1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall restore five oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep.
In addition to committing himself to returning four times the amount taken in fraudulent tax collection, Zacchaeus also committed himself to give half of his considerable fortune to the poor. What was it that caused Zacchaeus to make such a pledge that far exceeded the Torah requirements?  This was certainly a radical plan and would be sure to divest Zacchaeus of his entire fortune.  Yeshua responds by making a declaration.
Luke 19:9-10 NKJV 9 And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 "for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Yeshua had previously stated that He first came for the “lost sheep of Israel.”  If anyone qualified as being among the lost sheep, it would be Zacchaeus, for Yeshua said that he, too, was a son of Abraham! The apostle Paul affirms this sentiment in his first epistle to Timothy.
1 Timothy 1:15-16 NKJV 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
After Zacchaeus made his declaration of faith and his salvation was secured, Yeshua spent the night in his home and left Jericho the next morning to continue His journey up to Jerusalem.
What do we do when we encounter Yeshua? Do we invite Him into our homes and our life?  What are our expectations of Him?  Do we expect Him to endorse our life without calling for a changed heart?  Do we seek Him out for our own prestige and personal gain?  Do we come to Him like the rich young ruler, having lived what in our minds is a righteous life; thinking we have lived according to the rules, so we must be in?  Or do we come to Him truly seeking the kingdom of God. Do we come to Yeshua like Zacchaeus did; inviting Him in and taking to heart His teaching and receiving the salvation freely offered.  The kingdom of God can’t be gained by collecting taxes or even by living a seemingly righteous life and following a certain set of rules.  If the Master Yeshua teaches us anything, His consistent message is that we cannot attain the kingdom of God while burdened with the things of this world.
Study Questions:
1. Yeshua showed honor and respect to Zacchaeus by dining and staying the night in his home.  How should we follow this example?

2. In John 8:33-39 Yeshua said Abraham’s children would do the work of Abraham.  How did Zacchaeus do the work of Abraham?  See also Luke 3:7-8

3. Yeshua said that Zacchaeus is a son of Abraham.  Zacchaeus was lost and at enmity with God because of his corruption and occupation. In Luke 19:9-10 Yeshua said that “Today salvation has come to this house.”  In what way does the salvation of Zacchaeus represent the salvation of all of Israel?  Suggested reference: Psalm 95:7-8, Hebrews 3:7-15, Hebrews 4

4. By dining and staying at the home of Zacchaeus, Yeshua was demonstrating by his actions many of His prior teachings and parables.  What are some of the parables that apply to Yeshua dealings with Zacchaeus?

5. As Yeshua was leaving Jericho, He had an encounter with a blind beggar on the road (Mark 10:46-52).  Compare this encounter with Yeshua’s encounters with the rich young ruler and with Zacchaeus.


© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved




[1] Flavius Josephus, Jewish Wars 4:467-473/viii3
[2] B. Sanhedrin 98a
[3] B. Shevu’ot 39a