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!
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?
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