Sunday, September 30, 2018

Shabbat Service 8-29-2018

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 (available from our website at and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat. We live stream our service on the home page of our website, and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.


Thursday, September 27, 2018

Yeshua's Last Words

By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
Moed Ministries International
The version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture reading is: Luke 23:26-49; John 19:17-30

As Yeshua’s last day was coming to a close, He still had things He needed to communicate to His followers and others. As He hung suspended on the cross from 9:00 a.m. until His death six hours later at 3:00 p.m., He made seven statements. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection or completion. In addition to the literal meaning of these seven statements, they have deeper metaphorical and spiritual implications. What spiritual completion is in these statements? What can we learn from Yeshua’s last words before His death?
In Hebrew, the number seven is shebah,#7651 in Strong’s Concordance. It comes from the root word shaba, #7650, meaning to be complete or full. Another meaning of this root word is to swear an oath in the sense of the security, satisfaction or fullness of an oath. The spiritual perfection of seven is evidenced by God’s completed work of creation followed by the seventh day rest. When God completed His work, He declared that it was good and then He rested.
Genesis 1:31 - 2:2 NKJV 31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
In a sense, God is swearing to the “goodness” of creation.
With this understanding of the number seven, let’s examine Yeshua’s last words. Luke and John each recorded three of these seven statements while Matthew and Mark both recorded the same statement. Since different gospel writers recorded Yeshua’s statements, we can’t be certain of the order in which they were spoken, but most theologians agree on the order in which they were spoken and we will look at them in that order.
The first statement was recorded by Luke.
Luke 23:34-35 NKJV 34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God."
The first level of understanding scripture is the literal level. As we examine these verses, at the literal level, Yeshua is asking the Father to forgive those who put Him on the cross, those who stripped Him of His garments and cast lots for who would receive His possessions. He is asking for forgiveness for the rulers and others looking on who sneered and mocked Him. He is demonstrating His own teaching to have compassion on one’s enemies.
Matthew 5:44-45 NKJV 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 "that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
Yeshua knows what awaits the inhabitants of Judah after His death as part of God’s judgment for their unbelief demonstrated by their mocking. As Yeshua was led to the cross, women along the way mourned for Yeshua’s upcoming death, but He rebuked them and told them to mourn for themselves.
Luke 23:28-29 NKJV 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 "For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!'
Yeshua understood the consequences of the actions of the Jewish leadership when they rejected Him and orchestrated His death. As Paul wrote, they relied on the wisdom of man, not the wisdom of God which was hidden from them.
1 Corinthians 2:7-9 NKJV 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him."
The second statement Yeshua makes is on behalf of one of the criminals executed with Him. One of the criminals joins in with the onlookers and rulers and mocks Yeshua. The other criminal recognizes both the innocence of Yeshua and his own guilt.
Luke 23:40-43 NKJV 40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 "And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom." 43 And Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise."
Yeshua’s statement recognizes the man’s repentance and faith that Yeshua was able to intercede with God on his behalf. Yeshua promises the man that, after he died, he would be with Him in Paradise. What is the Jewish concept of that day about death and Paradise? Yeshua referred earlier to the place after death when He told the story of the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus went to Paradise while the rich man went to a place of torment.
Luke 16:22-23 NKJV 22 "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
First Fruits of Zion in The Chronicles of the Messiah explains the Pharisee’s concept of Paradise:
According to the Pharisees, the souls of the righteous wait in Paradise for the resurrection of the dead, at which point they will be returned to their bodies. Several other names for Paradise appear in rabbinic literature, including the Garden of Eden and the term “under the throne of glory.”[i]
We can understand Paul’s words as referring to Paradise when he writes of being present with the LORD.
2 Corinthians 5:8 NKJV 8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.
John sees this place under the altar when the saints cry out asking how much longer they must wait.
Revelation 6:9-10 NKJV 9 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
Yeshua’s statement acknowledges that there is a place after death where the righteous go to wait for the ultimate resurrection of the dead.
Yeshua’s next statement is about the living! He entrusts the care of his mother to his disciples John.
John 19:27 NKJV 27 Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.
As the eldest son of Mary, Yeshua had the duty of caring for her in her old age. At Yeshua’s death, that duty should have fallen to Yeshua’s next oldest brother. Why did Yeshua entrust her to John’s care instead? For a possible understanding, we need to first look at the original Greek text. The Greek does not include the word “home.” John took Mary into his own. His own home makes sense, but does the word “home” convey all that Yeshua meant? Let’s look at the history of Yeshua’s family. As recently as the previous fall at the Feast of Tabernacles, Yeshua’s brothers did not believe that He was the Messiah. There was friction in the family that dated back to the beginning of Yeshua’s ministry. By placing Mary in John’s care, Yeshua forced the reconciliation between His disciples and His physical family. John may have taken Mary into his home, but he definitely took her into his family or into his care. As we know, after Yeshua’s resurrection, He appeared personally to His brother James. Paul wrote about Yeshua’s appearances after His resurrection.
1 Corinthians 15:6-7 NKJV 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles.
As Yeshua’s time on the cross passed by, the suffering and pain He endured turned His thoughts inward. His final statements all reflect that inward and heavenly focus. Yeshua’s fourth statement reflects His pain.
Matthew 27:45-46 NKJV 45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
Although we want to take this statement purely at a metaphorical level, we cannot discount the literal. Yeshua was going through agony and in His agony, He cried out in pain. The pain that was first manifest in the Garden of Gethsemane when Yeshua cried out for a different path to bring salvation was now fully realized. Darkness had overtaken the land and Yeshua felt that God had forsaken Him. David also felt this abandonment.
Psalms 22:1-2 NKJV 1 A Psalm of David. My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning? 2 O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; And in the night season, and am not silent.
Because Yeshua’s words echoed and perhaps even deliberately quoted David, we are directed to David’s words in this Psalm. The entire twenty second Psalm is prophetic of the events surrounding Yeshua’s arrest, crucifixion, and even His resurrection. So, on a deeper level, Yeshua’s words lead us to understand the prophetic fulfillment of the events of the crucifixion. Even in this God is in control! David ends his Psalm in praise of God recognizing that even though he felt abandoned by God, God did not abandon him!
Psalms 22:19-22 NKJV 19 But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! 20 Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog. 21 Save Me from the lion's mouth And from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me. 22 I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
Every time that Yeshua cried out to God in front of witnesses God answered Him in a tangible way; in a way that those witnessing the event were able to hear or see. As we continue through Yeshua’s statements, we will see that God, once again, answered Yeshua in an obvious display.
After His fourth statement, as Yeshua hung on the cross, He knew that death was near. He knew that He had accomplished all that needed to be done. But His body still cried out for relief.
John 19:28-29 NKJV 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.
One of the soldiers had compassion on Yeshua. Sour wine was the standard army issue beverage. The soldiers probably had some on hand as they waited out the long day at the site of the executions. He offered Yeshua drink for his thirst. Yeshua said that any time anyone offers a drink to those in need in His name; it is as if it was done to Him.
Matthew 25:37-40 NKJV 37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
This Roman centurion saw Yeshua as thirsty and gave Him something to drink.
On a deeper level, there is a ritual in the Torah, Numbers 5:11-31, for when a jealous husband suspects his wife of adultery. The husband is to take his wife before the priests where she is given a bitter concoction to drink. If the wife is innocent, she will not be harmed and will conceive to bear a child for her husband. If she is guilty, her body will rot from the inside out beginning with her womb. Yeshua accepts this drink and then makes His sixth declaration.
John 19:30 NKJV 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
Yeshua had completed the work that God sent Him to do. Just as God completed the work of creation on the sixth day, so also did Yeshua complete the work the Father gave Him to do with His sixth declaration. And just like the Father rested on the seventh day, Yeshua also rested as he makes His seventh and last statement from the cross.
Hebrews 4:10 NKJV 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.
Luke records Yeshua’s seventh and last statement writing that Yeshua, strengthened as the end neared, entered into His rest.
Luke 23:46 NKJV 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commit My spirit.'" Having said this, He breathed His last.
Just like David knew that regardless of what he felt, God did not abandon him, so also, Yeshua knew that God had not abandoned Him in His darkest hour. God answered Yeshua’s cry of despair with a cry of His own. At Yeshua’s death, the curtain of the temple was torn in two matching the description of the mourning ritual of rending the garments.
Mark 15:37-38 NKJV 37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. 38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
The tear in the curtain began at the top as if coming from the Father and in reaction to the death of Yeshua. First Fruits of Zion explains the connection with the mourning ritual:
The Temple curtain can be likened to the garment of God. Daube explains that the Targum translated the veil of the Temple as pargood, a word that may also denote a tunic.[ii]
Although traditional Christianity looks upon this rending of the veil as opening the way for us to enter the holy of holies, traditional Judaism would have viewed this as a coming judgment of God. Although the Talmud doesn’t mention the tearing of the veil at the crucifixion of Yeshua, it records various other occurrences within the Temple that pointed to the coming judgment. Starting forty years before its destruction, the Temple doors would open on their own in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy about the burning of the Temple which was made from cedars from Lebanon.
Zechariah 11:1 NKJV 1 Open your doors, O Lebanon, That fire may devour your cedars.
Another sign of the coming destruction was that the westernmost lamp of the Menorah would not stay lit. And finally, the scarlet thread tied to the Temple doors on Yom Kippur which would turn white at the death of the goat for Azazel no longer turned white. The torn veil, like the open doors of the temple would indicate that the temple including the Holy of Holies was open for destruction. First Fruits of Zion relates the Talmud’s description of this event.
Rabbinic sources make no mention of the incident [of the torn veil], but the Talmud does tell about the Roman General Titus piercing the veil with his sword during the final siege of Jerusalem. According to legend, blood spurted from the veil.[iii]
God answered Yeshua with a cry of His own grief and of coming judgment.
Although the veil on the earthly temple was torn, the veil in the heavenly temple remains in place and the Holy of Holies maintains its sanctity. Yeshua’s death provides the way through the veil for those who love and fear Him.
Hebrews 10:19-20 NKJV 19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,
David declared that God heard and answered Him. He goes on to say that he will proclaim God’s praises in the great assembly.
Psalms 22:25 NKJV 25 My praise shall be of You in the great assembly; I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
David declares that he would pay his vows before those who fear him. Yeshua, in his sixth statement, declared that His vows and the vows of His Father to bring redemption to His people had been fulfilled. Now Yeshua rests with the Father. All those who have died but feared Him rest in Yeshua in Paradise awaiting the resurrection of the dead when the rest of the vows will be completed. David goes on to declare the completion of those vows.
Psalms 22:26-28 NKJV 26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! 27 All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S, And He rules over the nations.
In Yeshua’s seven statements on the cross, He demonstrated His compassion for His people, the repentant, and His family. He demonstrated His humanity as he faced His own despair while bearing the punishment of the sins of the world. He demonstrated His obedience accepting the cup and finishing the work. He entered into His rest and promises us that we also have a rest waiting for us if we continue in obedience to Him.
Study Questions:
1. Compare the women who were weeping over Yeshua’s crucifixion in Luke 23:27-31 with the vision given to Ezekiel in Ezekiel 9:3-11.

2. Examine the number “seven” as an implied oath. What additional depths do we see in events such as the sprinkling of blood seven times on Yom Kippur in Leviticus 16? What deeper understanding does this convey for other events of seven?

3. One of the thieves on the cross asks Yeshua to remember him when he comes into his kingdom. Compare this to the baker and cupbearer Joseph encounters in Pharaoh’s prison in Genesis 40:9-23.

4. Hebrews explains that Yeshua has entered into His rest like the Father rested on the seventh day. What other “rests” does Hebrews compare this to? What is our rest? (Hebrews 3:16- Hebrews 4:13)

© 2018 Moed Ministries International. All rights reserved.

[i] The Chronicles of the Messiah. D. Thomas Lancaster. First Fruits of Zion. ©2014 D. T. Lancaster. P.1647.
[ii] The Chronicles of the Messiah. D. Thomas Lancaster. First Fruits of Zion. ©2014 D. T. Lancaster. P.1662.
[iii] The Chronicles of the Messiah. D. Thomas Lancaster. First Fruits of Zion. ©2014 D. T. Lancaster. P.1662.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Shabbat Service 9-22-2018

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 (available from our website at and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat. We live stream our service on the home page of our website, and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.


Thursday, September 20, 2018

Behold the Man! 9-20-2018

By Dan and Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is at:
The scripture reading for this teaching is: John 18:28-19:16
Yeshua and His disciples had gone to the Mount of Olives following their Passover Seder to pray.  While they were there, Judas Iscariot had gone to find the High Priest Caiaphas and other select members of the Sanhedrin, telling them where they could find Yeshua.  This was the opportunity that they were looking for! To be able to take Yeshua into custody in secret, well away from the crowds of followers who were constantly surrounding Him.
John 18:2-5 NKJV 2 And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. 3 Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. 4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?" 5 They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.
This detachment of troops quickly led Yeshua away to the place where the High Priest and the others were waiting.  This would begin the long night of questioning and torture that awaited Yeshua.  The prophecies concerning the fate of the messiah, especially that of Isaiah 53 were about to play out before the thousands of witnesses converging on Jerusalem for the feast of Passover.
Whatever they were going to do with Yeshua, they had to do quickly.  Soon the streets would be filled with the pilgrims preparing for their Passover celebrations.  It would not take long for word of the secret, night time arrest of Yeshua to spread to the adoring crowds who just a few days earlier greeted Him with a triumphal entry as king and Messiah.
Yeshua was taken to a secret place where he was questioned by the High Priest Caiaphas.
John 18:19-23 NKJV 19 The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him, "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. 21 "Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said." 22 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, "Do You answer the high priest like that?" 23 Jesus answered him, "If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?"
Under Roman rule, the Jews could not execute anyone for violations of their religious laws, but they were determined to be rid of Yeshua.  He was clearly a threat to their carefully constructed political power structure. They had to come up with something in the Roman law that would result in the Romans executing Him.  It would not be an easy task given the uneasy and tricky politics of the day along with the jurisdictional boundaries involved. They decided to take Yeshua to Pontius Pilate, the Roman appointed governor of Judea.
John 18:28 NKJV 28 Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.
As the Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate had total military and judicial jurisdiction over the province of Judea. He was also in charge of collecting Roman taxes and controlled the appointment of the High Priest.  His predecessors and prefects that came after Pilate, appointed High Priests almost annually. Pilate appointed only one, Caiaphas, who served during the entire ten-year reign of Pilate.
Pontius Pilate was known to be a ruthless dictator and would not hesitate to order someone executed for any reason he saw fit.  He had a close working relationship with Caiaphas and Caiaphas’ father in law Annas who ran a mafia like organization controlling many aspects of daily life in and around Jerusalem.
At this time, Pilate had only been in power for four years and had already gained the reputation of a tyrant among the people.  He had robbed the Temple treasury and frequently had protestors flogged or even clubbed to death in the streets.
Yeshua was led to the Praetorium, which is merely the place where the Governor of the province currently was residing.  In this case, Pilate most likely would have taken up residence in the former palace of King Herod the Great, located at what is today known as the Tower of David, just inside the Jaffa Gate of the Old City area of Jerusalem.
The soldiers escorting Yeshua to the Praetorium took Him inside while Caiaphas and the others waited outside in the courtyard.  Pilate was perhaps surprised at their early arrival and their unusual prisoner. When Pilate went out to meet with the High Priests’ delegation there was already a crowd gathering in the courtyard.  It was a long-standing tradition for the release of a condemned prisoner on the Passover and many were gathering to lobby for their choice.
Matthew 27:15-17 NKJV 15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude one prisoner whom they wished. 16 And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"
Caiaphas knew that he could not expect Pilate to order Yeshua’s execution based on Yeshua speaking blasphemy or the perceived breaking of Jewish religious law.  Pilate did not care about their religious law.  What they needed to present to Pilate were charges that concerned the Roman government; and they apparently had some in mind.
John 18:29-30 NKJV 29 Pilate then went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" 30 They answered and said to him, "If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you."
Pilate immediately attempted to dismiss them.
John 18:31 NKJV 31 Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him and judge Him according to your law." Therefore the Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,"
It would have been very easy for them to request an exemption so they themselves could execute Yeshua in secret.  But it is likely they did not want the permission to do so.  They did not want the responsibility of orchestrating the death of so popular a teacher and prophet.  The Jewish leaders feared the people and would likely avoid an all-out riot should Rome to be to blame for Yeshua’s execution.
They offered Pilate three specific charges against Yeshua that might raise his interest. First, they charged Him with sedition, with claiming to be king.
John 18:33-37 NKJV 33 Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" 34 Jesus answered him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?" 35 Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?" 36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
They charged Him with misleading the nation and tax evasion and trying to start a revolution.  These amounted to crimes against Rome. If any of these proved to be true, then execution was inevitable. 
Pilate dismissed Yeshua’s cryptic and mystical answers and Yeshua gave no reply to the specific charges against Him.  He remained silent as described by the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah 53:7 NKJV 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
Pilate returned to the courtyard where by that time the crowd of people was quite large.  He told them that he found no fault with Yeshua at all.
John 18:38 NKJV 38b …he (Pilate) went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all.
Pilot knew that they did not have a strong case against Yeshua, but he also understood their real reason for their accusations.
Mark 15:10 NKJV 10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.
Pilate then addressed the gathered crowd thinking that they would call for the release of this popular teacher.  But whether they had come on their own, or the Leaders had arranged for certain people to be present in the Praetorium that day, when pilot asked which of two prisoners to release to them, he got a surprising answer.
John 18:39-40 NKJV 39 "But you have a custom that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" 40 Then they all cried again, saying, "Not this Man, but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber.
Pilate may have felt that he had been boxed into a corner by these clever accusations and Yeshua’s refusal to give an understandable answer. The men from Caiaphas then gave Pilate some new information that could give him a way out.
Luke 23:5 NKJV 5 But they were the more fierce, saying, "He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place."
This would have peaked Pilate’s interest!  If this man was indeed from the Galilee region, then He is a citizen of another Roman province and not his problem.  The Galilee was under the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas. This was the perfect opportunity to pass the buck.  Pilate and Herod Antipas were not on the best of terms and quite often butted heads and were an irritant to each other.  So, Pilate sent Yeshua on to Herod, who also was present in Jerusalem for the Feast.  Herod was pleased with this situation.  He had for over a year wanted to meet this man Yeshua; the would-be rival king of the Jews; a title officially held by his father, Herod the Great, and one which he sought for himself but so far having been denied by Rome.
Luke 23:8-10 NKJV 8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. 9 Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him.
Yeshua would not dignify Herod Antipas with answering any of his inquiries. This angered Herod, so he had his soldiers mock and beat Yeshua, then had Yeshua sent back to Pilate in a kind of good will gesture toward Pilate.
Luke 23:11 NKJV 11 Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.
Pilate once again called together Yeshua’s accusers and pleaded with them to have Yeshua released since he could not verify any of their accusation against Yeshua.
Luke 23:13-16 NKJV 13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, "You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15 "no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16 "I will therefore chastise Him and release Him"
Pilate was determined to release Yeshua because it seemed to him that any “violation” of law was strictly a religious matter best taken care of by the Jews themselves.  Besides Pilate wanted to release Yeshua and not Barabbas.  Barabbas was a Zealot, a thief, and a known murderer.
The crowd that had gathered in the courtyard of the praetorium perhaps encouraged by the chief priests who brought Yeshua to Pilate, cried out for Barabbas to be released instead.
Luke 23:18 NKJV 18 And they all cried out at once, saying, "Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas"
Pilate ordered his soldiers to take Yeshua and scourge Him.  Scourging consisted of flogging with a whip which likely has bits of sharp stone and bone tied in its leather strands. According to historical accounts, roman scourging often resulted in death.  Isaiah the prophet again testifies to the Messiah’s suffering.
Isaiah 50:6 NKJV 6 I gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.
And in chapter fifty three:
Isaiah 53:5 NKJV 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes (scourging) we are healed.
The soldiers made a game of flogging Yeshua, putting the royal robe that Herod had adorned Him with over His severely cut and beaten back and shoulders. They prostrated themselves before Him saying “Hail, King of the Jews” then slapping Him, placing a crown of tightly woven thorns on His head and then beating it down with reeds.
Outside the crowd had grown larger as both supporters of the Zealot Barabbas and the chief priests came together for one goal, the condemnation of Yeshua and the release of Barabbas.  Once Pilate finally returned to his seat in the courtyard, he addressed the crowd.
John 19:4-5 NKJV 4 Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him." 5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!"
It was as if Pilate was mocking the crowd by presenting Yeshua to them in this manner and with these words.  This acclamation made it clear that he considered Jewish political sovereignty a laughable joke!  The crowd was even more determined to see that Yeshua faced crucifixion.
John 19:6-7 NKJV 6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him." 7 The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."
Having heard this, Pilate again questioned Yeshua about his identity.
John 19:8-11 NKJV 8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?" 11 Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."
Pilate feared the crowds that had gathered. He feared the Zealots and their growing rebellious movement toward violence against Roman rule.  He feared the power that the chief priests held over the people; and in a way, he feared this man who stood before him and gave him unexpected answers to his questions. He feared what would happen should he condemn Yeshua to death given His popularity among the common people.
When Pilate return to the Praetorium, the chants and shouting from the crowd calling for Yeshua to be crucified were even more intense. Then one of the officials sent from Caiaphas shouted out to Pilate;
John 19:12 NKJV 12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar."
With that, Yeshua’s fate was sealed, and Pilate’s political survival was at stake.  Seeing no alternative, Pilate ordered Yeshua to be taken away and the murderer Barabbas to be released. In a gesture that would absolve Pilate of responsibility, he literally washed his hands.
Matthew 27:24-26 NKJV 24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it." 25 And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children." 26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
By washing his hands, Pilate publicly declares that he himself is innocent of the blood of Yeshua.  By having Yeshua executed under Roman law, Caiaphas and the chief priests sought to absolve themselves of the blood of Yeshua.  That is, they sought to rid themselves of it. Each were left with a kind of plausible deniability.  But the blood of Yeshua was and is more powerful than any of them could have imagined.  Yeshua laid down His life willingly for all who would accept His sacrifice.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement is the one day in the year when the High Priest enters the Holy of Holies to make atonement for all.  Yeshua, our Messiah and High Priest is today before the throne of God the Father in the heavenly tabernacle making atonement for all who would accept it and believe.
Study Questions:
1. In Matthew 27:24, Pilate publicly washes his hands to show that he is “innocent of the blood of this just person.”  How is hand washing in the bible depicted?  How are the other biblical examples of hand washing related to Pilate washing his hands? 
2. At the conclusion of Yeshua’s pronouncing the seven woes against the corrupt Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew chapter 23, He offers a specific prophecy in verses 31-39.  How is the declaration from the crowd in Matthew 27:25 a fulfillment of Yeshua’s prophecy?
3. In John 19:5 Pilate used the phrase, “Behold the Man” when introducing the beaten and bloodied Yeshua to the gathered crowd.  This same phrase is used 5 times in the Old Testament.  How would the corrupt Jewish leaders present that day have received this phrase?  What would it have brought to their minds?  Compare the contexts of the Old Testament usages with that of John 19:5 
4. In this teaching we learned that Pilate was motivated largely by fear and to some degree his own superstitions and beliefs.  How were the corrupt Jewish leaders also motivated by fear? 

© 2018 Moed Ministries International.  All rights reserved

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Shabbat Service 9-15-2018

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 (available from our website at and be ready to join in the discussion on Shabbat. We live stream our service on the home page of our website, and on our Moed Ministries International Facebook page.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Cup of Suffering

Moed Ministries International

The video version of this teaching is available at:

The scripture reading for this teaching is Matthew 26:36-46

Yeshua had spent a busy and probably stressful time in the week leading up to the His final Passover observance. As He began the journey from Jericho up to Jerusalem, He knew what awaited Him there. He tried to prepare His disciples by taking them aside and telling them what was about to happen.
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."
Now that His Passover celebration with His disciples has been concluded, Yeshua is confronted with the reality of His betrayal, torture and death. What exactly is He accepting as He submits Himself to the Father? What does it mean for Israel and for those of us who believe in Him as the Messiah sent by God?
After celebrating a Passover Seder with His disciples, Yeshua went out to the Mt. of Olives with the remaining eleven disciples. Luke records that they went to the place where they had gone many times before.
Luke 22:39-40 NKJV 39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation."
John describes the place as being in an enclosed garden of some type.
John 18:1 NKJV 1 When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered.
The phrase “the place” is a reminder of another place referred to as just “the place.” That place is the place that God led Abraham for the purpose of offering up his son Isaac. From that place Abraham looked behind him to the place where a ram was caught in the thicket by its horns.
Genesis 22:13 NKJV 13 Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.
If Abraham’s offering of Isaac took place on the future site of the temple as we believe, then looking behind him would be to look at the Mt. of Olives. Perhaps the place Yeshua took His disciples was the place where Abraham saw the ram caught in the thicket. Also, if the Romans followed their usual practice of putting a prisoner to death at the place of his arrest, this place would also be the place of the crucifixion.
The events at this place on the Mt. of Olives follow two threads—Yeshua’s prayers at this place and the inability of the disciples to stay awake and keep watch.
Yeshua’s heart is deeply troubled and in pain. He knows what awaits Him and the weight of it was heavy on His soul.
Matthew 26:37-38 NKJV 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me."
Yeshua took Peter, James, and John with Him and went a short distance away from the other disciples. Then He instructed the three disciples to watch with Him until the hour of His betrayal. These are the same three disciples that Yeshua took with Him to witness His transfiguration. Now, Yeshua wants those who witnessed His glory to be with Him to witness the agony that awaited Him. Yeshua went a little further where He began to pray and pour out His pain and sorrow to His Father. He fell on His face and cried out.
Matthew 26:39 NKJV 39 He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, "O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will."
Matthew records that Yeshua prayed this prayer three separate times. Each time after praying He returned to the place He had left His disciples to find them asleep. This would indicate that each time He prayed, He spent some time pouring out His agony and receiving comfort from the Father.
We can imagine Abraham, also being in agony of spirit, as he traveled for three days to the place where God showed Him to offer up Isaac. Perhaps He asked God each day if it was necessary for Him to offer up Isaac, the Son of Promise. On the third day of the journey, Isaac had asked about the absence of the ram for the sacrifice.
Genesis 22:7-8 NKJV 7 But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, "My father!" And he said, "Here I am, my son." Then he said, "Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" 8 And Abraham said, "My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering." So the two of them went together.
Abraham and Isaac went together to the place and Isaac willingly submitted Himself to be offered up to God. Just as Abraham lifted the knife to slay Isaac in prefect submission to God, an angel spoke and stayed Abraham’s hand.
Genesis 22:10-12 NKJV 10 And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the Angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" So he said, "Here I am." 12 And He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me."
An angel also appeared to Yeshua. After the third time that Yeshua cried out to God asking that the cup be removed from Him but never the less submitting Himself to God’s will, the angel appeared, not to provide a substitute, but to give Him strength to do what He needed to do.
Luke 22:42-43 NKJV 42 saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done." 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.
What exactly was this cup that Yeshua submitted Himself to the Father to drink? Let’s look at the metaphor of drinking from a cup. At the simplest level, it is what the future holds. Yeshua would be betrayed and die on the cross. At a deeper level, the cup holds reward or judgment specifically from God. The Psalmist writes about the cup the wicked will receive.
Psalms 11:6 NKJV 6 Upon the wicked He will rain coals; Fire and brimstone and a burning wind Shall be the portion of their cup.
The Psalmist also describes the cup of the righteous.
Psalms 16:5-6 NKJV 5 O LORD, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. 6 The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Yes, I have a good inheritance.
The cup can also be a source of nourishment. The good shepherd prepares a table and full cup for his sheep.
Psalms 23:5 NKJV 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over.
Similarly, the cup can be a cup of poison that leads to death.
Jeremiah 51:7 NKJV 7 Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, That made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; Therefore the nations are deranged.
John refers to this golden cup of Babylon and describes its contents.
Revelation 17:4 NKJV 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.
The results of drinking from a cup depend on what is in the cup. Is the cup filled with nourishment that leads to life or poison that leads to death? Is the cup filled with punishment or reward? What is the future that unfolds when one drinks from a particular cup? What is in the cup that Yeshua drank from?
The author of Hebrews sheds light on Yeshua’s cup. The context of this passage we will examine is that of Yeshua being chosen of God as His Son to be the High Priest forever.
Hebrews 5:5-6 NKJV 5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You." 6 As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek";
Yeshua did not glorify Himself; it was God who glorified Him. The glorification of the Son was realized as soon as Judas Iscariot left the Passover Seder to betray Yeshua.
John 13:31 NKJV 31 So, when he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him.
The passage in Hebrews continues telling us that Yeshua’s prayers in the Garden of Gethsemane were heard and answered. Continuing with Hebrews 5:7:
Hebrews 5:7 NKJV 7 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear,
God did hear and answer Yeshua’s prayers as He prayed repeatedly and fervently that He would not have to drink from the cup prepared for Him. Although God heard His prayer, it was necessary that Yeshua drink the cup. Continuing with Hebrews 5:8-10:.
Hebrews 5:8-10 NKJV 8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10 called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"
Yeshua learned or fully understood what obedience to God entailed. Then we read something we don’t expect; we read that Yeshua was perfected through obedience. Wasn’t Yeshua already perfect? The Greek word translated as “having been perfected” is tel-i-oo, #5048 in Strong’s Concordance meaning, in the tense used here, as being completed, perfected, finished or fulfilled. Through the perfection, completion, or fulfillment of Yeshua’s obedience, He became the High Priest who is the author of eternal salvation!
It was in His role of both sin offering and High Priest that Yeshua drank the cup! The role of the high priest is to bring the blood of the sin offering before God making atonement for the children of Israel.
Hebrews 9:11-12 NKJV 11 But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
The sin offering brought before the LORD had all the sins of the children of Israel laid upon its head. Isaiah describes the punishment or wrath that fell upon Jerusalem as a result of her sins.
Isaiah 51:17 NKJV 17 Awake, awake! Stand up, O Jerusalem, You who have drunk at the hand of the LORD The cup of His fury; You have drunk the dregs of the cup of trembling, And drained it out.
This same cup of God’s fury would in turn be poured out on the nations.
Isaiah 51:22-23 NKJV 22 Thus says your Lord, The LORD and your God, Who pleads the cause of His people: "See, I have taken out of your hand The cup of trembling, The dregs of the cup of My fury; You shall no longer drink it. 23 But I will put it into the hand of those who afflict you, Who have said to you, 'Lie down, that we may walk over you.' And you have laid your body like the ground, And as the street, for those who walk over."
The Psalmist also describes this cup that all the wicked of the earth shall drink.
Psalms 75:8 NKJV 8 For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, And the wine is red; It is fully mixed, and He pours it out; Surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth Drain and drink down.
Yeshua drank the cup of the wrath of God that was poured out on all the nations! As the sin offering for all who would believe, the fury God has towards us for our sins and disobedience fell on Yeshua. This is the cup from which He drank and learned obedience. As Paul says in his letter to the Philippians “obedience even unto death.” By this obedience He became the author of eternal salvation to all who in turn obey Him!
During the time that Yeshua prayed in the garden, He instructed Peter, James and John to stay with Him and watch with Him, but they fell asleep. Little did they realize that they would soon be facing the greatest trial of their lives so far. When Yeshua returned and found them sleeping, He rebuked Peter specifically and addressed them all.
Mark 14:37-38 NKJV 37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
During the Seder meal, Peter stated emphatically that He would never stumble.
Matthew 26:33-34 NKJV 33 Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble." 34 Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."
James and John were the two disciples that asked to be seated at the right and left hand of Yeshua when He established His kingdom. They stated categorically that they could drink from the same cup that Yeshua did.
Matthew 20:22 NKJV 22 But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able."
While Peter, James and John should have been praying and preparing for the trials ahead; the trials that Yeshua warned them about just hours before, they had all fallen asleep. Yeshua especially warned Peter to pray that he wouldn’t fall into temptation. Yet Mark records that all the disciples fled when Yeshua was arrested.
Mark 14:50 NKJV 50 Then they all forsook Him and fled.
Even though Yeshua had told them what was coming before they even arrived at Jerusalem, the disciples were taken by surprise by Yeshua’s arrest and eventual crucifixion on the cross. They couldn’t process what was happening. Peter denied Yeshua three times before the sun could rise. John stood with Yeshua’s mother at the foot of the cross without saying a word. The women who traveled with them focused on the here and now; how to anoint Yeshua’s body and make sure they followed all the burial customs.  But Yeshua had prayed for His followers.
John 17:6-9 NKJV 6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 "Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 "For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. 9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
The disciples believed that Yeshua was sent by God and after His resurrection, they began to understand why it was necessary for Messiah to die and be resurrected. Peter would later write about what Yeshua’s obedience in drinking the cup of suffering has accomplished for those who believe in Yeshua.
1 Peter 3:18 NKJV 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
Peter explained about the cup of suffering that believers will experience as well as the cup of joy that is waiting for us.
1 Peter 1:6-9 NKJV 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
James would be the first apostle to die for his faith in Yeshua. Peter and Andrew were both crucified. Tradition tells us that eight of the eleven original apostles died a martyrs death.[i] They tasted the cup of suffering for belief in Messiah Yeshua. Paul explains that all the sufferings we endure is worth it all.
2 Corinthians 1:5-7 NKJV 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.
Yeshua willingly submitted to the Father drinking the cup of wrath that God poured out on all the disobedient. He did this willingly so that all of us who accept His sacrifice and punishment in our place, can receive the gift of eternal life. God loved us so much, that He chose to give us the gift of His Son to provide the way for us to have life and fellowship with the Father.
Study Questions:
1. The angel that came to Yeshua strengthened Him (Luke 22:43). The angel Gabriel, whose name means God is my strength, may have been the angel that came to Yeshua. Where else does the angel Gabriel appear?

2. Yeshua prayed fervently and with persistence. How does this follow the pattern that He instructed His disciples to follow? 

3. Matthew 20:23: Yeshua tells John and James that they would drink from the same cup He drank from. In what way did they drink from the same cup? How could this apply to believers then and now?

4. John describes the place that Yeshua and His disciples went to on the Mt. of Olives as a garden. What other events associated with Yeshua’s death and resurrection occurred in a garden or were associated with a garden?

5. Yeshua spent a lot of time on the Mt. of Olives. What are some of those situations? What other events in the Bible occurred or will occur on the Mt. of Olives?

© 2018 Moed Ministries International.  All rights reserved.