Wednesday, October 3, 2018
The Hope of Israel
By Dan & Brenda Cathcart
The video version of this teaching is available at:
The scripture readings for this teaching are:
Luke 24:1-12, Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-9, John 20:1-18
After Yeshua’s death on the cross, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus courageously came out in the open by asking for the right to take Yeshua’s body for burial. Both men were members of the Sanhedrin but did not approve of nor participate in the arrest and mock trial of Yeshua. They, who were powerless to stop the atrocity of Yeshua’s death, now did what they could to honor the body of the Master.
John 19:38-40 NKJV 38 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
As the sun set and the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread began, Yeshua was dead and buried. Yeshua’s death rocked the world of His followers. They didn’t know what to think. Was this man they had given up everything to follow really the Messiah or had they been horribly deceived? God, of course, knew that these doubts would play on the minds of Yeshua’s disciples as they do on the minds of seekers today. What evidence or signs did God put in place to confirm that these events followed God’s plan for our redemption?
His disciples were stunned with grief, sorrow and, perhaps, even anger at Yeshua’s death. The scriptures don’t record any of them as being present when Joseph took charge of the burial details. Matthew tells us that Joseph was a rich man fulfilling the prophecy by Isaiah that Yeshua would die among criminals but have His resting place among the rich.
Isaiah 53:9 NKJV 9 And they made His grave with the wicked-But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth.
Joseph had hidden his belief in Yeshua because he was afraid of the other council members. It, also took courage to go before Pilate, the ruler of all Judea, and ask for the body of a condemned criminal.
Mark 15:43 NKJV 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Finally, we learn that Joseph was waiting for the kingdom of God! Luke records that, at the time of Yeshua’s birth, a man named Simeon was also one who was waiting for the kingdom of God.
Luke 2:25-26 NKJV 25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Yeshua’s birth and death were both marked by the appearance of those who were awaiting His coming and the coming of His kingdom!
Joseph took Yeshua into his new tomb where no one had ever been laid before.
Matthew 27:59-60 NKJV 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.
Because the tomb had not been used before, it was not ceremonially unclean. The ground Yeshua was laid in was clean ground. While Joseph and Nicodemus anointed Yeshua’s body, some of the women watched from outside the tomb.
Matthew 27:61 NKJV 61 And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
Luke also records that the women from Galilee followed Joseph to the tomb.
Luke 23:55 NKJV 55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.
These women were also at the cross and witnessed Yeshua’s death. Mathew, Mark, and John list different women who were at the cross. First Fruits of Zion in their work The Chronicles of the Messiah, examined these lists and came up with five different women who were identified as being at the cross.
“More Galilean women may have been present, but these five had become prominent personalities among the community of early believers and received special mention. Four of the five were named Mary. Mary (Miryam) was the most popular female name among first-century Jews in the land of Israel.”[i]
The first of these women was Mary or Miriam the mother of Yeshua. The next was identified as Mary’s sister the wife of Clopas. The church historian Eusebius identifies Clopas as Joseph’s brother. This Mary was Yeshua’s aunt and sister-in-law to His mother. The next Mary was Mary of Magdala. Luke identifies Mary of Magdala as one of the rich patrons of Yeshua.
Luke 8:1-3 NKJV 1 Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities--Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for Him from their substance.
The city of Magdala was next to Tiberius in the Galilee. It was the regional administrative center for Herod Antipas. Mary, like Joanna, was probably the wife of an administrator in Herod’s government although she is erroneously identified as the prostitute who anoints Yeshua’s feet in Luke 7.
The last Mary at the cross was the mother of the James and Joses or Joseph, two of the apostles. The final woman identified as being at the cross was Salome the mother of James and John.
These women noted the location of the tomb so they could find it after the Sabbath and personally tend to the body of their Master.
Each of the gospels tells the story of what happened after Yeshua’s burial with slightly different details and the order of events seems to be jumbled. There was a lot of confusion and running back and forth to the tomb. Mary of Magdala apparently arrived at Yeshua’s tomb first.
John 20:1-2 NKJV 1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."
While Mary of Magdala was taking the news to Peter and John, the other women arrived at the tomb.
Luke 24:1-3 NKJV 1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
Unlike Mary of Magdala, this group of women went into the tomb. Although the body of Yeshua was not there, two angels greeted them. Mark reports only one angel who was on the right side of the chamber. The other angel must have been on the left side.
Luke 24:4-7 NKJV 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 "He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 "saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.'"
Mark records the additional instructions that they should specifically tell Peter about Yeshua’s resurrection and that Yeshua would meet all of His disciples again in the Galilee.
Mark 16:5-7 NKJV 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 "But go, tell His disciples--and Peter--that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you."
As this group of women leaves, they don’t immediately go to tell the disciples what they saw and heard. They were perplexed and afraid.
Mark 16:8 NKJV 8 So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
In the meantime, Mary had arrived where the apostles were staying and given her report about Yeshua’s body being missing. Peter and John ran to the tomb followed by Mary. John arrived first but waited for Peter to arrive before entering.
John 20:3-7 NKJV 3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.
Where the women had seen two angels, Peter and John only saw the empty tomb and Yeshua’s grave-clothes lying on the slab in the center of the tomb. Peter was puzzled. When Yeshua raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus came out wearing his grave-clothes. On the other hand, why would the Romans steel the body but leave the grave-clothes behind? This would not only take additional time, but would leave the impression the Romans were seeking to avoid, that Yeshua had risen from the grave!
Peter and John returned to the house where they were staying but Mary lingered near the tomb where she, then, saw two angels.
John 20:11-12 NKJV 11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
They ask her why she is weeping and even as she answers that her Master’s body has been stolen, Yeshua appears to her.
John 20:14-15 NKJV 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away."
Mary mistakes Yeshua for the gardener and continues to seek information about where Yeshua was taken. It wasn’t until Yeshua said her name that she recognized Him.
John 20:16-17 NKJV 16 Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"
Mary runs to tell the disciples that Yeshua’s body wasn’t missing like they thought. He had actually risen from the dead!
In the meantime, the other women who were afraid and uncertain about what the angels had told them had also lingered in the garden near the tomb. Just as they decided that the message was indeed true and that they should report this to the disciples, Yeshua appeared before them as well.
Matthew 28:9-10 NKJV 9 And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice!" So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me."
Why did Yeshua appear to Mary of Magdala first and then the other women of whom many were also named Mary or Miriam? Peter and John were at the tomb, why didn’t the angels or Yeshua appear to them? There is another case in which a person named Miriam watched over the inevitable death of a loved one which connects these events to the Exodus from Egypt.
When the children of Israel were slaves in Egypt, Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill any Hebrew baby boys as they were being born. The Hebrew midwives thwarted Pharaoh’s plans and stated that the Hebrew women gave birth so quickly that the child was born before they could arrive for the birth. Pharaoh then issued a decree that all Hebrew baby boys be thrown into the river. We are told about one mother who defied the edict.
Exodus 2:1-2 KJV 1 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.
This child is seen to be a “goodly” child. The Hebrew word is #2896, Tov, meaning good. This is the word that God used to describe His creation. When the child could be hidden no longer, he was placed in a basket in the Nile River. His sister Miriam was tasked with the duty of watching over the child.
Exodus 2:3-4 NKJV 3 But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank. 4 And his sister stood afar off, to know what would be done to him.
Miriam, like the Miriams at the cross, watched to see what would happen! As the child floated on the river, the rich daughter of Pharaoh, pulled him out of the river. Miriam bravely stepped out in the open to make sure that the child was taken care of.
Because of the acts of the Hebrew midwives and of Miriam and her mother, the women of that generation were considered more righteous than the men. First Fruits of Zion in their work Torah Club Volume 5: Rejoicing of the Torah explains:
It was the women who passed the torch of faith to the next generation. It was the women who refused to be broken, who insured that despite what Pharaoh and Egypt may do, Israel “multiplied and spread.”[ii]
Like the original Miriam, sister of Moses, the women at the cross named after this original Miriam, were faithful to Yeshua. When He could not be hidden any longer and was arrested and sentenced to death, they faithfully watched over Him. They waited to see what would be done to Him. They followed His body as Miriam followed the basket down the Nile. They came to anoint His body, to take care of Him even in death. For their faithfulness and service, they were the first to receive the message that Yeshua had risen from the dead! They were the first to see the Master in His glorified body.
Luke 24:22-24 NKJV 22 "Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 "When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 "And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see."
The events of Yeshua’s death and resurrection are bookended by the watchfulness of the women especially those named Miriam! Within that framework, the tomb that Yeshua rested in belonged to Joseph. Another tomb belonging to the first Joseph the son of Jacob who was a rich man, second only to Pharaoh, was also left empty.
After Yeshua’s resurrection, those entering Yeshua’s tomb saw only His grave-clothes. These were the evidence of his occupation of the tomb. Unlike Lazarus, when Yeshua rose from the dead, He didn’t exit the tomb in His grave-clothes. Yeshua had no need of mortal garments; He was clothed with the garments of immortality!
This day, the first day of the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is also the Feast of Firstfruits. As Yeshua was greeting the women in the garden where the tomb was located, the priests in the temple were readying the first sheath of the barley harvest for offering before the LORD. Yeshua, in His words to Mary, indicate that He was preparing to ascend to His Father, but that He would later meet with His disciples. Yeshua had an important date with the Father. When the priests lifted up the barley harvest in thanks to God for the grain that God brought forth from the land, Yeshua would ascend to the Father as the first fruits that God had brought forth from the grave.
Before the day had ended, Yeshua would appear to others, but the privilege for first seeing Yeshua went to those who faithfully waited and watched over Him.
1. What is the meaning of the name “Miriam”, The word picture for Miriam would be the head and the hand in the midst of the water. What would the word picture indicate about Miriam? How can these meanings add to the symbolism of the Miriam the sister of Moses, and the Miriam’s at the cross?
2. What role did women play as disciples of Yeshua?
3. How do the angels on the left and right, at the head and feet of where Yeshua’s body laid represent the various appearances of two cherubim?
4. Mary mistook Yeshua for a gardener. In what was can Yeshua be thought of as a gardener?
5. Is there any significance to the grave clothes being left in the tomb? What about the head covering being folded and set apart from the other grave clothes?
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[i] [i] The Chronicles of the Messiah. D. Thomas Lancaster. First Fruits of Zion. ©2014 D. T. Lancaster. P.1648.
[ii] Torah Club Volume 5: Rejoicing of the Torah. D. T. Lancaster, First Fruits of Zion. ©2006. P.252.