The Christian Torah in A Nutshell ~ A Wrap-up

Since December 9, 2015, other than during the Jewish feasts and festivals, most of my teachings have concentrated on sitting at the feet of Yeshua and listening to Him as He taught His talmidim.  Our source document has been the Gospel of Matthew (Mattityahu).  The “Word in Life Study Bible” calls the Gospel of Matthew the Christian Torah.”

It’s time for us to move on from here and dive deeper into God’s Word.  However, since we have several new followers who haven’t been here from the beginning of this study and for those of us who may have forgotten what we learned, I want to take this opportunity to summarize where we’ve been.

Needless to say, this post will be rather lengthy given that I will be summarizing almost 80 posts.  So, here is the link to the PDF version.

I started my defining what a Biblical talmid is:

  1. One who is following the Messiah – has made Yeshua the Lord of their life. (Luke 9:3; John 8:31)
  2. One who is being changed by the Messiah – is becoming like the Messiah in attitude and action. (John 15:8; Romans 8:29, Galatians 4:19; 5:22-23; John 13:35)
  3. One who is committed to the Mission of the Messiah.  (Messiah’s mission is to save a lost world by installing a ministry of reconciliation and service to others.) (John 15:8; Matthew 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20)

Continue reading “The Christian Torah in A Nutshell ~ A Wrap-up”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 13

In my last post, we begin to conclude our exploration of what Yeshua has to say about the End Times in the Christian Torah. In this post, we will conclude that exploration.

The judgment described here in Matthew 25:37-46 is different from the Great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11-15.  Perhaps some time in the future we will look at that judgment more closely.

The Final Judgment ~ Part 2

 Final Judgment

“Then the people who have done what God wants will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and make you our guest, or needing clothes and provide them?  When did we see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’  The King will say to them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you did these things for one of the least important of these brothers of mine, you did them for me!’  Then He will also speak to those on his left, saying, ‘Get away from me, you who are cursed! Go off into the fire prepared for the Adversary and his angels!  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, a stranger and you did not welcome me, needing clothes and you did not give them to me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick or in prison, and not take care of you?’  And he will answer them, ‘Yes! I tell you that whenever you refused to do it for the least important of these people, you refused to do it for me!’  They will go off to eternal punishment, but those who have done what God wants will go to eternal life.” ~ Matthew 25:37-46

We left off in my last post by examining Matthew 25:36-36.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me’  ~ Matthew 25:31-36.  The righteous are surprised at the King’s words.  He commends them for their acts of kindness to Him, but they realize that they did not have opportunity to do such kindnesses to Him directly, but to His people. [1] Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 13”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 12

In my last post, we finalized our study of the Parable of the Talents.  In this post, we will begin to conclude our exploration of what Yeshua has to say about the End Times in the Christian Torah.  Once again, I have divided the exploration of the Final Judgment into two parts.

The Final Judgment ~ Part 1

 This so-called “parable of the sheep and goats” is not truly a parable but a metaphor around which Yeshua builds His message of judgment and salvation.

sheeps and goats

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, accompanied by all the angels, He will sit on His glorious throne.  All the nations will be assembled before Him, and He will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates sheep from goats.  The ‘sheep’ He will place at His right hand and the ‘goats’ at His left.  Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you made me your guest, I needed clothes and you provided them, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ ” ~ Matthew 25:31-36

He will sit on His glorious throne.  This speaks of the earthly reign of Yeshua described in Revelation 20:4-6.  This judgment precedes Yeshua’s millennial reign, and the subjects seem to be only those who are alive at His coming. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 12”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 11

In my last post, we began to look at the Parable of the Talents and what transpired with the first two servants.  In this post, we will conclude the parable by examining the third servant who was given only one talent.

The Parable of the Talents ~ Part 2

One

“Now the one who had received one talent came forward and said, ‘I knew you were a hard man. You harvest where you didn’t plant and gather where you didn’t sow seed.  I was afraid, so I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here! Take what belongs to you!’  ‘You wicked, lazy servant!’ said his master, ‘So you knew, did you, that I harvest where I haven’t planted? and that I gather where I didn’t sow seed?  Then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, so that when I returned, I would at least have gotten back interest with my capital!  Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten.  For everyone who has something will be given more, so that he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has nothing, even what he does have will be taken away.  As for this worthless servant, throw him out in the dark, where people will wail and grind their teeth!’” ~  Matthew 25:24-30

We can only speculate how this last servant reasoned.  All we know is that he was afraid.  Perhaps this last servant was thinking only of himself.  He hoped to play it safe and protect himself from his hard master, but he had accomplished nothing for him.  His words to the master reveal a self-centered character.  He accused his master of being hard and exploiting the labors of others.  You harvest where you didn’t plant and gather where you didn’t sow seed. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 11”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 10

In my last post, we explored the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13.  I this post, we will unpack the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30.  This parable explains how Yeshua’s talmidim are to stay alert (Matthew 25:13) during their wait for His return. While the previous parable about the wise and sensible bridesmaids stressed readiness, this parable focused on using the waiting time well.  Due to the length of this parable, I’ve decided to unpack it in two separate posts.

The Parable of the Talents ~ Part 1

Talents

“For it will be like a man about to leave home for awhile, who entrusted his possessions to his servants.  To one he gave five talents [equivalent to a hundred years’ wages]; to another, two talents; and to another, one talent — to each according to his ability.  Then he left.  The one who had received five talents immediately went out, invested it and earned another five.  Similarly, the one given two earned another two.  But the one given one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.  “After a long time, the master of those servants returned to settle accounts with them.  The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the other five and said, ‘Sir, you gave me five talents; here, I have made five more.’  His master said to him, ‘Excellent! You are a good and trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with a small amount, so I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and join in your master’s happiness!’  Also the one who had received two came forward and said, ‘Sir, you gave me two talents; here, I have made two more.’  His master said to him, ‘Excellent! you are a good and trustworthy servant. You have been faithful with a small amount, so I will put you in charge of a large amount. Come and join in your master’s happiness!’  ~ Matthew 25:14-23

The man about to leave home for awhile was obviously wealthy enough to have servants and to have an amount of money that he wanted invested and multiplied while he was gone.  He would be gone a long time and did not want his assets to lie fallow during his absence.  The master divided the money (talents) among his servants according to their abilities.  While the English word talent has come to mean a natural ability, the Greek word talanton simply means a sum of money.  Each of three servants received different amounts of money according to his ability. The first received five talents of money, the second two talents, and the last one talent.  (As we learned in Forgiveness ~ Part 2, a talent was a lot of money, in excess of $600,000 US.)  No one received more or less than he could handle. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 10”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 9

In my last post, we finished the first half of the Olivet Discourse contained in Matthew 24.  In this post, we will begin to unpack Matthew 25 as we wrap-up Yeshua’s teachings in the Christian Torah.

Yeshua told three more parables to clarify further what it means to be spiritually vigilant ~ ready for His return and how to live until He comes. The ten bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13) teach that every person is responsible for his or her own spiritual condition.  The story of the talents (25:14-30) shows the necessity of using well what God has entrusted to us.  The parable of the sheep and goats (25:31-46) stresses the importance of serving others in need.  No parable by itself completely describes our preparation.  Instead, each presents one part of the whole picture.

The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids

Five-Wise-and-Five-Foolish-Virgins-1

“The Kingdom of Heaven at that time will be like ten bridesmaids [or virgins] who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom.  Five of them were foolish and five were sensible.  The foolish ones took lamps with them but no oil, whereas the others took flasks of oil with their lamps.  Now the bridegroom was late, so they all went to sleep.  It was the middle of the night when the cry rang out, ‘The bridegroom is here! Go out to meet him!’  The girls all woke up and prepared their lamps for lighting.  The foolish ones said to the sensible ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’  ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both you and us. Go to the oil dealers and buy some for yourselves.’  But as they were going off to buy, the bridegroom came. Those who were ready went with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut.  Later, the other bridesmaids came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they cried, ‘Let us in!’  But he answered, ‘Indeed! I tell you, I don’t know you!’  So stay alert, because you know neither the day nor the hour.” ~ Matthew 25:1-13

This parable about a wedding describes the need for readiness for the Kingdom and explains that some will be included while others will not.  Wedding customs differed from village to village in ancient Israel, but all weddings included the processional of the bridegroom to the bride’s family home.  A common Jewish marriage custom was for the groom and his friends to leave his home and proceed to the home of the bride, where the marriage ceremony was conducted, often at night. After this, the entire wedding party returned to the groom’s home for a celebratory banquet.  The wedding day would be spent in dancing and celebrating, concluding with the wedding feast at dusk.  The bride would be accompanied with torches to the bridegroom’s house for this feast.  These ten bridesmaids (also called virgins because they were unmarried) were going out to meet the bridegroom, who was coming to the bride’s home to join the procession back to his house for the wedding banquet. This happened after dark, and in villages and towns without streetlights, these torches wrapped in cloth soaked in oil, lit the way (the Greek word translated lamps means torches, not lanterns). Everyone was required to carry his or her own lamp; those who didn’t have one were considered party crashers – those who had not been invited. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 9”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 8

In my last post, we learned about the lesson of the fig tree as a sign of Yeshua’s ultimate return to establish His millennial rule.  In this post, we are told flat out that no one knows the day or the hour of when that will occur.

No One Knows the Day or Hour

No One Knows 

“But when that day and hour will come, no one knows — not the angels in heaven, not the Son, only the Father.  For the Son of Man’s coming will be just as it was in the days of Noach.  Back then, before the Flood, people went on eating and drinking, taking wives and becoming wives, right up till the day Noach entered the ark; and they didn’t know what was happening until the Flood came and swept them all away. It will be just like that when the Son of Man comes.  Then there will be two men in a field — one will be taken and the other left behind.  There will be two women grinding flour at the mill — one will be taken and the other left behind.  So stay alert, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will come.  But you do know this: had the owner of the house known when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not allowed his house to be broken into.  Therefore, you too must always be ready, for the Son of Man will come when you are not expecting Him.  Who is the faithful and sensible servant whose master puts him in charge of the household staff, to give them their food at the proper time?  It will go well with that servant if he is found doing his job when his master comes.  Yes, I tell you that he will put him in charge of all he owns.  But if that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is taking his time’; and he starts beating up his fellow servants and spends his time eating and drinking with drunkards; then his master will come on a day the servant does not expect, at a time he doesn’t know; and he will cut him in two and put him with the hypocrites, where people will wail and grind their teeth! ~ Matthew 24:36-51

While Yeshua had given general signs to watch for regarding the coming of the end, He clearly explained to the talmidim that the exact day or hour was not known by the angels or Himself.  When Yeshua said that even He did not know the time of the end, He was affirming His limitations as a human (see Philippians 2:5-8).  Of course, God the Father knows the time, and Yeshua and the Father are one.  But when Yeshua became a man, He voluntarily gave up the unlimited use of His divine attributes.  On earth, Yeshua laid aside his divine prerogatives and submitted to the Father’s will.  Thus, only the Father knows exactly when Yeshua will return.  Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 8”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 7

In my last post, we began to unpack Yeshua’s teaching regarding the Coming of the Son of Man. In this post, we continue to explore the signs He shared with His talmidim to identify the beginning of His millennial rule.

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

fig tree

“Now let the fig tree teach you its lesson: when its branches begin to sprout and leaves appear, you know that summer is approaching.  In the same way, when you see all these things, you are to know that the time is near, right at the door.  Yes! I tell you that this people will certainly not pass away before all these things happen.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” ~ Matthew 24:32-35

Again, using a parable, Yeshua answered the talmidim’ question regarding Yeshua’s Second Coming (Matthew 24:3).  The talmidim, like anyone living in Israel, knew when summer would come by observing the twigs and leaves of fig trees.  Fig trees lose their leaves in winter (while most of the other trees in Israel do not), and they bloom in late spring (many of the other plants bloom in early spring).  Yeshua chose the fig tree for this peculiarity; since its buds come late, it was a perfect example to picture the delay of the Second Coming.

The dry, brittle twigs getting tender with rising sap and the leaves coming out were certain signs that summer was near.  Inherent in this process is patient waiting.  There is no hurrying the natural cycle of the fig tree.  So all believers must patiently await the Second Coming.  In the same way that they could interpret the season by the leaves on trees, so the talmidim could know when these significant events would occur.  When they saw all these things (referring to the events described in previous verses), they would know that the destruction of Jerusalem would soon follow.

Some scholars feel that the phrase the time is near refers to the coming desecration of the Temple.  But this interpretation makes too abrupt an interjection in Yeshua’s thought.  Because Yeshua was reassuring the talmidim, it makes more sense that Yeshua was speaking of His Second Coming.  Therefore, this verse means that the second coming of Yeshua is both certain and near.  The fulfillment of Yeshua’s prophecy would assure the talmidim that the other prophecies he had given regarding the end times would also come true.

The solemn phrase yes, I tell you introduces an important truth, an assurance like an oath.  There are three views of the meaning of this verse: (1) It refers only to those alive at the time Yeshua spoke who still would be alive at the destruction of Jerusalem; (2) it refers to the end times only; (3) it refers both to the destruction of Jerusalem and the end times, the destruction of Jerusalem containing within itself the elements of the final end times.

Yeshua singled out this people (or generation) using the Greek word genea, which can refer both to those living at a given time as well as to race or lineage (therefore, he would be speaking of the Jewish race).  That makes the third view above most likely.  Yeshua used genea here to mean that the events of 24:1-28 would occur initially within the lifetime of Yeshua’s contemporaries.  Not that all the problems would stop at the end of their lifetimes, but that all these things would be under way, verifying what Yeshua had said.  Yeshua explained that many of those alive at that time would witness the destruction of Jerusalem.  In addition, the Jewish nation would be preserved and remain on earth, so Jews also would witness the end-time events (see also 16:28).

There could be no doubt in the talmidim’ minds about the certainty of these prophecies.  While heaven and earth as we know them would eventually come to an end, Yeshua’s words (including all His teachings during His time on earth) would never pass away into oblivion.  They were true and would remain for all eternity.

This chapter opened with the talmidim admiring the durability and beauty of the Temple.  But Yeshua countered with a different vision of durability:  Only His words endure; only the truth of God survives.  History is the story of change, the rise and fall of empires, the coming and going of societies, which, for a time, happened upon some happiness, then floundered upon some folly.  What survives all this change?  Not temples, not governments, and not even believing saints (who get sick and die like everyone else).  Only God’s Word endures.  On that alone we stake everything.  God’s promises endure forever, and all who belong to Yeshua share in them.  Take hope.  Yeshua alone leads through change to a bright and buoyant future, full of everything good.

In my next post, we will learn that Yeshua warns everyone that no one knows the day or hour of His return.

Clickk here for PDF version.

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 6

The Olivet Discourse grew out of some questions the talmidim asked when Yeshua told them that the Temple would one day be destroyed.  First, they wanted to know when.  That answer is not recorded in Matthew but is given in Luke 21:20-24.[1]  Second, they asked about the sign of Yeshua’s return or the sign of the end of the age.  This is answered in Matthew 24:29-44 which we will get today.  It is the period of “Tribulation” that Yeshua described in the Olivet Discourse.  At the end of that period, Yeshua will return to the earth, defeat His foes, and establish the promised kingdom during His millennial rule.

In this post, we will begin to unpack what Matthew reports as the signs of Yeshua’s return to inaugurate His millennial rule.

Coming of the Son of Man

Second Coming Edited

“But immediately following the trouble of those times, the sun will grow dark, the moon will stop shining, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers in heaven will be shaken.  Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, all the tribes of the Land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with tremendous power and glory.  He will send out His angels with a great shofar; and they will gather together His chosen people from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” ~ Matthew 24:29-31 (CJB)

The phrase of those times signaled that Yeshua was talking specifically about the end times (see similar wording in the Prophets: Isaiah 13:10, 34:4; Jeremiah 3:16, 18; 31:29; Joel 3:1; and Zechariah 8:23).  After the time of tribulation, nature itself would experience change.  As taught in Romans 8 and 2 Peter 3, the entire universe had become involved in humanity’s fallen predicament; thus, the entire universe will be changed when humanity is changed. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 6”

What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 5

In my last post, we began to look at the issue of the Abomination of Desolation.  In this post we will conclude that topic as we continue to explore the Olivet Discourse.

The Abomination of the Desolation (cont.)

“For there will be trouble then [at the time of the abomination] worse than there has ever been from the beginning of the world until now, and there will be nothing like it again!  Indeed, if the length of this time had not been limited, no one would survive; but for the sake of those who have been chosen, its length will be limited.  At that time, if someone says to you, ‘Look! Here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ don’t believe him.  For there will appear false Messiahs and false prophets performing great miracles — amazing things! — so as to fool even the chosen, if possible.  There! I have told you in advance!  So if people say to you, ‘Listen! He’s out in the desert!’ don’t go; or, ‘Look! He’s hidden away in a secret room!’ don’t believe it.  For when the Son of Man does come, it will be like lightning that flashes out of the east and fills the sky to the western horizon.  Wherever there’s a dead body, that’s where you find the vultures.” ~ Matthew 24:21-28 (CJB)

The prophet Daniel wrote, “When that time comes, Mikha’el, the great prince who champions your people, will stand up; and there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment.  At that time, your people will be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book.” (Daniel 12:1).

Great suffering is in store for God’s people throughout the years ahead.  This way of describing the future is also used by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 30:7).  The time would be evil and filled with suffering.  This language may sound like an exaggeration, but it is not unusual in Scripture when describing an impending disaster.  The Jewish historian Josephus recorded that when the Romans sacked Yerushalayim and devastated Judea, one hundred thousand Jews were taken prisoner and another 1.1 million died by slaughter and starvation. Continue reading “What Does Yeshua Say About the End Times – Part 5”