New Kingdom – New Structure

Please read Matthew 9:14-17, 27-38 & 12:1-21, Mark 2:18-28 & 3:1-12 & Luke 5:1-11, 33-39 & 6:1-16

It was the Jewish month of Elul, the sixth month in the calendar God had established in the Torah (God having given this mitzvah (commandment) to Moses concerning Nisan: “This month shall be for you the head of months, the first of the months of the year” Exodus 12:2), and the twelfth month in the ‘civil’ calendar the Sages had developed in line with the agricultural year and their teaching that God had created man on 1st Tishri. The summer fruits had ripened, and the grape harvest begun.   Juicy grapes were being picked, eaten, and crushed to make sweet wine.

It was now a year since Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) received his call and began summoning Israel to repent and be baptised in the Jordan River as a sign of that repentance. 

 Yochanan had been imprisoned by Herod for several months now (http://blog.renewal.asn.au/2020/06/13/confronting-power-and-expectation/) and his situation continued to look dire, but his disciples remained faithful to him and his calling. It was a call to teshuvah (repentance), and teshuvah was associated with fasting.

David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.  The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. 2 Samuel 12:16-17

When Ahab heard these words, he tore his clothes, put on sackcloth and fasted. He lay in sackcloth and went around meekly. 1 Kings 21:27

Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting Psalm 35:13a

The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.  When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.  This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.  But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” Jonah 3:5-9

So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with Him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes. I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,  we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. Daniel 9:3-5

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Nehemiah 1:4

“Even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity. Joel 2:12

Likewise, the month of Elul was associated with teshuvah and fasting. Traditionally, the beginning of Elul marks the start of the Jew’s spiritual preparation for Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה – literally meaning “head [of] the year”, the ‘civil’ Jewish New Year), and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which follows 10 days later.

According to the Jewish sages, on 6th of Sivan (Shavuot/Feast of Weeks/ Pentecost), seven weeks after their Exodus from Egypt, Moses first ascended Sinai to receive the Torah

40 days later, on the 17th Tammuz, the tablets with the 10 Commandments were broken when Moses came down from the mountain and saw Israel’s horrific sin in idolatry with the golden calf .  

Moses then interceded for Israel for another 40 days – during which we see the first mention of the Book of Life when Moses asked to be stricken from “the Book You have written” if God would not make an atonement for His people (Exodus 32:32-33). At the end of those 40 days, on Elul 1st, Moses was called back up to Sinai.

Over the following 40 days, as the people were in repentance below, Moses on Mt Sinai received the revelation of the name YHVH (Exodus 34:4-8) and the Second Tablets. He returned to camp on 10th Tishri, when the repentance of the people was complete, carrying the 10 Commandments written on stone tablets. Tishri 10th would become the most holy day of the Jewish religious calendar, Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) – the only day of the year when the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies in the temple to present the blood for the atonement of Israel’s sins. He also ceremoniously laid – via confession – all Israel’s sin on the head of a male goat chosen by lots. This scapegoat was then led outside the camp into the wilderness, signifying the removal of sin from the people. Thus were the entire year’s sins forgiven and removed, making the way for reconciliation with the holy God.

These last 40 days, from Elul 1st until Yom Kippur, had become the Jew’s season of Teshuvah (repentance) – in commemoration of those 40 days and nights of Israel’s repentance as Moses communed with G-d on Mt Sinai.

In Aramaic, the word “Elul” means “search,” it is the time of the year when Jews must search their hearts and repent of all that misses the mark of G-d’s perfection.

Thus, during the month of Elul, Jews engage in teshuva beyn adam laḥavero  (reconciliation between human beings). This requires acknowledging where we have made mistakes, treated others badly, been selfish or self-absorbed; and apologizing; and making amends, repairing the damage we have done to others; and then seeking forgiveness and forgiving others. 

Teshuvah (repentance) was understood to be a three-stage process:
1. We must regret our actions, confront the reality of what we have done, apologize and make recompense.
2. We must reject that flawed conduct for ourselves, acknowledge that is not the way for people of God to behave.
3. We must resolve to live differently in the future, and if confronted with the opportunity to sin again, we must behave differently, for that is when we know we have truly repented.

According to the Rabbis, after the reconciliation month of Elul, on Rosh Hashanah (New Years Day), God decrees His judgment on each person, whether fit for the Book of Life or not. People then have one last opportunity during the following 10 Days of Awe to affect that proclamation before God seals it on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), which is the day they believe God seals a person’s destiny for the coming year. On Yom Kippur the nation sort t’shuva beyn adam lamakom (reconciliation between human beings and God). This was done through the priest’s sacrifices for the people with the blood placed on the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies.

At the beginning of this month of teshuvah (repentance), Yeshua had proclaimed His sermon on the Mount, searching and exposing the hearts of all the people before the light of G-d. After that He had declared the paralyzed man’s sins forgiven, and proven His authority to do such by healing him. Then He had called the tax collector Matthew (Levi) to be one of His talmidim, and then accepted the invitation to dine with Matthew and all the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ invited to celebrate Matthew’s acceptance by Christ.

Neither Yochanan’s talmidim, nor the Pharisees could understand why any man of God would be openly dining and celebrating with his talmidim at such a time as this, during the repentance month of Elul.

Next, Yochanan’s talmidim (John’s disciples) came to him and asked, “Why is it that we and the P’rushim (Pharisees) fast frequently, but your talmidim don’t fast at all?”  Yeshua said to them, “Can wedding guests mourn while the bridegroom is still with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; then they will fast.  Matthew 9:14-15 CJB

Also Yochanan’s talmidim and the P’rushim were fasting; and they came and asked Yeshua, “Why is it that Yochanan’s talmidim and the talmidim of the P’rushim fast, but your talmidim don’t fast?”  Yeshua answered them, “Can wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, fasting is out of the question.  But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; and when that day comes, they will fast.  Mark 2:18-20 CJB

Next they said to him, “Yochanan’s talmidim are always fasting and davvening (offering prayers), and likewise the talmidim of the P’rushim; but yours go on eating and drinking.”  Yeshua said to them, “Can you make wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is still with them?  The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; and when that time comes, they will fast.”  Luke 5:33-35 CJB

Repentance was not the only focus of Elul. The Jewish Sages also teach that “Elul”, spelled in Hebrew “Aleph-Lamed-Vav-Lamed”, is an acronym for the verse in Song of Songs 6:3: “I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine.” The Rabbis’ declare that, according to this verse, the relationship between God and Israel is like the relationship between a pair of lovers. The Pharisees recognised God as the Bridegroom, the “Beloved”, and the nation of Israel as the Bride, “I“, in this scripture. So, when Yeshua referred to Himself as the “bridegroom” it was a declaration of the incarnation (the He is God), which was both an affront to the Pharisees and a comfort and affirmation to Yochanan’s talmidim.

Interestingly, each of the four Hebrew words of this verse ends with the letter Yud. Numerically, the four Yuds together equal 40, corresponding to the 40 days between the first of Elul and Yom Kippur. More important was the anticipation in this verse of the final goal – a state of closeness to God. The month of Elul was a time of preparation for being with God as lovers, as bride and groom.

The entire purpose of Yochanan’s talmidim’s and the Pharisees’ fasting was to show a longing for the day God would show up and show favour to Israel again. Yeshua, the “Beloved“, was right there with them! There was no need for fasting at that moment, a wedding banquet is always the time for feasting and joy in celebration of the beloved and His bride coming together.

Yeshua’s talmidim had, right in this moment, what Israel looked forward to at Sukkot, “the time of our joy, when ‘God brings us into His inner chamber’ and we take refuge in the shade of the Sukkah, a feeling of love between the Almighty and the Congregation of Israel can be felt, like a bride and groom, like a pair of lovers”. The tax collectors and sinners who had experienced Yeshua’s forgiveness instinctively knew this, but the religious Pharisees found it difficult to comprehend.

Yeshua‘s response had not only declared Himself God, Israel’s Bridegroom, but also predicted His death that would bring their atonement: “the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”

No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch would tear away from the garment, and a worse hole is made.  Neither do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”  Matthew 9: 16-17 HNV

 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, or else the patch shrinks and the new tears away from the old, and a worse hole is made.  No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and the wine pours out, and the skins will be destroyed; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins.”  Mark 2:21-22 HNV 

He also told a parable to them. “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old garment, or else he will tear the new, and also the piece from the new will not match the old.  No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and it will be spilled, and the skins will be destroyed.  But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.  No man having drunk old wine immediately desires new, for he says, ‘The old is better.'” Luke 5:36-39 CJB

Yeshua was bringing something new, the fulfilment of reconciliation with, and closeness to, God that Torah and the Prophets had promised. That fulfilment was in His presence, it was in coming to Christ acknowledging their need of God’s forgiveness, it was dependent on relationship with Him. That fulfilment was the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth. It was not a righteousness that they earned through obeying all the dictates of the Pharisees, but a righteousness which was given to them in response to hungering and thirsting for His kingdom. It was not the exaltation of David’s earthly kingdom but the descent of God’s heavenly kingdom to permeate throughout the earth. This new kingdom needed to be put in new structures, trying to use it to stitch together the kingdom of Israel would just result in more tearing, trying to fill the religious structures of Judaism with it would burst them. The Pharisees were not ready to embrace it, they kept declaring, “the old is better“.

Yeshua was establishing a new kingdom, a kingdom that is not of this world, the Kingdom of Heaven.  The Jewish nation was a kingdom of this world that God had established and blessed in this world to bless all the nations of this world, to bring His Son into the world through Israel.   But His Son, although also the Son of David, had not come to raise up the kingdom of Israel.  He was that rock from Daniel’s vision, which was cut out of the mountain without hands and grew to fill the whole world.  The Kingdom of Heaven was not a fix for the kingdom of Israel, but a new kingdom birthed out of Israel in fulfilment of the Torah and the Prophets.  It was the new garment that should not be used to try to patch the old.  It was the new wine that could not be contained in the old but required a new wineskin, a new structure.   It was the fulfilment of what Yochanan the Immerser had been preparing the people for with his message of “repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand”, and thus an encouragement to Yochanan’s talmidim.  Yet so many in Israel were not looking for a Messiah to establish a heavenly kingdom, but for a Messiah to fix and empower their earthly kingdom, to raise Israel over all other earthly kingdoms. 

The Pharisees questioning Yeshua this day were not ready to embrace G-d incarnate, they kept declaring “the old is better“. There is a principle in halacha that a rabbinic decree remains in force even when the original reason for the decree is no longer relevant.  All that is permitted is stitching something new to the old rabbinic decree, but Yeshua had come to replace those decrees which had been added by men and were contrary to the Father’s will, with the true decrees of the kingdom of heaven. This contrast between man made decrees and God’s holy law incited much conflict between Yeshua and the religious leaders whose trust was in their own righteousness through obedience to those decrees.

Things operate very differently in the Kingdom of Heaven to how the religious leaders had organised them in Israel.  Essential to their old garment were all the extra laws they had made regarding the Sabbath.  All the laws, mitzvah, that God had given Israel were a reflection of the laws of the kingdom of heaven. Yet men had taken those mitzvah and, in attempting to enforce obedience to them, had changed and added to them. They thought they were explaining and improving on what God had written, but God incarnate had come and He kept directing their practice back to His original intent. Yeshua was establishing the structure of the kingdom of heaven on earth. Here He began with a foundational concept in Judaism – Shabbat (the Sabbath).

One Shabbat during that time, Yeshua was walking through some wheat fields. His talmidim were hungry, so they began picking heads of grain and eating them.  On seeing this, the P’rushim (Pharisees) said to him, “Look! Your talmidim are violating Shabbat!”  
But he said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what David did when he and those with him were hungry?  He entered the House of God and ate the Bread of the Presence!” — which was prohibited, both to him and to his companions; it is permitted only to the cohanim (priests).  “Or haven’t you read in the Torah that on Shabbat the cohanim profane Shabbat and yet are blameless?  I tell you, there is in this place something greater than the Temple!  If you knew what I want compassion rather than animal-sacrifice meant, you would not condemn the innocent.  For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat!” Matthew 12:1-8 CJB

One Shabbat Yeshua was passing through some wheat fields; and as they went along, his talmidim began picking heads of grain.   The P’rushim said to him, “Look! Why are they violating Shabbat?”  
He said to them, “Haven’t you ever read what David did when he and those with him were hungry and needed food?  He entered the House of God when Evyatar (
Abiathar) was cohen gadol (high priest) and ate the Bread of the Presence,” — which is forbidden for anyone to eat but the cohanim (priests)— “and even gave some to his companions.”  
Then he said to them, “Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for Shabbat; So the Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat.”
Mark 2:23-28 CJB

One Shabbat, while Yeshua was passing through some wheat fields, his talmidim began plucking the heads of grain, rubbing them between their hands and eating the seeds.  Some of the P’rushim said, “Why are you violating Shabbat?”  
Yeshua answered them, “Haven’t you ever read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  He entered the House of God and took and ate the Bread of the Presence” — which no one is permitted to eat but the cohanim.  
“The Son of Man,” he concluded, “is Lord of Shabbat.”  Luke 6:1-6 CJB

As we saw back in http://blog.renewal.asn.au/2020/06/06/yeshua-taught-in-their-synagogues/, God had commanded the people rest and honour Him on the seventh day (Shabbat), and the Pharisees had interpreted this by defining thirty-nine categories of activity that they declared forbidden on Shabbat. The third of these was ‘Reaping’  (Hebrew: קוצר Koṣer) – removing all or part of a plant from its source of growth; and the sixth was ‘Winnowing’  (Hebrew: זורה Zoreh) – sorting undesirable from desirable. Rubbing a couple of grains in your hand to remove the husks before eating them was considered “winnowing” and therefore forbidden.  Yeshua used the Torah, which they claimed to be enforcing, to illustrate how they had misunderstood God’s command and in so doing were condemning the innocent. Then concluded by saying that He is the Lord of the Sabbath. As the king of the kingdom of heaven, Yeshua is the one to define what His commandments entail. The rest that God had commanded did not consist of the Pharisee’s laws, but rather of walking in step with the law giver, the Lord of Shabbat.

The old is better“, the Pharisees declared.

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue. A man there had a shrivelled hand. Looking for a reason to accuse him of something, they asked him, “Is healing permitted on Shabbat?”  
But he answered, “If you have a sheep that falls in a pit on Shabbat, which of you won’t take hold of it and lift it out?  How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore, what is permitted on Shabbat is to do good.”  
Then to the man he said, “Hold out your hand.” As he held it out, it became restored, as sound as the other one. 
Matthew 12:9-13 CJB

Jesus returned to the synagogue. A man with a withered hand was there. Wanting to bring charges against Jesus, they were watching Jesus closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. He said to the man with the withered hand, “Step up where people can see you.” 
Then he said to them, “Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” 
But they said nothing. Looking around at them with anger, deeply grieved at their unyielding hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he did, and his hand was made healthy.
Mark 3:1-5 CEB

On another Shabbat, when Yeshua had gone into the synagogue and was teaching, a man was there who had a shrivelled hand.  The Torah-teachers and P’rushim watched Yeshua carefully to see if he would heal on Shabbat, so that they could accuse him of something.  But he knew what they were thinking and said to the man with the shrivelled hand, “Come up and stand where we can see you!”
He got up and stood there.  Then Yeshua said to them, “I ask you now: what is permitted on Shabbat? Doing good or doing evil? Saving life or destroying it?”  
Then, after looking around at all of them, he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” As he held it out, his hand was restored. 
Luke 6: 6-10 CJB

Just as the Pharisees had forbidden any playing of musical instruments during Shabbat worship, for fear that the musician might be tempted to tune their instrument and thus violate the thirty-eighth category of work they had determined to be forbidden on Shabbat (Fine-tuning / Repairing a Utensil (Hebrew: מכה בפטיש Makeh Bapetish), so also they had forbidden any act of healing on Shabbat for fear that a person might need to grind herbs or the like to prepare the medication and thus violate their forbidden category of work of Grindingav melachah  of tochen, ie breaking a large object into smaller pieces which can serve a new or better purpose). ‘Healing’ in this context of being forbidden on Shabbat was considered broader than just the act of taking medicine – it also included any other action which had a “curative effect.”

Yet, a bedrock principle in all of Jewish law is that protecting a person’s life (in Hebrew, pikuach nefesh) is of paramount importance. If there is any question about a person’s life being in danger, then not only are they allowed to violate Shabbat, but they are required to do so. It is this requirement that Yeshua alludes to in His answer. God had established Shabbat for the doing of good, not the doing of evil by using it as an excuse to fail to care for one’s fellow. Yeshua kept Shabbat as He had ordained it in Torah, but not all the complicated additional laws that had been devised, which necessitated the people’s dependence on the Pharisees for guidance in every situation, and by which they judged others. Shabbat had not been commanded for the sake of all these rules and regulations, but for the sake of man drawing closer to God.

The old is better!” They insisted.

But the P’rushim went out and began plotting how they might do away with Yeshua.  Aware of this, he left that area. Matthew 12:14-15a CJB

At that, the Pharisees got together with the supporters of Herod to plan how to destroy Jesus. Mark 3:6 CEB

But the others were filled with fury and began discussing with each other what they could do to Yeshua.  Luke 6:11 CJB

They had no answer for Him. He was turning their world upside down – disregarding their rules that had taken generations to develop and refine. “Leading the people astray“, they concluded. Pronouncing a man’s sins forgiven. Calling Himself “Lord of Shabbat”. Openly disregarding their law forbidding healing on Shabbat, and that done in the holy synagogue which was dedicated to teaching the people to obey such. These Pharisees were sure they knew what Yeshua was – a false teacher. The ignorant masses needed to be protected from such. “For the sake of the people” they had to get rid of Him, so all these masses could be brought back to what they considered to be ‘true Judaism‘. “The old is better!”

Yeshua had been welcome in the Capernaum synagogue, and taught there most Shabbats, until now. As His popularity had grown and his teachings became more obviously different to theirs the synagogue leaders had been becoming increasingly uncomfortable with this man who filled their pews. They had gone from welcoming the new life He brought to looking for reasons to expel Him. Instead of rejoicing in God’s goodness healing the man’s withered hand they had been horrified and angered at Yeshua’s lack of any attempt to please or appease them. They would not countenance such insubordination in their sacred space. They had an obligation to protect the people from such “false teaching” – teachings which differed from theirs.

Yeshua healed them all…

Such distain from the religious officials did not deter the crowds. So many were sick and had needs that their leaders could not meet. They came to Yeshua and He healed them all, so more kept coming.

Jesus left with his disciples and went to the lake. A large crowd followed him because they had heard what he was doing. They were from Galilee, Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the area surrounding Tyre and Sidon.  Jesus told his disciples to get a small boat ready for him so the crowd wouldn’t crush him. He had healed so many people that everyone who was sick pushed forward so that they could touch him.  Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down at his feet and shouted, “You are God’s Son!”  But he strictly ordered them not to reveal who he was. Mark 3:7-12 CEB

Now it came to pass, while the multitude pressed upon him and heard the word of God, that he was standing by the lake of Gennesaret;  and he saw two boats standing by the lake: but the fishermen had gone out of them, and were washing their nets.  And he entered into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the multitudes out of the boat.  And when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, “Put out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught”.  
And Simon answered and said, “Master, we toiled all night, and took nothing: but at thy word I will let down the nets”.  And when they had done this, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes; and their nets were breaking; and they beckoned unto their partners in the other boat, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.  
But Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  For he was amazed, and all that were with him, at the draught of the fishes which they had taken;  and so were also James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”  And when they had brought their boats to land, they left all, and followed him.  Luke 5:1-11 ASV

Many people followed him; and he healed them all but warned them not to make him known.  This was to fulfill what had been spoken through Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah 42:1-4) the prophet,
“Here is my servant, whom I have chosen, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will announce justice to the Gentiles.  He will not fight or shout, no one will hear his voice in the streets; he will not snap off a broken reed or snuff out a smouldering wick until he has brought justice through to victory.  In him the Gentiles will put their hope.” Matthew 12:15b-21 CJB

The lake (Sea of Galilee) became His synagogue, and the boat His ‘Seat of Moses’ where He sat to teach the people. Matthew again links Yeshua’s life to the Messianic prophesies. When they had rejected Him in the synagogue He had simply left – and preached elsewhere, and kept healing and doing miracles, and the multitude followed Him.

As Yeshua went on from there, two blind men began following him, shouting, “Son of David! Take pity on us!”  
When he entered the house, the blind men came up, and Yeshua said to them, “Do you believe that I have the power to do this?”
They replied, “Yes, sir.”  
Then he touched their eyes and said, “Let it happen to you according to your trust”;  and their sight was restored. Yeshua warned them severely, “See that no one knows about it.”  
But instead, they went away and talked about him throughout that district. As they were going, a man controlled by a demon and unable to speak was brought to Yeshua.  After the demon was expelled the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowds were amazed. “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Isra’el,” they said.  
But the P’rushim said, “It is through the ruler of the demons that he expels demons.”
Yeshua went about all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and weakness.  
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were harried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his talmidim, “The harvest is rich, but the workers are few. Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send out workers to gather in his harvest.” Matthew 9:27-38 CJB

New Structure

After another night spent alone on the mountain in prayer, Yeshua made the momentous decision to choose twelve. This was the foundation of a whole new governmental structure. Another step forward in establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth. Although Yeshua had many talmidim (disciples) following Him, only these 12 are ever mentioned by name as disciples in the gospels. In our next blog we’ll examine the meanings behind this and significance of the twelve.

It was around that time that Yeshua went out to the hill country to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.  When day came, he called his talmidim and chose from among them twelve to be known as emissaries (apostles):  Shim`on (Simon), whom he named Kefa (Peter); Andrew, his brother; Ya`akov (James); Yochanan (John); Philip; Bar-Talmai (Bartholomew);  Mattityahu (Matthew); T’oma (Thomas); Ya`akov Ben-Halfai (James, son of Alphaeus);  Shim`on (Simon), the one called the Zealot; Y’hudah Ben-Ya`akov (Judas, son of James); and Y’hudah (Judas) from K’riot (Iscariot), who turned traitor.  Luke 6:12-16 CJB

REFERENCES

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4. Parsons, John J. Cheshbon HaNefesh & Self Examination. Hebrew4Christians. [Online] [Cited: 29th July 2020.] https://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Fall_Holidays/Elul/Cheshbon/cheshbon.html.
5. Weinberg, Rabbi Noah. Spiritual Accounting System. Aish HaTorah. [Online] 22nd May 2002. https://www.aish.com/h/hh/gar/sa/Spiritual_Accounting_System.html.
6. Schneerson, Rabbi Menachem M. “I Am My Beloved’s, My Beloved is Mine”. The Rebbe – Living Torah. [Online] 12th Sptember 1990. https://www.chabad.org/therebbe/livingtorah/player_cdo/aid/1600166/jewish/I-Am-My-Beloveds-My-Beloved-Is-Mine.htm.
7. Levanon, Rabbi David Dov. Elul’s Intimate Relationship. Yeshiva. [Online] [Cited: 1st August 2020.] https://www.yeshiva.co/midrash/3959.
8. Yolkut, Rabbi Elianna. What’s Love Got to Do With It? The Power of the Jewish Month of Elul. Haaretz. [Online] 26th August 2012. https://www.haaretz.com/jewish/the-pregnant-power-of-elul-1.5291133.
9. Breslov, Rebbe Nachman of. Preparing for High Holidays during Elul. Beth Shalom Synagogue. [Online] [Cited: 1st August 2020.] https://bethshalomsynagogue.org/preparing-for-high-holidays-during-elul/.
10. Simmon, Alan Goldman & Rabbi Shraga. 17. Tochen – Part 2: Healing on Shabbat. Aish HaTorah . [Online] [Cited: 11th August 2020.] https://www.aish.com/jl/jewish-law/shabbat/17-Tochen—Part-2-Healing-on-Shabbat.html.
11. Wineberg, Menachem Mendel. Tochen – Grinding. Chabad. [Online] [Cited: 11th Aufgust 2020.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/4740282/jewish/Tochen-Grinding.htm.
12. —. The 39 Melachot. Chabad. [Online] [Cited: 11th August 2020.] https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/102032/jewish/The-39-Melachot.htm.
13. OU Staff. The 39 Categories of Sabbath Work Prohibited By Law. Orthodux Union. [Online] 17th July 2006. https://www.ou.org/holidays/the_thirty_nine_categories_of_sabbath_work_prohibited_by_law/#38.

In the comments section below share your thoughts on what you have read and answer some of the following questions…

* What was the most important thing you learnt from this study?
* Concerning communion, Paul wrote: “A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup” (1 Cor. 11:28). What can we learn about properly examining ourselves from the Jew’s teshuva during their month of Elul?
* How was Jesus’ declaration about the bridegroom both an affront to the Pharisees and a comfort to John’s disciples?
* What was the Pharisee’s response to Jesus? Why do you think they responded in this way?
* Have you ever concluded that another minister was a false teacher? If so, on what basis and how have you responded to that?
* What was Jesus’s response to those who accused Him of being a false teacher? Give examples.
* How did Jesus respond when He disagreed with a teaching of the Pharisees, Sadducees or leaders of the synagogue? Give examples.
* What was the significance of healing in Jesus’ ministry?
* What have you noticed in these scriptures that is similar to your culture, and what is different?