LIFE OF THE MESSIAH – 014
DR. ARNOLD G. FRUCHTENBAUM
VI. THE PREPARATION OF THE DISCIPLES BY THE KING
M. Instruction on Eternal Life
Paragraph 124 – Mark 10:17-31; Matthew 19:16-20:16; Luke 18:18-30
Let’s go to paragraph 124, instruction on eternal life. Now Mark 10:17 we note, “As he was going forth into the way,” “a certain ruler” as Luke puts in Luke 18:18, which means he was either a synagogue ruler, a president of a synagogue or he was a member of the Sanhedrin, it could go either way. And this one, when he sees Jesus He runs to Him, showing a sense of urgency. He kneeled before Him, a posture of respect, and Mark 10:17 says, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” He’s very much concerned about his spiritual eternal benefits. Now again, because he’s a wealthy young ruler, it means from the rabbinic standpoint he was already a recipient of divine favor, in his case he obviously recognized something was missing.
Now Jesus has been claiming to be the Messiah, the Son of God, which meant He was intrinsically good. Now there are two different words that mean “good” in Greek; one is agathos, a-g-a-t-h-o-s, which means intrinsically good, goodness was part of His nature. And the second word is kalos, k-a-l-o-s, which means externally pleasing, externally good. And the question he raises is what is the thing I need to do to have eternal life?
Now Jesus responded in His Jewish way with a question of His own; look at Mark 10:18, “And Jesus said unto him, Why do you call me good? None is good save one, even God.” Now again, He’s been claiming to be the Messiah, Son of God; since He claimed to be agathos, to be intrinsically good, does the ruler agree? And cultic groups have taken verse 18 claiming that here Jesus denies being God; He’s not denying being God, He’s asking the ruler a question, “Why do you call Me good,” there’s no one that is good except God alone. What the ruler should have answered is: I call you good because you are God and that would have answered his own question, by accepting Jesus, the God-man Messiah he will have eternal life.
But the man never answers Jesus; he does not respond to the question Jesus raises. So Jesus now takes him to the Mosaic Law. And in Mark 10:19 notice he quotes several of the commandments, but the only commandments He quotes for now are the commandments concerning human relationships. There’s a reversal of the sixth and seventh commandment but that’s not uncommon in Jewish writings of this period. He quotes only the commandments, all of them team relationships, and concerning these he says in Mark 19:20, “all these things I have observed from my youth,” as long as he can remember from the time he was young he observed these things so he did pretty well there. And yet he knows he hasn’t quite made it, and raises the question in Matthew 19:20, “what lack I yet.” So Mark 19:21 Jesus answers the question, “One thing you lack: go and sell whatsoever you have, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me.”
While he’s been very good in keeping the commandments concerning relationships he has not been as good in keeping relationship commandments relating him to God; those he has not kept so well. And what had kept him from trusting God and loving God was because of his wealth; it was his wealth that was keeping him from having eternal life. Now the problem was not with the wealth but with the person’s tendency to trust the wealth.
So He tells him to do three things; first of all, sell all of your possessions, get rid of your wealth. And what that will show is that he loves God more than he loves his things, his wealth, and thus he will fulfill the first and most important commandment of the Mosaic Law. Secondly, give to the poor and that will show his love for neighbor; a real love for neighbor resulting in the fact of his love for God. And thirdly, “follow Me,” accepting Jesus to be the Messiah. And he was unable to come this far, and walked away sadly in verse 22 [Mark 10:22; Matthew 19:22].
So in contradicting the common Pharisaic view about wealth being a sign of divine favor, He says in Mark 10:23, “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” Is the problem with the wealth itself? Is wealth the problem? The answer is no because he specifies in verse 24, “But Jesus answered again, and saying unto them, Children, how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!” The problem is the tendency of the wealthy class to trust in their wealth. So again, if wealth was truly a sign of divine favor if you have wealth you already are a recipient of divine favor, you already have eternal life. So they didn’t put their trust in God, they put their trust in their wealth.
He goes on to say in Mark 10:25, “It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.” There are tourist guides in Israel that came up with a story that a lot of tourists come back with that there used to be a gate in Jerusalem called “the eye of a needle,” but it’s a small gate so to get a camel through it you have to get that camel to do down to its knees and squeeze him through the gate. With so many other gates around Jerusalem why even bother. The fact is, there was no such gate, there was never such a gate anywhere in the walls of Jerusalem. There was never such a gate.
He’s really talking about a needle; this comes out a little bit easier in the Greek text because Mark and Matthew use a Greek word that means a sewing needle. But Luke, again showing his medical profession uses a different Greek word; he uses the word that means a surgeon’s needle. Mark and Matthew a sewing needle; Luke a surgeon’s needle. It really is talking about a needle.
When He said that at the end of Mark 10:26, “they were astonished exceedingly,” because again it contradicts the common teaching of that day that wealth is a sign of divine favor. So the question they raise in Matthew 19:25, “Who then can be saved?” If the rich can’t make it, what chance do we have? But Jesus responds in verse 27, what’s impossible for man is possible for God, and with God even rich people could be saved.
Having heard this Peter pipes in in Mark 10:28, “Peter began to say unto Him, Lo, we have left all, and followed You.” And Matthew adds in this comment in Matthew 19:27, “what then shall we have?” We have left everything and followed You, what do we get out of this deal?
And Jesus answers by saying three things, the first of which is limited to the apostles, the second and third is open to all believers. For the disciples, in Matthew 19:28, they will someday “sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” And they’ll have authority over the restored twelve tribes in the Messianic Kingdom. What we shall see in the Kingdom is a government that will have two separate branches; a real functioning government, there will not be any red tape in that government, it will be a Jewish government, they will have blue and white tape but not red tape. There will be a Gentile branch of government and a Jewish branch of government and co-reigning with Jesus over the Gentile branch of government will be the Church saints. Co-reigning with Jesus over the Jewish branch of government will be the resurrected King David and with David will be the twelve apostles ruling over the twelve tribes of Israel. So that’s a promise limited to them.
The second promise He says in Mark 10:29, “There is no man that has left house, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or lands, for My sake, and for the gospel’s sake,  But he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions,” and the second promise is there will be a restoration in this life. The restoration is not necessarily in the physical realm. For example, He says you will have new brothers and sisters, and mothers. We don’t have a literal new mother, brothers and sisters; it’s not necessarily through the physical sense so it (?) means physical wealth; it could be physical wealth for some but not necessarily. But there will be measures of restoration in this life.
Now I was expelled from home when I finished high school so the day after my graduation I left California on my way back to New York City, I began college that fall, by the time I finished my four years of college I had three different keys on my key ring for three different homes. One was in Levittown, Long Island; one was in Baltimore, Maryland, and one was in Cape May, New Jersey. And the people who had these houses didn’t ever legally adopt me but they treated me as a son, and to this day I call them mom and pop, though some have passed away, and their children call me brother and I call them brother and sister. When I graduated college the family in Cape May, New Jersey, took out an ad in the paper. I suspect somebody reading it thought there was a bad mistake because it says, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cattell (?) announce the graduation of their son, Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum. And so I experienced this restoration in this life. And it was with persecutions; we’re not exempt from that.
And the third promise is in the world in which to come, eternal life; the second and third promise is applicable to the rest of us. We have the motif of this segment in Matthew 19:30, “But many shall be last,” and the last shall be first.
He then tells a parable in Matthew 20:1-16 to illustrate the principle He just taught. And the point of the parable is that rewards will not be based upon seniority; it will not be based upon merely seniority. And so three lessons here, first of all, to work in the vineyard and leave the rewards to Him; be active in the vineyard and leave the rewards to Him. Secondly, God will be just and fair, and will be gracious. He will be just and fair and gracious. And thirdly, God has a right to do as He chooses in the dispensing us rewards. He has a right to choose as he chooses in dispensing us rewards.
And in Matthew 20:16 again, “So the last shall be first, and the first last.”
N. Instruction Concerning His Death
Paragraph 125 – Mark 10:32-45; Matthew 20:17-28; Luke 18:31-34
Now paragraph 125, instruction concerning His Death. He’s now on His final journey towards Jerusalem in Mark 10:32. And now He teaches for the third time; He makes a declaration of His coming death and resurrection but now He spells out in more detail and He makes nine specific points. First of all, He must go to Jerusalem. Secondly, He will fall into the hands of the priests and the scribes, the priests being Sadducees and the scribes being Pharisees. Thirdly, the Jews will condemn Him to death. Fourthly, the Jews will turn Him over to the Gentiles. Fifthly, the Gentiles will mock Him. Sixthly, the Gentiles will spit on Him. Seventhly, the Gentiles will scourge Him. And eight, the Gentiles will kill Him. But ninth, He will be resurrected on the third day.
So the third time, as far as we have on record, is a clear declaration of His program of death and resurrection. And Luke 18:32 He specifies the time has come for the fulfillment of these prophesies. Once again we are told they did not understand what He was saying. In Luke 18:43, “And they understood none of these things; and this saying was hid from them, and they perceived not the things that were said.
And the fact of lack of understanding is seen in the very next incident because now the mother of two of the disciples, James and John, sons of Zebedee, her name was Salome, Greek for Hebrew Shulamite (?) and she approaches Jesus saying when Your Kingdom is established, please command that these two sons will be next to you, one on Your right hand, one on Your left hand.
This points out that what He was now approaching is not the establishment of the Kingdom but His own death. And He points out three things; first of all, those closest to the King must reach that position the same way He did. Those closest to the King must reach it the same way that He did, which was by means of suffering. And one observation, her two sons are John and James; James, by the way, ends up being the first martyr, the first of the apostolic group to die will be James; in Acts 12 he will be beheaded. And John, her other son, he’ll be the last apostle to die and the only one that will die of old age. Her two sons become the first and the last apostles to die.
His second point is only the Father can appoint those that will be sitting next to Him so it’ll be the Father’s position to appoint Him and who will sit next to the King. And then thirdly, rulership and authority can be obtained strictly by means of being a servant. And position in the Kingdom will not be based upon personal ambitions or based upon private requests. It will be assigned by God the Father to those that have actively served as servants.
O. The Healing of the Blind Men
Paragraph 126 – Mark 10:46-52; Matthew 20:29-34; Luke 18:35-43
Paragraph 126, the healing of the blind men; there’s two men involved but one is prominent and his name is Bartimaeus. Now here we have one of those points of contradictions that people point to to argue against the inspiration of the New Testament. Mark 10:46 says, “And they came to Jericho;” “And as they went out from Jericho,” the event occurs. Matthew verse 29 says “as they went out of Jericho.” Luke 18:35, “And it came to pass, as He drew nigh unto Jericho.” So which is it? Did this happen on His way to Jericho or on His way out of Jericho.
In first century Israel these events are very similar because if you’re traveling from Galilee to Jerusalem you would normally go by way of Perea, and you cross the Jordan River and you end up going through two different Jericho’s because there was Old Testament Jericho, the Jericho that’s been there since Old Testament times, but Herod the Great also built a New Testament Jericho about three or four miles south of Old Testament Jericho. And so as He’s coming out of Old Testament Jericho and moving into New Testament Jericho, and there is countryside in between, that’s when this event occurs. So there’s no contradiction here: He was leaving Old Testament Jericho and arriving at New Testament Jericho.
And when they realize who is walking there they cry out for the miracle but notice again the basis in Mark 10:47, “Jesus, You son of David, have mercy on me.” And again at the end of verse 48, “You son of David, have mercy on me.” And notice there’s a pleading for mercy on the basis of His Messianic character, on Him being the son of David which has been rejected. And so on that basis He will not respond.
Then in Luke 18:40 it says, “And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought to Him to be brought unto Him.” And now there’s a privacy factor involved; He’s away from the crowd and brought to Jesus. As a result we in Mark 10:50, “And casting away his garment,” now for him it don’t have to be an act of faith because remember, he cannot see. So throwing the garment away haphazardly means he might be able to find it later. So obviously it’s an act of faith on his part that since He has called him he will finally get his sight, he can leave behind his garment and go back and find it later because his sight will be restored.
And again after paragraph 61 He performs miracles on the basis of personal need, on the basis of faith. It’s obvious what they want; but in Mark 10:51 He asks him, “What will you that I should do unto you?” What is it that you want? And the answer, to receive our sight. And the (?)a personal need on the basis of faith, it happens. And in Mark 10:52, Go your way; your faith has made you whole.” And that’s the continuing basis since paragraph 61, responding to individuals on the basis of faith.
P. Instruction Concerning the Kingdom Program
Paragraph 127 – Luke 19:1-28
1. Personal Faith – Luke 19:1-10
Now we come to the last paragraph for this weekend, paragraph 127, the section concerning the Kingdom Program. Two things here; first of all, personal faith in Luke 19:1-10. He’s now entered into New Testament Jericho and there’s a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief publican. Now what that refers to is the fact that there were other publicans working below him. As he was a chief publican he had some publicans worked under him, and therefore not only would he receive income from his own collections, whatever other publicans collected he would receive a percentage of what they collected so in this manner became somewhat wealthy. There was a whole crowd around Jesus and because he was short, which meant he was under five foot four, five foot three or less, he climbed a tree to get a better look upon Jesus and when He saw him he says come down because I must stay with you tonight.
And this event leads to the salvation of Zacchaeus, to a point that he’s going to make a commitment that whatever he may have (?) he’ll restore. Notice again the focus and emphasis on his individual Jewishness at the end of verse 9: “To-day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he is also a son of Abraham.” Again the indirect object; earlier it was a daughter of Abraham, here a son of Abraham because now the focus on individual Jews coming to faith; the nation, as such, is under judgment.
2. Postponed Kingdom – Luke 19:11-28
And then he tells a parable, it’s a parable basically of the postponed Kingdom. Notice the reason for taking from the parable in verse 11, “As they heard these things, He added and spoke a parable, because He was nigh to Jerusalem, because they supposed that the Kingdom of God was immediately to appear.” They still do not understand the program of death and resurrection. And they’re convinced when He arrives in Jerusalem He will finally set up the Messianic Kingdom. And the point of the parable is to dissuade them from that belief; the Kingdom will not be set up at this point of time because of Israel’s rejection of His Messianic claims.
So He makes six points here; first of all, the King must leave and the Messiah will be leaving the earth. Secondly, the servants are left behind to carry on the program or the ministry; they’re left behind to carry the program on. Thirdly, the citizens will reject the Kingdom offer; eventually the Messiah will return and when He returns there will be a judgment of the servants. And He points out the servants will be rewarded and the servants that have failed to function for the Lord, they will not be rewarded; in fact, what they were given will be taken away. And so the one who had the pound and did not serve the Lord with it, the pound will be taken away from him and given to the one that earned the ten pounds. So those who labor in the Lord will all be rewarded; those who choose not to labor for the Lord at all, although they are given certain things to start with, that’s taken away and will be given to someone else. And there will be believers in the Kingdom that will have absolutely nothing to show for their work for the Lord.
But sixthly, there will be a judgment of the citizens, which will happen for this generation in AD 70. And Luke 19:28 says, “And when He had thus spoken He went on before, going up to Jerusalem.” Notice the word “up to Jerusalem? This is typical of Luke, it’s a very Jewish way of writing; you always go up to Jerusalem, you go down from Jerusalem. You don’t really go and from, but up to or down from.
Well, that will set the stage for the last weekend when we cover paragraphs 128 through the end; let me again encourage you to read all of the paragraphs, all the columns in these paragraphs and we shall finish the Life of the Messiah at that point of time as we begin virtually His last week of life.
Okay, before I open the floor for a few questions, there’s a question here from the internet. Please recommend the best translation of the Mishnah, where one would find references to the oral law that is important to understand the Gospels. I would say the most accurate translation, but it’s also a bit hard to read, is by Danby, The Mishnah by Danby. It’s a better one because it’s very accurate about the original words the Mishnah uses. There is a second translation which is also good but it’s more paraphrastic, it’s more like an NIV. It’s a lot easier to read, and that is by Rabbi Jacob Neusner, N-e-u-s-n-e-r. But you can choose either one and get the issues, but for example, Danby follows the strict translation code and so you can recognize the technical words, like “a voice from heaven” or “about call,” Neusner is more a paraphrase so you’ll sometimes miss those technical terms, as some of the more modern translations also miss biblical technical words, like the word “seed” for example.
Does anybody have any questions about anything except for future material of next weekend? Any questions?
[Can’t hear something about the Bible says there isn’t bond or free (?) when the Son of man comes again, can you elaborate on that] Let me say that when the Son of Man comes again so that there is now no difference between bond or free, male or female, Jew or Gentile. He’s talking about the way one is saved; the way one is saved there are no differences. Jews and Gentiles are saved the same way; bond and free are saved the same way, men and women saved the same way. But men and women will retain their sexual identity; that’s why Christians marry; if there are no differences they shouldn’t be marrying. There’s still difference between Jews and Gentiles and bond or free. You read in the New Testament different rules for bond and different rules for free. So he’s only talking about how one is saved there are no differences but there are differences in other areas. And Israel retains its ethnic identity; that doesn’t change.
[Can’t hear] The Messiah will be on David’s throne… [Matthias] oh, Matthias, I would say Matthias is the one that will truly replace Judas, there’s nothing that indicates that was the wrong choice. And the apostolic group of twelve is closed to people or limited to people that saw Him from the baptism of John to the ascension, and so Paul was an apostle of the second category but not of the first category. So I would say Matthias would be on that throne.
[Something about some of the older writings, from the Dead Sea scrolls that were sanitized in the later Mishnah writings] Well the Dead Sea scrolls are not relevant to the Mishnah because the Dead Sea scrolls are part of the Essenes; the Essenes were not Pharisees in the same light. They were part of the Pharisaic element but they held to a very strong (?) separatist movement. So they have many points of similarities between the Pharisees and the Essenes, like the rules of cleanliness, but they were much more extreme than the Pharisees were and so on. And so the Mishnah has some reflections of the Dead Sea scrolls but not that much reflection.
[Can’t hear] That’s why I wish I had a chart. Does anybody have the book The Footsteps of Messiah, by any chance with you? [Someone says how many do you want] There’s a chapter in that book called The Government of the Kingdom, there’s a chart there. Show her that book… if you give it to me I can find the chart real quick. I’ll open it up to the correct chapter; you can come up and look at it afterwards. Here’s a chart that gives the whole government structure. Okay, it’ll be right here, it’s a dollar a minute.
Question. Any other questions? Any last questions?
I’m going to give you three stories I heard from Poland, but the first one is not mine, I just saw it for the first time, somebody from the church put this on here; this is not from me; okay, it’s not from me, keep that in mind. You’ll see why I don’t want to claim it.
A priest and a rabbi were traveling on a plane; after a while the priest turned to the rabbi and asked, Is it still a requirement of your faith that you not eat pork. The rabbi responded yes, it is still one of our beliefs. The priest then asked the rabbi, have you ever eaten pork, to which the rabbi replied, yes, on one occasion I did succumb and tasted pork. The priest nodded in understanding and went back to his reading. After a while the rabbi asked the priest, father, is it still a requirement of your faith that you remain celibate. The priest replied, that is still very much a part of our faith. The rabbi asked him, father, have you ever fallen into temptation of the flesh. The priest replied, yes sir, by one occasion I was weak and broke with my faith. The rabbi nodded with understanding for a moment and then said, a lot better than pork isn’t it?
Now as you know the Jewish people in Jewish communities have a reputation of being intelligent and that’s true. There’s one exception, and that is there’s a town in Poland called Chelm, C-h-e-l-m, and the Jews of Chelm were not quite so intelligent, in fact there are several books written called The Wise men of Chelm. And what the Jews actually learned to think theologically through Talmudic studies, the Jews of Chelm learned theology by tonnage of the riddles. So what was The Wise Men of Chelm? A wise man was someone who could tell riddles nobody else could solve, and he could solve any riddle brought to him. And the wisest of men of all Chelm happened to be the rabbi of Chelm. He could tell riddles nobody else could solve and he could solve riddles brought him. He also had this great desire to be able to visit New York City because at that point of history it had the largest Jewish community in the world, the most famous rabbis, the most (?) rabbinic schools were all in New York City. And so the Jewish community in Chelm raised enough money for him to take a one month trip to New York City. He lands at JFK, he’s picked up by a New York taxi driver assigned to pick the rabbi up and take him to a Jewish community. It’s about an hour and half ride from the airport to where this Jewish community is. On the way they have a conversation and the taxi driver asked the rabbi, would you like to hear a riddle. The rabbi says do I want to hear a riddle? Where I live that’s all we do all way, we tell each other riddles. You tell me a riddle and I’ll bet you I can figure it out. The taxi driver well, here’s the riddle. My parents had a child, the child was not my brother and the child was not my sister, so who could this child be. The rabbi’s thinking and thinking, he’s trying to solve the riddle, it’s getting close to where he has to get off and he says you know, I’m usually very good at this but boy, this is a hard one, I give up. Who was this child your parents had that was not your brother, not your sister. The taxi driver said the answer is me, I’m the child the parents had, I’m not my brother, I’m not my sister. The rabbi says what a wonderful riddle. I can’t wait to get home to tell my people this, they will love this riddle. A month passes and he flies back to Poland and he goes to the town of Chelm and even Jewish people that didn’t come to the synagogue every Sabbath came to see him on this Sabbath to hear about the rabbis’ adventures. They wanted to know what rabbis he met, what synagogues he attended, what schools he saw. But he says I will give you a day by day account but first when I was in America I heard this tremendous riddle; do you want to hear it first. And they yelled out yes, we’ve not heard a good riddle since you left us a month ago. The rabbis tells the riddle; my parents had a child, this child was not my brother, not my sister, who could this child be. All this noise broke out as they tried to solve the riddle back and forth, and after a while things got quiet and quieter and finally silence, and the spokesman says rabbi, we tried to figure this out but we give up. Who was this child your parents had that was not your brother, not your sister? The rabbi said it was a New York taxi driver I met back in America.
The second one, I’ve got two more. There was in the Sabbath observances when you sit down on Friday evenings and the Sabbath begins and you partake of the Sabbath wine, the special Sabbath cup is usually very ornate, it’s sometimes passed down from generation to generation. And it was now the rabbi’s son to inherit this cup. The rabbi set his son down and says, Son, it’s now your turn to inherit this cup; from now on every Sabbath you can partake of this cup as you’ve seen me use it all your life, but I must warn you about one thing about this cup. When you drink from this cup make sure you drink from this side of the cup and never drink from this side of the cup. He (?) the cup over and says I’m honored to receive the cup but I don’t understand; what does it matter if I drink from this side or that side? The rabbi says son, I’m a very smart man, you have to listen to me; only drink from this side of the cup. If you drink from this side of the cup the wine will spill all over you.
Okay, last one. The rabbinic school was growing with students and they did not have any room any more so a rabbi had to arrange for adding a new room to the synagogue school. He asked some local workers from Chelm to do the job, and as they’re working he decided to go out and see how they were doing. He noticed one worker, he would pull out a nail from his bag and look at it and hammer it in. He pulled the second nail out of his bag and look at, and throw it away. Some nails he hammered in but some nails he threw away. And the rabbi asked the man, why are you throwing these good nails away? And the man says well, when I pull the nail out of the bag and look at it sometimes they put the head at the wrong end of the nail and I can’t hammer it in. The rabbi said no-no, you don’t understand, these are for the other side of the house.