by Arnold Fruchtenbaum
Series:The Jewish Life of Christ
Duration:1 hr 22 mins 1 sec


IX. The Resurrection of the King and the Ascension of the King
Paragraphs 169-184
The First Appearance: Mary Magdalene
Paragraph 173 – Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18

Let’s go to paragraph 173, the first appearance to Mary Magdalene. Now Mary or Miriam Magdala now returns back to the tomb, still working on the impression that somebody merely moved the body. This time she does see the angels but she doesn’t recognize them as such; the light reflected the Shechinah glory here would have been veiled again. When they asked her in John 20:13, why are you weeping, she spells out what she believes at this stage in verse 13 of John’s account, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him.”

At that point Jesus appears to her, though she does not recognize Him right away, and in John 20:15 He asks her the same question, “Woman, why do you weep?” Who do you seek? And assuming he might be the gardener she asked him if he moved the body and if so could he show her where the body is and she will take care of it from there. Then He calls her by a name which was familiar to her in John 20:16; at that point she does recognize Him and approaches Him and says in Hebrew Rabboni, meaning my Rabbi, my teacher. And this will set the stage for the resurrection appearances in that people who knew Him and even knew Him well do not always recognize Him right away but they do recognize Him to be the same person they knew, because in the resurrection body enough changes occur so the resurrection is not immediate but enough things remain the same so they get to know that this was the same person.

She recognized Him by the way He called her by name; we know from records that the Galilean accent was a very distinctive accent, quite distinct from the Judean accent. Which might imply that in your resurrection body while you won’t all be speaking Hebrew you’ll all be speaking with your own distinctive accents, so if you’re from Texas you’ll say “Shalom you all.” But again the resurrection body will be a perfect body; she may be speaking Hebrew with a distinctive Brooklyn accent.

Notice that the first appearance of the resurrected Messiah is to a woman, not to a man, which makes it highly significant in a Jewish context because by Jewish law women are not viewed as being valid witnesses, so when you have the two or three witnesses you have to have, a woman could not be among those witnesses. A woman’s testimony was considered invalid.

Now those who reject the resurrection claim that these are fabrications by those who followed Him. But keep in mind, if these are fabrications these would be Jewish fabrications; these are Jewish writers. And if the Jews wanted to fabricate a resurrection story like this they would make sure the first witnesses were men, not women. That’s not the way a Jewish person would choose to fabricate the story. The very fact that it’s a woman argues for its authenticity, argues against it being a fabrication.

Now when she approaches Him in John 20:17 He tells her to “Touch Me not,” which has raised the question, why is she forbidden to touch Him when later on, a whole week later actually, Thomas is allowed to touch Him. There’s two ways to answer this: one way to answer it is to point out there are two different Greek words here. The first Greek word used here, means to cling to, hang on to. She wants to cling to Him, to hang on to Him so He does not go away, but go away He must. And the word used for Thomas is merely the word that means to feel, to touch lightly, not to hang on to. That is a valid answer because there are really two different Greek words which are used.

I prefer the second option. Notice the reason He gives her why she cannot touch Him—because I have “not yet ascended to the Father.” Now getting back to the Day of Atonement motif I mentioned, on that day when the procedure began, on that day the high priest would take off his multicolored garments, undergo ritual immersion, then put on the garments he wore only one day of the year, the Day of Atonement garments, which were all white. Then when he finished the whole procedure, I already mentioned previously that he took off the white garments, underwent the second immersion, and went back to his multicolored garments which were also his daily wear. Now once he underwent the first immersion the priest was untouchable; if anyone touched him he rendered that priest unclean and he would not be able to sprinkle the blood in the Holy of Holies. So until he finished the whole procedure and sprinkled the blood he was untouchable.

Now Hebrews 9:11, 12 and 24; Hebrews 10:12 point out at some point Jesus entered the heavens to sprinkle His blood in the heavenly sanctuary. And the contrast the Hebrews writer makes is that in the animal blood could be used to cleanse the earthly tabernacle but the heavenly tabernacle needed the cleansing of better blood, innocent human blood. So at some point He took His blood into heaven to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary. Only after cleansing could He be touchable, and based upon the Hebrews passage I would say she could not touch Him because He had not ascended for the purpose of sprinkling His blood; He would have done that between the first and second appearance, as we’ll see momentarily, and once He did that He was again touchable. And Hebrews 12:22-24 He mentions six things in the heavenly Jerusalem and that includes the blood that speaks better than that of Abel. The blood is now still present to this day; it will serve as an everlasting witness of the price of our redemption.

Now in John’s account, John 20:18, He sends Mary Magdalene to instruct the disciples about the resurrection, that she has seen Him raised from the dead. But Mark’s account, Mark 16:11 points out that when she reported what she saw, the first report of the resurrected Son is disbelieved.

The Second Appearance: The Women
Paragraph 174 – Matthew 28:9-10

Now paragraph 174 we have the second appearance to… the women did not come back to (?) Miriam, and He appears to them; notice what it says in Matthew 28:9, “And they came and took hold of His feet,” they do more the clinging type. What Mary was not allowed to do they are allowed to do; that’s I would take the events of Hebrews 9 and 10 to occur in between the first and second appearance. And He instructs them to go back to the disciples and tell them, get out of town already, head for the Galilee; He’ll meet with them there. This is the third time they receive a message to get to the Galilee, He will appear to them then. But again, when they report what they saw it’s also disbelieved, they never leave the city.

G. The Report of the Guard: The Rejection of the Second Sign of Jonah
Paragraph 175 – Matthew 28:11-15

Paragraph 175, the report of the guard; here we have the rejection of the second sign of Jonah. The Roman guards finally got their act together and ran away. Now remember, they were facing a death penalty because they failed to make sure the body did not get moved. And during the intermit they decide to go directly to the chief priests who instigated the whole procedure, and the chief priests, who are the Sadducees, meet with the elders who are the Pharisees, we have our combined Sanhedrin meeting again. And what they decided to do is that they will give these soldiers a large sum of money and they are to go around spreading the news that while they were sleeping the disciples came and stole the body.

And Matthew 28:14 says that “if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and rid you of care.” So if the message of their failure is reported to the governor they’ll intervene to make sure the soldiers do not die. Now after Passover he would go back to Caesarea, a two day trip anyway, he may never hear of this failure to begin with. That’s what they do; they went on the streets of Jerusalem saying that while they were sleeping the disciples came and stole the body.

Here we have the oldest theory for the empty tomb, the stolen body theory. Any Jewish person that would be a thinking person would recognize there is an inconsistency in their so called testimony because what they’re testifying is that while they were sleeping the disciples came and stole the body. But if they were sleeping how could they tell who stole the body? How would you know? Now taking the body in this kind of a situation would carry the death penalty. So only two groups would have a vested interest to steal the body, either His friends of His enemies. Now if His enemies stole the body these are the same enemies that tried to silence the apostolic preaching of the apostles in the book of Acts. And to silence the apostles, to show they were wrong, all they would have to do is produce the body. And while they try all kinds of tactics to silence the apostolic preaching of the cross, the one thing don’t do is produce the body. That shows they didn’t have the body to produce it.

The second group that would have a vested interest to steal the body would be his friends, the apostles. Now if they stole the body and then later lied it doesn’t make much sense because as we know with the book of Acts, for example, they suffered a great deal of physical sufferings because of what they were preaching. We know that one apostle was beheaded in Acts 12, and beyond the witness of the book of Acts, if our church records are correct, the apostles all died some horrendous death. Peter was crucified upside down. One apostle was boiled alive in oil, another one was flayed alive. What that meant is your body was stretched out, you were naked and they peeled your skin off your body while you were still living. And in most cases they were given the option to recant and be released, more often recant and have a more humane death. In every one of these cases they simply refused to take an easy way out. It’s difficult to believe they were willing to suffer all they suffered for what they all knew was a lie. The only way their actions make sense, within Acts and beyond Acts, is that they really did believe resurrection had taken place.

So again, while the stolen body happens to be the oldest theory of the empty tomb it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

H. The Third Appearance: To the Two on the Emmaus Road
Paragraph 176
Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32

Paragraph 176, the third appearance, to the two on the Emmaus Road. These are two disciples outside the apostolic group, only one person is named, Cleopas, probably because of his role later on, in the history of the church of Jerusalem he will be the one to lead the believers out of Jerusalem in the year AD 66 in the Roman war and he took them out of the city was re-besieged and destroyed. The other apostle is not named.

They’re heading back home after Passover, heading for the town of Emmaus. As they are walking they are discussing the recent events that have transpired, and as they’re walking, the third figure attaches Himself to them but they don’t recognize Him for who He is. When He asked them what they are talking about. They point out four things they have believed up until now in Luke 24:19-21, four things.

First of all, they believed Him to be a prophet of God, one that received direct revelation from God the Father. Second, they believed that He authenticated Himself by both His Words and His works; His works authenticated His words, His claims. Thirdly, He was arrested, tried and crucified by the leaders. And fourthly, up until now they have believed Him to be the redeemer of Israel, though the recent events seems to militate against that belief. These are four things they had believed up until now. Notice they mention His arrest and trial and death. They also mention the one fact they have disbelieved in Luke 24:23-24, the one fact they disbelieved is the recent reports by the women of His resurrection, but no one of the apostolic group has seen Him.

It’s Sunday afternoon right now, and notice what he says in the second line of Luke 24:21, “Yea and beside all this, it is not the third day,” notice Sunday afternoon is still only the third day. The only way Sunday afternoon can still be only the third day is if the crucifixion occurred on a Friday; move it to a Thursday, Wednesday or Tuesday there’s no way Sunday could still be only “the third day.”

Now Luke 24:25-26 He scolds them for their unbelief, and in verse 27 he gives them an exposition we call Messianic prophecy, prophecies about the First Coming of the Messiah. He went through Moses and the prophets, showing the very elements that militate against His Messiahship are evidences of His Messiahship, these references that were supposed to happen to the Messiah.

They come into town and He keeps walking, they invite Him to partake of the evening meal with them, and it says in Luke 24:30, “And it came to pass, when He had sat down with them to meat, He took the bread, and he blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.” Normally in Jewish practice the host does the blessing over the bread, the very blessing the Jewish host will play today, “Blessed Thee Lord God, King of the Universe, that brings forth bread from the earth.” Nobody as a host does it but if your guest is a Bible scholar then he takes and he does the blessing over the bread. And because of His exposition of prophecy they recognize Him to be the Bible scholar and therefore He’s the one that ends up saying the blessing over the bread. At that moment they recognize Him for who He is, but at that moment He instantaneously vanishes. And they go back to Jerusalem to report to the apostolic group, as Mark’s account, Mark 16:12-13 points, this third appearance is also disbelieved.

I. The Fourth Appearance: Peter
Paragraph 177 – Luke 24:33-35; 1 Corinthians 15:5

Now paragraph 177, the appearance to Peter. Peter is the first member of the apostolic group to see the resurrected Messiah. It’s necessary, probably, to comfort him because of his previous three-fold denial, and to reconfirm him in the faith.

J. The Fifth Appearance: The Ten
Paragraph 178 - Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-25

Paragraph 178, the fifth appearance to the ten; it is now Sunday night. Because of so much unbelief they never left the city. So in this verse He won’t wait for them to get to Galilee, at this rate they may never get there, but He appears to them in Jerusalem. And John’s account, John 20:19 points out that the doors were locked, and He comes to them at the end of verse 19 and gives them the typical Jewish greeting, “Shalom (?)” meaning peace be unto you.

And Luke 24:37 points out even seeing Him at that point they were not ready to believe that He was a resurrected individual, they thought they were looking at a spirit, looking at His ghost. To prove He… He scolds them for their unbelief, which has now been manifested in three different ways. First of all, they failed to leave for Galilee as they had been told three times to do. Secondly, they failed to believe the previous witnesses which by now has been both women and men. But keep in mind the first and second appearance was to women and again, even the second appearance being to women argues against His being a Jewish fabrication because that’s not the way the Jews would choose to fabricate the story. The first time men got to see Him, this was the third appearance. So by now they failed to believe though the witnesses are both women and men. And thirdly, when they finally do see Him they think they’re looking at a ghost and not looking at an individual being that’s been resurrected from the dead.

So to prove He’s resurrected He does two things: He tells them, first of all in Luke 24:39-40 to feel His side, and what they’ll feel is flesh and bones; and a spirit does not have flesh and bone. When they still have trouble believing He then eats a piece of fish in Luke 24:41-43 to prove He’s a resurrected being because of a simple principle that ghosts don’t eat. Now tell me the truth, when was the last time any of you ever saw a ghost eating? None of you have ever seen a ghost sit down and eat have you? That proves my point, ghosts don’t eat. Resurrected beings do get to eat. That’s a good thing for us because remember we are the bride of the Messiah, we have yet to attend our wedding feast; it would have been a terrible disappointment to go to a wedding feast and couldn’t eat anything. Furthermore, although we won’t have to need to eat to stay alive, we’re able to eat for the sheer enjoyment of eating, and more good news is you’re able to eat all you want and not gain an ounce of weight.

At this point they received the first of three final commissions… the first of three final commissions. This one has two points. First of all, to send out with the authoritative ministry of the Son. He says at the end of John 20:21, “the Father sent Me, even so send I you.” The Son came with the Father’s authority, now they’re being sent out with the Son’s authority. And they have Messianic authority to carry out the work that they will carry out.

Then secondly, He gives them a privilege that was previously given only to Peter, the end of John 20:23, “whosoever sins ye forgive, they shall be forgiven unto them; whosoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” Now again, this is not forgiving or retaining sin in a salvation sense, only God has that authority. This is forgiving or retaining sin based upon discipline. We find the apostles carry on this kind of disciplinary authority, as in the case of Peter against Ananias and Sapphira.

The second (?) in John 20:22, He breathes on them, and says “Receive ye the Holy Spirit,” this is not the baptism of the Spirit; that won’t happen until Acts 2. The Spirit has a number of ministries; among these ministries is the ministry of illumination. The way Paul defines it in, 1 Corinthians chapters 2 and 3, illumination is to enlighten the mind of the believer to understand spiritual and biblical truths. And don’t forget, four different times He spelled out the program of death and resurrection adding more and more details; as often as He told them, just as often the text says, they understood none of these things. And now He will be with them for a forty day period between the resurrection and ascension. There are many things they have to learn and therefore now they receive the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit so now they can fully understand what they could not understand heretofore.

And now that ten of the eleven have finally seen Him you would think they’re ready to go to Galilee; except that in John 20:24-25 for some reason Thomas or Didymus was not present. When they tell him what they saw he says, in verse 25, “Except I see,” except I feel it I simply won’t believe. Because of Thomas they again never leave town.

K. The Sixth Appearance: The Eleven
Paragraph 179 – John 20:26-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5

Paragraph 179, the sixth appearance to the eleven. Notice how much time passes in John’s account, John 20:26, “after eight days.” It takes three days to walk to Galilee; they have gone to Galilee and spent three days walking and they’ll get five days of teaching. But eight days pass and Jesus (?) again appears to them and focusing on Thomas He says in John 20:27, Go ahead and feel and be no more disbelieving. And Thomas is convinced, and in John 20:28 he says, “My Lord and my God.” We sometimes work under the impression that because they were able to see Him and feel Him they were the recipients of the greater blessing. It’s true it’s easier to believe if you can actually see and feel but that does not mean we are recipients of greater blessing in that context. Look at what He says in John 20:29, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

The greater blessing goes to us that have (?) to be convinced based upon the testimony of Scripture and not based upon experience. And trust in the Word of the text is superior to anybody else’s experience, and therefore we have chosen to believe He rose from the dead based upon the testimony of Scripture makes us the recipients of even greater blessing. But Thomas illustrated the point of Romans 1:4, the resurrection of Jesus proved Him to be the Son of God.

Now John 30:30-31 he basically draws the conclusion to his Gospel because the conclusion of Thomas, “my Lord and my God” has been his theme throughout this Gospel. He will add an appendix, chapter 21, but essentially the Gospel closes here. He points out, “Many other signs did Jesus perform” than the ones he reports and John reports only seven signs. But as far as he’s concerned, what he reports should be enough to convince them that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and believing that, they have life in His name.

L. The Seventh Appearance: The Seven
Paragraph 180 – John 21

Paragraph 180, the seventh appearance to the seven. At long last, guess what they finally got to? They finally made it up to the Galilee. They still don’t quite understand all of their mission and seven of these eleven were fisherman by profession. So as a result of this they decide it’s time to go back to the fishing business. Jesus was saying He’ll be leaving them soon, and therefore it must be time to go back to earn a living. They’ve been away from this business about three years; they’ve gotten a bit rusty and caught nothing.

At that point Jesus appears to them on the shore and He tells them do something that normally makes no difference, He tells them in John 21:6 to take the net and throw it on the other side of the boat, from the left side to the right side. This is very similar to when He first called them to fulltime discipleship in paragraph 41. In paragraph 41 He told them to do something that normally made no difference, and it made big difference and that’s when He said, “Follow Me, I will make you fishers of men.”

And now once again we have a recall in a similar way. He tells them to do something that normally would make no difference, but it makes a big difference, they catch a multitude of fish. And John recognizes that this is Jesus who is on the shoreline, and tells Peter in John 20:7, “It is the Lord.” And Peter jumps overboard and wades to shore and the others bring in the large catch of fish and they draw all these fish in and observe what Jesus is doing on the shoreline what they see is that all the fish they caught, they don’t eat a single one. Jesus already has fish broiling and bread baked. The lesson they need to learn from this is they have a commission to fulfill and He’ll supply for their needs as they go out to fulfill this commission.

And John even points out how many fish they caught, he says they caught 153 fish. And those who are more of a sensational type prophecy teachers have trouble leaving the Bible where it is and try to find some special symbolic significance and for a while they were teaching the 153 fish represent the 153 members of the U.N. At one time there were 153 members but now it’s over 180. That’s not why it says 153 fish. I happen to know why it says 153 fish; it has nothing to do with the U.N. I’ll tell you the real reason why it says 153 fish. It says 153 fish because they caught 153 fish. The point that John makes of it is that although there were so many the net did not tear apart. The kind of nets they had back then would cause the nets to be torn apart but in this case it didn’t tear apart so it’s a minor miracle.

John 21:14 points out the third time that He appeared to them; this is the third appearance to the apostolic group; His seventh appearance altogether.

Now John 21:15-17 Jesus has a private conversation between Him and Peter, and Peter’s earlier three-fold denial is now cancelled by a three-fold affirmation of love. There are two different Greek words which are used, and we need to distinguish them because of the point He makes. The first Greek used here is phileo; phileo is the love of the emotions, a response to attraction, a love of friendship; when two people have a close friendship that’s a phileo love. The second word that is used is the word agapao which is the verbal form, and agape which is the nominal form; that’s the love of the will, it’s viewed as being superior because we can will to love the unloving. He wasn’t speaking Greek with them, He was speaking Hebrew but there are Hebrew equivalents. The Hebrew for phileo is the word (?); the Hebrew for agapao, or agape, is the word (?) I’ll try to break down the conversation as we proceed.

The first interchanges is John 20:15, “So when they had broken their fast, He said to Simon Peter, Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He’s using the word “agape,” “do you agapao Me more than these,” “these” refers to the apostles. The reason He would put it that way is because remember at the last Passover he claimed to have a superior love to Jesus. Jesus said that on that day they will all desert Him, Peter responded well maybe these other guys will desert you, I’m not going to desert you, I’m ready to die for you this very night. So in light of what you claimed at the Passover and your experienced sins do you really love Me, do you really agape Me more than the others do? His answer is “Yea, Lord, you know that I love you,” and he uses the word phileo. The point is, no I can no longer claim to agape You more than the others, the best I can say is I do phileo You, I am Your friend. He then receives his first commission, “Feed my lambs.” Lambs are the baby believers; they need to be fed with the milk of the Word of God. He fulfills this commission when he writes the book of 1 Peter, written to newborn believers, as 1 Peter 2:1-3 make clear.

The second exchange comes in John 21:16. “He said to him a second time, Simon, son of John, do you agape Me?” This time He drops the phrase “more than these.” The point is this: all right, Peter, you can no longer affirm that you agapao Me more than the others, can you at least affirm that you do agapao Me at least equally. But Peter answers, “Yea, Lord, You know that I love You,” and he’s using the word phileo. The point is that I cannot affirm my agape for You more than the others nor can I affirm now that I agape you at all, the best I can affirm is that I do phileo you, I am your friend. Here was Jesus second commission, “Tend My sheep.” The word “tend” is exercise of authority, oversight. He’s fulfills this second commission in his activities in the book of Acts as the chief of the apostles.

John 21:17 emphasizes the third interchange. “He said unto him the third time, Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Now He uses Peter’s word, phileo, “do you really phileo Me?” All right, you cannot claim you agapao Me more than the others, nor can you claim you agapao Me at all, you can at least affirm that you really do phileo Me? And then we read that “Peter was grieved because He said unto him the third time, Do you phileo Me? And he said unto him, Lord, You know all things; You do know that I do phileo You.” Peter’s response is well I cannot affirm that I agape You more than the others, or I agape you at all, this much I really can affirm, I really do phileo You, I am your friend. He then receives the third commission, “Feed My sheep,” and the sheep are the older believers to be fed with the meat in the Word of God. He fulfills that by writing 2 Peter.

So Peter’s earlier three-fold denial is cancelled by a three-fold affirmation of love. But then Jesus tells Peter in John 18:18-19 that someday he will prove that he’ll have agape love for Jesus, not more than the others but as equally because he will not die of old age. He will die as a martyr. And when he dies that way he’ll show he had agape love for Jesus. So Peter has just been told…he’s just been told that he will not die of old age but die the death of a martyr. So he points to John and says well there’s John, what about him? And Jesus answer basically is well that’s none of your business, John 20:22, “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” In other words, John is responsible for his own calling and Peter is responsible for his calling. That’s what Peter should be concerned about, not concerned how God will lead John’s ministry. So even if God wills him to live till the Second Coming it doesn’t concern Peter.

In John 20:24 he then closes this appendix, pointing out he was eyewitness to much of what he wrote. Also notice that in John 20:25 that nobody could sit down and write everything that Jesus said and taught; the world could “not contain the books” that would need to be written. And based upon this verse I went through the Harmony and I counted up all of the days that we have on record of the life Jesus. Keep in mind He lived about 36 or 37 years of His life; only 75 up to 80 days are recorded, that’s it. Only 75 up to 80 days of His life are recorded. It shows the evidence of that statement.

M. The Eighth Appearance: The Five Hundred
Paragraph 181 - Mark 16:15-18; Matthew 28:16-20; 1 Corinthians 15:6

Now in paragraph 181 we have the eighth appearance to the five hundred, that includes the apostolic group, and what He does here is that He provides the second of three final commissions, that contains five specific points; three are definite but two are with a question mark. His first point is that all authority has been given to the resurrected Son. And again, as the Father sent Him with the Father’s authority He will now send them with the Son’s authority. All authority has been given to the resurrected Son. So secondly the commission is “make disciples.” Now if you look at Matthew 28:19 the verse begins with the word “Go,” which sounds like an imperative in the English. And in the missions conferences they have in the Christian colleges the missionaries will speak and say you’re being called to go.

Actually in Greek that’s not the commission; the only imperative in this verse, the imperative is to “make disciples.” That’s the command; “make disciples.” It’s followed by three participles, introducing participial clauses and the participles are subordinate to the main verb; the main verb, “make disciples.” What does that involve? “Going,” that’s the first participle, what “going” means as you can see in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” So that first part of the commission is to go out and evangelize; that’s where we make contact with the unbelieving world and share the gospel with them. If that’s all we’re doing we are evangelizing, we’re not yet discipling.

Secondly, “baptizing,” baptize “into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” That will distinguish believer’s baptism from other baptisms; there was Judaistic baptism, John’s baptism, and Christian baptism or better, believer’s baptism that was signified as baptized in “the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

And then thirdly, “teaching,” teach all that He had commanded. The reason, in Ariel Ministries and in Bible churches like this one here, there’s so much focus on teaching is because that’s part of the great commission. And until we’re doing all three things we’re not fulfilling this commission.

Now the third one is with a question mark, as I’ll explain why. And the third point is those who follow through will be saved; those who don’t follow through will be lost. That’s based upon Mark’s account, Mark 16:16, “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved: but he that disbelieves shall be condemned.” The reason this is with a question mark is because verse 16 is not part of some of the older manuscripts that we have; there’s some question that Mark would have penned these words. The reason we should make an issue of this is because there are groups that use this verse to teach baptism is essential for salvation; so if you believe only, no matter how strong you believe if you’re not baptized you still end up spending life in hell, eternity in hell.

And to people who use this as a necessity of baptism for salvation we respond in two ways. The first way is like I just mentioned; this verse is missing from the oldest manuscripts we have of the Gospel or Mark; so it’s a questionable verse that he actually may not have written. It’s dangerous to build a major salvation doctrine based upon a questionable verse. But secondly we can answer let’s assume that Mark did pen verse 16, let’s assume it’s part of the Gospel. If he’s saying the lack of baptism condemns you, what he thus teaches is that baptism is subordinate to believing, the outward sign of the inward faith. When he talks about what condemns a person, notice he only says unbelief or disbelief condemns a person. He doesn’t say if you believe but are not baptized you are condemned. The only thing that condemns a person, notice, is unbelief, not a lack of baptism.

Now why would he couple baptism with believing? Because as we see in the book of Acts people back then were baptized the same day they believed, so there was no period of time of any length, between believing and baptism. Within the same hour those who believed were also baptized in water. And that was the right thing to do then because nobody was confused about what baptism entailed, and what it meant in the Jewish context of that day. But with so much confusion the Church about baptism today it’s wiser to wait and educate a person before he undergoes the ritual. As to what condemns a person it’s merely unbelief, not a lack of baptism.

Now the fourth point is also a question mark for a similar reason. Within the body of believers certain signs will follow. He mentions five signs: number one, they’ll cast out demons; number two, they’ll speak in new tongues, or languages; thirdly, they’ll be healed of serpent bites; fourthly, they’ll lay on hands and heal people, and fifthly, they’ll drink poison and not die.

Here again the reason for the question mark is because this verse is also missing from the oldest manuscripts we have of the Gospel of Mark, Mark 16:17-18, and again it’s a dangerous thing to teach a major spiritual life issue based upon a questionable passage. In some circles they teach that if you don’t do these things you’re not even saved; others will say you’re saved but you’re not Spirit filled.

I think there are two ways to answer this. First of all, you can answer it by noting again these three verses are not found in the oldest Greek manuscripts so it’s questionable that Mark penned it and it’s dangerous to build such a major doctrine upon a questionable passage.

But the second way, let’s go ahead and assume that he really did pen these words, let’s assume that these are the authentic words of Mark. Is he saying that all believers should or could do all these things? Now go back to Mark 16:16, notice there he uses the singular form, “He that believes” because salvation is individual. But in verse 17 notice the switch from the singular to the plural, “and these signs shall follow them that believe,” and by switching to the plural the issue is not that every believer should do these things or could do these things, but he’s saying that within the body of believers you’ll find these five signs. Not that they’ll be true of every believer, but within the body of believers you’ll see all these five signs. In fact, four of these five signs are found in the book of Acts; the one we don’t have a record of is the drinking of poison.

Furthermore, notice that people who teach that you have to do these things to be a sign of a spiritual believer invariably only mention three of the five things: they mention speaking in tongues, casting out demons, and healing by laying on of hands; they skip being bitten by snakes and drinking poison. Now that’s convenient, that’s not honest. If the passage is that every believer should speak in tongues, every believer should cast out demons, every believer should lay hands and heal people, it also has to mean every believer should drink poison, every believer should be bitten by poisonous snakes. And somehow they drop those last two points. So again individually, as he does in Mark 16:16, every individual must believe for salvation but in the plural all he’s saying is that in the body of believers you’ll see these five things, not that all five will be true of every believer.

And the fifth point is He will be them always; that’s the end of Matthew 28:20, “and lo, I am with you always, even unto the ends of the world,” the ends of the earth.”

Now when I was in seminary there were about five of us that we were allowed so many chapel cuts and we used up all our chapel cuts every semester and went two blocks down to an I-Hop and had our morning breakfast discussing deep theological issues and solved all the theological problems of the world but I forgot to write them down and so I wrestle with them all over again. And one member of our group always had this… he was a popular speaker and he would drive to all these places but there was an engagement coming up too far away to drive so he would have to fly and he was very much afraid of flying. And he was expressing his fear of flying and one of the other members of the group said now Tim, you just have to trust what the Lord says, He’ll be with you always. And Tim says you misquoted that passage; what He said is, “Lo, I am with you always,” not high.” Eventually he overcome his fear of flying but that’s the way he was back then.

N. The Ninth Appearance: James
Paragraph 182 – 1 Corinthians 15:7

The ninth appearance is to James, this is not James the apostle but the half brother of Jesus. It leads to his conversion and as Acts 1 points out also the conversion of the other three half-brothers. And this sets the stage not only for his conversion but for him to become the head of the first church in Jerusalem. He also became a member of the second apostolic group.

There are two different apostolic groups; the first one was more intensive and the prerequisites for the first group was you had to have been with Jesus from the time He was baptized by John till His ascension. When it came time to replace Judas only two men met that qualification and Matthias was chosen. The second apostolic group, also the prerequisite but not as extensive, they only had to have seen the resurrected Christ. So when Paul defends his apostolic authority in 1 Corinthians 9:1 he says have I now seen the resurrected Son. And because James saw the resurrected Son he’s a member of the second apostolic group.

O. The Tenth Appearance: The Eleven
Paragraph 183 – Luke 22:44-49; Acts 1:3-8

Now paragraph 183, the tenth appearance to the eleven. Now both accounts are by Luke, and he tells us the two things that He focused on in His post resurrection ministry teaching; first of all, Messianic prophecy, prophecies about the First Coming. That’s in Luke’s account, in Luke 22:44. And notice all three divisions because the Hebrew Bible has three parts: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. And note all three divisions; “the law of Moses, and the prophets, and the psalms.” The book of Psalms there is the first book of the Writings.

And Luke 24:45 says “Then opened He their mind, that they might understand the Scriptures.” That’s why He breathed upon them earlier the Holy Spirit; they finally could understand what they could not understand heretofore. The second area of teaching in Acts 1:3-4 has to do with the Kingdom of God program. That’s essential because they will now be faced with the same Jewish objection that Jewish people still raise in our day: if Jesus was the Messiah, what happened to the Messianic Kingdom. You have to spell out the Messianic Kingdom program.

It is this teaching about the Kingdom of God they raised a question in Acts 1:6, “Lord, do You at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?” And it’s interesting how those who don’t believe in a future kingdom interpret the response of Jesus; they interpret His response to mean there will never be such a Kingdom; you’ve got it all wrong. But that was not His answer. His answer in verse 7 is “It’s not for you to know the times or seasons,” He didn’t say there won’t be one; it wasn’t for them to know the timing of it.

But for now they have a commission to fulfill, they now receive the third final commission that has two main points. First of all, they are to remain in Jerusalem until the coming of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit finally comes it will mean three things. First of all, it will fulfill the promise of the Father. In the Upper Room discourse we saw the promise was that He will send them another Comforter, and this is the other Comforter that will be coming.

Secondly, the new ministry of the Spirit, the ministry of Spirit baptism and the defining element is found in 1 Corinthians 12:13, “by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Greeks, bond or free,” we are all to drink of one Spirit. And He points out in Acts 5 the Spirit had not come yet but He will come in a few days; He will come in Acts 2:1-4. And that’s how the Church is going to begin; it begins with the baptism ministry of the Spirit.

And thirdly, it will mean to fulfill the commission He’s giving to them; they’ll have divine inner power because of the indwelling of the Spirit to fulfill the commission they’re given.

The second part of the commission is to go out and preach the gospel in a geographically ordered manner; first of all, start in Jerusalem. Secondly go on to Judea. Thirdly, move on to Samaria. And fourthly, move on to the uttermost part of the earth. And that’s the outline of the book of Acts, Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, the uttermost parts of the earth. Notice he does not say the Gentile world. But the phrase “uttermost part of the earth” was an idiom for the Gentile world, used by Isaiah, for example, in Isaiah 49:5-6; it was a phrase used for the Gentile world.

P. The Ascension of the King
Paragraph 184 – Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-32; Acts 1:9-12

Paragraph 184 we come to the ascension of the King. Now Luke 22:50 tells us that the ascension took place and it was by the town of Bethany and the Bethany is on the lower eastern slopes of the Mount of Olives. But you go to Israel today and look at the summit of the Mount of Olives you’ll see a Russian Orthodox Church, called The Church of the Ascension. They assume that that’s where He went up from because that’s the highest point of the Mount of Olives. There’s even a slab of stone there to show you two footprints imbedded into it because when He blasted off He burned these footprints into the rock. Now they missed the Transfiguration by about 45 miles; this was only off by about a mile and a half.

And slowly He’s lifted up, they’re able to see Him go only so high and the cloud hides the rest of His ascension. In Acts account, Acts 1:10-11, they keep staring up into the heaven hoping He’ll make a U-turn, and the angels appear to them saying don’t keep staring up into heaven, they have a commission to fulfill, and they are to wait in Jerusalem until the Spirit comes, and then begin their commission. As for Jesus, He kept on going into heaven and upon arrival He took His seat at the right hand of God the Father and His glory was unveiled forever.

And notice the theological implications of the ascension: number one, it proved the truth of what He said, “I go to the Father” in John 14:28. Second, it means that Jesus will be preparing a place for us, and once it’s prepared He’ll come for us in the rapture of the Church, John 14:2. Third, it marks the culmination of His exultation, the last stage of His exultation that began with His entombment in the rich unused man’s tomb but now enthronement at the right hand of God the Father, Ephesians 1:20-23. Four, it marks the headship over the Church, Colossians 1:18. Fifth, it means there is a man seated at the right hand of God the Father. He left heaven only in the form of God; He came back to heaven in the form of the God-man, Acts 2:32-35.

Number six, it began the high priestly ministry of Yeshua; He begins this ministry only as of His ascension, Hebrews 4:14-16. Seven, it marks the coming of the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 4:8-10, that’s when the spiritual gifts were given, following His ascension and then ten days later came the Spirit. Eight, it makes Him a Son (?) of forerunner into heaven, Hebrews 6:20, the word “forerunner” means the first and more to come later and we are the more to come later. Nine, it marks the believer’s new position as being seated in the heavenlies, Ephesians 1:20-21; this is part of being in positional truth; there are certain things true of us, not because of what we are but because of what we are in the Messiah.

Ten, by means of the ascension the Holy Spirit could be given, Ephesians 4:7-11. It provides the manner of His return, not the place but the manner of His return; He left in the clouds of heaven, He’ll someday come back in the clouds of heaven, Acts 1:9-11. And twelve, it means the Old Testament saints are now also in heaven; they were removed from Abraham’s bosom and they are now in heaven as well, Ephesians 4:8.

1. Signs

Now on the bottom of your outline on the last page we have four points of sequel; I want to finish with those as we finish our course. Let’s begin by turning to 1 Corinthians 1. As we noted in this course that as of paragraph 61 and Matthew 12 once the unpardonable sin was committed He refused to provide any more signs publicly on behalf of the people except one sign, the sign of Jonah, the sign of resurrection. And the policy of no more signs for Israel was continued in 1 Corinthians 1:21, “Perceiving in the wisdom of God, the world whose wisdom knew not God, for it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save them that believe. [22] Seeing the Jews ask for the signs, and the Greeks seek after wisdom, [23] but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, unto Gentiles foolishness; [24] But them that are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”

And the point he makes is that the Gentiles can continue seeking after philosophical wisdom, true of the Greeks, and the Jews can continue seeking after signs, but both (?) receive the same message, Christ crucified and with the crucifixion came the message of the resurrection.

Now as I represent Ariel Ministries it has been my ministry to travel in churches and Christian schools and conference grounds to present these kinds of (?) Jewish perspective and that’d be a means to encourage people to support Ariel Ministries as well. But about every year, ten to twelve to fifteen times I receive a phone call, someone wants to treat me to breakfast or lunch and ask a few questions and most of time they’re honest questions, but now and then I can tell by the tone of voice they have a hidden agenda. But for a free meal I’ll go ahead and listen to anything at least once. And sure enough, after we finish the main meal and are drinking coffee and so on, I get into this lecture, if I want to be successful among Jews and witnessing to them I need to do signs and wonders and then Jews will flock into my ministry. My first response normally is have you ever led a Jewish person to the Lord; invariably they never do. They’ve never done it but they know how to do my job even better than I do.

But the fact is, as we already saw in this course, the multiplicity of signs and wonders is not convincing except to those already wish to believe. Look at the great miracles that Jesus did, miracles no one else has done before or since; they find reason not to believe. And when the apostles did all the miracles in the book of Acts there was more rejection that acceptance. And when the rich man asked Abraham that Lazarus be raised from the dead so that my brothers could believe, he simply said they have the Scriptures, that’s all they need; if they don’t believe Moses and the prophets they won’t believe if one rise from the dead. If the Scriptures are not believed, as they read miracles, will not be of any benefit, and all of the (?) history points to that. Without doing signs and wonders Ariel staff has done very well in winning many Jewish people to the Messiah and they continue to do so to this day; but their policy no more signs in Israel has continued to this day.

2. Relationship to the Book of Acts

Now the second sequel, let’s go to Acts 2:38. Now the first sign of Jonah was the resurrection of Lazarus which was rejected in John 11 by the Sanhedrin. What we have in Acts chapters 1-8 is the second sign of Jonah and the rejection of the second sign of Jonah in the first 7 chapters in particular. The first sign of Jonah was Lazarus, rejected in paragraph 119 or John 11. The second sign of Jonah is the resurrection of Jesus, and it’s rejected here in the first seven chapters of the book of Acts. The stoning of Stephen in Acts 7 marks the official rejection of the second sign of Jonah. That’s why (?) of Acts 8 does the gospel for the first time go out to non-Jews. It stays within the Jewish frame of reference in the first seven chapters but once the second sign of Jonah is rejected by the Sanhedrin, then it goes out to Gentiles as of Acts 8. This sets the stage for Paul’s effective ministry.

Now there are two passages in Acts that people also use to teach you have to be baptized to be saved; those are Acts 2:38 and 22:16. Now the first thing to observe is that both these passages are written specifically to a Jewish audience. It’s written to a specific Jewish audience. And secondly it’s written to the same Jewish generation that’s guilty of the unpardonable sin, and face the judgment of AD 70. So in Acts 2:38 notice he tells them to do two things. First of all, in verse 38 he says, “Repent.” Repent again means to change their mind, they need to change their mind about Jesus, He’s not demon possessed, He’s the Messiah, and that act of repentance or changing of mind is going to save them spiritually but it won’t save them physically necessarily. Now believing will save them spiritually, it won’t save them physically from the AD 70 judgment.

The second thing they have to do is be baptized. Now in Jewish context what baptism does, it will separate them from the Judaism of that day. And by means of this baptism it will separate them from the Judaism that rejected Jesus and from the generation that was guilty of the unpardonable sin. And yet you simply read only two more verses to see what he’s getting at here. Look at verse 40, “with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, Save yourselves,” does he mean save yourselves spiritually? No one can save themselves spiritually so “save yourselves” from what? “from this crooked generation.” So what baptism will do for them is separate them from the crooked generation guilty of the unpardonable sin. And so both Acts 2:38 and 22:16 is addressed to a Jewish audience, not a Gentile one, focusing on physical deliverance. Only belief will save them spiritually.

There’s one more passage that people use and that’s 1 Peter 3:21, “even so does baptism now save.” Now 1 Peter 1:1-3 shows he was writing specifically to Jewish believers of the dispersion. And the word “dispersion” refers to Jewish people outside the land; these are not just Jewish people but Jewish believers outside the land. And 1 Peter 2:1-3 clarifies he’s writing to new believers still needing to look at the Word of God to be raised from their level of immaturity to maturity. And one thing that kept them immature is that, as Jewish believers often still do today, there’s reluctance to be baptized because they know it’s a final break from Judaism. So in chapter 3 he encourages them to undergo water baptism, which will save them, but save them from what?

Now he makes a comparison with Noah’s ark, even so Noah’s ark saved no one. Did the ark save Noah spiritually? No. Noah was already saved (?) spiritually before he built he built the ark. But the ark did save Noah’s family physically. By the same token, baptism will save them physically from the coming judgment. He already treats them as believers, they already are saved, they already have salvation as chapters 1 and 2 make clear, they already are saved, but baptism will save them physically from the coming judgment for the unpardonable sin.

3. Relationship to the Book of Hebrews

The book of Hebrews is written to a body of second generation Jewish believers undergoing some tremendous persecution and because of this persecution they were seriously considering going back into Judaism to escape the persecution. The writer writes them to warn them against doing so because if they go back into Judaism now they will re-identify themselves with the generation guilty of the unpardonable sin and will die a terrible physical death.

The five warning passages in the book of Hebrews, often used to teach you can lose your salvation, all five passages are dealing with physical discipline, physical death, not loss of spiritual salvation. And if they go back into Judaism it will be an irrevocable decision and they will face the judgment. So what they should choose is to make the break completely which for Jewish believers then and now comes with water baptism and secondly, press on to spirituality so as not to lose their reward.

And we do not know from Hebrews how they responded. We have three ancient writings that tell us what happened. One is a man called Josephus, a first century Jewish historian, he’s not a believer, he was a Pharisee, but an eyewitness to many of the events of AD 70. Secondly is a man named Hegesippus, Hegesippus was a Jewish believer of the second century, he wrote a seven volume set about the early history of the Church, though it’s all lost but much of it is quoted by the third writer, Eusebius, a fourth century Gentile believer.

Now pulling all three sources together here’s what we discover. When the recipients of Hebrews got the letter they accepted it, made their break from Judaism, and when the war against Rome broke out they left the city under Cleopas, and went to a city called Pella. Pella is just south of the Sea of Galilee, but (?) outside the war zone. Now a total of 1,100,000 Jews died in that Roman war; 1,100,000 were killed but not one single Jewish believer was dead because of his obedience to the letter to the Hebrews. A lot of Hebrews end up having a happier ending.

4. The Third Sign of Jonah

Last thing, the third sign of Jonah. Turn in your Bibles to Zechariah 4. In Zechariah 4:1-10 Zechariah is given a vision, much of which he understands; there’s one key point he does not understand. What he sees in his vision is first of all a seven branch lampstand, called the Menorah, which was the main symbol of Israel throughout Scripture. Above and beside the olive tree are two olive trees. Now between the olive trees is a bowl and the olive trees empty olive oil into the bowl, and from the bowl to each of the lamps you have seven smaller ducts or pipes, seven of them from each one for a total of 49, that feed oil to the seven lamps. The one common symbol used throughout the vision is the symbol of oil, olive oil, which is a common symbol of the Holy Spirit. And so what he sees here is Israel filled with the Holy Spirit finally fulfilling its calling of Exodus 19 to be the light to the Gentiles.

But the source of the oil, the source of the Spirit, is the two olive trees on each side. And again he understands most of the vision because of previous revelation but what he does not understand is what these two olive trees represent, but somehow they are the oil to the Spirit to Israel. So Zechariah 4:11-13, notice he raises the question: What are these two olive trees that empty their golden oil into spouts, etc. etc. And in verse 14 notice he gets a very cryptic answer, all he’s told is “These are two anointed ones, that stand before the Lord of the whole earth.” That’s all he’s told, they “are two anointed ones.” How much he understood we’re not sure. That’s all we have to go on, I couldn’t tell you any more than what I’ve told you now.

But now go to Revelation 11. Revelation 11:3-13 describe the events that will occur at the midpoint of the Tribulation. For the first half of the Tribulation you’ve got two prophets, two witnesses, whose witness is limited to Jerusalem. And while the 144,000 of Revelation 7 are worldwide, the two witnesses of Revelation 11 are limited to Jerusalem. And the length of their ministry he says is exactly 1,260 days, three and a half years; any attempts to kill them prematurely fails; all those who try to kill them are killed themselves. He identifies who they are in Revelation 11:3-4, notice what he says, “These are the two olive trees,” with a definite article, “these are the two olive trees.” What two olive trees? No olive trees are mentioned within Revelation the first ten chapters, a specific “these two olive trees.” The only previous mention of the two olive trees is the prophecy of Zechariah 4.

So now we learn the two olive trees of Zechariah 4 represent the two witnesses of Revelation 11. But again, how were they the source of the oil, the source of the Spirit? Now the midpoint of the Tribulation, what nobody else could do the antichrist is able to accomplish, able to kill the two witnesses. And the whole world is really happy that they are dead, we’re told they even have a warped Christmas celebration, they exchange gifts with each other we’re told. As for the bodies of the two men killed they remain unburied, this was in Jerusalem, for three and a half days. And for three and a half days everybody is having a party. Again, after three and a half days in the sight of all the bodies are resurrected from the dead and they ascend into heaven.

And the resurrection and the ascension of the two witnesses leads to four results, all in Revelation 11:13. Number one, “a great earthquake” will hit the city. Secondly, one-tenth of the city will be destroyed. Thirdly, 7,000 will die. But note the fourth point: “the rest were frightened, and gave glory to the God of heaven.” The resurrection and the ascension of the two witnesses will lead to the salvation of the Jews of Jerusalem at the midpoint of the Tribulation just before they have to flee to outside of the land. That begins a process that three and a half years later, and more specifically in the last three days before the Second Coming, the whole nation will come to faith. You’ll find this in Hosea 5:15-6:3; Isaiah 66:8, a nation will be born in one day, and then in Zechariah 3:9 He will remove the iniquity of the land in one day; Romans 11:25-27, the whole nation will be saved. And this was national salvation, remember, is their prerequisite to the Second Coming. So this was national salvation; it will come (?) the Second Coming Kingdom.

They did reject the first sign of Jonah and they did reject the second sign of Jonah; they’ll accept the third sign of Jonah that will lead to Israel’s national salvation and the establishment of the Messianic Kingdom. The life of Jesus is yet to have a happy ending. Selah!

I’ll take questions and give you a rabbi story to keep you happy until I come back whenever that is. Any questions at this stage?

[Regarding water baptism and it being necessary for salvation, is it not a good example to use the thief on the cross who could not be water baptized?] That’s correct, the fact that he was not baptized. They’ll get around it several ways; number one, the baptism issue comes in only after His resurrection, He dies before the resurrection, that’s one way they get around it. A second answer I got is in the crucifixion there’s so much sweat that the sweat of Jesus baptized the other one, that’s how far they go. [I did e-mail a so-called pastor about this and his response was that the thief was among those that was baptized in the river Jordan by John the Baptist and that therefore he’d already been baptized.] There’s no way to establish that anyway, the fact that he rejected Jesus initially would not indicate that.

[When the women went to the grave I assume they didn’t know that it was sealed and the Romans weren’t about to unseal it so they could prepare the body.] They may have known about the seal because they had sat against the tomb earlier but that’s before the Roman soldiers came in. It may have marked (?) from their perspective it may have marked the end of the third day and therefore it wouldn’t be a problem after the third day, the Romans themselves would have taken the seal off. But they may have known about it to begin with.

[Are you going to put this in a book?] My goal is to finish the book on this by the end of this year and hopefully it will be published sometime the latter half of 2009. I can’t promise it will happen because my time is limited, I’m trying to get some free time but one thing you can pray is I get some free time to put the book in final form. But we’re going to try to put it in a book and have it finalized by the end of this year and published sometime in 2009.

[What exactly in the Jewish tradition was the process of cleansing, like the priests would cleanse themselves and….] Well, it depends why they became unclean. The cleansing sometimes might be only a matter of immersion in water at the end of the day; if you touched a dead body you were unclean for seven days, that would require sprinkling with the ashes of the red heifer and some blood spilled and so on, so it depended on the nature of the uncleanness it would determine whether it’s a one day uncleanness, a week long uncleanness, and that kind of thing, and what you would have to do to cleanse yourself. But it all depended on the nature of what made you unclean to begin with.

[Was it something that, if you were making sacrifices, like Passover, did everyone cleanse themselves?] Yes, if you visit Jerusalem on the south wall you see a lot of excavations, and all kinds of immersion pools and so on the way to the temple mount they would immerse themselves to be rendered ritually clean, correct.

[During the ascension you said it established the method of His return, not where?] Right. [Then in Zechariah says that His feet will touch the Mount of Olives, is there no significance to the Mount of Olives?] Well, significance but that’s not where He initially returns, because He initially returns down to Bozrah or Petra. If you look at Zechariah’s passage two things; first of all, earlier in Zechariah 12:7 he says they’ll save the tents of Judah first before He rescues those in Jerusalem. But for the Jews living in tents, they’re not living in homes, but living in temporary abodes elsewhere, and elsewhere is outside the land. But He saves those there before He saves Jerusalem. In Zechariah 14:3 he says to go out and fight against those nations; when the fighting is over, then in verse 4, “His feet shall stand…on the Mount of Olives.” See that’s (?) the Mount of Olives (?) the end of the campaign of Armageddon, not when He first comes back. So it focuses on the manner that he shall return, clouds of heaven going, clouds of heaven coming.

I’ll give you my last rabbi story, again this one doesn’t always go over too well in non Jewish circles but I will give it a try. I don’t have any lip readers to watch me translate into… that will communicate. But there was a town with a rabbi and a priest and the priest and rabbi get together. And the priest always wanted to show how much further he can get up in the Catholic Church because in rabbinic circles you don’t have a hierarchy so being a rabbi in a synagogue was as far as you go. The priest says to the rabbi, you know rabbi, at the moment I’m only a priest but someday I could become a bishop. The rabbi didn’t seem to be impressed and just says well, that’s nice. The priest was a bit disappointed, he says, rabbi, some day I could become an archbishop. The rabbi says, eh, that’s nice. The priest was getting a little bit frustrated with the rabbi’s lack of excitement so he tells the rabbi, Rabbi, I could someday become a cardinal. The rabbi says well, that’s a nice bird, that’s also nice. And now the priest is getting more and more frustrated, Rabbi, I could someday become the Pope himself. The rabbi says well, that’s nice. Now he’s really frustrated, and the priest says, Rabbi, what will it take to impress you; do you expect me to become God Himself? The rabbi said, well, one of our boys made it.