Waiting Room

Last 10 Days to Shavuot – The Waiting Room

Day 10 of the Waiting Room and the 50th Day called Shavuot 1

Day 10 of the Waiting Room & Day 50 called Shavuot [“Pentecost”]:

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Outer Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and  Days 2-4, the “Supporting Circle”, with Andrew [Simon Peter’s brother],  Philip [Friend of Bartholomew];  and Nathanael Bartholomew [Natan’El, Bar-Talemei]. Days 5-7 completed the “Surrounding Circle”, with Matthew Levi [Matityahu, HaLevi – “the Levite”] the Tax Collector or Publican, Judas the Zealot [Yehudah HaKanani] also known Labbaeus or Thaddeus and finally yesterday we looked at Simon the Cananite [Shim’on HaKanani] or like Judas, ”Simon the Zealot”.

We will look at the last disciple in the final concentric circle around Yeshua, as we finish examining the “Outer Circle”:

The Outer Circle:

10.   Thomas [Tomas] – The Skeptic

11.   James the Less [Ya`akov HaKatan] – Son of Alphaeus

12.   Judas Iscariot [Yehudah Ish Kriyot – Judah a Man from Kriyot] – Betraying Accountant

Let’s “zone in” on Judas Iscariot, the Betraying Accountant :

Only one of the twelve remains to be studied – the infamous Judas Iscariot. This lesson is not a lesson of inspiration but, rather, a lesson of warning. Judas Iscariot warns all of the danger of apostacy. An “apostate” is not, as some have said, a person who loses his salvation; he is someone who was never genuinely saved to begin with, who knows the truth but willfully rejects the truth, deceives others and pretends to follow Messiah (see Matthew 7:15,21-23; Acts 20:29; Hebrews 10:29; II Peter 2:1-3;20-22; I John 2:18-19). Judas is the prime example of an apostate.

Like all apostates, Judas defiled everything that he touched. He sure messed up a good name. His name comes from one of the great names of the Hebrew Scriptures. Judas is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Judah [Yehudah]. Judah was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (Ya`akov) who was spiritually called Israel [Yisrael]. He was also one of the twelve tribes of Israel. It was the kingly tribe of David, Solomon [Sh’lomo] … and of the Messiah Yeshua. There are at least six men in the New Testament whose name was Judas (Judah or Jude). It was a popular Jewish name. But no more. No one in the Jewish, Messianic or Christian world would think of attaching such a horrible name to their son. “Judas” has become a name synonymous with betrayal and treachery. The dictionary defines a “Judas kiss” as a “false expression of affection” and a “Judas hole” as “a hidden slit in the wall through which guards spy on prisoners.”

Acts 1:16-22 Brothers, the Ruach HaKodesh [Holy Spirit] spoke in advance through David about Y’hudah [“Judas”], and these words of the Tanakh [Hebrew Scriptures] had to be fulfilled. He was guide for those who arrested Yeshua — he was one of us and had been assigned a part in our work.” (With the money Y’hudah received for his evil deed, he bought a field; and there he fell to his death. His body swelled up and burst open, and all his insides spilled out. This became known to everyone in Yerushalayim, so they called that field Hakal-D’ma — which in their language means “Field of Blood”). “Now,” said Kefa, “it is written in the book of Psalms,

‘Let his estate become desolate let there be no one to live in it’ [Psalm 69:26(25)];

and ‘Let someone else take his place as a supervisor [Psalm 109:8].’  

Therefore, one of the men who have been with us continuously throughout the time the Lord Yeshua traveled around among us, from the time Yochanan [John, “the Baptist”] was immersing people until the day Yeshua was taken up from us — one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.”

They chose Matthias [Matityahu, same name as Matthew] by lots [purim], to replace Judas, while Yeshua himself chose Saul of Tarsus [aslso nickmaned “Paul” [in Greek meaning “small”] among his new Gentile [Non-Jewish] baby believers, while on the “road to Damascus [Damessek]”, found in Acts 9:1-22.

Destination of the Disciples after the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

1.    Simon [Simeon-Hebrew (hearing)] Peter (small stone or rock) [FISHERMAN] – Rome

2.    James the great (Jacob in Hebrew) [FISHERMAN]– Killed by King Herod Acts 12:1-2

3.    John [FISHERMAN]  – Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, &

                                                          Laodicea,

4.    Andrew [FISHERMAN] – Russia (Soviet Union), Asia Minor (Turkey), Greece

5.    Philip (greek name: lover of horses) – Carthage & Phrygia in North Africa, Upper Asia

6.    Bartholomew [Aramaic title: bar (son) of Talemay (furrows/ploughman)]

       or Nathanael (Heb. name-Given by God) – India, Armenia, Ethiopia, & So. Arabia

7.    Matthew or Levi [TAX-COLLECTOR] – Persia, Parthia, Ethiopia

8.    Simon [Simeon-Heb. name (hearing)] the Zealot (the Canaanite) – Persia,    

       Mauritania, Africa, Britain

9.    Thaddeus (surname) / Labbaeus / Judas the Zealot (St. Jude) – Armenia

10.  Thomas – Parthia, India 

11.  James son of Alphaeus  (the less) – Syria

12.  Judas Iscariot [ACOUNTANT] – Replaced by Matthias – Syria

The replacement of Judas was done in the final days of  the “Counting of the Omer” of the Barley Harvest, just before the offering of the Wheat Harvest, on Shavuot, the “Feast of Weeks” [Leviticus 23:15-16; Deut. 16:16] or “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days], described in Acts chapter 2.

Acts 2:1 When the DAY OF PENTECOST [In Hebrew: Shavuot -“feast of weeks”] had fully come, they were all with ONE ACCORD in ONE PLACE [in the Temple]. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind [Ezekiel 1:4; Hebrews 12:18-19], and it filled the whole House [Temple] where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance 5 And there were dwelling [lodging for the festival] in Jerusalem, Jews, devout men [orthodox], from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.…..46 So continuing daily with ONE ACCORD in the Temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart….

Talmud: Shabbat 88b on Psalm 68:11 teaches that “Every single word going out from the Omnipotent was split up into seventy languages.” Psalm 29:7 reads, “The voice of Adonai hews out tongues of fire.” It was understood by Jewish sages of 2000 years ago, that a “tongue as fire” had presented itself to each person at Sinai, to ask if he would accept the Covenant. Those present were from all seventy nations, a “mixed multitude.”

We know this miracle happened first at Mount Sinai, in the giving of the “Ten Words” [A.K.A. “Ten Commandments”]. The “fire” fell on 120 priests with King Solomon [Sh’lomo] in the House, or Temple that he built for HaShem [2 Chron. 3:1-5:12-14; 7:1-3], in the city of Jerusalem. Third the “fire of HaShem’s Glory” fell on 120 disciples of Yeshua, seven weeks, or 50 days after Messiah’s resurrection, on the same memorial day that the Torah was given at Sinai, on the Feast of Shavuot [“weeks”].

The LORD is the same “yesterday, today and tomorrow”! What He has done in the past, is what He is doing in the present, and what He will do in the future. Expect your “OUTPOURING” TODAY, in Yeshua’s Name! Amen!

 


Day 9 of the Waiting Room & Day 49 of the Omer

Day 9 of the Waiting Room & Day 49 of the Omer

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Outer Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and  Days 2-4, the “Supporting Circle”, with Andrew [Simon Peter’s brother],  Philip [Friend of Bartholomew];  and Nathanael Bartholomew [Natan’El, Bar-Talemei]. Days 5-7 completed the “Surrounding Circle”, with Matthew Levi [Matityahu, HaLevi – “the Levite”] the Tax Collector or Publican, Judas the Zealot [Yehudah HaKanani] also known Labbaeus or Thaddeus and finally yesterday we looked at Simon the Cananite [Shim’on HaKanani] or like Judas, ”Simon the Zealot”.

We will continue to look at the final concentric circle around Yeshua, as we further examine the “Outer Circle”:

The Outer Circle:

10.   Thomas [Tomas] – The Skeptic

11.   James the Less [Ya`akov HaKatan] – Son of Alphaeus

12.   Judas Iscariot [Yehudah Ish Kriyot – Judah a Man from Kriyot] – Betraying Accountant

Let’s “zone in” on James the Less [Ya`akov HaKatan] :

James the Less [Ya`akov HaKatan] – The only thing the Bible tells us about James, or Jacob [Ya`akov], the son of Alphaeus is his name! That’s it! It’s not known that he ever wrote anything, and nothing he ever said, asked, or did is recorded in the Bible. He is called “James, the less” in Mark 15:40. The Greek word used in this title for “the less” is mikros meaning “little.” This is “little James, or Jacob.” This title could mean that James was short of stature, or that he was younger than the other James, or that he was less influential, or all three. He is known for his obscurity!

He is also known for his family. Apparently his father was known among the first century Believers, so James is frequently referred to as “the son of Alphaeus“. It also seems that his mother was a close follower of Yeshua. She is mentioned as being at the scene of the crucifixion of the Lord, see Mark 15:40. This same verse mentions another brother of James, “Joses” who, it seems was also known among the believers. Thank God for families who love and serve Yeshua the Messiah together! The work of the Lord depends upon families. Many families are quiet and obscure, yet faithful to follow Yeshua. Obscurity does not mean unimportance! James may have been more in the background than most of the others, but he will sit upon a throne and share in ruling the tribes of Israel during the kingdom, see Matthew 19:28!

In the “upper room”, James [Jacob / Ya`akov ] would have been the quiet prayerful one, who would have been meditating on HaShem’s Promises, but not loud or boisterous like Peter who often “opened his mouth, to insert his foot!” He was probably shy but stable when felt a sense of security in a group of people who treat each other like a brothers, or a close-knit family. Many believers operate best in these circumstance, where they can be reasured of a positive outcome. The odd might seem against us, but HaShem’s prophecies are definitely for us! Amen!


Day 8 of the Waiting Room & Day 48 of the Omer

Day 8 of the Waiting Room & Day 48 of the Omer

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Outer Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and  Days 2-4, the “Supporting Circle”, with Andrew [Simon Peter’s brother],  Philip [Friend of Bartholomew];  and Nathanael Bartholomew [Natan’El, Bar-Talemei]. Days 5-7 completed the “Surrounding Circle”, with Matthew Levi [Matityahu, HaLevi – “the Levite”] the Tax Collector or Publican, Judas the Zealot [Yehudah HaKanani] also known Labbaeus or Thaddeus and finally yesterday we looked at Simon the Cananite [Shim’on HaKanani] or like Judas, “Simon the Zealot”.

We will continue and look at the final concentric circle around Yeshua, as we examine the “Outer Circle”:

The Outer Circle:

10.   Thomas [Tomas] – The Skeptic

11.   James the Less [Ya`akov HaKatan] – Son of Alphaeus

12.   Judas Iscariot [Yehudah Ish Kriyot – Judah a Man from Kriyot] – Betraying Accountant

Let’s “zone in” on Thomas [or Tomas in Greek], who was considered a “skeptic”, or “Doubting Thomas”.

Thomas, called Didymus (meaning “Twin,” as does “Thomas” in Aramaic”) was one of the 12 Disciples of Yeshua. Thomas is known for questioning Yeshua’s resurrection when he was first told it, and he declared the famous statement “My Lord and my God” when he saw Yeshua alive in John 20:28.

Yeshua appears to some of the disciples, but Thomas was not with them the first time. John 20:25 says, “So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he [Thomas] said to them, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.'”

Eight days later, Yeshua appears before His disciples again: “A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Yeshua came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you [Shalom Aleichem] !’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here…, see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said to him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ Then Yeshua told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed’ (John 20:26-29).

Even though Thomas earned a negative label, he was not lacking in some very good qualities. He displayed great courage and loyalty. When the other disciples tried to keep Yeshua from going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead because of the danger from those in the area who had just earlier tried to stone Him (John 11:8), Thomas said to them, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him” (John 11:16). Thomas also asked Him one of the most famous questions. John 14:5-6 says, “Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’ Yeshua answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”

In the “upper room”, Thomas would have been the “realist”, needing “hard, cold facts”, or proof, before he stepped out. Shoud he be labeled the “skeptic”, or “Doubting Thomas”, when he was ready to lay his life down for the reality that Yeshua truly was the Messiah of Israel, and Redeemer of the Nations of the World. He was looking for reasonable evidence for the Final Redemption, and the reestablishment of the Davidic Dynasty, of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth again, as it was under Kind David, and his son Solomon [Sh’lomo]. He would probably be better described at “Thomas, the Analyst”.

We are often like Thomas, although we put him down for “doubting”. We could carry that negative label for our unbelief, until we learn to “cast all our cares” on Yeshua, and “Trust in the LORD with all our heart”, instead of focusing on only facts for our head. REASON is important, but RELATIONSHIP is Essential, to following the Messiah.

 


Day 7 of the Waiting Room & Day 47 of the Omer

 

Day 7 of the Waiting Room & Day 47 of the Omer

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Surrounding Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and  Days 2-4, the “Supporting Circle”, with Andrew [Simon Peter’s brother],  Philip [Friend of Bartholomew];  and Nathanael Bartholomew [Natan’El, Bar-Talemei]. We will continue to look at the third concentric circle around Yeshua, and yesterday on Day 6, we examined Judas [Yehudah] the Zealot, also surnamed Labbaeus [“heart-child”] or Thaddeus [“breast-child”] .

The Surrounding Circle:

7.   Matthew [Matityahu] or Levi [HaLevi – “The Levite”] – Tax Collector; Publican

8.   Judas [Yehudah] the Zealot – Labbaeus or Thaddeus

9.   Simon [Shim’on] the Cananite [Kanani “zealous one”] – Simeon the Zealot

Today let’s focus on Simon [sames as Simeon-from Hebrew, Shim`on meaning  “hearing’]:

Simon the Cananite  [Shim`on HaKanani] – Simon is the same name a on of the tribes of Israel, known as Simeon. In Hebrew both forms of the name come from the Hebrew name “Shim`on”, from the root Shem-Mem-Ayin, like in Shema שְׁמַע, found in Deut. 6:4, “Hear, O Israel…” While Matthew worked for the Roman government prior to his salvation, Simon Zelotes worked against Rome. In Matthew 10:4 he is called “the Cananite” from the Hebrew root kanah, meaning to be jealous or zealous; and in Luke 6:15, “Zelotes”, which is Greek or jealous or zealous. Both words, the first having a Hebrew root and the second a Greek, mean “one who is jealous or zealous for a cause.”

In Yeshua’s day, there was a political party known as “the Zealots.” These men were committed to the overthrow of the Roman government by means of force if necessary. Their fiery patriotism led them into terrorist activities – burning Roman property and killing Roman soldiers. In fact, the Zealots hatred of the Romans was so deep that they were known to kill themselves before they would let the Romans take their lives. It is believed that Simon, prior to following Yeshua, was a Zealot, hence the name, “Zelotes”. This Simon, then, would have been a man of zeal and passion, a man of idealism and devotion to a cause, a man who was willing to die for what he believed. Somehow (the details are not recorded for us) this man came to believe in Yeshua. The futility of overthrowing the Roman government was replaced with the meaningfulness of following Yeshua.

In the “upper room” living quarters, Simon “the Zealot” [Shim`on HaKanani] would have bee the extra eager one to go to the Temple daily, without fear, and face the nay-sayers, or those who would accuse them for foolishly following Yeshua, the “would-be Messiah”. His zeal would have caused him to be willing to fight for the cause of over throwing Roman Rule, and Temple guards, that had been influenced by a corrupt political or religious system. His experience with the Holy Spirit’s in filling power, would have tempered him to use self-control. Don’t forget “Meekness is not Weakness”, but “Self-Control is harnassed Strength. Let’s be zealous for HaShem, but also remember, what the prophet Zechariah [Zechar’yah – “Yah has remebered”], said “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts [Adonai Tz’vaot – “Lord of Armies”], and the prophet Isaiah [Yesha’yahu – “Salvation is from Yah”] said, that “the zeal of the LORD shall perform it [HaShem’s Plan]. Amen!

 

 

 

                                                         

 

 

 

 


Day 6 of the Waiting Room & Day 46 of the Omer

Day 6 of the Waiting Room & Day 46 of the Omer

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Surrounding Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and  Days 2-4, the “Supporting Circle”, with Andrew [Simon Peter’s brother],  Philip [Friend of Bartholomew];  and Nathanael Bartholomew [Natan’El, Bar-Talemei]. We will continue to look at the third concentric circle around Yeshua, since we started yesterday on Day 5, by examining Matthew [Matityahu – “Yah has Given”].

The Surrounding Circle:

7.   Matthew [Matityahu] or Levi [HaLevi – “The Levite”] – Tax Collector; Publican

8.   Judas [Yehudah] the Zealot – Labbaeus or Thaddeus

9.   Simon [Shim’on] the Cananite [Kanani “zealous one”] – Simeon the Zealot

Today let’s focus on Judas [Judah/Yehudah the Zealot], not to be confused with Judas Iscariot, the Betrayer:

Labbaeus  or Thaddeus are probably surnames  for Judas. This man has three names in the Bible. He is called Judas, the brother of James in Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13. No one knows for sure just which James [Ya`akov] is being referred to here. The assumption is that he is James, the less [Ya`akov HaKatan]. This would mean that another brother from this same dedicated family was an apostle of Yeshua! In John 14:21, Judas is called “Judas, not Iscariot“. In Bible times, Judas (Jude/Judah/Yehudah) was one of the most common Jewish names. (There are at least six men mentioned in the New Testament with this name). Today, no Believer would name his child Judas because of the infamy of Judas Iscariot. Elsewhere in the New Testament, this same man is referred to as Thaddaeus or Lebbaeus. These were probably nicknames. Thaddaeus means “breast-child” and usually was a nickname given to the baby of the family, one especially cherished by his mother. Likewise Lebbaeus means “heart-child” and has the same connotation.

Although, like James, the less, Judas is wrapped in obscurity, there is one incident in scripture where Judas asked a very important question, see John 14:21-24. On the night before the crucifixion, Yeshua, while teaching his disciples promised them that he would manifest himself to those who love him and keep his commandments, v. 21. It is an important statement – God manifests himself to a loving, obeying heart. The word “manifest” triggered Judas to respond to Yeshua’s comment with the question, “How will you manifest yourself to us and not unto the world?” (v. 22). Yeshua clarified His teaching by repeating the same principle again (vs. 23-24). Yeshua is saying that the kingdom of God is not immediately going to be an outward manifestation of Messiah’s rule but an inward one. Messiah will manifest himself to those who love and obey Him. Manifestation is limited to reception. It is like a radio station – Someone can send the signal out, but until you turn your radio on and tune in to the frequency, you cannot receive the program. Yeshua is saying, “The kingdom of God is not, at this time, going to happen outwardly. In the days to come, I can only manifest myself to those who receive Me, those who show that they love Me by their obedience.” It is a good thing indeed that Judas asked this question. His question helps us to understand that the unsaved man does “not receive the things of the Spirit of God which are spiritually discerned” (see I Corinthians 2:14). Judas’ question also reminds us of the importance of love and obedience.

In the “upper room”, this Judas [Judah/Yehudah] was probably waiting for Yeshua’s words to come to pass, and receive the “Manifestation” of  the Father and Messiah making their “abode” [home] in them, by the Promised Comforter, the Holy Spirit “abiding within them forever” [John 14:16, 26; 1 John 3:24 ]. He would have been very eager to get up and get dressed and travel to Temple, for an expectation of the manifestation of the Father’s Promise. At this point the disciples were unsure when it would happen. The Father used the Day of Shavuot, when He gave Israel the “Oral Law” first, and later the “Letter of the Law” of the Torah on the first two tablets [Matan Torah] , to also give us the “Spirit of the Law” [Matan HaRuach].

Judas, “Yehudah HaKatan”,  remind us of the importance of obscure people’s service to the Lord and of the blessing of seeing a family faithfully following Yeshua. He also reminds us to eagerly wait for the fulfillment of all the Messiah’s Mission and Mandate in our lives, as we allow the Father, and His Son to make their abode in us, by the Spirit HaShem has given us [1 John 3:24; 4:13]. May we continue in this example.

 


Day 5 of the Waiting Room & Day 45 of the Omer

Day 5 of the Waiting Room & Day 45 of the Omer

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Surrounding Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and  Days 2-4, the “Supporting Circle”, with Andrew [Simon Peter’s brother],  Philip [Friend of Bartholomew];  and Nathanael Bartholomew [Natan’El, Bar-Talemei]. Now we will see the third concentric circle around Yeshua.

The Surrounding Circle:

7.   Matthew [Matityahu] or Levi [HaLevi – “The Levite”] – Tax Collector; Publican

8.   Judas [Yehudah] the Zealot – Labbaeus or Thaddeus

9.   Simon [Shim’on] the Cananite [Kanani] – Simeon the Zealot

Matthew, also referred to as Levi, is mentioned in each of the four lists of the apostles. However, very little is said about him in the “gospels”. In fact, the only picture we have of him is given in one incident recorded in Matthew 9:9-13, Mark 2:14-17, and Luke 5:27-32. In his own list of the twelve, Matthew refers to himself in the third person, writing only “Matthew, the publican.” Notice that no other disciple in the list is associated with his job. Why then does Matthew make reference to himself as a tax collector? Was it something to be proud of? No! A publican was the most hated, despised, despicable human being in the society of Israel. Publicans were Jews who held a franchise from the Roman government authorizing them to collect taxes. They would collect the tax from the “Jews” [meaning “Judeans”: citizens of Judah/Judea] and give it to the Romans. The Roman government would stipulate a certain amount, and the publican was free to keep anything that he collected above that amount. This led to many abuses of the system. Publicans were considered by their fellow Jews to be traitors, extortioners and thieves. The public perception of publicans was very negative, see Matthew 5:46-47; 11:19; 18:17; 21:31-32; Luke 3:12; 15:1; 18:10-14; 19:2. For Matthew to identify himself as a publican was his way of admitting what an unworthy, sinful man he was before he met Yeshua.

As an apostle, Matthew wrote ‘his gospel” in the early period of the Messianic Movement of the first century, probably around 50 AD. This was a time when most believers were Jewish converts, so Matthew’s focus was a Jewish perspective, to Jewish People primarily.

Matthew is honored to write one of the most read gospels, the “Gospel of Matthew”, where he intends to prove to his “Jewish Community” that Yeshua is the promised Messiah. More than any other gospel, Matthew quotes the most prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures [TaNaKh], to show how Yeshua fulfilled the words of the Prophets of Israel.  Matthew describes in detail the lineage of Yeshua from King David, and uses many forms of speech that “Jews” would have been comfortable with. Matthew’s love and concern for his people is apparent through his meticulous approach to telling the gospel story, inspite of Israeli Perspective about tax-collectors, or publicans. They were viewed with the opposite thought of that of “Robin Hood”, who stole from the rich, and gave to the poor. These occupations were thought to be robbing the poor [in taxes], and giving it to the rich, which was Rome [Roman Empire].

Matthew would have been the accountant, and silent thinker of the “upper room” living quarters.

Here are 6 characteristics needed to be a great critical thinker:

1. Curiosity. Allow yourself to be curious. Great critical thinkers tune into their desire to continue learning and understanding how things work. Be inquisitive about anything and ask questions others may have but don’t ask.

2. Humility. Great critical thinkers understand that their ideas may not be the best and that they do not know everything. I once had a fortune cookie that told me, “knowledge comes from being humble” – that once you accept that you don’t know everything you’re more likely to continue your search for answers.

3. Ability to research. Don’t have an answer? Aren’t satisfied with an answer? Does something sound a little off? The ability to research things and bring in multiple resources will unveil a lot.

4. Active Listening. Don’t just hear what others have to say, engage in conversation.

5. Objectivity. Great critical thinkers have the ability to remain objective. They understand the goal, stay focused and don’t let their emotions (or others’) cloud their judgment.

6. Creativity. Allow yourself to be creative. Brainstorming without judgment can spark amazing ideas. Thinking outside the box may create a solution. Sometimes denying ourselves this freedom holds us back more than we’d like to think.

Matthew probably used these characteristics to balance the remnant of disciples in the “upper room” prayer and devotional time, before walking [shlepping] over to the Temple [Beit HaMikdash], and in the preparation and writing of “his gospel” years later [15-20 yrs possibly].

We as Messianic Believers should use these 6 characteristics, as great critical thinkers, to study, research and prepare before we communicate a clear “gospel” of the “Good News” that Yeshua is the Promised Messiah! Amen!

 



Day 4 of the Waiting Room & Day 44 of the Omer

Day 4 of the Waiting Room & Day 44 of the Omer

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Supporting Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and yesterday we focused on Philip, the “First Disciple”, who was part of the “Supporting Circle”, along with Andrew [Simon Peter’s brother] and Nathanael [Natan’El, Bar-Talemei].

The Supporting Circle:

4.   Andrew – Brother of Simon Peter; Fisherman

5.   Philip – Friend of Bartholomew; Fisherman

6.   Bartholomew (Nathanael) – Fisherman

Today Let’s “zone in” on Bartholomew: 

Bartholomew (probably a surname: Natan’El, Bar-Talemei) in Aramaic is Bar (son) Talamei or “Son of Talemei”. Talemai probably infers he was from Ptolemais. His Hebrew birth name was Nathanael  (Natan’El means –“Given by God”), according to the Apostle John (John.1:46-51). Nathanael (known by his surname, Bartholomew) apparently was a friend of Philip. He was from Cana of Galilee (John 21:2) so he was probably acquainted with the other apostles from Galilee. It is also safe to say, based on John 21:2 that before following Yeshua, he was a fishermen. Only one passage in the Bible really tells us anything about him – John 1:45-51. The way that Philip approached him indicates that Nathanael was a searcher of scripture and a seeker of divine truth. “We have found the one scripture told us about!” Nathanael knew that the Moses, the law and the prophets had promised a Messiah. The weakness in his character however was his sin of prejudice. “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” he asked. Prejudice is an uncalled-for generalization based on feelings of superiority. It is an ugly sin to make personal assumptions and public accusations against people based on their race, regional background, nationality or any other generalization. The fact that someone is different does not of itself make them inferior, lazy, stupid or dangerous. God is not a respecter of persons. Every person is of equal value to God. It was wrong for Nathanael to assume every person from Nazareth was “no-good” and it is wrong for us to be prejudice. Wisely, Philip did not answer Nathanael’s question. He simply invited Nathanael to meet Yeshua and find out for himself. It is to Nathanael’s credit that he did not allow his prejudice to keep him from going to Yeshua, v.47. Upon seeing Nathanael, Yeshua testified as to the sincerity of his heart. “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile.” [He was most likely reading about the Torah Portion about Jacob’s Ladder, in Parashat Vayetze, in Gen. 28:10-32:3], and the “deceit” in Jacob’s life towards his brother, Esau]. In other words, Nathanael had no hypocrisy or deceit [probably . Nathanael wondered out loud how Yeshua could claim to know him. Yeshua answered by revealing his omniscience. He sees and knows all things. Immediately, Nathanael believed in Yeshua and confessed him as Messiah, the Son of God and the King of Israel. It did not take a long time or a lot of proof for Nathanael to believe. He saw, he understood and he believed. Yeshua promised that he would see greater things, vs. 50-51.

Nathanael [or Natan-El in Hebrew, which means “Given by God”], was probably a “Gift from God” of honetsy and integrity, in the “upper room” living quarters of the disciples [Acts 1:13], as they prayed and encouraged each other [Acts 1:14] in the Scriptures that revealed the Coming Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh], or “Promise of the Father”. Maybe Nathanael, shared the early morning “devotion”, of Scripture Reading, to talk about the “Gift of God”, or Spirit of God [Ruach Elohim], that would come to fulfill Shavuot [also known from the Greek Septuagint, as Pentecosta, or “Pentecost”].

Every night the “upper room” was their sleeping quarter, or guest room on the upper level of a Jerusalem home, but the every morning after giving “Thanks” to HaShem [“Modeh Ani” prayer is an example of thanks to HaShem”], they would “shlep” over to the Temple for “Counting the Omer” celebration. While Peter was at times fearful, in the  of the persecution they might receive, for being Yeshua’s followers and disciples since His Death[Matt. 26:69-75], Nathanael [or his “surname”, Bartholomew – Bar-Talemai: “Son of Talemei”] was probably eager to get up, leave the “upper room”, to get to the “House of the LORD [Adonai]” and hear the Scriptures being read [Luke 24:53; Acts 2:46].

We should be quick to embrace Yeshua as our “Messiah”, the “King of Israel”, just like Nathanael. We should also walk in the integrity of Nathanael, just like Jacob, with some deceit in his life towards Esau, was transformed to “Israel” [YiSRa-El, a “prince with God” [Sar-El], who “strove” [sarita] with God and man to become the ruling “prince” [sar] that he was meant to be [Gen. 32].



Day 3 of the Waiting Room & Day 43 of the Omer

Day 3 of the Waiting Room & Day 43 of the Omer

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Supporting Circle”, since Day 1 of the “WAITING ROOM” we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan], and yesterday we focused on Andrew, the “Supporter”.

The Supporting Circle:

4.   Andrew [Andreas in Greek; from aner – “man”] – Brother of Simon Peter; Fisherman

5.   Philip [Phillipos – “Lover of Horses”] – Friend of Bartholomew; Fisherman

6.   Bartholomew [Nathanael – Natan-El “Gift of God”] – Fisherman

Today Let’s “zone in” on Philip: 

Philip was from Bethesda of Galilee. Philip in Greek means “Lover of horses”. This is Philip the apostle – not to be confused with Philip the deacon in Acts 6 who later became an “evangelist”. The name “Philip” is a Greek name. Although all twelve of the apostles were Jews, this man always went by his Greek name. He probably had a Jewish name as well, but it is not recorded in Scripture. According to John 1:44, Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Peter and Andrew. These three, along with James, John, Bartholomew and Thomas were all fishermen from Galilee, see John 21:2 (Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same person; the “other two” are probably Andrew and Philip). The first three gospels do not reveal anything about Philip, they only give his name. But John’s gospel mentions him four times (1:43-46; 6:5-7; 12:20-22; 14:8-11). By carefully analyzing Philip’s words and actions in these four incidents, we are able to make some conclusions about his character.

John 1:43-46 records the call of Philip to follow Yeshua. Apparently, Philip was the first one whom Yeshua called to be his disciple. Yeshua found Philip (v. 43) but Philip also found Yeshua (v. 45). Some have asked, “Does God find the person or does the person find God?” The answer is that both are true. (Compare Luke 19:10 and Jeremiah 29:13). God seeks after the true heart that seeks him. Philip had a seeking heart. Apparently, he and Nathanael had been studying the Old Testament scriptures and had learned that God had promised to send Messiah and he understood that Yeshua was the fulfillment of the promise. He also cared about his friend, On the occasion of the feeding of the five thousand, Philip is mentioned. The event recorded in John 6:5-7, gives deeper insight into the character of Philip. Yeshua’ question to Philip was a test, “to prove him.” Yeshua already knew the answer. But what about Philip? Why did Yeshua single out Philip with the question about where they could get enough food to feed the great multitude? For one thing, Philip was from the area where this event took place. Some Bible scholars have suggested that Philip was in charge of food, just as Judas was in charge of the money. For some reason, the thought that Yeshua could perform a miracle had never entered the mind of Philip. He had seen Yeshua turn water into wine and perform many healings. But Philip, as his answer reveals, was a man of practical, common sense measurements, methodical and mechanical, a facts-and-figures guy, with very little understanding of the supernatural. He was analytical, pragmatic and pessimistic. He had too much arithmetic to be adventurous and was so stuck on facts that he missed faith altogether. He was like a man standing before a mighty waterfall wondering where he could get a drink. His answer basically was, “We can’t do it. Send them away and let them ‘fend for themselves.” What he should have said was, “Lord, you made wine at Cana. You have done many mighty miracles. You have the power to make food to feed these people.”

Nathanael, and Philip had the heart of a soul winner. Friendships provide the most fertile soil for evangelism. The people whom we are most likely to be able to introduce to Yeshua are our friends. We need to be constantly making friends with unsaved people as well as care about the soul and eternal destiny of our friends. Philip cared about Nathanael and invited him to “come and see” for himself if Yeshua of Nazareth wasn’t the Messiah.

Philip probably helped count down the days until Shavuot, or Pentecost had fully come. He could have also been the human alarm clock to wake up and pray in their “upper room” living quarters, and daily services at the Temple [Beit HaMikdash].

 


Day 2 of the Waiting Room & Day 42 of the Omer

Day 2 of the Waiting Room & Day 42 of the Omer

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Let’s look at the “Supporting Circle”, since yesterday we examined the “Inner Circle” of Simon Peter [Shim’on Kefa], James [Ya’akov] and John [Yochanan].

The Supporting Circle:

4.   Andrew [Andreas in Greek; from aner – “man”] – Brother of Simon Peter; Fisherman

5.   Philip [Phillipos – “Lover of Horses”] – Friend of Bartholomew; Fisherman

6.   Bartholomew [Nathanael – Natan-El “Gift of God”] – Fisherman

Today Let’s “zone in” on Andrew: He was “Simon Peter’s younger brother”. In fact, of the 12 references to Andrew in scripture, six times he is referred to as Peter’s brother (Mt. 4:18; 10:2; Mark 1:16; Luke 6:14; John 1:40; 6:8) and only once is he mentioned without any connection to Peter. Andrew was one of those people whose influence is obscured because he lived in the shadow of his brother. He was a native of Bethsaida, a little village in Galilee. Like his brother, Andrew was a fisherman. In fact, in Matthew 4:18-20, we learn that he was down at the sea fishing with Peter when Yeshua came to them and called them to be “fishers of men.

Andrew isn’t mentioned in any detail at all in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, or Luke, but in the gospel of John, Andrew emerges from the background. We learn from John that before becoming a disciple of Messiah, Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist. It was John the Baptist [Yochanan, “The Immerser”] who introduced Andrew to Messiah with the words “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world(see John 1:35-40). After spending one day with Yeshua, Andrew understood that Yeshua was the Messiah.

The ministry of Simon Peter was a result of the concern of Andrew. Andrew was never famous; he was always overshadowed by his brother. He probably couldn’t “preach” like Peter, but he led the “preacher”, Peter, to the Lord! Peter may have had the electric personality, but Andrew was the magnet. Andrew is characterized by his concern, telling his brother about Yeshua, his sensitivity, taking time to meet a boy in a huge crowd, his faith, believing that the Messiah could take a little and do a lot with it, by his openness, willing to overcome the common prejudices of his day and of his people and introduce Gentiles [Goyim] to Yeshua, and by his humility, willing to live his life in the shadow of his dynamic brother, willing to play second fiddle.

Andrew as a “supporter” of Simon his brother, and especially Yeshua, his Rabbi & Messiah, probably waited patiently for HaShem to fulfill His Promise of empowerment, by the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh]. The “upper room” dwelling quarters became a constant place of prayer, communion, and “brotherly love” amongst his “brethren“, and fellow disciples, every morning before daily walking to the Temple for the Counting of the Omer of the Barley Harvest. He probably continued to remind his brother Simon of the teachings and prophecies that Yeshua instilled within them, would not fail, but be fulfilled just like Messiah said.


Day 1 of the Waiting Room & Day 41 of the Omer 1

Day 1 of the Waiting Room & Day 41 of the Omer

After Yeshua resurrected from the Dead, He appeared to His Disciples and Followers for FORTY GLORIOUS DAYS [Acts 1:1-8] during the first FORTY DAYS of Counting the Omer, of presenting the First Fruits of the Barley Harvest to HaShem, through the Priesthood [Cohanim] in the Temple [Beit HaMikdash]. This reveals Yeshua as the “First Fruits from the Dead”. Five Hundred other believers resurrected with Him to further fulfill this Feast, or Holy Season unto Adonai [LORD].

The Messiah picked His “Disciples by the Dozen”, and the Twelve became Apostles [minus Judas], after the Holy Spirit came upon them, as Yeshua prophesied! This happened on Shavuot [the Feast of Weeks], also known from the Greek as “Pentecost” [meaning 50 Days].

Imagine what the Disciples felt after their Messiah was seemingly dead, and what they probably thought was going to be their fatal ending too, as His followers. Rome would usually crucify the “Ring Leader”, or the rebel heading up the “revolt” against the Roman Empire. This is why Yeshua taught them to “take up their cross”, if they were going to follow Him. Out of the “Twelve”, let’s consider His “Inner Circle, as we imagine the “WAITING ROOM” of expectation for the Holy Spirit’s Outpouring this Shavuot!:

The Inner Circle:

1.   Simon Peter [Shim`on Kefa] – Leader of Pack; Brother of Andrew

2.   James [Ya`akov] – Older Brother of John

3.   John [Yochanan] – Younger Brother of James

Peter was the most outgoing of all the disciples. His birth-name was Simon (or Simeon in Hebrew meaning: hear or listen). He possibly needed to learn to listen more (to parents, elders, good advice of others), especially before he spoke. He would usually speak before thinking. Yeshua changed his name to Peter (Greek: rock or little stone) and/or Cephas (or Kefa in Aramaic for rock or stone). Jesus was going to develop Simon Peter into a stable disciple and leader. His occupation as a fisherman, with his brother Andrew, was going to be used to greatly to be a “fisher of men”.

James and John as brothers (sons of Zebedee) were called the “Sons of Thunder”. They were probably both young, zealous & energetic, and looked up to their friend Simon Peter for being bold enough to say whatever felt. The three of them made an interesting trio.

Yeshua enjoyed having these three disciples around him all the time because they were eager to go with him without question. They had nothing to lose. Why not follow Jesus, their Rabbi?

He was a natural born leader. He was going places. He was teaching and doing things that others were reluctant to do.

If there ever was a train to jump on and ride, this was the one?

For Peter there was going to be newly gained respect from his friends and fellow peers. Popularity came easy for him, and attention was something that he was used to receiving.

But respect is what he wanted. As Simon, he wanted people to listen to him, like his two younger friends James & John.

James and John, on the other hand, were looking for success and position, which was something that the fishing was not giving them. They hoped that if they hung with Peter who was now following Jesus, maybe they would get somewhere. For they were previous followers of John the Baptist, but that train was coming to a stop shortly.

John, separate from his brother James, was young, impressionable, and eager to follow this great master teacher, and rabbi. John was the “Beloved”, that rested on the bosom of Yeshua, his mentor. This is the common respect and adoration, that was given to rabbis by their students [disciples – talmidim in Hebrew] of first century Judaism. John became the disciple, and later the apostle that understood the true Messiahship and Divine Essence of who Yeshua really was. The intimate relationship that he developed with his Lord, gave him the ability to write his eye-witness account of the Gospel of Jesus, three encouraging epistles, or letters to the Body of Believers, and a final revelation of Yeshua prophetic fulfillment and establishment of the Davidic Kingdom on earth in the book of Revelation. His youth did not impede his maturity in spirit, and passionate zeal to God, and His people.

Even the tops disciples had the potential to “crack” under pressure. Simon Peter denied Yeshua, even though he cut off an ear, to zealously show his devtion and loyalty to the Messiah. If these disciples has “issues” that needed “sifting”, like the “fine flour” of the Grain Offering at the Temple during this season, how much more should we allow the Holy Spirit to examine or lives as we WAIT in the “WAITING ROOM”.