- The closing testimony of Yochanan ben Zechariah
- Overlapping ministries
- The Mikva’ot of the prophet of the Most High and the Messiah
- The sacred site of the mikveh
- The joy of the Special Friend
- The Spokesman for the Shlichim explains…
- The One Who is Above All
- The Rabbi from Heaven
- The Perfect Seal (Absolute Truth) of Adonai
- The Endowment of the Twin works of the Grace of Adonai
The closing testimony of Yochanan ben Zechariah:
וַיְהִי אַחֲרֵי הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיָּבֹא יֵשׁוּעַ וְתַלְמִידָיו אֶל־אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה וַיֵּשֶׁב־שָׁם עִמָּהֶם וַיִּטְבֹּל׃ וְגַם יוֹחָנָן הָיָה טֹבֵל בְּעֵינוֹן קָרוֹב לְשָׁלֵם כִּי־שָׁם הָיוּ מַיִם לָרֹב וַיָּבֹאוּ וַיִּטָּבֵלוּ׃ כִּי עוֹד לֹא־נִתַּן יוֹחָנָן אֶל־בֵּית הַסֹּהַר׃ וַתְּהִי מַחֲלֹקֶת בֵּין תַּלְמִידֵי יוֹחָנָן וּבֵין יְהוּדִי עַל־דְּבַר הַטָּהֳרָה׃ וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־יוֹחָנָן וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו רַבִּי הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הָיָה עִמְּךָ בְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן וַאֲשֶׁר הַעִידֹתָ לּוֹ הִנּוֹ טֹבֵל וְכֻלָּם בָּאִים אֵלָיו׃ וַיַּעַן יוֹחָנָן וַיֹּאמַר לֹא־יוּכַל אִישׁ לָקַחַת דָּבָר בִּלְתִּי אִם־נִתַּן־לוֹ מִן־הַשָּׁמָיִם׃ וְאַתֶּם עֵדַי אֲשֶׁר אָמַרְתִּי אֵינֶנִּי הַמָּשִׁיחַ רַק־שָׁלוּחַ אֲנִי לְפָנָיו׃ אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ הַכַּלָּה הוּא הֶחָתָן וְרֵעַ הֶחָתָן הָעֹמֵד וְשֹׁמֵעַ אֹתוֹ שָׂמוֹחַ יִשְׂמַח לְקוֹל הֶחָתָן הִנֵּה שִׂמְחָתִי זֹאת עַתָּה שְׁלֵמָה׃ הוּא יִגְדַּל הָלוֹךְ וְגָדֵל וַאֲנִי אֶחְסַר הָלוֹךְ וְחָסוֹר׃
After these things, the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua) and His talmadin came to the land of Yehuda. He stayed there with them and immersed (the people of Israel). Yochanan (ben Zechariah) also was immersing in water in Einon near Shalem because there was plenty of water there. People came and immersed, for Yochanan had not yet been placed in prison. There was a controversy between the talmadin of Yochanan and a Yehudi on the matter of purification. They came to Yochanan and said to him,”Rabbi, the man who was with you on the other side of the Yarden and of whom you testified is now immersing and they are all going to Him! (For His mikveh. His spiritual cleansing.) Yochanan (ben Zechariah) answered and said, “No one is able to take anything except what is given to him from Heaven. And you are my witnesses that I have said I am not the Mashiach; I am only sent before Him. The one who has the bride is the groom, and the friend of the groom who stands and hears Him will surely rejoice at the Voice of the Groom. Now my joy is complete! He will go on increasing and increasing and I will go on diminishing and diminishing.”
For a brief period of time the prophetic ministry of Yochanan ben Zechariah (lit. Adonai Remembers His Grace) overlapped the ministry of the Messiah. For a small window of time the countryside of Judah was alive with the prophet’s message of Teshuvah (the return to God) and the Messiah’s message of the arrival of the kingdom of Adonai. The prophet Yochanan and His more famous cousin the Messiah Yeshua drew massive crowds wherever they went. Both of these incredible servants of Adonai had accepted disciples. Both practiced the immersing of their followers in water as a sign of the return to Adonai (repentance) and of their faith in the Divine Redemption; which is the efficient means for our people (Israel) to receive cleansing for our sins.
The Mikveht of the prophet of the Most High and the Messiah:
This mass mikveh of the people of Israel was a sign that the people of Israel were seeking as a national body to be reconciled to the Holy One.
The mikveh also served as a symbol of conversion to faith in Adonai by the God fearers (Gentile believers). This mass hope and expectation for personal, national, and even international redemption was best practiced through our people exercising faith in the redemptive ministry of our Kinsman Redeemer, the Messiah. The sacrifice of Messiah was the infallible means by which the Spirit of Holiness had promised to cast all of the sins of our people and our nation into the sea of forgetfulness. Whereas the prophet of the Most High immersed his followers in water, the Messiah did not. Rather, the Messiah left the actual administration of His mikveh to His talmidin (disciples). The Anointed One acted as the overseer of this work of cleansing. He delegated the privileged administration of this sign of grace (immersion into the waters of a mikveh) to His hand-picked followers (an inner-circle of talmidin who eventually were Twelve in number).
The sacred site of the mikveh:
The site of “Aenon near Salim” was about three miles from Shechem; located midpoint between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee. Both reform movements (of Yochanan and Yeshua) were simultaneously immersing people in water and proclaiming the need for the practice of repentance for sin and for the entire national populace of Israel to Return to Adonai. The timeline of these events that are referenced in the Proceedings of the Heavenly Court occurred “before” Yochanan the Prophet was “put in prison.” Later on the Prophet of El-Elyon was unjustly put in prison by Herod Antipas, the Idumean (descendant of Esau) ruler who was appointed by Rome to rule as Tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea. The testimony given at this juncture briefly rests upon a question about the mikveh (ceremonial washing) administered by the prophet Yochanan ben Zachariah that appeared to the religious leaders to be a substitute for the mikva’ot of the Prushim leadership (i.e. substitute for the mikva’ot of the tannaim). Therefore, an inquirer asked the prophet’s followers, “Why should I join your group?” The background to the question was: “Why should any Jew (Yehudi) want to participate in yet another cleansing ordinance, the mikveh of the prophet Yochanan?” “Why was not the mikva’ot of the Prushim and Essenes adequate?” Furthermore, “Why would any Jew receive the mikveh of the prophet Yochanan when he could receive instead the mikveh of the Messiah Yeshua (who Yochanan proclaimed to be the Messiah)?”
The rising popularity of the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua Ha-Mashiach) provoked some anger and jealousy among the zealous followers of the prophet Yochanan. Some of the prophet’s own followers were more dedicated to his personal leadership than they were to the one the prophet had declared to be the Messiah. No doubt these loyal supporters missed the days when their Master (Rabbi Yochanan) was the one voice that the entire nation and people listened to. The greatness of the prophet Yochanan ben Zechariah is captured in his humble response to his followers complaints that his popularity was in decline because of the rapidly rising popularity of the Messiah Yeshua. “A man can receive only what is given him from heaven.” The prophet of the *Remembrance of the Grace of Adonai (Yochanan ben Zebedee) “reminded” his followers that he had formerly taught them that he was not the Messiah and that he was the one who had been sent ahead (the Elijah to come) to do a work of preparing the way for the Messiah.
[*Our brother David likes to say there are two aspects to our remembering (not one): that first there is the “reminding;” and then there is the “remembering.” At the first Adonai our Father does the reminding; hence He sends His prophets to us. However, after the reminding we are to do the remembering. “How do we do that?” David’s reply, “Make certain you meditate on the D’var HaShem every day.” For Messiah has taught us to ask Avinu Shebashamayim to “Give us this day our daily bread” (את לחם חקנו תן לנו היום); and this is a request that our Father in heaven remind us to remember to consume the bread of heaven each and every day (lest we forget to consume His manna, and His Word become spoiled to us).]
Rather than being disappointed, the prophet said he was full of joy that the knowledge of the Messiah was spreading throughout the land of Israel. He likened his joyous role to that of a “friend of the bridegroom.” In the Middle East, at this time, the friend of the bridegroom was a special assistant, not the central participant in the marriage. The assistant made the preliminary arrangements for the marriage and after the wedding he acted as the Master of Ceremonies for the post-wedding marriage supper and celebration.
The joy of the Special Friend of the Bridegroom:
The prophet who (perpetually) reminds us of the coming of the Grace of Adonai, the coming of the Salvation of Adonai (the Messiah Yeshua), is the same one who points out who the eternal High Priest of Israel is (the “Groom”). The Groom (the human proxy of Adonai) is the One who came to actually “redeem” the Bride. Of this same One the prophet declared: “Behold the Lamb of Adonai who takes away the sin of the world!” Yochanan ben Zecariah’s work was to prepare the way for the arrival of the Permanent High Priest and Groom of Israel. This he did by calling His extended Hebrew family members to return to Adonai by observing a new ordinance of messianic cleansing.
The mikveh of Yochanan ben Zechariah was an immersion into the promised cleansing waters of “Adonai’s Grace;” a cleansing that was only made possible by the atoning sacrifice of the Messiah. Forgiveness would be dispensed not on the basis of man’s imperfect works but on the basis of the unblemished, perfectly virtuous works of the Messiah! The herald of Messiah, Yochanan, came calling the people of Israel to Teshuvah and immersing them in the water. The Messiah came calling the people to return to Adonai and immersing them in the Presence of the Spirit of Holiness. Therefore, the prophet rejoiced in Adonai’s Divine will, plan, and order that made the Messiah “greater” than he (and all of the other prophets who had come before him).
The Spokesman for the Shlichim explains…
Of the prophet’s closing words of testimony that he (and all of the prophets before him) must “decrease” so that “He” (of whom the prophets testified to) might “increase,” the Spokesperson for the Sent Ones explains:
הַבָּא מִמַּעַל נַעֲלֶה עַל־כֹּל וַאֲשֶׁר מֵאֶרֶץ מֵאֶרֶץ הוּא וּמֵאֶרֶץ יְדַבֵּר הַבָּא מִשָּׁמַיִם נַעֲלֶה עַל־כֹּל׃ וְאֵת אֲשֶׁר רָאָה וְשָׁמַע אֹתוֹ יָעִיד וְאֵין מְקַבֵּל עֵדוּתוֹ׃ וַאֲשֶׁר קִבֵּל עֵדוּתוֹ הוּא חָתוֹם חָתַם כִּי הָאֱלֹהִים אֱמֶת׃ כִּי אֲשֶׁר שְׁלָחוֹ אֱלֹהִים הוּא יְדַבֵּר דִּבְרֵי אֱלֹהִים כִּי־לֹא בַמִּדָּה נֹתֵן אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָרוּחַ׃ הָאָב אֹהֵב אֶת־בְּנוֹ וְאֶת־כֹּל נָתַן בְּיָדוֹ׃ כָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין בַּבֵּן יֶשׁ־לוֹ חַיֵּי עוֹלָם וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא יַאֲמִין בַּבֵּן לֹא יִרְאֶה חַיִּים כִּי אִם־חֲרוֹן אַף אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁכֹּן עָלָיו׃
“The One who comes from above is exalted over all, but one from the earth is from the earth, and of the earth he will speak. The One who comes from Heaven is exalted over all. What He sees and hears is what He will testify, but none will accept His testimony. The one who accepts His testimony has surely signified (literally has sealed) that Adonai is True (הָאֱלֹהִים אֱמֶת). For the One Adonai sent will speak the words of Adonai, for Adonai gives (to Messiah) the Spirit without measure. The Father loves His Son, and gives everything into His Hand. All who believe in the Son have eternal life, and whoever does not believe in the Son will not see life; rather, the burning wrath of Adonai will dwell upon him.”
The One Who is Above All:
Who is it that comes from above and is above all but the Messiah? No one else has come from “out of eternity into creation.”
Messiah is the Son of the Eternal One. He is the Eternal Word through whom everything was made. He was the Spirit of the Holy One before He became something that He had never been before. In His power to exist in one place and every other place at the same time the Holy One entered the womb of the Jewess Mary and became the “seed of the woman.” The Holy One became the Messiah who is the Almighty One with Us (Emmanuel) and the personified Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua). Prior to the moment of the beginning of Chanukkah (6 BCE) the Eternal One dwelt as the ineffable Divine Spirit in a Place (a state of existence) that is vastly beyond our human understanding. At the exact moment the Eternal Light was symbolically relit in the JerusalemTemple, on the first day of the Winter Feast, the Most Holy One entered the sacred Temple of the body of the Jewess Mary. At that moment the barrenness of heaven ceased. For sense the time of the first Adam there had been no other Son of Adonai born among men. For as the first Adam sinned, so all of Adam’s line have sinned. All the race of Adam were made after the fallen likeness of Adam. No one until the miracle birth of the Seed of the Women existed as a perfect being, who is perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect. On the first of the moment of the beginning of Chanukkah the God of the Beginning in all holiness not only conceived of a second Adam ben Elohim but He actually cloaked Himself in the form of a child (an embryo in the physical womb of Mary).
The second and Last Adam alone was able to overcome all of the rulers, authorities, powers, and all of the spiritual wickedness that dwell in the high places. Nothing can overcome the One who was born out of eternity into creation because all of the Deity of the Spirit of Holiness dwells in the Last Adam bodily! This the Spirit of Holiness did so that “He” might personally, by His own Divine virtue and power deliver us once and for all; both physically and spiritually.
The Deliverer that Moses promised is greater than all because He is Adonai cloaked in the human form of His Son.
The Eternal One sent His Beloved Son into the world to deliver His beloved children from the exceedingly powerful bondage that had been placed upon them by the wicked oppressive works of the evil one.
The Rabbi from Heaven:
הַבָּא מִמַּעַל נַעֲלֶה עַל־כֹּל וַאֲשֶׁר מֵאֶרֶץ מֵאֶרֶץ הוּא וּמֵאֶרֶץ יְדַבֵּר הַבָּא מִשָּׁמַיִם נַעֲלֶה עַל־כֹּל׃
He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all!
In the testimony of the prophets and the sent ones we learn of the supremacy of the Messiah. From their joint testimony we discover the Righteous One originally came from heaven, therefore, His words are unique from those of any other Rabbi. The Rabbi from Heaven alone possesses the heavenly perspective. Every other human rabbi is limited by his earthy perspective. As the testimony indicates the teachers of the earthly perspective belong to the earth and are “from the earth.”
The Rabbi from heaven is the sole teacher who possesses the heavenly perspective.
The One who is “from heaven is above all.” He is preeminent. It is absolutely absurd that the teachers of the earthly perspective would ever think themselves qualified to judge the Teacher from heaven. Yet that is exactly what they have done and continue to do. “What He has seen and heard, of that He testifies.” The words Messiah has spoken have come from His pre-existent knowledge and communion with His Father (Adonai) who dwells in heaven (and who dwells ‘bodily’ in His Son Emmanuel-Yeshua).
“And no man receives His testimony.”
In spite of this clear, reliable, visible, manifestation of the Divine Presence in the Messiah (His Beloved Son): Israel and humankind as a whole continue to reject the (Besorah) Message of Messiah. The indictment of the Court of Heaven is that anyone who rejects the Message of Messiah is in fact calling Adonai a “liar.” For it is none other than Adonai’s own Spirit of Holiness that attests to and certifies to the truthfulness of the Testimony of Messiah.
The Father in heaven has set His own Seal to the absolute truthfulness (emet) of the witness that Yeshua is M’shicho (His Messiah) “sent” from heaven to deliver redeemed humanity from the twin bondages of sin and death. The Rabbi of heaven came to earth so that the children of Adonai might be reconciled unto the Father and given the gift of eternal life.
The Perfect Seal (Absolute Truth) of Adonai:
כִּי אֲשֶׁר שְׁלָחוֹ אֱלֹהִים הוּא יְדַבֵּר דִּבְרֵי אֱלֹהִים כִּי־לֹא בַמִּדָּה נֹתֵן אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָרוּחַ׃
For He whom Adonai has sent speaks the words of Adonai; for He gives (to the Messiah) the Spirit without measure.
The Messiah speaks the perfect Truth of Adonai because He possesses the full “endowment” of the Spirit of Grace and Truth. The prophets had the Spirit for limited purposes and limited times. In contrast, the Messiah has received the full measure of the Spirit of the Holy One without limit. For this very reason the Messiah is the perfect Spokesperson for Adonai. He “speaks the words of Adonai.”
In former times the Holy One spoke through the prophets, now He speaks through His Beloved Son.
Adonai after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son. He is the radiance of Adonai’s eternal glory and the exact representation of His nature. It is the Messiah who upholds all things by the Power of His Word. When the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua) made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”?
And again to which of the angels has Adonai has said, “I will be a Father to Him and He shall be a Son to Me”? And when He again brings His firstborn into the world, He says, “and let all the angels of Adonai worship Him.” For to which of the angels has He ever said, “sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”? (cf. Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14; 1 Chronicles 17:13; Deuteronomy 32:43-cf. Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint; Psalm 110:1).
אֲסַפְּרָה אֶֽל חֹק ה’ אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיֹּום יְלִדְתִּֽיךָ׃
I will surely tell of the decree of Adonai:
He said to Me, “You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.”
אֲנִי אֶהְיֶה־לֹּו לְאָב וְהוּא יִהְיֶה־לִּי לְבֵן אֲשֶׁר בְּהַעֲוֹתֹו וְהֹֽכַחְתִּיו בְּשֵׁבֶט אֲנָשִׁים וּבְנִגְעֵי בְּנֵי אָדָֽם׃
“I will be a Father to him and he will be a Son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men” (i.e. He will have to live under the Law like any other Jew and prove Himself).
אֲנִי אֶֽהְיֶה־לֹּו לְאָב וְהוּא יִֽהְיֶה־לִּי לְבֵן וְחַסְדִּי לֹא־אָסִיר מֵֽעִמֹּו כַּאֲשֶׁר הֲסִירֹותִי מֵאֲשֶׁר הָיָה לְפָנֶֽיךָ׃
“I will be his Father and he shall be My Son; and I will not take My lovingkindness away from him, as I took it from him who was before you.”
הַרְנִינוּ גֹויִם עַמֹּו כִּי דַם־עֲבָדָיו יִקֹּום וְנָקָם יָשִׁיב לְצָרָיו וְכִפֶּר אַדְמָתֹו עַמֹּֽו׃
Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And will render vengeance on His adversaries,
And will atone for His land and His people.
לְדָוִד מִזְמֹור נְאֻם ה’ לַֽאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִֽימִינִי עַד־אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶֽיךָ׃
A Psalm of David.
The ADONAI says to My Adonai:
“Sit at My right hand
Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”
The above quoted passage from the psalms is mentioned twenty-two times in the Brit HaChadashah.
In the Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls it is written as “Adonai says to My Adonai.” This means it is highly likely that the Bramble Bush Masoretic Text (MT) was deliberately altered here seven hundred to a thousand years after the Messiah’s appearance on earth. The MT (cf. the Masoretic Text and Ancient Hebrew) was primarily copied, edited and distributed between the 7th and 10th centuries CE. Though the consonants differ little from the text generally accepted in the early second century (and also differ little from some Qumran texts that are even older), it has numerous differences of both greater and lesser significance when compared to (extant 4th century) manuscripts of the Septuagint, a Greek translation (made in the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE) of the Hebrew Scriptures that was in popular use in Egypt and Israel (and that is often quoted in the Brit Chadashah).
In His Besorah of the Grace of Adonai, Yochanan ben Zebedee repeatedly refers to the Messiah as “the one whom Adonai has sent.” Forty times in the besorah account of the Endowment of the Grace of Adonai there is specific reference made to the Messiah being sent by Adonai. This affirms the heavenly origin of the Messiah. It also attests to the reality that the Messiah is the Son of the Holy One; that all of the Divine Presence dwells in Him bodily.
הָאָב אֹהֵב אֶת־בְּנוֹ וְאֶת־כֹּל נָתַן בְּיָדוֹ׃
The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His Hand.
The eternal relationship between the Father and the Son is one of intimate love. All of the Divine power and authority of the Father is endowed in the Son so that He might accomplish all of the Father’s purposes. The Father has exercised complete confidence in His Beloved Son whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. In the Son dwells all of the radiance of Adonai’s glory. This is so because the Beloved One is the “exact” representation of the nature of Adonai.
The Endowment of the Twin works of the Grace of Adonai:
כָּל־הַמַּאֲמִין בַּבֵּן יֶשׁ־לוֹ חַיֵּי עוֹלָם וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא יַאֲמִין בַּבֵּן לֹא יִרְאֶה חַיִּים כִּי אִם־חֲרוֹן אַף אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁכֹּן עָלָיו׃
He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of Adonai abides on him.
From the testimony of the Fourth Face of Ezekiel, within the (four-fold) corpus of the official record of the Proceedings of the Heavenly Court, we learn that humankind is ultimately presented with just two options: “Believe in the Beloved Son” (hear, understand, and obey Him); or don’t “obey Him” (reject Him). It is a tragedy to ignore the clear light that is given to us by the Spirit of Holiness. If we reject the Message of Messiah we are rejecting the only means by which we can forensically be rescued from the natural consequence of our sins. This is the only time that the word “wrath” is used in the Besorah of the Endowment of the Grace of Adonai (lit. meaning of the Beloved Disciple’s name). The twin “endowment” in view here that the Chesed (loving-kindness) of Adonai brings to us is the cleansing redemptive work of Messiah and the sanctifying-perfecting work of the Spirit of Holiness. If we ignore or reject these twin works of grace then the Spirit of the Father will reject us. For it is a true saying: “He who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of Adonai abides on him.”