Parable #3. Lamp on a Stand #1 (of 2):
- Today is Day #3
- The Third Mashal of Messiah
- You are the Light of the World
- The necessity of Good Works
- Messiah’s disciples are different than the followers of today
- Only the Good Works of the Holy Spirit can change the World!
- Only the Spirit can Illuminate the World as bright as the Temple on Sukkot
- The Festival of Sukkot and the City of Light on a Hill
Today is Day #3:
1. Today is “Day #3″ in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is Three days of the Omer.
.היום שלושה ימים בעומר
Haiyom shloshah yamim ba’omer.
“You shall count for yourselves — from the day after the Shabbat, from the day when you bring the Omer of the waving — seven Shabbats, they shall be complete. Until the day after the seventh sabbath you shall count, fifty days.” (Leviticus). “You shall count for yourselves seven weeks, from when the sickle is first put to the standing crop shall you begin counting seven weeks. Then you will observe the Festival of Shavu’ot for Adonai Eloheinu.” (Deuteronomy).
“Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer.”
ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וצוונו על ספירת העומר.פ
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.
The Third Mashal of Messiah:
אַתֶּם אוֹרוֹ שֶׁל־עוֹלָם עִיר יֹשֶׁבֶת עַל־הָהָר לֹא תִסָּתֵר׃ גַּם אֵין מַדְלִיקִים נֵר לָשׂוֹּם אוֹתוֹ תַּחַת הָאֵיפָה כִּי אִם־עַל־הַמְּנוֹרָה לְהָאִיר לְכָל־אֲשֶׁר בַּבָּיִת׃ כֵּן יָאֵר אוֹרְכֶם לִפְנֵי בְּנֵי הָאָדָם לְמַעַן יִרְאוּ מַעֲשֵׂיכֶם הַטּוֹבִים וְשִׁבְּחוּ אֶת־אֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָׁמָיִם׃
“You are the Light of the world. A city that sits on the mountain will not be hidden, nor do people kindle a lamp just to put it under the bushel measure, but on the menorah, to illuminate all who are in the house. So also, shine your light before sons of men, so that they may see your good deeds (מַעֲשֵׂיכֶם-ma’asikim) and praise Avikhem Shebashamayim (אֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָׁמָיִם-your Father in Heaven).”
You are Light of the World:
A light is meant to shine and give direction.
The disciples of Rabbi Yeshua were expected to radiate the life of their Master, the Mashiach Yeshua, who had called them to be His followers. In this way the disciples of Messiah were lighting the way for others to follow the Anointed One too. The disciples were not called to be The Light. They were called upon to be the lights that guide others to the Righteous One who is the Light of the World (Or Ha’Olam). Through the good works of the first generation of Messiah’s Jewish followers the Testimony of Messiah has been heard and embraced by countless followers all over the world.
The necessity of Good Works:
The great success of the original Jewish followers of Messiah was not an accident.
It is no secret how just twelve common men trained by a poor Jewish Carpenter could change the entire world. The humble Carpenter from Nazareth (the Branch) tells you how: “You are the Light of the world. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Messiah’s answer as to how His Good News Message (besorah) changed the world is “the good works of His Jewish disciples.” The followers of the Master found quick success in reaching the masses through the good works that they did. However, there was a significant difference in belief between the Talmidin of the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua) and the other two main factions of Judaism: the Prushim rabbinate and the Tzedukkim (צְדוּקִים-Sadducees) priesthood regarding the source of their deeds.
The followers of Messiah believed the source of their good works originated solely from the virtue of the Holy Spirit.
In contrast, the self-proclaimed rabbinical separatists (Prushim) and priestly righteous ones (*צְדוּקִים) believed the source of their good works originated solely from their own personal virtue; that is their own will-power and their own natural strengths and abilities.
Messiah’s disciples were different than the followers of today:
The first century Jewish followers of Messiah were an incredibly different group of people than most of the gentile followers of the Messiah Yeshua today. There is no doubt in our mind that if the first century Jewish Shlichim were living today they would be speaking the truth (in love) to us in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin in a very fiery and convicting manner.
The first talmadin of Messiah did not succeed in turning the world upside-down without personal sacrifice. The Jewish Shlichim (Emissaries, Sent Ones) of the Messiah denied themselves. They suffered. Their message was delivered with strength, overcoming courage, and above all—love. The original Jewish followers spoke clearly and forcibly. They boldly and courageously proclaimed the truths of Adonai with uncompromising conviction.
Many of these first century messianic Jews lived in very harsh and hateful circumstances. They sacrificed everything for their Jewish faith. They gladly sacrificed their lives for the greater cause of serving Adonai Avinu by obeying His Messiah (whom He sent to Israel), the Messiah Ben Yosef, the lowly carpenter from Nazareth.
These first century Yehudim (Jews) were personally recruited and trained by the Messiah.
Unlike the soft, comfortable, self-preoccupied followers of America and Europe today the first generation followers of Messiah were taught to be selfless. The Mashiach taught them to always put the needs of others before their own self-interests. These messianic Yehudim (and their Gentile converts) were told to sell everything they had and give it to the poor. The original Jewish followers of Mashiach were given a choice between living an easy life of social acceptance or a challenging life of persecution, sacrifice, suffering, and even martyrdom. The original disciples fully embraced the teachings of the Messiah. No matter the cost.
Only the Good Works of the Holy Spirit can change the World!
True to their calling the disciples of the Messiah became a City on a Hill. But how? How could such common Jewish men do such extraordinary, fantastic things?
The blind were made to see;
The lame were made to walk;
Even the dead were raised back to life.
How could this be? The answer can be found in Messiah’s use of the word “Way.” The Way (HaDerech) He is referring to is the Life of the Holy Spirit who is our permanent Helper (Ezra and Eliezer). When Messiah ascended into heaven on the fortieth day between Firstfruits (HaBikkurim) and the Feast of Weeks (Shavuot) He promised not to leave us (His followers) as orphans. He promised He would ask the Father in heaven (Avinu Shebashamayim) to send us the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise was kept on Shavuot. The gift of the Spirit was given to Israel on the fiftieth day after the barley sheaf was offered up as an offering of the firstfruits in the Jerusalem Temple.
Only the Spirit can Illuminate the World as bright as the Temple on Sukkot:
Only through our fully yielding ourselves to “The Way” (HaDerek) of the Holy Spirit and our learning how to Walk (הֲלָכָה-Halakhah) aright “in the Spirit” can Messiah’s followers ever hope to be His powerful witnesses in the world; to once again be His holy City of Light on a Hill. So what does this phrase The Way (הַדֶּרֶךְ-HaDerek) of Adonai really mean? What is the Master referring to when He is referring to His followers being the Light of the World and a City on a Hill? He is especially referring to His Jewish followers one day becoming a City of Light to the World like the brilliantly lighted Temple Mount once was in the fall during the Festival of Sukkot (Booths).
The Festival of Sukkot and the City of Light on a Hill:
Insight #1. Once a year in ancient times, when the Temple was still standing upon Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, the temple courts were lit up like a City of Lights on a Hill bathed in brilliant light. On the first day of the fall Festival of Sukkot the Temple Mount became the brilliantly lit city that Messiah was alluding to. Four huge seventy-five foot Golden Lampstands which stood upon the Temple Mount in the Court of the Women were lit up with such a bright illumination that it was said that the blinding lights from the Temple Mount caused the entire city of Jerusalem to exist in a state of unending daytime throughout all of the days and nights of the feast.
Insight #2. One of the most special times in all of the annual Jewish festival experiences was when, at the close of the first day of the seven day feast of Sukkot, the people of Israel joyously processed together to the Temple Court of the Women. It was there that the Four Outdoor Lampstands were erected. The Four Lampstands possessed four golden bowls and against each one rested a ladder. Four youths of priestly descent held four pitchers capable of holding over ten gallons of oil (*one hundred and twenty log), from which they filled each bowl. The old, worn, tattered priestly garments of the priests served as wicks to light the four lamps, for the garments were no longer suitable for service but were too sacred to merely be discarded (cf. the 1st mashal of Messiah). In Mishnah Sukkah (cf. 5:1-4) it is written:
“One who has not seen the simchat beit hasho’eivah has never seen happiness.”
At the conclusion of the first yom tov of the holiday [Sukkot], they went down to the ezrat nashim [courtyard for women and men]. There were gold menorot there, and four gold basins at their tops, and four ladders for each one, and four boys of the priesthood with pitchers of one hundred twenty log of oil in their hands, which they would pour into each basin. From the worn-out clothes and belts of the priests, they would make wicks and light [the menorot], and there was no courtyard in Jerusalem that was not lit up by the light of beit hasho’eivah. The pious ones and the people of deeds would dance before them with flaming torches in their hands, and would say before them words of song and praise.”
In Messianic Judaism this number of one hundred twenty is symbolic of the number of Yehudim who first received the gift of the Father, the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of Holiness on Shavuot. Therefore, on the 50th day following the resurrection of the Messiah the reference to one hundred twenty log of oil refers to the work of the Holy Spirit “with,” “in,” “upon,” and “through” these one hundred and twenty messianic Yehudim (Jews) and the works of the Spirit of Holiness in all Jews (and Gentiles) who have from that time subsequently believed in the Messiah Yeshua.
Insight #3. The brilliant light of the City of Lights upon the sacred hill (Mount Zion) illuminated the entire Temple Mount and all of its surrounding area for miles around. It was this Great Light that guided the worshipers at night as they made their way to the Temple in Jerusalem. The multitudes of festival worshipers joyously danced while singing hymns and songs of praise, while thought the celebration procession some held flaming torches in their hands. The Levites provided musical accompaniment to the festive lighting ceremony with harps, lutes, cymbals, trumpets, and other instruments of music, as they stood upon the fifteen steps that by a full measure of grace (according to the number of the fifteen Songs of Degrees in the Book of Psalms) led down from the Court of Israel to that of the Court of Women.
Insight #4. The power of the Presence of the Light was everywhere. The magnificent light shinEd out of the Temple and conquered the night. The darkness could not overcome it. The light brilliantly lit up every court in the Temple area and all of the city of Jerusalem. The four great lights were a symbol of the beautiful light of the Glory Cloud (עָנָן בָּהִיר-i.e. The Shekinah, the Divine Presence השכינה), where the Majesty of the Holy One’s own Presence dwelt. It was this Great Eternal Light that protected and guided the people as we left the bondage of Egypt in search of the abundant life of the Promised Land.
The four great lights are a promise that one day the Light of Israel will grow and extend to all four corners of the earth.
Then will the Light of Israel become the Light of the entire World! It was on the first day of Sukkot that the Messiah was born. He is the True Light that descended from Heaven to enlighten every person who is born in the world. He is the miracle child, the Holy One, born of the Seed of the Woman. He is the Light of the World (אור העולם) whose eternal light we are blessed to see. He is the Light that we messianic Jews must carry to all the nations and peoples of the world!