Parable #22. The Sheep, Gate & Shepherd:
- Today is Day #22
- The Twenty-second Mashal of Messiah
- Twelve Observations about the Gate and Gatekeeper
- Six Insights about the Second Gate and the Thieves & Robbers
- Seven Statements about the sufferings of the Good Shepherd
- Eleven Explanations regarding the ‘other’ Sheep not of ‘this’ Flock
- Interpretation and Beliefs related to the Good Shepherd
- The Good Shepherd’s equipment
- The Warrior-Shepherd
- The Shepherd who values the honor of Adonai’s Name above his own life
- Messiah Conquered the Administration of the Evil One
Today is Day #22:
1. Today is “Day #22” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is twenty-two days in the Omer.
Today is twenty-two days which are three weeks and one day in the Omer.
היום שניים ועשרים יום, שהם שלושה שבועות ויום אחד בעומר. פ
Haiyom shnayim v’esrim yom, shehaym shloshah shavuot veyom echad 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 sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count 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 Twenty-second Mashal of Messiah:
אָמֵן אָמֵן אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם אִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יָבוֹא דֶּרֶךְ הַשַּׁעַר אֶל־מִכְלָא הַצֹּאן כִּי אִם־יַעֲלֶה בְּדֶרֶךְ אַחֵר גַּנָּב הוּא וּפָרִיץ׃ וַאֲשֶׁר יָבוֹא דֶּרֶך הַשָּׁעַר הוּא רֹעֵה הַצֹּאן׃ לוֹ יִפְתַּח שֹׁמֵר הַפֶּתַח וְהַצֹּאן אֶת־קֹלוֹ תִשְׁמַעְנָה וְהוּא לְצֹאנוֹ בְּשֵׁם יִקְרָא וְיוֹצִיאֵם׃ וְאַחֲרֵי הוֹצִיאוֹ אֶת־צֹאנוֹ יַעֲבֹר לִפְנֵיהֶן וְהַצֹּאן הֹלְכוֹת אַחֲרָיו כִּי יָדְעוּ אֶת־קוֹלוֹ׃ וְאַחֲרֵי זָר לֹא תֵלַכְנָה כִּי אִם תִּבְרַחְנָה מִפָּנָיו אֶת־קוֹל הַזָּרִים לֹא יָדָעוּ׃
אמן אמן אני אומר לכם, מי שאינו נכנס אל מכלא הצאן דרך השער, אלא מטפס בדרך אחרת, גנב הוא ושודד. הנכנס דרך השער הוא רועה הצאן. לו יפתח שומר השער, והצאן שומעות בקולו. הוא קורא לצאנו בשם ומוציא אותן. לאחר שהוציא את כל אשר לו הוא הולך לפניהן והצאן הולכות אחריו, כי מכירות הן את קולו. אחרי זר לא תלכנה כי אם תברחנה ממנו, מפני שאינן מכירות את קולם של זרים. פ
A. [Yochanan 10:1] “Amen, amen, I say to you, anyone who does not enter by the sheepfold (sanctuary) through the gate but climbs in another way is a thief and a robber. The one who enters through the gate is the Shepherd of the flock. The guard (gatekeeper) opens the door for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls out to his sheep by name and brings them out. After he brings out his flock, he will pass ahead of them with the flock following him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger. Rather, they will flee from his presence because they do not know the voices of strangers.”
וַיּוֹסֶף יֵשׁוּעַ וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם אָמֵן אָמֵן אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם אֲנִי הוּא פֶּתַח הַצֹּאן׃ כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בָּאוּ לְפָנַי גַּנָּבִים הֵמָּה וּפָרִיצִים וְהַצֹּאן לֹא־שָׁמְעוּ לְקוֹלָם׃ אָנֹכִי הַפָּתַח אִישׁ כִּי־יָבוֹא בִי יִוָּשֵׁעַ וּבְצֵאתוֹ וּבְבוֹאוֹ יִמְצָא מִרְעֶה׃ הַגַּנָּב לֹא יָבוֹא כִּי אִם־לִגְנוֹב וְלַהֲרוֹג וּלְאַבֵּד וַאֲנִי בָאתִי לְהָבִיא לָהֶם חַיִּים וּמְלֹא סִפְקָם׃
הוסיף ישוע ואמר: אמן אמן אני אומר לכם, אני הוא שער הצאן. כל אשר באו לפני גנבים הם ושודדים, והצאן לא שמעו להם. אני השער. איש אם יכנס דרכי – יושע; הוא יכנס ויצא וימצא מרעה. אין הגנב בא אלא לגנב ולהרג ולהשמיד. אני באתי כדי שיהיו להם חיים ובשפע שיהיו להם. פ
B. [Yochanan 10:7] Once more Yeshua (the Messiah) spoke to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the entrance (gate) of the flock. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, and the flock did not listen to their voice. I am the entrance (gate): if a person enters by me, he shall go in and go out and find pasture (be saved). The thief does not enter except to steal, to kill, and destroy. I have come to bring them abundance and fullness of life.
אָנֹכִי הוּא הָרֹעֶה הַטּוֹב הָרֹעֶה הַטּוֹב יִתֵּן אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹ בְּעַד צֹאנוֹ׃ וְהַשָּׂכִיר אֲשֶׁר לֹא רֹעֶה הוּא וְהַצֹּאן לֹא־צֹאנוֹ הוּא יִרְאֶה כִּי־בָא הַזְּאֵב וְעָזַב אֶת־הַצֹּאן וָנָס וְהַזְּאֵב יַחֲטֹף וְהֵפִיץ אֶת־הַצֹּאן׃ הַשָּׂכִיר יָנוּס כִּי שָׂכִיר הוּא וְלֹא יִדְאַג לַצֹּאן׃ אֲנִי הָרֹעֶה הַטּוֹב וְיָדַעְתִּי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־לִי וְנוֹדַעְתִּי לַאֲשֶׁר לִי׃ כַּאֲשֶׁר הָאָב יֹדֵעַ אֹתִי וַאֲנִי יָדַעְתִּי אֶת־הָאָב וְאֶת־נַפְשִׁי אֶתֵּן בְּעַד הַצֹּאן׃
אני הרועה הטוב. הרועה הטוב נותן את נפשו בעד הצאן. השכיר, שאיננו רועה והצאן אינן צאנו, כראותו את הזאב בא, עוזב את הצאן ובורח והזאב חוטף ומפזר אותן, שכן הבורח אינו אלא שכיר ואין הוא דואג לצאן. אני הרועה הטוב. אני מכיר את שלי ושלי מכירים אותי, כשם שהאב מכיר אותי ואני מכיר את האב; ואת נפשי נותן אני בעד הצאן. פ
C. [Yochanan 10:11] “I am the Good Shepherd (הרועה הטוב). The Good Shepherd gives his life for the flock. The hired worker is not a shepherd, and the flock is not his flock; when he sees the wolf come, he abandons the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. I am the Good Shepherd, and I know what is mine, and I am known to those who are mine, just as the Father (האב-HaAv) knows me and I know the Father and I give my life for the flock.”
וְצֹאן אֲחֵרוֹת יֶשׁ־לִי אֲשֶׁר אֵינָן מִן־הַמִּכְלָה הַזֹּאת וְעָלַי לְנַהֵל גַּם־אֹתָן וְתִשְׁמַעְנָה קוֹלִי וְהָיָה עֵדֶר אֶחָד וְרֹעֶה אֶחָד׃ עַל־כֵּן אֹהֵב אֹתִי אָבִי כִּי אֶת־נַפְשִׁי אֶתֵּן לְמַעַן אָשׁוּב וְאֶקָּחֶהָ׃ וְאִישׁ לֹא יִקָּחֶנָּה מֵאִתִּי כִּי אִם־אֲנִי מֵעַצְמִי אֶתְּנֶנָּה יֶשׁ־בְּיָדִי לָתֵת אֹתָהּ וּבְיָדִי לָשׁוּב לְקַחְתָּהּ הַמִּצְוָה הַזֹּאת קִבַּלְתִּי מֵעִם אָבִי׃
גם צאן אחרות יש לי, אשר אינם מן הצאן הזה של כבשים. עלי להנהיג גם אותן. הן את קולי תשמענה ויהיה עדר אחד ורועה אחד. משום כך אוהב אותי האב: משום שאני נותן את נפשי ואקח אותה שוב. איש לא נטל אותה ממני, אלא שאני נותן אותה מעצמי. יש לי סמכות לתת אותה ויש לי סמכות לקחת אותה שוב. את המצוה הזאת קבלתי מאת אבי. פ
D. [Yochanan 10:16] “I also have other sheep (i.e. goyim), which are not from this flock (yehudim). I have to lead them too. They will hear my voice and there will be one flock and one shepherd. That is why the Father loves me: because I give my life so that I may return and take it again. No one will take it from me, but rather I (voluntarily) give it of myself. I have authority to give it (i.e. atoning death), and I have authority (in my Spirit) to take it again (life-giving resurrection). I received this mitzvah from *Avi (my Father).”
*Adonai Avinu (our God and our Father).
Twelve Observations about the Gate and Gatekeeper:
Observation #1. In ancient times priests and kings referred to their subjects as being sheep and themselves as being shepherds.
Observation #2. Many of the great leaders of the family and nation of Israel were shepherds (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David).
Observation #3. As national leaders both Moses and David were ‘ruling’ shepherds over Israel.
Observation #4. First, a word about Adonai our Father and our God, the Shepherd of Israel (HaRo’eh Israel), from the Prophet-King David (Psalm 23): “Adonai is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving-kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of Adonai (the LORD) forever.”
Observation #5. Second, a word about the Messiah, the Good Shepherd (HaRo’eh HaTov), by the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 53:6): “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but Adonai Eloheinu has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him (Ha-Mashiach).” The One in view here is the Suffering Messiah ben Joseph. The Messiah is our Good Shepherd. He is the one who lays down his life for the flock of Israel. (cf. Isaiah 53).
Observation #6. Just previous to the telling of this mashal the Messiah had just healed a man born blind who was mistreated by the Separated Ones (הפרושים-the Prushim, the Pharisees).
In the mashal of the Lost sheep (as Children) the Master contrasted the Separated Ones with the man born blind. The blind man exercised humility and faith so he could spiritually see. The Prushim claimed they possessed spiritual insight but they did not. In truth they exercised only pride without authentic faith. So the proud Prushim were allowed to remain spiritually blind. Messiah pointed out how ironic and tragic it was that the Prushim rabbinate absolutely believed that they excelled in all spiritual enlightenment, when in fact they were spiritually blind. The failed rabbinate was a false shepherd. The Messiah is the True Shepherd who came down from heaven to seek out, gather together, protect, and heal the lost sheep of Israel. The sheep hear and follow the direction of Messiah (HaRo’eh HaTov), for He is the Voice of Adonai (HaRo’eh Israel).
Observation #7. The first of the four parts of the mashal of the “Sheep, Gate & Shepherd” refers to a morning shepherding scene where there is one community sheep-pen being used to house several flocks. In this method of protecting and preserving the sheep, each individual shepherd is required to first enter through the “Gate” of the sheep-pen to enter into the enclosed area to take possession of his flock of sheep.
Observation #8. This community sheep-pen was made secure by stone walls. It was guarded at night by a Gatekeeper who protected all of the flocks from predators and thieves.
Observation #9. In the case of thieves, these men were easy to identify, they were the ones who were “climbing the wall.” The thieves were going around the Gate and the Gatekeeper because they were “thieves” and “robbers.”
Observation #10. In contrast, the true shepherd had a right to enter the sheep pen, so when he presented himself to the Gatekeeper he acknowledged him and he opened the Gate for him.
Observation #11. When the shepherd entered the sheep pen to call out his own sheep from the other flocks, he called upon his sheep with a distinctive voice (i.e. there is one calling, the call of the Spirit) that the sheep had been trained to recognize. So when the sheep heard the familiar sound of their master’s voice they would immediately go to him. The shepherd thereafter led his sheep out of the sheep pen into an open area where he would form up his flock. Once the flock was assembled together then the shepherd would take his flock out to pasture.
Observation #12. When a stranger entered the sheep pen, the sheep would run away from him because they did not recognize his voice.
Six Insights about the Second Gate and the Thieves & Robbers:
Insight#1. When the shepherd’s flock was taken out to pasture and was too far away from the communal sheep-pen to be returned, the shepherd found an enclosure where he would locate himself at the entrance. This made the shepherd’s own body the Gate. It also made him the Gatekeeper. If a thief or predator wanted to gain access to the protected sheep they would have to literally pass through the body of the shepherd to get at the sheep.
Insight #2. When the Master says “all who came before Me were thieves and robbers,” He is referring to those leaders of Israel (corrupt priests, evil kings, false prophets, false teachers-rabbis) who did not care about the spiritual good of the people of Israel. These persons used the sheep to advance their own material benefit and welfare.
Insight #3. The Messiah was committed to the health, safety and welfare of the entire flock of Israel. Whoever (of Israel) who enters the Kingdom of heaven (now) and the Kingdom of Adonai (in the future) through exercising faith in the Messiah as their Shepherd will be saved, totally and completely.
Insight #4. When Israel turns in faith toward the Messiah (as inevitably we will) then will all of the citizens of Israel be most blessed; in safety and security the sheep “will go in and out and find pasture.”
Insight #5. The Thief (false shepherd) cares only about feeding himself. Unlike the Messiah he does not care at all about the flock. He pretends to be a shepherd but in truth his real motivation is to steal and kill and destroy. The false shepherd feeds on the sheep (exploitation) instead of feeds the sheep (nurture and care). This is a reference to the work of Abaddon (the Destroyer). The Thief will send his false shepherds to the people of Israel. They will be shrewd. They will profess themselves to be the true servants of Adonai, when in fact they are the servants of the Destroyer who hates the flock of Israel. The Thief in this way leads the deceived flock into an enclosure of eternal death; instead of one of safety, security and eternal life.
Insight #6. Messiah alone is qualified to protect the flock of Israel (from the Thief and his false shepherds). The True Shepherd of Israel has dedicated his life in unlimited measure to his people (Am Israel). Messiah came to Israel the first time (in the first century CE) and He is soon to return that we might have life, and have it in abundance.
Seven Statements about the sufferings of the Good Shepherd:
Statement #1. In the third section of the twenty-second mashal, the Good Shepherd presents to us his role and responsibility as the True Shepherd in a different way than in his first two depictions:
“I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd, and I know my own and my own know me, even as the Father (Abba Avinu) knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.”
אין אהבה גדולה מאהבתו של הנותן את נפשו בעד ידידיו. פ
“There is no greater lovethan the love of the giver of his life (נפשו-literally “his soul”) for his friends.”
Statement #2. In ancient Israel danger arose over the mountains and the wild pasture lands of Israel at night. It was common for numerous predators to roam throughout Israel looking for prey. The life of the shepherd was a dangerous one. It was a believable story when Joseph’s brothers told their father Jacob that a wild beast had killed him. We know that David had to fight off a lion and bear to protect the flock he was assigned by his father to care for.
Statement #3. The ultimate sacrifice of a man is the giving of his life. Messiah made it absolutely clear in his speech and his personal conduct that he was ready, willing, and able to lay down his life for the sake of his people Israel. Messiah declared what the sign of the True Shepherd had to be: he would make the ultimate sacrifice to protect the flock of Israel!
“I am the Good Shepherd; the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
Statement #4. In contrast with the Good Shepherd, the one who works for wages, the “hired hand,” is not completely committed to the survival and welfare of the sheep. He is not concerned about the sheep. The hired hand is just concerned about doing his job so he can get paid. He is motivated solely by materialism, by monetary reward (or power over others, etc.).
Statement #5. The hired hand runs away at the moment he fears for his own life. Self-preservation of the hired hand comes before the preservation of the flock.
Statement #6. Historically the Tanakh teaches us that Israel suffered from the false-shepherding of many selfish religious leaders and false, tyrannical kings. The false shepherds deceived and continually abused the people whom they were entrusted to care for. The false shepherds were also teachers (rabbis). The greatest sin of these hired hands was their false teaching about the Messiah and their complicity with the pagan nation of Rome in leading the people to reject the Messiah. The hired hands devised a (shrewd) plan to falsely charge and execute the Prince of Peace (Sar Shalom) for sedition and blasphemy.
One day soon a new generation of Israel will right this wrong. Then will the Kingdom of Adonai come. Our Messiah will return from heaven to Israel and restore Israel to the fulfillment of all of the promises. Then will the will of Avinu Shebashamayim (our Father in heaven) be done on earth as it is done in heaven.
Statement #7. Messiah’s commitment to the flock of Israel is evidenced by his commitment to freely and intentionally die a sacrificial atoning death for his people. In just this mashal alone the Messiah says four times he will voluntarily lay down his life. Abba Avinu has a special love for his Chosen One because the Father loves His sheep. The Good Shepherd was tasked by the Shepherd of Israel (the Holy One) to put the welfare of the flock ahead of his own life.
Eleven Explanations regarding the ‘other’ Sheep not of ‘this’ Flock:
Explanation #1. In the previous mashal, the “Lost Sheep (as Children),” the Master made it absolutely clear that in time all Israel shall be saved. As soon as Israel believes in him then all Israel will see the fulfillment of all the promises that Adonai Avinu made to the fathers of Israel. In this mashal, the “Sheep, Gate & Shepherd,” Messiah states that there is another flock of sheep that is not of “this flock of sheep.” This is a veiled reference to Adonai our God’s intent that His Messiah not only be the Deliverer (HaPalat) for the people of Israel but he is also expected to be the Redeemer of all of the Gentile peoples of the world.
Explanation #2. In Messiah’s last mashal our study took us back to the time of Jacob. It was in the account of his Generation that we studied the time of Jacob’s Return to Israel. In the narrative of Jacob’s Return to Israel we discovered that he had symbolically purchased a plot of land at the foot of Mount Gerizim (הַר גְּרִזִּים-the Mount of Blessings), located in the region of Shechem (שְׁכֶם). Without getting into the bazaar circumstances that were involved (we will no doubt discuss this matter at some other time), an actual covenant was made and ratified by Adonai our God between the family of Jacob (later called Israel) and the Gentile City-Nation of the Shechemites.
Explanation #3. This covenant that was shamefully (but understandably) violated by the sons of Jacob was honored by Adonai (cf. Genesis 33:18–34:31). Therefore, the inclusion of the Shechemites (Gentiles) in the covenant by the family of Jacob-Israel was later honored by the nation of Israel (through Joshua, Yehoshua, Yeshua).
Explanation #4. So that from the time of Joshua on we see a (miniature scale) prophetic foreshadowing of the inclusion (grafting in) of all the believing nations and peoples of the Gentiles into the family of Israel (the olive tree of father Abraham; who is “a father to all of us”).
The name of the future messianic kingdom—the olive tree of father Abraham (עץ הזית של אברהם אבינו)—we call the International (הבינלאומי) Commonwealth of Israel (קהיליה של ישראל). This future kingdom of Adonai Avinu includes the nation of Israel (עם ישראל-composed of the Jewish people) and all of the *Gentile nations of the world that will exist during the time of the messianic age (i.e. the future Golden Age of Israel).
*Kehiliya (קהיליה) is a synonym for kehila (קהילה). The root of kehila is kahal (קהל-appears 122 times in Tanakh); which means “to assemble, gather.” Kahal in turn derives from the word kol (קול) – “Voice” (1, 2) which in ancient Hebrew originally meant “to call together” or “call to to an assembly.” Of this calling it is written we are all called by the Spirit to assemble before Elohim HaAv (God the Father) that He might one day be over all, through all, and in all:
הנה: גוף אחד ורוח אחת, כשם שגם אתם נקראתם אל תקות יעודכם האחת; אדון אחד, אמונה אחת, טבילה אחת, אל ואב אחד לכל, הוא אשר מעל כל, פועל בכל, ובתוך הכל. פ
Behold, there is one body (גוף אחד) and one Spirit (רוח אחת), as you have been called (כשם שגם אתם נקראתם) in the one (האחת) destiny (יעודכם-hope) of your calling; one Master (אדון אחד), one faith (אמונה אחת), one immersion (טבילה אחת), one God and Father (אל ואב אחד) to all (לכל) who is above all (הוא אשר מעל כל), working in all (פועל בכל), and [*permanently dwelling] within all (ובתוך הכל). [*cf. Shema, Unity Prayer]
Kehiliya (קהיליה) is most commonly used in Israel today to discuss a community of nations. It conveys the meaning of a federation or “commonwealth” of nations. We are referring to the future Gentile nations as a commonwealth of nations (קהיליה של מדינות) because we believe the Tanakh clearly indicates that each member nation of the Kingdom of Israel (ממלכת ישראל) will retain its own national identity and some degree of autonomy under the rule of the Messiah ben David, who will be the Voice of Adonai to all the nations, peoples, and families of the earth; therefore M’shicho (His [Adonai’s] Messiah) shall be the entire world’s—-Melekh HaMelakhim (מלך המלכים-King of Kings), Melekh Yisra’el (מלך ישראל-King of Israel), Melekh HaiYehudim (מלך היהודים-King of the Jews), Melekh HaGoyim (מלך הגויים-King of the Nations). As the King of the Nations it is written that when the Messiah returns He shall He shall:
כאשר יבוא בן-האדם בכבודו וכל המלאכים אתו, ישב על כסא כבודו ויאספו לפניו כל הגויים. אז יפרידם זה מזה כרועה המפריד את הכבשים מן העזים ויציב את הכבשים לימינו ואת העזים לשמאלו. פ
When the Son of Man (בן-האדם-ben Ha’adam) comes in with his honor (glory) and all the angels with him, He sits on the throne of his glory and gathers all the nations (הגויים). Then He shall separate them [all the nations] from each other like a shepherd (רועה-ro’eh), which separates the sheep from the goats, and sets the sheep to his right, and the goats to his left.
This near future global messianic kingdom was first acknowledged in embryonic form by father Jacob; instituted by the prophet Joshua (in Shechem; modern Nablus), and is foreshadowed in the international ministries and wise international administrations of Joseph, Daniel, and Mordecai.
The International Commonwealth of Israel was first created and instituted by father Jacob and the prophet Joshua.
[First] “So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem” (Joshua 24:25).
[Second] “And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of the Almighty, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an Oak (Tree), that [was] by the sanctuary of Adonai” (Joshua 24:26).
Therefore, the people at Shechem were not attacked or destroyed because they were included in the covenantal family of Israel. Adonai our Father and our God made certain that Jacob’s promise to recognize these Gentiles as being legitimate members of the family of Jacob (Israel) was honored (cf. Judges where the Shechemites are treated as members of Israel, yet they are allowed to retain their own city-nation identity, Judges 8, 9 & 21).
Explanation #5. It is also important to note that this special Oak Tree (עץ אלון) of fathers Abraham and Jacob was treated as the prophetic sign-marker that identified the exact location where the witness of the Testimony of the Covenant was to be erected. The Oak Tree of Abraham was also the chosen place where the sanctuary of Adonai was required to be co-located.
Think about it (סֶלָה). [First] Father Abraham first arrived in Israel and worshiped Adonai (the LORD) at the Oak Tree. [Second] It was before the Oak Tree that Abraham received the first of all Adonai Eloheinu’s promises to the fathers of Israel and their descendants. [Third] When Jacob returned to Israel he first purchased the plot of land that the Oak Tree was on. [Fourth] it was at the foot of the Oak Tree that Jacob put away and buried all his household’s idols). [Fifth] It was before the Oak Tree that Joshua Confirmed the Covenant and left a Sign. [Sixth] The Sanctuary that was dedicated to Adonai Avinu was co-located with the Oak Tree. [Seventh] It was near the Oak Tree that Joseph and his brothers, our fathers of the Twelve tribes, were laid to rest and now await the day of the resurrection of the righteous.
*In the Torah narratives of the Oak Tree of father Abraham (עץ האלון של אברהם) there is an entire grove of oak trees (אֵל֣וֹן מוֹרֶ֑ה) that lie adjacent to the hill of Moreh (מוֹרֶ֑ה-moreh means “Teacher”). These oak trees prophetically symbolize our individual and collective identification with and dependence upon the Messiah ben Avraham and his once-in-eternity sacrifice of redemption for us on the accursed tree.
Explanation #6. The Prophetic sign-marker in view here is the Hebrew Sign of the Tav. It is of Jewish origin. It did not originate with the Gentiles. The evil one has repeatedly desecrated this most sacred Hebrew letter-symbol by profanely using it as a sick excuse to butcher and slaughter our people (עם ישראל).
It is the will of Adonai our God that none should perish.
The Gentile nations and peoples were never justified in slaughtering our people. Just as it was never the will of Adonai Eloheinu that our ancestors slaughter the Shechemites (Gentiles). Both of these historical actions (ancient and modern) were absolutely the work of the evil one who lies, steals, kills, and destroys.
Explanation #7. Avi HaRachamim (אבי הרחמים-the Father of Mercies) is the Savior of all of our souls. The Messiah of us all (המשיח מכולנו), the Savior of all humankind (המושיע לחול אדם), did not die on the accursed tree to turn the flock of Israel over to destruction. He did not come, as did the Destroyer (Abaddon), to seek whom he may condemn and destroy (לִטְרֺף-to devour). The Good Shepherd came to seek and to save the lost sheep of Adonai Avinu (both flocks, Yehudim v’Goyim).
Explanation #8. Who will we believe? Will we believe the reports of the hired hands (Jew and Gentile) who have lied to us? Or shall we believe the Good Shepherd who spoke the truth when He said:
כי כה אהב אלוהים את העולם עד כי נתן את בנו יחידו למען לא יאבד כל המאמין בו, אלא ינחל חיי עולם. הן האלוהים לא שלח את בנו אל העולם לשפט את העולם, אלא כדי שיושע העולם על-ידיו. פ
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son [born ‘out of eternity into creation’], that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but will inherit eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge (condemn) the world, but so that the world might be saved by him!
Explanation #9. This is the witness that the redemption of the people of Israel and all of the of Gentiles of the world must receive (cf. Genesis 12:6; 33:18; 35:4; 37:12-14). We must all together depend on the One Good Shepherd, the Son of Man (ben Ha’adam), who alone has fulfilled all of the legal, moral, ethical, psychological, spiritual, and sacrificial requirements of the Law on our behalf.
Explanation #10. Shechem is a sacred place. It is a symbol of the International Kingdom of Adoani. Its name spiritually means “Governance.” In the promised sacred (near future, 50 x 50 mile) Jerusalem Temple District envisioned by the prophet Ezekiel (chapters 40–48). In the messianic kingdom the ancient City of Shalem (located next to Shechem) is the future Crown (the northern pinnacle) of the greatly expanded Jerusalem Temple District. The City of Jerusalem (lit. the Foundation of Shalem) is at the (southern) base-foundation of the 50 X 50 mile Sacred District.
Explanation #11. This is what the festival of Sukkot is all about. This is why we so enthusiastically celebrate Sukkot. Sukkot is the most happy observance of all the festival observances of Israel because we are looking forward to the day when Messiah returns and sets up a new kingdom, a new Israel, a Commonwealth of Israel that will unite the Gentile nations and peoples of the world together with Israel. Then in this international community of the Shalem of Adonai Avinu we will all become as one flock that is led by the One Good Shepherd.
Interpretation and Beliefs related to the Good Shepherd:
Through Messiah ben Joseph, the Suffering Messiah and Good Shepherd, Adonai our God has vanquished all of the fiery darts (arrows) of the Destroyer. Messiah our Redeemer is the New Moses, the New Aaron, and the New David who is able to bring corporate atonement sufficient to save all of Israel and all of the nations of the world (Genesis 22:18):
“In your Seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My Voice.”
By the hand of the Messiah who is both the New Moses (Prophet) and New Aaron (High Priest), Adonai (our Father) is able to lead His people like a flock (Psalm 77:20): “You led Your people like a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron.”
In addition to being the New Moses (Prophet) and Aaron (High Priest), the Messiah is the New David (King). Messiah is destined to be the Good Shepherd ruling over Israel who sits on David’s throne (forever). He is destined to be the Great Shepherd who is ruler over all of the nations and the peoples of the world. Messiah is the Good, Great and Chief Shepherd (Isaiah 40:11):
“He tends his flock…He gathers the lambs in His arms, and carries them close to His heart”
Messiah is the true Shepherd of Israel and all of the world and not the false shepherd. There is another shepherd to come who is the false shepherd. Before Messiah returns the false shepherd will come and be received in “his own name” (Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34; Zechariah 11:15-17).
The false shepherd is the “foolish, false, and worthless shepherd,” he will come and be received and he will devour the foolish sheep who will follow him (but not all, for there shall be a remnant). The True Shepherd came first (not to destroy but) to seek and save that which was lost. Instead of taking the lives of the sheep He laid down his life for them. The Holy One is the Suffering Servant who was sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:10-14). He is the bow and the arrow of Adonai our Father and our God that defeats the enemy of our souls. Messiah ben Joseph, ben David is HaRo’eh, E’ven Yisra’el (הרועה, אבן ישראל-the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel).
“But his bow remained firm,
And his arms were agile,
From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob
(From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel).” (משם הרועה, אבן ישראל, cf. Genesis 49:24)
The Good Shepherd’s equipment:
The Shepherd of Israel, like David, had four pieces of equipment. [Equipment #1] David’s scrip was his bag that he kept his food and his small rocks for his sling in. [Equipment #2] The Shepherd David had a sling that held small stones to use against his enemies (or predators). [Equipment #3] He had a rod that was used as both a means of (life-saving) discipline for the sheep or as a weapon of defense. [Equipment #4] His last piece of equipment was his staff that he used to pull back his wandering sheep.
At the completion of the day, as night approached, the Shepherd David would hold his rod over the sheep at the entrance of the safe enclosure he had prepared for them and he would make every one of his sheep pass one by one under his rod. In this way the Shepherd David would personally examine each one of his sheep so that he might attend to any wound that they might have.
In the battle of young David with Goliath we can begin to understand the meaning of why Messiah ben Joseph was prophetically referred to by Jacob (Genesis 49:24) as being the Shepherd and the Rock (אבן-literally Stone) in the mysterious (prophetic) first mention of him in the Torah.
David is the Lord’s anointed. He is the Warrior-Shepherd (הלוחם-הרועה). He is the deliverer of Israel. He is a type of his greater ancestor the Messiah. In simple trust in Adonai (his God and our God) David overthrew the enemies of his (our) people. David slew Goliath.
The giant Goliath is a type of man’s sin nature, the flesh (yetzer ha-ra; the evil inclination). The flesh is composed of the evil intellect, will, emotion, behavior and relational life of the world. The lord of this evil inclination and social-conditioning is the evil one.
Satan is the prince of the air. He is the ruler of the volitional, cognitive and affective domains of this world. He is a destroyer of life. He is the arch enemy of Adonai (our Father) and those of us who are His children (Israel).
David is a type of the Messiah. Like David, Messiah was sent by his Father on a mission to meet with his brethren.
The Messiah was sent to seek out and assist his brethren who were among the army of Israel. Like David, Messiah’s brothers were being beaten and humiliated by Satan’s champion.
David is a type of the Messiah, the Warrior-Shepherd who the heavenly Father sent into the world.
David’s life constantly demonstrates that Adonai is the God of Armies (Adonai Elohei Tseva’ot). At the first, like the Messiah, David came to Israel’s camp in humility and yet He was ridiculed and misunderstood by his brothers. In the same way, when the humble Messiah came into the camp of Israel, his brothers wrongly misunderstood and mocked him.
The Shepherd who values the honor of Adonai’s Name above his own life:
The Heart of David bears witness to the Unfailing Heart of the Good and Great Shepherd. The Heart of David and the Messiah instruct us that there is a reward given to all who slay the Goliath who reigns through sin within them and rules without through the evil one’s deceit:
“The King will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel.”
Here we see the type of prophetic reward that is given to David who bravely offered up his life for the sake of Adonai our God’s honor (glory). Messiah, like his ancestor David, did not care for his own life. His sole concern was for the honor of the Name of Adonai. David believed Adonai Avinu would deliver the uncircumcised Philistine into his hands because no one should be allowed to disrespect the sovereign name of Adonai (Eloheinu). Similarly, Messiah believed Adonai (his Father and our Father) would deliver the devil and all his kingdom into his hands (under his authority) because no one should be allowed to disrespect the sovereign name of the Holy One.
David, in confronting Goliath took five stones from a brook. As he approached the Giant he was mocked. He was mocked for his small stature in comparison to Goliath. David came against Goliath with two sticks. The wood sticks were part of David’s “weapon,” his sling.
Meaning #1. The two sticks remind us of Adonai our God’s ultimate weapon, the horizontal and vertical sign of the ancient Hebrew letter Tav, the sign of ”purchase,” “covenant, ”“redemption,” and “ownership.”
Meaning#2. The leather pouch speaks of the “body of the Messiah.”
Meaning #3. The five rocks represent the preaching of the Word of God, the Besorah of Messiah. Five tells us that this Jewish Gospel of the Messiah is a Besorah of “Grace” (five is the number of Adonai’s grace). It also indicates the number of giants to be slain (Goliath had four brothers; all of whom were later killed in combat; four represents the four corners of the world; i.e. “north-south-east-west”).
Meaning #4. The four brothers of Goliath indicate that the Messiah, the Good and Great Shepherd, will destroy the evil one’s kingdom (administration) throughout the entire four corners of the earth.
Meaning #5. The brook (running water) represents the streams of living water out of which Messiah has given us His Word and His Life (His Living Torah). This speaks of the never-ending work and ministry of the Holy Spirit (who is the *Gatekeeper in Messiah’s Mashal of “The Sheep, Gate & Shepherd”).
*The Gatekeeper (the Spirit) fulfills this function through the assistance of His servants the nevi’im (הנביאים-the prophets) and the shlichim (השליחים-the emissaries, sent ones). It is the D’var HaShem that opens the door for us—so that we might both receive the sustenance of the Word of God and to enjoy His shelter and protection (לְעוֹלָם-forever, always).
Messiah Conquered the Administration of the Evil One:
The Bronze Sword of Goliath (the administration of the evil one) that has been used against Jew and Gentile alike is the law of sin and death. All who sin must die.
However, through the Messiah’s sacrificial death on the accursed tree redeemed man is now free from the threat of Adonai our God’s judgment. The evil one has lost his only means by which he may rule over man. He has lost his champion—-the law of sin and death.
Through the Shepherd of Israel’s New Covenant (HaBrit HaChadashah) of the two sticks (Hebrew Sign of the Tav), the one leather pouch, and the five stones that originate from the living stream, the evil one, the Destroyer has lost his headship over Israel and the entire world.
Israel and the world now have a new king, He is the King of kings, and the Lord of lords. The Messiah is Adonai (our Father’s) perfect David (Beloved One). He is our Champion. The Heart of the Shepherd David and the Great Shepherd Messiah teaches us the inspiring redemptive story of the Jewish Gospel.
The Messiah by his death (this mashal mentions his death four times; i.e. his death is a universal redemption) destroyed the power of death; that is he conquered the power of sin by his sacrifice for sin and He conquered death by his resurrection from the dead (which is mentioned twice in this mashal).
In his death and resurrection, therefore, the Messiah has secured for us the promised gift of the Father, the gift of eternal life provided through the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of Holiness.
Come Lord quickly. Hosanna: Save us now!
Soon this New Generation of Israel will arise and shout for joy and gain a complete victory over the conquered foe. This foreshadowing of the Good and Great Shepherd took place at Ephes Dammim (אפס דמים-“Boundary of Blood”) and Emek Ha’ella (עמק האלה-“Valley of the Terebinth”). Therefore, in this witness of the heart of father David, the Warrior-Shepherd, we can see the revelation of the ministry of his Greater Son the Messiah. In the testimony of King David we learn of the power of Messiah’s word of forgiveness that cleanses us of all sin and assures us that on the day of our resurrection we will live in a state of perfect safety, security, and righteousness forever.