Parable #30. Lost Sheep (as sinners):
- Today is Day #30
- The Thirtieth Mashal of Messiah
- Adonai Avinu’s Love for His Lost Sheep – 17 Observations
- Jewish life in America – 8 Findings
- The Flock of One Hundred Sheep – 14 Points
- The joyous friends and neighbors – 12 Insights
- Interpretation of the Thirtieth Mashal of Messiah
Today is Day #30:
1. Today is “Day #30” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is Thirty days in the Omer.
Today is thirty days which are four weeks and two days in the Omer.
היום שלושים יום, שהם ארבעה שבועות ושני ימים בעומר. פ
Haiyom shloshim yom, shehaym arba’ah shavuot ushnay 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 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 Thirtieth Mashal of Messiah:
מִי בָכֶם הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ מֵאָה כְבָשִׂים וְאָבַד לוֹ אֶחָד מֵהֶם וְלֹא יִטּוֹשׁ אֶת־הַתִּשְׁעִים וְתִשְׁעָה בַּמִּדְבָּר וְהָלַךְ אַחֲרֵי הָאֹבֵד עַד כִּי־יִמְצָאֵהוּ׃ וְהָיָה כְּמָצְאוֹ אֹתוֹ יְשִׂימֶנּוּ עַל־כְּתֵפָיו בְּשִׂמְחָה׃ וּבָא אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ וְקָרָא לְאֹהֲבָיו וְלִשְׁכֵנָיו יַחַד לֵאמֹר שִׂמְחוּ אִתִּי כִּי מָצָאתִי אֶת־שֵׂיִי הָאֹבֵד׃
מי מכם האיש שיש לו מאה כבשים וכשאובד לו אחד מהם לא יעזב את התשעים ותשעה במדבר וילך אחרי האובד עד שימצאהו? וכאשר ימצאהו ישים אותו על כתפיו בשמחה, וכשיבוא הביתה יקרא לידידיו ולשכניו ויאמר, ‘שמחו אתי, כי מצאתי את הכבש שלי שאבד.פ
[Lukas 15:4] “Which one of you, if he had one hundred sheep (מאה כבשים) and one of them was lost, would not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (open pasture) and follow the lost one until he found it? When he finds it, he will gladly put it on his shoulders. and when he comes home, he will call his friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my lost lamb!’”
אֹמֵר אֲנִי לָכֶם כֵּן שִׂמְחָה תִהְיֶה בַּשָּׁמַיִם עַל־חוֹטֵא אֶחָד אֲשֶׁר שָׁב יוֹתֵר מֵעַל־תִּשְׁעִים וְתִשְׁעָה צַדִּיקִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יִצְטָרְכוּ לִתְשׁוּבָה׃
אומר אני לכם, כך תהיה שמחה בשמים על חוטא אחד שחוזר בתשובה, יותר מאשר על תשעים ותשעה צדיקים שאינם צריכים לתשובה. פ
[Lukas 15:7] “I say to you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, more than ninety-nine righteous ones who do not need repentance.”
Adonai Avinu’s Love for His Lost Sheep – 17 Observations:
Observation #1. With the teaching of the mashal of the Lost Sheep (as Sinners) we observe Messiah acting in opposition to the religious leaders of His day by His declaring that his seeking to return sinners (non-believing secular Yehudim) back into right faith and fellowship with Adonai (our Father and our G-d) was his ‘highest’ priority.
Observation #2. Messiah was hated by the Prushim (the hyper-orthodox movement of his day) for associating with those who were seen as low-life, non-orthodox Jews; who did not obey the oral law of these rabbis.
Observation #3. These elite religious leaders considered it absolutely disgraceful that the Messiah was publicly associating himself with non-practicing Jews and a significant number of people that the Prushim rabbinate considered immoral and unworthy of a rabbi’s company.
Observation #4. It was disgusting to the Prushim (Pharisees, Separated Ones) that Rabbi Yeshua was teaching that the lives of the non-practicing Jews were just as important to Adonai Avinu as those of these pious hyper-orthodox Jews.
Most appalling to the Jewish religious leaders was the Rabbi’s public criticism (humiliation) of them.
Observation #5. The Messiah truthfully told these very proud religious elites that Israel’s prostitutes, tax-collectors, and sinners (non-observant Jews) would enter into the kingdom of Adonai (our G-d) before they did!
Observation #6. Rabbi Yeshua publicly humiliated the religious leaders when He said to them:
אָמֵן. אוֹמֵר אֲנִי לָכֶם, הַמּוֹכְסִים וְהַזּוֹנוֹת יָבוֹאוּ לִפְנֵיכֶם לְמַלְכוּת הָאֱלֹהִי!פ
“Amen, I say to you that the tax collectors (הַמּוֹכְסִים) and prostitutes (וְהַזּוֹנוֹת) are getting into the kingdom of God before you!”
Observation #7. No doubt these truthful public pronouncements made the very poud and arrogant religious establishment believe the Messiah had lost his mind: “What kind of an irrational, ridiculous, ugly comment was this?” “Only a rebellious, evil or crazy person would say that a non-practicing, irreligious, immoral secular Jew is more likely to enter the kingdom of Adonai than a religious (practicing, morally compliant) Jew!”
Observation #8. The Master then followed up with three very interesting comments. First, He said the prophet Yochanan ben Zechariah (of the tribe of Levi) came to them in the way of righteousness as a hyper-religious Jew and they the religious elites did not believe him. In great contrast to these rabbis: the tax collectors and prostitutes did hear and believe the prophet Yochanan ben Zechariah.
This should have provoked the pious (self-exalting) religious leaders to faith. But it did not.
The ‘pious’ ones did not even feel remorse that their fellow non-observing Jews were positively responding to the prophet and Messiah’s call for national repentance and faith while they, the religious elites, were not responding at all. The proud ones, therefore, were indifferent to Adonai (our G-d’s) call for national repentance. Apparently, the religious leaders did not recognize they personally needed any rehabilitation. Whereas the common people knew better.
Second, the Messiah reminded the Prushim (Pharisees), the Tzedukim (Sadducees), and the experts in the Torah of Moses (the scribes and our sages) that the nation of Israel and its people were the “Vineyard of Adonai” and that if they continued to rebel against his messianic leadership, as in times past—the previous religious leaders for centuries had persecuted and killed the prophets—they most certainly would be harshly judged by Adonai.
Third, the Messiah asked these proud ones who addressed themselves as being the religious leaders of the people, “Did you never read in the Scriptures:
After quoting this messianic (prophetic) passage of King David and after seeing the deep resentment and growing hatred the national religious leaders had for him, the Messiah pronounced judgment on them, saying (warning): “The kingdom of Adonai (our Father and our G-d) will be taken away from *you.”
*Those generations of Israel that did not accept Adonai (our G-d’s) call to national repentance and who rejected His Messiah.
The Messiah *prophesied that the kingdom of Adonai would be given to a distant future generation of Yehudim (Jews) that would one day accept His messiahship and produce the kind of “fruit” of the Spirit that Adonai Avinu desired.
*This reconciliation of the Mashiach in the near future with a new generation of Israel will occur only after the Gentiles’ opportunity to become Rich in Adonai has been exhausted (has ended in failure). Then a new generation—we believe our (this) generation—of Israel will be given a ‘second chance’ to become Rich in Adonai (i.e. be restored as the royal priestly Servant-leader nation of Abba Avinu.
This most certainly leads us to believe that the ultra-orthodox movement as we presently know it today is a doomed movement.
People everywhere are sick of religion. They want more than lots of words and no results. Adonai must be experienced on a dynamic, exciting, personal supernatural level or not at all. This is what Messiah meant when He came seeking the lost. The Messiah knew that we are all lost if the only thing we have is a religious system that is just a dogmatic substitute for a ‘real’ relationship with the Holy One.
Only a very small minority of practicing Yehudim are happy with their Jewish Orthodox religion. The vast majority of Jews are not.
Most of us want more from our life with God than an impersonal religion. We want to actually experience His life, the warmth of His personality, and all of His compassion. If the God of Israel really exists [and He does] then the people of Israel really do want His help. We want to see that He cares.
Observation #9. When the religious leaders heard the Messiah publicly pronounce judgment upon them (to their face) they were filled with hatred, intense anger, and rage. At this point the religious elites understood that He was in complete opposition to them and as such they began to seek an opportune way to kill him.
The religious leaders plotted to find a way to kill the Messiah without causing the common people to rise up in violence against them.
Observation #10. These crafty (עָר֔וּם) leaders of the first century (CE) Jewish religious-establishment had to patiently wait for the right time to permanently silence their enemy and that time had not yet come. For at this stage of Messiah’s three and one-half year ministry the common people of Israel believed that the Rabbi from Nazareth of Galilee was at least a prophet, if not the Messiah himself.
In reference to this messianic prophecy the Master was saying to the corrupt religious establishment of his day: “The kingdom of Adonai will be taken away from you, and given to a future generation of non-religious Yehudim who will accept messianic Judaism and produce the fruit of it.”
Observation #12. As Messiah predicted today the faith of the Jewish people is imprisoned in an incredibly complex maze of ever growing inexhaustible legal writings, traditions, rituals, and laws that the successor rabbis of the first century Prushim have invented. Some of the time these rabbis say something really profound and helpful things that correlate well with our Hebrew Scriptures. Thank you Lord! But most of the time their writings are no more than the ramblings of a privileged group of very bright people (high legal-natural aptitude, low spiritual aptitude). Consequently, the vast majority of the Yehudim today are not at all interested in Orthodox Judaism (the successors of the Prushim); or for that matter, in any organized religion.
Observation #13. As for the exercise of faith in the Messiah and in his supernatural teachings in Judaism: Thus far the orthodox rabbis continue to reject the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua) as their Messiah. However, the ancient hatred of our Master by the religious elite of Israel has pretty much completely disappeared. For in today’s Israel:
Messiah’s teachings have received a significant degree of growing interest and respect from our Israeli scholars.
Observation #14. Contrary to modern belief Messiah was never an advocate for more religion:
What we all desire and need is not more formal religious dogma.
We need more of a personal (supernatural) experience of Adonai Avinu.
The Messiah was not sent to earth to give us more religion or even a new religion. He was sent to earth to give us more of an intimate relationship with Adonai (our Eternal Father) and therefore, a new and better (happier) relationship with Him and each other. The Messiah came to Israel so that we might all become like him—-Rich in Adonai:
A. Through the Messiah the Holy One has revealed to us that God is Love.
B. Messiah never said He wanted a new gentile religion that would bear fruit. He said:
C. He wanted to be used to birth a new people that would produce the fruit of Adonai (1, 2, 3, 4).
There is One Father and He is our Heavenly Father. Adonai (Ha Shem) is His Name. The Messiah was a Jew who was sent to us to reform our faith in Adonai (our G-d). Where does the Messiah ever say He wanted to remove the Torah? Nowhere. The Messiah is the Rabbi of all rabbis. He came to fulfill the Torah and not to destroy it. He came to fulfill the Torah so that we could receive what we otherwise could never earn on our own: reconciliation with Abba Avinu and His gift of eternal life:
אַל תַּחְשְׁבוּ שֶׁבָּאתִי לְבַטֵּל אֶת הַתּוֹרָה אוֹ אֶת הַנְּבִיאִים; לֹא בָּאתִי לְבַטֵּל כִּי אִם לְקַיֵּם.פ
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.”
Observation #15. What is the fruit of Adonai that the Holy One desires more than anything else? “Love.” Adonai wants a people (a new humanity) who will manifest the fruit of His Love. Adonai is Ahavah (אַהֲבָה-Love). We are missing the truth of Adonai. The truth is: Adonai is Love! Only when we turn around and see the truth of who are heavenly Father really is will we become united in the Love of Avi HaRachamim (Father of Mercies) and as His ‘Beloved’ (1, 2) do through the Presence of His Indwelling Spirit the good works of His Love. Then He will help us and nothing will be impossible for us (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).
Observation #16. Therefore, we do not need to be led by anymore false shepherds (Jew, Christian, Muslim, whatever) who are advocating for religious systems that are no more than ‘substitutes’ for what Abba Avinu really wants; which is a new united humanity that is only interested in abiding in His Love:
הָאֱלֹהִים הוּא אַהֲבָה; הָעוֹמֵד בָּאַהֲבָה עוֹמֵד בֵּאלֹהִים וֵאלֹהִים עוֹמֵד בּוֹ.פ
Adonai (G-d) is love, and the one who abides in love abides in Adonai (G-d), and He abides in him.
Observation #17. The minority are happy with ‘their’ religion(s). The majority of us Jews are not. And we do not mind saying that to anybody; whether they want to hear it or not.
הִנֵּה בֶּאֱמֶת בֶּן יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ מִרְמָה!פ
“Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”
We are the promised generation of Israel (נְתַנְאֵל-Netan’el, given of G-d) that would be without any fraud (מִרְמָה-deceit). The Messiah nearly two millennia ago saw our generation of Israel coming toward Him and he supernaturally knew then what we are only learning now: the Father is still calling us (all Israel) to believe in His Messiah (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). This is, literally, precisely why the irreligious, unbelieving, non-practicing, secular Jews (etc.) of today will enter into the kingdom of Adonai long before our Jewish religious leaders will (the last will be first and the first last).
Jewish life in America – 8 Findings:
Finding #1. The first major survey of American Jews in more than a decade found a significant rise in those who are not religious, marry outside the faith, and are not raising their children to be religious Jews. This has resulted in rapid assimilation that is sweeping through every branch of Judaism.
Finding #2. Even in Orthodox homes fewer than half of Jews have remained Orthodox, with more than 20 percent leaving the religion altogether, according to a survey released October 1, 2013, “A Portrait of Jewish Americans,” by the Pew Research Center’s Religion and Public Life Project.
Finding #3. Jews make up 2.2 percent of the American population, a percentage that has held steady for the past two decades.
Finding #4. The Pew Research Center’s survey estimates there are 5.3 million Jewish adults as well as 1.3 million children being raised at least partly Jewish.
Finding #5. The intermarriage rate has reached a high of 58 percent for all Jews, and 71 percent for non-Orthodox Jews. This is a huge change from before 1970 when only 17 percent of Jews married outside the faith.
Finding #6. Two-thirds of Jews do not belong to a synagogue, one-fourth do not believe in Adonai and one-third had a Christmas tree in their home over the last three years. The percentage of “Yehudim of no religion” has grown with each successive generation, peaking with the millennials (those born after 1980), of whom 32 percent say they have no religion.
Finding #7. Reform Judaism remains the largest American Jewish movement, at 35 percent. Conservative Jews are 18 percent, Orthodox 10 percent, and groups such as Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal make up 6 percent combined. Thirty percent of Jews do not identify with any denomination.
Finding #8. In a surprising finding, 34 percent said you could still be Jewish if you believe that Rabbi Yeshua is the Messiah.
The Flock of One Hundred Sheep – 14 Points:
There are only three places in the Tanakh that reference (the value of) a flock of one hundred sheep or lambs. It is in the Genesis account that we learn that when father Jacob (later called Israel) first “returned” to the Land of Israel he purchased a parcel of land in the ancient City of Shalem. This parcel was located in the territory of Shechem that was located at the foot of the two mountains of Mount Gerazim (the Mount of Blessings) and Mount Ebal (the Mount of Curses). The other two references are located in Joshua and the Book of Job.
Point #1. When father Jacob returned to Israel he came to the city of Shalem in Shechem. Shalem means “Completion” and “Peace.” Later, in the time of Joshua, it is on this plot of land that the remains of Joseph and his brothers (our twelve patriarchs) were put to rest (1, 2, 3):
“Now they buried the bones of Joseph, which the sons of Israel brought up from Egypt, at Shechem, in the piece of ground which Jacob had bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for one kesitah (one hundred pieces of silver); and they became the inheritance of Joseph’s sons.”
The Hebrew-Aramaic word-play in the personal names here is quite interesting.
Yoseph (Yosef) means to “add.” His name is a spin off of the word “asaf” (אָסַ֥ף-to take-away) which is used to convey the ‘reproach’ (חֶרְפָּתִֽי-cherpati) that his mother Rachel suffered from because her womb previously was barren. Yosef is the solution to that problem. The solution is that the reproach is subtracted by the addition of Rachel’s firstborn son, Yoseph (יוֹסֵ֖ף-Yosef), who is proof positive that there will be ‘more sons (of honor) to come.’ (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14).
*Meta-narrative – the little (many) narratives that are embedded (deep) within the one main narrative.
Due to the problem of sin no one had ever been able to enter into heaven. However, once the Messiah had sacrificed His life as a ransom for many and He was miraculously resurrected from the dead, then in his glorified body the Righteous One presented himself to our heavenly Father as the precedent-setting “Firstborn of the Dead” (Habekhor hakam min-hametim).
The promise of the Firstborn is that another son will be “added” that is the Son of the “Right Hand” (בִנְיָמִֽין-Benyamin, i.e. ‘you and me,’ the Assembly of Israel that follows the Head of the Assembly (Rosh Ha’edah) in the birth canal processional into the birth from ‘above‘ (heaven; the Jerusalem ‘above‘).
All of this Hebrew-Aramaic word-play is to get at the meanings of the names of Joseph’s sons who are the ones who “inherit” the City of Shalem; where all of the Twelve Patriarchs are buried and awaiting their resurrection (all twelve names of the Patriarchs each carry special messianic meanings as well).
The two sons of father Yosef are named Ephraim (אֶפְרָֽיִם) and Manasseh (מְנַשֶּׁ֖ה).
Originally the birth order of the two sons was Manasseh and Ephraim. However, father Israel (Jacob) changed the birth order (by crossing his arms, making the Sign of the Tav) when He formally adopted Joseph’s two sons as his own sons.
Manasseh means “Forget.”
The meaning in its first form of the Firstborn is that the Messiah (who knew no sin) was sent to become sin so that our sin (our reproach) might be taken away (subtracted). The meaning, thereafter, in its second form of the Firstborn is that after our sins are taken away we are free to become “Doubly Fruitful.”
Ephraim means “Doubly Fruitful.”
Therefore, the (hidden) wordplay message is as follows: “He [Adonai] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf [subtract, take away our sin and assign it to Messiah], so that we might become the righteousness of Adonai in Him” [add, credit His (Messiah’s) righteousness to us].”
This means: the sacrifice of our Messiah subtracted our sin by His becoming sin on our behalf. This then allowed His righteousness to be added to us so that we might become the righteousness of of our Father in heaven (Doubly Fruitful) in Him (Ha-Mashiach).
This means the womb of heaven is no longer barren. The reproach of no children in heaven has been subtracted (taken away).
This is so because with our sin removed (cleansed) we are now free to become the righteousness of Adonai (our Father). Therefore, we are now fit to enter heaven. For through the sacrifice of the Messiah we are now able to become the new creation that Abba Avinu desires: “Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creature (a new humanity); the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” So through faith in the Messiah we are now able to subtract our sin and add His righteousness in its place. As a new creation (בְּרִיאָה חֲדָשָׁה) we are now fit for our eventual post-resurrection entrance into heaven (for more info on this Beta search “Ephraim and Manasseh”).
Point #2. In an act of prophetic role-play this plot of land of father Jacob-Israel, the City of Shalem (modern Nablus) was purchased by him for one hundred pieces of silver called a “kesitah.” The kesitah is an ancient form of silver coinage that was stamped— sealed with the likeness of a Lamb. It represented the value of a flock of a hundred sheep.
Point #3. Ever since this time of Jacob’s redemption of the land with the silver kesitah the entire family and nation of Israel has been depicted as a single flock of one hundred sheep.
Point #4. In his prophetic teaching the Messiah oftentimes organizes our people (Israel) around this symbolic figure of ‘one hundred.’ The number one hundred represents “total sanctification and completeness.” The kesitah is equal to 100 pieces of silver and a single flock of 100 sheep.
This represents the total redemption and sanctification of the entire flock of Israel (past, present, and future).
The symbolic purchase of our (Israel’s) redemption and sanctification is attributed to father Abraham and not his son, Ya’acov; who purchased the land in father Abraham’s name. Why? Because father Avraham is the “Father of our Faith” (1, 2, 3, 4). Not Jacob. This means the promise of God was given to His friend, to our father Avraham: then through him the promises of God are given to all of us who are ‘his ‘physical (and spiritual) descendants.
Therefore, in the covenant of father Avraham we too (like him) must exercise ‘faith’ in Adonai. We too must ‘draw near’ to Adonai (who already abides ‘with‘ us) that He will draw near to us (live forever ‘within‘ us).
Point #5. In the Torah meanings of metals gold represents Divinity, silver represents redemption, and bronze (copper) represents judgment. The purchase of the land of the City of Shalem (fifty miles north of Jerusalem) is symbolic of the “redemption” of the Land and people of Israel by El-Elohe-Yisra’el (the Creator Who is the Al-Mighty One of Israel).
Point #7. The promise of the redemption of the land and people of Israel was first given by Adonai to father Abraham. Therefore, the redemption (of the Lamb) that is spiritually depicted in Jacob’s prophetic actions is credited to father Abraham.
Point #9. The redemption of the land and people of Israel, where the leaders of the 12 tribes rest (are awaiting resurrection), is marked by the Oak Tree at Moreh (Oak Tree of the Teacher; i.e the Oak Tree is where we find our Rabbi from Heaven). There is an entire grove of oak trees in the Valley of Moreh that represent our individual and collective identification with and dependence upon the Messiah and His sacrifice for us on the accursed tree.
Point #10. This too is prophetic: It speaks of the redemptive ministry that the Messiah the Lamb of G-d, who takes away the sin of the world, accomplished when he sacrificed his life as an atonement for our sin on the accursed Tree; configured in the shape of the Hebrew letter Tav, the pictograph of “redemption,” “purchase,” “covenant,” and “ownership.”
Point #11. The name Shechem is prophetic. It literally means “Shoulder” and it speaks of “Governance.” The governance of the (International) kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of Adonai (our Father) rests upon the Shoulders of His Messiah (Isaiah 9:6):
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the Government shall be upon His Shoulder: and his Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty All-powerful One, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Point #12. The Messiah purchased our peace (Shalem) through His blood. Redemption comes through the shedding of blood (i.e. the sacrifice of one’s life as an expression of one’s redemptive love for others). This was foreshadowed in the testimony of father Abraham’s first sacrifice (upon entering the Promised Land) which occurred next to the Oak Tree at Moreh.
Point #13. “Moreh” means to teach. The word picture here is one of the “Teacher” (Rabbi) who casts the teaching (meaning) of the Torah upon us like the heavens cast their rains (root of mowreh is ‘yarah’) upon the dry land so that there might be life springing up everywhere. This too is a testimony of the Rabbi of Heaven who speaks forth the words of life that are like the living-waters (1, 2, 3,4, 5) ‘sent‘ from heaven to earth to spiritually replenish and nourish our lives.
Point #14. This supernatural place, the Oak of Moreh, is where Adonai (our Father and our G-d) first promised the land of Israel to father Abraham and his descendants (us): “So Abram went forth as Adonai had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the Oak of Moreh. Now the Canaanite was then in the land. Adonai appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land.’ So he built an altar there to the Adonai who had appeared to him.”
The joyous friends and neighbors – 12 Insights:
Insight #1. The Hebrew word for friends and neighbors is rea’ (neighbor, friend, companion). The root word for rea’ (רֵעַ) is ra’ah (רָעָה). The principal meaning of the root word is to pasture, tend, graze, feed; which includes being a shepherd or a shepherdess.
Insight #2. The spiritual meaning of the shepherd’s friends (ידִידָיו-beloved ones) and neighbors (שְׁכֵנָיו-fellow citizens) in view in the mashal of the Lost Sheep (as sinners) is the beloved ones of the shepherd who share in his reverence, service, and worship of Adonai. This especially pertains to those Yehudim who are privileged to live in the (yet future) time of the messianic kingdom age (neighbor, Zechariah 3:10; those who revere, fear Adonai, Malachi 3:16).
Insight #3. The context of the mashal indicates that the principal associates (fiends, neighbors) of the Shepherd (Ra’ah), who is the heroic figure in the narrative, are other shepherds.
Insight #4. Usually (in ancient times) the Shepherds of Israel congregated (teamed up) together. They were bound together in a unique fraternity of lifestyle and sacrifice. The self-description of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Twelve Patriarchs of Israel is:
“Your servants are shepherds, both we and our fathers.” The ancient Shepherds of Israel lived a hard but rewarding life.
Insight #5. The flocks of Israel were plentiful and the pasture lands (depending on the weather) were oftentimes scarce.
Insight #6. The Shepherd had to navigate through the mountains of Israel around steep cliffs and narrow passageways and in the valleys and deserts below where predators would follow, seeking for an opportune time to swiftly attack stray members of the flock, to drag them off and consume them as prey.
Insight #8. The Shepherd was an expert tracker. He could follow the footprints and other evidence left behind by the lost sheep for miles around until he found his stray sheep.
Insight #9. Many of the flocks were communal flocks, belonging not just to one family but to multiple families. When the flocks were returned to their home base (some particular village) all of the members of the community would want to hear news about what had transpired in the course of the shepherds taking out their flocks to pasture and returning.
Insight #10. If any of the sheep were missing then the shepherds returning would report that there was still a Shepherd out on the mountains or in the plains earnestly and sacrificially looking for the one lost sheep.
Insight #11. The whole shepherd community would be alert to their fellow Shepherd’s plight. Then, in the distance, the on-duty watchman of the village would finally see the individual shepherd walking home with his lost sheep rested safely upon his shoulders. So there would be a loud, joyous shout of the Good News (Besorah) that all of the village could hear that both the lost sheep and his Shepherd had returned safely. Then all the members of the community would join the watchman with their own shouts of joy and celebration!
Insight #12. In the messianic Kingdom of Adonai it will be said of Messiah’s associates, who humbly serve alongside him that they are Shepherds, Servant-leaders who selflessly and tirelessly remain committed to the health, safety, and welfare of all of the flock (citizens) of Israel (Yehudim, Jews) and of all of the Commonwealth of Israel (Goyim, Gentiles).
Interpretation of the Thirtieth Mashal of Messiah:
This thirtieth mashal is a look into the future where the cardinal virtues of the “Love of Adonai Avinu” will dominate the global culture.
These virtues are absolutely wrapped up in Adonai (our G-d’s) three attributes of “mercy,” “loyal-loving-kindness (chesed),” and “grace.” In the messianic kingdom, symbolized by the flock of one hundred sheep and the Good Shepherd (HaRo’eh HaTov) seeking his lost sheep, we discover that the Good Shepherd has been seeking a new people from among the mountains that is from among all of the nations of the world (Israel and the International Commonwealth of Israel).
The Messiah tells us that in the future messianic kingdom the conditions of Israel and the Commonwealth of Israel will be so ideal that it will be as if ninety-nine percent of the global population will completely exist safely in the will of the Holy One and only one per cent will be having difficulties.
Across time – the Messiah asks us today and tomorrow (his family of shepherds): “What should the response of the Shepherd of the ninety-nine sheep be regarding the one lost sheep?” Messiah answers: The focus of Adonai (our Father’s) concern must still remain principally on the one lost sheep. The lesson being: The Spirit of the Father and the Messiah will not rest until all of the flock (one hundred per cent of Israel) live in safety and security.
This is the opposite of how things are today. Today (as before) the lovers of religion care more about their religion than the lost people who are in need of G-d’s help. In stark contrast the Messiah loves the lost people far more than he does any religion and even more than his own life. It was the Lord of the Sabbath (אֲדוֹן הַשַּׁבָּת) who said: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.”
Messiah taught us that our Father in heaven places a greater value on the welfare of just one human life than He does on the physical observance of Shabbat. This means that our religious practices, for that matter any religious practice, must not become more important to us than the value of the life of just one human being.
The fulfillment of all of the Torah and the prophets is to love Adonai. And how do we love Adonai? We love Adonai (our G-d) by loving our neighbor.
Our religion is not leading us to love our neighbor. Therefore, we need to be rescued from our religion(s). We need a personal (supernatural) encounter with the love and compassion of Adonai (our Father and our G-d). Therefore we pray:
“Lord, please come quickly.” “Lord, save us (Israel) now!”
So when the Spirit of the Messiah has found you, He will pick you up from your distress and rest you safely upon His shoulders, rejoicing; and when He brings you safely home, He will say to His friends and neighbors about you,”Rejoice with Me, for I have found My sheep which was lost!”