Parable #34. Rich Man and Lazarus:
- Today is Day #34
- The Thirty-fourth Mashal of Messiah
- A Rabbinical Hint
- The Divine Blessing and the Curse
- If we impersonate the eternal Judge we will be eternally judged
- So if you are a son or daughter of Avraham watch out!
- The Spirit of the Holy One is our Helper and our Comforter
- My Helper is the Almighty One
- How a Rich Yehudi (the Eldest Son) lost forever the Presence of Adonai
- Most important is our stewardship of the Spiritual Treasure of Adonai
- The Rich Man who was not Rich in Adonai
- The Firstborn Son refused to abide in the faith of Father Abraham
- Wise Ezra, Poor Lazarus, and the Resurrected Lazarus
- The Lost Elder and his Five Brothers
- The witness of the Resurrected Lazarus (the Seventh Sign)
- The conspiracy of the religious leaders against the Messiah
- The Rest of the Story…
- The Message in the Middle
- Professor Einstein’s challenging train trip
- In the Presence of the Spirit and the Word of Adonai we discover our Destiny
- There is truth revealed in all of the names that surround the Life of Lazarus
- The perfect calm of the Messiah in a time of great difficulty
- Preparation for the Journey
- The Messiah arrives at the House of Mourning
- The outpouring of sorrow and the groanings of Messiah’s Spirit
- The Messiah “groaned in His Spirit.”
- “Lazarus, come out!”
- “Unwrap Lazarus and let him go!”
- The resurrection of Lazarus
- The prophecy of the High Priest, Caiaphas, comes true
- “Roll away the stone, unbound them, and Let all of My people go free!”
- “It is better one man should die, than the community perish!”
- Messiah took His rest in Beit-Anii then He traveled on to Ephraim
Today is Day #34:
1. Today is “Day #34” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is thirty-four days which are four weeks and six days of the Omer.
.היום ארבעה ושלשים יום, שהם ארבעה שבועות ושישה ימים בעומר
Haiyom arba’ah ushloshim yom, shehaym arba’ah shavuot veshishah 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 Thirty-fourth Mashal of Messiah:
אִישׁ עָשִׁיר הָיָה וְהוּא לָבוּשׁ אַרְגָּמָן וָשֵׁשׁ וַיִּתְעַנֵּג וַיִּשְׂמַח יוֹם יוֹם׃ וְאִישׁ אֶבְיוֹן וּשְׁמוֹ לַעְזָר מֻשְׁכָּב פֶּתַח שַׁעַר בֵּיתוֹ וְהוּא מָלֵא אֲבַעְבֻּעוֹת׃ וַיִּתְאָו לִשְׂבֹּעַ מִן־הַפֵּרוּרִים הַנֹּפְלִים מֵעַל שֻׁלְחַן הֶעָשִׁיר וְגַם הַכְּלָבִים בָּאוּ וַיָּלֹקּוּ אֲבַעְבֻּעוֹתָיו׃ וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר מֵת הָאֶבְיוֹן וַיִּשָׂאוּהוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים אֶל־חֵיק אַבְרָהָם וְגַם־הֶעָשִׁיר מֵת וַיִּקָּבַר׃ וַיְהִי בִשְׁאוֹל וּכְאֵבוֹ גָּדוֹל מְאֹד וַיִּשָׂא אֶת־עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא אֶת־אַבְרָהָם מֵרָחוֹק וְאֶת־לַעְזָר בְּחֵיקוֹ׃ וַיִּצְעַק וַיֹּאמֶר אָבִי אַבְרָהָם חָנֵּנִי וּשְׁלַח־נָא אֶת־לַעְזָר וְיִטְבֹּל אֶת־רֹאשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹ בַּמַּיִם לְקָרֵר אֶת־לְשׁוֹנִי כִּי נֶעֱצַבְתִּי בַּמּוֹקֵד הַזֶּה׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם בְּנִי זְכֹר כִּי־אַתָּה לָקַחְתָּ טוּבְךָ בְּחַיֶּיךָ וְלַעְזָר לָקַח אֶת־הָרָעוֹת וְעַתָּה הוּא יְנֻחַם וְאַתָּה בְמַעֲצֵבָה׃ וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא שֶׁגֵּיא גָדוֹל מַפְרִיד בֵּינֵינוּ וּבֵינֵיכֶם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יוּכְלוּ לַעֲבוֹר הַחֲפֵצִים לָלֶכֶת מִפֹּה אֲלֵיכֶם וְגַם לֹא יַעַבְרוּ מִשָּׁם אֵלֵינוּ׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אִם־כֵּן אָבִי שֹׁאֵל אֲנִי מֵאִתְּךָ לִשְׁלֹחַ אֹתוֹ אֶל־בֵּית אָבִי׃ כִּי חֲמִשָּׁה אַחִים לִי וְיָעֵד בָּהֶם פֶּן־יָבֹאוּ גַם־הֵם אֶל־מְקוֹם הַמַּעֲצֵבָה הַזֶּה׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָהָם יֵשׁ לָהֶם משֶׁה וְהַנְּבִיאִים אֲלֵיהֶם יִשְׁמָעוּן׃ וַיֹּאמֶר לֹא־כֵן אַבְרָהָם אָבִי כִּי אִם־יָבֹא אֲלֵיהֶם אֶחָד מִן־הַמֵּתִים אָז יָשׁוּבוּ׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אִם־לֹא יִשְׁמְעוּ אֶל־משֶׁה וְאֶל־הַנְּבִיאִים גַּם כִּי־יָקוּם אֶחָד מִן־הַמֵּתִים לֹא יַאֲמִינוּ׃
“There once was a rich man. He was dressed in purple and fine linen and enjoyed delights and rejoiced every day. A poor man named Lazar was laid at the opening of the gate of his house, and he was full of blisters. He craved to be satisfied from the bits that fell from the rich man’s table. The dogs would even come and lick his blisters. When the poor man died, the angels carried him to Avraham’s bosom (lit. his lap). The rich man also died and was buried. He was in she’ol, and his pain was very great. He lifted his eyes and saw Avraham at a distance and Lazar in his bosom. He cried out and said, ‘My father Avraham, be gracious to me! Please send Lazar and let him dip the tip of his finger in water to cool my tongue, for I am suffering in this burning.’ Avraham said, ‘My son, remember that you took your goodness in your life, and Lazar took what was bad.
Now he (Lazar) is comforted and you (the Rich Man) are suffering.
Not only that, but there is a great valley separating us; no one who desires to go from here to you can cross it. Nor can anyone cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘If that is the case, my father, I ask of you to send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him testify to them so they do not also come to this place of suffering.’ But Avraham said, ‘They have Mosheh and the Nevi’im; let them listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, Avraham my father! But if one of the dead comes to them then they will repent!’ He said to him, ‘If they will not listen to Mosheh and to the Nevi’im, they will not believe even if one rises from the dead!”
A Rabbinical Hint:
In the previous mashal we observed two praiseworthy points of wisdom that both the shrewd steward and the most wise Ezra had in common. First, both men knew they would be called to account one day for their lives and they took that seriously; and second, the two Yehudim both took advantage of their present positions to arrange a better future.
The shrewd servant applied financial grace to his Master’s debtors (all *Yehudim) that assured him of the personal friendship and blessed support of these persons in the future. Similar to this, the very famous priest, scribe and teacher Ezra applied spiritual grace to the (Gentile) Persian King Artaxerxes that assured the king of Adonai’s protection and favor in exchange for Ezra and over fifty-thousand of his brothers and sisters receiving the king’s protection and material support for their continued safe resettlement in the city of Jerusalem (and throughout all Judea).
Question: Why was the Persian King Artaxerxes so incredibly supportive of our people (Israel)?
Answer: The King believed that if he blessed our people (Israel) G-d would greatly bless him.
In the D’var HaShem we learn that those gentiles who act hatefully toward and mistreat us—-the physical descendants of Abraham and Sarah—-will suffer the consequence of the curse (Genesis 12:3). However, those gentiles who treat us with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness will, in due course, be greatly blessed.
The Divine Blessing and the Curse:
By the way this Divine blessing and curse applies to us too. On the one hand, when one of us as a Yehudi acts hatefully toward another Yehudi then there are adverse consequences for that person. On the other hand, when we act with forgiveness and loving-kindness toward one another—-even when our Jewish brother or sister acts as an enemy toward us and curses us—-we are most blessed of Adonai Avinu.
The part of this Divine pronouncement that we Jews, oftentimes, do not get is this: what if we fail to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to one another? The answer is: then we too can suffer loss. This is why the “Elder Brother” in the mashal of the Lost Son got in so much trouble. The Yehudi Elder Brother refused to be merciful to his younger brother. He judged his younger brother very harshly; wishing (praying) for all of the community (even The Father) to treat his returning younger as dead. This hating one’s Jewish brother or sister is a horrible offense to Adonai. For this reason our Messiah (who is the first person voice of Adonai) has said:
ואני אומר לכם: כל הכועס על אחיו יחיב לדין; האומר לאחיו ‘ריק’ יחיב למשפט הסנהדרין; והאומר ‘אויל’ יחיב לאש גיהנום. פ
“And I say to you: Any one [a Yehudi] who is angry with his brothers [Yehudim] will be put on trial; who tells his brother “you good-for-nothing” (ריק-rick,literally “nothingness”) will be charged with the Sanhedrin trial; and the one who says “fool” (אויל-oil, literally who calls another Yehudi a “evil person;” i.e. who is worthy of hell) will be [himself] sentenced [in the Heavenly Court] to the fire (אש) of hell (גיהנום-Gehinom)!”
If we impersonate the eternal Judge we will be eternally judged:
The Divine standard of conduct of The Father (Avinu Shebashamayim) for Jew relating to Jew is set so high that no one but Messiah can obey it. Essentially this means a Yehudi may never judge a Yehudi or he will be in danger of being sentenced to hell himself. In other words: we must never take the place of The Father (ה’ אבינו), or of the Messiah—who as the Voice of Adonai Avinu— is our eternal Ha-Shofet (שופט החיים והחמטים-Shofet haChaiim v’hametim; Judge of the Living and the Dead).
Impersonating the eternal Judge (G-d) is a far more serious offense than impersonating a human (temporal) judge.
Therefore, we must never usurp the authority of the Holy One and act as the judge of a fellow Jew at any time. If we act like a temporal judge when we are not; the temporal judges will punish us for “impersonation” of being a temporal judge. However, if we act as an eternal judge then that is a far more serious matter. For then the eternal Ha-Shofet, in the Proceedings of the Heavenly Court, shall punish us with the fire of hell for our deeply offending Adonai by impersonating His “proxy” (Tselem Ha-Elohim) M’shicho (His Anointed One); who alone is appointed by Adonai Avinu to be our eternal Ha-Shofet.
So if you are a son or daughter of Avraham watch out!
So if you are a son or daughter of Avraham watch out! What applies to the gentiles doubly applies to us. Make certain you honor and love all who are the sons and daughters of our family of Avraham, Issac, and Jacob. Therefore, if you treat others like Abba Avinu treats us and you are sacrificially loving and kind to your brothers and sisters (the least, the unrighteous; as well as the righteous), then (1, 2, 3, 4) you too will, in due time, be greatly blessed! (!שִׂמְחוּ וְגִילוּ, כִּי שְׂכַרְכֶם רַב בַּשָּׁמַיִם).
As referenced in the last mashal the Messiah made a very big and important statement in His subtlety making reference to a very small fragment of scripture that related to the life of Ezra. Ezra’s name means “Help” and the “Helper.” As stated previously in the last mashal of the Messiah, the mashal of the Shrewd Manager: the combined ministry of Ezra and Nehemiah are both prophetic ‘types‘ of the helping and comforting ministry (administration) of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of the Holy One is our Helper and our Comforter:
In the last mashal the Spirit of the Holy One was revealed to be both our “Helper” and our “Comforter” (Consoler). Due to the rabbinical ‘hint’ that the Messiah supplied in His reference to the 100 batim of oil and the 100 korim of wheat, we were led to the Ezra passage that speaks of these exact two items, with an additional three items that were referenced as well—-100 talents of silver, 100 batim of wine, and salt without measure. The Ruach HaChesed (רוּחַ הַחֶסֶד-Spirit of Loving-Kindness) administers to us:
Help #1. The redemptive sacrifice of the Messiah. Silver is a symbol of the shed blood, the sacrifice of Messiah, that cleanses us of all sin.
Help #2. The golden Wheat is a symbol of our hope of resurrection glory made possible by the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.
Help #3. The Life of the Spirit joyously Indwelling our hearts, souls, minds, and bodies forever is symbolized in the Wine. (The New Covenant).
Help #4. The powerful workings of the Spirit manifested upon, in, and through our lives is represented in the Olive Oil.
Help #5. The abiding Indwelling Presence of our Loving Father according to His Covenant of Grace (Chesed) is symbolized in the Salt (The Salt Covenant).
All of the above benefits are experienced under the Helping and Comforting care and nurture (Hand) of the Holy Spirit. Without His direct assistance we can do nothing. Suffice it to say these five (five is the number of grace) items prophetically speak of five ways the Spirit of Grace has helped His children of light.
My Helper is the Almighty One:
This leads us to today’s mashal of the “Rich Man and Lazarus.” The name Lazarus is very much connected to the meaning of Ezra’s name. The personal name Lazarus is derived from the Hebrew name “Eleazar.” Eleazar means the “Almighty One is My Helper.” The Hebrew root word for both Ezra (The Helper, the priest and scribe) and Eleazar (The Almighty One is My Helper) is the same, azar (עָזַר); which means to “help,” to “aid,” and to “support.”
In what follows Messiah teaches us (Modern Israel) that although we are at conception blessed to be the sons and daughters of Adonai (who foreknows us; who knows us each by individual name; even in our mother’s womb), and as such our names are written into the Book of Life, our names still can be “blotted out” (at age of accoutability).
Our names automatically are listed (*age of innocence) in the Book of Life. However, each of our individual names only remain listed in the Book of LIfe until we reach the age of accountability. Then after the age of accountability—according to the Tanakh (D’var HaShem) we must live a **perfect life or our individual name will be blotted out of the Book of Life.
*The age of innocence is when we are infants and very small children. When we are very ‘little ones’ we are incapable of understanding the Law and, therefore, Adonai does not judge us according to the Law at that time. This is so because how can a little one be expected to obey what he or she is incapable of understanding?
**Perfect life. According to the Law of Moses sin, any sin, separates us from Adonai Avinu. However, our belief in the sacrifices removes our sin; both individually and collectively (as a people and a nation). Our ancestors before Messiah believed in the sacrifices (which foreshadowed the once-in-eternity sacrifice of the Messiah), our Korban Pesach; and this what cleanses them and us of our sins; so that we might be acceptable to our Righteous Father on the day of our resurrection. Without the sacrifice of Messiah none of us would be forgiven and cleansed of our sins; and thereby heaven would remain empty; save for the one and only person who (under the Law of Moses) has ever merited eternal life and fellowship with Avinu Shebashamayim—-the Messiah Yeshua Ben Yosef Ben David.
הרי מי שמקים את כל התורה ונכשל בדבר אחד, אשם הוא בכל. פ
Surely whoever builds up the whole Torah and fails in one thing is guilty of everything.
Under the Torah of Adonai Eloheinu, even though we are children of the light—-for we are called in Eved HaKadosh to be light to the nations—-we can lose the Light (the Salvation of Adonai-the blessedness of His Presence) due to our own misconduct (transgressions and sins). Therefore, our names that were put into the Book of Life at our ‘conception‘ can and will be blotted out at the moment we transgress the smallest part (וְנִכְשַָׁל בְּדָבָר אֶחָד-to stumble in one word; i.e. in just one single part) of the Torah. Therefore, we are all guilty of being transgressors under the law if we violate just one single word of the Torah. For this reason of Adonai’s unattainable standard of perfection: we are all sinners in need of a Savior. This means no Jew is better than any other Jew, for only the Messiah has been perfect, blameless under G-d’s law).
Therefore, M’shicho (His Messiah) is the one who The Father has sent in “His Name” (ישוע-Yeshua, ישוע יהוה-the “Salvation of Adonai”). He’s the true Elder (ruling) Brother of us all. He is our Big Brother! (הוא האח הגדול של כולנו) Therefore, it is imperative that we all believe in the Salvation of Adonai (ישוע יהוה), for He (ישוע) alone is Go’el Yisra’el (the Redeemer of Israel) and HaMoshia l’chol Adam (the Savior of all Humankind).
How a Rich Yehudi (the Eldest Son) lost forever the Presence of Adonai:
In today’s mashal of the Rich Man and Lazarus (G-d is My Helper) the Messiah reveals to us what kind of misconduct might cause a Yehudi to lose his or her salvation. Our Salvation is the *Presence of Adonai, therefore, the Messiah Yeshua illustrates how after death one of our own (Israel) might lose the Presence of Adonai (whose Presence is our Life and our Salvation).
*Our Salvation is “The Presence” of Adonai. We believe if you are born a physical descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob then “The Presence” of Adonai will be “with” you throughout all of your lifetime; whether you behave good or evil or even choose to not believe in G-d. This is because Adonai Eloheinu has sworn an oath that He “will never leave us or forsake us.” So it is written that although we are faithless to Him, He shall continue to remain faithful to us, for “He cannot deny Himself;” that is He will keep His oath and remain faithful to us (to His people of Israel) no matter what.
In this mashal another (Lost) Elder Brother—who is not a wise steward of the treasure that has been entrusted to him gets into trouble.
The Lost Elder gets into big trouble with Adonai Eloheinu by grossly ignoring the needs of his poor kinsman, a Yehudi (יהודי ישראלי-Israeli kinsman) named—-Lazarus . In this mashal our Big Brother (the Messiah) warns all of us (כל ישראל ,את כל משפחת ישראל) that when a Jew acts the fool and treats another Jew with a complete lack of charity (tzedakah) then such a one will surely lose his or her *Salvation (ישועה, ישוע).
*When does a Yehudi lose his or her Salvation? A Jew can only lose the (invisible) Presence of Adonai on the day that he or she dies. Then comes the judgment. The Judgment is when it is decided whether or not “The Presence” will remain withe us—-forever. If not, then we shall be sent to a place where The Presence of Adonai will never dwell. This place is described as the fire (אש) of hell (גיהנום-Gehinom). With these things in mind let us continue in our study of Messiah’s thirty-fourth mashal:
“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.”
The Master opens up His mashal with a Hebrew irony, “There was a Rich Man” (היה היה איש עשיר). However, based on our studies of “rich men” in the meshalim of the Messiah we must immediately ask was this Rich Man really rich? Was this Eldest Son Rich in Adonai? Or was this Eldest Son in truth not really rich at all but just a “fool?” The answer is: this Rich Eldest Son was a fool.
Therefore, this mashal of Messiah teaches us that being rich in material things should never be equated with being Rich in Adonai and that what we do with the temporal and *spiritual riches we possess in this life very much affects the treasures that we will or will not have in eternity; “the life to come.”
*What we do with the spiritual treasure of Adonai (His Word) is far more important than our stewardship of material things. Our (Israel’s) stewardship of both our spiritual treasures and our material treasures of Adonai are important. However, of “most importance” is our stewardship of the the spiritual treasures (cf. Tanakh and HaBrit HaChadashah-Modern, Classic-Mishnaic) that have been entrusted to us, Am-Israel).
We (Israel) are blessed with the very Presence of Adonai (רוח האמת-the Spirit of Truth). The help of the Spirit of Truth imparts to us the Consolation of HaAv: the assistance of all of His goodness, righteousness, and truth; as well as His great redemption, which is imparted to us through the once-in-eternity sacrifice of M’shico (His Messiah). However, most important of all, The Father has given to us His gift of eternal life—-the permanent Indwelling Presence of His own Spirit of Holiness. The Spirit of the Father can be at one place (heaven) and every other place (our hearts) at the same time. So that The Presence might be “in” us, as well as “with” us, our righteous Big Brother has promised us:
ואני אבקש מהאב ויתן לכם מנחם אחר שיהיה עמכם לעולם: את רוח האמת אשר העולם אינו יכול לקבל משום שאינו רואה אותה, אף אינו מכיר אותה. אתם מכירים אותה, כי היא שוכנת עמכם ותהיה בכם. פ
And I will ask HaAv (The Father), and He will give you another Comforter (מנחם-Consoler), who will be with you forever: The Spirit of Truth (רוח האמת) who the world (העולם) can not accept because it does not see Him. You know Him, because His Presence (already: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) dwells with you and will be in you.
Most important is our stewardship of the Spiritual Treasure of Adonai:
Who is Rich in Adonai? Who are the stewards of the most valued spiritual treasures of Adonai?
When the Messiah appeared almost two millennia ago the Prushim (Pharisees) and experts in the Law asserted ‘they‘ were the ones who were Rich in Adonai. However, they were not Rich in Adonai. For these men made selfish use of the riches of the Torah. In addition they opposed the Messiah, rejected the redemption of Adonai, and they even refused to receive the gift of eternal life of the Father, which is the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One.
These men slandered and replaced the Messiah Yeshua (lit. the Salvation of Adonai) who was Rich in Adonai. This happened because our Elder Brother (our elite religious leadership) completely failed to understand what being “Rich in Adonai” really is. On the one hand, speaking merely from a naturalistic perspective, these elite religious leaders were rich in things (including knowledge; da’at-דעת) but on the other hand, they were very poor spiritually; they lacked true spiritual knowledge (חכמה-chokhmah, spiritual wisdom).
Quite in contrast to the Prushim, the Messiah—our most successful Elder, Big Brother—has always been spiritually Rich in Adonai. He has never spiritually been lacking in any way. So because Ha-Mashiach is the Faithful and True one (נאמן ואמיתי) He has become so incredibly Rich in Adonai that the Holy One, Avinu Shebashamayim (our Father in heaven), has exalted Him to the “highest place.” Therefore, it is written:
עַל כֵּן הִגְבִּיהוֹ אֱלֹהִים מְאֺד וְנָתַן לוֹ אֶת הַשֵּׁם הַנַּעֲלֶה עַל כָּל שֵׁם, לְמַעַן תִּכְרַע בְּשֵׁם יֵשׁוּעַ כָּל בֶּרֶךְ, בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ וּמִתַּחַת לָאָרֶץ, וְכָל לָשׁוֹן תּוֹדֶה כִּי יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ הוּא הָאָדוֹן, לְתִפְאֶרֶת אֱלֹהִים הָאָב.פ
“For this reason also, G-d highly exalted Him (the Mashiach), and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Yeshua (the Salvation of Adonai) every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Yeshua Ha-Mashiach is the Lord (הָאָדוֹן), to the glory of Elohim HaAv.” Here we have been given a narrative where the rich Hebrew is counted among the unrighteous ones and the poor Hebrew is counted among the separated and holy ones.
The Rich Man who was not Rich in Adonai:
The rich man who was not Rich in Adonai had “materially” everything he wanted.
The purple clothes he dressed in made a social statement. Purple was the *color of royalty in ancient times. The most expensive garments were colorized purple by a most rare and expensive dye. You did not wear (נלבש) purple unless you were very, very rich or were of royal blood.
Like the modern business world in the ancient business world the fine quality and colors of one’s attire made a fashion statement about how wealthy, powerful, and influential a person you are. The rich man was very wealthy so he habitually dressed in purple. The fine linen that was mentioned was also incredibly expensive and was worn for underclothes. In great contrast to the rich man we read:
“And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.”
The poor man, the crippled beggar, had nothing. The rich man had everything.
The poor man lived in abject poverty, in a state of constant hunger and poor health. The poor man spent his entire miserable day in a state of hunger. Aware of the rich man’s lifestyle of constant feasting, the sick, malnourished poor man lived in a psychological state of constant fantasy; where he dreamed that the rich man might let him eat the “crumbs” which fell from his table. The poor man was actually dreaming of how nice it would be to be one of the Rich Man’s *dogs and have free access to eat the master’s leftovers that fell to the floor. Then to add more torment to Lazarus’ situation, these very same dogs that the poor man wished himself to be like infected his sores by licking them.
*In the ancient Hebrew idiom to call a Jew a ‘dog’ was a slur that was used to completely strip a person of his physical and spiritual heritage. The Yehudim called the gentiles ‘dogs.’ To be treated as “less than a dog” is to be treated in an unthinkably horrible manner. The exceeding shamefulness of all this was that the Rich Man knew all about this poor fellow Jew’s plight—-his immense suffering. Yet the Rich Man did not ‘lift a finger’ to give him a crumb of food. So the narrative continues:
“Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Sheol he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.”
In the course of time both men died. The poor man went in to the Bosom of Avraham (חיק אברהם). The word picture here of the Hebrew word used for “bosom, lap” is one of “faithful” nurture. In the torah Moshe uses this word “bosom, lap” (חיק) to refer to the faithful care of a nurse. In Sefer Ruth the word (חיק) is used to refer to an adoptive mother (i.e. Naomi adopting her grandson Obed, עוֹבֵ֔ד). Therefore, the Bosom of Avraham is a Torah symbol for our ancestors being first received (adopted) into a safe, nurturing place in Sheol; where in safety they remained with father Avraham until their (our) redemption was accomplished by Messiah (our Korban Pesach). Thereafter, these righteous ones were later miraculously transported (adopted as citizens of ירושלים של-the “Yerushalayim above“) into glorified (immortal) bodies in the time and places of their resurrection (cf. Messiah in Rosh HaShanah chapters 9, 10, 11).
The Firstborn Son refused to abide in the faith of Father Abraham:
Although a firstborn son of father Avraham the Rich Man (the Elder) “despised his birthright.”
The firstborn son (the Elder) refused to abide in the “faith of Abraham,” who is not only our physical father but most importantly he is the “father of our faith.” Tragically, the Yehudi Rich Man (Elder) completely despised his calling as a firstborn son to live in dedication to Elohei Avraham (the G-d of Abraham). He chose not to serve G-d as father Abraham did; and as such he rejected his calling to heaven. So instead of paradise, this firstborn son went to the place of torment in Sheol (בַּשְּׁאוֹל-the place of the dead). In Sheol there were two places: a place of paradise for the righteous (where Lazarus went), who were awaiting the time of their redemption and resurrection; and another place of the torment of the unrighteous (אל מקומו שלו: where the Rich Elder went “to his own place“) who were awaiting the time of their sentencing and permanent punishment at what is called the Great White Throne (כִּסֵּא לָבָן גָּדוֹל) Judgment:
“And he [the rich man who was not rich in Adonai] cried out and said, ‘Father Avraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Avraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted (consoled) here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able (1, 2), and that none may cross over from there to us.’”
The Rich Man was able to converse with father Abraham. At the first he begged that Lazarus be sent over to him to give him some water. Father Abraham replied that this was not possible and that he should remember that during his mortal life he had everything he wanted while, in stark contrast, poor Lazarus had nothing. Additionally, father Abraham reminded the Rich Man that he had never helped Lazarus during the course of his very difficult life; indicating that the Rich Man’s sin of *omission had been committed over a significant period of time.
Father Abraham explained that a great chasm separated the place of the temporary paradise from the place of the temporary torment so that no one could cross from one place to the other. Furthermore he said to the Rich Elder who refused to show charity (Tzedakah) to the “poor“):
“Now he (Lazarus) is being comforted here, and you are in agony.”
Notice the word “comforted.” The Comforter (הַמְנַחֵם) who comforts us is the Holy Spirit. It is His works of grace that are depicted as “Living Water” (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). In His Presence is fullness of joy! However, in the absence of His abiding Presence our life is one of agony! Lazarus was comforted in the Presence of the Spirit. The Rich Elder (the Parush) was in agony because he was now “separated from the living Presence” of the Spirit of the Holy One.
The Rich Man (the Elder) next begged that Lazarus be sent to earth to warn his Five Brothers.
It was the conviction of the Eldest Son (of six sons) that if Lazarus came back from the dead then his brothers would listen. Father Abraham replied that if they refused to listen to the Torah of *Moses and the words of the prophets then they would refuse to listen to one who came back from the dead.
“And he [the rich man] said, ‘Then I beg you, father [Abraham], that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”
The strangeness of all this was that the Messiah not only knew what was in the wicked hearts of the Prushim at that time, He knew that soon they would succeed in their murderous plans to kill him and He also knew that before He would be put to death He would in fact resurrect a man from the dead named Lazarus. This near future resurrected Lazarus and this mashal about poor Lazarus are no coincidence. Both events are providentially (supernaturally) related.
Yet, instead of the great and gracious miracle of the Messiah raising Lazarus from the dead and convincing the Prushim to believe, just the opposite happened. The resurrection of Lazarus (recounted in the following paragraphs) only caused these proud, stubborn men to be provoked all the more. So in addition to their plan to kill the Messiah, after the resurrection of Lazarus they planned on killing him too!
In this way the Master prophetically taught us exactly what the Prushim and their successors would do. These men (six brothers) refused to listen to, understand, and obey the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Instead they created a complex system of religious writings of their own making (the oral traditions of men, not of Adonai) that supplanted and then replaced the Divinely appointed messianic meanings and practices of the Torah and the Prophets.
According to the Messiah, therefore, it is the replacement theology (oral law) of the Prushim and their rabbinical successors that has thoroughly corrupted Judaism and misled the children of Israel away from the blessed Help of the Holy Spirit, whose Presence and gracious works are Living Water to us.
Wise Ezra, Poor Lazarus, and the Resurrected Lazarus:
Therefore, as providence would have it we have been compelled in the last two messianic meshalim to turn away from the false teaching of the Prushim and their rabbinical successors (Elder brother and five younger brothers; six in all); and return to the Word of Adonai (D’var HaShem) and the Indwelling Presence of the Spirit of Truth who is our Helper. There are three witnesses in view in these two meshalim of the “Shrewd Manager” and the “Rich Man and Lazarus:”
Witness #1. Wise Ezra, the wise steward of the Chesed of Adonai.
Witness #2. Poor Lazarus, the poor righteous Jew who thankfully inherited eternal life by his righteous faith in Adonai.
Witness #3. The resurrected Lazarus, who as Divine providence would have it, was from *Bethany.
*Beit-Anii (בֵּית־עָנְיִי) in Aramaic means House of My Misery, Affliction, and Poverty. This title connects the narrative of the “poor” Lazarus who died in the mashal of Messiah with the historical “afflicted” Lazarus of Beit-Anii (בֵּית־עָנְיִי) who died and was resurrected on the fourth day.
Lazarus’ home was located very near Jerusalem. Beit-Anii (בֵּית־עָנְיִי) has traditionally been identified with the present-day West Bank city of al-Eizariya (Arabic (العيزرية), meaning “Place of Lazarus,” located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the east of Jerusalem on the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives.
The Lost Elder and his Five Brothers:
The Rich Man is now in Sheol and has already been judged. But what about his Five Brothers?
As indicated several times in our many studies on the Messiah’s teaching numbers mean something. There are Five Brothers here that the Lost Elder Brother in Sheol hopes to warn through the resurrection of a man [a man who father Abraham says the brothers will not believe because they already choose to not believe the testimony of Moses and the prophets]. The Elder hopes a resurrected one will soon be sent back from the dead to “warn” his Five Brothers to do Teshuvah (turn-back to Adonai) before it becomes too late for them to ‘turn-back.’
It was already too late for this Elder Brother (the eldest ‘sage‘ of six brothers). We believe this total number of six brothers—with one brother already in sheol, and five still alive, who are referenced at the time of Messiah’s teaching this mashal—has a “double meaning.” Five is the number of the “Grace (Chesed) of Adonai.”
Meaning #1. Thereby the grace of the Loving Father, Abba Avinu brought the Lazarus from Beit-Anii back to life to bear witness to the great (chesed) loving-kindnes of Abba Avinu. It is this additional witness of the resurrected Lazarus that completes the highly prophetic teaching of this particular mashal.
Meaning #2. Lazarus died and was resurrected at Beit-Ani (בֵּית־עָנְיִי) the House of My Misery, Affliction, and Poverty. What do we know of this place that was located just outside of Jerusalem? We know that it was originally a place of asylum for the “sick” (afflicted ones) and “lepers.” So with this in mind who do we know became for us sin, “The Leper,” that we might be “healed” and clothed in the “righteousness of G-d” in Him? Answer:
את זה אשר לא ידע חטאת עשה לחטאת בעדנו, כדי שאנו נלבש את הצדקה של אלהים בו. פ
“He [Ha-Mashiach Yeshua] who did not know sin became sin for us [The Poor, Miserable, Afflicted Man, *”The Leper“], so that we would become (נלבש-literally “wear,” “be clothed in”) the righteousness (הצדקה) of G-d in Him.
The Messiah became “The Leper” for us. He lived in our Poor House of Misery, Affliction, and Poverty (Beit-Anii-בֵּית־עָנְיִי) so that we might live in His (House) “Mansion(s) of Righteousness.” The Messiah exchanged our “miserable” Bethany (Beit-Anii-בֵּית־עָנְיִי) for His wonderful Bethany (Beit-‘Anani (עֲנָנִי) and ‘Ananiah (עֲנַנְיָה). Therefore, our (real) Big Brother is inviting us to come and live in the House of The Father, “Adonai’s Cloud” and dwell in one of His many dwelling places:—-the “My Clouds.” [בבית אבי מעונות רבים-cf. “In My Father’s House are an abundance (רבים) of dwelling places (מעונות).“]
The mysterious resurrected ones (first Lazarus; then later the Messiah), they are the ones who would later (after the teaching of this mashal) die and be sent back from the dead to warn the Rich Man’s five remaining brothers (cf. in generations and eras). The Five Brothers would be warned by both Lazarus and the Messiah that if they did not do teshuvah (תשובה-repent), tefillah (תפילה-pray), and tzedakah (צדקה-be charitable spiritually and materially) to others (in this specific case Jews) less fortunate than they, then they too would be judged—just as their Elder Brother (the first sage) had already been judged.
Unfortunately, the Prushim (Elder) and all of his brothers, his successors (five younger brothers) never did heed the warning. Tragically for all of us (Israel) these multiple rejections of the testimony of Lazarus (of G-d who is our Helper) occurred exactly as Father Abraham (in the mashal) and the Messiah predicted:
אָמַר לוֹ אַבְרָהָם, “אִם אֵינָם שׁוֹמְעִים אֶל מֺשֶׁה וְאֶל הַנְּבִיאִים, לֹא יִשְׁתַּכְנְעוּ גַּם אִם יָקוּם אֶחָד מֵעִם הַמֵּתִים.”פ
But Avraham said to him [the Rich Man in Sheol], “If they [the Prushim and their successors] do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.”
The resurrection witness of the Lazarus from Beit-Anii (Bethany) and the Messiah Himself was still not enough to convince the Five Brothers of the Rich Man who was not Rich in Adonai. These men are symbolic of Man’s way of putting his faith in himself instead of G-d. Six is the number of “Man.” These six men represent a succession of six generations of Tannaim; and six eras of rabbinism (יהדות רבנית) that spans from the time of the first century Tannaim (תנאים-“repeaters,” “teachers“) to the Acharonim (תנאים-“last ones”) of the present day.
Thus far all of these men (six generations and six eras) have earned the distinction of rejecting the rule of the Messiah whom Adonai sent to help us. Instead of “G-d is My Helper” these men have become “the helper.” These Rich Men (sages) have turned Judaism into wealth for themselves and poverty for the rest of us (cf. Rich Fool builds bigger barns). For almost two millennia there has been six eras of Rabbinism that has been without the “works” of the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit (olive oil).
Who are the Tannaim?
The Tannaim (תנאים-”repeaters;” “teachers” of the substitute oral law) were the Rabbinic leaders (called ‘sages’) who personally orchestrated the unjust execution of the Messiah and persecuted their fellow messianic Yehudim for a period of 190 years after the Messiah’s death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. A number of these men even slandered the name of the Eved HaKadosh (Holy Servant) and blasphemed the Spirit of Holiness (by calling the Presence of the Holy Spirit that Indwelt the Messiah the spirit of the evil one).
These false teachers replaced the real Messiah with themselves.
The Tannaim (10-220 (CE) were warned by the resurrected Lazarus and the Messiah Himself. Yet they remained unresponsive to the call (Help) of the Spirit of the Holy One. All six generations of these men should have been the most blessed generations ever. These sages could have been the first of Israel to accept the Messiah. If they had received the Messiah the Kingdom of Adonai would have come to earth two millennia ago. Then the Golden Age of Israel and the International Commonwealth of Israel would have immediately come into being. Instead:
The Tannaim were the first to reject Messiah and replace His truth with their false-teaching.
We believe that the Messiah was prophesying in this mashal of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” about the *Tannaim sages and their five eras of successors (**six eras in all). These are:
**Six Eras of Elders-Sages (since the replacement of the Messiah): Tannaim (תנאים), Amoraim (אמוראים), Savoraim (סבוראים) Geonim (גאונים), Rishonim (ראשונים), Acharonim (אחרונים).
Like Esau these naturally talented Elder brothers (of six eras of rabbinism) have despised their spiritual birthright.
The words spoken and written by these men (sages) against the Messiah are scandalous. It is hard to believe after all these many years of heartache for our people that “the blind still follow the blind into the ditch.” Nevertheless, thankfully, these many offenses to Adonai Avinu (for slandering M’shicho, His Messiah) are now in our very distant past.
Now, in the Judaism of the 21st Century there is a much more tolerant, respectful, and civil tone that is now practiced by our Elders (rabbinate) toward each other when we have discussions, disagreements (and civil debates) about matters of messianic belief.
Our modern scholars (both secular and religious) are currently revisiting the issue of whether Rabbi Yeshua is, in fact, the Messiah of Israel and of the whole world. Therefore, it is now time for us (Israel) to be reconciled to Adonai (and each other). When we accept our Rabbi from Heaven:
“He will lift-up our people and prove that his word and law are valid.”
It is time for change. This is now the era of Acharonim (אחרונים-last ones). We are the era of the “last,” “latter,” “final,” and “ulimate” time. Our Messiah and the Shekinah are returning to Israel just as soon as we (Israel) accept Him. In so doing we will finally be reconciled to Adonai our Father. So let us return to Adonai Avinu.
In His sacred name there is only one Rabbi who can act as our Judge. Adonai has made the Messiah Yeshua our Shofet. Only the Messiah is empowered to act on Adonai Avinu’s behalf as our Judge. So we are expected to act as brothers. Not as judges of one another. Therefore, now is the time for forgiveness, reconciliation, and forgetting. We need to forget the “Misery,” “Affliction,” and “Poverty” of our past and move forward into the blessed future that Abba Avinu called us to experience so long ago. “Let there be no more delay!” (שלא תהיה עוד שהות; cf. Ezekiel 12:25).
וַיְהִ֥י דְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה אֵלַ֥י לֵאמֹֽר׃ בֶּן־אָדָ֗ם אמָֽה־הַמָּשָׁ֤ל הַזֶּה֙ לָכֶ֔ם עַל־אַדְמַ֥ת יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֵאמֹ֑ר ביַֽאַרְכוּ֙ הַיָּמִ֔ים גוְאָבַ֖ד כָּל־חָזֽוֹן׃ לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶ֗ם כֹּֽה־אָמַר֮ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִה֒ הִשְׁבַּ֨תִּי֙ אֶת־הַמָּשָׁ֣ל הַזֶּ֔ה וְלֹֽא־יִמְשְׁל֥וּ אֹת֛וֹ ע֖וֹד בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כִּ֚י אִם־דַּבֵּ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶ֔ם אקָֽרְבוּ֙ הַיָּמִ֔ים וּדְבַ֖ר כָּל־חָזֽוֹן׃ כִּ֠י לֹ֣א יִֽהְיֶ֥ה ע֛וֹד אכָּל־חֲז֥וֹן שָׁ֖וְא וּמִקְסַ֣ם חָלָ֑ק בְּת֖וֹךְ בֵּ֥ית יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ כִּ֣י ׀ אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֗ה אֲדַבֵּר֙ אֵת֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר אֲדַבֵּ֤ר דָּבָר֙ אוְיֵ֣עָשֶׂ֔ה בלֹ֥א תִמָּשֵׁ֖ךְ ע֑וֹד כִּ֣י גבִֽימֵיכֶ֞ם דבֵּ֣ית הַמֶּ֗רִי אֲדַבֵּ֤ר דָּבָר֙ וַעֲשִׂיתִ֔יו נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יְהוִֽה׃ פ
וַיְהִ֥י דְבַר־יְהוָ֖ה אֵלַ֥י לֵאמֹֽר׃ בֶּן־אָדָ֗ם הִנֵּ֤ה בֵֽית־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ אֹֽמְרִ֔ים הֶחָז֛וֹן אֲשֶׁר־ה֥וּא חֹזֶ֖ה אלְיָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֑ים וּלְעִתִּ֥ים רְחוֹק֖וֹת ה֥וּא נִבָּֽא׃ לָכֵ֞ן אֱמֹ֣ר אֲלֵיהֶ֗ם כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֔ה אלֹא־תִמָּשֵׁ֥ךְ ע֖וֹד כָּל־דְּבָרָ֑י אֲשֶׁ֨ר אֲדַבֵּ֤ר דָּבָר֙ וְיֵ֣עָשֶׂ֔ה נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יְהוִֽה׃ ס
Then the D’var HaShem came to me, saying, “Ben Ha’adam, what is this mashal (אמָֽה־הַמָּשָׁ֤ל) you people have concerning the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days are long and every vision (הֶחָז֛וֹן-hachazon) fails’? Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says Adonai Elohim, “I will make this mashal cease so that they will no longer use it as a mashal in Israel.” But tell them, “The days draw near as well as the fulfillment of every vision. For there will no longer be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I Adonai will speak, and whatever word I speak will be performed. It will no longer be delayed (לֹ֥א תִמָּשֵׁ֖ךְ ע֑וֹד), for in your days, O rebellious house, I will speak the word and perform it,” declares Adonai Elohim.
Furthermore, the D’var HaShem came to me, saying, “Ben Ha’adam, behold, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many years from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ Therefore say to them, ‘Thus says Adonai Elohim, “None of My words will be delayed any longer (לֹא־תִמָּשֵׁ֥ךְ ע֖וֹד כָּל־דְּבָרָ֑י). Whatever word I speak will be performed,”’ declares Adonai Elohim.
Therefore, now is the time to “hear,” “understand” and “obey” the call of the Spirit. It is time for us all as one person to hear the call of the “G-d Who is Our Helper!”
The witness of the Resurrected Lazarus (the Seventh Sign):
Since at the present time we are celebrating the time of HaBikkurim, of the Fristfruits of the eternal life and resurrection power of the Holy One, it only seems appropriate that we would write out the Rest of the Story that is the witness of the Lazarus not who died but who was resurrected from the dead:
The Resurrection of Lazarus
וַיְהִי אִישׁ חוֹלֶה וְהוּא לַעְזָר מִבֵּית־עָנְיִי כְּפַר מִרְיָם וּמָרְתָא אֲחוֹתָהּ׃ הִיא מִרְיָם אֲשֶׁר אֶת־הָאָדוֹן בְּמִרְקַחַת וַתְּנַגֵּב אֶת־רַגְלָיו בְּשַׂעֲרוֹתֶיהָ וְלַעְזָר אָחִיהָ הוּא חָלָה׃ וַתִּשְׁלַחְנָה אַחְיוֹתָיו אֵלָיו לֵאמֹר אֲדֹנִי הִנֵּה אֲשֶׁר אָהַבְתָּ חֹלֶה הוּא׃ וַיִּשְׁמַע יֵשׁוּעַ וַיֹּאמַר הַמַּחֲלָה הַזֹּאת לֹא לַמָּוֶת הִיא כִּי אִם־לִכְבוֹד הָאֱלֹהִים לְמַעַן יִכָּבֶד־בָּהּ בֶּן־הָאֱלֹהִים׃
There was a sick man (מַעֲשֶׂה בְּחוֹלֶה אֶחָד-a “worn-out” one ), Lazar (אֶלְעָזָר-G-d is Helper), from Beit-Anii (בֵּית־עָנְיִי-the House of “My Misery,” “Affliction,” and “Poverty”), the village of Miryam and her sister Marta. Miryam had applied perfume to the Master and wiped His feet dry with her hair. Lazar, her brother, was sick. His sisters sent for Him, saying, “My Master, look! The one you love is sick!” Yeshua (the Messiah) heard this and said, “This illness is not for death. Rather, it is for the glory of Adonai, so that the Ben Ha-Elohim (בֶּן־הָאֱלֹהִים) may be glorified in it.”
וְיֵשׁוּעַ אָהֵב אֶת מָרְתָא וְאֶת־אֲחוֹתָה וְאֶת־לַעְזָר׃ וּכְשָׁמְעוּ כִּי חָלָה וַיִּתְמַהְמָהּ וַיֵּשֶׁב יוֹמַיִם בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר־הוּא שָׁם׃ וּמֵאַחֲרֵי־כֵן אָמַר לְתַלְמִידָיו לְכוּ וְנָשׁוּבָה אֶל־אֶרֶץ יְהוּדָה׃ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו תַּלְמִידָיו רַבִּי עַתָּה זֶה בִּקְשׁוּ הַיְּהוּדִים לְסָקְלְךָ וְאַתָּה תָּשׁוּב שָׁמָה׃ וַיַּעַן יֵשׁוּעַ הֲלֹא שְׁתֵּים־עֶשְׁרֶה שָׁעוֹת לַיּוֹם אִישׁ כִּי־יֵלֵךְ בַּיּוֹם לֹא יִכָּשֵׁל כִּי יִרְאֶה אוֹר הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה׃ וְהַהֹלֵךְ בַּלַּיְלָה יִכָּשֵׁל כִּי הָאוֹר אֵינֶנּוּ בוֹ׃
Yeshua loved Marta and her sister and Lazar. When he heard that he was sick, he delayed and remained for two days in the place where he was. Afterward, he said to his disciples, “Come, and let us return to the land of Yehudah.” His disciples said to him, “Rabbi, just now the Yehudim were seeking to stone you. And you would go back there?” Yeshua answered: “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If anyone walks by day, he will not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. The one who walks in the night will stumble, because the light is not in him.”
וְאַחֲרֵי דַבְּרוֹ כָּזֹאת אָמַר אֲלֵיהֶם לַעְזָר יְדִידֵנוּ יָשֵׁן הוּא וְאָנֹכִי הֹלֵךְ לְמַעַן אֲעִירֶנּוּ׃ וַיֹּאמְרוּ תַּלְמִידָיו אֲדֹנִי אִם־יָשֵׁן הוּא יִרְפָּא לוֹ׃ וְיֵשׁוּעַ דִּבֶּר עַל־מוֹתוֹ וְהֵמָּה חָשְׁבוּ כִּי עַל־מְנוּחַת הַשֵּׁנָה דִּבֵּר׃ אָז אָמַר יֵשׁוּעַ אֲלֵיהֶם מְפוֹרָשׁ לַעְזָר מֵת׃ וְשָׂמֵחַ אֲנִי בִּגְלַלְכֶם כִּי לֹא־הָיִיתִי שָׁם לְמַעַן תַּאֲמִינוּ וְעַתָּה נִסְעָה וְנֵלְכָה אֵלָיו׃ וַיֹּאמֶר תּוֹמָא הַנִּקְרָא דידוּמוֹס אֶל־הַתַּלְמִידִים חֲבֵרָיו נֵלְכָה גַם־אֲנַחְנוּ לְמַעַן נָמוּת עִמּוֹ׃
After he spoke things like this, he said to them, “Our beloved Lazar is asleep. I am going so that I may wake him.” His disciples said to him, “My master, if he is sleeping, he will recover.” Yeshua was speaking about His death, but they thought that He was speaking about sleeping for rest. Then Yeshua said to them plainly, “Lazar is dead. I am glad for your sake that I was not there, so that you may believe. And now, let us travel and go to him.” Toma, who is called Didumos, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us go as well, so that we may die with him.”
וַיָּבֹא יֵשׁוּעַ וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ זֶה אַרְבָּעָה יָמִים שֹׁכֵב בַּקָּבֶר׃ וּבֵית־עָנְיִי קָרוֹב לִירוּשָׁלָיִם כְּדֶרֶךְ חֲמֵשׁ עֶשִֹׁרֵה רִיס׃ וְרַבִּים מִן־הַיְּהוּדִים בָּאוּ בֵּית־מָרְתָא וּמִרְיָם לְנַחֵם אֶתְהֶן עַל־אֲחִיהֶן׃ וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ מָרְתָא כִּי בָא יֵשׁוּעַ וַתֵּצֵא לִקְרָאתוֹ וּמִרְיָם יוֹשֶׁבֶת בַּבָּיִת׃ וַתֹּאמֶר מָרְתָא אֶל־יֵשׁוּעַ אֲדֹנִי לוּ הָיִיתָ פֹּה כִּי־אָז לֹא־מֵת אָחִי׃ וְגַם־עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי כִּי כָל־אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁאַל מֵאֵת אֱלֹהִים יִתֵּן לְךָ אֱלֹהִים׃ ןַיֹּאמֶר אֵלֶיהָ יֵשׁוּעַ אָחִיךְ קוֹם יָקוּם׃ וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מָרְתָא יָדַעְתִּי כִּי יָקוּם בַּתְּקוּמָה בַּיּוֹם הָאַחֲרוֹן׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלֶיהָ יֵשׁוּעַ אָנֹכִי הַתְּקוּמָה וְהַחַיִּים הַמַּאֲמִין בִּי יִחְיֶה גַּם כִּי־יָמוּת׃ וְכָל־הַחַי אֲשֶׁר יַאֲמִין־בִּי לֹא־יָמוּת לְעוֹלָם הֲתַאֲמִינִי לַדָּבָר הַזֶּה׃
Yeshua came and found him, who had been lying in the tomb for the last four days. Beit-Anii is near Yerushalayim; about fifteen ris away (less than two miles). Many of the Yehudim came to the home of Marta and Miryam to console them regarding their brother. When Marta heard that Yeshua had come, she went out to greet him, but Miryam remained in the house. Marta said to Yeshua, “My master, if only you had been here! For then my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever you ask of Adonai, Adonai will give you.” Yeshua said to her, “Your brother will surely rise.” Marta said to him, “I know that he will rise at the rising on the last day.” Yeshua said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life (הַתְּחִיָּה וְהַחַיִּים-the “rising” and “the life”). The one who believes in Me will live, even though he dies. Anyone living who believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this word?”
וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו כֵּן אֲדֹנִי הֶאֱמַנְתִּי כִּי־אַתָּה הַמָּשִׁיחַ בֶּן־הָאֱלֹהִים הַבָּא לָעוֹלָם׃ זֹאת דִּבְּרָה וְהָלְכָה וְקָרְאָה לְמִרְיָם אֲחוֹתָהּ בַּסֵּתֶר לֵאמֹר הִנֵּה הַמּוֹרֶה פֹּה וְהוּא קֹרֵא לָךְ׃ הִיא שַׁמְעָה וַתָּקָם וַתָּבֹא אֵלָיו׃ וְיֵשׁוּעַ טֶרֶם יָבֹא אֶל־הַכְּפָר כִּי־עוֹדֶנּוּ עֹמֵד בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר פְּגָשַׁתּוּ־שָׁם מָרְתָא׃ וְהַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ אֶל־בֵּיתָהּ לְנַחֲמָהּ כִּרְאוֹתָם אֶת־מִרְיָם כִּי־קָמָה פִתְאֹם וַתֵּצֵא הָלְכוּ אַחֲרֶיהָ כִּי אָמְרוּ הָלְכָה אֶל־הַקֶּבֶר לְבְכּוֹת שָׁמַּה׃ וַתָּבֹא מִרְיָם אֶל־הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יֵשׁוּעַ עֹמֵד שָׁם וַתֵּרֶא אֹתוֹ וַתִּפֹּל לְרַגְלָיו וַתֹּאמֶר לוֹ אֲדֹנִי לוּ הָיִיתָ פֹּה כִּי־אָז לֹא־מֵת אָחִי׃
She said to him, “Yes, my master. I have believe that you are the Mashiach, Ben Ha-Elohim who has come to the world.” Having said this, she went and called for her sister Miryam privately, saying “Look, the Teacher is here, and He is calling for you.” When she heard this, she arose and came to him. Yeshua had not yet entered the village, for He was still standing in the place where Marta had encountered Him. When the Yehudim who had come to her house to console her saw that Miryam had risen suddenly and gone out, they followed her. For they said, “She has gone to the tomb to weep there.” Miryam came to the place where Yeshua was standing. She saw him, fell at His feet, and said to Him, “My master, if only you had been here! For then my brother would not have died.”
וַיְהִי כִּרְאוֹת יֵשׁוּעַ אֹתָה בֹּכִיָּה וְגַם־הָיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר־בָּאוּ אִתָּהּ בֹּכִים וַתִּזְעֹם רוּחוֹ וַיְהִי מַרְעִיד׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵיפֹה הִנַּחְתֶּם אֹתוֹ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו אֲדֹנִי בֹּא וּרְאֵה׃ וַיֵּבְךְ יֵשׁוּעַ׃ וַיֹּאמְרוּ הַיְּהוּדִים הִנֵּה מָה רַבָּה הָאַהֲבָה אֲשֶׁר אֲהֵבוֹ׃
When Yeshua saw her weeping and the Yehudim Who had come with her weeping as well, His Spirit became indignant, and He trembled. He said, “where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “My master, come and see.” Yeshua wept. The Yehudim said, “How great is the love that he had for him!
וְיֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר אָמְרוּ הַפֹּקֵחַ עֵינֵי הָעִוֵּר הֲלֹא גַּם־יָכֹל לַחֲשׂךְ אֹתוֹ מִמָּוֶת׃ וַיּוֹסֶף עוֹד יֵשׁוּעַ לְהִזָּעֵם בְּרוּחוֹ וַיָּבֹא אֶל־הַקֶּבֶר וְהוּא מְעָרָה וְאֶבֶן עַל־מְבוֹאָהּ׃ וַיֹּאמֶר יֵשׁוּעַ שְׂאוּ אֶת־הָאֶבֶן מֵעָלֶיהָ וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מָרְתָא אֲחוֹת הַמֵּת אֲדֹנִי הִנֵּה כְּבָר בָּאָשׁ כִּי־אַרְבָּעָה יָמִים לוֹ׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלֶיהָ יֵשׁוּעַ הֲלֹא אָמַרְתִּי לָךְ כִּי אִם־תַּאֲמִינִי תֶּחֲזִי אֶת־כְּבוֹד הָאֱלֹהִים׃
But there were some who said, “Is not one who opens the eyes of the blind also able to prevent him from dying?” Once more, Yeshua grew indignant in His Spirit and came to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone over its entrance. Yeshua said, “Remove the stone from it.” Marta, the sister of the deceased said to Him, “My master, he has already begun to stink, for he has had four days.” Yeshua said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will behold the glory of Adonai?”
וַיִּשְׂאוּ אֶת־הָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר הַמֵּת הוּשַׂם שָׁם וְיֵשׁוּעַ נָשָׂא אֶת־עֵינָיו לַמָּרוֹם וַיֹּאמַר אוֹדְךָ אָבִי כִּי עֲנִיתָנִי׃ וַאֲנִי יָדַעְתִּי כִּי תַעֲנֵנִי תָּמִיד וְאוּלָם בַּעֲבוּר הָעָם הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבוֹתַי דִּבַּרְתִּי לְמַעַן יַאֲמִינוּ בִי כִּי אַתָּה שְׁלַחְתָּנִי׃ וַיְהִי כְּכַלּוֹתוֹ לְדַבֵּר וַיִּקְרָא בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל לַעְזָר קוּם צֵא׃ וַיֵּצֵא הַמֵּת וְיָדָיו וְרָגְלָיו כְּרוּכֹת בְּתַכְרִיכִין וּפָנָיו לוּטִים בְּסוּדָר וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם יֵשׁוּעַ הַתִּירוּ אֹתוֹ וְיֵלֵךְ לְדַרְכּוֹ׃ וְרַבִּים מִן־הַיְּהוּדִים אֲשֶׁר בָּאוּ אֶל־מִרְיָם בִּרְאוֹתָם אֶת־אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יֵשׁוּעַ הֶאֱמִינוּ בוֹ׃
They removed the stone where the deceased was placed, and Yeshua lifted His eyes high and said: “I thank you, My Father, for you have answered Me. I know that you always answer Me; however, on account of these people who are around Me, I have spoken so that they will believe in Me, that you have sent Me.” When He finished speaking, He called out in a loud voice, “Lazar, arise!” “Come out!” The deceased came out, his hands and feet wrapped in burial garments and his face covered with a headscarf. Yeshua said to them, “Release him, and let him go on his way.” When many of the Yehudim who had come to Miryam saw what Yeshua did, they believed in Him.
The conspiracy of the religious leaders against the Messiah:
וְיֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר הָלְכוּ אֶל־הַפּרוּשִׁים וַיַּגִּידוּ לָהֶם אֶת־אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יֵשׁוּעַ׃ אָז יַקְהִילוּ רָאשֵׁי הַכֹּהֲנִים וְהַפְּרוּשִׁים אֶת־סַנְהֶדְרִין וַיֹּאמְרוּ מַה־נַּעֲשֶׂה כִּי הָאִישׁ הַלָּזֶה עֹשֶׂה אֹתוֹת הַרְבֵּה׃ אִם־לֹא נִכְלָאֵהוּ כֻּלָּם יַאֲמִינוּ בוֹ וּבָאוּ הָרוֹמִיִּים וְלָקְחוּ גַּם אֶת־אַדְמָתֵנוּ וְגַם אֶת־עַמֵּנוּ׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם אֶחָד מֵהֶם וְהוּא קַיָּפָא הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל בַּשָּׁנָה הָהִיא אַתֶּם לֹא־תֵדְעוּ דָבָר׃ אַף לֹא־תִתְבּוֹנֲנוּ כִּי טוֹב לָנוּ מוּת אִישׁ אֶחָד בְּעַד הַגּוֹי מֵאֲבֹד הָעָם כֻּלּוֹ׃ וְלֹא מִלִּבּוֹ דִבֶּר הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה כִּי הָיָה הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל בַּשָּׁנָה הָהִיא וַיִּנָּבֵא אֲשֶׁר יָמוּת יֵשׁוּעַ בְּעַד הָעָם׃ וְלֹא־בְעַד הָעָם לְבַדּוֹ כִּי גַם־לְקַבֵּץ אֶת־בְּנֵי הַאֱלֹהִים הַמְפֻזָּרִים וְהָיוּ לַאֲחָדִים׃ וַיִּוָּעֲצוּ יַחְדָּו לַהֲמִיתוֹ מֵהַיּוֹם הַהוּא וָהָלְאָה׃
There were some who went to the Prushim and told them what Yeshua had done. Then the leading priests and the Prushim assembled a Sanhedrin and said: “What will ‘we’ do? For this man does many great signs! If we do not restrain Him, all of them will believe in Him, and the Romiyim (Romans) will come and take both our land and our people!”
One of them named Kayafa, the high priest that year, said to them:
“You do not know anything. You do not even understand that the death of one man on behalf of the nation is better for us than the destruction of the entire people! [The Prophecy] He (the high priest Kayafa) did not speak this word out of his own heart. For he was the high priest in that year and was giving prophecy (הִתְנַבֵּא) that (the Messiah) Yeshua would die on behalf of the people. And it was not on behalf of the nation alone, but also to gather the scattered B’nai Ha-Elohim (בְּנֵי הַאֱלֹהִים) that they may become one. They deliberated together to put Him to death from that day on.
The Rest of the Story…
This raising of Lazarus marks the high point in the ministry of the Mashiach. The miracle of the resurrection of Lazarus occurred just a short while before the Messiah’s own death and resurrection. The Messiah had raised two others from the dead (1, 2) before Lazarus. However, He had done so in far-off Galilee, and under very different circumstances (Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days). At Beit-Anii the well-known and highly respected Lazarus was raised from the dead just one and one-half miles from the gates of Jerusalem, in the sight of important witnesses, in surroundings that allowed for no mistake or doubt regarding what had happened. In this modern scientific age we require “living evidence.” We demand living proof.
Here we have ample proof in the resurrection of Lazarus. But miracles alone will never be enough. What we really must have with the physical miracle is the Presence of the Holy Spirit (“The Helper”). Without the regenerating Presence of the Spirit of the Holy One we will be unable to believe in the events that are recorded in the Tanakh and in the Brit Chadashah. In short, to believe we absolutely need the Help of the Spirit of Grace and Truth (Chesed v’ Emet). Much of the assistance we receive from Adonai who is Our Helper comes from His Word, the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings (התורה, הנביאים, הכתבים-the Tanakh).
The Message in the Middle:
Our need to know where we are going reminds us of Albert Einstein, the great Jewish physicist who was once honored to be *offered the Presidency of Modern Israel:
Letter Offering Albert Einstein the Presidency of Israel:
Embassy of Israel
November 17, 1952
Dear Professor [Albert] Einstein:
The bearer of this letter is Mr. David Goitein of Jerusalem who is now serving as Minister at our Embassy in Washington. He is bringing you the question which Prime Minister Ben Gurion asked me to convey to you, namely, whether you would accept the Presidency of Israel if it were offered you by a vote of the Knesset. Acceptance would entail moving to Israel and taking its citizenship. The Prime Minister assures me that in such circumstances complete facility and freedom to pursue your great scientific work would be afforded by a government and people who are fully conscious of the supreme significance of your labors.
Mr. Goitein will be able to give you any information that you may desire on the implications of the Prime Minister’s question.
Whatever your inclination or decision may be, I should be deeply grateful for an opportunity to speak with you again within the next day or two at any place convenient for you. I understand the anxieties and doubts which you expressed to me this evening. On the other hand, whatever your answer, I am anxious for you to feel that the Prime Minister’s question embodies the deepest respect which the Jewish people can repose in any of its sons. To this element of personal regard, we add the sentiment that Israel is a small State in its physical dimensions, but can rise to the level of greatness in the measure that it exemplifies the most elevated spiritual and intellectual traditions which the Jewish people has established through its best minds and hearts both in antiquity and in modern times. Our first President, as you know, taught us to see our destiny in these great perspectives, as you yourself have often exhorted us to do.
Therefore, whatever your response to this question, I hope that you will think generously of those who have asked it, and will commend the high purposes and motives which prompted them to think of you at this solemn hour in our people’s history.
With cordial wishes,
Dr. Albert Einstein’s explanation of his decision to not to accept Presidency Offer:
“I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel [to serve as President], and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions. For these reasons alone I should be unsuited to fulfill the duties of that high office, even if advancing age was not making increasing inroads on my strength. I am the more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world.”
*Sources: The Albert Einstein Archives, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; The Einstein Scrapbook (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002).
Professor Einstein’s challenging train trip:
Professor Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to the famous physicist, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. The ticket wasn’t there. He looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find
it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it. So the conductor said:
“Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”
So in response, Professor Einstein nodded appreciatively. The conductor then continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, the conductor turned around and to his great surprise he saw the world renown physicist down on his hands and knees desperately looking under his seat for his ticket. Immediately, the conductor rushed back and quickly said, “Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. I assure you there is no problem here. You do not need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one.” The embarrassed and frustrated Professor Einstein then looked up at the man and said:
“Young man, I too, know who I am…However, what I do not know is where I am going!’”
In the Presence of the Spirit and the Word of Adonai we discover our destiny:
We can truly say today that if we sincerely seek after the Presence of “G-d Who is Our Helper” and believe in His Testimony of the Messiah that is most definitely found throughout all of the Tanakh, then we will not only know who we are: we will also know where we are going.
For those who deny the truthfulness of the the D’var HaShem (Word of Adonai) the problem is not inadequate proof but a chosen resistance. Waiting to respond to Adonai is just our ‘lodging’ together in a temporary dwelling of disobedence (שֶׁגָּרוּ בּוֹ מִרְיָם). This is being rebellious (מָרְתָא). Such a refusal to hear, understand and obey the Voice of G-d only leads to one dwelling in a House of “Misery,” “Affliction,” and “Poverty.”
If we only would put the trust of Adonai to the test then we would discover that He is personally Present to us; as did to our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Everyone who truly seeks Adonai will, each in his or her own way, ‘hear His Voice.’
The Voice of the Holy One regenerates our lost souls. He delivers us out of the cold, dark cave of our own secular existence. He calls us out of darkness to live forever in the bright light of His joyful Presence.
The resurrection of Lazarus did not occur through a multitude of weak, clever, useless arguments. The resurrection of Lazarus was a manifestation of the unlimited power and might that issues out of the actual Presence (the Living Water) of the Spirit of Holiness.
Like the refreshing rains that generously fall upon us from the heavens everything in this Divinely ordained narrative of the resurrection of Lazarus rings clear and true. The manner in which Thomas (תְּאוֹמִים-דִּידִימוֹס), Miryam (מְרִי ,מִרְיָם), and Martha (מָרְתָא) speak and act; the natural affection afforded to the Messiah of Israel; the simplicity and majesty afforded in the manner of this miracle (sign) and its graphic effect upon both the friends and enemies of the Righteous One, our Tzaddik the Messiah. Even the place names and personal names speak to us.
There is truth revealed in all of the names that surround the Life of Lazarus:
Truth in the names #1. Lazarus’ name in Hebrew (אֶלְעָזָר) means “whom the Almighty Helps.” The Holy One helps those who hear, understand, and obey His Voice. If you let the Spirit of Adonai help you, you are Lazarus!
Truth in the names #2. The Hebrew root in Mary and Martha’s [Israel’s descriptive] names, “meri” (מְרִי) means “disobedience” and “rebelliousness.” What does disobedience and rebelliousness bring into our lives? It brings “mara” (מָרָא-“bitterness“). Life is bitter apart from our cooperating with the saving Presence of the Spirit of Grace and Truth (of “G-d Who is Our [Israel’s] Help”).
Truth in the names #3. Thomas’ name in Hebrew (תְּאוֹמִים) and Greek (Δίδυμος-transliterated into Hebrew דִּידִימוֹס) means “twin.” In all ways it is Abba Avinu’s intention to make all of His people like the Messiah who is the Savior of All Men (HaMoshia l’chol Adam).
Truth in the names #4. First, Bethany in Aramaic: Beit-Anii (בֵּית־עָנְיִי), means House of “My Misery,” “Affliction,” and “Poor-House.” This is the Aramaic place name of the Bethany near Jerusalem that applies to the narrative of the resurrection of Lazarus.
Second, Bethany in Hebrew: Beit-‘Anani (עֲנָנִי) or ‘Ananiah (עֲנַנְיָה), means House of “Adonai’s Cloud”and “My Clouds.” This is the Hebrew place name of the Bethany east of the Jordan. This is the place where the Messiah introduces Himself to His first two disciples in the Tenth Hour (“in the cool of the day”).
Truth in the names #5. Jerusalem (ירוּשָׁלַיִם) in Hebrew means the “Foundation of Shalem” (Peace). Faith in the Messiah Yeshua our Sar Shalom (Prince of Peace) establishes a Foundation of Shalem (perfect Friendship) between our Father in Heaven and ourselves. These little humble facts are all skillfully deployed by the Holy Spirit to inspire us to believe in Adonai’s Word and in believing to come out from our caves of spiritual ignorance and into the eternal light and life that is ours through exercising faith in the Beloved Son of Abba Avinu, the Messiah Yeshua.
The perfect calm of the Messiah in a time of great difficulty:
It was while in Perea, a location of about twenty miles from Jerusalem that the message of Lazarus’ grave illness suddenly reached the Messiah: “Master, behold, he whom You love is sick.” These are the words the sisters Mary and Martha no doubt asked their messenger to deliver to the Lord. We note as an important fact that Lazarus is described as “he whom Messiah loved.” Therefore, how strange it is that the Lord dismisses the messenger with this reply: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of Adonai, In order that the Ben Ha-Elohim may be glorified.” Yet, at the very time when the messenger received the Messiah’s answer, Lazarus was in all likelihood already dead! Three days after their message was delivered, both Mary and Martha said to Messiah Yeshua:
“Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
This indicates that the sisters thought their message had reached the Master too late and that Lazarus would have lived if the Messiah only had been notified sooner. However, at the time the message was delivered the Master most certainly knew that Lazarus had died, and still He continued two whole days where He was, finishing His work. This He did even though He “loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.” Had the account stopped here we might have thought otherwise; and in similar circumstances, when encountering our own tragedies, it often does seem otherwise to us.
In the delay we observe the perfect calm demonstrated by our Master in the face of crisis: It is once more the Messiah confidently at rest, while others are despairing. In the most difficult circumstances we observe that the Messiah is never in a hurry nor does He lack confident assurance. After two days had passed the Messiah our Tzaddik (Righteous One) announced His intention to depart for Judea (Judah) and visit the household of Lazarus. Upon setting out for Judah, Thomas and the other talmidin forcefully reminded the Master that the religious leaders in Jerusalem were plotting His death:
“Rabbi, the (religious leaders of the) Yehudim (Jews) are even now seeking to stone You.”
His followers were wondering, “Why does our Master go where His enemies are waiting for a chance to kill Him?” (1, 2, 3). The Messiah replied to Thomas by telling him in figurative language that we all have been appointed a day of work from Adonai and while that day still lasts no enemy can shorten it or prevent its assigned purpose from being carried out.
The Master was informing His Jewish followers that His physical safety was guaranteed until the day His mortal earthly ministry was ended and the night of His sacrificial death had come.
Preparation for the Journey:
The Messiah next described Lazarus His friend as having fallen asleep and of His traveling to Bethany to wake him up. At first this statement mistakenly led the disciples into believing Lazarus was only recuperating from an illness. This misunderstanding was quickly cleared up when the Master then plainly said, “Lazarus is dead.” Thereafter, the Messiah added that He was glad for their sakes that He had not been in Bethany before the event because now He would be able to work faith in them, by going to Lazarus to raise him from the dead!
When the Messiah reached the household of Lazarus at Beit-Anii He was told what He already knew that his friend Lazarus had already died and had been buried in a grave for four days. According to Jewish custom Lazarus had to be buried the same day that he died. The journey to Beit-Anii had taken place in a single day, so this meant eight days are involved in this death and resurrection narrative.
Days 6 and 7: On Friday (Yom Shishi- sixth day: יום שישי) the Sanhedrin assembled an emergency meeting and decided to kill the Messiah; and aware of the death threat, the Messiah decided to “rest” in Beit-Anii anyway on Friday and Saturday (Shabbat: Yom Shabbat- seventh day: יום שבת).
Day 8: Afterwards the Master left on Sunday (HaYom HaShemini, the eighth day: היום השמיני; the day of the new beginning) for Perea and Galilee, distancing Himself from the religious leaders until He would make His final triumphal entrance into Jerusalem (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
The Messiah arrives at the House of Mourning:
Regarding the resurrection of Lazarus, the Messiah Yeshua who is the Resurrection and the Life (אני התחיה והחיים-Hatekumah v’haChaiim) had arrived at Beit-Anii. Yet He at first had not been noticed in the House of Mourning.
At Beit-Anii many who were from Jerusalem, who were friends of the distinguished family of Lazarus, had come in obedience to one of the most binding requirements of Judaism that of comforting the mourners. As to the order of service:
In the Jewish funeral procession the sexes were separated and the practice was for the women to conclude the service by returning alone from the grave.
This explains why, after the Messiah’s sacrificial death on the accursed tree, the women went and returned alone to the tomb of our Master. As the company left the dead, each person said his own personal goodbye to the deceased with the final words, “Depart in shalom!”
After saying the Shalom to their friend, all the assembled persons formed into lines. Through these living walls of sympathy the mourners passed in the midst of words of comfort. This expression of corporate compassion was repeated at least seven times as the procession finally came to an end upon returning to the House of Mourning. In comforting Lazarus’ sisters the assembled persons could scarcely have imagined how literally their unspoken wish was about to be fulfilled. For already the message had reached Martha: “Yeshua is coming!”
Literally: “The Salvation of Adonai is coming!“
Martha hurried to meet the Master. Not a word of complaint, or a murmur, or even a doubt escaped her lips: only that during those four bitter days she believed that if He had been there her brother would not have died. Now it was in literal truth that the Master had told Martha her brother would rise from the dead to live again. Yet she misunderstood His words thinking they referred to the resurrection occurring at the Last Day. Instead, the Messiah Yeshua was indicating that the resurrection was only possible as an outcome of His life.
Apart from the Life of the Messiah no one could ever be resurrected from the dead.
Once we grasp this important point we can understand the answer of Martha to the Lord’s question: “I Am the Hatekumah v’haChaiim (the Resurrection and the Life) He who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” “Do you believe this?” Martha replied, “Yes, Master, I have always believed you are the Mashiach Ben Ha-Elohim the one who has come into the world from Adonai.”
The outpouring of sorrow and the Groanings of Messiah’s Spirit:
What followed next between Rabbi Yeshua and Martha we can gather from the context. It seems that He “called” for Mary. Mary likely was sitting in the room of mourning, surrounded by many of her Jewish family and friends who had come to comfort her and her sister. As she heard of His coming and call, she rose and left “immediately;” as others followed her, likely under the mistaken impression that she was once again going to visit the tomb of her brother; for it was the practice of the surviving family members to visit the grave often especially during the first days of of mourning.
When Mary came to the Messiah, where He still stood outside Beit-Anii, she no doubt became forgetful of her surroundings. It must have been as if the sight of Him was all that seemed important or real to her. She instantly fell at His feet and repeated the same words of her older sister Martha that if only He had been there her brother Lazarus would have been healed.
After that brief verbal exchange Mary chose to speak no more, choosing only to meditate silently at the feet of the Master. It had to be a deeply touching scene: the outpouring of the Jewess Mary’s sorrow, the reverent strength of her faith and the quiet appeal of her tears. The Yehudim (Jews) who witnessed it were moved to weep with her. Then what followed next is hard to understand and even more difficult to explain.
The Messiah “groaned in His Spirit:”
The Messiah groaned in His Spirit. In a mysterious way this “groan too deep for words” dramatically speaks of how deeply our Master first empathized with Mary. He so identified Himself with her and the other mourners that their sorrow actually became His sorrow. When the Messiah ‘groaned’ in His Spirit it is meant that He was so moved within His Spirit that the Messiah was embracing the sufferings and sorrows of all the mourners as if they were His very own.
It is only after this expression of deep empathy that the Master asks, “Where have you laid him?” So He is responded to with, “come and see.” Then we read that “Yeshua wept.” Some of those present then asked aloud: “Could not this One, who opened the eyes of the blind, have kept this man from dying?” This longing remark regarding the Messiah’s ability to even prevent death prompted the Messiah Yeshua once again to be deeply moved in His Spirit.
The resurrection of Lazarus:
For the last time the people again assembled at the entrance of the cave of Lazarus’ tomb. The Master commanded them to roll aside the great stone that covered the entrance. Amid the awful pause that preceded the stone being rolled away, one voice alone was raised. It was that of Martha. The Master had not yet voiced His intent of raising Lazarus. Therefore, Martha was exceedingly perplexed as she was wondering, “Why was the Master disturbing the resting place of her brother?” In confused protest Martha remarked:
“Master, by now the smell will be terrible because he has been dead for four days.”
It was a common Jewish notion that on the fourth day of death the soul took its final leave from the resting-place of the body. In reply to Matha’s valid concern, the Messiah gently reminded Martha of what He had said to her just moments before, and of the message He had sent to her when first He heard of Lazarus’ illness: “Didn’t I tell you that you will see the glory of G-d (כְּבוֹד הָאֱלֹהִים) if you believe?” Then the stone was rolled away, a prayer of thanksgiving was offered and a loud command was directed to the friend who was dead. Then the Messiah shouted aloud:
“Lazarus, come out!”
In a moment of time Lazarus came back to life, even while He was still bound hand and foot with grave clothes and his face covered with a napkin. The Messiah then told them:
“Unwrap Lazarus and let him go!”
“!הַתִּירוּ אוֹתוֹ וְהַנִּיחוּ לוֹ לָלֶכֶת”
The once dead Lazarus now was seen alive standing in the light of the day! There in that startled group of persons, now likely more pale than Lazarus bound in his grave clothes, stood in perfect calm the Messiah, triumphant over the very sorrows that only minutes before had so deeply moved and troubled Him. In His Divine empathy and power it was as if the Messiah had actually died Himself and been resurrected with all the redeemed, demanding on our corporate behalf:
“Roll away the stone, unbound them, and Let all of My people go free!”
Regarding the narrative of Lazarus, we know no more. The truthfulness of this messianic testimony is clearly affirmed by the Author Himself, the Spirit of Holiness. What happened afterwards, how they loosed Lazarus, what thanks, or praise, or worship, the Jewish sisters and the honored guests spoke, and what were Lazarus’ first words, we do not know. Here the historical account abruptly ends. Many of those Yehudim had seen the miracle believed on Him; others just rushed back to Jerusalem to tell what had just happened to the Prushim (the failing Rich Man, the failing Elder Brother).
The prophecy of the High Priest, Caiaphas, comes true:
In haste a meeting of the Sanhedrin was organized, not to judge the Rabbi Yeshua, but to decide what was to be done. That He was really doing these miracles, no one could deny. However, all but one or two of the members of the Sanhedrin had no doubt as to the source of the miracles. In their delusional pride and false self-righteousness the elite religious leaders were certain that the miracles were of satanic origin. Furthermore, they were convinced that if He were left alone all the Yehudim would believe on Him. Then the Romans “will come and take away both our place and our nation.”
As Israel’s declared king the Sanhedrin was certain that Yeshua would lead the people of Israel into an inevitable fight with Rome that would fail. Then even the lives of these men would be at risk. So what was to be done? They did not wish to murder Him, until the High-Priest, Caiaphas, stood up and reminded them of the well-known Hebrew saying (cf. Isaiah 53:4, 5, 7, 12):
“It is better one man should die, than the community perish!”
The High-Priest was speaking in the Holy Spirit’s own Voice!
The High-Priest was speaking prophecy, not in regards to the counsel of murder but that the Messiah’s death should be for “the salvation of the entire nation of Israel.”This was the last prophecy administered under the covenant of the Law of Moses. With this sentence of death assigned to Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Israel’s Great High Priest, we all died to the old order under the Law. This happened bcause the old order was insufficient to deliver us from sin so it was passing away.
Now a new order was put into effect under the rule of the New Covenant (Brit Chadashah) of Adonai’s Chesed (Grace). This was the first Friday of what the nineteenth century messianic Yehudi Alfred Edersheim called the day of “dark resolve.” Following this decision of the Sanhedrin to kill the King of Glory ‘these men’ only needed to develop a plan for executing its will. A member of the Sanhedrin, likely Nicodemus, sent word to the Messiah of the secret meeting and its deadly resolution.
Messiah took His rest in Beit-Anii then He traveled on to Ephraim:
On Shabbat the Messiah rested in Beit-Anii, with the same noble and inspiring calm He had shown before at the grave of Lazarus. Then He withdrew to a village named Ephraim, meaning in Hebrew, “Doubly Fruitful,” whose exact location is unknown to us (סוֹד-hidden, a secret). It is in this unknown location (הַמָּקֹום) that Messiah dwelt with His Talmidin, withdrawn for a short time from the Jerusalem religious leaders (and their murderous intent). There the Messiah prepared for the day He would next appear in Jerusalem, at the time appointed for Him to sacrifice His life as a ransom for us all!