Messiah in Yom HaBikkurim Chapter 59

Parable #40. Wicked Tenants:

  1. Today is Day #40
  2. The Fortieth Mashal of Messiah
  3. The Ascension of the Messiah and the Fortieth Day of our Counting the Omer
  4. Six Observations about the Grape Vine
  5. The Warning…
  6. The Landowner’s Ten Steps to acquiring wine from His Vineyard
  7. The Long-suffering Vineyard Owner
  8. They reasoned to themselves: “If we kill the Son, the Vineyard will all belong to us!”
  9. The rabbis assaulted and killed the original prophetic meanings of the Torah
  10. The rabbis used their own words to beat, kill and stone the Testimony of Messiah
  11. The rejected Stone has become the Capstone
  12. The Kingdom is taken from one generation and is given to another generation

Today is Day #40:

1. Today is “Day #40” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.

2. Today is forty days which are five weeks and five days of the Omer.

.היום ארבעים יום, שהם חמישה שבועות וחמישה ימים בעומר

Haiyom arba’im yom, shehaym chamishah shavuot vechamishah 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 Fortieth Mashal of Messiah:

שִׁמְעוּ מָשָׁל אַחֵר אִישׁ בַּעַל־בַּיִת הָיָה אֲשֶׁר נָטַע כֶּרֶם וַיַּעַשׂ גָּדֵר סָבִיב לוֹ וַיַּחְצֹב יֶקֶב וַיִּבֶן מִגְדָּל בְּתוֹכוֹ וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ אֶל־כֹּרְמִים וַיֵּלֶךְ בְּדֶּרֶךְ מֵרָחוֹק׃ וַיְהִי בְּהַגִּיעַ עֵת הַבָּצִיר וַיִּשְׁלַח עֲבָדָיו אֶל־הַכֹּרְמִים לָקַחַת אֶת־פִּרְיוֹ׃ וַיַּחֲזִיקוּ הַכֹּרְמִים בַּעֲבָדָיו אֶת־זֶה הִכּוּ וְאֶת־זֶה הָרְגוּ וְאֶת־זֶה סָקָלוּ׃ וַיּוֹסֶף שְׁלֹחַ עֲבָדִים אֲחֵרִים רַבִּים מִן־הָרִאשׁוֹנִים וְגַם־לָהֶם עֲשׂוֹּ כֵן׃ וּבָאַחֲרוֹנָה שָׁלַח אֲלֵיהֶם אֶת־בְּנוֹ כִּי אָמַר מִפְּנֵי בְנִי יָגוּרוּ׃ וַיְהִי כִּרְאוֹת הַכֹּרְמִים אֶת־הַבֵּן וַיֹּאמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־אָחִיו זֶה הוּא הַיּוֹרֵשׁ לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְנֹאחֲזָה בְּנַחֲלָתוֹ׃ וַיַּחֲזִיקוּ בוֹ וַיִּדְחָפוּהוּ אֶל־מִחוּץ לַכָּרֶם וַיַּהַרְגוּ אֹתוֹ׃ וְעַתָּה כִּי־יָבוֹא בַּעַל הַכָּרֶם מַה־יַּעֲשֶׂה לַכֹּרְמִים הָהֵם׃

A.  Listen to another mashal:  There was a man, the owner of a house, who planted a vineyard. He made a fence around it, hewed out a winepress, and built a tower within it. Then he gave it to vinedressers and went on the road far away. When the time of the grape harvest arrived, he sent his servants to the vinedressers to take his produce. But the vinedressers seized his servants. They attacked one, killed another, and stoned another. Once more, he sent many more servants than the first ones, but they did the same to them. At last, he sent them his son, for he said, “They will be intimidated by my son.” But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said one to another, “This is the heir! Come, let us kill him and take his inheritance!” So they seized him and shoved him outside of the vineyard and killed him. Now, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?”

וַיָּחֶל לְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם בִּמְשָׁלִים לֵאמֹר אִישׁ אֶחָד נָטַע כֶּרֶם וַיַּעַשׂ גָּדֵר סָבִיב וַיַּחְצֹב יֶקֶב וַיִּבֶן מִגְדָּל וַיִּתְּנֵהוּ אֶל־כֹּרְמִים וַיֵּלֶךְ לְמֶרְחַקִּים׃ וְלַמּוֹעֵד שָׁלַח עֶבֶד אֶל־הַכֹּרְמִים לָקַחַת מֵאֵת הַכֹּרְמִים מִפְּרִי הַכָּרֶם׃ וַיֹּאחֲזֻהוּ וַיַּכֻּהוּ וַיְשַׁלְּחֻהוּ רֵיקָם׃ וַיֹּסֶף לִשְׁלֹחַ אֲלֵיהֶם עֶבֶד אַחֵר וְאֹתוֹ (סָקְלוּ בָאֲבָנִים וּ) מָחֲצוּ רֹאשׁוֹ וַיְשַׁלְּחֻהוּ בְּחֶרְפָּה׃ וַיֹּסֶף וַיִּשְׁלַח אַחֵר וְגַם־אֹתוֹ הָרָגוּ וְכֵן עָשׂוּ לְרַבִּים אֲחֵרִים מֵהֶם הִכּוּ וּמֵהֶם הָרָגוּ׃ וְלוֹ עוֹד בֵּן יָחִיד אֲשֶׁר אֲהֵבוֹ וַיִּשְׁלַח גַּם־אֹתוֹ אֲלֵיהֶם בָּאַחֲרֹנָה כִּי־אָמַר מִפְּנֵי בְנִי יָגוּרוּ׃ וְהַכֹּרְמִים הָהֵם אָמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵהוּ הִנֵּה־זֶה הוּא הַיּוֹרֵשׁ לְכוּ וְנַהַרְגֵהוּ וְהַיְרֻשָּׁה תִּהְיֶה לָּנוּ׃ וַיֹּאחֲזֻהוּ וַיַּהַרְגוּ אוֹתוֹ וַיַּשְׁלִיכֻהוּ אֶל־מִחוּץ לַכָּרֶם׃

B. He (the Messiah) began to speak to them (the leading priests, scholars, elders and the people) in mashalim, saying:

A man planted a vineyard. He made a fence around it, hewed out a winepress, and built a tower. He gave it to vinedressers and went to faraway places. At the appointed time, he sent a servant to the vinedressers to take some of the produce from the vinedressers. They seized him, struck him, and sent him away empty-handed. Once more, he sent another servant to them, but him (they stoned with stones and) they wounded his head and sent him away in disgrace. Once more, he sent another, but him they actually killed. They did the same to many others; some they struck, and some they killed. He still had an only son, whom he loved, and even him he finally sent to them, for he said, “They will be intimidated by my son.” But those vinedressers said to each other, “This is the heir! Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!” They seized him and killed him and threw him outside the vineyard.

Nimshal

וְעַתָּה מַה־יַּעֲשֶׂה בַּעַל הַכָּרֶם הֲלֹא יָבוֹא וִיאַבֵּד אֶת־הַכֹּרְמִים הָהֵם וְנָתַן אֶת־הַכֶּרֶם לַאֲחֵרִים׃ הֲלֹא קְרָאתֶם אֶת־הַכָּתוּב הַזֶּה אֶבֶן מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים הָיְתָה לְרֹאשׁ פִּנָּה׃ מֵאֵת יְהוֹה הָיְתָה זֹּאת הִיא נִפְלָאת בְּעֵינֵינוּ׃

Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? Will he not come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to the others? Have you not read this Scripture (Tehillim/Psalm 118): “A Stone the builders rejected has become the Capstone. This was from Adonai (HaShem); it is wonderful in our eyes”?

וַיֹּאמֶר הוֹרְדוֹס הֵן אָנֹכִי נָשָׂאתִי אֶת־רֹאשׁ יוֹחָנָן מֵעָלָיו וּמִי־זֶה אֲשֶׁר אֲנִי שֹׁמֵעַ עָלָיו כַּדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיְבַקֵּשׁ לִרְאוֹתוֹ׃ וַיָּשׁוּבוּ הַשְּׁלִיחִים וַיְסַפְּרוּ־לוֹ אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוֹּ וַיִּקָּחֵם אֵלָיו וַיָּסַר עִמָּהֶם לְבַדָּם אֶל־מָקוֹם שׁוֹמֵם אֲשֶׁר לָעִיר הַנִּקְרָאָה בֵית־צָיְדָה׃ וַהֲמוֹן הָעָם יָדְעוּ וַיֵּלְכוּ אַחֲרָיו וַיְקַבְּלֵם וַיְדַבֵּר אֲלֵיהֶם עַל־מַלְכוּת הָאֱלֹהִים וַיִּרְפָּא אֶת־הַצְּרִיכִים לִרְפוּאָה׃ וְהַיּוֹם רָפָה לַעֲרֹב וּשְׁנֵים הֶעָשָׂר נִגְּשׁוּ וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו שַׁלַּח־נָא אֶת־הָעָם וְיֵלְכוּ אֶל־הַכְּפָרִים וְהַחֲצֵרִים אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבוֹתֵינוּ לָלוּן וְלִמְצֹא מָזוֹן כִּי־פֹה בְּמָקוֹם שׁוֹמֵם אֲנָחְנוּ׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם תְּנוּ־אַתֶּם לָהֶם לֶאֱכֹל וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵין לָנוּ כִּי אִם־חֲמֵשֶׁת כִּכְּרוֹת־לֶחֶם וְדָגִים שְׁנַיִם בִּלְתִּי אִם־נֵלֵךְ וְנִקְנֶה־אֹכֶל לְכָל־הָעָם הַזֶּה׃ כִּי הָיוּ כַּחֲמֵשֶׁת אַלְפֵי־אִישׁ וַיֹּאמֶר אֶל־תַּלְמִידָיו הוֹשִׁיבוּ אֹתָם שׁוּרוֹת שׁוּרוֹת חֲמִשִּׁים אִישׁ הַשּׁוּרָה הָאֶחָת׃ וַיַּעֲשׂוֹּ־כֵן וַיּוֹשִׁיבוּ אֶת־כֻּלָּם׃ וַיִּקַּח אֶת־חֲמֵשֶׁת כִּכְּרוֹת הַלֶּחֶם וְאֶת־שְׁנֵי הַדָּגִים וַיִשָּׂא עֵינָיו הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וַיְבָרֶךְ עֲלֵיהֶם וַיִּפְרֹס וַיִּתֵּן לְתַלְמִידָיו לָשׂוֹּם לִפְנֵי הָעָם׃

C.  He answered (the leading priests, scholars, and elders) and spoke to the people:  A certain man planted a vineyard. He placed it in the hand of vinedressers (rented it out to them) and went on the road far away for many days (a long time). At the appointed time, he sent a servant to the vinedressers ro give him some of the fruit of the vineyard, but the vinedressers struck him and sent him away empty-handed.Once more, he sent another servant, and they also struck him and scorned him and sent him away empty-handed. Once more, he sent a third, and they also wounded him and drove him away and pushed him outside. The owner of the vineyard said, “What will I do? I will send my dear son. Perhaps they will see him and be afraid of him.” But when the vinedressers saw him, they deliberated together, saying, “This one is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!” They drove him outside of the vineyard and killed him. Now what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy those vinedressers and give the vineyard to others.

When they heard this (the people; not the religious leaders), they said, “May it never be!”

The Ascension of Messiah and the Fortieth Day of our Counting the Omer:

Today we celebrate the day in the Jewish calendar when the resurrected Messiah ascended into heaven. This is the day when the Messiah was received by the Shekinah Glory Cloud and He ascended “far above, over all of the heavens” (הוּא אֲשֶׁר גַּם עָלָה אֶל מֵעַל כָּל הַשָּׁמַיִם). We pray, therefore, in honor of this special occasion that together we will all be greatly blessed by today’s study of the fortieth mashal of the Messiah, the King of Glory (Melekh HaKavod).

It was on the fortieth day of Counting the Omer, on the 25th day of Iyyar, in the Jewish calendar year 3790 that the Messiah was taken up into heaven. About this ascension of Messiah into heaven we read that He did this after He had by the Spirit of Holiness “given orders to the shlichim (sent ones) whom He had chosen:”

לִפְנֵיהֶם הוּא הוֹפִיעַ חַי בְּהוֹכָחוֹת רַבּוֹת, אַחֲרֵי עֱנוּתוֹ, וּבְמֶשֶׁךְ אַרְבָּעִים יוֹם נִרְאָה אֲלֵיהֶם וְדִבֵּר אִתָּם עַל מַלְכוּת הָאֱלֹהִים.פ

To these (שְּׁלִיחִים-Shlichim) He (HaMashiach) also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days (of HaBikkurim) and speaking of the things concerning the Kingdom of Adonai” (HaElohim).

כַּאֲשֶׁר הָיָה בְּחֶבְרָתָם צִוָּה עֲלֵיהֶם: “אַל תַּעַזְבוּ אֶת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם, כִּי אִם חַכּוּ לְקִיּוּם הַבְטָחַת הָאָב אֲשֶׁר שְׁמַעְתֶּם אוֹתָהּ מִפִּי;כִּי יוֹחָנָן הִטְבִּיל תִּטָּבְלוּ בְּרוּחַ הַקֺּדֶשׁ בְּעוֹד יָמִים לֹא רַבִּים.” פ

Gathering them together, He (the Messiah) commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what The Father (HaAv) had promised, ‘Which,’ He said, ‘you heard of from Me; for Yochanan (Ben Zechariah, Ben Aaron) baptized with water (הִטְבִּיל בְּמַיִם-lit. “immersed in water;” i.e. the cleansing of the mikveh), but you will be immersed with the Holy Spirit (תִּטָּבְלוּ בְּרוּחַ הַקֺּדֶשׁ-the immersion in the gracious Presence of the Spirit of Holiness) not many days from now.”

שָׁאֲלוּ אוֹתוֹ הַנֶּאֱסָפִים: “אֲדוֹנֵנוּ, הַאִם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה תָּשִׁיב אֶת הַמַּלְכוּת לְיִשְׂרָאֵל?” עָנָה לָהֶם: “לֹא לָכֶם לָדַעַת עִתִּים וּזְמַנִּים שֶׁקָּבַע הָאָב בְּסַמְכוּתוֹ שֶׁלּוֹ. אֲבָל בְּבוֹא עֲלֵיכֶם רוּחַ הַקֺּדֶשׁ תְּקַבְּלוּ כֺּחַ וְתִהְיוּ עֵדַי הֵן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וְהֵן בְּכָל יְהוּדָה וְשׁוֹמְרוֹן, עַד קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ.”פ

So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Our Lord (אֲדׂנֵינוּ), is it appointed now for You to restore (תָּשִׁיב-“return”) the kingdom (הַמַּלְכוּת-“rule,” “reign,” “dominion”) to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which The Father (HaAv) has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Spirit of Holiness has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even the remotest part of the earth.”

אַחֲרֵי שֶׁאָמַר אֶת הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה נִשָּׂא מֵעֲלֵיהֶם בְּעוֹדָם מִסְתַּכְּלִים, וְעָנָן נָטַל אוֹתוֹ מִנֶּגֶד עֵינֵיהֶם. עוֹדָם מַבִּיטִים הַשָּׁמַיְמָה בַּעֲלִיָּתוֹ, וְהִנֵּה שְׁנֵי אֲנָשִׁים לְבוּשֵׁי לָבָן נִצְּבוּ לְיָדָם וְאָמְרוּ: “אַנְשֵׁי הַגָּלִיל, לָמָּה אַתֶּם עוֹמְדִים וּמִסְתַּכְּלִים אֶל הַשָּׁמַיִם? יֵשׁוּעַ זֶה אֲשֶׁר נִשָּׂא מֵעֲלֵיכֶם הַשָּׁמַיְמָה – בּוֹא יָבוֹא בְּאוֹתוֹ אֺפֶן שֶׁרְאִיתֶם אוֹתוֹ עוֹלֶה לַשָּׁמַיִם.”פ

And after He had said these words (הַדְּבָרִים), He was lifted up (נִשָּׂא מֵעֲלֵיהֶם-He “ascended”) while they were looking on, and a cloud (עָנָן-a Cloud; i.e. the Shekinah Glory Cloud) received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was ascending up (הַשָּׁמַיְמָה בַּעֲלִיָּתוֹ-lit. up in the “Stairway of Heaven”), behold, two men [heavenly malakim, messengers, angels] in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee (אַנְשֵׁי הַגָּלִיל), why do you stand looking into the sky? This Yeshua (יֵשׁוּעַ-Salvation of Adonai), who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven (עוֹלֶה לַשָּׁמַיִם-ascend into heaven).”

Six Observations about the Grape Vine:

Observation #1.  The grape vine is mentioned more than any other plant in the Tanakh and the Brit Chadashah. The grape vine was very important economically and culturally in ancient Israel. Due to its centrality in everyday life the grape vine is used often as a symbol in the Scriptures. A fruitful vine was a symbol of obedient Israel, while wild grapes or an empty vine spoke of Israel’s disobedience (Jeremiah 2:21):

“Yet I planted you a choice vine, a completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine?”

Observation #2.  The woody vine is only cultivated with effort and hard work. Isaiah 5:1-8 records part of the process:

“Let me sing now for my well-beloved
A song of my beloved concerning His vineyard.
My well-beloved had a vineyard on a fertile hill.
He dug it all around, removed its stones,
And planted it with the choicest vine.
And He built a tower in the middle of it
And also hewed out a wine vat in it;
Then He expected it to produce good grapes,
But it produced worthless ones.

“And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah,
Judge between Me and My vineyard.
“What more was there to do for My vineyard that I have not done in it?
Why, when I expected it to produce good grapes did it produce worthless ones?
“So now let Me tell you what I am going to do to My vineyard:
I will remove its hedge and it will be consumed;
I will break down its wall and it will become trampled ground.
“I will lay it waste;
It will not be pruned or hoed,
But briars and thorns will come up.
I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.”

For the vineyard of the Adonai of hosts is the house of Israel
And the men of Judah His delightful plant.
Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed;
For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress.

Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field,
Until there is no more room,
So that you have to live alone in the midst of the land!”

Observation #3.  We observe here that the grape vines were typically grown on a hill, that the hill needed to be cleared of many stones which are a common part of the landscape of Israel. Only then could the vines be planted and thrive. A wall or hedge was typically built around the vineyard. A watch tower was also built to detect and deal with thieves. Also the vines required annual pruning in order for them to bear abundant fruit.

Observation #4.  Another witness to the fact that the Vineyard is a sacred symbol of Israel is found in Psalm 80:

You removed a vine from Egypt;
You drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground before it,
And it took deep root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shadow,
And the cedars of the Almighty One with its boughs.
It was sending out its branches to the sea
And its shoots to the River.
Why have You broken down its hedges,
So that all who pass that way pick its fruit?
A boar from the forest eats it away
And whatever moves in the field feeds on it.

O G-d of Hosts, turn again now, we beseech You;
Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine,
Even the shoot which Your right hand has planted,
And on the son whom You have strengthened for Yourself.
It is burned with fire, it is cut down;
They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance.
Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand,
Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself.
Then we shall not turn back from You;
Revive us, and we will call upon Your name.
O Adonai Elohim Tsabaot, restore us;
Cause Your face to shine upon us and we will be saved.”

Observation #5.  The grape vine can grow on the ground, on stakes or poles, or can be planted in an orchard and *trained to climb trees (in Psalm 80 the grape vines and branches are growing on “the cedars of the Almighty One”).

The sweet fruit of the grape vine with white flesh, and green, red, or purple skins, grows in clusters. The grape produce can be eaten fresh, dried for raisins, pressed for wine, or made into vinegar.

Grape leaves are also used in Jewish recipes. In ancient times wine was oftentimes mixed with stale cistern water to make it drinkable. [*The Romans, not the Israelis, are the ones who popularized using stakes or poles to support the vines. In ancient times the Israelites used the trees to support the vines. Around 65 CE, the Roman writer Columella published his twelve-volume text “De Re Rustica.” This work is one of the earliest to describe in detail the trellis systems that were used to raise the vines off of the ground.]

It is primarily after the time of the Messiah that we see widespread advocacy for the use of stakes; rather than the previously accepted practice of training vines to grow upon trees. The benefit of using stakes over trees was that with the use of stakes one could avoid the dangers associated with climbing trees.

With growing the vines on trees it was necessary in the summer for one to climb the trees to prune the dense foliage of the trees in order to ensure that the vines were provided adequate sunlight.

Also, later in the fall at harvest time, one had to ascend to the top of the tree to adequately harvest the grapes; and immediately thereafter one had to climb the trees, yet again a third time, to prune the vine and its branches, to adequately prepare for the harvest to come.

The Grape Vine of Israel was originally supported (rested) and trained growing upon a Tree.

Why is this historical fact regarding the vines and the trees so important? Because the sacred Hebrew imagery of the “Vine being supported and trained growing upon a Tree” reminds those of us who are Messianic Jews that the life of the Spirit that we now are privileged to enjoy will always and forever be supported by the sacrifice of the Messiah on the accursed tree.

Observation #6.  The vine is listed in Deuteronomy 8:8 as one of the seven species in the good land that Adonai was giving to the nation of Israel:

“A land of wheat and barley, of vines (גֶ֥פֶן) and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey.”

The Promised Land was a land where the grapes grew in large clusters as reported by the expedition of the twelve spies sent into Canaan (Numbers 13:23). The grape clusters were so large that they were carried on a stick between two men. This abundant provision from Adonai was meant to be enjoyed and men were not to go to war until they had tasted of their own grape harvest (Deuteronomy 20:6):

“Who is the man that has planted a vineyard and has not begun to use its fruit? Let him depart and return to his house, otherwise he might die in the battle and another man would begin to use its fruit.”

The Warning…

“There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey… for a long time. When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive… some of the produce (his portion).”

In the mashal of the Wicked Tenants the Messiah continued to warn the religious leaders of His day (and of the future) about the dangers of their hateful response to His messiahship. The Messiah’s fortieth mashal was heard by representatives of the Sanhedrin who had been sent to investigate (question, interrogate) Him, for several members of the Sanhedrin were already plotting to kill Him.

Today”s mashal reveals to us the social situation of Roman occupied Israel in the first century. In the first century (CE) wealthy landlords owned large land estates which were leased to tenant farmers. The tenant farmers agreed to cultivate the land for the landowners and care for their vineyards when the landlords were away on business. In this business arrangement it was customary that a contract be drawn up between the landowners and the tenant farmers that designated that a portion of the crop be paid to the landowners as rent. At harvest time the absentee owners sent their agents to collect the rent. Occasionally tensions would arise between the tenants and the owners.

The Landowner’s Ten Steps to acquiring wine from His Vineyard:

The Messiah spoke of a landowner who did ten things to make His vineyard productive and to provide himself with a harvest of grapes and  wine that is produced from it. The Ten Steps of the vineyard owner are (cf. Isaiah 5:1-8):

Step #1.  Build the vineyard on a hill that has trees;
Step #2.  Remove the rocks and prepare the soil for the planting of the vines;
Step #3.  Plant and grow the vines to fruit bearing maturity;
Step #4.  Grow the boughs of each grape vine on a tree (cf. Psalm 80:8-19);
Step #5.  Build a wall for protection around the vineyard;
Step #6.  Build a winepress;
Step #7.  Dig a pit under the winepress to gather the juice of the pressed grapes;
Step #8.  Construct a watchtower for shelter, storage, and the security of the vineyard;
Step #9.  Lease the vineyard to tenant farmers, winegrowers.
Step#10. At harvest time send up to three servants to collect what belongs to the owner and if that fails send the owner’s son.

The Long-suffering Vineyard Owner:

The land and Vineyard Owner is Adonai. The tenant farmers are the religious leaders of Israel. The Landowner went away on a journey to live abroad. This is a picture of the Presence of the Holy One leaving the Temple and putting the priests and the teachers in charge until the Presence of Adonai returned to Israel. Thereafter, Adonai the Landowner became an “absentee” owner.

Thereafter, when the time for harvesting and processing the Grapes into New Wine came (literally at the “right time”) Adonai sent *three of His servants to pick-up and transport back to Him His property (the wine).

*The number three is a reference to the Presence and ministry of the Spirit of the Holy One.

The three servants of Adonai here are the prophets, whose life-time service to the Holy One has resulted in the writing of the Testimony of the Messiah in the D’var HaShem (i.e. the three-fold witness of the Tanakh: Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim). The last servant-prophet sent by the Spirit to the religious leaders of Israel was the prophet Yochanan Ben Zechariah Ben Aaron (cf. הברית החדשה-HaBrit HaChadashah).

The Spirit sent the prophets to the religious leaders to receive on behalf of Adonai what was rightfully His. Adonai was expecting to receive His share of the finished product, the wine. The Holy One was not looking to just receive clusters of grapes. In addition to the planting of the vines Adonai had built a winepress and a pit. This presence of the winepress and the pit indicates that Adonai expected the Tenant Farmers, the religious leaders, to give His servants an abundance of “New Wine.”

What did the Tenant Farmers do to the “Three Servants:” the Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim? The tenant farmers, the Temple priests, Prushim rabbis and the experts in the Law (scribes) mistreated the servants of Adonai; who were sent to them through the inspiration of His Spirit, the Ruach HaKodesh:

Offense #1. They beat one.
Offense #2. They killed another.
Offense #3. They stoned the third servant.

These three acts of open hostility and violence toward the servants (prophets) are symbolic of the cycle of escalated resistance that was employed by the priests and the rabbinical religious leaders against the prophets of the Most High (Adonai El Elyon).

First, the religious leaders assaulted the original intended meanings of Moses (Torah), the Prophets (Neviím) and the Writings (Ketuvim). Second, they killed the Testimony of the Messiah that is central to all of the Tanakh. Third, they stoned the prophets when they declared the Testimony of the Messiah to be heresy; even blasphemy that was worthy of death by stoning. For the Messiah spoke truth when He said to His Jewish Talmidim:

הוסיף ואמר להם: “אלה דברי אשר דברתי אליכם בעוד שהייתי עמכם: צריך שיתקים כל הכתוב עלי בתורת משה ובנביאים ובתהלים.” אז פתח את לבבם להבין את הכתובים ואמר להם: “כך כתוב, שהמשיח יסבל ויקום מן המתים ביום השלישי, ובשמו תכרז תשובה וסליחת חטאים לכל הגוים החל מירושלים.  פ

[Messiah] He said to them, “These are the d’vari (words) which I have spoken to you while I have been with you: all that is written (כל הכתוב-all Scripture) about Me must be sealed with the Torah of Moshe (תורת משה) and the Nevi’im (נביאים) and the Tehillim (תהלים-the “Praises;” the first Book of the Ketuvim, “Writings”).” So He opened their hearts to understand the Scriptures (הכתובים-HaKetuvim), and said to them, “Thus it is written that the Messiah will suffer and be raised from the dead on the third day, and proclaim His repentance (תשובה-Teshuvah) and the forgiveness of sins (וסליחת חטאים) to all the nations from Yerushalayim (לכל הגוים החל מירושלים).”

Therefore, the Three Servants who were assaulted, killed, and executed by stoning were:

Servant #1.  The Torah;
Servant #2.  The Nevi’im; and
Servant #3.  The Ketuvim.

את אלה דברתי אליכם כדי שלא תכשלו. הנה ינדו אתכם ואף תבוא שעה שכל ההורג אתכם יחשב זאת לעבודת אלהים. את הדברים האלה יעשו לכם כי אין הם יודעים את אבי, אף לא אותי.  פ

“I [the Messiah] spoke these to you [His Jewish remnant] so that you would not fail. Behold, they will put you down, and you will come, when anyone who kills you will consider this to serve G-d. These things will be done to you because they do not know My Father, not even Me.

Plus, as the Messiah prophesied (above), many more servants (witnesses, emissaries) were sent to Israel and the wicked vinedressers did the same to them. A host of messianic Jews spoke to their rabbinic brothers but they did not heed the warning (cf. the 27 books of the Brit Chadashah that are all written by Yehudim).

The killing of the first two servants is quite a different form of violence than a religious execution. The beating and the killing were both forms of violence that were employed solely to support a theft. Repeated acts of assault and theft occurred when the wicked Tenant Farmers forcefully blocked the three servants of Adonai from taking possession of their landowner’s rightful property, the harvest of the grapes and the processing of His New Wine.

The execution by “stoning” is a completely different legal matter than the beating and the killing that occurred during “the theft.”

A stoning is a form of execution that follows some form of legal accusation that results in a finding of guilt by a court of law. The death by stoning, therefore, indicates an execution for the offense of blasphemy. The long-suffering Landowner, Adonai, sent many of His servants (witnesses, emissaries) to take possession of His property, however, all of these servants (prophets) were progressively at the first beaten, then killed and at the last they were stoned to death.

Death by stoning indicates that the execution was for the offense of blasphemy.

Thereafter, what was the long-suffering Landowner Adonai to do? He decided to send His Beloved Son, the Messiah, whom he loved and trusted more dearly and completely than anyone else. In sending His Beloved Son to the Tenant Farmers Adonai Avinu rightfully expected that they, the priests, the rabbis, and the scribes would give to His Son the required obedience and respect that was personally due to Him (as the highest ranking legal representative of HaAv).

They reasoned to themselves: “If we kill the Son, the Vineyard will all belong to us:”

The vineyard Tenant Farmers reasoned within themselves that if they killed the Son, the land, the vineyard, and all of its valuable produce would all be theirs.

In ancient Israel a piece of land could be possessed lawfully by whoever claimed it first if it was deemed an “ownerless” property. This was the case if the land was (in this case with a vineyard on it) unclaimed by an heir within a designated period of time (cf. Mishnah Baba Bathra 3.3).

Therefore, the wicked Tenant Farmers decided that if they could kill the son (the heir) then they could “legally” (steal) gain permanent possession of the land and the vineyard. So they threw the son “outside of the walls” of the vineyard and killed him. Once again we observe the Messiah very accurately prophesying about the future time, manner and, in this case, the very location of His redemptive death:

It is important to recall that the Messiah actually was executed outside the walls, literally the gates of the city of Jerusalem.

The rabbis have assaulted and killed the original prophetic meaning of the Torah:

It seems absolutely clear here that the Messiah Yeshua was speaking about the religious leaders and their horrible stewardship of the nation of Israel that was dedicated to be the fruitful vineyard that shall always legally belong “solely” to Adonai Eloheinu (cf. again Isaiah 5:1-7).

The care of the Vine of Adonai had temporarily been entrusted to the priests and Prushim rabbinate. However, when the time of prophetic and messianic harvest came the wicked religious leaders refused to acknowledge the rights of Adonai as the Landowner.

The Tenant Farmers believed themselves to be entitled to acquire permanent possession of The Vineyard (the House of Israel). Therefore, these temporary employees “beat” and “killed” the permanent employees (the prophets).

In this way these men could keep that years’ harvest of the grapes and all of the future harvests to come—-all to themselves. Thereafter the wicked temporary employees had a really great idea, “Let’s take over the land through ‘legal’ means.” “Then we will become the new landowner!”

All that the wicked temp employees needed to do was kill the the Son of the Landowner (the heir of all things) and declare the property “ownerless.” Then when these wicked tenants became the new landowner they could hire their own servants to work their land, and harvest their grapes, and make their wine for them; which they would drink to the full and sell in abundance!

The rabbis used their own words to beat, kill, and stone the Testimony of Messiah…

This supplanting of the Divinely appointed D’var HaShem of the prophets and Messiah with the replacement theology of these corrupt religious leaders (the oral law that replaced the written law) is a picture of the supplanting of the rule of Adonai. This replacement of Adonai’s words and teachings with the teaching (false doctrine) of these men has been a work of extreme violence toward Adonai’s prophets, the Messiah, and the other servants (the shlichim, the sent ones) of the Messiah.

In the last two thousand years of the oral false teaching of the successors to the Prushim has been growing, and growing; while the true knowledge of the D’var HaShem has been ignored. Due to the endless flood of false teaching the entire redemptive Message of Moses and the Prophets about our Messiah has been lost to us. Without the firsthand knowledge of the Testimony of Messiah found in the writings of Moses and the prophets, the Testimony of Yeshua continues to be falsely treated as if it is heresy.

The rejected stone has become the Capstone:

The Messiah posed a rhetorical question when, at the conclusion of His mashal, He asked His listeners what they thought the real Landowner would do to these wicked Tenant Farmers? The answer: He would not let them continue to operate His vineyard; and because they killed His son He would bring judgment upon them. For it is written,

“He on whom the Stone falls will be crushed!”

The land was temporarily taken away from our people (Israel) for almost two millennia now because of the evil conduct of our ancient priests, rabbis, and experts in the law. Their act of rebellion and theft and that of their successors is described word for word in Psalm 118:2223; which refers to the rejected stone which will become the Cornerstone. This prophecy changes the narrative of this mashal from the killing of the Landowner’s heir to the “stone that the builders rejected” who shall one day (we pray soon) return to Israel. For it is written:

“The Stone which the builders rejected
Has become the Chief Corner Stone.
This is Adonai’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.”

This prophetic Psalm 118 narrative projects us out in time to a time when the rejected Messiah is no longer displaced as the leader of Israel; to a yet (we believe near) future time when He alone rules and reigns over every facet of the life of the nation and people of Israel; and over all of the nations and peoples of the world.

The Kingdom is taken from one generation and is given to another generation:

By way of application the Messiah Yeshua said the Kingdom of Adonai was being taken away from those who heard and disobeyed Him; and it would be given to another generation of Israel who would hear, understand and obey Him (produce its fruit; i.e. the New Wine). The word for “people” employed by the Messiah is usually translated “nation” (the word appears here without an article). This means the Messiah is saying to us that the kingdom of Adonai has been taken away from the unbelieving generations of Israel’s past. However, now (we believe) the kingdom of Adonai is being given back to our nation and our people of Modern Israel. This leads us to the final question:

“When will Israel be fully restored?”

The answer is the restitution of all things will occur just as soon as this generation of Israel demonstrates true repentance and responds in saving faith to the Messiah; who is the Cornerstone who our ancestors rejected.

Then will Adonai Eloheinu no longer treat us as if we are “Lo-ruchamah” (Not pitied) and “Lo-ammi” (Not My People).  For now is the time that we are being shown “Ruchamah” (Mercy) and we are once again called by Him, “Ammi” (My People). Read the prophet Hoshea (lit. the prophet of our “Salvation“). Therefore, now is the time to ready for the harvest. It is time for the harvesting of the grapes and for turning the grapes into the joyous fruitfulness of the New Wine of Adonai! {!באמת, באמת}

NEXT, MORE ON THE ASCENSION OF THE MESSIAH INTO HEAVEN…

Messiah in Yom HaBikkurim Chapter 60 >>