Sign #3, Miracle #14. Healed Man Crippled for 38 years.
- The Third Sign and Fourteenth Miracle of Messiah
- Opening-up questions and clues
- The Unknown Feast
- “Seeing” the Sign of the New Moon in the Heavens
- Searching for Redemption in a Time of Testing
- The Scroll of the Second Chance
- The pool of Bethesda
- The House of Mercy and Grace
- Responding to the Movement of the Spirit of Holiness
- “Thirty-eight years (the Third Sign)…”
- 38 years of wandering in the wilderness in a state of spiritual paralysis
- The paralyzed man is a type of Modern Israel
- Israel has been in a state of spiritual paralysis for a long time
- “Do you wish to get well?”
The Third Sign and Fourteenth Miracle of Messiah:
וּבִירוּשָׁלַיִם בְּרֵכָה עַל־יַד שַׁעַר הַצֹּאן אֲשֶׁר יִקְרְאוּ לָהּ בְּלָשׁוֹן עִבְרִית בֵּית־חַסְדָּא וְלָהּ חֲמִשָּׁה אֻלַמִּים׃ שָׁמָּה שָׁכְבוּ חוֹלִים וְעִוְרִים וּפִסְחִים וִיבֵשֵׁי־כֹחַ לָרֹב (וְהֵמָּה מְיַחֲלִים לִתְנוּעַת הַמָּיִם׃ כִּי מַלְאָךְ יָרַד בְּמוֹעֲדוֹ אֶל־הַבְּרֵכָה וַיַּרְעֵשׁ אֶת־מֵימֶיהָ וְהָיָה הַיֹּרֵד רִאשׁוֹן אֶל־תּוֹכָהּ אַחֲרֵי הִתְגֹּעֲשׁוּ הַמַּיִם הוּא נִרְפָּא מִכָּל־מַחֲלָה אֲשֶׁר דָּבְקָה בּוֹ)׃ וְשָׁם אִישׁ אֶחָד וְהוּא בְחָלְיוֹ שְׁלשִׁים וּשְׁמֹנֶה שָׁנָה׃ וַיַּרְא אֹתוֹ יֵשׁוּעַ שֹׁכֵב וַיֵּדַע כִּי אָרְכוּ־לוֹ יְמֵי חָלְיוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הֲתַחְפֹּץ לְהֵרָפֵא׃ וַיַּעַן הַחוֹלֶה אֲדֹנִי אֵין־אִישׁ אִתִּי לְהַשְׁלִיכֵנִי אֶל־הַבְּרֵכָה בְּהֵרָעֵשׁ הַמַּיִם וּבְטֶרֶם אָבֹא וְיָרַד אַחֵר לְפָנָי׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יֵשׁוּעַ קוּם שָׂא אֶת־מִשְׁכָּבְךָ וְהִתְהַלֵּךְ׃ וּכְרֶגַע שָׁב הָאִישׁ לְאֵיתָנוֹ וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת־מִשְׁכָּבוֹ וַיִּתְהַלָּךְ וְהַיּוֹם הַהוּא יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת׃
בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם, עַל־יַד שַׁעַר הַצֹּאן הָיְתָה בְּרֵכָה, שֶׁנִּקְרְאָה בֵּית חַסְדָּא, וּסְבִיבָהּ חָמֵשׁ אַכְסַדְרָאוֹת בַּעֲלוֹת עַמּוּדִים. בָּאַכְסַדְרָאוֹת הָאֵלֶּה שָׁכְבוּ הַרְבֵּה חוֹלִים וְעִוְרִים וּפִסְחִים וִיבֵשֵׁי אֵבָרִים. הָיָה שָׁם אִישׁ אֶחָד וְהוּא בְּחָלְיוֹ שְׁלוֹשִׁים וּשְׁמוֹנֶה שָׁנִים. יֵשׁוּעַ רָאָה אוֹתוֹ שׁוֹכֵב וְיָדַע כִּי זְמַן רַב הוּא חוֹלֶה. שָׁאַל אוֹתוֹ: “אַתָּה רוֹצֶה לִהְיוֹת בָּרִיא?” הֵשִׁיב לוֹ הַחוֹלֶה: “אֲדוֹנִי, אֵין אִתִּי אִישׁ שֶׁיָּטִיל אוֹתִי לַבְּרֵכָה בְּעֵת תְּנוּעַת הַמַּיִם. עַד שֶׁאֲנִי בָּא, אַחֵר יוֹרֵד לְפָנַי.” אָמַר לוֹ יֵשׁוּעַ: “קוּם, קַח אֶת מִשְׁכָּבְךָ וְהִתְהַלֵּךְ.” מִיָּד נִרְפָּא, לָקַח אֶת מִשְׁכָּבוֹ וְהִתְהַלֵּךְ. אוֹתוֹ יוֹם הָיָה יוֹם שַׁבָּת. פ
After these things, there was a festival for the Yehudim, and Yeshua went up to Yerushalayim. In Yerushalayim there was a pool near Sha’ar HaTzon which is called in the Hebrew language Beit-Chasda. It had five stoas (ulamim, five porticoes). There lay many sick, blind, lame, and weak people who were waiting for the water to move. (For an angel descended at its appointed time to the pool and agitated the water in it.) The first one to go down into it after the water churned would be healed from every ailment that clung to him. There was a certain man with a disease for thirty-eight years. Yeshua saw him lying there and knew that the days of his disease were very long. He said to him, “Do you desire to be healed?” The sick man answered, “My master, there is no one with me to cast me into the pool when the water is agitated, and before I come, someone else goes down before me.” Yeshua said to him, “Arise, carry your bed, and walk.” Instantly, the man regained his strength, picked up his bed, and walked. That day was the day of Shabbat.
Opening-up questions and clues:
The following opening-up questions and clues are provided as an introduction to this study on the 3rd Sign & 14th Miracle of Messiah:
Look at the symbolism of the above miracle narrative: At what location does the miracle occur? What is the meaning of the place name, “Yerushalayim?” What is the meaning of the Hebrew word “Beit-Chasda”? Of all of the festivals of Israel which festival is referred to as the festival of the unknown day? Clue: Rosh HaShannah & Yom Teruah. In what one place in the Tanakh is the term “38 years used?” Why was it that the people of Israel were made to wander in the wilderness for 38 years? What acts of disobedience and slander did the people commit toward Adonai that resulted in judgment? After the old disobedient generation of Israel died in the wilderness what did the new obedient generation of Israel do? Clue: They crossed over Jordan and entered into the Promised Land.
The Unknown Feast:
“After these things, there was a festival for the Yehudim…” The events of the 3rd Sign & 14th Miracle of Messiah occurred at the observance of Rosh HaShanah and Yom Teruah in Jerusalem. This is the time of the unknown feast (Yom HaKeseh), for the day and the hour of it no one knows but Adonai (cf. Psalm 81:4-5; Beitzah 16a).
“Seeing” the Sign of the New Moon in the Heavens:
Each year the Sanhedrin, a body of Seventy Jewish religious leaders, carefully deliberate in Jerusalem over two days (Tishri 1-2). At this time they decide which of the two days should reign (Rosh, be the “Head”) over all the rest of the days of the year. No one knows what day the royal day will be until Adonai “reveals” the sign of the New Moon to His servants. The first two days of the sabbatical seventh month of Tishri are also called Yom Teruah (the Day of the Sounding of the Shofar). The day of Rosh Hashanah (and Yom Teruah) speaks of a future day of Holy Assembly where those who have believed in the Messiah are miraculously and instantaneously translated-ascended out of the earth (alive) into heaven before the time of Jacob’s Trouble (symbolized in the seven intermediate days of Tishri 3-9). The troubling days of Tishri 3-9 are called the (seven) Intermediate Days of testing and judgment and they are a prophetic template for understanding what is called the Great Tribulation…
Searching for Redemption in a Time of Testing:
If one is prepared during the time of Adonai’s Graciousness (Elul1-Tishri 2) then he (she) will not be required to go through the time of great international testing that is prophetically illustrated during the seven Intermediate Days (TIshri 3-9) of The Ten Great Days of Awe (Yamim Noraim, Tishri 1-10) that are illustrative of the near-future seven year time of Jacob’s Trouble. The best time for searching for one’s redemption is always now! It is never a good idea to put off and delay our need to do Teshuvah, return to the Holy One, and be reconciled to Him in faith and obedient love. It is best to be ready for the day and the hour no man knows (Yom HaKeseh).
The Scroll of the Second Chance:
Therefore, if one is not ready during the time of Aonai’s Graciousness (Elul1-Tishri 2) then there is a second chance during the seven Intermediate Days (Tishri 3-9) to get ready for the Messiah’s return to earth on Yom Kippur. At that time (after the seven years of Jacob’s Trouble) He, the Mashiach, will put down the rebellion of humankind against the Holy One. No longer will anyone ever again be allowed to persecute or harm in any way the Jewish people. The returning Messiah will establish His rule in a newly formed Commonwealth of Israel that will include all of the Gentile nations and peoples in the world. Thereafter, the international reign of the Messiah King will last a thousand years. Then will the end of the ages come. This is when the Holy One will exodus His redeemed humanity into an eternal new heaven and earth, where the taint of even remembering the existence of sin and evil will be no more.
The pool of Bethesda:
“Now there is in Jerusalem by the sheep gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda…” North of the Temple area was the sheep gate and a pool called Bethesda. The sheep gate was the preferred gate for the sheep to entrance into the city of Jerusalem. Most oftentimes, during the festivals, the sheep in view were those that were about to be processed (approved) by the priests and prepared for sacrifice at the Temple. A significant portion of these dedicated (for sacrifice) sheep were specifically raised in a designated area near the city of David, at Bethlehem.
The House of Mercy and Grace:
Bethesda (בֵּית־חַסְדָּא-Beit-Chasda) in Hebrew means, “House of Mercy” and “House of Grace.” When the mind is introduced in the same sentence to the terms “Sheep Gate,” “Pool of Water,” “House of Mercy,” and “House of Grace” it should not be that hard to intuit that the focus of this section of the Testimony of Messiah is about the “Sacrifice,” “Cleansing,” “Mercy” and “Grace of Adonai.”
“Having five porticoes.” The pool of the House of Mercy and Grace was likely used for ceremonial water cleansing used in association with the Jerusalem Temple. Archaeology has confirmed the pool’s existence; including that its construction included “five porticoes.” As stated before in the Scriptures the number “five” is symbolic of Divine “grace” and favor.
Portico 1. The witness of the Prophet Yochanan Ben Zechariah.
Portico 2. The witness of the miraculous works of the Messiah.
Portico 3. The witness of the heavenly Father.
Portico 4. The witness of the Tanakh.
Portico 5. The witness of Moses Himself.
Responding to the Movement of the Spirit of Holiness:
שָׁמָּה שָׁכְבוּ חוֹלִים וְעִוְרִים וּפִסְחִים וִיבֵשֵׁי־כֹחַ לָרֹב (וְהֵמָּה מְיַחֲלִים לִתְנוּעַת הַמָּיִם׃ כִּי מַלְאָךְ יָרַד בְּמוֹעֲדוֹ אֶל־הַבְּרֵכָה וַיַּרְעֵשׁ אֶת־מֵימֶיהָ וְהָיָה הַיֹּרֵד רִאשׁוֹן אֶל־תּוֹכָהּ אַחֲרֵי הִתְגֹּעֲשׁוּ הַמַּיִם הוּא נִרְפָּא מִכָּל־מַחֲלָה אֲשֶׁר דָּבְקָה בּוֹ)׃
“In these [two connected pools of water] lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the waters; for an angel of Adonai went down at certain seasons into the pool and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was made well from whatever disease with which he was afflicted.” The central Torah meaning here is very specific. Running (“stirred up”) water is an indication of a ‘movement’ of the Spirit of the Holy One. In this case there was a belief that an Angel of Adonai would at certain times cause the waters to move, so that some fortunate disabled or diseased person might be miraculously healed. I expect this occasional symbolic gesture was met to benefit the whole assembly of the “sick, blind, lame, and withered” (etc.) and not just the person who was miraculously healed. Such an act would be (over time) a definite Divinely appointed reminder of the exceptional healing powers of Adonai; powers of healing that we know from the Word of Adonai are not limited to an occasional miracle manifested at the symbolic-prophetic pool of Bethesda. Obviously these Bethesda miracles were in no way dependent on ‘faith.’ Faith was not required; only opportunity and personal initiative were required. To me the event was no more than a benevolent “sample” (an advertisement) of what could possibly be obtained at any time (not just during “certain seasons”) and at any place (not just the pool at Bethesda). Better than dependence on fate is the exercise of faith. If only we who are in a state of distress and need would exercise real faith in the Sacrifice, Cleansing, Mercy and Grace of Adonai. Then there would be no need for us to futilely and fatalistically be waiting around for that very impersonal, highly unlikely, once in a lifetime miracle that we so blindly seem to believe will eventually “just come our way.” In Messiah, the right time (season) for appropriating the Grace and Mercy of Adonai is always now. Do you wish to be made well? Then trust in the Lord today and He will make you well.
“Thirty-eight years (the Third Sign)…”
וְשָׁם אִישׁ אֶחָד וְהוּא בְחָלְיוֹ שְׁלשִׁים וּשְׁמֹנֶה שָׁנָה׃
“A man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years.” This apparently paralyzed man had been ill for 38 years. This reference to thirty-eight years of time is interesting. The term 38 years is only used one time in the entire Tanakh. Thirty-eight years is the exact amount of additional time Israel wandered around in the desert as a result of disobeying and slandering the Holy One. The disobedience of Israel had to do with the people refusing to enter the Land of Canaan to militarily engage the land’s wicked inhabitants (who the recently emancipated former slaves of Egypt (feared) believed to be physically and militarily superior to them). The slander of Adonai was two-fold (cf. Numbers 13-14). The people complained that Adonai had led them out of Egypt only to have them destroyed while they engaged in battle with the Canaanites; and even more insulting, they accused the Holy One of even wanting their children to be “taken as plunder” so that quite cruelly they and future generations of the Jewish people would once again live as slaves. No doubt it was this latter accusation that moved the Holy One to wrath. As a result Adonai sentenced all of the people to continue wandering around the desert (for 38 years) until every last one of them died. Only those who were children at the time of the rebellion were allowed 38 years later to enter the Promised Land (along with only two men who remained faithful throughout the first two years and additional thirty-eight years (forty in all) that it took to exodus Egypt (on Nisan 15) and enter the Promised Land (on Nisan 10).
38 years of wandering in the wilderness in a state of spiritual paralysis:
Therefore, at the end of Israel’s wandering in the desert and at the threshold of Adonai’s people crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land, we read (from the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua): “For Adonai your Elohim has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness. These forty years Adonai your Elohim has been with you; you have not lacked a thing… Now arise and cross over the brook Zered yourselves. So we crossed over the brook Zered.”
וְהַיָּמִים אֲשֶׁר־הָלַכְנוּ מִקָּדֵשׁ בַּרְנֵעַ עַד אֲשֶׁר־עָבַרְנוּ אֶת־נַחַל זֶרֶד שְׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁמֹנֶה שָׁנָה עַד־תֹּם כָּל־הַדֹּור אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה מִקֶּרֶב הַֽמַּחֲנֶה כַּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָה לָהֶֽם׃
“Now the time that it took for us to come from Kadesh-barnea until we crossed over the brook Zered was THIRTY-EIGHT YEARS (שְׁלֹשִׁים וּשְׁמֹנֶה שָׁנָה), until all the generation of the men of war perished from within the camp, as Adonai had sworn to them.” So it came about when all the men of war had finally perished from among the people…the people set out from their tents to cross the Jordan…Now the people came up from the Jordan [into the Promised Land] on the tenth of the first month” (cf. Deuteronomy 2:7, 13-17; Joshua 3:14-17; 4:19).
The paralyzed man is a type of Modern Israel:
It took 38 years of wandering around in the wilderness before the people of Israel could enter the Promised Land. Similarly, it took 38 years for this paralyzed man to receive healing. Therefore, the paralyzed man is a type of Modern Israel. Israel is presently living in a state of hoping for a miracle healing that is not based upon faith but on “fate.” In times past Adonai had unilaterally delivered His people in mass. Like the suffering paralyzed man, who was on Rosh Hashanah waiting (on a sabbath day) for the Lord to graciously and mercifully intervene and deliver him, so the nation and people of Israel are assembled together at Jerusalem needing to be delivered from their own present day condition of paralysis. Israel today exists in a general state of political and spiritual paralysis because there is no leader (i.e. the Messiah) available at present who can move the ‘entire’ disabled nation and people into the healing waters (pool) of Adonai’s Gracious Presence and Mercy.
Israel has been in a state of spiritual paralysis for a long time:
וַיַּרְא אֹתוֹ יֵשׁוּעַ שֹׁכֵב וַיֵּדַע כִּי אָרְכוּ־לוֹ יְמֵי חָלְיוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הֲתַחְפֹּץ לְהֵרָפֵא׃ וַיַּעַן הַחוֹלֶה אֲדֹנִי אֵין־אִישׁ אִתִּי לְהַשְׁלִיכֵנִי אֶל־הַבְּרֵכָה בְּהֵרָעֵשׁ הַמַּיִם וּבְטֶרֶם אָבֹא וְיָרַד אַחֵר לְפָנָי׃ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו יֵשׁוּעַ קוּם שָׂא אֶת־מִשְׁכָּבְךָ וְהִתְהַלֵּךְ׃ וּכְרֶגַע שָׁב הָאִישׁ לְאֵיתָנוֹ וַיִּשָּׂא אֶת־מִשְׁכָּבוֹ וַיִּתְהַלָּךְ וְהַיּוֹם הַהוּא יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת׃
“When Yeshua saw him lying there, and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, “Do you wish to get well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Yeshua said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk.” And immediately the man became well, and took up his pallet and began to walk. And it was the Sabbath on that day.” Therefore, it could be said that “When the Messiah saw the people of Israel lying there, and knew that His people had been a long time in that condition, He said to His people, “Do you wish to get well?” His people said, “Sir, we have no Man to put us into the pool of Adonai’s Mercy (Chesed-חֶסֶד) and Grace (Chen-חֵן) at the time when the work of Divine healing is Present…” Then the Salvation of Adonai (Yeshua, the Messiah) said to the people of Israel, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk!” Then immediately the nation of Israel became well, and the people picked up their pallet and began to walk and so it shall be said, “That on the Shabbat (הַשַּׁבָּת) of the Rosh HaShanah of the Messiah our King all Israel entered into the pool of Adonai’s Sacrifice, Cleansing, Mercy and Grace.”So now we receive our healing, we rise up, pick up our bed of affliction, and we walk in the Living Torah of the Spirit!
“Do you wish to get well?”
כִּי בֶּן־הָאָדָם הוּא גַּם־אֲדוֹן הַשַׁבָּת׃
For the Son of Man (Ben Ha-Adam) is the Lord of the Sabbath.
“Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” One of the great tragedies and ironies of human history is that since the first appearance of Messiah (there will soon be another) the Gentiles have been more receptive to securing for themselves the physical and spiritual healing that is freely available from the healing waters (pool) of Adonai’s grace and loving-kindness. The existing state of Judaism is one of spiritual paralysis. The Gentiles are stepping into the pool and we are not because as long as our religious leaders convince us that the Lord of the Sabbath has not come and Bethesda does not exist; there is no efficient “means” for us to enter into the full Restoration of Israel. However, I believe soon, according to the words of the prophets and Messiah, Israel as a people and a nation will be entering into a new time, a new “season,” when the Messiah will once again return to us and say, “Do you wish to get well?” And we will say, “Yes!” Then immediately will all Israel become fully restored; sufficient to enter into the glorious age of the messianic kingdom. Then will Israel and all of the Gentile world enter the near Eden-like state of blessedness that was promised so long ago to our fathers and to us!