Parable #26. Friend in Need:
- Today is Day #26
- The Twenty-sixth Mashal of Messiah
- Background of Messiah’s Kingdom Prayer
- Messiah’s Kingdom Prayer – 7 Initiatives
- Three conditions of the restored (new) race of Adam
- Interpretation of the Twenty-sixth Mashal of Messiah
- Three loaves and father Abraham’s mitzvah of hospitality – Introduction
- Three loaves and father Abraham’s mitzvah of hospitality – 7 Observations
- Praying and singing hymns of praise to Adonai our God at Midnight – 14 Insights
- Postscript of Asking, Seeking, Knocking
- The Gift of Avinu Shebashamayim
Today is Day #26:
1. Today is “Day #26” in the forty-nine day Countdown to Shavuot.
2. Today is Twenty-six days in the Omer.
Today is twenty-six days which are three weeks and five days of the Omer.
היום שישה ועשרים יום, שהם שלושה שבועות וחמישה ימים בעומר.פ
Haiyom shishah v’esrim yom, shehaym shloshah 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 sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to count the Omer.”
ברוך אתה, אדוני אלוהינו, מלך העולם, אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וציוונו על ספירת העומר.פ
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al sefirat ha’omer.
The Twenty-sixth Mashal of Messiah:
וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם מִי בָכֶם אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ אֹהֵב וְהָלַךְ וּבָא אֵלָיו בַּחֲצוֹת הַלַּיְלָה וְאָמַר אֵלָיו יְדִידִי הַלְוֵנִי שְׁלשֶׁת כִּכְּרוֹת־לָחֶם׃ כִּי־אֹהֲבִי בָּא אֵלַי מִן־הַדָּרֶךְ וְלִי אֵין־כֹּל לָשׂוֹּם לְפָנָיו׃ וְהוּא מִבַּיִת יַעֲנֶה וְיֹאמַר אַל־תּוֹגִיעֵנִי כִּי־כְבָר נִסְגְּרָה הַדֶּלֶת וִילָדַי שׁוֹכְבִים עִמָּדִי בַּמִּטָּה לֹא־אוּכַל לָקוּם וְלָתֶת לָךְ׃ אֹמֵר אֲנִי לָכֶם גַּם כִּי לֹא־יָקוּם לָתֶת־לוֹ עַל־הֱיוֹתוֹ אֹהֲבוֹ יָקוּם בַּעֲבוּר עַזּוּת פָּנָיו וְיִתֶּן־לוֹ כְּכָל־צָרְכּוֹ׃
הוסיף ואמר להם: אם אחד מכם ילך אל ידידו בחצות הלילה ויאמר לו, ידידי, הלוה לי שלוש ככרות לחם, כי חברי הגיע אלי מן הדרך ואין לי מה להגיש לו. וזה שבתוך הבית ישיב ויאמר, ‘אל תטריד אותי, הדלת כבר נעולה וילדי אתי במטה. אינני יכול לקום ולתת לך’ – אומר אני לכם, גם אם לא יקום לתת לו על היותו ידידו, יקום בגלל העזתו ויתן לו ככל צרכו. פ
[Lukas 11:5] He (the Messiah) said to them, “Suppose one of you had a friend who would come to him at midnight and say to him, ‘My dear friend, loan me three loaves of bread, because my friend has come to me from the road and I do not have enough to offer him.’ But from the house he would answer and say, ‘Do not make me move, because the door is already closed and my children are lying with me in bed. I am unable to get up and give it to you.’ I say to you, even though he would not get up to give it to him just for being his friend, on account of his persistence (lit. strong faced-ness, insolence) he will get up and give to him everything he needs.”
Background of Messiah’s Kingdom Prayer:
The mashal of the “Friend in Need” was Messiah’s follow-up response to a request and response exchange between himself and one of his disciples. The request of the disciple and the response of the Messiah were:
Request: “Master, teach us to pray just as [the prophet] Yochanan ben Zechariah taught (his) talmidin.”
אדוני, למדנו להתפלל, כשם שגם יוחנן למד את תלמידיו. פ
Answer: Yeshua (the Messiah) said to them: When you pray, say:
אמר להם ישוע: כאשר אתם מתפללים אמרו: אבינו, יתקדש שמך, תבוא מלכותך. את לחם חקנו תן לנו יום יום; וסלח לנו על חטאינו, כי גם אנחנו סולחים לכל החוטאים לנו; ואל תביאנו לידי נסיון. פ
‘Our Father (אָבִינוּ),
Hallowed be Your name (יִתְקַדֵּשׁ שִׁמְךָ).
Your kingdom come (תָּבוֹא מַלְכוּתְךָ);
Give us each day our daily bread (אֶת לֶחֶם חֻקֵּנוּ תֵּן לָנוּ יוֹם יוֹם).
And forgive us our sins (וּסְלַח לָנוּ עַל חֲטָאֵינוּ),
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us (כִּי גַּם אֲנַחְנוּ סוֹלְחִים לְכָל הַחוֹטְאִים לָנוּ).
And lead us not into temptation.'” (וְאַל תְּבִיאֵנוּ לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן)
Messiah’s Kingdom Prayer – 7 Initiatives:
There are seven prayer initiatives indicated in Messiah’s kingdom of Adonai prayer.
Initiative #1. Adonai (the LORD) is our Father. This is the initiative of adoption. The physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are born into the family of Adonai Avinu at conception. This adoption into the family of Adonai (the LORD)- our God and our Father – is both a right and a burden that has been passed on to the children of Israel since the first day of the first Shavuot when the Covenant of the Law was ratified at the foot of Mount Sinai.
Initiative #2. The name of Adonai is holy. This is the initiative of sanctification. We are set apart as the children of God and therefore, we must ‘set apart’ our Father in heaven (Avinu Shebashamayim) as Holy (Kadosh). We sanctify the NAME (HaShem) of our heavenly Father when we live in such a way that our lives bring His Name glory.
The word ‘name’ (shem) in Hebrew means far more than a personal identifier. The meaning of ‘shem’ in Hebrew has to do with one’s inner character (qualities, attributes) and reputation (behavioral and relational life). Those of us who are sons and daughters of Adonai by our own inner qualities and outer behavior either bring glory to His reputation or by our misconduct we bring harm to His perfect, holy, ineffable, beautiful and majestic Name.
Initiative #3. The kingdom of Heaven will rule the entire earth one day. On that day the kingdom of Heaven will get a name change. The kingdom of Heaven will no longer have just come to earth. It will become the ruling kingdom of Adonai Eloheinu over all of the earth. When this happens we will no longer refer to the kingdom as the kingdom of Heaven come to earth. The kingdom will be called the Kingdom of Adonai (HaShem); which means: God’s servant (nation), the “Rule of God” (Israel), will become His *ruling nation and people over all the earth. This is the initiative of His “restoration.”
*Servant-leader nation. The nation that rules best in God’s future kingdom on earth will be the nation that ‘serves’ best all of the physical and spiritual needs of all of the other nations, peoples, and families of the world.
The kingdom of Adonai will be established on earth because the Word of Adonai our God can never be broken.
All of the Holy One’s promises to our (Israel’s) fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob must and will be fulfilled. Whether it takes another day or thousands of years whatever Adonai (our Father) has promised will be fulfilled. Our heavenly Father is completely trustworthy. The Holy One promised (swore an oath) on the authority of His own sacred Name that all of the promises He made to the fathers of Israel will be fulfilled.
Do you believe this? We tell you the truth – this is the treasured future of Israel: when the kingdom of Adonai, the Spirit of the Holy One, comes to fully reign over all of the nations, peoples and families of the earth, all of us (Jew and Gentile) will be *united as one nation (the Commonwealth of Israel), one people, one family, one (universally) redeemed humanity (whose Head is the Messiah), and whose God is the One true God, our Father who dwells in heaven!
Initiative #4. Our Father in heaven daily supplies us with the physical and spiritual bread that we need. This is the initiative of our daily sustenance. The supply of physical bread keeps us alive during our temporal, mortal existence. The spiritual bread of heaven keeps us alive for all eternity.
Initiative #5. Our Father in heaven forgives our sins. This is the initiative of redemption. This is only possible because of the once-in-eternity sacrifice of the Lamb of Adonai. The Messiah of God is the Individual Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. The nation of Israel cannot redeem itself. The nation of Israel can not deliver itself from sin. The real Messiah must be without sin (1, 2, 3). The National Servant Israel is not sinless. Only the Individual Servant of Israel – our Messiah is sinless. Israel cannot offer a redemptive sacrifice on its own behalf. We (Israel) cannot as sinners atone for our own sin.
The National Servant-Israel must be delivered from sin by the (sinless) Individual Servant-our Messiah.
The Messiah of Adonai our God alone is without sin. The Messiah ben Israel, who is the Lamb who is without spot, wrinkle, or blemish (the sinless one), is the only one who can save Israel. He is our Kinsman Redeemer (HaGo’el). He is our Rock, Sanctuary, Shield, High Tower, and Sure Defense.
Apart from the sacrifice of the Individual-Suffering Servant there can be no salvation for Israel (or the Gentiles).
Initiative #6. In like manner we must forgive those who transgress against us. We are required to generously forgive as we have been forgiven. This is the initiative of forgiveness. As the previous mashal/parable taught us all the peoples of the world are our neighbors. We are all members of the race of the first Adam who brought death into the world. Now through Messiah ben Israel there is a new race of Adam (a new humanity) that is being established out of the conversion of the old race of Adam. It is now the will of Adonai that we all become members of the new humanity, of the last Adam (HaAdam Ha’acharon).
The last Adam is the one who brings moral perfection and eternal life into the world.
Initiative #7. Our Father in heaven keeps us from straying into temptation. He protects us and keeps us on the path of righteousness. This is the initiative of deliverance from evil. We are protected and preserved until the day that all evil is removed from our midst. This seventh and final initiative leads us to ask five questions:
Question #1. What is the process of the fulfillment of the Unity Prayer of Moses (the Shema) and the Kingdom Prayer of Messiah?
Question #2. How do these two prayers of unity specify that the near future kingdom of Adonai our God will be one of forgiveness, reconciliation and shalom?
Question #3. What is the process Adonai Eloheinu is using today and in the future to lead us away from temptation into a safe and secure state of sinless perfection?
Question #4. What is this process of redemption that will deliver all the people of Israel and the world from sin unto righteousness?
Question #5. How will we (Jew and Gentile) one day finally live with each other in the manner of joy, innocence and happiness that Adonai our Father has always intended?
שמע ישראל ה’ אלוהינו ה’ אחד׃
Shema Yisra’el, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai echad!
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ ה’ אֶחָֽד׃
Hear, understand, and obey (שמע) Rule of God (ישראל), Adonai our God (אלוהינו ה’) Adonai is one whole, complete, perfect unity (ה’ אחד).
The fulfillment of both prayers (Shema and Kingdom) is a numerical process of seven ones. Israel is expected to walk in a manner that is worthy of our high calling. With all humility and gentleness, with patience showing tolerance for one another in love (אַהֲבָה), being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit (אַחְדוּת הָרוּחַ) in the bond of shalom (שָׁלוֹם) there is:
הנה: גוף אחד ורוח אחת, כשם שגם אתם נקראתם אל תקות יעודכם האחת; אדון אחד, אמונה אחת, טבילה אחת, אל ואב אחד לכל, הוא אשר מעל כל, פועל בכל, ובתוך הכל. פ
[THEREFORE] *There is (הִנֵּה):
(1) One body (גּוּף אֶחָד)
(2) One Spirit (וְרוּחַ אַחַת), just as also you were called in (כְּשֵׁם שֶׁגַּם אַתֶּם נִקְרֵאתֶם אֶל)
(3) One hope of your calling; (תִּקְוַת יִעוּדְכֶם הָאַחַת)
(4) One Master, Lord (אָדוֹן אֶחָד),
(5) One faith (אֱמוּנָה אַחַת),
(6) One immersion (טְבִילָה אַחַת),
(7) One God and Father of all (וְאָב אֶחָד לַכֹּל)
Who is over all (הוּא אֲשֶׁר מֵעַל כֹּל),
Works in all (פּוֹעֵל בַּכֹּל),
Who [permanently dwells forever] inside [us] all (וּבְתוֹךְ הַכֹּל).
*Echad (אחד-one), echat (אחת-one) is referenced seven times; in the Jewish scriptures seven is the number of completeness and perfection. Kol (כל-all, whole) is referenced four times – four is the number of universality.
Three conditions of the restored (new) race of Adam:
If we are to become members of the new restored race of Adam, made in the likeness of God’s sinless one, M’shicho (His Messiah), we must accept three conditions. All three conditions must be accepted or we may not receive forgiveness for our sins and the gift of eternal life. These three conditions are:
Condition #1. In Forgiveness (with all our heart) we agree with Adonai our Father to forgive (סְלַח-to excuse) all who trespass against us. This does not let the offending person off the hook for breaking one of the Holy One’s commandments. However, the act of forgiving all others lets us put into full effect for ourselves the New Agreement (1, 2, 3, 4) with Adonai Avinu that:
Therefore, you are to be perfect (shelamim), as your heavenly Father is Perfect (Shalem).
לכן היו שלמים, כמו שאביכם שבשמים שלם הוא. פ
לָכֵן הֱיוּ שְׁלֵמִים, כְּמוֹ שֶׁאֲבִיכֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם שָׁלֵם הוּא.פ
If in our hearts we agree to forgive, reconcile, and sacrificially live in shalom (*שלמים) with all others,
Then He (God our Father) will completely forgive, reconcile and live in Shalem (**שלם) with us.
*שְׁלָמִים-shelamim – literal: ‘If’ we presently (live) our lives as a peace offering to God.
**שָׁלֵם-Shalem – literal: ‘Then’ God who is perfect, whole, and absolute will unite us with Him so that we might experience the immeasurable Joy of dwelling forever in the unity (אחת, אחד-echad, echat) of His perfect wholeness (שלם-Shalem)
Condition #2. Unlike forgiveness which is entirely a forensic activity and only requires our consent and the exercise of our wills, Reconciliation (שֵׁרוּת הָרִצּוּי-the “service” that Avinu Shebashamayim “desires”) requires that we do far more than just agree to accept His Covenant of Forgiveness in His Kingdom. For Reconciliation to be put into full effect a complete change is required of us in every dimension of our lives.
The service or (ministry of) reconciliation is impossible for us to do without the help of the Helper, the Spirit of Truth.
The Helper (הַמְנַחֵם-literally the “Comforter”) helps us to do the will of our Father of Mercies (Avinu HaRachamim). The Messiah and the Holy Spirit successfully lead and guide us through the challenges of this life. The Spirit is the One who shall help us to one day fulfill all of the requirements implied in the Shema and Kingdom Unity Prayers (1, 2, 3, 4).
Only through the redemptive help of the Messiah and the developmental assistance of the Holy Spirit will we (Jew and Gentile) ever achieve full reconciliation and unity (echad) with Adonai and each other. (אַחְדוּת הָרוּחַ בְּקֶשֶׁר שֶׁל שָׁלוֹם – Unity of the Spirit in the bond of [His] Shalem.)
The fact is that we will not all be perfectly reconciled with Adonai Avinu and each other until the forgiveness of the Heart that Never Fails (the work of holiness affected in us by the Holy One) is made complete on the day of our resurrection.
Only in the ages to come – when all of the children of the Holy One are resurrected and glorified – will the Family of Israel become the family that He our Righteous Father deserves. We tell you on the day of resurrection (and translation) we will all be miraculously changed in the twinkling of an eye. After that time and the time of the new creation (when all things are restored, made new) there never will be sin occurring in the Family of the Holy One.
Even the taint of ‘remembering’ that sin and evil ever existed will be no more.
Condition #3. Blessed Shalom (שָׁלוֹם). After our humble mortal bodies have become perfected (made immortal) and our unrighteous dispositions made perfectly righteous, then will we all live in Perfect Shalom (Complete Peace). On the day of our resurrection Avinu Shebashamayim will finally get four things that He really wants and deserves:
Shalom #1. A new sinless, perfect Family (made out of the sacrificed ashes of the old).
Shalom #2. A new race of Adam that will never need another sin sacrifice because no one will ever sin again.
Shalom #3. A new heaven and earth, where even the taint of the remembrance of evil is removed.
Shalom #4. A new dwelling of righteousness (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) where there will be no death, sorrow, or pain.
Three loaves and father Abraham’s mitzvah of hospitality – Introduction:
The central issue of the mashal of the “Friend in Need” is the law of hospitality.
Hospitality in Hebrew is “hachnasat orchim” (הכנסת אורחים). Hospitality is one of Adonai (the LORD) our Father’s core principles for creating the kind of caring, compassionate and loving community that He desires all of His children be a part of (שָׁלֵ֜ם עִ֣יר-an international community of Shalem: 1, 2, 3). Five illustrative examples of hospitality in the scriptures are:
Example #1. Hospitality is what allowed the angels to enter the tent of our father Abraham to inform our mother Sarah of the promise that she would bear a son in spite of her and Abraham’s advanced years (age 90 and 100 respectively).
Example #2. The prophet Ezekiel tells us that the sin of being inhospitable (maltreatment of the poor and strangers) is what doomed Sodom to destruction.
Example #3. The righteous response (1, 2, 3) of Lot in his protection of the two strangers (מַלְאָכִים-angels in disguise), when he begged his neighbors for respectful conduct toward these ‘traveling guests’ of the City of Sodom, is what saved righteous Lot and his two daughters from the destruction of Sodom.
Example #4. The act of generous hospitality to the prophet Elisha by the woman of Shunem (שׁוּנֵ֗ם) allowed her to bear a child after years of barrenness and it was this child—-who was born out of the blessedness of practicing hospitality (ברוך אתה מציית למצוות הכנסת אורחים)—-who was later raised from the dead (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7).
Example #5. The prophet Isaiah (Yeshayahu, “Salvation of Adonai”) in the haftorah which is read on the morning of Yom Kippur speaks of bringing “the downtrodden and homeless poor” into one’s home as guests.
The Messiah praised the sharing of food and drink with others for it brings closer to us those who are far distant.
We are not speaking any longer about physical distance, those who may be from a distant location, but rather about those who although physically near us are psychologically and spiritually distant from us. Therefore, the Messiah realized the central aspiration of the practice of hospitality was not just mere physical survival but relational and spiritual ‘oneness.’ In this way our (temporal) hospitality here on earth is a dress rehearsal for the (perfect) oneness that we believe we will one day experience with Adonai in our resurrected, perfected, eternal state. Loving-kindness not only improves the lives of those we are hospitable to, it improves our lives too.
Hospitality is a spiritual discipline. Hachnasat Orchim reawakens the Divine order in the world.
In the kingdom of heaven on earth one is expected to love one’s neighbor equal to one’s love of Adonai Avinu. This is so because we are all made in the sacred image of God (Tselem Elohim). As such, what we do to the ‘least’ of these we do to Adonai our Father. How can we say we love the Holy One who we cannot see, when we do not love (or worse yet hate) those who He has made in His Image who we can see?
The practice of Hospitality is the offering up of one’s life as a peace offering to God our Father.
Therefore, what we do to the least of these we do to Adonai Avinu. Therefore, the practice of hospitality (הכנסת אורחים) is a friendship offering to God our Father. In this way hospitality is an act of worship of the One who made us all; as such the practice of hospitality humanizes us spiritually; and it nourishes our own souls. This is what the Twenty-sixth mashal of Messiah teaches us:
We must persist in practicing the mitzvah of being hospitable—-until every person who lives upon the earth becomes hospitable!
Persistence in right behavior in this generous manner will ultimately lead a pathway to the whole world coming under messianic rule. It is the law of Hachnasat Orchim that will one day make the world a place of Shalom; a blessed (ashrei) place of such great hospitality that the world will become like the Garden of Eden in its physical, psychological, and spiritual quality.
Hachnasat Orchim literally means “Bringing in the Guests.”
The “bringing in” is an active transitive verb. This means we cause others to come in. “Come in where?” Through the mitzvah of hospitality we are causing others to come into the kingdom of Heaven on earth. We are causing others to come into the generous provision of the heavenly Father’s family here on earth; and we are doing our part to persuade our heavenly Father to fulfill His promise to us (Israel) to one day rule the earth as He already rules heaven.
Hospitality is the ultimate universal test of God.
Our prayers on behalf of others must be seen as an extension of God’s mitzvah of [His] hospitality. If we are just saying words to people and the Holy One without practicing hachnasat orchim, then we are just saying empty words that possess no meaning. However, if we are telling others about the great truths of the D’var HaShem (the Word of God), while doing the ‘bringing in’ of hospitality, we are being a Divine oracle of the Holy One (1, 2, 3). We are being a Divine oracle to others when we are speaking the truth in the behavior of love. And that is the only manner of persistent prayer that the Holy One is willing to hear and answer!
We all have a debt of love to pay for Adonai (our Father’s) generously giving to us His Bread of Redemption. Our debt of love is more than we can ever repay, therefore, we are in debt to lend out His Bread of Redemption (using the three loaves that belong to Adonai, cf. next paragraph) out to anyone who asks it of us.
Three loaves and father Abraham’s mitzvah of hospitality – 7 Observations:
Observation#1. In the mashal of the “Friend in Need” there is a reference to the borrowing of “three loaves.” This is a direct reference by the Master (ha-Adon) to father Abraham’s precedent-setting hospitality. There are only two references to three loaves (equal to three measures of fine flour) in the entire Tanakh and of these two references only one directly pertains to the mitzvah of hospitality.
Observation#2. In Genesis we read that father Abraham hosted three angels unaware under the Oak Tree (symbolic of our redemption) at Mamre (מַמְרֵ֑א-i.e. the place of “Teaching” is at the Oak Tree). It is in this narrative that we learn about the exceeding generosity Abraham routinely and universally showed to ALL of the traveling strangers that passed by his tent. He did this because the only way father Abraham could show the Holy One that he loved Him more than himself was to treat ALL strangers as if they were Adonai Himself. For this reason, as an act of great love toward the One who cannot be seen, father Abraham loved ALL who were made in His Image. Abraham served ALL who came to him.
When the three strangers were barely seen off in the distance (read the narrative below), father Abraham immediately asked his wife Sarah to measure out three seahs of flour sufficient to make three loaves of bread for his honored guests. These loaves were made in the form of an oblong or round cake, as thick as one’s thumb, and as large as a plate or platter (more on the symbolism of the three loaves at another time). What our father Abraham did not know at this time was that his guests were angelic emissaries sent by Adonai to earth to test and bless him (Genesis 18:1-8):
וירא אליו ה’ באלני ממרא והוא ישב פתח־האהל כחם היום׃ וישא עיניו וירא והנה שלשה אנשים נצבים עליו וירא וירץ לקראתם מפתח האהל וישתחו ארצה׃ ויאמר אדני אם־נא מצאתי חן בעיניך אל־נא תעבר מעל עבדך׃ יקח־נא מעט־מים ורחצו רגליכם והשענו תחת העץ׃ ואקחה פת־לחם וסעדו לבכם אחר תעברו כי־על־כן עברתם על־עבדכם ויאמרו כן תעשה כאשר דברת׃ וימהר אברהם האהלה אל־שרה ויאמר מהרי שלש סאים קמח סלת לושי ועשי עגות׃ ואל־הבקר רץ אברהם ויקח בן־בקר רך וטוב ויתן אל־הנער וימהר לעשות אתו׃ ויקח חמאה וחלב ובן־הבקר אשר עשה ויתן לפניהם והוא־עמד עליהם תחת העץ ויאכלו׃
וַיֵּרָא אֵלָיו ה’ בְּאֵלֹנֵי מַמְרֵא וְהוּא יֹשֵׁב פֶּֽתַח־הָאֹהֶל כְּחֹם הַיֹּֽום׃ וַיִּשָּׂא עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲנָשִׁים נִצָּבִים עָלָיו וַיַּרְא וַיָּרָץ לִקְרָאתָם מִפֶּתַח הָאֹהֶל וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אָֽרְצָה׃ וַיֹּאמַר אֲדֹנָי אִם־נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ אַל־נָא תַעֲבֹר מֵעַל עַבְדֶּֽךָ׃ יֻקַּֽח־נָא מְעַט־מַיִם וְרַחֲצוּ רַגְלֵיכֶם וְהִֽשָּׁעֲנוּ תַּחַת הָעֵֽץ׃ וְאֶקְחָה פַת־לֶחֶם וְסַעֲדוּ לִבְּכֶם אַחַר תַּעֲבֹרוּ כִּֽי־עַל־כֵּן עֲבַרְתֶּם עַֽל־עַבְדְּכֶם וַיֹּאמְרוּ כֵּן תַּעֲשֶׂה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבַּֽרְתָּ׃ וַיְמַהֵר אַבְרָהָם הָאֹהֱלָה אֶל־שָׂרָה וַיֹּאמֶר מַהֲרִי שְׁלֹשׁ סְאִים קֶמַח סֹלֶת לוּשִׁי וַעֲשִׂי עֻגֹֽות׃ וְאֶל־הַבָּקָר רָץ אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח בֶּן־בָּקָר רַךְ וָטֹוב וַיִּתֵּן אֶל־הַנַּעַר וַיְמַהֵר לַעֲשֹׂות אֹתֹֽו׃ וַיִּקַּח חֶמְאָה וְחָלָב וּבֶן־הַבָּקָר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּתֵּן לִפְנֵיהֶם וְהֽוּא־עֹמֵד עֲלֵיהֶם תַּחַת הָעֵץ וַיֹּאכֵֽלוּ׃
“Now Adonai appeared to him (father Abraham) by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day. When he lifted up his eyes and looked, behold, three men were standing opposite him; and when he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed himself to the earth, and said, “My Lord, if now I have found favor in Your sight, please do not pass Your servant by. Please let a little water be brought and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree; and I will bring a piece of bread, that you may refresh yourselves; after that you may go on, since you have visited your servant.” And they said, “So do, as you have said.” So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, prepare three measures of fine flour, knead it and make bread cakes.” Abraham also ran to the herd, and took a tender and choice calf and gave it to the servant, and he hurried to prepare it. He took curds and milk and the calf which he had prepared, and placed it before them; and he was standing by them under the tree as they ate.”
Observation#3. Abraham was sitting in the door of his tent in the heat of the day. Why? What was he doing? He had just undergone the painful ordeal of circumcision at the age of ninety-nine (cf. Genesis 17). He was home, no doubt trying to heal from his wound. But he was not safely inside his tent, in the shade, recovering. So what was he doing sitting at his tent door in the heat of the day? He was practicing:
Hachnasat Orchim (הכנסת אורחים-Hospitality).
Observation#4. When father Abraham saw the three guests he ran to meet them from the doorway of his tent and bowed down to the earth. He did not know these three men were Divine visitors sent from heaven to earth by his Friend (the LORD). As far as father Abraham was concerned these were just three traveling strangers. Yet Abraham rushed as best he could (in pain) to greet them and to bow down to them and to treat them as if they were a Divine emissary. For obviously this is how Abraham understood Adonai (his Friend) wished him to treat ALL men (women, children) with *loving-kindness on His behalf.
Observation#5. Water was fetched and the feet of the three strangers were washed. Abraham had his honored guests rest under the Oak Tree of Mamre while he provided them bread and provided them a sumptuous meal.
Observation#6. It is in the midst of Abraham’s acts of hospitality to strangers and under the Oak Tree that the promise of the miracle birth of Isaac was given. The Angel of Adonai promised: “I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” Sarah was 89 years old at this time. In the next year as promised, on Tishri 15, “Laughter” (יִצְחָֽק-Isaac) was born. Isaac’s miracle birth was a sign that the Messiah would come into the world as a result of a miracle birth, for “nothing is impossible” for Adonai.
The Hachnasat Orchim of father Abraham.
Observation #7. From the Hachnasat Orchim of father Abraham we learn about what kind of kingdom the Holy One desires to be set up here on earth. The radical hospitality of Abraham will one day be practiced on a global scale. This dual ministry of hospitality and reconciliation of all the men, women and children of the world to God and one another will create a model Commonwealth of Israel that will live up to the expectations of Messiah’s kingdom prayer.
The blessedness of being Rich in Adonai.
The rich will pass the test of loving the stranger and the poor will be treated as if they were Divine messengers sent by Adonai to be exceedingly blessed by their affluent brothers and sisters. This will eradicate the practice of selfishness and everyone will be generously given all that he or she needs. The Hachnasat Orchim of father Abraham will flood the earth with joyous prosperity. All will have enough. Everyone will be treated as the sacred image of Adonai our God that they are. The greatest among us will be those who serve best.
In the messianic kingdom no one anywhere on earth will ever die alone and hungry again, in a state of abject poverty.
Praying and singing hymns of praise to Adonai our God at Midnight – 14 Insights:
Insight #1. The Exodus out of Egypt began at Midnight.
Insight #2. Samson was victorious in carrying away the gates of Gaza upon his shoulders at Midnight.
Insight #3. The gates are a symbol of governance. Therefore, Samson took possession of the governance of Gaza at Midnight.
Insight #4. It was at Midnight that Boaz was startled, woke up, and found Ruth resting at his feet.
Insight #5. Midnight was the time when it was King David’s habit to rise from his sleep each night to pray and give thanks to Adonai our Father and our God.
Insight #6. Midnight is depicted by Messiah as a time when only the truly vigilant person is prepared.
Insight #7. Midnight is when the vigilant ones are prepared to hear and quickly respond to the shout, “the Bridegroom is coming!”
Insight #8. Midnight is when the faithful servant is found prepared for his Master’s return after a long absence.
Insight #9. Midnight is when the faithful friend (in today’s mashal) is persistent in obtaining three loaves of bread to give to a traveler.
Insight #10. It is at Midnight that the faithful friend obligates himself to house and feed the traveler under the mitzvah of “Bringing in the Guests” (Hachnasat Orchim).
Insight #11. On the first day of the week at Midnight the dead were raised back to life.
Insight #12. Afterwards the people who witnessed the miracle remained together in an attitude of worship until daybreak on the first day of the week (בָּרִאשׁוֹן בַּשָּׁבוּעַ).
Insight #13. At Midnight two of Messiah’s persecuted disciples, while singing and giving thanks to Adonai our Father and our God, were miraculously released from jail by an angel.
Insight #14. As a result of their praying and singing hymns of praise salvation came to many; even the jailer and all of his household.
About “Midnight Paul (Shaul ben Beyamin) and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to Adonai (the LORD), and the (other) prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!” And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” For these reasons: Midnight is a special time to pray when the Lord gives us:
Receive #1. The power to be liberated from the bondage of the evil world system; where there is no custom-universal practice of hospitality (איפה אין נוהג של הכנסת אורחים).
Receive #2. Strength to overcome the governance (gates) of our enemies.
Receive #3. Access to the protection and loving-kindness afforded to us through the Messiah, who is our Kinsman Redeemer (הגואל-HaGo’el).
Receive #4. A spirit of gratitude that we might offer up the offering of praise and thanks to Adonai.
Receive #5. A time of remembrance that Messiah will one day return to call us up to our permanent home in heaven.
Receive #6. A time of faithfulness so that at the time of the Master’s return we are found faithful in carrying out His will.
Receive #7. A time of persistence where we are ‘praying without ceasing’ for the assistance of Adonai Avinu and His people (Israel – our family) in the “Bringing in of Guests” into the eternal safety and security of His (and our) Household.
Therefore, we maintain the vigil of the Passover Seder until Midnight each year that we might remember, celebrate, and honor the sacrifice of Messiah who is our Korban Pesach. The Messiah is our righteous means for receiving the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life, the gift of the Father; the gift of the Indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit.
Postscript on Asking, Seeking, and Knocking:
“So I (the Messiah) say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
“For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
The Gift of Avinu Shebashamayim:
וְגַם־אֲנִי אֹמֵר לָכֶם שַׁאֲלוּ וְיִנָּתֵן לָכֶם דִּרְשׁוּ וְתִמְצָאוּ דִּפְקוּ וְיִפָּתַח לָכֶם׃ כִּי כָּל־הַשֹּׁאֵל יְקַבֵּל וְהַדֹּרֵשׁ יִמְצָא וְהַדֹּפֵק יִפָּתַח־לוֹ׃
בקשו וינתן לכם. חפשו ותמצאו. דפקו ויפתח לכם. כי כל המבקש מקבל, והמחפש מוצא, והמתדפק יפתח לו. פ
[I also (the Messiah) say to you:] “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened for you. For everyone who asks will receive. One who seeks will find. One who knocks, it will be opened for him.”
וּמִי בָּכֶם הָאָב אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁאַל מִמֶּנּוּ בְּנוֹ לֶחֶם וְנָתַן־לוֹ אָבֶן וְאִם־דָּג הֲיִתֶּן־לוֹ נָחָשׁ תַּחַת הַדָּג׃ אוֹ כִּי־יִשְׁאָלֶנּוּ בֵיצָה הֲיִתֶּן־לוֹ עַקְרָב׃
מי מכם האיש אשר בנו יבקש לחם והוא יתן לו אבן? או אם יבקש דג היתן לו נחש? פ
“What father among you, if his son asked him for bread would give him a stone? And for a fish, would give him a snake instead of the fish? Or if he asked him for an egg, would give him a scorpion?”
הֵן־אַתֶּם הָרָעִים יֹדְעִים לָתֵת מַתָּנוֹת טֹבוֹת לִבְנֵיכֶם אַף־כִּי הָאָב מִן־הַשָּׁמַיִם יִתֵּן אֶת־רוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ לַשֹּׁאֲלִים מֵאִתּוֹ׃
הן אם אתם הרעים יודעים לתת מתנות טובות לבניכם, כל שכן אביכם שבשמים יתן אך טוב למבקשים ממנו. פ
“See, you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children. Even more so, the Father will give the Spirit of the Holy One from heaven to those who ask Him.”
The follow-up teaching by the Master on asking, seeking, and knocking explains how we (Israel) can receive through persistence in prayer the gift of the Holy Spirit. Just as our imperfect earthly Jewish parents want to give us good gifts so our Father in heaven wants to give us the gift of the Holy Spirit (the gift of His Indwelling Presence living forever in our hearts). The love of our earthly parents is incapable of permanently delivering us from the power of evil, forgiving us of our sins, regenerating our spirits, transforming us from the Inside-out into Adonai our heavenly Father’s likeness, raising us from the dead, and giving us the gift of eternal life.
However the gift of the Holy Spirit, graciously given to us by our Father in heaven (Avinu Shebashamayim) grants us all of these good things. Therefore, in the gift of the Holy Spirit we are given the answer to how the kingdom of the evil one will inevitably be replaced by the Kingdom of Adonai here on earth. The Spirit of the Holy One is Adonai (the LORD). He is the empowering and life-transforming One who will help us to pursue and fulfill the multiple initiatives of the kingdom prayer of His Messiah and to bring about on a global scale the kind of radical hospitality (love of others) and ministry of reconciliation and shalom that our father Abraham constantly practiced (as is illustrated in this mashal of the “Friend in Need”).
The Mashal of the Friend in Need is not the only time that Messiah encouraged us to be bold and persistent in our prayers. On the night before he sacrificed his life on the accursed (oak) tree, Rabbi Yeshua said:
אם עומדים אתם בי ודברי עומדים בכם, בקשו מה שתרצו, ויהיה לכם. בזאת יפאר אבי:שתעשו פרי לרב ותהיו לי לתלמידים. פ
This is the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit at work. Through the help of the Holy Spirit we can and will learn how to pray in the right way. And we know when we pray in accord with the will of the Spirit of the Holy One that all of our prayers to Avinu Shebashamayim—our heavenly Father—will be answered with a life-affirming “Yes!“