Sabbath Showdown, Part 1

Jackson Snyder

 

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John 5:1-9, 15-24.  The story takes place at the pool of Bethzatha.

 

1.  AFTER THIS there was a feast of the Jews, and Yahshua went up to Jerusalem.  2.  Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Hebrew called Bethzatha, which has five porticoes.  3.  In these lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed. 5.  One man was there, who had been ill for thirty-eight years.  6.  When Yahshua saw him and knew that he had been lying there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"  7.  The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is troubled, and while I am going another steps down before me."  8.  Yahshua said to him, "Rise, take up your pallet, and walk."  9.  And at once the man was healed, and he took up his pallet and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. 

   15.  The man went away and told the Jews that it was Yahshua who had healed him.  16.  And this was why the Jews persecuted Yahshua, because he did this on the Sabbath.  17.  But Yahshua answered them, "My Father is working still, and I am working."  18.  This was why the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but also called Elohim his own Father, making himself equal with Elohim. 

   19.  Yahshua said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.  20.  For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel.  21.  For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22.  The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son,  23.  that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.  24.  Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” 

 

   Previously, Yahshua was with his disciples in Cana.  After a confrontation with Roman soldiers, Yahshua was requested to heal the son of the Centurion, which he does.  Soldiers also report an attack by bandits not far from there in which Zebadiah, the father of James and John, was killed.  We left Yahshua ministering to Zebadiah’s youngest son, John, while his older brother James returned to Nazareth to claim his father’s remains.  The disciples are perplexed as to why Yahshua would heal the son of a Roman officer yet allow Zebadiah to die on the road.  When John asked the Master why, Yahshua could only answer, “I don’t know.”

   It’s now more than a month later, and time for another Feast in Jerusalem.  Yahshua and his disciples again stay in the Essene Quarter, enjoying the hospitality of brother James and the Tsadiyqim priests.  Their Sabbath assembly space is a place we call, “The Upper Room.”

 

How Judah Became Thaddaeus  (Matthew 10:3  James and Thaddaeus) (Luke 6:16 Judas of James.)

   Yahshua’s older brother Judah gained a new name at the wedding in Cana, given him by Roman spies.  Since Judah was toastmaster, he kept the torch in hand, lighting lamps and fires, seeing to the accommodations.  The Romans mocked him, calling him “Taeda Deus,” which means, “Torch God” – Judah the Torch God.  This nickname, which was understood as “Thaddaeus,” caught on with the wedding guests.  Even afterward, everyone called JudahThaddaeus” not realizing it was derisive.  But Yahshua informed him, “My brother, do you know the Romans have named you “Taeda Deus,” the “Torch God”?  Are you, sir, a torch Elohim?”  Judah replied, “Ohh!!  It’s because I carried the torch all those days of the wedding!  So they were only making sport of me!”

  Yahshua: “Yes, brother.  But seeing as there are many Judahs, and you’ve gained a surname, let them call you Theudah instead.”   Now Theudah combines Thaddaeus and Judah, and means “Water Flow.”  Judah-Theudah was the first to taste the water made wine and the first to make it “flow” to the wedding guests.  The name Theudah reminds all of Yahshua’s first sign – water to wine.

   Yahshua announces, “In recognition of our new Theudah, we’ll visit the famous “water flow” near the Temple and see what work Yahweh has for us.”  Nathanael listens closely, and wonders what Yahshua means by work, for it’s Sabbath. 

   Yahshua says to his eldest brother James, “Join us, righteous brother – bring some of your fellows. ¿Is not the Temple your destination for prayer?”  So Yahshua, his brothers and disciples, along with priests of righteousness, make their way north to the famous spa, Bethzatha, (“Olive House”).

 

The Story of Bethzatha

   Bethzatha is a large, rectangular pool with a partition in the middle, breaking it in two.  It was once a pagan shrine, and many injured gather around.  Philip makes a count, and asks the Master, “There are nearly a hundred souls here on the Sabbath – maimed or crippled.  Master, why?” 

   James the Just, who knows the most about the Temple regions, answers Philip’s question, “Herodian, there is a myth about this water flow.  They say the demon Asclepius touches the water and it boils.  The first one in the boiling is healed.  These ill are waiting, hoping to get in first.”  Philip angrily replies, “With all due respect, father priest, I am not an Herodian.”

   Tsadiyqim don’t mix well with Greeks like Philip, and James the Just pays no attention.  “We learned years ago that there’s a geyser in the pool that’s active this time of year.  No demon descends.  However, many are healed.  These people have great faith in a demon.  But even if the demon is cast away, faith remains: but faith in what?  Who knows?  How did you know of this place, Yahshua?”

 

Bukkiah the Danite

   But Yahshua / Yahshua has wandered away to test out James’ contention.  He finds a man who’s wasting away on a reed pallet.  Yahshua asks him, “Sir, who are you and how long have you been infirm?”  “Rabbi, my name is Bukkiah ben Jogli.  I fell from a rooftop forty years ago.  I’ve lived in despair and hope ever since.”  Yahshua knows that pride came before Bukkiah’s fall, and asks. “You reckon you’ll be made whole?” 

   “I reckon so,” affirms Bukkiah.  “But I have no one to put me in the pool with the angel.”  Yahshua understands why nobody helps him.  Bukkiah is a Danite name.  Jacob, the father of Dan, had prophesied concerning his clan, that “Dan shall be a serpent by the road” Genesis 49:17.

Furthermore, the Danites were the first to set up the golden calf in their city.

 (Judges 18:29,30 The name of the city was Laish and the children of Dan set up the graven image.)

   This ancient lawbreaking started a much-believed myth – that Danites were doomed at the judgment.  As a Danite, no one will help Bukkiah lest they be cursed also.  ¿But is it this man’s fault that Israel fell into idolatry?  No.  Yet many blame this crippled Danite, victimized by demon Despair.

   Yahshua tells Bukkiah, “If you will be healed, take your pallet and go.”  Yahshua jerks him up by the arm.  Bukkiah cries out; the disciples gather to see what must be done.  Then strength enters the Danite’s legs, and Bukkiah begins to shout, “Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  I’m cured!  Praised be to Yahweh!  And thank you, sir rabbi!  Blessed be he who comes in the name of Yahweh! 

   Bukkiah doesn’t hesitate; he quickly hobbles off into the crowd, carrying his pallet as his unsteady gait knocks over this one and bruises that one, all the while singing, “We’ve a story to tell to the nations.”  Bukkiah thus left the demon Asclepius for the temple of Yahweh. 

   Now the other infirm around the pool are clamoring as the Yahshua People glorify Yahweh on the way to the temple.

 

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The Dispute

   But the Tsadiyqim Essenes of James are uneasy.  James reminds Yahshua about Sabbath laws.  “Brother, you know it’s against the law to carry a pallet on Sabbath.  You incited the Danite to commit a serious crime; and look! ahead are Pharisees!  And this Danite is an apostate: his punishment will be greater because of it!”  Yahshua says, “Brother, I didn’t come for the righteous, but sinners.  Besides, where does the Law prohibit carrying a pallet on the Sabbath?” 

   James replies, “Yahshua, you know as well as I that the famous rabbi of the Tsadiyqim specifically forbade the carrying of anything on the Sabbath in The Law of Damascus, which reads,

4Q266 10:14-18 ‘A man may not carry anything outside his house on the Sabbath.  No one may open a sealed vessel on the Sabbath.  No one may carry medicine on the Sabbath.  No one may carry a baby on the Sabbath.  No one may lift an animal out of a pit on the Sabbath.  And no one who falls into water may be helped out on the Sabbath.’ 

“Need I continue?”

  The crowd follows.  Yahshua retorts, “Brother James, you’ve quoted Sabbath laws set down by the famous Rabbi of Righteousness.  Now, quote me the Law of Yahweh, as I asked.”  Another of the Tsadiyqim, a proselyte named Judah, challenges Yahshua: “Rabboni, I am Judah ben Hur.  I can answer you from the prophet Jeremiah,

‘If ye will not hearken and bear a burden on the Sabbath day, even entering in at the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then will I kindle a fire and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem’  (Jeremiah 17:27).”

“Is this not the passage you seek, Rabboni?” Judah ben Hur asks quite humbly.  

   Yahshua replies to the proselyte, “Rightly did that prophet speak the word of my Father, for this prediction is being fulfilled even now.  Behold!”

   As they speak, a small detachment of Romans enters in through the Sheep Gate, carrying the emperor’s images and torches high on poles.  (Romans worship their Emperor.)  Yahshua addresses Theudah, who was once the “torch god’: “This wise man with your name, my brother, this Judah ben Hur, quotes the prophet, saying anything carried through a gate on a Sabbath will cause Yahweh to burn the city.  But I say to you, Theudah and Judah, and to you all:

 “‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by these soldiers, know its immolation is near. Flee! For these are days of vengeance, to fulfill that prophecy.  We will fall by the sword and be enslaved; and Jerusalem will be tramped down.  This generation will live to see it all,’ says Yahweh Tsaviot” Luke 21:20-24,32.

   Yahshua continues, “Solve this riddle: What is the harm of a son of Israel carrying a pallet in comparison with heathens hoisting graven images through city gates on Sabbath?  Which act deserves fire?  Search the Scriptures yourself.  If a cured man carrying a pallet is an offense to Yahweh, what of these Roman idolaters, who carry gods on poles through the Sheep Gate into the holy city, even the temple?  Would this not draw immediate judgment by fire?   Have you no sense?  What is carrying a pallet to this abomination?  There’s no law against it; and as for those who do the punishing, you may be assured that fire will fall on them in due time.”

  Judah ben Hur and James ben Joseph are both humbled greatly.  Their Rabbi of Righteousness, who penned The Law of Damascus, is long dead, but here is a new rabbi of righteousness with judgment based on logic, compassion and the authority (he claimed) of the Son of Elohim.  “Perhaps I’ll follow this Rabboni – just perhaps,” thinks Judah ben Hur.  James can’t bear the thought of his younger brother surpassing him, but he can’t best his logic or power either.

 

Against the Pharisees

   Yahshua’s group is growing and moving as one toward the temple.  But now, a third group of religious men are here, and Yahshua, his disciples, and James’ priests are facing a powerful foe, the Pharisees.  Though there are upstanding Pharisees, many rotten apples spoil the peck.

   The Pharisees overheard the conversation and, seeing Yahshua’s rabbinical robe and the priestly white tunics of the Tsadiyqim, the high-minded Pharisee Ichabod ben Dodo seeks out Yahshua.  “So you’re the Rabbi who tells a man to carry his pallet on the Sabbath and thus break the law.”  Yahshua replies, “I am not.  Yahweh cured a lame man at the devil’s pool and I said ‘take your pallet and go.’  Perhaps the law of your tradition was broken, but that’s not my affair.  He’s innocent.”  

   But the Pharisee Ichabod presses on, “We’re not concerned about the lawbreaking Danite Bukkiah, we want to know more about you, a teacher of Israel, engaged in this illegal activity.  The Law says,

Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; 10.  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to Ha Shem; in it you shall not do any work...  (Exodus 20:9). 

and all you men standing here are witnesses to the rabbi’s crime – practicing medicine on the Sabbath!”     

   The disciples are sweating bullets.  This is a serious offense.  But the Tsadiyqim priests are eager for a fight with these corrupt religious midgets even though they don’t agree with Yahshua.  Judah ben Hur and James the Just are both ready to take up for him against the Pharisees.  But they don’t get the chance, for Yahshua shows an authority that they had yet to see, ever. 

   “You wretched, puffed-up whitewashed tombs, ¿who do you think you are that you can accuse Yahweh the Elohim of Israel of breaking his own Sabbath covenant?  Are you power mad or just mad?  Do you not fear the fire of heaven that you preach?  Would you reach up and pull Yahweh down to earth to become your disciple? 

   “Fools!  Spawn of Belial!  You are the lawbreakers, for you purport to judge the Elohim whose name you dare not even utter.  Your judgment is flawed and devilish. 

   “¿What breaks the law, to heal a man on the Sabbath or to kill one?”  (Yahshua said this for murder was rising in the hearts of the Pharisees.) 

   “You haven’t the ears to hear it, but I’ll tell you anyway, that on this Sabbath, my Father is working -- and I AM working, also.  I AM the Sabbath-Master, for the Sabbath was made for a man, and I AM that man.  I will do exactly as my Father in Heaven wills.  Now you go do exactly what your father the devil wills.” 

   To the amazement of the Yahshua People, Ichabod and his Pharisees turn and flee into the crowd as though chased by the Bethzatha demon, Asclepius.  But Yahshua’s crowd, his disciples and even the Tsadiyqim now see the Shekinah glory of Yahweh revealed in Yahshua.  And though they carry great religious baggage, they, to a man, are seriously considering what Yahshua says about himself – that it might be true.  Even those who’ve known Yahshua all his life – James, Theudah and Simon – are “Surprised by the Spirit.”  And one man is instantly converted – the one who’d previously argued the Scripture against him – namely, Judah ben Hur, who will soon become the tenth disciple.

 

Convincing the Enochan

   Back in the upper room in the Essene Quarter, Yahshua’s disciples, some righteous women and a few Tsadiyqim, including James the Just, Judah ben Hur, Enoch ben Doza, Essene priests, meet for debriefing.  Yahshua is again questioned about the Sabbath.  Enoch ben Doza puts the question to Yahshua directly.  Rabboni, we see you’ve broken from our Rabbi of Righteousness whose words you were taught for many years.  However, your greater innovation is in saying, ‘My father is working and I am working.’  Are you equal with the Almighty, blessed be his name?”

   Yahshua replies: “Enoch, shall we first speak of your namesake, the seventh-from-Adam Enoch, whom “the Master of Spirits” called “Son of Man,” yes (1 Enoch 46:2)?”  Enoch: “All right.  He walked with angels and the Master of Spirits called him Son of Man. 

   “Good.  And is it not true that the Son of Man watches the Father and does what the Father does, yes?”  (Nod.)  “And, in the scroll of Enoch that you revere, doesn’t the Father give all power to judge even angels to the Son of Man?”  (Nod.)  “And wouldn’t you say that the Father loves the Son if he shows him his own works and gives him power to do them also?”  (Nod.)    “Then wouldn’t you say that those who honor the Son of Man also honor the Father who loves him?”  (Nod.)    The others are nodding their heads in affirmation too.  The anointing of the Holy Spirit flows out like water in the upper room.

   “Then if the Father gives life, and the Son of Man has power to do as the Father bids, would you consider that the Son might also give life and health?”  Enoch adds: “And judgment!”  Yahshua: “So you recall from your holy scrolls that the Father gave the Son of Man the authority to judge independently, as he sees fit, correct?”  Enoch affirms the words of Yahshua: “That is indeed true of the Son of Man” (1 Enoch, chapters 12-16).

 

Invitation to Life

   “Listen, you with ears to hear.  I AM the Son of Man from Heaven.  I have shown you the proof of it.  You’ve all seen or known of the signs of my authority – wine, healing, deliverance – have you not?  These things I do because the Father has shown them to me.  They came to pass so that you might believe! 

   Follow me, and you’ll see many more signs.  You who hear my words and believe in him who sent me – you may live as Sons forever, for, as Enoch has said, the Son of Man is given power to judge now as well as later.  Though the Pharisees judge in accordance with their Law, if you believe that my words are from the Father and you hear them, their Law will never judge you, for I have the power of judgment, as my Father has given me.  Believe in me and in the Father who sent me, and you, like Enoch, will walk with angels, judge with righteousness, do greater works than I, and never die.  ¿Now I ask you all, do you believe in the Son of Man?  Do you?”

   By this time the men and women within hearing are so dumbfounded and saturated in the Shekinah glory of Yahweh that they’re unable to say even a word.  Some have fallen to the floor.  Some weep.  As they glory in the presence of the Holy Spirit, some think, “Where did Yahshua get this?  Could he be the Anointed?”  Others think, “Yes, I believe.  I BELIEVE!”

   And now my friend, “What do you think?”  “What do you think?”

 

End of Part 1 Sabbath Showdown

 

{Part 2 – The Parable of the Peach Pie, The Eternal Fate of Zebadiah, The Three Classes of the Resurrected, How Judah ben Hur became Thomas, Thomas’ Twin, The Call of Levi / Matthew}

 

Characters, Places, Passages Check-off

[  ]  Zebadiah, Peter’s late father-in-law from Capernaum.

[  ]  Feast of Weeks aka Pentecost, Feast of First Fruits.

[  ]  Tsadiyqim – the just ones or righteous ones, a sect of Essenes, they keep to themselves.

[  ]  Essenes – a sect of Judaism that disdained the corruption of the temple.

[  ]  Essene Quarter – SW corner of Jerusalem, home to Essenes (holy men).

[  ]  Matthew 10:3  Disciples: “James and Thaddaeus” --  Luke 6:16 Disciples: “Judas of James.”

[  ]  Taeda Deus” or Thaddaeus – Latin for “Torch Elohim.”

[  ]  Judah – Yahshua’s older brother, also known as Theudah or Thaddaeus (“Water Flow”).

[  ]  Bethzatha – “Olive House” – a spa in the NE section of Jerusalem near the temple.

[  ]  Herodian – in this case, a Jew raised in the culture of Greece.

[  ]  Asclepius – a spirit of healing from Greek mythology

[  ]  Bukkiah son of Jogli – the “impotent” (“lame”) man of the tribe of Dan.

[  ]  Genesis 49:17 Dan shall be a serpent...

[  ]  Judges 18:29,30 The children of Dan set up the graven image...

[  ]  Apostate – having forsaken one’s religion for another.

[  ]  The Law of Damascus – additions to the Law of Yahweh (Torah).

[  ]  4Q266 10:14-18 A man may not carry anything on the Sabbath... (Law of Damascus).

[  ]  The Teacher of Righteousness – the founder of the Essenes 150 BC. 

[  ]  Judah ben Hur – a Levite of the Tsadiyqim who believes.

[  ]  proselyte – A new convert to a doctrine or religion.

[  ]  Jeremiah 17:27 “If ye will not hearken and bear a burden on the Sabbath...”

[  ]  Luke 21:20-24,32 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by these armies...”

[  ]  Pharisees – a sect of Jews who interpret Bible law and try to enforce it.

[  ]  Rabboni – a master teacher, versed in religion, science and languages.

[  ]  Ichabod ben Dodo – a Pharisaic leader.

[  ]  Shekinah glory – the visible representation of the Holt Spirit.

[  ]  Belial – another name for the devil.

[  ]  Enoch the Just – a Tsadiyq, expert in the writings of his namesake, Enoch, and Essene rules.

[  ]  1 Enoch 46:2, chapters 12-16 “Your are the Son of Man ...”

February 5, 2004