2019 Study Summary 11: "These Twelve Jesus Sent Forth" | Israel Revealed

2019 Study Summary 11: “These Twelve Jesus Sent Forth”

Matthew 10—12; Mark 2; Luke 7; 11

How is leading sheep done is Israel today?
Near Jerusalem is an Arab house with more than a hundred sheep. A boy shepherd leads them out every morning and returns in the late afternoon. Leading sheep is typical in this country. Usually there are about a dozen lead sheep, older ones from last year’s flock. The shepherd often has them marked with bells around their necks. It is common to hear the boy talk to his sheep. He calls them when it’s time to move on, and that’s when the lead sheep immediately respond, ringing their bells as they run toward their shepherd. The ringing alerts the other sheep, and, like a wave, they follow the others.

How is ancient temple practice described?
The shepherd’s model is like an ancient biblical temple practice. In the inner courtyard of the temple, the chief priest would light a fire and burn incense to signal his readiness for a sacrifice. That would alert the twelve priests in the next courtyard to wash and ready themselves. Their signal to the congregation was the ringing of bells. The multitudes would then follow the priests to participate in the ritual. (Alfred Edersheim The Temple—Its Ministry and Services, The Second Lot)

How is consistent organization shown through the ages?
The organization and growth of the Church in the Meridian of Times parallels the organization of the Church in ancient and modern times. These were and are men, in their respective times, who had authority from God to bring light and truth to the people. Anciently, Moses had a “First Presidency:” two assistants, Aaron and Hur. Additionally, he had an organization of Twelve and Seventy. The parallel organization is seen in the primitive Church with Peter, James and John appearing as a “First Presidency” within the original Twelve. “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.” (Luke 10:1)

Who restored the offices, God or man?
We see a similar structure today in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “Of the Melchizedek Priesthood, three Presiding High Priests . . . form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church . . . the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world . . . The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world . . .” (Doctrine & Covenants 107:22-25) In that sense, the organization today gives us insight to what was happening in former days.

How is the Centurion’s Servant story explained?
To sense the personal gracious nature of Jesus’ relationships, let’s consider the Roman centurion whose servant was gravely ill. (Luke 7:1-10) According to Jewish practices in those days, it was not proper for a Jew to come into the house of a foreigner. (Peter reiterated that custom when he spoke to another centurion in Caesarea.) (Acts 10:28) However, Jesus graciously acquiesced to come to the centurion’s house. The Roman graciously constrained Jesus from compromising Jewish custom by asking Him to bless his servant from a distance. His belief was so strong that he trusted the Savior’s power. His love for the Jews was so strong that he built their meeting house. Even today the remains of the synagogue at Capernaum reveal the Roman construction and style.

How can a yoke be a positive metaphor?
There is a Mosaic law that relates to a yoke of unlike animals. The unfairness of plowing with a donkey and an ox is clearly visible when looking at the lesser creature. “Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.” (Deuteronomy 22:10) Consider that the Lord wants to relieve us of the unfairness in life. He is saying, in effect, “I am carrying the burden; take advantage of it.” In learning this principle, following Him and giving our burdens to Him (after all, He has paid for them already), we cleanse our inner selves and are able to better serve Him. The prophet Isaiah taught us that the Lord would relieve us from the yoke of our burdens. “For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden . . .” (Isaiah 9:4)

What are capital offenses?
Stoning is a capital punishment indicated in the Mosaic Law. Biblical punishments were based on the crime, unlike today’s punishments, which are based on the person or the circumstances. Stoning was the punishment for a number of capital sins including murder (Numbers 35:30), adultery (Deuteronomy 22:22-24), blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16), breaking the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-35), apostasy (Deuteronomy 13:6-10), and rebellion against parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

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How is stoning done in Bible times?
A better insight to capital punishment can be seen in the Talmud. Rabbinic interpretations of the ancient Jewish law of stoning indicate that it was required that the convicted person be thrown over a cliff. One of at least two witnesses (and thereby accusers) was responsible to make sure the criminal was dead. The aversion to directly taking another’s life would motivate having the fall cause the death of the accused. A witness/accuser always had to cast the first stone and then all others threw stones to cover the body (the burial—without a memorial).

Who was the Sabbath made for, God or man?
There is a village called Turan, close to Nazareth and Cana in Galilee, that is the traditional spot where Jesus was accused of not preventing His disciples from harvesting, threshing, and winnowing grain on the Sabbath day. They were doing this for their own refreshment, needing to eat. There is still a huge stone quarry at Turan which provides a visual connection to the Pharisees and their “death accusation.” “And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27-28) “For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day.” (Matthew 12:8) “And he said unto them, That the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath.” (Luke 6:5)

What ordinance sets the Sabbath as an eternal covenant?
“Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually . . . by an everlasting covenant. (Leviticus 24:8) An integral part of ancient Sabbath observance has been the pouring and blessing of wine followed by the breaking and blessing of bread . . .The family stands and the father raises the brimming silver cup to say Kiddush, the blessing and sanctification over wine . . . Two loaves appear on the Sabbath table. They recall the double portion of manna which the Israelites in the desert gathered on the eve of the Sabbath for the next day.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

What changed the Sabbath day?
“The Sabbath bears record of Christ: from Adam to Moses it was the 7th day to signify that our Lord rested on that day from his creative labors (Ex. 20:8-11); from Moses to Christ, the Sabbath day was a different day each year to commemorate our Lord’s leading of the children of Israel out of bondage (Deut. 5:12-15); and from the apostolic day until now, the Sabbath has been the first day of the week to point attention to our Lord’s resurrection on his holy day.” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, Pg.452)

What ordinance is kept on the Sabbath and how did its tokens change?
The Jews commemorate the Sabbath with a sip of wine, followed by bread. The prayers recited include a recollection of the past, with an eye to the future where an even greater deliverance is anticipated. In this sense, it is a chiasmas that focuses on the atonement in the center. The Savior’s atonement began with suffering and bleeding from every pore, (symbolized by wine) and then followed by giving his body, (symbolized by broken bread). To those who truly believe in the Messiah, the Sabbath day is commemorated by partaking of a morsel of bread followed by a sip of wine. The prayers are in remembrance of the greatest deliverance eternity will ever know, a joyful thought of redemption! “The Sabbath and the festivals are particularly times of joy, and indeed it is a positive commandment, often difficult to observe, to be happy on them. The joy required is not frivolity but, contradictory though it may sound, a serious happiness.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)

What is the Sabbath of Sabbaths?
One of the most important holidays in Judaism is Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. Fasting, special prayers, and the reading of the Book of Jonah establish a symbol that will eventually be used to recognize the Atoner. The sign of the prophet Jonah was not and is still not recognized by many, neither were nor are the connections between the way temple sacrifices were carried out and the ultimate sacrifice made on Mount Moriah and the Mount of Olives.

What was the only Sign given to the Pharisees?
It is scripturally noted that there were two Sabbaths in a row that year (the Passover Sabbath, called the High Day, and the regular seventh-day-of-the-week Sabbath). In that sense, Jesus was crucified on what we call a Thursday. (This fits in the time reckoning of Palm Sunday being five days before the Passover). Then in fulfillment of prophecy, He really was in the tomb three nights; and on the third day He arose. (Matthew 16:21; 17:23, Mark 9:31) This is also the only “sign” Jesus gave the Pharisees. (Matthew 12:38-40) In speaking to the Pharisees, He specifically connected himself with Jonah, who was in a great fish . . . “. . . three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)

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