2019 Study Summary 20: Behold, Thy King Cometh
Matthew 21–23; Mark 11; Luke 18–20; John 12
“Behold, Thy King Cometh”
How is anointing used in life and death?
Anointing is done as one of the respectful ways of preparing a body for burial. Perhaps Jesus, knowing that Mary of Bethany would not have the chance to prepare His body in death as she and other women surely would have desired to do, appreciated her anointing Him while He was still alive. “Anointing with oil is a very ancient custom. It was done for both practical and symbolic reasons . . . In the case of kings, the whole head was anointed, i.e., covered with the oil, whereas the priests had only a mark made on the head with the oil . . . The word messiah literally means “the anointed one.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) Mary’s affectionate service in anointing Jesus could have been her testifying of His Messiahship.
How was the Triumphal Entry viewed by the locals?
The triumphal entry of Jesus was indeed an expression of hope, as many people wanted Him to relieve them of the cruelty of the Romans and the corruption of the Jewish priests. Five days before the Passover, Jesus sent His disciples to the neighboring village of Bethphage to acquire a donkey. They returned with two animals, a donkey and its colt. Jesus chose to ride the colt. The sight of a large man riding a small donkey is startling enough. However, the gesture must have called up historical images of honored kings riding into Jerusalem on lowly donkeys that had never before been ridden. To some, this may have implied that Jesus was their King. The people, hearing that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, then took branches of palm trees, a well-known symbol of Jewish independence, and cried as, “. . . they heard that Jesus was coming . . . Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (John 12:12-13)
How does Palm Sunday connect with the Passover that year?
The triumphal entry has been called Palm Sunday; and again, it was five days before the Passover that year. Riding a donkey’s colt was one of the traditions ancient kings of Israel did to symbolize a greater king still to come. Other kings throughout the world ride in lavish vehicles weighted with gold and jewels. Jewish tradition also indicates a connection between a Messiah and riding a donkey.
What significance are the messianic expectations?
“According to the Talmud, the Messiah will be a descendant of the House of David and will be preceded by a secondary Messiah, from the House of Joseph. Folklore has it that he will arrive riding a donkey, although some sources have him arriving triumphantly riding the clouds. (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) With the inference of a Joseph Messiah preceding a David Messiah, please consider the parable Jesus related in (Matthew 21:33-39; 42-44). Paraphrasing, Jesus is saying that the Kingdom will be taken from the “self-appointed priests in Judah” and will be given to another nation that will bring forth fruits. “The personal visitation of the Father and the Son, choosing Joseph to be the leader of the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times, marked the beginning of this work, and this was supplemented by the visitation of angels and other holy messengers, conferring upon Joseph the powers of the Priesthood, the authority to act in the name of God–to introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ by divine authority to mankind, and by divine direction to organize and establish the true Church of Christ in the latter days.” (Heber J. Grant, Gospel Standards, Pg. 16)
How rapidly are the fruits being gathered?
When President Heber J. Grant was the living prophet, Latter-day Saint membership amounted to about 500,000 souls. At present count, there are more than 16,000,000 Latter-day Saints. The ratio was 1 member to 5,000,000 on the earth. It is now 1 member to less-than 500 on the earth. The fruits are being brought forth!
What does the unique feature of fig trees in Israel teach us?
In the “Parable of the Fig Tree” briefly referred to in (Matthew 24:32), (Mark 13:28), (Luke 13:6; 21:29) and the (Doctrine & Covenants 35:16), consideration should be given to the growth of fig trees. In Israel, first, the fruit appears, then the leaves grow as the tree becomes full, followed by a second fruit. If the first fruit fails (as the gospel accounts tells us), there could not be a second fruit (a second coming)!
How does a physical gathering relate to the spiritual gathering?
“On May 14, 1948 (the fifth of Iyar according to the Jewish calendar) at a special meeting of an elected council, David Ben-Gurion read out the Declaration of Independence, establishing the State of Israel.” “As emigration restrictions in the former Soviet Union were lifted and then with its dissolution, nearly 500,000 immigrants had arrived from the Soviet Union in Israel by the mid 1990s. In the end of 1993, 76,800 new immigrants arrived in Israel, the vast majority, 66,000 were from the former Soviet Union. In the same year, virtually all of the Beta Israel from Ethiopia, approximately 55,000 had also emigrated to Israel.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) The 2019 statistics reveal that there are about 7 million Jews in Israel, the land of Judah, about 16-million throughout the world. That is parallel to the world-wide membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at about 16-million. About 7-million live in the United State of America, the land of Joseph. Both peoples each represent about ¼ of 1-percent of the world’s population. Both people’s gifts to humanity are extra-ordinary.
How do we relate to governmental authority?
In a juxtaposition of time, other patterns remain consistent. Jesus’ teaching “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s,” is a repeat of former and later statements of belief. Elisha’s continued purpose was to be a servant of God; he even refused payment from Syria’s highest ranking officer in the Land of Israel. The anomaly is that the children of Israel strongly objected to the Syrian occupying forces. The prophet was probably teaching the same principle that Jesus taught and that has been revealed again in our day. “Then (Jesus) saith he unto them, Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. (Matthew 22:21) “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (Articles of Faith 12)
How did Jesus refer to an Old Testament account about an “enemy?”
The faithful Israelite woman, serving in Naaman’s household, was a believer and prompted the occupying Syrian officer to come to the prophet to be blessed. Elisha sent a message to do something simple–bathe in the Jordan River. When Naaman finally swallowed his pride he was blessed! Imagine–the enemy was blessed! Jesus would later say, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44) Within these thoughts is the cure for hypocrisy. We must love everyone, even those who stray, who believe, worship, dress or speak differently than we do. The Lord loves us ALL, and we are to do the same.