09.03 Prophetic Parables And Actions

09.03 Prophetic Parables And Actions

Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03 Prophetic Parables And Actions

Unit 09

Turning Point In The Ministry Of Jesus


Chapter 03

                     Prophetic Parables And Actions


09.03.00.A. JESUS TEACHES AS A SOWER SOWS. Artwork by William Hole of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art, 1876. (2)

09.03.00.A. JESUS TEACHES AS A SOWER SOWS. Artwork by William Hole of the Royal Scottish Academy of Art, 1876.  Jesus is depicted teaching along the Sea of Galilee as a sower throws his seeds. Jesus often used real-life illustrations to reveal unseen spiritual truths. See Mark 4:1.


Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.02 FAITH OF THE FOOLISH RICH MAN

09.03.02 Lk. 12:13-21



13 Someone from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”


14 “Friend,” He said to him, “who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15 He then told them, “Watch out and be on guard against all greed because one’s life is not in the abundance of his possessions.”


A           16 Then He told them a parable:

              “A rich man’s land  

              Was very productive. 


B           17 He thought to himself,

              What shall I do, 

              since I don’t have anywhere to store my crops?” 


C           18 I will do this,’ he said.

              ‘I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones,

              and store all my grain and my goods there.


B’          19 Then I’ll say to myself,

              “You have many goods stored up for many years.

              Take it easy; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.”’


A’         20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool!

                                      This very night your life is demanded of you. 

              And the things you have prepared — whose will they be?’


21 “That’s how it is with the one who stores up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”


Literary Style.[1]  The poetic parallelism of verses 16-20, reveal matching ideas.  In stanza A, the rich man spoke to himself, but in A,’ God spoke to him.  In the same stanzas, crops produced by the fertile land are acquired in A, while in A’ these are left behind upon the man’s death.  In stanza B, this rich fool describes his problem while in B’ he believes he has the perfect solution to it.  The theme or focus is stanza C, where he is building to secure his life for the future, but God concludes with the general principle that gathering earthly treasures is not gathering treasures in heaven.

In this discussion of inheritance, Jesus refused to get involved because both men were worshipers of the same God, were members of the same family, but were separated because of a dispute over a piece of property. They were dominated by their self-interests which crippled their ability to see the principles of God that pertained to their lives.  A court judge or rabbi was not what was needed, but a realization of the greed that was evident in their family. The narrative reveals how well social justice was developed at this time.

“Divide the inheritance.” It was not uncommon for people to take their problems and conflicts to a respected rabbi, or, if a rabbi could not be found, a carpenter was asked to resolve the problem.[2]  On the other hand, it was a common practice for itinerant rabbis to travel from village to village where they would serve in a judicial capacity and render decisions on civil and religious matters.

The Romans had given the Jews sufficient autonomy concerning judicial matters with the authority to enforce compliance of a decision if necessary.  In this case, the man did not request Jesus to act as a fair judge in a family matter of inheritance, but rather, be his advocate and have the inheritance divided (verse 13). The issue appears not to be of fairness, but of greed.  While some rabbis would have accepted the offer, Jesus refused to render a decision, not because He was unqualified or unconcerned, but because in this situation, He focused on those who have no right to judge others.    



“You fool!”  This man failed to think wisely.  When security for the future is placed in material possessions, Jesus calls the man a fool (Gk. aphron 878), which signifies without reason, one who was reckless.[3] The Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees had their confidence for a secure future placed in various assets.


Jesus spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, and in Hebrew the term (ewil 191) means one who mocks guilt (Prov. 14:9), despises wisdom and discipline (Prov. 1:7; 15:5), and any attempt to give a fool instruction is futile (Prov. 16:22).[4] In essence, a fool is one who has rejected the knowledge of God and, therefore, is damned to hell.  When Jesus called this man a fool, He most certainly had a greater realm of Hebraic meaning than Greek. Jesus condemned them for this and warned the disciples not to do likewise.  Wealth is not to be a god but a tool to be used wisely to expand the Kingdom of God.


In Hebrew, the most common word for righteous, righteousness, and charity is tzedakah (Gk. dikaiosune 1343). The acts of charity in the giving of offerings and alms, in addition to the regular tithes, are considered as righteous.  Furthermore, one was not considered righteous if he failed to demonstrate charity.  For this reason, when Jesus recognized a true heart for charity, He identified the individual as righteous and that salvation was brought to him.  The issue of whether to give tithes was never a question.[5]     




[1]. Bailey, Poet and Peasant. Part II, 57; Fleming, The Parables of Jesus. 76; Bailey, Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes. 299.


[2]. Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 3:53.


[3]. Vine, “Fool.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:246.


[4]. Vine, “Fool.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 1:85 and “Stupid Fellow.” 1:251.


[5]. See additional rules on tithing in the Mishnah, Ma’aserot 1.1 and Moed Shabbath 4.7.



Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.03 TRUSTING GOD’S PROVIDENCE

09.03.03 Lk. 12:22-34




22 Then He said to His disciples: “Therefore I tell you, don’t worry about your life, what you will eat; or about the body, what you will wear. 23 For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: They don’t sow or reap; they don’t have a storeroom or a barn; yet God feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than the birds? 25 Can any of you add a cubit to his height by worrying? 26 If then you’re not able to do even a little thing, why worry about the rest?


27 “Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these! 28 If that’s how God clothes the grass, which is in the field today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will He do for you — you of little faith? 29 Don’t keep striving for what you should eat and what you should drink, and don’t be anxious. 30 For the Gentile world eagerly seeks all these things, and your Father knows that you need them.


31 “But seek His kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. 32 Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.        34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


“Consider the ravens.”  No one ever considered ravens as objects of God’s concern because these birds of prey were considered unclean.  Yet this statement could have been a reflection upon Psalm 147:9 and Job 38:41, where young ravens are the subject of God’s care.  In essence, Jesus said that if God nurtures such rapacious, unclean birds, then how much more will He nurture you?   Jesus then closes His discussion with two rhetorical questions (vv. 25-26): Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?   Such questions were popular in the first centuries (B.C. and A.D.) between the sages and rabbis.


“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” Giving to the poor and other acts of charity were considered acts towards perfection and becoming “fully righteous.” However, by the time of Jesus the latter term included observing the entire Torah.[1]  It always played an important function in Jewish piety – and was carried over into Christianity. Rabbi Hillel once said,

The more charity, the more peace.


         Mishnah, Aboth 2.7


“No moth destroys.”  One method of holding wealth in ancient times was in the form of expensive fabrics and clothing, but these were subject to moth destruction.

[1]. Jeremias, Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus. 127.  



Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.04 PARABLE OF WATCHFUL SERVANTS FOR WEDDING BANQUET

09.03.04 Lk. 12:35-40




35 “Be ready for service and have your lamps lit. 36 You must be like people waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet so that when he comes and knocks, they can open the door for him at once. 37 Those slaves the master will find alert when he comes will be blessed. I assure you: He will get ready, have them recline at the table, then come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the middle of the night, or even near dawn, and finds them alert, those slaves are blessed. 39 But know this: If the homeowner had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”


The parable of Luke 12:41-48 is similar to this one.  It is the same theme with two points and was probably given to a different audience. The points are:


  1. The return or Second Coming of Jesus, and


  1. Encouraging people to be prepared to meet their God.


This is clearly a reflection on the words of the prophet Hosea:


What will you do on a festival day,
on the day of the Lord’s feast?

Hosea 9:5


National Israel had rejected the message of the Kingdom of God and thereby postponed the heavenly wedding banquet for Jesus and the children of Abraham as promised in the ancient covenant.  Now Jesus was going to include the Gentile nations as wedding guests, but first He was going to leave, without indicating when He will return. When He does return, there will be a wedding feast for all those who placed their faith in Him.[2] Be sure to see the video 14.02.05.V2 where Professor John Metzger discusses the the purity of the (L)lamb during the Passion Week and the related imagery of the bride and groom to the Messianic Wedding Banquet.


Video Insert    >

09.03.04.V1 First Century Wedding Imagery. Messianic Rabbi John Fischer, discusses first century Jewish wedding imagery as reflective of the relationship between Jesus (Heb. Yeshua) and His church. (21:45)


In Luke 12:41-48, Jesus used the typical first century wedding feast.  The guests had to be dressed and have their lamps lit because the bridegroom normally came to the bride’s home to “steal” his bride.  The bridal party never knew for certain when the bridegroom would appear, so they had to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. This was generally a time of great celebration.

Jesus also illustrated this lesson with the story of a homeowner who should have guarded his home and anticipated a thief.  If the owner had been watchful, he would not have been robbed; if the bridal party is watchful, they will not miss the bridegroom. The focus of the story is that Jesus wants His followers to be watchful for His return. There can be little question that the wedding banquet narratives give hints of the coming messianic banquet in which Jesus will be the central figure and His saints will be the guests.


In this parable, it was the master of the house who was gone and expected his servants to open the door for him when he returned.  It is assumed that his return would be at night, or at a time when he was least expected. Those who will be awake when he returns will be blessed. The implication is that those servants who would not be ready for him will miss the wedding banquet.

[1].  The significance of the messianic banquet was very important to Jesus (Heb. Yeshua) as the subject was discussed and recorded several times.  See the following as well: Wedding garments needed at the wedding in Mt. 22:1-14 (13.03.07); discussion of the “best place” in Lk. 14:7-14 (12.02.05); the great messianic banquet in Lk. 14:15-24 (12.02.06); the wise and foolish virgins in Mt. 25:1-13 (14.01.07); only the father knew Mt. 24:36 (14.01.05); the preparation of a new home in Jn. 14:1-4 (14.02.14). Also, see the video 09.03.04.V1 by Rabbi John Fischer who discusses the first century wedding imagery as reflective of the relationship between Jesus and His church, and a second video 14.02.05.V2 where Professor John Metzger discusses the purity of the (L)lamb during the Passion Week and the related imagery of the bride and groom to the Messianic Wedding Banquet.


[2]. For more information on wedding customs, see 04.03.08.Q1.



Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.05 EXHORTATION TO WATCHFULNESS

09.03.05 Lk. 12:41-48




41 “Lord,” Peter asked, “are You telling this parable to us or to everyone?”


42 The Lord said: “Who then is the faithful and sensible manager his master will put in charge of his household servants to give them their allotted food at the proper time?      43 That slave whose master finds him working when he comes will be rewarded. 44 I tell you the truth: He will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and starts to beat the male and female slaves, and to eat and drink and get drunk, 46 that slave’s master will come on a day he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 And that slave who knew his master’s will and didn’t prepare himself or do it will be severely beaten. 48 But the one who did not know and did things deserving of blows will be beaten lightly. Much will be required of everyone who has been given much. And even more will be expected of the one who has been entrusted with more.


This is an illustration of a wealthy home owner who had servants manage his household. If a manager demonstrated faithfulness and responsibility, he would be trusted with greater responsibilities (Lk. 12:44). If he failed to function as expected, he would be punished; likewise with the servants of Christ.  Those who are faithful to their task will be rewarded and those who fail will be punished.


“Much will be required of everyone who has been given much.”  Jesus clearly stated that the more one has – money, knowledge (of the Bible), authority, etc. – the more he is responsible before God. Therefore pastors, teachers, and life-long Christians will one day be held to a high accountability before God than one who just came into the faith. This passage ought to be humbling and sobering to all who are called to the ministry.


Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.06 DIVISION PREDICTED

09.03.06 Lk. 12:49-53




49 “I came to bring fire on the earth,

            and how I wish it were already set ablaze!

50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with,

  and how it consumes Me until it is finished!


51 Do you think that I came here to give peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!

52 From now on, five in one household will be divided:

              three against two,

                          and two against three.


53 They will be divided,

father against son,                                                                                                            son against father,
mother against daughter,
daughter against mother,
mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law,
and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”


Literary Style: This passage was given in typical poetic style, which gives understanding of the text. In the first stanza, notice that “fire” is associated with “baptism,” but it is in the context of judgment.  Likewise, the word “wish” on line 2 is associated with “consumes” on line 4.


The statement by Jesus, “I came to bring fire,” appears to relate to the day of Pentecost when the “tongues like fire” fell from heaven.  John the Baptist said that the One who would come would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire (Mt. 3:11).  The question is whether the fire mentioned by John is the same as the “tongues like fire” on the Day of Pentecost. It may not be, since Jesus Himself never mentioned fire concerning the coming day of Pentecost.  He mentioned only the Holy Spirit coming to the believers, therefore, the “fire” mentioned in this case does not relate to Pentecost. Jesus spoke to a Jewish audience in a Jewish context where fire was almost always symbolic of judgment.[1]


Fire is like a double edge sword: it utterly destroys what is not permanent and purifies what is permanent.  It is divides the righteous and unrighteous, or brings destruction of the unrighteous. Isaiah said that the Lord would come to bring the fire of judgment. Jesus said He would bring fire and division instead of peace to the earth.  The context of the narrative in Matthew is the same and it does not permit an allusion to the day of Pentecost.[2]  It should be noted that on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit fell like tongues of fire; the fire itself did not fall. The words of John the Baptist were reflective upon the book of Isaiah:


15 Look, the Lord will come with fire
His chariots are like the whirlwind
to execute His anger with fury
and His rebuke with flames of fire.


16 For the Lord

            will execute judgment
on all flesh with His fiery sword,
and many will be slain by the Lord.


Isaiah 66:15-16


“But I have a baptism to be baptized with.”  This was not a literal water baptism, but a clear reference to His death and resurrection.  Baptism is symbolic of death to one’s sinful nature and a resurrection of new life in Christ.


“Do you think I came here to give peace on earth?  No.”  (See also Mt. 10:34-39.) This passage is explained in light of the reputation that Jesus is the “Prince of Peace.” His listeners had to decide whether to follow Him or to surrender to peer or family pressures. When one follows a path different from other family member, there is conflict. It was such times that Jesus referred to when He said that He brought division and not peace.  There will always be those who reject His message of love, holiness, and living a life in covenant with Him.

[1]. Barclay, “Luke.” 169.


[2]. This interpretation is presented by Bivin and Blizzard, Understanding the Difficult Words. 87-93.



Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.07 DISCERN THE TIMES CORRECTLY

09.03.07 Lk. 12:54-59




54 He also said to the crowds: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, right away you say, ‘A storm is coming,’ and so it does. 55 And when the south wind is blowing, you say, ‘It’s going to be a scorcher!’ and it is. 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why don’t you know how to interpret this time?

57 Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the ruler, make an effort to settle with him on the way. Then he won’t drag you before the judge, the judge hand you over to the bailiff, and the bailiff throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will never get out of there until you have paid the last cent.”


“A storm is coming.” While Israel has five distinct climate zones, the entire region essentially has storms and showers in the winter rainy season from December to March and complete dryness from May to October. The exception, of course, is the Negev Desert region to the south. The winter rains come from the Mediterranean Sea in the west while the hot dry summer sirocco winds[1] come from the Arabian Desert to the east[2] or Negev Desert to the south. Forecasting the weather has always been rather easy. Those who lived close to the land, such as farmers and fishermen, observed the sky and easily predicted the weather.


The Pharisees were aware of the many Old Testament prophecies pertaining to the Messiah.  Jesus had given many signs (i.e. miracles and teachings) as predicted by these prophets to verify who He was, yet they failed to recognize Him. They could predict the weather but chose to be blind to the prophecies which they had studied.  Jesus urged them to think and judge these prophetic matters carefully, as judgment was about to fall upon them.  In essence, decisions determine destiny.


“Why don’t you judge?” The word does not have reference to judging people in terms of condemnation, but rather, is a reference to the gift of discernment.[3]   The important aspect of this passage, namely verses 57-59, is that Luke made a reference to the future of the Jewish nation. He spoke more of that future than any other New Testament writer with the exception of the Apostle Paul in Romans 9-11. The context in Luke 12:57-59 is not to any individual, but to the nation – a storm is coming.[4] The parable of one standing before the ruler anticipates a brutal judgment, but also a restoration for Israel.[5]

[1]. Levy, The Ruin and Restoration of Israel. 89.


[2]. In the first century, the area of today’s modern Jordan was considered to be the northern edge of the Arabian Desert. For a study of historical maps of this region, see Nebenzahl, Kenneth. Maps of the Holy Land. New York: Abbeville Press. 1986.


[3]. See the discussion on hypocrites/hypocrisy in 08.03.04 (Mt. :5-15) and in “Pharisees” in 02.01.14.

[4]. This writer suggests that in today’s world that is rapidly decaying and becoming anti-Christian, pastors and teachers need to do the same – judge for yourselves and become like the sons of Issachar who understood the times and knew what to do.


[5]. For further study, see Kinman, “Debtor’s Prison and the Future of Israel (Luke 12:57-59).” 411-26.




Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.08 URGENCY OF REPENTANCE

09.03.08 Lk. 13:1-5


1At that time, some people came and reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 And He responded to them

“Do you think that these Galileans

were more sinful

than all Galileans because they suffered these things? 

3 No, I tell you;   

but unless you repent,

you will all perish as well!   

4 Or those 18 that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed –  

do you think they were more sinful than all the

people who live in Jerusalem? 

5 No, I tell you;

but unless you repent,

you will all perish as well.”

This discussion was another attempt by the Pharisees to trap Jesus. The conversation is about two separate incidents.

  1. An incident in which Pilate’s soldiers killed a number of Galilean worshipers in the temple who were offering sacrifices.[1]
  2. A tower construction accident at the pool of Siloam that resulted in 18 deaths.

The leading Pharisees thought they had created the perfect trap. Since Jesus lived most of His life in the Galilee area, it was expected that He would be sympathetic to those Galileans who were murdered by Pilate. Had He demonstrated such emotions and feelings, the Pharisees would have reported Him as a seditionist against Rome.

On the other hand, there were others who died in a construction accident.  It was the common opinion that such accidents were an act of God in response to some horrible sin for which victims were supposedly responsible.[2] Were Jesus to express sympathy for the eighteen who died, He would come against God who cursed them. The idea that an accident or illness could be the natural result of a fallen world had never occurred to them.

If He failed to express emotion and concern for any of them, He would be hardhearted toward the victims and their families. But Jesus was not about to be trapped by their cunning plans or by their misunderstanding of divine judgments.  He simply informed them that they too needed to repent or they would perish.  The crowds marveled at His response while His critics simply became even more frustrated.


“The Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices.”  Josephus recorded that the Galileans were especially susceptible to a revolt because they were supportive of the rebellious Zealot movement.[3]  The historian essentially said that Herod the Great had built an aqueduct to bring water to the temple area for washing the blood away from the altar and for personal use by the Sadducees,[4] but he died before the project was completed.  For more than two decades it was at a standstill until Pilate came to power, he continued the construction. However, since he believed it was for religious use, the temple should pay for it. So Pilate raided the temple treasury to finance the completion of the project.[5] The Jews considered the theft a sacrilege and revolted.  Pilate’s militaristic response was reflective of his sadistic character as noted in the historian’s account:

So he (Pilate) called a great number of his soldiers, who carried daggers under their garments. And sent them to a place where they might surround them (the Jews).  He asked the Jews himself to go away, but they boldly protested against him.  He gave the soldiers that signal which they had beforehand agreed on.  They laid upon the Jews much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those who were tumultuous, and those who were not, nor did they spare them in the least since the people were unarmed . . . There were a great number slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded; and thus an end was put to this sedition.

Josephus, Antiquities 18.3.2 (61-62)[6]


Numerous scholars have stated that this horrific massacre may have caused the immense hostility between Pilate and Herod Antipas mentioned in Luke 13:1.  There was enmity between them until Jesus was brought to trial during the Passion Week.[7]  



09.03.08.A. HEROD’S AQUEDUCT PIPE.  A water line that once served the temple now protrudes from the hillside of a busy Jerusalem street between the Hinnom Valley and the Old City.  Herod the Great is credited for bringing to the temple fresh and continuous flowing water from a spring near Bethlehem. This pipe, only 10-12 inches in diameter, snaked along hillsides for ten miles from Bethlehem to the temple and has a vertical drop of only 200 feet – an incredible engineering accomplishment. See also 10.01.20.A. Photographed in 2001 by the author.


The maintenance of the infrastructure of Jerusalem – the walls, water-channels, towers, storm sewers, maintenance workers and street sweepers[8] – were all paid for by the temple.[9] The irony is that when Pilate raided temple funds to complete the construction of the aqueduct, he essentially finished the work that the religious aristocrats were supposed to do in the first place.


“Tower in Siloam.” Scholars have often wondered about the identity of the “tower.” Since there was no military post at the tower, it is believed that it may have been one of the many columns or towers that carried an overhead aqueduct. There are two possible explanations:

  1. A construction accident. Towers and temporary scaffolding were necessary to construct masonry buildings.
  2. Destruction as the result of the earthquake of 31 B.C., which killed an estimated 10,000 people.[10] However, the context suggests the accident was a recent event – certainly within the lifetime of Jesus.

Most scholars seem to lean toward a construction accident, as any other event would have had higher casualties that would have been mentioned in this passage.


“Unless you repent.” The word repent in Greek is metanoias, which literally means to change one’s mind. However, in biblical terms as well as first century Jewish culture, to change one’s mind also meant to change one’s lifestyle to match his new way of thinking.[11]  This phrase was a warning to national Israel and was mentioned twice in poetic style.  This predicted judgment is in reference to the judgment of eternal punishment, but is also of prophetic light to the Jewish-Roman era of A.D. 66-70.  Two Hebrew prophets, Hosea (9:10) and Joel (1:7) also gave similar warnings. Joel gave his warning in the 9th century B.C. and about a century later Hosea gave his. Since these two prophets spoke, the people refused to repent and destruction fell upon them in 722/21 B.C. and again in 586/585 B.C.[12]  Now it was time for judgement to fall a third time, but it would come in greater measure. Therefore, their proleptic prophecies (prophecies that have been partly fulfilled, but will be completely fulfilled in the future) were fulfilled.

As was previously stated, this was after the turning point of His ministry. He would no longer heal hundreds or give clear teachings; he would heal individuals and teach in parables. The focus was on training His disciples and the coming Gentile church. In this parable Jesus said that life is uncertain, no one knows when they will pass on and therefore, one needs to be ready to meet his Creator at any time.

[1]. Pilate was known for his cruelty and corruption.  Later, after he massacred a group of Samaritans, he was recalled to Rome, and is reported to have committed suicide in exile.

[2]. Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 17, page 6.

[3]. Josephus, The Life of Flavius Josephus 92.17.

[4]. See photo of Herod’s Aqueduct pipe at 09.03.08.A. According to author of Pseudo-Aristeas 90, the pipe was sealed with lead and lime mortar.

[5]. See also Josephus, Antiquities 18.4.1-2.

[6]. Parenthesis mine.

[7]. See 15.04.05 for more information.

[8]. Since Jerusalem was considered to be a Holy City, the streets were swept every day (Babylonian Talmud, Baba Metzia 26A and Pesahim 7A). The Valley of Hinnom had a dump site by the dung gate where all the filth was thrown. With the exception of rose gardens, gardens were not permitted in the city because they required dung (Mishnah, Maaseroth 2.5; Babylonian Talmud, Baba Kamma 82B). This illustrates to what measures the laws of purity were taken by the time of Jesus.

[9]. Mishnah, Shekalim 4.2.

[10]. Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 3:294.

[11]. Barclay, “Mark.” 26; Richardson, “Repent.” 191-92.

[12]. For more information, read about the Samaritans in 02.01.17, the Assyrians in 03.02.04-05, and the Babylonians in 03.02.08-10.


Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.09 UNFRUITFUL FIG TREE

09.03.09 Lk. 13:6-9



6 And He told this parable: “A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard. He came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 He told the vineyard worker,


‘Listen, for three years I have come looking for fruit

            on this fig tree and haven’t found any.

                        Cut it down! Why should it even waste the soil?’


8 “But he replied to him,


‘Sir, leave it this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it.

            9 Perhaps it will bear fruit next year,

            but if not, you can cut it down.’”


It normally takes three years for a fig tree to mature and produce fruit. After that there are three seasons of fig production every year.


  1. The early fig. The bekurah fig ripens at the end of June, sometimes earlier, in the Jerusalem area. This tasty fruit is said to be the forerunner of the main crop in Isaiah 28:4.


  1. The summer fig which is the main crop ripens in August and is preserved in the form of fig cakes.


  1. The pag is the winter fig or unripe fig. It ripens only after the leaves have fallen off the tree.[1]


The fig tree has always been symbolic of national Israel,[2] and Israel had been God’s chosen people for centuries, yet this “tree” remained fruitless. The “fruit” that Israel was to produce was to declare the wonders of God to the world, to be evangelistic, and to spread the news of the divine covenant to the entire human race.  Instead, Israel became smug and conceited as being God’s only chosen people. Those Gentiles who did convert to Judaism became just as evil as many of their mentors. Jesus would reveal His plan later when He was in Caesarea Philippi (Mt. 16:18) and again in Jerusalem (Mt. 21:43). This new plan would be the fulfillment of ancient prophecies through which God would minister to humanity through the present church age.

It should be noted that even though some Pharisees were very evangelistic, Jesus apparently did not give any credit for this.  In fact, He condemned it saying that the converts were as bad as they were (Mt. 23:15). One Jewish scholar said this zeal for evangelism was based upon Isaiah 2:20 and Jeremiah 16:18 and peaked in the Hasmonean period (c. 165 – 37 B.C.).[3]  Therefore, by the time Jesus spoke on the issue, the Pharisees had a long history of evangelism that Jesus considered to be “bad fruit.” His message was understood by all.

A man had a fig tree that was planted in his vineyard.”  Vineyards at this time included more than grapevines, they contained fruit trees as well.  The word “vineyard” encompassed the definition for “orchard.”  The tradition began in Egypt where the winemaker included other fruits in his wine to modify the flavor.[4]

The tree had no fruit which indicated that it was useless in light of its purpose – to have fruit. Likewise, the unbelief of the Jews could not “make of none effect” the faithfulness of God. In essence, it was as if they abolished (Gk. katargeo, 2673) God’s Word.[5]


For three years I have come looking for fruit.”  The length of the ministry of Jesus is unknown but has generally been assumed to be three and one-half years in duration.  This time period is problematic because it compresses too many events into the final six months of the life of Christ.  Some scholars have suggested that this parable offers a logical solution in that Jesus implied that He would have a four and a half year ministry.[6] Regardless, the fig tree in Scriptures has been symbolic for national Israel similar to the vine of Isaiah 5:1-7.  In this sense, the people are given additional time to receive the Word from the Lord.[7]

[1]. Geikie, The Life and Words. 2:640.


[2]. Isa. 60:21; Jer. 45:4; Jubliees 1.16; 7.34; 21.24; 1 Enoch 10:16; 84.6; 93.2; 1 QS 8.5; 11.8; CD 1.7. See discussions on the fig tree in 02.03.04 “Education,” and 13.02.01.


[3]. Kaufmann, Matenot Ha-Kodesh 101-15; Moseley, Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church. 125.


[4]. Freeman, The New Manners and Customs of the Bible. 508.


[5]. Vine, “Abolish.”Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:3.


[6]. Cheney, The Life of Christ in Stereo. 226-28.


[7]. In an historic sense, two trees have symbolized Israel, the fig and the date palm.  The image of date palms is seen on ancient coins and relief carvings. However, only the fig tree has any biblical references and symbolism to the people and nation.



Bill Heinrich  -  Jan 05, 2016  -  Comments Off on 09.03.10 STOOPED WOMAN HEALED

09.03.10 Lk.13:10-17




10As He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath, 11 a woman was there who had been disabled by a spirit for over 18 years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, He called out to her, Woman, you are free of your disability.” 13 Then He laid His hands on her, and instantly she was restored and began to glorify God.

14 But the leader of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, responded by telling the crowd, “There are six days when work should be done; therefore come on those days and be healed and not on the Sabbath day.”

15 But the Lord answered him and said, “Hypocrites! Doesn’t each one of you untie his ox or donkey from the feeding trough on the Sabbath and lead it to water? 16 Satan has bound this woman, a daughter of Abraham, for 18 years — shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath day?”

17 When He had said these things, all His adversaries were humiliated, but the whole crowd was rejoicing over all the glorious things He was doing.


Scholars believe this is the last recorded synagogue incident in the life of Jesus. In the audience there was a woman who apparently had a curvature of the spine. Her condition would appear to have been a purely physical problem, but she was bound by Satan. Such a combination of illness and demonic oppression was recognized in Judaism.[1]  Jesus said, “Woman, you are free of your disability,” then she was freed from her disability, and He laid hands on her. This suggests a demonic stronghold because Jesus never laid hands on anyone under demonic oppression or possession. If He touched the person, it was only after that individual was “loosed” or “restored” from the oppressor. Jesus did not come to heal the sick, heal the blind, raise the dead,  or do other miracles per se, but He came to destroy the works of the devil which cause sickness, blindness, and death so that man would be restored into the image of God. Amazingly, the synagogue leader was incensed at the healing and, thereby, displayed complete lack of compassion for her infirmity.

“She was bent over.” Some medical scholars believe this woman suffered from spondylitis ankylopoietica, an ailment that is a fusion of the spinal joints.[2]   Her bones were not only inflexible, but they were a long rigid mass of bone in a bent-over position.

The synagogue leader, or president, is a clear illustration of the problem Jesus had with national Israel. The woman was referred to as a “daughter of Abraham,” and, as such, was a rightful heir to all of the blessings promised by the Abrahamic Covenant.[3]  Yet the restrictive Oral Laws of “national Israel” kept her from receiving what was rightfully hers. Into the life of Israel came Jesus, to set people free from their oppression – but the religious leaders opposed Him. They were as rigid and inflexible as she had been.

The nation was given the laws of God so that the Jewish people would live holy lives and tell other nations to do the same.  Israel failed to do this; consequently, the nation was invaded, tribes taken captive, and the land plundered by foreign armies.[4] Once they returned to the Promised Land, they had a host of invading armies: the Persians, the Greeks, and finally the Romans.[5] Just as the stooped woman had lived a crippled life, so Israel had become spiritually crippled.  Jesus called her to Himself and healed her, just as He desired to call Israel to Himself and heal the nation.  But rather than accepting Him or His healing, national Israel rejected Him as represented by the ruler of the synagogue who rebuked Him for performing a healing on the Sabbath Day.[6] Jesus then informed the ruler that it was permissible for him to untie a donkey and give it water on the Sabbath, yet this woman who was heir to the covenant of Abraham could not receive a blessing on the holy day.  Jesus demonstrated compassion while her rabbi showed only religious legalism, which is why Jesus was merciless toward him.  The lesson is simple: Anyone who desires compassion from Jesus must be compassionate to others.



[1]. See Dead Sea Scroll 1QapGen 20:16-29.


[2]. Lang, Know the Words of Jesus. 317.


[3]. For a study of Jewish covenants from a messianic Jewish perspective, see Arnold Fruchtenbaum, Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology.


[4]. See 03.02.04 and 03.02.08.


[5]. For the Persians see 03.04.02, the Greeks see 03.04.07, and the Romans see 03.05.24.


[6]. An excellent resource for further study is Hagner, “Jesus and the Synoptic Sabbath Controversies.” 270-88.


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