Rabbi’s Reflections – Friday, December 20, 2019 

(Early) Shabbat Shalom *|FNAME|*,

Let’s think about the parable of the wedding feast found in Matthew 22.  Like all of Yeshua’s parables, it is a story to illustrate a point, usually about the kingdom of heaven.  This story, like most of the others, has a punch line.  That’s what I want to write about.  What does the punch line mean?

Naturally, it has to take its meaning from the parable itself.  Are you ready?  Let’s go!  Here it is… Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  The Scripture itself warns us… 2 Timothy 2:15 Make every effort to present yourself before God as tried and true, as an unashamed worker cutting a straight path with the word of truth.

This is the parable of the wedding feast.  Many are called to attend the wedding feast, but few are chosen.  This parable at the start of Matthew 22 must be studied in light of the parable at the end of Chapter 21.  There we find the parable of the vineyard where the punchline is a question…  Matthew 21:40 Therefore when the master of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 

The priests and Pharisees rightly answered Yeshua’s question… 41 “He will bring those miserable men to a miserable end,” they said to Him, “and will lease the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the fruits in their seasons.”  Yeshua then begins to  prophesy over the priests and Pharisees that they will be excluded.  Mathew 21:43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to people producing its fruits.  

Suddenly, they realized what Yeshua was doing… Matthew 21:45 When the ruling kohanim and Pharisees heard Yeshua’s parables, they realized He was talking about them.  They tried to seize Him.

In light of all that, we are now ready to study Chapter 22.  Please read the parable and then come back to this writing.  I’ll wait…

Thanks, you’re back.  To be “called” means to be invited.  There are 5 verses that all use the same Greek word for “called” (3,4,8,9,14).  In the TLV “invited” and “called” are used interchangeably.  The “call” or invitation is to repent and believe the good news (gospel).  The invitation can be refused and in this parable many do refuse.  

Then there is the man without a proper garment in Matthew 22:12.  What’s he doing at the wedding?  He thought he accepted the invitation, but he didn’t do it rightly and was removed from the feast, bound up and “tossed into outer darkness.”  

So then, who is left?  The Chosen… Ephesians 1:4 He chose us in the Messiah before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before Him in love.  

Rabbi Trail:  The term “in love” is significant.  In Hebrew liturgy it is always used in reference to Shabbat.  God gave us the Shabbat “in love.”  And we are commanded to remember (Zachor) that for eternity.  Why did I bring it up here?  Because when we receive the Lord we are walking with the Lord of the Shabbat and every day in His presence (which goes back to the wedding feast) is a type of Shabbat.  End RT.

Let me bring this to a close.  To be called is to be invited, while chosen is to receive the invitation in the proper way.  So, to be called is external while to be chosen is internal.  Let’s receive the call with repentance and faith as God intended from the beginning.  The wedding day is coming.  Don’t get caught on the outside looking in.

Please don’t take my comments as dogmatic.  They are my thoughts today.  I could be wrong.  I’m providing commentary on the Scripture.  Only the Scripture itself is dogma.

Week 51
Memory Verse:  1 John 4:10 This is love—not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atonement for our sins. 11 Loved ones, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

251   12/16     Monday:       1 Peter 3-4

252.  12/17    Tuesday:       1 Peter 5; 1 John 1

253   12/18    Wednesday:  1 John 2-3

254   12/19    Thursday:      1 John 4-5 

* 255 12/20    Friday:           Revelation 1

Question of the day:  Today we begin the book of Revelation, the first of six days in it as we end the year next week.  In verse 4 of Chapter 1 we find John writing a salutation.  (I’m paraphrasing here) Greetings from the eternal God and from the 7 Spirits who are before His throne.  What do we know about the 7 Spirits?

Answer:  The fact that 7 are mentioned is significant.  7 is the number of completion.  The fact that there are 7 means that none will be added or subtracted.  Before we discuss the 7 Spirits, let’s take a short detour.

Rabbi Trail:  Also mentioned in Revelation 1:4 is the Yud-Hay-Vav-Hay name of God (we say Yehovah).  You ask, “Where is it mentioned, because I don’t see it?”  The “Yud” stands for “Yiyeh” which means “He will be” (future).  The first “Hay” stands for “Hoveh” which means “He is” (present). The “Vav” is the Hebrew word “and.”  The last “Hay” stands for “Hayah” which means “He was” (past).  

Put together they are the first letters of each Hebrew word in the sentence “He will be, He is, and He was.”  Significantly, God identifies Himself as the one who starts His identity in the future and ends it in the past.  We think time marches on, but God’s kingdom has the future end in sight from the beginning.  Marc Chagall understood this when he made the tapestry that hangs in the great hall of the Knesset in Jerusalem (pictured above).  It is ordered from right to left (as Hebrew is written) with the future first, then the present and finally, the past.

Of course books could be written on the 7 Spirits of God.  I’m going to state them here and take time in the next week to write about each one.  They are all found in one verse of Scripture… Isaiah 11:2 The Ruach of Adonai will rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and insight, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Adonai.

I’ve done this before, but it’s time to do it again.  I promise I won’t look up my old notes, but write it fresh.  I’ll save the first for last, in fact, I may work my way backward in the order they are mentioned.  That follows the pattern of the kingdom of God.

Okay, I sense a need to end on a devotional note.  Is this warning in your Bible?  I found it in mine… Hebrews 12:14 Pursue shalom with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God; and see to it that no bitter root springs up and causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.

Why would the writer have written this unless it were important?  What we need “holiness” to see God?  The hyper grace movement must have a different Bible.  Or maybe they think the book of Hebrews is in the Old Testament and no longer applies in the lives of New Testament believers.  Or maybe we really do need holiness.  I close with these verses.

Colossians 3:4 When Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him, in glory! 5 Therefore, put to death what is earthly in you—sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed—for that is idolatry. 6 Because of such things God’s wrath is coming upon the sons of disobedience.