Yom Chamishi, 29 Iyar 5777 — יוֹם חֲמִישִׁי כט אִיָּר ה' תשעז Thursday, 25 May 2017
Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!"

True story from the Jacksonville Police Department.

A man goes to a party and has much too much to drink. His friends plead with him to let them take him home. He says no -- he only lives a mile away.

About five blocks from the party, the police pull the man over for weaving and ask him to get out of the car and walk the line.

Just as he starts, the police radio blares out a notice of a robbery taking place in a house just a block away. The police tell the man to stay put, saying that they will be right back. They hop a fence and run down the street to the robbery.

The guy waits and waits, and in his condition probably around 5 minutes later he thinks he's waited long enough. He gets into the car and drives home.

When he gets home, he tells his wife he is going to bed, and to tell anyone who might come looking for him that he has the flu and has been in bed all day.

Two hours later the police knock on the door. The man's wife answers the door. The police ask if her husband is there. His wife says yes, but that he has the flu and has been in bed all day.

The police produce his driver's license.

Then they ask to see his car. She wants to know why.

They insist, so she takes them to the garage. She opens the door.

There, sitting in the garage, is their police car, still running, with all the lights still flashing.

... A true story, told by the driver at his first AA meeting.

What does this story have to do with tonight's message?

Absolutely Nothing!

I just thought it was funny and wanted to get your attention.

If you have your Bibles, turn to the last chapter of the Gospel of John, Chapter 21. I will read verses 15-25 from the English Standard Version:

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

16 He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."

17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go."

19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, "Follow me."

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, "Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?"

21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?"

22 Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!"

23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?"

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

I want to call your attention to the phrase, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" I think that this passage provides a basic tenet to understand how to interpret scripture.

To look at in context, in verse 19, John tells us that Yeshua had just informed Peter as to how he would die. In verse 21, Peter, in turn, seeing John, and asks Yeshua about him:

21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?" 22 Jesus said to him, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!"

Apparently, due to Yeshua's answer, many people misinterpreted Yeshua's statement concerning the death of John. If those that were with Him personally had such trouble, who are we to think that we are better able to discern the truth?

(Hermeneutics)

The intent of this message is just to provide a preliminary understanding about hermeneutics, particularly as it relates to eschatology. Hermeneutics is, simply, the science of interpreting the Bible. I will speak about eschatology in a little while.

No doubt, most everyone believes they interpret Scripture correctly. Have you ever wondered why two people can read the same passage of scripture and come up with two totally different interpretations? It is most likely because their paradigms, or models of interpretation, are different. Biblical hermeneutics sets out to help us all to know what is true. To properly understand and interpret scripture, we must agree to accept some important basic things as true. More often than not, it means we must surrender our cherished "paradigms", our previously held beliefs, to a correct interpretation of scripture. Essentially, Scripture must be our standard for truth and we must learn to interpret with honesty and integrity.

Who can tell me what is the most important tenet (belief) in studying scripture? [Wait-eth for answer-eth....]

The first major tenet of hermeneutics is to accept that the Bible is the word of God. If you don't believe the Bible is the word of God, there is no sense in ever trying to either teach or learn anything from it, as everything is then subject to one's own paradigm of life and experience, without just regard for any standard to rest upon.

Who can tell me another tenet of basic hermeneutics?

Subsequent to believing the Bible is God's word, one of the basic tenets of hermeneutics is that scripture interprets scripture.

What does it mean for Scripture to interpret Scripture?

Another is that scripture never disagrees with scripture!

Still another tenet is that of audience relevance.

What is audience relevance?

Our Paradigms

Are you familiar with the word paradigm? The word paradigm simply means a model or a map. We look at life through our paradigms; Inside each of us is a map or model of what life ought to be like. Our paradigms are representations of life and the way we think.

We all interpret life through our paradigms. We look at life and compare it to our model to decide if life is good, bad, right or wrong. Most people don't question the models they have developed, and assume that they have the correct models already.

We all have paradigms about eschatology.

Eschatology is a word that simply means the doctrine of last things, but most people think that it means the destruction of the physical world and the end of everything as we know it. Rather, eschatology is actually about the last things of God's plan of redemption, not the last things on planet earth!

At one point in time, most everyone thought that the earth was flat. A paradigm shift occurred when men discovered that the earth was sort of round!

If you think about the Apostle Paul (Saul of Tarsus), he had a major paradigm shift on the road to Damascus! He changed from be a persecutor of the faithful to being faithful himself.

Now, everyone who has ever believed that Yeshua of Nazareth is the true Anointed of God (the Messiah) has had a major paradigm shift. Mine came about in January 1980, and life has not been the same since!

Apocalyptic Language - Another key in understanding Scripture!

Understanding about apocalyptic language will undoubtedly help us to understand scriptures pertaining to the end times. Oddly, a lot of modern bible interpreters, including the popular ones on tv and radio, will acknowledge that there is apocalyptic language in the Tanach, but when those passages are quoted in the Gospels or the book of Revelation, they want to interpret literally. Essentially, they throw out the basic tenets of hermeneutics, especially that of audience relevance, and much of the Christian world considers their words as true, over and above Scripture!

In the book of Isaiah, there are a couple of passages that give us clues to interpreting Scripture. They concern the destruction of Babylon and Egypt respectfully. Similar language is used in the New Testament, so it is important to see the similarities.

Isaiah 13 - Babylon1

The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

3 I myself have commanded my consecrated ones, and I have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my proudly exulting ones.

6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!

7 Therefore all hands will be feeble, and every human heart will melt.

9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. 10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.

11 I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.

Isaiah 19 - Egypt

1 An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.

The End of the Age

There is an interesting insight regarding the end times given to us in Paul's writings to the Thessalonians. In his first letter and the first chapter of his 2nd, using apocalyptic language, he provides a picture of what to expect when the Lord comes!

1 Th 1:10 ... and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come

.1 Th 3:11-13 Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

1 th 4:13-18 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

1 Th 5:1- Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

2 Th 1:7-10 ...and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those wh0o do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed.

In the second letter to the Thessalonians, he has to assure them that it has not come yet! Obviously, if they were looking for a cataclysmic melting of the earth and destruction of the known universe as their paradigm for the end times, they would clearly have known the end had not come.

However, to the Thessalonians, the coming of the Lord could not have been a cataclysmic event that they were looking for, since, A) the earth was not destroyed in a fiery apocalypse and B) they were upset because they were being taught that the Lord had already come! Paul obviously had to correct them!

First, the correction:

2 Th 2:1-3 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, ...

Followed by the words of comfort:

2 Th 2:15-17 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter. 16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

So, what does this have to do with us?

[Mention educational study. 5% think, 15% think they think, 80% would rather die than think.]

There is not enough time to really delve into this subject any more tonight. Without coming to any real conclusions, what I hope is that I have whetted your appetite for understanding how to interpret scripture with a proper hermeneutic.

Incidentally, Yeshua rebuked his disciples more than once for their lack of understanding. Remember, those that walked with him had the benefit of his interpretation. What you should know is that one of the things that Yeshua promised to all believers for all time, was that He would send the Ruach Ha Kodesh to them. God, the Holy Spirit, helps us today. Just as Yeshua, in the flesh, helped those that walked with him 2,000 years ago!

5 When the disciples reached the other side, they had forgotten to bring any bread.

6 Jesus said to them, "Watch and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

7 And they began discussing it among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."

8 But Jesus, aware of this, said, "O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?

9 Do you not yet perceive? Do you not remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?

10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you gathered?

11 How is it that you fail to understand that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees."

12 Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:5-12)