In this episode, we will discover the end time prophetic implications of Yeshua healing the sick man on the Sabbath, Yeshua declaring himself to be the good shepherd compared to other shepherds who are mere hirelings, and the Parable of the Two Son.
Yeshua Heals a Sick Man on the Sabbath
John 5:1–16, “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Yeshua went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water. Whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Yeshua saw him lying there, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he said unto him, ‘Will you be made whole?’ The impotent man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool, but while I am coming, another steps down before me.’ Yeshua said unto him, ‘Rise, take up your bed, and walk.’ And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked. And on the same day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, ‘It is the Sabbath day. It is not lawful for you to carry your bed.’ He answered them, ‘He that made me whole, the same said unto me, “Take up your bed, and walk.”’ Then they asked him, ‘Who is the man who said unto you, “Take up your bed, and walk?”’ And he that was healed did not know who it was, for Yeshua had himself conveyed away [slipped away secretly], a multitude being in that place. Afterward Yeshua found him in the temple, and said unto him, ‘Behold, you are made whole. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto you.’ The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Yeshua, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Yeshua, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day.”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 1— A feast of the Jews
- verse 2— Sheep gate
- verse 2— A pool
- verse 2— Bethesda
- verse 2— Five porches
- verse 3— Lay a great multitude of impotent folk
- verse 5— A certain man
- verse 5— Which had an infirmity thirty-eight years
- verse 6— will you be made whole
- verse 10— The Sabbath day
- verse 13— Yeshua had conveyed himself away [slipped away secretly]
- verse 13— A multitude being in that place
- verse 14— Found him in the temple
- verse 14— You are made whole
- verse 14— Sin no more
Understood allegorically, this story is speaking prophetically of Israel’s future healing from its spiritual sickness (i.e., of sin or Torahlessness). The infirm man received YHVH’s mercy and was healed at the cleansing waters that is a biblical symbol for Spirit and Truth, and where both the Spirit of YHVH and the Truth of Torah were to be found in the Person of Yeshua the Messiah. This all occurred on the seventh day Sabbath, which points to the culmination of the final redemption leading into Millennium or Messianic Age—a one thousand year-long “Sabbath”—that will begin at Yeshua’s second coming. The following is an analysis of the key points in this passage.
verse 1, A feast of the Jews. This event occurred at one of the biblical feasts; the text does not tell us which one.
verse 2, Sheep gate. The location of this event was at the Sheep Gate or Sheep Market in Jerusalem. Interestingly, the Tanakh refers to Israel as being like scattered, sick, and shepherdless sheep who have gone astray. Thus, the location of the story speaks to a greater issue relating to YHVH’s people.
verse 2, Bethesda in Hebrew means “house of mercy.” In Hosea, in reference to the spiritual adulterous house of Israel, YHVH said he would have no mercy (Heb. Lo-Ruchamah) upon her (Hos 1:6), and then later he calls her “Having Obtained Mercy” (Heb. Ruchamah, Hos 2:1; See also Ezek 39:25). This is prophetic of YHVH rejecting his people because of their apostasy and then redeeming them out of their wayward, sinful condition.
verse 2, A pool. Bethesda was a pool (Heb. mikveh) of healing waters that had five steps leading down to it. Christians view the number five as signifying grace, while Jews view it as representing the five books of the Torah. In biblical and Jewish thought, YHVH’s Torah is like water that brings life (e.g., see Deut 32:2). At the same time, Yeshua is the Living Torah-Word of Elohim (John 1:1, 14), and those who drink from this Living Word of Elohim will never thirst (John 4:10–14), but will have eternal life. Thus, this pool located at the Sheep Gate symbolically represents YHVH’s lost and scattered sheep coming back to his Torah and receiving his healing grace through Yeshua the Messiah who is the Word of Elohim.
verse 3, Blind, lame, withered. Many sick were laid at this pool. The people of Israel are likened to sick sheep spiritually because of their sin and apostasy (Ezek 34:4, 16), who have gone astray and been scattered. We have all sinned and fallen short of YHVH’s glory (Rom 3:23), all we like sheep have gone astray spiritually (Isa 53:6), and despite our best efforts to follow and obey YHVH, our righteousness is still no more than filthy rags (Isa 64:6). Therefore, each of us is blind, miserable, poor and naked in YHVH’s sight, and our Father in heaven is calling us to repent and come back to him (Rev 3:14–22).
verse 3, Moving of the water. “Water”in Hebrew is poetic imagery or a metaphor for both the Torah (e.g., Deut 32:1–2) and for the Spirit of Elohim (Joel 2:23). Water brings healing, cleansing and restoration to those who “bathe” in it and allow it to clean them.
verse 5, Thirty-eight years. A certain man had been there for 38 years waiting to be healed. Interestingly, the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness for an additional 38 years (as a judgment for believing the evil spies’ report) after they had already spent two years camped at Mount Sinai. Similarly, the house of Israel (which eventually became the Christian church) has been wandering in a spiritual wilderness for nearly 3000 years (from the time of Jeroboam) and the house of Judah for a shorter time. We have all been in a spiritual wilderness, and it is time to exit that dry, desolate place (Rev 18:4 cp. 2 Cor 6:17) as we prepare to meet Yeshua at his second coming, so that he can lead us into the spiritual promised land of his eternal kingdom.
verse 6, Do you want to be made whole? It was Yeshua’s wish to heal this man (who represents the whole house of Israel, that is, both the Jews and the Christians) or to make him whole or restore him to health. The nation of Israel, which was fragmented into the houses of Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and the house of Judah (the Southern Kingdom), is to be made whole or fully restored at the second coming of Yeshua (Ezek 37:11; 39:25). YHVH will have mercy on the whole house of Israel (Ezek 39:25). We need to envision and desire that wholeness and now begin to walk toward it ourselves as redeemed Israelites. It starts with us recognizing that we are sick and need the Master’s healing touch, and then we must, in faith, reach out ot him and let him heal us of our sin sickness.
verse 9, The Sabbath. The man was healed on the Sabbath day. In Jewish thought this is a picture of the Millennium, when the Messiah will rule over a regathered and reunited Israel. The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week on which YHVH Elohim commanded man to rest from his work, even as the Creator rested from his work after creating the heavens and the earth. Similarly, man will exist on this earth doing his work for six prophetic days or 6,000 years, and then the seventh prophetic day or seventh millennium will occur as a time of rest for man and the earth.
verse 13, For Yeshua had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place. This speaks prophetically to Yeshua bringing healing and redemption to the broken and lost sheep of the whole house of Israel (both Jews and Christians) or the lost sheep of Israel (Matt 10:6; 15:24) at his first coming, after which he conveyed himself away or ascended to heaven.
verse 14, Finds him in the temple. Yeshua now dwells in the temple of his spiritual body of believers (1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16) through the agency of his Set-Apart Spirit, and in the temple of heaven. Then at his second coming, he will touch down on the Mount of Olives and then go suddenly to his temple in Jerusalem (Mal 3:1). This event in Yeshua’s life could be fulfilled in two possible ways. It may be referring to a physical temple that will exist in Jerusalem at Yeshua’s second coming to which he returns. It could also be prophetic reference to the spiritual temple of Yeshua’s saints (1 Cor 3:16; 1 Pet 2:5; Heb 3:6), comprised of regathered, resurrected and glorified Israelites, who will meet him in the air at his second coming. The later will certainly occur, but whether a physical temple will stand in Jerusalem at Yeshua’s coming remains a question in the minds of many of us.
verse 14, You are made whole…sin no more. In declaring this to the man at the pool, Yeshua is, at the same time, prophetically telling the whole house of Israel (that is all of us) to go and sin no more, that is, stop breaking YHVH’s Torah (1 John 3:4). Both houses of Israel (in a very general sense, the Jews and the Christians) are guilty of violating YHVH’s Torah. Repenting of sin and preparing for the kingdom of Elohim was Yeshua’s message at his first coming (Matt 4:17, Yeshua preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…”), and will also be his message to his bride prior to his second coming.
Yeshua Is the Good Shepherd
John 10:1–29, “‘Truly, truly, I say unto you, he that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorman opens; and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when he brings forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers.’ This parable spoke Yeshua unto them, but they understood not what things they were which he spoke unto them. Then said Yeshua unto them again, ‘Truly, truly, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.…’”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 11— I am the Good Shepherd…gives his life for the sheep
- verses 15 and 17— lay down my life
- verse 16— other sheep I have, which are not of this fold
- verse 16— hear my voice
- verse 16— there shall be one fold
Here Yeshua declares that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep when they are in peril, unlike the hireling shepherd, who flees at the threat of danger causing the sheep to scatter (John 10:11–15). He then states that he has other sheep in other sheepfolds that he must regather unto himself—the One Shepherd (verse 16). His laying his life down for these other sheep156 is part of the process of his bringing these other sheep156 back to him (verses 15–18). Latter he states that his sheep hear his voice and follow him and that they are secure in his hands and he gives them eternal life (verses 25–29). These statements of Yeshua prophetically address many issues relating to Yeshua’s mission to save and regather his lost and scattered spiritual sheep.
At the same time, there was some question among the Jews as to what Yeshua was referring to by “other sheep”156 that he had which were “not of this fold,” and that would hear his voice and be regathered to his flock (verse 16). The Jews were also perplexed when he talked about his laying down his life for the sheep, and his coming back to life again (verses 17–18). How do we interpret these difficult passages? As believers in Yeshua looking back at history, we clearly understand what he meant by laying down his life, but who are the other sheep?
Who are these other sheep156 in other folds that Yeshua has? In Matthew 15:24 Yeshua states, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” and elsewhere he instructs his disciples to, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (Matt 10:6). Yeshua’s sheep—the lost sheep of the house of Israel—had been scattered by the hireling shepherds prophesied about in Ezekiel 34 and to which Yeshua also refers in the current passage under study. He was the Good Shepherd bringing back these lost, scattered, lame, blind and hurting sheep. In fact, this prophecy of Ezekiel is a prophetic commentary on the purpose of the ministry of Yeshua who identifies his earthly mission with that of the true shepherd of Ezekiel 34:11–31. Some quotations from Ezekiel’s prophecy will hopefully prove this point.
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy, and say unto them, ‘Thus says Adonai YHVH unto the shepherds, “Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?…You eat the fat, and you clothe yourselves with the wool, you kill them that are fed, but you feed not the flock.…The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost, but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them.…And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd. And they became meat to all the beasts of the field,when they were scattered.… My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yes, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.’ … Thus says Adonai YHVH, ‘Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock. Neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more, for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.’…For thus said the Adonai YHVH, ‘Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.…As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered,¨ so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.…And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.…I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel161 shall their fold be. There shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel159.…I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick, but I will destroy the fat and the strong. I will feed them with judgment.…And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.…And I YHVH will be their Elohim, and my servant David a prince among them. I YHVH have spoken it.…And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land, and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.… And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them, but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid.…Thus shall they know that I YHVH their Elohim am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people,’ said the Adonai YHVH.”
This prophecy wonderfully describes Yeshua’s ministry mission on this earth, and the work that he instructed his disciples to carry on after his death, resurrection and ascension. What was that mission? To preach the good news of the kingdom of Elohim to scattered Israel, and to bring these other sheep back into the sheepfold of Israel. Yeshua’s mission on earth was to gather the exiles (lost sheep of the house of Israel) and to reunite them with those believers of the house of Judah.
Yeshua’s Jewish disciples were to continue this mission by going to the very ends of the earth to seek out his lost sheep (Acts 1:8). The eventual goal was to reconcile the two houses of Israel with each other and with YHVH, the Elohim of Israel, and to bring the peoples of the nations into the commonwealth of Israel through faith in Messiah Yeshua. These lost sheep would hear Yeshua’s voice calling to them through the gospel being preached, and they would be drawn to him and back into the fold of Israel. In so doing, they would be granted entrance into YHVH’s spiritual kingdom—the kingdom of the Elohim of Israel—the result of which is eternal life in the New Jerusalem.
This process has been occurring since the first century and will culminate at the second coming of Yeshua the Messiah, who will then rule over both the houses of Israel and Judah, and who will be reunited into one kingdom during the Messianic Age (or Millennium) as Ezekiel prophesied in 37:15–28.
What You Can Do
Yeshua taught that the kingdom of heaven is on earth and is growing. Eventually, it will encompass the whole earth. YHVH’s people need to begin preparing their hearts and embracing it this kingdom now. The kingdom of Elohim is at the very heart of the gospel message of “repent, for the kingdom of Elohim is at hand.”
The subject of the restoration of the kingdom of Israel (an aspect of the kingdom of heaven) was foremost in the disciples’ minds when they asked Yeshua just prior to his ascension to heaven, “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” His response, in effect, was to commission them to go forth and to begin restoring that kingdom, and to do so in the full miraculous power of the Spirit of Elohim (Acts 1:6–8). These are the believers’ marching orders from King Yeshua, our Commander and Chief. Those orders still stand! What are you doing to help restore the kingdom to Israel?
The Parable of the Two Sons
Matthew 21:28–32, “‘But what do you think? A certain man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.” He answered and said, “I will not,” but afterward he repented, and went. And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, “I go, sir,” and went not. Which of them two did the will of his father?’ They said unto him, “The first.” Yeshua said unto them, ‘Truly I say unto you that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of Elohim before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and you believed him not, but the publicans and the harlots believed him, and you, when you had seen it, repented not afterward, that you might believe him.’”
Prophetic Points to Analyze
- verse 28— a man
- verse 28— two sons
- verse 28— my vineyard 160
In this parable, Yeshua takes the Jews to task for their disobedience to their Father in heaven as well as their hypocrisy. This is because of their failure to fulfill the mission that YHVH had given them to produce spiritual fruit in the “vineyard” of his kingdom. Instead, they were long on rhetoric, but short on backing those words up with meaningful action.
The parable of the two sons is against the contextual backdrop of two other events that had just occurred in Yeshua’s ministry: the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple. In both events, Yeshua’s demonstrably illustrated how greedy and corrupt the Jewish religious system of his day had become (in the cleansing of the temple, Matt 21:12–13), as well as how fruitless it was (in his cursing the fruitless fig tree, Matt 21:18–20). Basically, he pronounced divine judgment on this man-centered religious system. This is clear in the Parable of the Wicked Vinedressers (Matt 21:33–45), which immediately the Parable of the Two Sons.
Regarding the vineyard in the parable, the father’s vineyard160 is a metaphor for the nation Israel that is comprised of both houses of Israel and Judah (Isa 5:7; 8:14). YHVH complains, through the prophet Jeremiah, that the shepherds (or pastors) of Israel had destroyed and made desolate his spiritual vineyard (Jer 12:10–11). Therefore, what Yeshua says in this parable is a commentary on the Jewish religious system of his day and its failure to recognize the prophet who would come in the spirit of Elijah to prepare the way for the Messiah as well as Messiah himself (Matt 21:42).
Because the Jewish religious system of his day had largely rejected him, Yeshua chose those outside of that system to be his disciples. He then commissioned them to go to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” and the rest of YHVH’s vineyard whom the Jewish religious establishment had rejected (and still rejects).
In this parable, we see that neither son did a perfect job, even as both Judah (the rabbinic Jews of our day) and Ephraim (modern Christianity) are imperfect. Both sons were flawed in their response to their father, and apart from Messiah Yeshua, we too are flawed in fulfilling the will of our Father in heaven.
Ephraim is the son who turned from doing his father’s will, but then repented and completed the task. This is evident historically, for after the first century the Christian church left its much of its biblical Hebrew roots and largely abandoned YHVH’s Torah-law claiming that “it has been done away with”. In our day, however, that process is beginning to reverse itself as many Christians are returning to the good, ancient and blessed paths of Torah (Jer 6:16), which speaks prophetically of a regathering of the scattered Israelites that will occur in the end times (Deut 30:1–6; 32:26). And many have dedicated themselves to the task of helping to identify and to regather the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Thank you so much I cried I am blessed to read these words I’m beginning to understand I thought I was a Christian but now I know who I am in Christ. thank you Lord for having Mercy on my soul oh wretched soul that I am without You Father. thank you Brothers for posting good Word of our Father YHWH and His Son Yeshua hamashia
Ro’ee Tov, Etz Chayeem Hu