Mark Chapter 11 Part 2

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Shalom and welcome to [V’ahavtah Yisroel 00:00:05], a Hebrew phrase which means, You Shall Love Israel. We hope you’ll stay with us for the next 30 minutes as our teacher, Dr. Baruch shares his expository teaching from the Bible. Dr. Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute, based in Israel. Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English. To find out more about our work in Israel, please visit us on the web at loveisrael.org. That’s one word, loveisrael.org. Now, here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.

Dr. Baruch:

We know that there’s a special relationship between Messiah and the children of Israel. Once Messiah taught that he was only sent for the lost sheep of the house of Israel. There’s another important connection that we’re going to learn about today, and that is the connection between the temple and the children of Israel. According to some of the great rabbis, you’re able to understand the spiritual condition of Israel by looking at what went on in the temple, of course, when the temple stood.

Dr. Baruch:

Take out your Bible and look with me, if you would, to the book of Mark and chapter 11, the book of Mark and chapter 11. Now last week, we saw that Messiah entered into Jerusalem and he went to one location. Where was that? The temple? He inspected it. And then he departed the part it from the temple back to the Mount of Olives, to a specific location known as Bethany, the house of the afflicted ones. And what we’re going to do in this study today, is to see what happened the next day.

Dr. Baruch:

As I said, look with me to the book of Mark chapter 11, and let’s begin in verse 12. We read here, “On the next day, he went out from Bethany…” Not just him, but all of his group, him and the disciples. They went out from Bethany and it says that he was hungry.

Dr. Baruch:

Now, we can look at this in two ways. One is what the rabbi’s called, [foreign language 00:02:17], meaning he was hungry so wanted to eat, but there’s also a spiritual interpretation. He was hungry for righteousness. And therefore, he went to a place which was supposed to manifest righteousness. And where was that? Well, let’s keep reading. Verse 13, “And seeing a fig tree…” Now, this is important because according to the sages, there is a symbolic relationship between the fig tree and rabbinical literature, and a course in the new covenant and Israel.

Dr. Baruch:

So we need to see that that passage that we’re going to be studying today has some spiritual connections to it. And a sense of symbolic, some allegory. We need to look at it from a literal perspective and then also understand the allegorical interpretation to it. Once again, verse 13, “And behold, he saw a fig tree from a distance,” and it says that this fig tree had leaves. Now, what does that tell us? Well, it tells us that the fig tree is alive. Now understand this relationship. The fig tree symbolizes Israel. And Israel is God’s chosen vessel, for what purpose? To cause a change in this world, to bring a transformation, to be a light to the nations. And that this world be transformed into the kingdom of God, a kingdom of righteousness.

Dr. Baruch:

So Israel, from a distance, Israel looks alive. In other words, he comes to that fig tree being hungry and he expected to see figs upon it. Why? Because the tree had leaves. But happens? Well, we read… “Expecting he would find something upon it, but as he came to it, he found nothing, only leaves.” Why? Well, look at the last part of verse 13, it says, “For it was not the season for figs.” Now remember that last statement. It was not the season for figs. Says who?

Dr. Baruch:

Now we’ve seen over and over that Messiah is interested in the kingdom. He says, “Seek ye first the kingdom and its righteousness.” That connection between a kingdom and the concept of righteousness. So he comes to this fig tree relating to Israel and he expects to find fruit. Well, wait a second. It tells us it’s not the season of fruit, but from whose perspective?

Dr. Baruch:

I mean, today, we know that there are seasons of harvest, but Messiah looks at things from a kingdom perspective. And one of the best ways to understand the kingdom in its fullness is looking in the book of Revelation to the last chapter of that book, where it speaks about the New Jerusalem. And there it’s interesting because we see a connection. We see John, the author of the book of Revelation, describes the New Jerusalem, that final kingdom. And he describes it using imagery that’s very similar to the Garden of Eden. Why?

Dr. Baruch:

Well, in the Garden of Eden, we know something just like in the New Jerusalem. We read in the book of Revelation that there’s to be that river. And on each side, there’s going to be trees, the tree of life, and it’s going to produce its fruit. How often? Every month. Meaning that in the kingdom, there’s always the season of fruit.

Dr. Baruch:

Now, when Messiah looks at your life, he is not going to look at your life based upon the consequence of sin. Meaning he’s not going to judge you and lessen his standards and say, “Well, this person has been stained with sin. He is a product of original sin. Therefore, I’m not going to hold them to a high standard.” That’s not what the Scripture says. Messiah came to transform us, to issue forth his grace, that we might be transformed and that we might what? Live righteously. So in that same way, there’s a AA play here. He comes to this fig tree expecting fruit. The world says, it’s not the season for fruit. With God, it’s always the season for fruit. Being periodically prosperous and fruitful is not enough. We need to be that way all the time.

Dr. Baruch:

So what happens? Look at verse 14, “And he answered and said to the fig tree…” He says, “Never for eternity.” Now, I don’t know how your Bible translates it, but it’s very, very emphatic, never. And for eternity, and notice what it says, “From you, the eaters will not eat fruit.”

Dr. Baruch:

Now, the eaters, the ones who eat is very important here, because we know that there’s many different aspects of the Greek language, especially the Greek verb. We have the tense. We also have the mood. Now the mood here is the optative. Why is that important? Well, whereas the subjunctive is the mood of a probability, the optative is the mood of possibility. And because this is negative, it means it will never be possible. Not in this life. Not in that current condition. So he says, “No one will ever be eaters of fruit from you.” And that as we’ll see is kind of a curse. Why? There’s a curse for sin. When we don’t produce fruit, we’re producing sin.

Dr. Baruch:

Verse 15, tells us at the end that the disciples heard this speech in verse 15, and they came into Jerusalem and entering into what? The temple. Now, why is that important? Well, we’ve talked about the fact that one can tell the spiritual condition, according to the rabbis. When the temple stood, you could tell the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel by what was going on in the temple. And we’re going to see a connection. That fig tree relating to Israel, no fruit. He comes into the temple to inspect it and what happens? Look again, verse 15. “And entering into the temple, he begins to cast out those who were selling and buying in the temple.”

Dr. Baruch:

What’s emphatic? What’s being emphasized here? The temple. “He cast out those who were selling and buying in the temple, and the table of the money changers and the chairs of those who were selling doves, he overturned.” And the important verb here is that word overturn. Why? It’s related for a transformation. He wanted to overturn things in the temple. He wanted a change. He wanted a change in what was going on in the temple. Why? Well, the outcome would be that there would be a change in the spiritual condition of Israel.

Dr. Baruch:

Verse for 16. “And he did not allow anyone that they should pass a vessel in the temple.” Now, that word vessel means like a tool. Meaning no secular work, no earthly work goes on in this holy place.

Dr. Baruch:

Now, if you remember what’s said in the Hebrew Bible, in the Old Testament, all the work for building the temple was done elsewhere. They brought everything together and they simply assembled it without nails, without screws, without anything, they just pieced it together. A miracle. But [inaudible 00:10:49] emphatically tells us that you cannot bring a tool into the temple area because the temple area is not where man works, but it’s where God’s work goes on, where he manifests his glory to the people.

Dr. Baruch:

Many people, as we see, he wouldn’t let people do that. Well, that must mean that they were doing it. And it reveals something. It reveals to us that so often we look at a commandment in the Bible and we say, “Well, that was good back then, but things are different today.” No, God, the Bible says, he does not change. The Messiah, the Scripture says, is the same yesterday, today and forever. God doesn’t change, but he wants his people to change and become more like him.

Dr. Baruch:

So we see this commandment, verse 16, “And he would not allow an order that they should pass with a tool in the temple area. And he taught and he said to them, ‘Do you not know what has been written?'” And he speaks about the temple. He quotes and once again, what we see over and over about Messiah, is that everything that he does, everything that he says, it’s based upon a scriptural verse. He does this and now he gives a biblical reason why. Look at what it says. Verse 17, quoting from Isaiah 56:7, “My house is a house of prayer, it shall be called.”

Dr. Baruch:

Now that construction of that verb, it shall be called, is important. It means that it will be called this for a reason. Something’s causing it to be called a house of prayer. And what is that? Obviously, prayer. It’s a house of prayer. Notice what it says, moving on? For all nations.

Dr. Baruch:

Now this is something that was different because the people at that time felt that the temple was for Israel, not realizing that biblically speaking, going back to the book of Genesis 28:3, where it says that Israel is going to be a congregation of peoples. Israel, the Jewish people lead, the Jewish people brings the nations too, but it’s a house of prayer for all nations.

Dr. Baruch:

And then it says, “But you have made it a den of thieves.” Now, why does he take that verse, well, very careful? He takes that verse because of what was going on there. That buying, that selling, and it was being done in a way… First of all, it shouldn’t been done there. Secondly, it was being done in a way done in a way that was taking things from people. They were robbing the people. And Messiah was teaching this not only by word, remember what we saw in verse 17. And he was teaching any said, he emphasized, he used this verse, these two verses to emphasize what he was teaching the people about the corruption at God’s house. Why they were not producing fruit. Why there was an absence of righteousness.

Dr. Baruch:

And move on to verse 18. The people heard it, but someone else heard it. Verse 18, “And the high priests and the scribes they heard.” And when they heard this, look at their response. Now, they didn’t fall under conviction. They didn’t say, “Well, wait a second. He’s basing these things on the Word of God.” They didn’t give any pondering even for a moment that what he said was right. I mean, doing business in the temple, forbidden. Bringing tools in the temple area, forbidden according to the Law of Moses. He points out things that were obvious according to the truth of Scripture. And when they heard that, they didn’t fall under conviction, they didn’t give any thought whatsoever to these things. Rather, what was their thoughts? The leadership, the chief priests and the scribes.

Dr. Baruch:

Now remember the scribes are supposed to be those who knew the Bible best. And what did they want to do? It says, “And they sought how him…” And in the Greek, it’s that pronoun that appears before the verb to emphasize. They were seeking how him, they could destroy. Not simply put to death. They use a stronger word here, to destroy him. And some scholars have pointed out the reason for this is not just wanting to kill him, but to destroy everything that he was bringing about, because the people, they heard him and they marveled. That’s what it says.

Dr. Baruch:

Read again in verse 18. “And they were seeking how him, they could destroy. But because of fear of him,” they knew what? “His authority.” There was a anointing on his words and they saw it and feared, but the people saw it and they were amazed, it says at the end of verse 18. We read, “And a large crowd were amazed at his teaching.” How he was able to take Scripture and find the various Scripture that apply to a given situation.

Dr. Baruch:

Well, next section, verse 19. We read here, “And when it became late…” he did something. It says that they went outside the city. We learned previously that he never stayed in Jerusalem. He preferred to go back to that, what we might call the day suburb of Jerusalem, a very poor suburb known as the place of the afflicted ones. So he went there in the night, but the next day it says, as they were coming back, they were passing once more to the temple area but they were still at that place where he cursed the fig tree. They were still on the Mount of Olives and it says, “It was early in the morning, and they saw the fig tree that it had been withered up from its root.” Now, there’s two things that are very important about that statement, that it had withered up, dried up from its root.

Dr. Baruch:

First of all, when a tree begins to die, you usually see the first effects where? On the leaves. Remember, we’ve already saw that he looked, he saw leaves, and he saw that it was what? Alive.

Dr. Baruch:

Now the leaves begin to wither and sometimes a tree can look dead from the outside, but you begin to remove some of the bark, you scratch it, and what happens? You see some green underneath. According to those who know a lot more about trees than me, the last part to die would be the root. And it says here that it dried up from its root. Meaning it didn’t function the normal way. It didn’t happen according to the laws of nature. Something else, not nature, something else affected this tree to die.

Dr. Baruch:

Now, understand. This tree is not just any tree. It’s a fig tree. The fig tree relates to Israel. And what it’s saying here is that Israel has to die if it’s going to become that proper vessel of God used for godly purposes. Now death, the Hasidim teach that death is for what reason? Resurrection. Death comes about, so resurrection.

Dr. Baruch:

When [foreign language 00:19:00], that is the Apostle Paul talks about resurrection, he gives an example of that seed. And he says that seed can produce nothing until first it what? Dies. So in that chapter that he teaches about the resurrection and ultimately this transformation that will happen with the people of God, it all is dependent upon first death. So he’s not casting Israel aside. He saying that Israel, in its current condition, Israel has to die. Why? For this transformation, for a new life. And what is this new life related to? It is a kingdom life and we’re going to see how the Scripture moves right into that.

Dr. Baruch:

Look again, Peter, he stands out and he sees that this tree is dead. Now, that should capture your attention. I mean, one day it’s alive, it has leaves. The next day it’s what? It’s dead. But the only way that you would know that it died from its root first, is if you what? You dig down. That is that Peter was curious. He wanted to know what brought this death about. And he saw and knew what it was. Why do I say that? Well, keep reading this passage. Verse 21, “And Peter, he remembered and he says to him,” he says to [Yeshua 00:20:27], ‘Rabbi, behold the fig tree, which you have cursed has dried up.'” He made the right connection between the curse, that proclamation of Messiah and the outcome of that fig tree dying.

Dr. Baruch:

Verse 22. “And Yeshua answered and said to him…” And pay very close attention to verse 22, because I have not seen any translation that translates it literally. Most will say, “Have faith in God.” But that’s not what it says, because the word in does not appear in the texts. Messiah does not say, “Have faith in God.” Now, we should, but that’s not what it says. What he literally says here is, “Have the faith of God.” It’s in the Greek genitive. “Have the faith of God.”

Dr. Baruch:

Now, what is faith? Well, lots of times people will say, “Well, faith is what you believe.” No, it’s not. You can believe many different things that have nothing to do with the faith of God. Faith, that word and its Hebrew origin is inherently related. The same root verb that derives faith, we also get the word truth. So another way that we can translate it is simply, “Have the truth of God.” That’s what he wants to bring to Israel. That’s what he wants to bring into your life and my life, his truth. Now that truth is going to have an outcome. And that outcome is the kingdom. There is an inherent relationship between truth and the kingdom. Why do I bring the kingdom into this? Well, I believe there’s some hints to that that we’ve already discussed, but there’s a clear reference to the kingdom in the last first we’re going to look at today. Look at verse 23.

Dr. Baruch:

Messiah is still speaking. He says, “Have the faith of God truly.” And he says the word amen. Now, why does he say that? Well, that word, amen, what does it mean? Well, some people, “Believe it.” It’s from the Hebrew, which means to believe. But once again, it’s from that same word that we get the Hebrew word, truth from. That’s why it’s sometimes translated, “Truly I say to you,” because it’s rooted in truth.

Dr. Baruch:

Verse 23. “Amen I say to you, truly I say to you that you can say to this mountain…” And I realize that there’s another scripture that uses the same language in a different way, but we’re just dealing with this passage today. We want to be true to the context in order to derive the right interpretation. So where are they? Well, they’re on the Mount of Olives. He doesn’t say in this passage, “You can say to any mountain.” No. What does he say? “You can say to this mountain.” What mountain? The Mount of Olives. Now, why is that important? Well, what does he say about this mountain? Look again. That you can say to this mountain, “Be uprooted, be lifted up and be cast into the sea.” Now let me ask you, is that going to happen? Yes it is.

Dr. Baruch:

We know that the mountain of Olives is going to be uprooted. How do we know that? It tells us in the book of Zechariah and chapter 14. And once again, if you want to understand the teachings, the message of Messiah, you’re going to miss out if you’re not a good student of prophecy. In Zachariah chapter 14, it tells us that Messiah is going to come to what location? The Mountain of Olives. And the Mountain of Olives is going to be split in two and be uprooted. And what’s going to happen? It says that there’s going to be a sea right there. What sea? Well, the Mediterranean Sea on the west, and the Dead Sea on the east, they’re going to be joined together. And the water’s going surround the Mount of Olives. When? Well, if you look at Zechariah 14, that entire chapter is about the establishment and the transformation of this world into the kingdom of God.

Dr. Baruch:

What he’s saying here is if you have the truth of God, if you have the faith of God, you’re going to be wanting what? The kingdom. And it’s up to us. Messiah is not saying, “I have a specific time when the kingdom’s going to come. I marked it on my watch.” No. What we know from earlier on, in Matthew 23 Messiah says, “I will not come.” See, it’s not that we’re waiting on Messiah. Messiah is waiting on us to exercise faith, to walk in truth. And when we say blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, that is Israel says that, Messiah is going to come. This mountain, the Mount of Olives is going to be uprooted. It’s going to be tossed, in other words, into the sea and what’s going to happen? The kingdom is going to be established. Do you really believe that?

Dr. Baruch:

He says, look again, verse 23. “Truly I say to you that if you should say to this mountain, ‘Be uprooted and be cast into the sea,’ and do not waver in your heart…'” Meaning having your heart established. Now many scholars, point out that that says before really that we can exercise faith, the faith that brings a transformation, first of all, we have to have spiritual heart surgery. That is, we need to accept the truth of the gospel. And the gospel gives us the foundation to belief the purposes, the plans of the living God. So he says here, “If you do not waiver in one’s heart, but rather believe that which he says shall be, it will be unto him.”

Dr. Baruch:

Now that’s not a carte blanche to just get anything that we want. Many people look at faith and they have that name it and claim it theology. They think that faith, if they just well up enough belief that it’s like a credit card, they can just use it to get whatever they want. That’s not the context. When he says, “What you speak, it shall be to him,” the context is the kingdom of God. Over and over, what I want to emphasize is how close the kingdom is. From God’s standpoint, everything’s ready. He’s waiting on his people to what? To begin to produce fruit. Not to be like that fig tree, but rather to be transformed into a vessel that produces fruit. Not just sometime, but all the time. That’s what God’s desire is.

Dr. Baruch:

Well, we need to wrap up for now. Until next week, when we complete this 11th chapter of the book of Mark, may God richly bless you.

Speaker 1:

Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message and share it with someone else. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of loveisrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website, loveisrael.org. There you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher, Dr. Baruch. These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video. Until next week, may the Lord bless you and our Messiah Yeshua, that is Jesus, as you walk with him. Shalom from Israel.

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