HANUKKAH: THE SEVEN SHEPHERDS IN PROPHECY
an excerpt from the Introduction
LEADING AND FEEDING
Before his ascension, Yeshua (Jesus) asks his disciple Peter a question three times:
Peter, do you love me?
Peter, do you love me?
Peter, do you love me?
Peter responds to Messiah in the affirmative each time, and each time Yeshua commands Peter to care for his sheep. Later, as Yeshua prepares to ascend to the Father, the disciples pose a question that has kept them confused throughout Yeshua's ministry.
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, 'Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?' He said to them, 'It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.'
This question and Yeshua's answer is key to unlocking the mystery of the Gentiles and Chanukkah, a holiday that most believe is unique to Judaism. The prophesied Messiah was to restore the kingdom to Israel; that is, he was to regather the lost sheep of Israel who disappeared in various deportations by conquering empires.
Yeshua, however, had earlier hinted that there were other sheep to gather, sheep that were not of the fold of First Century Judaisms. Although the Jews of the First Century anticipated the return of all Israel, they did not strongly associate Messiah's work with a gathering of sheep from among the nations who were not native-born, but born strangers to the Covenant.
The many bloody conquests of Israel and Judah by idolatrous Assyria, Babylon, Greece, and Rome had not left many Jews concerned with the spiritual plight of the Gentiles. Yeshua, however, refused to deal with Rome merely to prove that he was indeed the Messiah and King of the Jews. The prophetic plan was much bigger.
Messiah also must be the King of Kings of all nations, the great Shepherd to restore flocks of men to the one fold of Israel as foretold in the Prophets. Had Yeshua acted at that time, the "leaven" of the Holy Spirit could not work among the dough of the nations. Yeshua tells his disciples that they are a vital part of Messiah's extended work, a work intended to result in the "fullness of the Gentiles" who would hear his voice. These sheep would be found in the remotest parts of the Earth.
This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. So 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, 'Tend My lambs.' He said to him again 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, 'Shepherd My sheep.' 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 all things; You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Tend My sheep.'
Yeshua breaks down Peter's mission into three statements known as a chiastic, or mirrored, word structure:
A. Pasture the lambs. Parallels last idea
B. Shepherd the sheep. Central idea
A. Pasture the sheep. Parallels first idea
When such a chiasm appears in the text, the middle statement (B) is the central idea. In this case (B), Yeshua emphasizes shepherding, which in Greek means to rule over, nourish, and feed. The first and last statements have the same verb for pasturing, specifically to feed livestock.
The commission of Peter and the apostles is to shepherd both lambs and sheep by leading and feeding flocks of men to a Covenant relationship with the God, the Stone of Israel. This is to be accomplished in such a way that the sheep will be able to rest together in one fold. On a simple level, lambs are those who are still attached to their mothers for processed nourishment, and sheep are independent of their mothers, for they can process their food themselves. Both need a shepherd!
This connection with calling and nurturing both lambs and sheep is embedded in the Hebrew Prophets of the TANAKH (Older Testament). It is the identity of a shepherd that securely links the work of Messiah to the Jewish festival of Chanukkah, which in tradition carries the expectation of Amos' prophesied seven shepherds who will defeat the enemies of Israel.
Zechariah adds that the plan includes gathering flocks of men, not just defeating the enemy in war. This long-term prophecy explains Yeshua's reluctance simply to call down Heaven's army and defeat the Romans. Additionally, Zechariah's prophecy explains how Chanukkah is vital to the goal of gathering the sheep who know the Great Shepherd's voice. When the last sheep walks under Yeshua's counting staff, the Father will release Yeshua to execute judgment in the earth.
Linking the prophecies of Amos, Zechariah, and Chaggai proclaims that the prophetic celebration of Chanukkah is equally as important to the lost sheep of Israel as to the native-born Jew. When Yeshua was challenged to reveal his identity during the Feast of Dedication in the Temple, his answer could not have more specifically addressed the Jewish expectation of the Seventh Shepherd to finally defeat the Red One. Both the challenge and Yeshua's answer are completely within context of the Chanukkah.
The answer, however, is not aimed only at Jews who doubted his Messiahship. It aims also at the hearts of all those who claim to hear his voice, yet they do not obey it. Those who disobey the commandments of the Great Shepherd, the Stone of Israel, are those who instead follow the voice of the Red One within, an uncircumcised heart. It is the rebellious sheep, both native-born and stranger, who will flee from the Great Shepherd in winter and Shabbat. Pray that your flight be not in winter or on Shabbat.
This excerpt is from the Introduction to
Hanukkah: the Seven Shepherds in Prophecy
To pre-order the Kindle version,
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The Table of Contents includes:
Introduction: Leading and Feeding
The Short Story
The History of Chanukkah
How Alexander's Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Became a Chanukkah Celebration
Chaggai and Chanukkah Roots
Two Messiahs: A Parable
Pray that Your Flight be not in Winter
Enoch: The Seventh from Adam
Questions and Challenges for Review
 Acts 1:6-8
 Judaism of the First Century was not the homogenous expression of the faith that we mostly see today. There were many sects and divisions within the sects.
 Ez 36:38
 Leaven is a contranym, meaning the same word has both positive and negative applications based on its position to the written Word. In a negative sense, it is the hidden work of pride, envy, malice, etc. In the positive sense, it is likened to a hidden substance that permeates and grows the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened." (Mt 13:33)
 Jn 21:14-17
 For an insightful analysis of the Peter, the rock, and Yeshua, see Dr. Robin Gould's BEKY Book, Peter's Vision: Beacon or Bacon?
 The blessing on Joseph was "...From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel)..." (Ge 49:24)
BOOKS, BOOKS, BOOKS!
Creation Gospel Workbook Six
, the study guide and new commentary to Standing With Israel is in its final stage of publishing, and the paper copies should be ready for purchase next week. Although the general focus is on Hebrew worship and prayer, the emphasis is on Passover. It may just straighten out that egg-on-the-seder-plate controversy!
Messianic Shabbat Service in Spanish
The Kindle and paperback version of the Spanish version of BEKY Book
Messianic Shabbat Service
is now on
Two more BEKY Books coming soon!
The Sabbath: His Day of Delight
by Jane Diffenderfer and
Growing in Holiness: the Hebrew Calendar Day by Day
by S. Creeger
You're gonna love 'em!
LaMalah Children's Centre
I wanted to pass along this blessing from Pastor Ndungu in Kenya while the wifi is working. Thank you to all our donors and those who pray for this work:
Shalom in the name of our Savior
I have wanted to send a picture of this well fed cow Abba provided through your hands. How grateful we are! We are in the process of constructing a better shed for the cows . We give honor, praises and esteem to our Heavenly Father for His providence. This will go a long way in making sure the children have milk and may be a little income will come their way seeing there is always a need.
The reason i did not email earlier is because I was traveling. We negotiated rough terrain by motorcycle taxis and eventually by foot to reach people deep in the rift valley bordering Mau forest. This are sincere seekers of truth and Abba willing we so much would like to assist them build a shelter for worship. They need about only 250 dollars and they will be sheltered from rain and sunshine as they observe the Sabbath command.
As we travel, the need for a reliable vehicle becomes more evident as we would save on time and expenses. When you reach the land our Messiah walked, please have this in your prayer list; the need for a car for the work in Kenya.
As nature shows the signs of a new year, we are preparing for Pesach and feast of unleavened bread. This year, it is a bit harder for we are coming out of a severe drought. But we serve an awesome Almighty.
We expect very many new faces here in Limuru as in the recent past, we have reached more seekers with the true good news.