Sunday, July 3, 2016

One (Echad) is Coming (Part 1) Mark 1:4-11

Hear, O Israel! YHVH is our God. YHVH is ECHAD (One)  Deuteronomy 6:4

The Study of the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1: 4-11 Part 1
John appeared in the wilderness     Mark 1:4a
The strange discovery from The Introduction to the book of Mark is that the gospel began a long time before Y'shua-Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It began with the ancient prophets Micah and Isaiah.

Then, skipping many details that Matthew and Luke share with us, Mark starts his story with,
"John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness.
Nearly two thousand years have passed since Mark wrote his gospel. He seems to have made an assumption that there were some commonly known facts his readers would know that have been lost in the years that followed. The information we are able to find about John the Baptist comes to us like puzzle pieces that we have to put together.

 Luke uses a lot of ink explaining John the Baptist. John's mother Elisabeth and the mother of Jesus are cousins but one is from the tribe of Judah and one is from the tribe of Levi. My guess is that their grandmother had two children, who would become the parents of Mary and Elisabeth. Elisabeth's mother would have been married to a Levite and their child would, like his Father, also be a Levite (of the branch-tribe of Levi). Mary, of the tribe of Judah, would be a descendant of King David while her cousin Elisabeth, of the tribe of Levi, would be a descendant of the High priest, Aaron.

If not for circumstances, both girls married very well. Mary to Joseph, who should have been the legal king of Israel. While Elisabeth was married to Zechariah who should have been the High priest of Israel.

Both cousins became widows who were forced to raise their sons as single mothers. There is no hard evidence about when or how Joseph, Mary's husband, died. All we know is that he seems to be gone before Y'shua's ministry begins. When and how Elisabeth's husband died is another puzzle piece.

I believe that Luke 11:51b is talking about Elisabeth's husband, Zechariah.
...Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God.
But if this is Elisabeth's husband, then why was he killed? I think we have to go to the Gospel of Matthew 2:16b for that part of the puzzle.
...Herod became enraged, and sent and slew all the male children two years old and under...
But wait Mrs. Hagerty, isn't that verse about Jesus? Mathew 2:16 was about all the little boys in the vicinity of Bethlehem who were two years old and younger. We know that cousin Mary escaped to Egypt with her husband and child. But remember, Elisabeth's son John was only six months older then Mary's son. He was exactly the right age for Herod's murderous rage. The miracle of cousin Elisabeth's son was well known. Everyone knew that her husband, Zechariah, saw a vision (an event that had not happened for about 300 years before that time) in the temple while he was burning incense (a picture of prayer). He was unable to tell the congregation what the message was until after he named his son John (more about the name later) at his bris (a ceremony and party when a son is circumcised at eight days old). At that moment, YHVH broke his own silence to Israel and spoke through Zechariah (who was mute before then) to those present, a message which included information about who John would become.

Herod wanted to murder any child who might become king in his place (or in the place of his own heirs), John the Baptist would have been thought of as a good candidate for Messiah.

Tradition says that Zechariah sent his wife into the wilderness to hide their only child from the sword of Herod's rage. Zechariah was killed instead of John while serving at the temple, because he refused to give up their hiding place. Cousin Elisabeth became an elderly, single mother hiding from the government in the desert wilderness.
Mark 1:6John was clothed with camel's hair and wore  a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locusts and wild honey.
Too hot for raising sheep for their wool or flax for linen, John was clothed in rough camel's hair. The least expensive of food was the locusts the boy could catch and wild honey (which I imagine came with stings). But even in poverty, cousin Elisabeth prepared her son to be the man Zechariah prophesied that he would be.

What is in a name?

A priest named Zachariah (Luke 1:5)
The Hebrew name Zekaryah (H2148) is a compound word in Hebrew, from the words ZAKAR (H2142) which means "remember" and YHVH (H3050), the name of the Creator. Zachariah's name means YHVH (the LORD) remembers.

His wife Elisabeth (Luke 1:5)
In Hebrew her name is Eliysheba' (H472), another compound word that is from 'El (H410) meaning "God" and sheba' which is the number seven but also means "oath" (like a promise). So her name was God's-promise. Another interesting puzzle piece is that Aaron's (the orginal high priest) wife was also named Eliysheba' (Exodus 6:3)

Finally, their son, whom we know as John, also had a Hebrew name, Yowchanan. It is also a compound word. (H3068) YHVH -the name of the eternal God, and (H2603) chanan -to bend or stoop in kindness.

What does it all mean? Though he was silent for so long, YHVH remembered (Zekaryah) His Promise (Eliysheba') and The eternal God, YHVH -stooped down in lovingkindness (Yowchanan). This message, by the way, was delivered by Gabriy'el (God's valiant warrior)

And this is where the Gospel of the Son of the Almighty picks up... at just the right time, YHVH stooped down from glory, in lovingkindness (the meaning of John) and appeared in the wilderness.

You will get the rest of the story in Part 2

Mrs. Hagerty
July 3, 2016

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