Mark 60

Mark’s Pericope #60

This material is to be read n conjunction with Shemot 26: 1-30; Yeshayhu 66:1-10 and Tehillim 60: 1-14

Mark 8:31-33 31 ¶ And He began to instruct them concerning the necessity of the Ben Adam’s suffering (Gk. pathien -Pasko) (Heb. לֵעָנוֹת) in a great number of things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (קוֹם יָקוּם) – avnasth/nai 32 And He boldly proclaimed these things. And Tsefet took Him aside and trying to usurp his authority, censure his speech. (demonstrate his error) 33 But when He (Yeshua) had turned his back to Tsefet and looked on His disciples, He censured Tsefet’s speech, saying, Go behind Me, adversary! Because (you are thinking only of yourself) your heart is not set on the things of G-d, but of the things of men.

My Translation

I have tried to bridge the gap between the Greek text and the Delitzsch (Mishnaic) Hebrew text. Trying to make the best of both translations and texts is often very difficult. However, I have tried to carefully bridge this gap. Likewise, this Parsha is permeated with things that can only be understood from the Sod or Midrashic levels of interpretation. Nevertheless, we will endeavor to make a P’shat of the things based upon the literal interpretation, logic and Scriptural hermeneutic.

On the Heels of Revelation

Not only does this Pericope come on the heels of the revelation that Yeshua is the Messiah. It also comes on the heels of Shabbat Shekelim. These things will influence Mordechai’s narrative.

And He began to instruct them concerning the necessity of the Ben Adam’s suffering…

This event comes on the heels of the revelation that Yeshua is the Messiah. (Mk. 8:27-30) To set the background for our scene we must remember the revelation of Tsefet. Tsefet has just stated that Yeshua is the Messiah. He has reached the level of insurmountable heights in being able to draw this conclusion. Now that Yeshua has laid this foundation of his identity, he goes on to allow his Talmidim further insights into his identity and character. However, he revelation of Messiah is complex to say the least.

to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and scribes…

The Amplified version of the Bible translates this section as follows… and be tested {and} disapproved {and} rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes

I believe that the Amplified has translated trying to reach into the material contextually as well as literally. Messiah must continue to be tested. Here He is being tested by SOME (I concur with His Eminence) of the elders, chief priests and scribes. I would conclude that Yeshua was tested by some them and they disapproved of his Messiah ship based on preconceived notions and ideas. I believe that the following passages will bear this out in Tsefet’s censure. I concur with His Eminence based on the following thoughts. When we look at the historical data of the first century and the writings of the others who wrote applicable Mesorah we see that great numbers actually did believe that Yeshua was Messiah. It will be relative to this discussion which Messiah they came to believe in and why they believed in that Messiah.

and after three days rise again (קוֹם יָקוּם) – avnasth/nai\[1]

The Greek word anastemai is a word that is loaded with meaning. The Septuagint directly connects this word to our pericope through the LEH[2] Greek Lexicon – Shemot 26:30; to build, to rear up. I am sure that Mordechai was well aware of how his Pericope would fit into the scheme of the Triennial reading schedule. His sermon outline her builds upon the key idea of the Mishkan being raised along with key and varied components that represent various aspects of a persona. This idea goes even deeper when we look at the Hebrew words used by Delitzsch. The Hebrew word קוֹם - qûm bears the idea of rising as the text clearly indicates. And again, the word is connected to the raising of the Mishkan in Shemot 26:30. However, the word קוֹם is also associated with the word ~Aqm, m¹qôm which is a synonym for G-d’s Presence. We note this to demonstrate parallel only.  However, the plot thickens, as we will see below. Here we also have an illusion to the center rod which is “lifted” or raised into place supporting the entire Mishkan.

And Tsefet took Him aside and trying to usurp his authority, censure his speech. (demonstrate his error)

The Greek text demonstrates the scene clearly. Tsefet takes Yeshua aside trying to usurp his authority. This is VERY inappropriate and demonstrates something a talmid NEVER does to his Master. Far be it for any Talmid to believe that he is greater than his teacher is. Tsefet not only tried to make himself Yeshua’ equal, he tried to usurp his authority. There may be an appropriate time and place to discuss personal opinions and views, however, it is never in view of other so as to appear to undermine the masters authority!

It seems almost humorous to read these words. Tsefet has received this monumental revelation concerning Messiah and now he is the authority. Because he is now the authority he can set (mistaken Yeshua) straight on his Messianic theology. I find it so ironic that the talmid thinks he should try to correct the Master. Again, the closed mind CANNOT receive truth because it is filled with erroneous materials.

But when He (Yeshua) had turned his back to Tsefet and looked on His disciples, He censured Tsefet’s speech, saying, Go behind Me, adversary!

What do we do with the yetzer? We turn away from its impulse. By turning away, we face it head on. Yeshua turned his back to Tsefet showing his disapproval of his actions.

Because (you are thinking only of yourself) your heart is not set on the things of G-d, but of the things of men.

Of mice or mud? This clearly teaches us that the yetzer is primarily focused on the things of men. I will address this more in-depth below.

A case of Mistaken Identity

Tsefet was no different from the multitudes of others who held preconceived notions of whom and what Messiah should be. The elders, chief priests and scribes misjudged Messiah. When we make this statement, we are not talking about ignorant men. These men represent the learned men of that generation. I believe that this pericope serves to demonstrate that Tsefet was stuck in the same mindset of his generation.

Was it “chance” (Pur – the cast of a lot) that Yeshua was the son of a man named Yoseph? (Purim is coming) In a single moment, Yeshua destroyed a lifetime of misconceptions. How does one deal with that? The elders, chief priests and the scribes might simply reject the notion that Yeshua was Messiah based on their misconceptions. Tsefet was not afforded this luxury. He was a Talmid of the Master. He must embrace truth. We are often called upon to abandon preconceived notions in favor of truth. Many of us who are trying to walk this new path can easily relate to Tsefet’s dilemma. Some seem to cope better than others do. However, Tsefet was a man who was true to his passion. He had to speak up.

Correct me if I am wrong, the mark of a true Talmid.

Why do I offer my thoughts on the Seder in relation to Mordechai? I have ONLY offered these remarks for one purpose. I sent them initially to His Eminence so that he would have a review of my efforts. However, they served also to allow him the opportunity to correct me if I had erred in any way. Now, they are offered to our community so that I may be subject to the entire community’s corrections.

Tsefet needed correction. His blunder, if I may put it mildly served as a lesson for all the Talmidim. I am most certain that some of the others had similar thoughts. Likewise, I am sure that some of them may have sat back and let Tsefet take the brunt of the correction trying to project a “painted image” of surprise that Tsefet would do such a thing.

Conflicting Prophets and Yeshua’ Messianic Mission

The Prophetic view of Messiah must be understood as a complete, whole picture. The Prophets saw Messiah as a whole. This means that they saw every aspect of his persona and character. However, interpreting that person is not the profession for the novice. In fact, I believe that the current pericope demonstrates this very fact. The matter of Messiah’s character was and remains a very difficult process to interpret. Tsefet like many of his contemporaries was looking for the political Messianic character that was Davidic in nature. After all, this is what they really needed, right? As is turns out Yeshua went out of his way not to appear as this type of Messiah. He demonstrates redundantly the Messianic character of his father’s namesake, Yoseph. Yeshua’ understanding of his Messianic mission comes from his understanding of the kingdom as we have stated before. He is not overly concerned with the political agenda’s of the nations. He is solely occupied with the Messianic Mission of establishing a Kingdom that is built upon the Mesorah. The dual role of Messiah is difficult to discern. It appears from the Nazarene Codicil that the major mindset of the Sages, Priests, Elders and general populace of Yisrael was that David would return and conquer the Romans. The TRUE followers of Yeshua have already conquered Rome in a matter of speaking. However, a great populace is still under Roman rule. Nevertheless, we know from documents of antiquity that the Son of Yoseph was also a Messianic concept of that period. Many scholars try to postpone the idea of the two appearances of Messiah until Talmudic times or later. The “Gabriel Revelation” as presented in the September/October 2008 issue of Biblical Archeological Review has demonstrated that the idea predated Yeshua by about 200 years. Therefore, the “Son of Ephraim” Ben Yoseph) was very alive during the first century. Yoseph Ben Yaakov was a prototypical Messiah. His suffering and rise to authority over all the known world by his wisdom is mirrored in Yeshua the “raysheet” of the Mesorah. However, we tend to look for what is most aesthetic. Tsefet and the leaders of His day were looking for a different system of relief. It seems so strange that when HaShem promised the outpouring of the Ruach Hakodesh that He said that the Torah (Mesorah) would be written on the hearts of His people. In a manner of speaking all of that may not have happened if Yisrael had not moved into Diaspora. Nevertheless, the Messianic Mission of Yeshua accomplished the will of G-d is a way that has brought the Kingdom to us who desire to be governed by the Torah and its Mesorah.

Mastering personal passions

Levels of sanctity: Our Torah Seder opens with the curtains of the Mishkan. The curtains have a great amount of imagery associated with them. In simple terms, they represent levels of sanctity. These levels of sanctity are not only for the Mishkan. They are to teach us a powerful lesson about personal sanctity. Consequently, we cannot move beyond this level of interpretation in this exposition. However, this lesson fits our pericope perfectly. These levels of sanctity teach us that life is about mastering personal passions.

Addressing the Yetzer hara

Whose Yetzer hara was being challenged here? Do not think that Yeshua did not have an inclination to serve himself and his personal desires. Nor should we think that the only time that he ever had to deal with that inclination was when he was driven into the wilderness (Mk. 1:12) . Testing and valleys are a part of the game.

G-d speaks in His Sanctuary: I will be glad, for those of the house of Israel will prevail; I will divide the spoil with the sons of Joseph who dwell in Shechem, and in the plain of Succoth I will measure the measure and divide the booty. (Yeshayhu 60:8 Targum Yonatan)

Tehillim 84:5-7 5 Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man whose strength is in You, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. 6 Passing through the Valley of Weeping (Baca), they make it a place of springs; the early rain also fills [the pools] with blessings. 7 They go from strength to strength [increasing in victorious power]; each of them appears before G-d in Tzion.(AMP)

Notice that we may be forced to “PASS THROUGH” these difficult places but we do NOT have to remain there permanently. Likewise, notice the occupation we are to be involved in while there. WE are to make these difficult places an oasis for those who have to pass through these same valleys. We know that struggle is only the time that we spend between the “strengths.”

An old cliché tells us “what does not kill us makes us stronger.” There is a great truth in this cliché. Abraham suffered several (ten) trials in which his “yetzer hara” was given opportunity to demonstrate itself. Likewise, Yoseph was subjected to many such tests and trial. When G-d said “let us make man in our image” the Sages suggest that the simplest interpretation is that G-d was speaking to the earth.[3] This being the case man was made partly of dirt and partly of G-d. As a result, he has a propensity for dirt. However, the Master, Yeshua demonstrated unflinching control over the evil nature of that dirt. Yet we are shown a picture of a Zealot who struggles with his mud. It seems plausible to believe that both Yeshua and Tsefet were being challenged. I am sure that Tsefet was thinking something like; it sure would be nice if Yeshua had been the Son of David rather than the Son of Yoseph. Tsefet did not want to be squeezed out of his comfort zone. However, pressure always reveals the true character of an object. I often ask the question, what do you get when you squeeze an orange? The answer is orange juice. The point is that we can always tell how far we have come in this process of transformation when we pressured. Our true character will ALWAYS shine. Tsefet is in the process of refinement. The real question for us from this pericope is who is in control? Me or my monster?

When G-d created the earth He created all the animals before He created mankind. The crown of His creation was Adam. One of the most problematic passages in the Chumash is Bereshit 1:26. This passage reads… ” And G-d said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” Volumes have been written on this passage. Theologians have offered their butchery of this passage trying to promote and support their theologies. This text has been well butchered by the best of the butchers. In keeping with the P’shat of this verse, I believe there is a very simple way to interpret this verse. Ramban who has a propensity for the Remez interpretation of the text offers a P’shat solution. This solution goes as follows. When G-d created the earth, He endowed it with certain abilities to produce and reproduce. However, when G-d wishes to make Adam he takes some of that earth and H forms man into an image. ” And G-d said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness.” The partner in creation need not be angels, deities or any other abstract characters. The partner in man’s creation was the earth itself. Consequently, man is part earth. The remainder is the Breath of G-d. (Bereshit 2:7) One might describe man as dirt over breath. Alternatively, dirt on the outside and G-d’s breath (presence) on the inside. On the other hand, we might follow the analogy of the Mishkan and say animal on the outside and G-d on the inside.

I have never seen a blue goat

The Torah Seder opens with the colors that would be used in the ten (curious number)curtains. It further describes that fact that five curtains (the Torah) would be coupled one to another. Moreover, these five will be attached or coupled to the other five, telling us that there are two Torahs. Verse nine of the Yonatan tells us that the second Torah is the Mishnah which contains six orders. However, we shall abstain from the more mystical interpretations and look for something a bit more p’shat. In the seventh verse, we are told that the curtains will be made of goat’s skin or hair. Well, I do not ever remember seeing blue, purple or a red (well almost red) goat.

Logic tells us, as does verse 14 that the goat’s skin and hair has to be dyed. I believe that this fits our Mordechai Pericope well coupling this Pericope together with the Torah Seder is yet another way.

Likewise, we see that the skin of the goat had to be processed. It could not be used in its raw state. Her we have a picture of the yetzer. The mitzvot and Torot are a means for refining ones character. Again, we see that the Master has refined his yetzer and uses its ambition in the positive constructive was of a tzadik. His selfless acts would elevate a great number of fallen people. However, Tsefet (please do not think me his critique – I should dream to be so high) is still in the refinement stage.

When I was a young lad, we used to sing a song that went something like this. “It took Him (G-d) just a week to make the moon and stars and earth and sky Jupiter and Mars, but he’s still working on me.” Refinement means first becoming a Korban. Then it means that the hide must be scraped until there is only usable material. I am sure that you get the picture.

How many Goats does it take to make a Mishkan?

As I said above, this Pericope comes on the heels of Shabbat Shekelim. In this shir we learned that it required two Israelites joining together to make this mitzvah work. I believe that we can use similar logic here. One goat was not enough to make a Mishkan. I would like to reiterate the statement I made a couple of weeks ago.

The Ramban, of blessed memory, suggests that the literal meaning of vD”q.mi is that of all the sacred vessels being one entity before HaShem.[4] The spiritual house of HaShem is stone upon stone, a spiritual composition. All of the sacred vessels were requisite for Divine service. The collection of vessels makes a single entity. Moshe is told to make the Mishkan after the “pattern” that he sees in the mount. The Hebrew text uses the word tynIb.T; tabnith – pattern. Most patterns have multiple parts. Therefore, the stones are plural. Are we the pieces of the whole the vessels making the entity of a heavenly house?

The collections of refined animals make one Mishkan.

I believe there is a great deal more to discuss concerning this Torah Seder and its relation to Mordechai. However, for the sake of brevity I have offered these few thoughts from as much a P’shat perspective as I could.

[1] of a building rise, be put up, of the body as a temple erect, put up (Mk 14.58); (Freiburg Greek Lexicon) IThis word is used in LXX Ex 26,30; to build, to rear up

[2] (Lust-Eynikel-Hauspie) This is a lexicon of the Greek in the Septuagint (LXX) and as such is useful for studying LXX usage. In addition, it may be helpful in studying quotes from the Old Testament in the New Testament as many of these appear to be LXX-based.

[3] see Ramban Gen 1:28

[4] The Torah: with Ramban’s Commentary translated annotated and elucidated, Artscroll, pg 187-188