We left off in John 7.40, and these events are happening during the festival of Sukkot. We see there was a discussion about Yeshua among the people, the rulers, scribes and the Pharisee’s from Beit Shammai, going all the way to the end of the chapter. Some people were saying that he is “The Prophet (Deut 18.15-18; John 1.21) while others were saying he is the Messiah (v 40-41). But Yeshua was from Galilee and Nazareth and so they were discussing the fact that the prophecies were saying the Messiah was to be the offspring of David and from Bethlehem. Now, in Matt 2.23 it says that Yeshua lived in Nazareth so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled that said “He shall be called a Nazarene.” However, there are no Scriptures that say that. SO, what does that verse mean?
The people from Nazareth in the first century were “despised” so the name of Nazareth was liked with being despised. Isa 9.1 says that many Gentiles lived there, and that was a main reason. Also, many of the main schools of rabbinic thought were located in the south, in Judea, and so people from the north, like Nazareth and Galilee, were seen as uneducated and crude. The name “Nazareth” means “branch” and this was a term for the Messiah (Zech 6.11-13; Jer 23.5-6; 33.15-16). Later on in the discussion in John 7, Nicodemus was defending Yeshua, and the rulers from the Pharisee’s (the School of Shammai) criticized Nicodemus (from the School of Hillel) and what he said about Yeshua by insulting him by saying in 7.52, “You are not also from Galilee are you?” So, as you can see, being from Nazareth and Galilee was seen as a bad thing, or “despised.” In John 1.43-51, Phillip finds Nathanael and says he has found the Messiah. When Nathanael finds out Yeshua is from Nazareth, he says, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth.” So, again, we the reputation Nazareth and Galilee had. So, in Matt 2.23, when it says “He shall called a Nazarene” just as the Scriptures say, we need to look at Scriptures that will say the Messiah is “despised” and not for Scriptures that say he will be from Nazareth. But being from Nazareth and Galilee was the same as being “despised.” There are two Scriptures that we can go to right away, and they are found in the “servant passages” of Isa 40 through 55. The first one is Isa 49.7 and the other one is found in Isa 53.3. Both refer to the Messiah as being “despised.”
Next we are going to look at the Seed of David. The genealogy in Matt 1.1-12 is the genealogy of Yeshua through his step-father Joseph. Josiah is replaced by Jehoahaz, then he is replaced by his half brother Jehoikim, then he is replaced by Jehoichin and then the last king of Judah was Zedekiah, then Babylon. Jehoichin is the only one Messiah can come from because Zedekiah was the uncle to Jehoichin. Jehoichin has Shealtiel, and his son is Zerubbabel on down to Yeshua But, there is a problem. In Jer 22.24-30, we read about a curse God puts on the Coniah, who is Jehoichin, also called Jeconiah. Now, was Coniah childless? No, he had a son named Shealtiel, and then he had a son Zerubbabel. But there was a curse on the line. Zerubbabel was blessed by God, but he was not a king. He will be a type of the Messiah who will build the Temple (Hag 1.1, 2.21-23). Rabbinic Judaism says that God “waved” the curse on Coniah because of Zerubbabel, but in actuality he really didn’t.
In Luke 3.23-31 we have the genealogy of Yeshua’s mother Miriam. We know that the there is a curse on the kingly line in Matt 1, and that Josiah is from David through Solomon. In Luke, the line goes from David through Nathan (v 31) and his line does not have a curse on it. If Yeshua descended from Solomon, can he be a king? No. But Luke’s genealogy is Miriam’s, the “legal” line through David’s son Nathan. This fulfills Gen 3.15 and the “seed of the woman.” Women in Jewish law can have an inheritance and that issue was settled in Num 27.1-7.
In John 8.1-2, the story picks up “the next morning” which would be Shemini Atzeret, the “eighth day” of Sukkot. From John 8.3-11, we have the story of a woman caught in adultery. Yeshua is in the Temple, and the scribes and the Pharisee’s from Beit Shammai are trying to trap Yeshua. They quote the Torah passage that says that such a woman should be stoned (Deut 22.22-24). But that verse also says they were to bring the man, so where was he? It is possible that he was one of their own and this was a trap, to provoke a controversy. So, they ask Yeshua if they should stone her or not. The question was, is Yeshua going to follow the Torah or not. But, to their surprise, Yeshua stoops down and begins writing on the ground in the Temple. They are obviously in the outer courts because they brought this woman there. He then begins to disqualify the witnesses one by one, using the Torah to save the woman (Deut 17.6-7, 19.15-19). He then stoops down and writes on the ground in the Temple. When they heard what Yeshua said about the witnesses to this adultery coming forth and casting the first stone, they began to leave, with the older and wiser ones getting out first. How could the witnesses explain how they came to be witnesses of this adultery? Why were they there to begin with? They were not about to get cross examined by Yeshua. Yeshua uses the Torah about needing two witnesses to save her. He uses their own hearts and consciences to convict them, not her.
Now, we know this is Sukkot, and the theme of “living water” is prevalent throughout the liturgy, the prayers, the Scriptures used for this day and the services. The ceremony of the Beit Ha Shoevah is a prime example of this theme. So, they were studying all the “living water” passages in the Tanak (“Old” Testament). One of them was Jer 17.12-13, where it says, “A glorious throne on high from the beginning is the place of our sanctuary (Temple). O Lord, the hope (the person confided in) of Israel, all who forsake thee will be put to shame. Those who turn away from me will be written down in the earth because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.” Now, he just said the day before that if any man was thirsty, “let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” Yeshua was that fountain of living water and this was said during the Beit Ha Shoevah ceremony (House of the Water-pouring). In Chapter 8, these same people had clearly rejected him, the fountain of living water (Jer 17.13) and he was writing their names “in the earth” of the Temple.
Now, we have given you some brief examples from the book of John, chapters 1 through 8, on how to study and understand the New Testament. In our next series, we will pick up with the theme of the Torah and New Testament Foundations, and begin to look at the Sadducees, the Pharisees and Yeshua. We are going to look a the political and religious atmosphere in the first century, the Sanhedrin and just what was going on in the Gospels. We need to know the different groups and just who exactly Yeshua is talking to. Too many false generalizations have been made by uninformed teachers and interpreters that have led to many false conclusions, so we are going to try and correct that. Understanding these things will go a long way in helping to “rightly divide” the Gospels and Epistles.