Character in Context
Episode 21: Bible Phrases Part 2–Outer Darkness and the Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Episode 21: Bible Phrases Part 2–Outer Darkness and the Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

August 16, 2019

The whole concept of "outer darkness" and the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" is so obscured by hell-related imagery that we fail to understand how it would have been received by Yeshua's/Jesus's first-century Jewish audience. As this phrase is going to play a big part in the next teaching series on the four "readiness" parables of Matthew 24/25 I decided to make this separate teaching on the "fate worse than death" concept of rejection in the ancient world.

Episode 20: Woes Part 9–Your House is Left to You Desolate

Episode 20: Woes Part 9–Your House is Left to You Desolate

August 9, 2019

This was an emotional teaching for me. This is an incredibly tragic moment in the Gospel of Matthew, when Yeshua/Jesus utters his last lament to the Pharisees and their Scribes and leaves the Temple toward the Mount of Olives, hearkening back to the events of Ezekiel 10 and 11.

We'll be talking about Temple language, and how it (and Yeshua) appear repeatedly in Psalm 118, along with His utterance, "Baruch haha b'shem Adonai," or "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord" and explore what that might tell us about the season of His return. And yes, I cry. I know, I get emotional while reading the Word aloud sometimes. I am a big softie.

Episode 19: Woes Part 8–Tombs, Monuments, Vipers, and the Infancy Gospel of James

Episode 19: Woes Part 8–Tombs, Monuments, Vipers, and the Infancy Gospel of James

August 2, 2019

Have you ever heard the legend that John the Baptist's father was slaughtered in the Temple? Did you ever wonder where people get that from and whether or not it is even plausible? Tonight we are going to delve into the huge problems with that and reveal the surprising source that claim came from.

This is a lot of tidbits of context all squeezed into one episode, but the seventh woe is also the most serious and intricate. What was the tomb of the prophets and who built it? What are the monuments of the righteous? Why was being compared to a brood of vipers so much worse than just being compared to vipers? And why am I spending time debunking the Protoevangelium of James as a source? It's all related and all working up to the grand finale next week.

Episode 18: Woes Part 7–Whitewashed Tombs and False Teachers

Episode 18: Woes Part 7–Whitewashed Tombs and False Teachers

July 26, 2019

Why were the tombs whitewashed? Was it to make them prettier? Nope. Unlike last week's episode, this one was a lot of fun for me because I just love teaching about anything Temple related. Ritual purity, and especially heading into the Passover, was incredibly important and biblically mandated. We're going to delve into the subjects of corpse impurity from Numbers 19, and the whitewashing of the tombs from Shekelim 1.1 in the Mishnah. Perhaps most importantly for today, we are going to investigate our own level of ritual impurity in order to put other forms into perspective--especially the misplaced focus on menstrual impurity in congregations, oftentimes due to a lack of understanding of the Biblical text.

Episode 17: Woes Part 6–The Inside of the Cup and the Circumcision of the Heart

Episode 17: Woes Part 6–The Inside of the Cup and the Circumcision of the Heart

July 12, 2019

Full disclosure. I hated teaching a lot of this. This information is maddening and confusing and nitpicky, but it represents a real debate and struggle in the first century and even to modern times--the idea that human hands were automatically so unclean that they would make food and drink defiled if not ritually washed. It isn't Biblical and Yeshua firmly stands against it in a number of passages. But what should the Pharisees and their scribes be focusing on instead? Their hearts! Yeshua felt as though it needed to be addressed and so we're going to talk about it, the debate over the insides and outsides and handles of "utensils" covered in Mishnah tractates Kelim and Berakhot between Hillel and Shammai as well as begin to cover the top of ritual purity, which we will discuss in greater detail in the next teaching.

A kid-friendly version of this teaching is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlYq6ONWeD8&t=3s

Episode 16: Woes Part 5–Dill, Mint, Cumin, Righteousness and Justice

Episode 16: Woes Part 5–Dill, Mint, Cumin, Righteousness and Justice

July 5, 2019

This week Yeshua/Jesus gives the Pharisees and Scribes credit where credit is due--they are amazing tithers. But He also rebukes them for missing the bigger picture--just what were the weightier matters of Torah? What did "justice and righteousness" mean in the ancient world?

A child-level video is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_hyuSi-TKs

Episode 15: Woes Part 4–Blind Guides and Fools–The Maze of Oath Rules in First Century Phariseeism

Episode 15: Woes Part 4–Blind Guides and Fools–The Maze of Oath Rules in First Century Phariseeism

June 28, 2019

So did you know that, according to the Pharisees' oath rules, you could swear not to eat anything, but eat a tarantula without having broken your oath?

This week we are going to delve into Mishnah Tractates Shevuot and Nedarim in order to figure out why Yeshua/Jesus was forbidding oaths, as were other Jewish factions in the first century, when they are commanded and used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. What was going on here? And why did Yeshua label them as blind not once, but three times in this particular rebuke?

A shorter kid-friendlier video version of part of this teaching is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu8vzXb5uUw

Episode 14: The Seven Woes Part 3: Sons of Hell

Episode 14: The Seven Woes Part 3: Sons of Hell

June 21, 2019

Why weren't the Pharisees entering into the Kingdom of Heaven, and how were they shutting out others? Of all the woes, this charge was the most surprising. And how were they making their converts into "sons of hell"? We're going to look at a few possibilities for what Yeshua/Jesus was talking about with that accusation and explore some more of the world of the first century Jews and particularly the Pharisees.

Episode 13: Pharisees and Sadducees and Scribes, OH MY!

Episode 13: Pharisees and Sadducees and Scribes, OH MY!

June 14, 2019

I apologize in advance because I stuffed this broadcast with so much historical data from Josephus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Bible and the Talmud that you might end up feeling like you get hit by a Mack truck by the end. And the amount of stuff I left out is staggering, but we will cover a lot of the rest of it as we continue on next week with our journey through the "woes" of Matthew 23.

My shorter kid-friendly version in video form is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqe8VBEqLts

Episode 12: The Seven Woes Part 2–Moses’s Seat, Long Tassels, and Social Status

Episode 12: The Seven Woes Part 2–Moses’s Seat, Long Tassels, and Social Status

June 7, 2019

Hopefully you caught last week's episode on polemic in the ancient world and if you didn't go back and listen because it will be important to understanding this teaching. I will only barely review that material here. This week I am going to tip some popular sacred cows within the Hebrew Roots movement as to the identification of Moses's seat, whether or not Yeshua/Jesus was wearing a tallit, and if Rabbis existed then as we know them today. And most importantly, was Yeshua really outlawing titles or was there something else going on in the first century? You have to listen in order to find out.

My shorter kid-friendly video version is here https://youtu.be/k_-vrLYQiT4