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Author Topic: The real Message of the Prodigal Son  (Read 1736 times)
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« on: February 19, 2015, 12:08:35 AM »

THE PARABLES OF OUR LORD YESHUA

by
Les Aron Gosling, Messianic Rebbe

CAUTION: These BRI Expositions are not available to the general public. They are not for distribution. They are not for reproduction. The notes may also bear little or no resemblance to the actual audio or video recorded BRI Yeshiva lecture.

Copyright © BRI 2014 All Rights Reserved Worldwide by Les Aron Gosling,
Messianic Lecturer (BRI/IMCF)


THE REAL MESSAGE OF THE PRODIGAL SON

INTRODUCTION

To catch the attention of an audience, rabbis of the Second Temple Period would share with a crowd that which was termed a “parable.” A parable is a fictitious story that usually illustrates a moral or spiritual lesson. It is usually imaginative, with (again, usually) no basis in fact. And, no parable of and by itself ought to be taken literally, although certain factors within a parable may have a literal application (apart from the obvious moral).

In Mt 13.10-17, the Lord Yeshua explains to his intimate students (disciples/ talmidim) the truthful substance in the meaning of the parable in question but to unbelievers (those not “called” by God to serve Him during this age) what they were hearing was just a good story with a moral to it. For them the deeper truth contained in the parable would be hidden from them. Indeed, during the short ministry of the Lord Yeshua, certain Greeks were seen to be in attendance during one of his talks (Jn 12.20-26) and no doubt they returned to their country with a number of good tales which they added to Aesop's Fables.

Notice carefully that the attendance of the Greeks in Jerusalem was during the Passover season (Jn 12.1). The Passover was approaching and these Greeks wanted an appointment to “see” Yeshua. They came up to Jerusalem to worship specifically at this time so they were not in any way sightseers but were proselytes. But they were and they remained Greeks. (Please note that they are called Greeks in the account, and not Greek Jews or Jewish Greeks. They were Greeks.) And Yeshua acts as if they did not exist. Indeed he avoids their request.

Why was this the case?

They may have been proselytes to the Jewish Faith, as I have suggested, and while the Lord and Saviour came to die for all humankind he came first of all “to his own” (Jn 1.11) and “his own” had to reject him in order for the Gospel to be sent to the whole Gentile world (Paul's entire argument in Rom 11) and the apostle to the Gentiles understood this principle of “to the Jew first and [then] also to the Greek” (Rom 1.16; 2.9,10; Mt 10.5,6). Any audience with the Lord Yeshua by Gentiles prior to his crucifixion and resurrection was premature – God has His timing and it never goes awry.

But back to the parables. It is not quite appreciated that Yeshua spoke in parables not to make the truth of God more interesting, appealing, and easy to understand but to make God's truth more difficult to comprehend at a spiritual level. In Mt 13.10-17 this is made perfectly plain. Only those whom God has called at this time have any right to understand His truth.

Listen! Yeshua in fact instructed his students from the perspective of what was termed by the ancients “double doctrine.” Plato had done exactly the same thing with his pupils. There was one teaching for them and another for the general masses outside his circle or school (Galen on Plato, On the Natural Faculties, Fragments).

Yes, there can be little doubt about the fact that Yeshua did the same! To those “outside” the inner circle of hidden teaching both Plato and Yeshua taught an exoteric doctrine. That is, a teaching which is outward and which perhaps includes some form of moral: like, as I have already mentioned, Aesop's Fables. But to the “insiders” they both taught esoteric fundamentals. For instance, it is true that Plato taught natural immortality to the masses, but to his intimates he propounded that one universal Spirit or field illuminated the universe, giving life to all. [Many sects of “Churchianity,” quick to emphasise utter mortality in man fail to appreciate this fact.] Strabo confirms Galen's accusation about Plato. Strabo, speaking about the religious beliefs of the Indians, knew what Plato really taught.

“THEY INVENT FABLES also, after the manner of Plato, on the immortality of the soul, and on the punishments in Hades, and other things of this kind” (Bk. XV, 1, 57, Bohn tr.).

Plato told “whoppers” to the general Greek public in relation to the horrors that awaited men in the “afterlife” by his own admission.

“As for the symbol on the private note, you desire to know my serious letters and which contain MY REAL SENTIMENTS from THOSE LETTERS THAT DO NOT, know and remember that [the word] 'God' [singular] begins a serious letter, and [the word] 'gods' [plural] begins one that is otherwise” (Plato, Epistle 13).

Clearly, Plato and the other Greek philosophers believed that teaching a form of 'double doctrine' was absolutely essential for the maintenance of a well-structured stable society. Such was expedient for the State. Where Plato and his disciples differ from Yeshua and Paul the apostle, is that the latter were not given to falsifying their teachings. At this juncture we also have the evidence of the Platonist, Synesius, who informs us “that philosophy, when it has attained the truth, allows the use of lies and fictions” (Epistle 15). The ancient pagan philosophers all thought to a man that through religion the masses could be more easily controlled and manipulated. It was not without reason that Moses Mordecai Marx Levi (Karl Marx) stated that “religion is the opiate of the people.” Especially so when the religion taught the terrors of hell: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” - Marx, (speaking with tongue in cheek).

Certainly, like Plato, Yeshua had one teaching for the multitudes, and quite another for his talmidim. In fact, the pagan Greeks who were also exposed to his teachings carried many of his moral sayings and teachings down to posterity, but they lost his identity completely. Well, not completely, for Aesop – the Greeks admit – was not a Greek but came from the Orient. (An earlier Grecian teacher by the same name was later merged into the character of the teacher “Aesop” presently under discussion.)

“Aesop” is a corruption of the Aramaic Yuz Asaf, Yeshua the Gatherer! Aesop's fables are really Yeshua the Messiah's parables!

“To you [students] has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside [the pagan multitudes, including Greeks which at one time desired to see Yeshua] everything is in parables, so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear, and not understand... With many such parables he spoke the word to them [the multitudes] as they were able to hear it, he did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything” (Mk 4.11,33,34).

Even Paul taught the mysteries of the kingdom of God in at least two levels because he could not openly share equally with all. Some very early Christian teachers, like Dionysius the Areopagite, who warned his talmidim in his writings against disclosing his beliefs to “the uninitiated.” This is why some of our long time followers have asked questions about the apparent two level stratum of our earlier expositions and especially those lectures which have formed certain past BRI manuals. There seemed to be at least two levels of understanding in them. Those with eyes to see, have seen.

“I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Messiah. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? For when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I belong to Apollos,' are you not merely men?” (1 Cor 3.1-4).

Paul's argument is sound. Competition becomes rife amongst those who study under a particular Rav of their own especial persuasion when they should also be looking to the right Man who is TRUTH Itself – Our Lord Yeshua the Mashiach, the AUTHENTIC SPIRIT OF GOD: and God's eternal Wisdom and WORD personified. Paul stated with absolute clarity: “Be you followers of me as I also am of Mashiach” (1 Cor 11.1; 4.16).

To “follow” Paul, that is to be his student, is qualified by an intimation that the student will know the Word of God thoroughly enough to realise when Paul is walking with God and when Paul is walking far behind Him or too far out in front. No student should blindly follow his earthly teacher (even one appointed by the Ruach HaKodesh) if that same individual goes astray in his teaching or walk before the LORD.

After a number of years in the AOG what a grave disappointment it was to hear the beloved pastor tell his congregation: “If I jump over into hell itself you should be all willing to follow me there also!” This statement was entirely out of character for this gentleman (and I continue to have a deep appreciation and love toward him and I value our past walk with him) but this comment sent shivers down my spine and it was that particular statement which rocked his church to its foundations. God the Father separated that church from us not long after that incident occurred. Today God is “doing a new thing” through the IMCF.

THE PARABLE

“Then he said: A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of the estate that falls to me. So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son put all his resources together into one lump sum, journeyed from his own country to a far away place, and there squandered his possessions living an abandoned, dissolute life.

“But when he had spent it all, there arose a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in want. Then he went and forced himself on to a citizen of that country who was entirely unwilling to hire him, and who finally took him on after a persistent, pleading entreaty.

“He sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the carob-pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

“But when he came to his senses, he said, How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough to consume and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me immediately like one of your hired servants. And having put things in readiness for his journey, he went to his father.

“When he was still a great distance away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him tenderly over and over. And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.

“The father said to his slaves, Hurry! Bring out the best festive robe and put it on him, and rush to put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and slaughter it, even the calf that has been fatted for just such an occasion of rejoicing as this, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found. And they began to be merry.

“Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music played by a number of musicians in concert, and the sound of people dancing a circular dance on the lawn. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf. But he flew into a rage that was the explosive outlet of a long-time pent-up resentment against his brother, a resentment that was smouldering in his breast. And he would not go in and join the celebration.

“Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, Look! These many years I have been slaving for you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with prostitutes, you killed the fatted calf for him.

“And he said to him, Child, you are always with me, and all my things are now yours. It was right that we should make merry and celebrate, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found” (Lk 15.11-32 Greek).

POPULAR GENERAL INTERPRETATION

There exists a very popular Christian interpretation of this parable and it goes a lot like this: A rebellious son has had enough of his father and family and wants to do “his own thing.” So his father gives him his inheritance and off he goes and squanders it all on licentious and lascivious living. After a time, and especially when his inheritance runs through his fingers, and the pigs he is caring for eat far better than he does, he repents and returns to the family home, and all is well again... his dad and the servants rejoice, except for his older brother who resents his younger sibling's attitude and previous lifestyle and has to be corrected by his father. It appears from the abrupt conclusion that this elder brother remains hostile to his brother's restoration. While his father forgives his younger son, his brother appears to maintain his anger.

Well, that is briefly the popular version of the parable. But what is the truth of the matter? It's a little more complex. We need to look carefully at ALL the Lord has to share with us concerning this parabolic teaching.

But first, if we look at Lk 13.1,2 which actually sets the stage for the series of parables which Yeshua expounds, we read of the slaughter of some Galileans by Pilate, and the people of the Galil were usually non-observant Jews living in the midst of Gentiles – many of them a mixed multitude who were frowned upon by the more religious Torah observers in Judaea. Recall the phrase “Galilee of the Gentiles” in Isa 9.1 and Mt 4.15? We read of “multitudes” who came to hear Yeshua teach (Lk 14.25) and with little doubt there were Gentiles among them. Gentiles have never been in favour with Jewish religious authorities, and this statement can be illustrated right throughout the NT Codex. Interesting is the fact that it was the hostility of the Pharisaic rabbinic authorities in Lk 15.1,2 which launch a series of stories from Yeshua which take up over two chapters in the light of this incident, and which are really ONE huge parable! Notice this fact now:

“Then drew near to him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receives sinners, and actually eats with them! And he spoke THIS parable unto them saying...” (Lk 15.1-3).

There are an entire string of stories given by the Lord in their sequence, but those stories unite together AS ONE HUGE PARABLE. People reading the Gospel of Luke fail to grasp this clarification. Whatever the case, consider now...THE REAL STORY.

If you would like to continue studying the lecture series “THE PARABLES OF OUR LORD YESHUA” we would encourage you to become a member of the International Messianic Community of Faith (IMCF). The way to become a member is to get behind this ministry and Work of God by sharing your financial blessings as frequently as God desires of you. Our very survival depends on the generosity of our students/members.

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