Character in Context
Episode 25: Be Therefore Ready Part 3–The Parable of the Talents

Episode 25: Be Therefore Ready Part 3–The Parable of the Talents

September 13, 2019

This is the third of a four-part teaching series on the "readiness" parables of Matthew Chapter 24/25 concerning what we are and are not to do in order to be ready for our Master's return. In this installment, we are going to explore the Parable of the Talents. Whereas the Parable of the Ten Virgins suffers much violence from wild interpretations, the Parable of the Talents is rarely taught from the perspective of a first-century Greco Roman Jewish peasant. It makes it a lot more interesting!

Episode 24: Special Teaching–The Season of Teshuva and the Temptation of Messiah

Episode 24: Special Teaching–The Season of Teshuva and the Temptation of Messiah

September 6, 2019

We are interrupting our regularly scheduled teaching series on the "Be Therefore Ready" parables of Matthew 24/25 in order to talk about the season we are now in according to the Biblical calendar. The time from Elul 1 to Yom Kippur is scripturally attested to be a time of repentance and reflection and I am going to talk about how I believe it to be the forty days in which Yeshua was tempted in the wilderness. I am also going to briefly discuss a series of dreams I have had over the course of the last week where God has been showing me better ways of dealing with things.

Episode 23: Be Therefore Ready Part 2–The Parable of the Ten Virgins

Episode 23: Be Therefore Ready Part 2–The Parable of the Ten Virgins

August 30, 2019

This is the second of a four-part teaching series on the "readiness" parables of Matthew Chapter 24/25 concerning what we are and are not to do in order to be ready for our Master's return. In this installment, we are going to explore the Parable of the Ten Virgins--paying special attention to what it does and does not say and possibly tipping some sacred cows as this parable is possibly the most abused in Scripture.

Episode 22: Be Therefore Ready Part 1–The Parable of the Faithful Steward

Episode 22: Be Therefore Ready Part 1–The Parable of the Faithful Steward

August 23, 2019

This is the beginning of a four-part teaching series on the "readiness" parables of Matthew Chapter 24/25 concerning what we are and are not to do in order to be ready for our Master's return. In this installment, we are going to explore the Parable of the Faithful Steward from the perspective of Joseph from the Genesis account and find out what his life teaches us about how we are to live.

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