Shortly before He asked them to watch and pray with Him, Maschiach had this to say:
Then Jesus/Yeshua said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:
‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”
Matthew 26:31-32 NKJV
He was quoting Zechariah:
Awake O sword against My Shepherd Against the Man who is My Companion” Says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones. Zechariah 13:7 KJV
The thematic picture of being scattered is a thread throughout much of Scripture, usually YHWH’s disciplinary action to those who chose not to obey His commands. We have seen this scattering happen as Adam and Eve were made to leave that first garden, as Israel was scattered to find stubble to make bricks, and as they were scattered among the nations in exile. “Scattering” and “sowing” of seed are often used synonymously. We see scattering as a disciplinary action, yet we also eventually see the blessing that comes. Can we avoid being “scattered” as we watch and pray with Him in these days as we wait for His return? Or should we welcome it?
Scattering, in the Biblical sense, does refer to both sowing of seed and winnowing of the harvest. Diaskorpizo, Strong’s #G1287, is the Greek word used, which shows us the connection with the Greek word for exile, diaspora. We can see this picture in the acts described: a sower would scatter the seed in a wide arc to disperse it in order to give room for the plants to grow. When the grain is harvested, it was again, thrown up in the separation process, which would allow the wind to blow the chaff away from the heavier wheat, for the purpose of keeping and storing the wheat while dispensing with the chaff.
Yeshua asked those closest to Him to wait, watch and pray with Him in the garden as He made His final preparations to walk through the physical reality of the plan laid before the foundation of the world. He had been telling them something of what was to come.
From that time Jesus/Yeshua began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes and be killed, and be raised the third day.
Matthew 16:21 NKJV
Despite this information we still see that they didn’t understand and Peter even tried to forbid it, bless impulsive Peter! We certainly understand his heart response, even though we know that Maschiach rebuked him and addressed it to satan. How many times do we see something as bad and try to hold it back forgetting that our ways are not Elohim’s ways? Forgetting that the evil one can and does influence our sentiments, using them to cause us to question His goodness. Forgetting that the greatest tragedy of His crucifixion made possible the greatest blessing of redemption.
Knowing that something difficult is coming and being able to stand firm through it do not automatically go together. Perhaps we can take some kind of comfort that even hearing the plan directly from Yeshua in the flesh wasn’t enough for the talmudim to fully understand. Being able to do hard things is one of the indicators of maturity as found in the child level of development in the Life Model. Our character has been built up by the experiences in which we were shown and encouraged to do what is right even if we knew it would carry a cost to us. Strong character may not have been encouraged for many people and they never learned how to be tenacious and resilient. Is it just me or do you also see more people who seem driven more by self-interest than by what is morally right? This may be a character issue for them, never having been encouraged to mature or they may have just given themselves over to evil. Seems Yeshua warned us that this, too, would happen as we got closer to His return.
Do we pray and actively seek NOT to be “scattered” or “sown?” Or do we look for it and pray for it to come about? Some how, at least in English, that picture of being scattered seems to carry a sense of danger or difficulty that led to the scattering, while the sowing metaphor just seems to be more of a promise. Since scattering is associated with exile in Scripture perhaps it will involve danger and disruption. Sowing indicates the ultimate purpose for the scattering of seed: to bring forth life! Yeshua used this metaphor to teach many things, among them that what looks like death to the seed is actually a step toward life and abundance of the harvest to come.
Yeshua told His talmudim that they would be scattered when the Shepherd was struck in order to fulfill prophecy. This seems as though there was little choice for a different response, or at least clearly stated that Yeshua knew exactly what they would do as events played out. The Revelation of Yeshua the Messiah to John as well as other Scripture indicates events as they will play out when He returns. Though much remains unclear, as we have studied the days of creation, the moedim and the 7 Spirits of YHWH, we see some of the picture take shape. We know the season though we do not yet know the day and the hour.
As the authorities with the crowd came to arrest Yeshua fear overcame the talmudim and they did scatter… for the moment. They had to be made to stumble and scatter when the Shepherd was struck. What happens to us when the authorities come for those who follow Maschiach today? It is happening already to some who stand for life and against the death culture or even simply for the right to express public prayer for examples. And what of those of us who keep the moedim rather than the tree and egg festivals? What might it look like to be “scattered” now? Is this part of the multitude of divisions that exist among those who consider themselves part of the body of Maschiach? Could it be part of the plan? Our Great Shepherd is coming again to gather His flock and He is returning as Conquering King this time!
What might it look like to be “sown” now as we watch and pray? I have seen a picture here of what it is to be set apart, being holy as He is holy, which includes obedience to His Torah. I believe we are to be pictures of obedience wherever we are among the nations; in the world but not of it.
As far back as the Abrahamic covenant, there was a promise of blessing and life for those who obey His commands. Blessing and life certainly seem relevant to our watchful prayer today, yes?
Watching and praying with Him while we wait is rather like a season. Won’t the time for scattering and sowing be past when He comes this time? Will He not be gathering together the results of that scattering and sowing process? Maschiach told the talmudim that when He came in His glory that all the nations would be gathered before Him and that He would then separate them out as a shepherd does in his flock. The sheep at His right Hand would come with Him to inherit the Kingdom while the goats at His left hand would go away into eternal punishment (Matthew 16:27; 25: 31-46) He described it in the great parable of the tares of the field as well.
He answered and said to them, “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear!
Matthew 13: 37-43 NKJV
Until That Day, we watch and pray with Him. Events are moving faster every week. His people, those of us who see that the season is near, are watching. Ultimately, we know that we are to be gathered to Him in the Land of Yisrael, HalleluYah! How will that actually happen?
- By “our decision” to return to the land?
- By sudden supernatural intervention?
- By scattering and sowing?
We have already seen what taking the decision into our own hands looks like in several instances: Adam and Eve’s taking from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil rather than obeying the command not to do so; the birth of Ishmael, and the sons of the daughters of Lot, Moab and Ammon, all adversaries of Yisrael. Each one of us probably has personal examples of this, too. May this be a time in which we judge not by the hearing of our ears or the sight of our eyes but with Maschiach’s righteousness, leaning into Him rather than our own understanding.
As Jude exhorted, may we be found “contending earnestly for the faith delivered once for all to the saints “(v. 3.), watching and praying; and
either way, being scattered or being sown, by what looks like danger or promise, ready to rest in Maschiach’s character, knowing that He will work all things together for our good. (Genesis 50:20)
Abba, teach us by Your Spirit to pray that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us the wisdom, understanding, wise counsel, power, intimate knowledge of You and awe to delight in Your will and walk in Your paths rather than our own as You choose when, where and how to scatter and sow us. May we move with Your Spirit in these days through Yeshua our Maschiach.
Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
(Jude 24-25 NKJV)