The Prediction of Yochanan the Imerser
There was a kohen (one who supports the people) in the days of Herodes (Heroic) the king of Yahudah, named Zekharyah (Yahweh remembers), of the charge of AbiYah (Yahweh is my Father) and his wife was of the daughters of Aharon (light bringer), and her name was Elisheva (Oath of El). And both were righteous in the sight of Elohim, and walking completely in all the commandments and customs of Yahweh. And they did not have a child because Elisheva was barren and both were advance in their days.
From the beginning Yahweh had a hero in mind from the tribe of Yahudah who was a King that would one day come on the scene. This true Hero would support the people and He would bring a light because of the Oath that Yahweh made for His people. Yahweh would not do this by just natural means. But by supernatural means as He has done in the past.
This oath that Yahweh made for His people has always been around since the time of Abraham. Yochanan and his parents were about to be apart of that fulfillment of that promise by ushering in the promised Messiah. It is their righteousness that brings about the Messiah and it is ours that brings about His saving act.
And it was the day when he served his charge as guard before Elohim, according to the custom of the kohenim he was chosen by lot to enter in the Temple of Yahweh and burn incense. And all the congregation of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
This is the symbol of the living sacrifice we are all to be. The unity here where the children of Yisra’el come together in prayer is what Yahweh desires. It is at this hour in which Yahweh’s presence is manifested to His children. Because ZekharYah was a righteous man his prayer was heard.
As Ya’acob says:
Ya’acob (James) 5:16: Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, so that you are healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous one accomplishes much.
And there appeared to him a messenger of Yahweh standing to right of the altar of incense. Zekharyah saw and fear and terror fell on him.
Put together, their offspring is a beautiful picture of Elohim’s faithfulness to His promise.
The “rotation or class of the priests’ service at the Temple, as distributed by families” (Strong), according to the 24 divisions that David had set up (1 Chron. 24:4ff; 2 Chron. 8:14). Each division discharged its duties for a whole week, and the courses ran twice a year. Abiyah’s position was eighth (1 Chron. 24:10), but his descendants served on the tenth week of the first cycle since all of the divisions served on the third week (Feast of Unleavened Bread) and the ninth. This means Yochanan would have been born around passover. He would rightly say, “Behold the lamb.”
And the messenger said unto him, “Fear not Zekharyah, El heard your prayer, and that your wife Elisheva (Elisheba/Elizabeth) will bear to you a son, and shall call his name Yochanan (Yahweh favors). And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. Because he will be great before Yahweh and he shall not drink wine or strong drink and the Set Apart Spirit will fill his mother’s womb. And many sons of Yisra’el will return to Yahweh their Elohim, and he will go before him in the spirit of EliYahu (Mighty is Yahweh) to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’and the disobedient to the insight of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for Yahweh.” Malachi 4:5-6
As a sign of separation Yochanan was to get ready a people to separate themselves for Yahweh’s deliverer. To understand that we need to know that Yahweh is there ready to help us, and because of that we can have joy and gladness. If we go before Yahweh and recognize His might and make ready our hearts by turning it towards Him, then our hearts will be ready.
And Zekharyah said to the messenger, “By what shall I know this thing? For I am old, and my wife is advanced in her days.”
And the messenger answered and said unto him, “I am Gavri’el (Gabriel – warrior of El) standing before Elohim, and sent to talk to you and to announce to you the good news of these things. And see you are silenced and cannot speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which shall be fulfilled in their appointed time.”
Doubt often creeps in asking, how will I know that Yahweh is for me? Even though He is a strong warrior by our side this doubt often silences us, rendering us useless to announce the good news. But Yahweh is our help in time of need and a refuge. All that is needed is that we stand in the shadow of His wings. Psalms 91 appropriately shows us this:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High, Who abides under the shadow of the Almighty, He is saying of Yahweh, “My refuge and my stronghold, My Elohim, in whom I trust!” For He delivers you from the snare of a trapper, From the destructive pestilence. He covers you with His feathers, And under His wings you take refuge; His truth is a shield and armor. You are not afraid of the dread by night, Of the arrow that flies by day, Of the pestilence that walks in darkness, Of destruction that ravages at midday. A thousand fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it does not come near you. Only with your eyes you look on, And see the reward of the wrong ones. Because you have made Yahweh – My refuge, the Most High – your dwelling place, No evil befalls you, And a plague does not come near your tent; For He commands His messengers concerning you, To guard you in all your ways. They bear you up in their hands, Lest you dash your foot against a stone. You tread upon lion and cobra, Young lion and serpent you trample under foot. “Because he cleaves to Me in love, Therefore I deliver him; I set him on high, Because he has known My Name. “When he calls on Me, I answer him; I am with him in distress; I deliver him and esteem him. “With long life I satisfy him, And show him My deliverance.”
And the people were waiting for Zekharyah and wondered why he lingered in the Temple.
And he was coming out and could not speak to them, and they knew that he saw a vision at the Temple. And he was making signs to them and remained silent. When the days of service were accomplished, he returned to his house.
And after those days his wife Elisheva conceived, and hid for five months saying, “So has Yahweh done to me in the days in which He visited me, to gather my shame from the sons of men.”
Blessings will come when those who wait on Him and He will remove their shame from the sons of men. This lesson is really taught in psalms 37.
Are there circumstances, people or things that have made you afraid, where you have found your faith being diminished and weakened amidst the onslaught of the wicked and their schemes in and around your life? What is it that you are afraid of? What is it that you perhaps are ashamed of? Are you even afraid of being disgraced before others, for whatever reason?Maybe you have messed up, made some wrong choices, and afraid to try and figure it out or be set free because you are simply afraid of being embarrassed, ashamed or disgraced.
Have you forgotten to trust? Or what it means to trust, and can you even trust? Who can you trust? Some easy yet often hard to answer questions!!!
But who is it we are to trust in? Although we all know the answer – Yahweh of course – but why is it we often fail at applying this truth, looking often to self or others as opposed to Yahweh.:
Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 17: 5-8:
(5) “Thus said Yahweh, “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart turns away from Yahweh.
(6) “For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and not see when good comes, and shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, a salt land that is not inhabited.
(7) “Blessed is the man who trusts in Yahweh, and whose trust is Yahweh.
(8) “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and does not see when heat comes. And his leaf shall be green, and in the year of drought he is not anxious, nor does he cease from yielding fruit.”
Would you rather be cursed or blessed? Be miserable or happy? Stressed or at peace? I know my answer – I want to be blessed, happy and at peace, and I am sure you do to, so let’s be reminded tonight about what this word trust really means and when trusting in the correct source what it will lead to.
Perhaps you have been facing some tough faith battles so to speak – you have found yourself having had some pretty rough encounters with the wicked. Now to better understand the term wicked, which in Hebrew is ‘rasha’ and ‘poneros’ in the Greek – and refers to someone who is unrighteous – in other words refers to the one who is opposed to righteousness and opposed to the one who is righteous and refers to one who is guilty of violating the righteous requirements of the Torah of Yahweh. So it is not necessarily just referring to the murderer and rapist etc., but it is also referring to one who violates the very Torah, and deliberately disobeys the Torah and even twists the truth for their own gain.
It is here in this Tehillim (Psalm) that Dawiḏ calls for a trust in Yahweh despite the presence of evil and wicked men!
It is here that Dawiḏ teaches us how to survive in the land of the wicked and begins by giving us a series of proverbs from verses 1-8 instructing us and giving way to the promises that that the wicked will be punished and that Elohim upholds the just, despite the intent of the wicked to harm them. Listen the intentions of the wicked and corrupt living around you and perhaps very close to you, may just be to harm you and ridicule you and despise you and slander and hate you, yet here we are encouraged and instructed to take great joy and strength from Yahweh knowing that He upholds us as we are His, aměn!
DO NOT FRET – 3 times Dawiḏ instructs us in this – so what is ‘fret’? Fret is the Hebrew word ‘charah’ and means ‘to worry or fear’ or ‘be shaken’. In other words we are not to be shaken because of evil doers, or be shaken because of those who prosper in their wickedness. How often you hear people say, it is not fair that the wicked prosper – so what – don’t let that shake you, don’t get rattled over it. Dawiḏ also tells us not to get so rattled or shaken by the wicked that we do evil.
Don’t let frustration turn to evil actions and in sense; do as the world does – NO abstain from these. Do not repay evil for evil but repay evil with good – that is the good works of obedient Torah living expressed through love. It can often be a temptation to get envious of others who are not walking in the truth and in fact are so far away from the truth yet they are prosperous:
Mishlé (Proverbs) 23:17: “Do not let your heart envy sinners, But be in the fear of Yahweh all day long.”
Mishlé (Proverbs) 24:1: “Do not envy evil men, Nor desire to be with them.”
For they will wither like grass (Kepha Aleph/1 Peter 1:24)!
This is a call to trust in Yahweh! Trust is the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something. It is a dependence upon one or one in which confidence is placed. It is the confidence, reliance and resting of the mind in the integrity/friendship of another person.
Who can you talk to? And how do you develop trust? What happens when you have the capacity and ability to trust?
Well simply there is a release of pressure, a freedom, an openness to confide in, to seek refuge and comfort, and find a peace and joy that comes as you trust. To trust is also to be confident of something present or future. Let me ask you right now – What are you confident for or in right now or for the future? What is it that you are trusting for – and who are trusting in?
“If only I had more faith!” you may say to yourself, but what makes faith valid is not how much you have, but what/whom we have faith in. It is not how strong our faith is, it is how strong the one we believe in is!
We are to trust in Yahweh who answers prayer and stand on the sure promise that He will give you the desires of your heart!
Based on the condition that is – that you delight yourself in Him! Delight is the Hebrew word ‘anag’ which also means to enjoy or be fond of, or take pleasure in. It carries with it the meaning of having a high degree of gratification and joy in someone or something! We all certainly want the desires of our hearts – that I am sure we can all agree upon, but how sincere and true is our ability to truly take great pleasure and enjoyment in Yahweh – do we truly delight ourselves in Him? We must – but are we is what we are to ask! For when we truly have a high degree of gratification and joy for Yahweh, then His desires become our desires. When you delight in someone you spend all you energy in seeking to please them. Many certainly desire to have the desires of their heart yet find no time for Yahweh in their lives!!! Delighting in Him will cause the fretting to flee.
Dawiḏ moves on and tells us that we are to commit our way to Yahweh. Looking again at the Hebrew word used here for: Commit – ‘galal’ means to ‘roll’ or roll away! This carries the picture of rolling oneself over to Yahweh. To commit you way is not simply committing to an appointment, but rather your whole life – all your desires, your anxieties, your problems – over to Yahweh and allowing Yahweh to determine what your life will be and then He says He will do it! This is a challenge in itself for most, as to say I am committed carries a deeper understanding than many care to realise as it is a rolling away from self and totally over to Yahweh. Carrying on with the Hebrew words in giving us better understanding to Dawiḏ’s words let us look at two more:
Be still – in Hebrew is ‘damam’ and means to be silent or to rest or to cease. We are expected to be still and quiet ourselves, which at times is impossible at the best of times as the hustle and bustle of the world around us just never seems to stop. And all too often I am sure we can all agree that His still small voice is not clearly heard amidst the ‘noise’ of our chaotic 21st century lives! Learning to be still and silenced in a noise filled world will help us and enable us to hear the Shepherd’s voice through His Word. How many of you have at times tried to read the Word only to find that there are just too many distractions and too much noise, while there are other times when you have made the effort to quiet yourself and read and suddenly able to experience the joy of His crisp clear voice bringing revelation and joy, understanding and discernment to your heart. It takes effort to be still, to cease from self and all that tries to drown out the sweet still voice of the Almighty. We must learn to be still amidst the noise, but it takes diligent practice and discipline – maybe you have to set your alarm a little earlier and start being quiet while there is quiet, so growing in the ability to be quiet in the noise!
Learning to be still will enhance and grow our ability to wait patiently for Him.
Wait – another word I find interesting – in the Hebrew it is ‘yachal’ – which means, ‘to wait, delay, also to have hope and wait with expectancy’. ‘Yachal’ here in this Psalm is used in terms of an expectation or hope which for us as believers is closely linked with faith and trust resulting in patient waiting, and so the sense of expectation is positive, waiting for good to come! I asked earlier what you are confident for – well this is a call for ‘Yachal’ – a patient waiting and expectancy – with the confidence of the assurance of that which you are waiting on will come! “Yachal” Hope is the solid ground of expectation for the righteous:
Tehellim (Psalms) 130:7: “O Yisra’ĕl, wait for Yahweh; For with Yahweh there is kindness.”
Verse 34 again tells us to wait on Yahweh and also to guard His way, which is put together here with great wisdom for us. For Yahweh does not expect us to remain passive as we wait for Him to act and bring forth His deliverance and promises. We are to be active – active in doing His Good Works prepared in advance for us – active in guarding His Way! We are to be about walking in His Way – His Torah – walking in Messiah Yahushua as we eagerly await upon Him!
Chazon/Hitgalut (Revelation) 14:12: “Here is the endurance of the set-apart ones, here are those guarding the commands of Elohim and the belief of Yahushua”
In the midst of troublesome times – faithful endurance – continuing to be steadfast in obedience to the commands of Elohim and holding fast to our faith in Yahushua is called for as we know that He is with us and He never will leave nor forsake us!
We have an inheritance!!! 5 times here in this Tehillim (Psalm) Dawiḏ tells us who will inherit the earth: It is those who faithfully and obediently wait upon Yahweh, the meek, His blessed ones, the righteous – those who wait upon Yahweh and guard His way! The wicked may have much prosperity and riches, but the earth will be ours!!!
Dawiḏ’s encouragement to us here is to not fret and worry what the wicked may do or even try to do to us – we must find ourselves delighting in, committing to, waiting on and being still before Yahweh, walking in righteousness and Yahweh will not withhold from us any good matter, aměn!
Dawiḏ goes on to explain why we can have such confident hope – the wicked will be punished! He uses 5 contrasts to form the basis of his affirmations given to us who wait upon Yahweh:
1 – The wicked may devise evil against the righteous – yet Yahweh laughs at them
2 – The wicked may attack the meek and those whose walk is straight – yet their own violence will kill them
3 – It is better to be righteous with little than to be wicked with plenty – for their works will be destroyed and the righteous will be sustained
4 – Yahweh protects the way of the upright and they are satisfied even in famine, while the wicked will perish and vanish like grass and smoke
5 – The wicked will borrow and not repay and be cut off, while the righteous shows favour and gives and receives the inheritance of the earth!
One thing is sure – in Yahweh we have safety and a sure future. Yahweh establishes the way of the righteous, provides food for them; He loves and protects the just who do good and gives them security in the land and the righteous speak with wisdom as the Torah is upon their heart!
We know that there is a struggle between the wicked and the righteous and it will become even greater in the days that lie ahead, yet Dawiḏ here contrasts the plot of the evil to try to destroy the righteous with Yahweh’s power to preserve and by this he reveals the solution to the problem of the wicked. While the wicked may lie in wait to destroy the righteous – Yahweh will not forsake His own!
He who trusts in and waits upon Yahweh will enjoy security and the upright in heart will enjoy a secure future whereas the wicked will perish! They may seem to be flourishing right now – yet they will be cut off!!!!
Perhaps you may at times feel ashamed – as you have looked back on the year and reflect on shameful acts, sinful acts/thoughts/desires, or simply realise a lack of commitment or follow through to complete something you so willingly set out to achieve – what now? Well today I want to tell you that no matter what the circumstances you face or have been through, if you would simply put your trust in Yahweh, put your present and future confidence and hope (joyful confident expectation) in Him then you need not be ashamed. When we put our trust in Yahweh our creator – then we have the confidence and assurance of our salvation, provision, and every need and desire to be all that He has created us to be.
Romans 10:11 “As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
As long as you trust in Him, you can be assured of never being put to shame or as one translation says ‘never be disgraced’. You can therefore find refuge, rest, assurance, protection and confidence in Him, and you have the ability to confide in Him. He knows your heart, even though the heart is deceitful above all things, when you put your trust in Him you will be able to verbalise your heart withYahweh and commune with Him in a loving relationship which casts out all fears and finds rest in Him alone.
We will at times find ourselves in a place of suffering and here I would like to give you 12 proper reactions to suffering enabling us to Trust and not be afraid:
1 – Expect suffering
2 Timothy 3:12 “And indeed, all those wishing to live reverently in Messiah Yahushua, shall be persecuted.”
Yochanan (John) 16:33: “These words I have spoken to you, that in Me you might have peace. In the world you have pressure, but take courage, I have overcome the world.”
2 – Commit to Yahweh – ‘roll’ over to Him with your all!
1 Peter4:19: “So then, those who suffer according to the desire of Elohim should commit their lives to a trustworthy Creator, in doing good.”
3 – Don’t always try to understand the reasons for your suffering!
Romans 8:28: “And we know that all matters work together for good to those who love Elohim, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
4 – Realize others suffer!
1 Peter 5: 8-9: “Be sober, watch, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (9) Resist him, firm in the belief, knowing that the same hardships are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”
5 – Pray in your suffering!
James 5:13: “Is any of you suffering evil? Let him pray. Is anyone in good spirits? Let him sing psalms.”
6 – Don’t faint or lose heart because of your suffering!
Proverbs 24:10: “If you falter in the day of distress, Your strength is small!”
7 – Patiently endure suffering in a steadfast way!
Romans 12:12: “rejoicing in the expectancy, enduring under pressure, continuing steadfastly in prayer”
2 Timothy 2:3: “Suffer hardship with us as a good soldier of Yahushua Messiah.”
8 – Thank Elohim in your sufferings!
1 Thessalonians 5:18: “in all circumstances give thanks, for this is the desire of Elohim in Messiah Yahushua for you.”
9 – Rejoice because of your sufferings!
Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in Yahweh always, again I say, rejoice!”
Acts 5:40-41: “And they heeded his advice, and having called for the emissaries, beating them, they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Yahushua, and let them go. (41) Then indeed they went rejoicing from the presence of the council, because they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name.”.
10 – Do not become a self-made martyr because of your sufferings!
Hebrews 12:12-13: “So, strengthen the hands which hang down and the weak knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, lest the lame be turned aside, but instead, to be healed.”
11 – Don’t suffer needlessly!
1 Peter 2:20: “For what credit is there in enduring a beating when you sin? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure, this finds favour with Elohim.”
1 Peter 3:17: “For it is better, if it is the desire of Elohim, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
12 – Weigh your current suffering against the coming esteem!
Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the esteem that is to be revealed in us.”
Wow – a mouthful of Scriptures – but the heart behind these is to be encouraged as Dawiḏ encourages us in Psalm 37 – and that is to not be afraid of what we may face but to trust in Yahweh!
Trust in Yahweh leads us to be surrounded by His mercy and favour; enjoying perfect peace, happiness and safety from danger, and will find stability and strength as we stand firm on the Rock of our Salvation! Trusting in Him keeps us from fear and from sliding into sin and lawlessness.
In Daniel we find a great example of trust in Yahweh:
Daniel 3:28: “Nebuḵaḏnetstsar responded and said, “Blessed be the Elah of Shaḏraḵ, Mĕyshaḵ, and Aḇĕḏ-Neḡo, who sent His Messenger and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and changed the sovereign’s order, and gave up their bodies, that they should not serve nor do obeisance to any elah except their own Elah!”
Shaḏraḵ & co. are an excellent example of putting total trust in Yahweh, facing death, yet trusting in Yahweh. How willing are we to trust Him totally? Can you trust Yahweh? If not, why? Is it because you do not know Him well enough? Scripture declares and proves over and over that Yahweh is Sovereign and worthy to be trusted. The question we may also ask ourselves or should ask ourselves is that can we be trusted? Can we walk in the footsteps of Yahushua and be trusted with the love and gifts He has entrusted us with by His grace and mercy through the Blood of Yahushua. Are we allowing the Ruach HaQodesh to empower and equip us to live a life worthy of being a child of the Living Elohim?
I find that the more I am able to put my trust in Yahweh the more I am able to be trusted with the things of Yahweh. My ability to walk out a life of obedience is determined by the ability I have to put my trust in Yahweh. Trusting in Yahweh is a key to immeasurable blessings that are for now and forever, why would anyone not choose to trust Yahweh? It just does not make sense. The Yisra’ĕlites continually stopped putting their trust in Yahweh and we see the pattern of destruction and disaster that comes when man puts their trust in others or even themselves. It is just not a formula that works. There is only one formula – Trust Yahweh!
Perhaps today you are being challenged with the ability to trust Yahweh, maybe for a specific thing or for life in general. Whatever the situation, I hope that you are able to open your heart and confide in Him and begin to rely, depend and put confidence in Yahweh our Elohim. Perhaps the challenge is for you to get to know Him more for it is difficult to trust someone you don’t know. What I do know is that as you grow in intimacy and knowledge of Him the more you will trust in Him, and the more blessed you will be and be able to face anything in life.
Where is your trust today? Trust in Yahweh is a must!
Be encouraged to know that as Dawiḏ tells us that the wicked will have their day and will perish – let us rejoice in our Elohim and trust Him, aměn! Can you say with me with great confidence:
Isaiah 12:2: “See EL is my deliverance, I trust and am not afraid. For Yah, Yahweh is my strength and my song; and He has become my deliverance.”
This is the struggle that ZacharYah had and suffered in silence till the day that his son Yochanan was born. It wasn’t till he saw that trust grow in the form of his son through his wife. This trust was born and gave birth to Yochanan, Yahweh favor’s. Full trust brings about the Favor of Yahweh. But it is born out of suffering. This is what every faithful person must go through. May Yahweh have mercy on us all and give us this favor.
**Note – Commentary notes in blue**