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The Shepherd of Israel
Episode 224th October 2021 • Our Hope Podcast • Chosen People Ministries
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In the Bible, the shepherd is a common image of the Messiah. One of the clearest examples of this is Ezekiel 34:20–31, which speaks of a descendant of David who will care selflessly for Israel, like a shepherd does for his sheep. We have invited returning guest Rich Freeman, DMin, who is the director of Church Ministries and Conferences and one of the vice presidents of Chosen People Ministries, to help us better understand this prophecy and how it was fulfilled by Yeshua. 

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Welcome to Our Hope,

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a production of Chosen People Ministries.

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On this podcast you will hear inspiring testimonies,

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learn about Messianic apologetics and discover

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God's plan for Israel and you.

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Wherever you're listening, we hope you lean in,

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listen closely and be blessed.

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In Scripture, the shepherd is

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one of the most common images of the Messiah.

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In John chapter 10, Jesus told the famous story

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about a shepherd with a hundred sheep.

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When one of His flock was lost,

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He left the ninety-nine sheep to rescue it.

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Yeshua then said, “I am the good shepherd.

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The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep”.

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The Old Testament

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also depicts the Messiah as the shepherd of Israel,

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someone who will selflessly

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guide the sheep, protect them, and provide for them.

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One of the clearest examples of this

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is found in Ezekiel 34:20-31.

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Today, we have invited back

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Rich Freeman who will help us discover what this passage says

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about the Messiah and how that should shape our view of Yeshua

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Rich Freeman is the VP and Director of Church

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Ministries and Conferences for Chosen People Ministries,

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and he received his

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Doctor of Ministry at Gordon-Cornwell Seminary.

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I now introduce the host of Our Hope Podcast, Abe Vazquez!

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Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of Our Hope.

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I am so excited that we are here again

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to continue our series on Messianic prophecies.

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I'm really excited about this season.

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It can certainly be very academic and can

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certainly be very educational, and we hope that you learn

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as much as you can from what we're talking about,

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but we are trying to make it relatable as well.

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And so as you listen, as you learn, we hope

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that you will understand

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how you can apply this

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to your own life, how you can understand

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the importance of Messianic prophecy.

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And in really, in the context of sharing the gospel

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with other people, it often is a really great tool to explain

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why Jesus is who He is.

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And so today we have Rich

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Freeman, Dr. Rich Freeman all the way from Florida.

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Rich, it's such a joy to have you once again on Our Hope

Rich:

Great to be with you guys.

Abe:

So give us some updates, what's been going on.

Abe:

It's been a while since we've chatted with you.

Abe:

We did take a long break and so tell us what's been

Abe:

going on with your ministry.

Rich:

Well, down here in Florida,

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things are beginning to open up. We've been

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starting to have our monthly fellowships meeting in person.

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We have been doing them by Zoom and

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a number of people really pleaded with us

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to begin meeting in person again.

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So we have right now two monthly fellowships, one

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meeting in Boynton Beach and one meeting in Boca Raton.

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Both are very Jewish areas and we have Shabbat services

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during the the on Friday

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one in the first Friday and one on the third Friday.

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And we've been doing that now for a few months and things

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seem to be calming down as far as COVID is concerned.

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So we're basically seeing,

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less stringent controls.

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Florida is certainly not as controlled

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as you guys up in New York, but nonetheless we do

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take care and try to make sure we don't do anything silly.

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There's still a lot of corporate cases around, and

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so we have to be careful with that.

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But things are opening up.

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one of the things that I've been doing personally is

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I just finished a book

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that I've been working on for a couple of years.

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Based on really kind of it's really connected to

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to the pandemic in that it's

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called "The Lord is my shepherd",

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"Dayenu", which is the Hebrew word that means,

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which means "that is enough". Abe: Yeah.

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And, the subtitle to the book is "God's

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GPS for finding contentment during difficult times".

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And so that's been

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a kind of a pet project of mine.

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I've been spending a lot of time in Psalm 23 and dealing with

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how do we get through difficult times?

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How does the Lord help us get through difficult times?

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And what does it all mean that the Lord is my shepherd?

Rich:

So it kind of fits in what you're told me

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we're going to be speaking about today,

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so I'm looking forward to it. Abe: That's awesome.

Rich:

Well, let's let's just jump right in.

Rich:

So we're going to be talking about some scriptures

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in the Book of Ezekiel

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and a little spoiler alert,

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the Book of Ezekiel was written by the Prophet Ezekiel.

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So during that time, Ezekiel,

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he was exiled with his people in Babylon,

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and the Book of Ezekiel not only calls forth judgment

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on both Israel and surrounding nations,

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but it also provides a redemptive vision of the

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future millennial kingdom.

Rich:

Nicole, would you mind just reading Ezekiel 34:20–31?

Nicole:

"Therefore, thus, says the Lord God to them

Nicole:

'Behold, I even I will

Nicole:

judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep

Nicole:

because you push with side and with shoulder,

Nicole:

and thrust at all the weak with your horns

Nicole:

until you have scattered them abroad, therefore,

Nicole:

I will deliver my flock, and they will no longer be a prey;

Nicole:

and I will judge between one sheep and another.

Nicole:

Then I will set over them one shepherd, My servant David,

Nicole:

and he will feed them;

Nicole:

he will feed them himself and be their shepherd.

Nicole:

And I, the Lord will be their

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God, and My servant, David will be Prince among them

Nicole:

I the Lord have spoken.

Nicole:

I will make a covenant of peace with them and eliminate

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harmful beasts from the land so that they may live securely

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in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.

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I will make them and the places around My hill a blessing.

Nicole:

And I will cause

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showers to come down

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in their season; they will be showers of blessing.

Nicole:

Also, the tree of the field will yield its fruit

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and the earth will yield its increase,

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and they will be secure on their land.

Nicole:

Then they will know that I am the Lord, when I have broken

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the bars of their yoke and have delivered them

Nicole:

from the hand of those who enslaved them.

Nicole:

They will no longer be a prey to the nations

Nicole:

and the beasts of the earth will not devour them;

Nicole:

but they will live securely and no one will make them afraid.

Nicole:

I will establish for them a renowned planting place,

Nicole:

and they will not again be victims of famine in the land,

Nicole:

and they will not endure the insults of the nations anymore.

Nicole:

Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them,

Nicole:

and that they, the house of

Nicole:

Israel, are My people,' declares the Lord God.

Nicole:

'As for you, My sheep, the sheep of my pasture,

Nicole:

you are men, and I am your God,' declares the Lord God."

Abe:

Thank you Nicole.

Abe:

That's awesome. So

Abe:

looking at this passage and hearing this passage

Abe:

Rich, what is the heart of this message?

Abe:

What is it saying?

Abe:

Who is it addressed to and why?

Rich:

Well, it's

Rich:

when you look at it, the idea of of a shepherd.

Rich:

Keep in mind, you know,

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as we look at the context of the chapter,

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the beginning of the chapter, God is judging,

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pronouncing judgment against the leaders of Israel,

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the shepherds of Israel,

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who have led Israel to a place of unbelief,

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who led Israel to a place away from their Messiah.

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And then the Messiah basically

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talks about judging the

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the shepherd of Israel and now that the shepherds of Israel,

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and now declares that there's going to be a time when He's

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going to judge those in Israel.

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And it really relates to a judgment that Jesus

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called the judgment of the sheep and the goats, where

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believers and unbelievers are going to be judged and

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only believers will be allowed to come into the Kingdom of God

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And it is then, as believers

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come into this millennial

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kingdom that all of these promises that Ezekiel wrote

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2500 years ago, long before Jesus walked on the Earth,

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that will deal with this issue

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of the millennial kingdom and what takes place in that

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millennial kingdom – Some amazing things and a chang

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in the topography of the Earth.

Nicole:

So, Rich,

Nicole:

why is this passage still relevant for us today?

Rich:

Well, I think, you know, especially in a time

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like we're dealing with now with the COVID pandemic,

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we always need something

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to look forward to, something to hope for.

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And for believers in Jesus, obviously, it's Jesus' return

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and what takes place when Jesus returns?

Rich:

Well, He's going to establish His kingdom on the Earth.

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He's going to be literally and physically here,

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sitting on the throne of David.

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And not only that, I think the passage in

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Ezekiel tells us that there's going to be a resurrected David

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who's going to help Jesus administrate His kingdom.

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So I personally believe that when he talks about David,

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it's not just talking

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about the throne of David, but it's talking about David,

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the King David, who's going to be on the Earth

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with Jesus, helping Him administer the kingdom

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and be the righteous prince.

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It's going to be an amazing time, and I get excited

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just talking about it.

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It's one of the things

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that I enjoy teaching is Bible prophecy,

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and talking about the millennial kingdom is amazing and

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gives you goosebumps

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because you know, when

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you think about it, when you think about

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all the changes in the world,

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even the animal kingdom is going to change.

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You know, the Bible talks about the lion lying down

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with the lamb and predators

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will be at peace with their prey.

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And it talks about the nations not insulting Israel anymore.

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And you don't have to

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be a genius to see that that's happening.

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Even now that Israel

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is usually in the middle of some sort of attack

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where they're chastised for something and the

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the commonplace of anti-semitism is real.

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You know, it's pretty hard to deny that.

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So these changes are something that we can look forward to.

Rich:

And the idea that Jesus is going to be on the Earth,

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sitting on the throne of David, administrating the world,

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being the King of Kings and Lord of Lords excites me to no end.

Abe:

It wasn't until you just, you know, brought up the point

Abe:

of David administering the kingdom with Jesus

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that I realized all these characters in the Bible,

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we're going to be with in this kingdom. Rich: Yeah,

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it's remarkable when you think about it.

Abe:

Yeah, I always wanted to sit

Abe:

down with Moses and find out what was it like?

Abe:

Or have a conversation with these people.

Abe:

It's going to be amazing. Abe: Yeah, yeah. Rich: Yeah.

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I think my only fear is somebody

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is going to come up to me and he's going to say, "Hi,

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my name is Nahum."

Abe:

I say, "Yeah, what do you do when you were on the Earth?"

Abe:

He says, "I was a writer.

Abe:

So I wrote a book."

Abe:

I say, "What was the name of the book?", "Nahum"

Abe:

And I say, "Well, sorry, I'm not too familiar with it."

Abe:

You know, those kind of things

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are going to be embarrassing moments. Nicole: Yeah.

Abe:

So as you're saying, King

Abe:

David is going to administer alongside the Messiah.

Abe:

We see in verses 23 and 24 in this prophecy

Abe:

from Ezekiel, it says that David is the shepherd and prince.

Abe:

But if this was written so long after King David died,

Abe:

how do we know for sure that it's referring

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to King David and not Jesus

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who is descended from David? Rich: Right.

Abe:

And and I think a lot of people

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will will tell you it's really talking about Jesus

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not about David.

Abe:

But you know, Jesus, in more than one place in

Abe:

the scriptures is called the first fruits of the dead.

Abe:

So obviously, Jesus is

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resurrected when He returns to Earth

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and all those who follow Jesus.

Abe:

And we've talked about all the Old Testament characters,

Abe:

as well as the New Testament characters are also going

Abe:

to be resurrected. So we're talking not about

Abe:

the old days, but we're talking about a resurrected

Abe:

David who's going to come and be the Shepherd of Israel,

Abe:

so to speak, to help administrate Jesus' Kingdom now

Abe:

And certainly since David is the one who wrote, "The

Abe:

Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

Abe:

It makes sense that he would be the shepherd to come

Abe:

and take care of the flock, so to speak.

Abe:

Let's talk about

Abe:

a little bit more about that imagery of a shepherd.

Rich:

Sure. Abe: I'm excited that you're

Rich:

writing a whole book on that, but it's constantly used in bot

Rich:

the Tanakh and the New Covenant.

Rich:

Share a little bit about this shepherd imagery

Rich:

that we always hear about.

Rich:

And it's interesting because even today,

Rich:

you know, let's be real,

Rich:

when was the last time you met a shepherd?

Rich:

It's not something you really encounter on an everyday basis.

Rich:

Even though I've been to Israel

Rich:

and you still see shepherds with the sheep on the lands,

Rich:

and it's pretty awesome to see, by the way,

Rich:

but living in New York, you're living in the United States,

Rich:

you don't really see that often you don't encounter it often.

Rich:

So how can we look at this

Rich:

imagery and be encouraged by it?

Rich:

I think one of the things that is important for us

Rich:

to recognize is the intimacy between

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the shepherd and the sheep.

Rich:

One of my favorite pictures of Jesus is Jesus

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walking with a sheep around His back,

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you know, carrying the sheep on his shoulders.

Rich:

And that tells us, you know, the shepherd loves His sheep

Rich:

so much that He's interested in every single one.

Rich:

And if He has to look for that one, as you know, that imagery

Rich:

is spoken about in the New Testament,

Rich:

especially where the one where

Rich:

the shepherd would search after the lost sheep.

Rich:

It's the picture of His care,

Rich:

of His concern, and again, of that intimate relationship.

Rich:

One of my favorite pictures of that is in

Rich:

John where Jesus says "I'm the door".

Rich:

Now in my study of Psalm 23,

Rich:

one of the things that I've

Rich:

found is some of the sheep folds didn't have doors.

Rich:

So the shepherd at night time, after the sheep

Rich:

came in to the sheep

Rich:

fold, would actually lie down in the opening

Rich:

to protect the sheep.

Rich:

So in essence, the shepherd became the door.

Rich:

And that's the picture that Jesus gives us.

Rich:

So that idea of intimacy and care runs through and we could,

Rich:

as the sheep look to the shepherd and

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were able to deal with their

Rich:

skittishness, and sheep are very skittish animals.

Rich:

They always had that sense

Rich:

of connection, connectedness to the shepherd,

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and that gave them a sense of contentment.

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And so for us, even in the most dire circumstances,

Rich:

when we have the shepherd in front of us, we could deal

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with. It doesn't mean the pain is going

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to go away. It doesn't mean

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we're not going to struggle, but

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knowing that we have a shepherd who cares for us

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gives us that strength to be able to deal with it.

Rich:

I think that's in Philippians 4, when Paul says, "I've learne

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the secret of being content."

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He then goes on, says, "I can do all things through Christ,

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who gives me strength through the Messiah,

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who strengthens me." As Paul understood the presence

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of the Messiah in his life, it gave him strength,

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and as we, the same as the sheep, who when they saw

Rich:

the presence of the shepherd,

Rich:

it gave them the ability to deal with their situations.

Rich:

And it's the same for us, and that gives me a lot of comfort,

Rich:

even in difficult times, knowing that the shepherd is

Rich:

right there taking care of me.

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Shalom, I'm Mitch Glaser,

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president of Chosen People Ministries.

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Is it possible for Jewish people to believe in Jesus

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when there's such a sad history of Christian antisemitism

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that has shaped Jewish attitudes towards the gospel? Well,

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And I would love to offer a few suggestions

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through Messiah.

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First, keep your message personal.

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You're representing a person, not a religion.

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Second, be loving, patient and kind even when they object.

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And then finally, and most importantly, pray,

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touching the heart of your Jewish friend

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with the good news of

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Messiah will also touch the very heart of God.

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And you can learn more by visiting Chosen

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that's chosenpeople.com/pray.

Abe:

The famous scripture, everyone knows that Psalm,

Abe:

23, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want."

Abe:

What connections are there between that and Ezekiel 34,

Abe:

which we're talking about today? Rich: Well, I think,

Abe:

clearly, you know, David had in mind

Abe:

as a shepherd himself, again

Abe:

that connectedness between the shepherd and the sheep.

Abe:

And for David to tell us that the Lord is, is our shepherd

Abe:

that just the way the sheep look to the shepherd

Abe:

for everything, we have the Lord as our shepherd.

Abe:

For David, knowing how much he loved his own sheep

Abe:

that gave him comfort and that

Abe:

phrase "I shall not want" is written in the negative.

Abe:

So what it really means is I don't lack anything.

Abe:

And if you go through all the

Abe:

English translations, they, they use that word a lot. Yeah,

Abe:

that's why the title of my book has the word "dayenu",

Abe:

because the Lord is my shepherd, "dayenu", "that's enough".

Abe:

And when we come to that idea that the Lord is our shepherd,

Abe:

and that's enough,

Abe:

that gives us that comfort relating it to Ezekiel 34.

Abe:

It's talking about the millennial kingdom

Abe:

and the presence of the Lord

Abe:

and the presence of David as His helper and our shepherd, and

Abe:

I don't know, having David as my personal shepherd on the Earth

Abe:

sounds pretty cool to me.

AbeYeah. Nicole::

So Rich,

AbeYeah. Nicole::

what is the Messiah's role exactly, according to

AbeYeah. Nicole::

this passage in Ezekiel?

Rich:

Well, I think again,

Rich:

we have to look in the context of what is this speaking about?

Rich:

And this is speaking about

Rich:

Jesus physically bodily being on the Earth,

Rich:

watching His people and taking care of them

Rich:

in a way that the shepherd takes care of His sheep.

Rich:

And so again, it talks about judgment

Rich:

and that there's going to be the

Rich:

judgment of believers and unbelievers.

Rich:

But when Jesus' Kingdom begins,

Rich:

the only ones entering it are going to be believers in Him.

Rich:

It's going to be His flock, so to speak. And

Rich:

the the picture of that intimate relationship

Rich:

between the shepherd and the sheep really speaks again

Rich:

of our relationship to the Lord.

Rich:

One of my favorite passages is the one where it says

Rich:

the Lord knows every

Rich:

everything about us, even the literally

Rich:

the number of hairs on our head.

Rich:

And I've been blessed to have a lot of hair.

Rich:

So, you know, I always

Rich:

tease my friends who don't have as much hair

Rich:

saying, "Well, it's easier to know you than it is to know

Rich:

me." But again, you know, all kidding aside, the idea

Rich:

that the Lord knows everything about me, even all of my flaws,

Rich:

all of my faults and still loves me, gives me so much comfort.

Rich:

And this this picture comparing

Rich:

the Lord as the Shepherd of Israel compared

Rich:

basically to shepherds who were mercenaries, who did i

Rich:

for the money, for the power, for the prestige,

Rich:

not because hey cared for the sheep, but

Rich:

because they took

Rich:

advantage of their position as the shepherd of Israel,

Rich:

and the Lord is not like that.

Rich:

And we could take great comfort in that.

Abe:

What is His leadership style going to be like?

Abe:

What, what, what is like?

Abe:

I'm just- I like to dream

Abe:

and imagine a little bit what that will look like.

Abe:

And, you know, hearing that David will help

Abe:

administer, clearly there's some sort of hierarchy.

Abe:

There's structure, it's not chaos, you know.

Rich:

No, it's very organized.

Abe:

Right? Rich: No question about it.

Abe:

What does that leadership look like?

Rich:

Well, I mean, obviously,

Rich:

when Jesus was on the Earth

Rich:

with His disciples, He talked about servant leadership.

Rich:

So it's being able to give

Rich:

and put your own needs in a secondary way.

Rich:

I know in the the many years that I've pastored,

Rich:

I used to kid with my wife and say the one thing I do

Rich:

a lot of is apologize because unfortunately, you know

Rich:

for whatever reason, sometimes people will react to something

Rich:

you say or or something you do and get offended.

Rich:

And the last thing you want is for that offence to to remai

Rich:

so you want to take care of those things.

Rich:

And I believe in a sense, that's going to be

Rich:

Jesus leadership style.

Rich:

If there's any sort of issue,

Rich:

He's going to deal with it immediately.

Rich:

And quite frankly, yes, David is going to be

Rich:

in the millennial kingdom as the shepherd of Israel,

Rich:

but we as glorified saints

Rich:

are also going to help administrate His kingdom.

Rich:

And that excites me as well.

Abe:

Yeah, yeah, we all have a part.

Nicole:

Wow. So Rich, when

Nicole:

will this prophecy be fulfilled, is it all in the future?

Nicole:

Are there some parts of it

Nicole:

that have been fulfilled already? Abe: And Mitch,

Nicole:

I should tell you, Mitch

Nicole:

Glaser gave us a date in the first episode.

NicoleYes. Abe::

So whoever is whoever is the closest

NicoleYes. Abe::

to that date, wins the prize.

Rich:

When will it be fulfilled huh? Well,

Rich:

you know, I think

Rich:

in Bible prophecy, there's some things

Rich:

that you can begin to see the beginnings of.

Rich:

One of my favorite prophecies is in Zachary, where it talks

Rich:

about old men will be on the streets and the children

Rich:

will be playing.

Rich:

And you know, for those of us who've been in Israel

Rich:

and we sat in the Old City of Jerusalem,

Rich:

having a break for lunch,

Rich:

you see the little children playing in the playground

Rich:

and the old men sitting and playing cards,

Rich:

and it's almost you could see as Israel's back in the land

Rich:

that some of these prophecies are beginning.

Rich:

But clearly, this is talking about the millennial kingdom.

Rich:

It's talking about the return of Jesus.

Rich:

And there is a whole process to that where,

Rich:

from my perspective

Rich:

of the Church, the body of believers, the Body of Messiah

Rich:

is going to be caught up to be with the Lord in the air first.

Rich:

That's the way I look at this.

Rich:

And then we're going to have the revealing of this

Rich:

political leader

Rich:

that we call the Anti-Christ or the Anti-Messiah,

Rich:

who's going to basically rule the world for a period of time.

Rich:

And it equates to the

Rich:

chapter 9 of Daniel, where he talks about these 70 periods

Rich:

of 70 years of seven years that he calls weeks.

Rich:

And that last period, the last seven years

Rich:

is what we commonly call the tribulation period.

Rich:

And that's going to be the time where where the Church

Rich:

will be taken out.

Rich:

But there's going to

Rich:

be a great revival

Rich:

among those who are left behind, who are going to recognize

Rich:

all the reality of hopefully what we've shared with them.

Rich:

And then after and after that

Rich:

seven year period is up, Jesus is going to return.

Rich:

The Prophet Zacharias says His feet will stand

Rich:

on the Mount Olives, facing Jerusalem to the east,

Rich:

and He's going to return, it says all His holy ones with Him

Rich:

and that's talking about us.

Rich:

And that really, that gives me goosebumps

Rich:

that we're going to return to Earth

Rich:

with Jesus and help Him administrate this kingdom.

Rich:

So getting back to your question, I think

Rich:

the fulfillment again is in the future when

Rich:

we don't know when, but obviously each day we get close

to it. Nicole:

Amen.

Rich:

I don't think we're that far away personally.

Abe:

Rich, I love how excited you are by talking about this

Abe:

like I can, I can hear

Abe:

how excited you are for this coming kingdom.

Abe:

But I'm just curious when you first became a believer,

Abe:

can you recall when you first heard about these prophecies?

Abe:

Can you recall when you first actually understood

Abe:

what these prophecies meant and maybe talk

Abe:

about some of the emotion

Abe:

or how you felt hearing these for the first time?

Rich:

Well, as a Jewish

Rich:

believer, I was the first one in my family to get safe.

Rich:

Eventually, my mother

Rich:

and then my father got saved, my father on his deathbed.

Rich:

And I remember hearing

Rich:

my pastor teach on the rapture of the Church.

Rich:

You know, the time we get caught up

Rich:

to be with the Lord in the air.

Rich:

And he made a point of saying that the world is going to thin

Rich:

that maybe space aliens came and took us away, but

Rich:

we need to tell people it was Jesus it wasn't space aliens.

Rich:

And so I thought, I need to tell my sister.

Rich:

Now, I'm five years older than my sister,

Rich:

so I'm her big brother. She always looked up to me.

Rich:

I was in the business world and was was reasonably

Rich:

successful in the business world and and basically gave it

Rich:

all up to go into ministry.

Rich:

And so I was always considered a little weird,

Rich:

by my sister and her family.

Rich:

And so I took my sister out to lunch

Rich:

and I said to her, "You know,

Rich:

if one day everybody who believes the way

Rich:

I believe disappears all at the same time,

Rich:

I want you to know that it wasn't space aliens who came

Rich:

and took us away, but it was Jesus."

Rich:

And I was real excited and pumped up and I thought,

Rich:

this is really going to speak to her.

Rich:

And my poor sister looked at me.

Rich:

Her eyes got as wide as saucers, and she knew beyond

Rich:

any shadow of a doubt that her brother was crazy.

Rich:

I could just see it in her face.

Rich:

And you know, thank God, we still have a good

Rich:

relationship, and that's many, many years since.

Rich:

But I was I just knew that I had to tell my sister about this.

Abe/Nicole:

Yeah, yeah. Rich: And and I did.

Abe/Nicole:

And I always tell people, you know, if you're worried

Abe/Nicole:

that your family's going to think you're crazy,

Abe/Nicole:

by telling them about this,

Abe/Nicole:

if you were already living for Jesus, I have news for you,

Abe/Nicole:

they already think you're crazy.

Abe/Nicole:

So you might as well prove them right.

Nicole:

And if there's anybody listening in who wants to follo

Nicole:

Jesus as their Lord, as their shepherd,

Nicole:

what do they need to do?

Rich:

You know, I think that it's important

Rich:

for us to understand you can't just say

Rich:

the Lord is my shepherd, you have to acknowledge

Rich:

not only is He my shepherd, but I'm one of His sheep

Rich:

and you know, sheep are not the smartest animals in the world.

Rich:

They're not the most dynamic animals in the world.

Rich:

I mean, you don't have any sports teams named the sheep.

Rich:

It just doesn't fit.

Rich:

Sheep are not, something that we tend to equate to our lives.

Rich:

And sheep are very, very submissive.

Rich:

So in order for the Lord to be my shepherd,

Rich:

I have to be willing to submit to Him,

Rich:

to submit to His leadership, to allow Him to lead me

Rich:

in a place that He knows is best for me and that

Rich:

that takes a willingness to relinquish control.

Rich:

One of the things that

Rich:

we, as human beings strive for is to be able

Rich:

to control our situations and our environments.

Rich:

And it's been said more than once by many people

Rich:

smarter than myself that control is an illusion.

Rich:

We don't have control.

Rich:

We're basically subject to our circumstances.

Rich:

They can be good,

Rich:

they can be bad, they could be somewhere in the middle.

Rich:

But if we relinquish control to the Messiah,

Rich:

He promises to take us to a place that's always best

Rich:

for us. David begins to describe that "He makes me lie down.

Rich:

He leads me. He restores me,"

Rich:

those are the kinds of things that the Lord does.

Rich:

And you have to be willing to submit to Him as our Shepher

Rich:

to truly make that a reality.

Rich:

And quite frankly, not everybody is willing to do that

Rich:

to relinquish that control and authority to the Lord.

Rich:

But when you do and this has

Rich:

been my experience for almost 40 years, when you do,

Rich:

it doesn't get any better than that.

Rich:

I was a very successful person

Rich:

in a different environment, in a different world.

Rich:

And it was empty to me.

Rich:

Once I compared that

Rich:

to knowing the Lord and knowing that I

Rich:

was able to stop worrying about what my future would entail

Rich:

because I knew that the Lord is my shepherd where He was going

Rich:

to take me eventually.

Rich:

And Psalm 23 end, "And

Rich:

I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever."

Rich:

And that's the ultimate.

Rich:

That's something that we should all strive for

Rich:

to be able to spend eternity with Him. And that's what

Rich:

the Lord provides for us as our Great Shepherd.

Rich:

The notion of the Messiah being like a shepherd

Rich:

who guides, protects,

Rich:

and provides for His flock is so encouraging.

Rich:

What is more—Ezekiel 34 gives us a vision of how

Rich:

God will deliver His people and heal the world.

Rich:

In the end, as verse 30 puts it, “‘Then

Rich:

they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them,

Rich:

and that they, the house of Israel, are my people,’

Rich:

declares the Lord God.” We look forward to the day

Rich:

when Jesus returns to set things right.

Rich:

Until then, we can rely on our Good Shepherd

Rich:

to always guide, provide, and protect.

Rich:

If you are listening and you

Rich:

have questions about today's episode,

Rich:

if you're early in your faith, if you're confused,

Rich:

if you just have a lot of questions,

Rich:

we'd love to hear from you.

Rich:

You can email us at believe@chosenpeople.com.

Rich:

Again, that email is believe@chosenpeople.com.

Rich:

We would love to chat with you.

Rich:

So join us next time as we continue this series

Rich:

on Messianic prophecies.

Rich:

Thank you for listening to this

Rich:

week's episode of Our Hope featuring Rich Freeman.

Rich:

This episode was produced by Nicole Vacca and Grace Swee,

Rich:

written by Rachel Larsen and edited by Grace Swee.

Rich:

This episode was also created thanks to Dr.

Rich:

Mitch Glaser, Karen Bautista and Dr.

Rich:

Michael Rydelnik. I'm Abe Vazquez.

Rich:

Until next time.

Rich:

Thanks for listening to

Rich:

Our Hope. If you like our show and want to know more,

Rich:

check out ourhopepodcast.com or chosenpeople.com.

Rich:

You can also support our podcast by giving today at

Rich:

ourhopepodcast.com/support.

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