Jesus writes in the dust
(Jesus uses “Remez”)                                        
John 8:6

Remez, “hint" or “clue”, the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.

 

Joh 8:1  Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 
Joh 8:2  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 
Joh 8:3  And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 
Joh 8:4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 
 Joh 8:5  Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 
Joh 8:6  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 
Joh 8:7  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 
Joh 8:8  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 
Joh 8:9  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 
Joh 8:10  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 
Joh 8:11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. 


People have wondered about what Jesus was doing here by writing in the dirt.
Why did He do this? And what did He write?
To understand what Jesus was doing here, we have to understand how the scribes and Pharisee’s understood scripture.
Young boys in Judaism where expected to learn and recite the Torah, the first five books of the law.
The scribes and Pharisee’s would know the scriptures by heart.
The Rabbi’s used a method of interpretation known as “midrash”

 

Pardes" refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism or to interpretation of text in Torah study.
PaRDeS.
"Pardes" refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism or to interpretation of text in Torah study. The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the same initials of the following four approaches:

Peshat (פְּשָׁט) – "surface" ("straight") or the literal (direct) meaning.

Remez (רֶמֶז) – "hints" or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.

Derash (דְּרַשׁ) – from Hebrew darash: "inquire" ("seek") – the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.

Sod סוֹד)pronounced with a long O as in 'lore') – "secret" ("mystery") or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

The second one Remez (רֶמֶז) is what we are looking at. Remez is a “hint”, “a clue”  “hidden meaning”.

The great teachers (rabbis) during Jesus' day used a technique that was later called “Remez”.
In their teaching, they would use part of a Scripture passage in a discussion, assuming that their audience's knowledge of the Bible would allow them to deduce for themselves the fuller meaning of the teaching.

Apparently, Jesus, who possessed a brilliant understanding of Scripture and strong teaching skills, used this method often.

A Remez, (hint, clue, pointer) can be in a picture, word or action that reveals a deeper meaning.
Something that reminds you of what you already know.

We in the west have a way of understanding scripture, for example if we were asked to define how we understand God, we may say, God is Eternal, God is Omnipotent, God is Omnipresent, God is Omnicient, God is Love.
All these are correct and we can understand God in this way.
However if we asked a scribe or Rabbi, he may say God is my strength, God is my shield or God is Light.
Again all correct, just a different way of presenting God.

 

Christianity was born out of Judaism, Jesus was not a Christian, Jesus was a Jew. Jesus is the Christ, we are Christian’s, followers of Christ. Jesus did not start a new religion. The teaching of the New Testament revealed what was always in the Old Testament and the Old Testament always contained the teaching of the New Testament.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ as taught by the Apostles, came out of the Old Testament.

The prophecies concerning the promised Messiah in the Old were shown as fulfilled in the New.
All the first Christians were Jews and they would understand scripture whether the Old Testament scriptures or the New Testament scriptures with  a Jewish mind set.
An example of this is John’s Gospel.

Joh 1:1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 
Joh 1:2  The same was in the beginning with God. 
Joh 1:3  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
Joh 1:4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 
Joh 1:5  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 


This is a passage from the New Testament.
If you were asked what comes to your mind when reading this, if you know your Bible, you would very likely say
Genesis chapter 1. “In the beginning”.
John here, is giving a “Remez”. He is hinting, pointing to Genesis, the connection between Jesus and Elohim (God). Jesus is God and creator of all things, in heaven and earth.
The Jewish Christians would have understood this right away because they knew the Old Testament scriptures.
However, the Jews that rejected the Gospel, although they knew the Old Testament scriptures would need light to shine on the truth. This comes through the preaching of the Gospel, through hints, pointers, pictures and signs. (PaRDeS). Literal, Hint, Allegory, Symbolic, Comparative, Inspiration and Revelation.

The same with the words of John the Baptist, when he said,
“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”. This hint/allegory, would be quite clear to the Messianic Jew who knows his scriptures.
When a scribe or Pharisee heard such comments, they would remember scriptures like:

Genesis 22:7-8 “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering,” he was speaking prophetically, referring to Christ the Lamb of God. 
Isaiah 53:7, and really from Isaiah 52:11 through 53:12, we have a vivid picture of Christ the Lamb of God as He is being “led to slaughter” as a sacrifice for our sins. 

 

So going back to our text concerning the woman taken in the act of adultery.

Let us look at the context of this event.
This occurred at the last days of the great feast. This was the feast of Booths or the Feast of Tabernacles. Which  is known as Sukkot.


John 7:2  Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. 

On the last or “great” day of the feast, the water libation rite reached its climax. The priests circled the altar seven times and then poured out the water, which had been gathered from a natural spring, fountain or flowing stream (symbol of living water), with great pomp and ceremony. This was Hoshana Rabbah, the great HOSHIANA,” (which translated is “save now”).

We find a significant mention of Hoshana Rabbah in the New Testament book of
John chapter seven verses 37-52. It was on this day, the last and greatest day of the feast (possibly just as the water was being poured out), that Yeshua (Jesus) stood up and boldly proclaimed to the celebrants, “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” (John 7:38)


Imagine the uproar His statement must have caused! The priest had just poured out the water libation as an appeal to the Creator God to provide water for the people, and Yeshua (Jesus), as if to answer the prayer, tells the people to come to Him for living water. This must have been a shocking thing to say to all those looking on.

Jesus was claiming to be none other than the Creator himself and the scribes and Pharisees would have understood exactly what He meant.

There are those that claim that Jesus nowhere in scripture, said He was God, however, these kinds of statements to the Jews would have been exactly that, a very plain statement that Jesus was identifying Himself with the Father. This, to them was blasphemy.
Some recognized his authority and plainly said,
“He is the Messiah .” (v. 41) Others were absolutely incensed. Some wanted to seize him and have him stoned for blasphemy, that is, claiming to be God.
Yet we read that the Temple guards were unable to lay a hand on him. When the Pharisees and chief priests questioned the guards as to why they could not arrest him, they simply responded,
“No one ever spoke the way this man does.” (v. 46).
The Temple guards were transfixed by his word. They were unable to act against Jesus, when faced with His obvious authority.

So this is the context of our text concerning the woman taken in the act of adultery.
The scribes and Pharisees were incensed by Jesus claim and were obviously in rejection of Jesus claim.

From this, the story goes on.

Joh 8:2  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 

It was at this time that the scribes and Pharisees brought the woman.

Notice, they did not bring the man, although they said she was caught in the very act.
One may be forgiven for asking, what were the scribes and Pharisees doing in the place where this sexual act was taking place and who was the man?


Joh 8:4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 

Next they quoted scripture.
They would have known the law,
Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Deut 22:22  If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 
 

Notice that Jesus acted as though He had not heard them and He wrote in the earth.
 

Joh 8:6  This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 
Joh 8:7  So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 

 

So, why is it important that He wrote in the earth? What was he saying to them by doing this act?

Jesus gives them a message. What’s the message? What’s the hint? What is Jesus pointing to? What’s the remez?

He was saying to them “You have forsaken God. In your evil hard hearts, you’re trying to trap Me, and you want to see this woman killed and put her to death. Well if that’s what you want, then do it!
If you’re innocent and you were the witness, cast the first stone!
But know for sure that you have forsaken God and
your name is going to be written in the dust.

That’s the Remez . That’s the message. That’s the hint.
Notice as was His custom, He does it twice to make sure they get the message.  Verily verily, I say unto you.

He knew they knew the law, Jesus knew they would know the scriptures relating to adultery and stoning.
Yet they were breaking the very rule they were quoting. They were in sin by doing what they were doing.

 

Joh 8:8  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 

The Bible does not tell us exactly what He wrote. Some argue, He wrote the text from Leviticus, maybe the text from Deuteronomy. Maybe He was writing the sins of those that were present.
We don’t know for certain but we do know that He was writing something. He was writing in the earth. He was writing in the dust.

This was a “Remez”, a hint, a pointer, but to what?

They were breaking the very law they were quoting, they hadn’t brought the man who was caught in the act, as the scripture says they should.
They had not provided two or three witnesses, as the law said they should.


Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
 

They were trying to trap Jesus, so that they could condemn Him, they were rejecting the source of Living Water, which He had just proclaimed that He was.

Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all that forsake thee shall be ashamed, and they that depart from me shall be written in the earth, because they have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters.

They would have known this scripture and they knew it was them that He was writing in the earth. It was their names.
They knew that they were rejecting what He had told them.
Jesus revealed their sin.

“And they that depart from Me shall be written in the earth”,

This was the reason for the writing in the dust, it was a hint, a “Remez”. A hint to the Word of God.

Is this then, what Jesus wrote in the dirt? Their names? (they).

Needless to say, they all recognised what He was saying. They were all guilty themselves. They were convicted by the Scriptures.

Did they take the hint? Did they get the message? They certainly did. Notice what happens next.
 

Joh 8:9  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 

Joh 8:10  When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 
Joh 8:11  She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. 

 

Notice it was the eldest that left first, they recognised first what Jesus was saying, pointing to, hinting at.
 

What can we learn from this?
 

Well! The more I study the Bible, the more I realise how much I don’t know.

There is more to the scriptures than meets the eye. There is the textual plain truth, (Peshat) in other words, the text says what means and means what it says. The "surface" ("straight") or the literal (direct) meaning.

 

However there are amazing truths in the Bible and the Holy Spirit can reveal those deeper truths that sometimes we miss the first time round. Those hidden truths that are not as easy to see, but are hinted at, (Remez), "hints" or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
 

There are the comparatives, (Derash) ) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.

Then there are the (Sod) "secret" ("mystery") or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

The more we read and study the scriptures, the more God can speak to us and reveal His will for our lives.
The Holy Spirit can only bring back to our remembrance those things that we have read or learned.

 

Most importantly:
Luke 10:20 but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Making sure your names are not written in the earth because YOU have forsaken the LORD, the fountain of living waters..

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