October 24, 2015 Shabbat Midrash
©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
October 24, 2015 – Year 3 Sabbath 25
Devarim 11:26-12:19 – YeshaYahu 54:11-55:6 – Tehellim 129 – Luka 6:20-49
Devarim 11:26-32– I didn’t count how many times Yehovah commanded compliance with his Instructions in the last chapter or two, but it didn’t take Moshe more than 6-8 minutes to say and I seem to remember at least 3 injunctions of the ‘enabling clause’, “I am Yehovah Elohecha, who brought you out of bondage in Egypt.” Here, he is calling on us to take the choice. Will we answer the call in the affirmative for blessing? Or will we choose to despise Yehovah and thereby choose his curse? Of course, evangelical Xianity has taught us for millennia that obedience to Torah is a curse. Have they never read the end of this chapter?!
26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; 27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of Yehovah Elohechem, which I command you this day: 28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of Yehovah Elohechem, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
Disobedience to Yehovah’s Word, turning aside from his Way, is idolatry. Acts 9 is about the Way against which Rav Sha’ul got the ‘letter of Marque and Reprisal’ to take Damascene Netzarim bound to Yerushalayim for trial. Rav Sha’ul came face to face with his own covetousness, which is idolatry. Moshe gives the instruction that the blessings will be announced from Mt. Gerizim and the curses will be pronounced from Mt. Ebal on the western side of Yarden, near Shechem. Here is what the commentary in TSK has to say about Mounts Ebal and Gerizim:
Gerizim: Gerizim and Ebal, mountains west of Jordan, and in the tribe of Ephraim, are opposite, or parallel to each other, extending from east to west; mount Gerizim being on the south, and mount Ebal on the north. They are separated by the beautiful valley in which Shechem or Nablous is situated, which is only about 200 paces in width. Both mountains are much alike in length, height, and figure; being about a league in length, in the form of a semicircle, and so steep, on the side of Shechem, that there is scarcely any shelving. Their altitude appeared to Mr. Buckingham nearly equal, not exceeding 700 or 800 feet from the level of the valley, which is itself elevated. But though they resemble each other in these particulars, yet in another they are very dissimilar; for, says Maundrell, “though neither of the mountains has much to boast of as to its pleasantness, yet, as one passes between them, Gerizim seems to discover a somewhat more verdant, fruitful aspect then Ebal. The reason of which may be, because fronting towards the north, it is sheltered from the heat of the sun by its own shade; whereas Ebal, looking southward, and receiving the sun that comes directly upon it, must by consequence be rendered more scorched and unfruitful.”
Hence the very appearance of Ebal is of a curse, barren and dry; while Gerizim’s is of blessing green and better watered. Before very long in the land, Israel began to go her own ways and brought Yehovah’s curse on herself – the very curse YirmeYahu laments about in the book of that name.
12.1-19 – Moshe begins to enumerate the chukim, mishpatim, and mitzvoth that Yehovah expects Yisrael to guard (shamar) in the land. The first thing he commands is the destruction of all the groves and high places of the Canaanite religions. V.3 is a command to ‘hew down’ the graven images. ‘Hew down’ is from Strong’s #
H1438 gada` gaw-dah’ a primitive root; to fell a tree; generally, to destroy anything:–cut (asunder, in sunder, down, off), hew down (NOT Hugh Downs, the ‘voice of NBC’ in the 60s and contributor to ABC’s 20/20 show in the 70s and 80s 😉 ).
If it is being felled, the graven image must have been carved from a standing tree; I think it was a phallic symbol and reckoned a god in Canaan and other pagan societies. An obelisk is a representation in stone of the same thing. The tallest building in Washington, D.C. is the Washington Monument obelisk, which MUST be the tallest building in the District of Columbia by federal law. I truly think old George Washington would spin in his grave if he knew that the monument bearing his name is a phallic symbol and by law no building can be taller – that it is, and will always be, the highest ‘high place’ in America’s Capital City. Shades of the Illuminist Masonic influence on DC’s design. Had Washington been alive, he’d have sharply protested the whole thing. The city is centered on a pagan idol. Yehovah commanded Israel to destroy all such places baAretz, in the land. No Torah-observant believer in Messiah would have had any part in building it, and we are not to do anything like it and say its purpose is to worship Yehovah Elohenu.
Vv.5-7 – We are to tear down the pagan groves, high places and idols in Yehovah’s land in vv.1-4, and go up 3 times every year to celebrate our harvests and bring our tithes of those harvests into his storehouse in the place in which he would place his Name. V.5 is the first of 6 times in this chapter [vv.11, 14, 18, 21 & 26] that the phrase, “the place where Yhwh Elohecha shall place his Name”, is used or alluded to. I think he was trying to drive the point home. When he repeats himself, he is being emphatic. When he repeats himself repeatedly, it probably ought to be even MORE scrupulously obeyed.
The tithe in that storehouse was specifically for the widows and orphans, who have no ‘covering’ (husband or father), and Levites, who have no inheritance, to subsist on. If chol Yisrael were honoring Yehovah in these commandments, there would be no abject poverty in Yisrael; even the widows, orphans and Levites would have plenty to hallel Yehovah for, if they understood it was provided by the graciousness of Yehovah and the obedience of their brethren to the commands of their gracious Elohim. In Israel they were entitled to it by the gracious provision of Yehovah, but they were not to have an entitlement mentality.
Vv8-9 – While in the Wilderness, they had certain customs that they were free to do in their own ways, but once baAretz, they would have to abide by Torah’s commands in these regards. Chumash has a good comment on these verses on pg.1001, first paragraph.
Vv.10-14 – So, while they were outside their inheritances and when there was no set place for the Mishkan or a Beit haMikdash, they could offer some freewill offerings on private altars, but once Yehovah permanently placed his Name on a place, only THERE could offerings be brought. When a man went up to offer and to celebrate the Moedim of Yehovah he was expected to bring his entire household with him, including his servants. They would have to leave the homestead unprotected and trust Yehovah to guard against loss. If they drove all the Canaanites out and everyone went up for the feasts, there would be noone around to steal from them anyway, right?
Vv.15-16 – But all flesh food did NOT have to go to Yerushalayim for offering. If an Yisraelite wanted to have a party, or some guests over for dinner, or just felt like some flesh food, he could butcher the clean animal on his own property as long as he remembered to properly bleed it and remove the innards and the fat, which Torah tells us are Yehovah’s. This is NOT an offering, just dinner and usually a special occasion.
Vv.17-19 – Those tithes of our harvests were NOT for us to eat at home, but in Yerushalayim during the moedim. When we took our tithe for the widows, orphans and Levites up to the storehouse, we also brought up our tithe that we set aside for our family’s enjoyment at the moedim. All the moedim were celebrations of harvests and the tithes did not gather dust or mold while waiting for the festival to arrive. When harvest was complete it was moad time. We set aside 10% of the increase of our crops so that we could enjoy the feasts of Yehovah, and so that those with less successful harvests than ours could enjoy them, too. And, finally, we are enjoined to NOT forget the Levites that live among us. Q&C
YeshaYahu 54:11-55:6 – The afflicted and comfortless refer to exiles. Isaiah is telling the exiles that if they make teshuvah, and follow in his way, their exile will end. Yehovah will deliver them from their affliction and into Moshiach’s Kingdom, a time of reward for their faithfulness. He tells them much the same thing in ZephanYah 3, where they begin in exile and end in the city of Yerushalayim and Zion
12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of Yehovah. 13 The remnant of Yisrael shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make afraid. 14 Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Yisrael; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. 15 Yehovah hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Yisrael, Yehovah, in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. (Zeph.3.12-15)
Afflicted and poor = exile. When the exile trusts the Name of Yehovah, the remnant (not all Israel or all Xians) shall see deliverance from sin, will speak the truth and be able to sleep in comfort and confidence. When you see singing, shouting and rejoicing it signifies that the exile is ended, and when he says we will see no more evil it means we will never see exile again. Peace will come to us when we’ve been taught Torah by our King, when we teach Torah to the nations and live Torah as a matter of course. This will be the lot of the resurrected in Moshiach’s Kingdom.
The righteousness of v.14 is Torah observance, which will be established in and around us, so that we will not oppress or be oppressed by anyone because we will not know fear and terror will not come near us. Why do you suppose Yehovah uses these words for our comfort? Do you suppose he knows that terror will be the normal way of life in the end of days, and that those who try to terrorize Torah-keepers will have a come-uppance at the hands of the King Moshiach? V.15 is a promise that those who would terrorize us will be gathered for his judgment, but HE won’t summon them – their political/religious masters will gather them to attack the Land and the Torah-keepers there and those terrorists will fall before us, like in
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth [land?], and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: (Rev.20.8-9a)
To form the weapons that will be used in that day, Yehovah has called the smith (haSatan) that stokes the forges’ fires and to build the instruments of destruction, but those weapons are the ones Yehovah will use against the terrorists, because there is no weapon devised that can harm us and no tongue that wags against us will be able to condemn us. Yehovah will shut their mouths and weaken their hands against us. WE will condemn THEM. The battle is SPIRITUAL, and Ruach haKodesh that lives in YOU is infinite orders of magnitude greater than the Adversary and all of his imps, combined.
55.1-6 – “OY!” is how this chapter begins. The exclamation is to the plenty that the prophet sees after the trouble he just saw the remnant go through. The prophet is seeing the reward that comes for their trusting faithfulness to Yehovah’s Torah and the Ruach that carried them through in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. These who remained true to Yehovah had done exploits and will see rest and comfort in the Kingdom of our Moshiach and in the New Earth and Heavens to come, the olam haba. Were you thirsty in the end of days? Did you ‘hunger and thirst’ for righteousness? You shall be filled with the water of the Word, with food, milk and wine to your heart’s content and you will not have to bribe someone to get a morsel of bread; in fact, I think the Kingdom’s economy may be cashless and barter based. We will not get what isn’t food, like we get today, but food that will actually sustain our body and our soul. We won’t labor for the garbage goods that we get now, but will receive good quality products for a good quality job performed. As we hearken to (shama) and live (shama) [it literally says listen, listen, as in Hear and do] Torah, we will garner its blessings,
3 If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; 4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. 6 And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make afraid: … 9 For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. 10 And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. 11 And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you. 12 And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. (Lev.26.3-6, 9-12)
V.3 says that shama-ing; actively and intelligently listening = to come to Yehovah = to live, and once you’ve done that, he will covenant with you the ‘mercies of David’. I think that David, in this light, speaks of King Moshiach, as all kings of chol Yisrael, the 12 tribes, are likened to David. Vv.4-5 show that to us. Yehovah has given us King Moshiach for a witness to the people, a leader and commander. As we see in Rev.19, Moshiach will come to defeat the armies of the earth in the land of Israel. The nations that sent armies against Yehovah Yeshua, the Moshiach and son of David, will send embassage to make peace [after their armies are destroyed by the Word of Yeshua’s mouth (2-edged sword)], and he will accept their tribute and homage. We can only seek him in this life, as there is no other life promised to us. You have until your last breath to call on him for his deliverance from your bondage to sin – he will in no way, shape or form cast one out who repents of his sins and confesses them to him as sins against him and only him. When you get serious, he stands and waits for your humble reliance on HIS provision of Yeshua and his blood on his tree for your sins and he is right there to receive you to himself. If you haven’t repented yet, do so now. Who knows how many more breaths you have left? Yehovah alone knows. Certainly not you or me. Q&C
Tehellim 129 – In vv.1-3 Yisrael calls out to Yehovah for deliverance from her affliction – exile. From her youth as a nation in Egypt, she has been afflicted because she has turned away from Yehovah’s Way and gone her own way, but even at that she has not completely forgotten Yehovah’s promise of blessing if she would make teshuvah and start trusting him. By David’s time, Yisrael had turned away and returned as a nation dozens of times. Each time we turned away, he brought warnings and judgments to cause us to turn back, and each time we rebelled again. The stripes that we received from our Adversary got to be like furrows in a field – in fact, the stripes that Yeshua received were so bad that he looked like a plowed field, broken up, disked, plowed, and ready for seed. But Yehovah has always been faithful to forgive us and accept us back when we turned from our own ways and returned to his Way. As the Prodigal’s father was constantly on the lookout for his son’s first step back toward him, so has Yehovah always been watching for our return.
In v.4, Yehovah hears our humble prayer of repentance and call for deliverance from our exile, and he cuts the cords; breaks the bands of bondage to our sin and sends his deliverer, Yeshua haMoshiach. While delivering us in v.5, he confuses and confounds all those oppressors who hate Zion, not the political Zion of the enemy, but the Biblical Zion that Yehovah promises to his faithful children. In vv.6-8 He makes those who hate Zion as thatch on a rooftop. That straw is of little use agriculturally. It would be useful as it grew to bring forth seed for planting and eating, but afterward, or if it withered due to scorching heat and lack of rain, its only use was to buffer us from storms, perhaps to be used as bedding or binder to make bricks. Same with those who have oppressed Yisrael and who WILL oppress Yisrael until we make teshuvah and Moshiach comes to deliver us. The oppressors have never been blessed of Yehovah or of any of his who happen by, for noone but the oppressor thinks them worthy of Yehovah’s blessing. And even then, they do not want the blessing of Yehovah on themselves, but they want to have the product of Yehovah’s blessing from faithful Yisrael. They WANT the product of Yehovah’s blessing, but not Yehovah who gives it to his faithful servants who meet the requirements of receiving that blessing. Sounds like the slaves of socialism, doesn’t it? They say, “It’s not FAIR that you have so much and I have so little! You’ve been lucky! You need to share the wealth!” Socialists are jealous and lust for the blessings acquired by work. Fascists use the socialist’s jealousy and covetousness to acquire their legal, though unlawful, power over the faithful. What the socialists need to do is get off their fat rumps and work for it, like the prosperous did. The financially prosperous have EARNED their comfort, as the spiritually prosperous have earned their temporal blessings.
What is it that Yehovah requires of us in order that we can receive his blessing? He expects obedience to his Torah instructions. Everyone wants
4 …rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. 5 And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time: and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely… 6 peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid … 9 respect, … fruitful, … multiplicity … 10 shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. (Lev.26.4-6, 9-10 edited)
Everyone wants the blessing, but only a few; a remnant; are willing to do what Yehovah requires to receive it. Q&C
Luka 6.20-49 – This is Luke’s condensation of Yeshua’s “Sermon on the Mount”, the micro SoM. My study of the Sermon on the Mount centers on Matt.5-7, the macro SoM. I will go point by point from Luka and bring my notes from Matt 5-7 to bear on it. Luka is truly a condensation, even the verses are truncated somewhat, but the content is almost exactly the same.
V.20 – Blessed poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Matthew 5:3, “Blessed the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Yeshua preached the KoH/KoG, and the designations seem to be interchangeable. Does Yeshua say only the poor here? No, he says the poor in spirit. A man can be exceedingly rich and yet be poor in spirit. The attitude is what’s important here. Yeshua is implying that rich men usually trust their wealth more than they trust Elohim. Those who trust in their wealth will not be a part of the kingdom of heaven, while those who trust in Elohim will be. The Greek word xlated ‘poor’ speaks of the destitution of a beggar. When we come to Elohim as beggars, having nothing in ourselves to merit his favor and mercy, that is when he will use us. That is when we are saved, when we become a part of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is that type of humility that saved Naaman, the Ninevite general and leper. It is that type of humility that saved Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king and lunatic. It is that type of humility that saves us, Laodicean believers who are so full of the good life on earth that we often forget Elohim – to our shame. We need to be poor in spirit – humble, like Naaman and Nebuchadnezzar, and fulfill
Rev. 3:18, “I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see,”
while rebuking ourselves of the attitude of
Rev. 3:17, “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:”
V.21a Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
For what do you hunger and thirst? Is it power, or the desires of the flesh, or the desire for things, or that your children have that stuff? Or do you hunger and thirst after the Word and Kingdom of Elohim? Do you truly want Elohim’s righteousness in your own life, or are you struggling after the good life or to make it to heaven on your own? If a man is righteous in his own eyes or rich in worldly goods, he is not likely to hunger or thirst for Elohim’s righteousness. As far as he’s concerned, why should he? He thinks, ‘I’m pretty good, especially compared to that guy.’ But he’s using the wrong yardstick. How is his righteousness compared to Yeshua haMoshiach, the Tzadik (1Jn.2.1)? Is.59.10-21 shows what happens to these men and, beginning at the end of v.15, what will happen to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who turn away from their transgression (pride). They will be filled with kingdom blessings [Ps.81.10, Pro.8.21, 28.25, Is.66.10ff, (in the millennium)]. Which end will be yours (66.24)?
V.21b – Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” The reference here is to those who mourn over their sin. A couple of examples are Josiah and Daniel. When Josiah was 24 yrs old the Law was found in the temple while it was being repaired. When the Law was read to Josiah he rent his clothes and mourned over the sin of the nation, as well as his own personal sin. Because he mourned, Elohim blessed him and withheld the judgment that was due to befall Yehudah for a few years. And when Daniel mourned over his own and his nation’s sin, Elohim blessed him with a vision of the destruction of Persia, the rise of Greece and the rise of Antiochus Epiphanes, a type of the AntiMessiah. Great spiritual blessings ensue when we mourn over our sin and humble ourselves before the Elohim of the universe, though material blessings may be withheld until we can handle them. When we mourn over our sins, Elohim comforts us (the greek word is parakaleo ‘to call to his side’) by drawing near to us and filling us with the certain knowledge of gracious and merciful forgiveness. What a great and loving Elohim we serve, who will not deliver us to haSatan if we’ll be humble and mourn our sins. Q&C
V.22 – 22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. Matthew 5:10-12, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
These 2 beatitudes are slightly different in their application. Each still requires a humility that is not found in mere humans, but the attitude is seen in our response to ill treatment from others rather than how we treat others or ourselves. Do you think that just being persecuted is going to bring a blessing? It is your response to suffering that gets the blessing. These three verses must be seen together. Yeshua tells us that those who have been persecuted for standing up for Elohim and his righteous standard will be blessed, then he makes the personal application by saying ‘You (and I) will be supremely blest when you (we) suffer all these things for my (Yeshua’s) sake.’ Look at the way that sentence is built in verse 11. “Blessed are ye for my sake” is the simple sentence. The whole rest of the verse is a dependent adverbial clause. It cannot stand on its own and can be left out of the sentence without destroying it. It amplifies the verb ‘blessed’ in the simple sentence. Yeshua here rolls all the prophets and his audience together in the same bundle, calling them (and us) prophets. He also equates his sake to righteousness’ sake. In other words, Yeshua is righteousness and suffering for his sake makes the kingdom of heaven ours. Don’t worry about what people will think of you, just be his witness and bring others to him. Let the persecution come, it builds character (if you accept it humbly and joyfully).
V.24-26 – Here, Luka begins a short, 3 verses, midrash speaking of those who are the opposite of the ones he addressed in the first 4 verses. There is no passage like this in Matt’s SoM. In vv.20-23, the people he is describing are those who trust Yehovah for their deliverance, while in vv.24-26, he describes those who trust the world’s system.
24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Does this mean that no rich man can enter the kingdom? Elohim Forbid! What it means is that the rich man has a greater probability of being satisfied with his riches than with Yehovah, while the poor will want more and they will more likely trust Yehovah because they are not satisfied with the world’s riches. Those who trust their wealth have received the reward they are looking for.
V.25a – Woe unto you who are full, for you shall hunger. Does this mean that if you have enough to eat you will not see the KoH/KoG? Elohim forbid! The word translated ‘full’ actually means ‘satisfied’. Yeshua is saying that if you are satisfied with, or ‘great in’, this world’s stuff, you have no desire for what Yehovah has to offer.
V.25b – Woe unto you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Does this mean that if you laugh or have a sense of humor you will not see the KoH/KoG? Elohim forbid! The word translated ‘laugh’ is Strong’s greek 1070 gelao (like a bowl full of jelly?!), which means to be full of joy and satisfaction. Are we beginning to see a pattern here?
V.26 – Woe unto you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets. I am relatively certain that this will NEVER happen to me, because I am of very set opinions on matters spiritual/biblical and that informs all my other opinions. Even my family and friends don’t like me much of the time. Having men speak well of them is the bulls-eye that politicians strive to hit, because that is how elections are won. The word xlated ‘well’ is G2573, kalos, adverb form of 2570, kaloce, virtuous in appearance, as juxtaposed to G18 agathos, intrinsically good. IOW, the ‘good’ these folks exude is all for show. In today’s religion – especially the religious season we are in now, Election 2016 – everything is done for show. That is PRECISELY why a truly HONEST man can’t be elected in America anymore – the vast majority of Americans are ‘all show/no go’. They elect men like themselves. I think that, in their heart of hearts, it makes them feel better about themselves that they can point at the politicians they elect and say with reasonable accuracy the they aren’t as bad as THAT guy!
The point Yeshua is making is that we ought not be satisfied with our lives in this world, but should be striving to be better than the world system; to actually hunger and thirst for righteousness in our own lives, to want to be like our Master Yehovah Yeshua in every way, and to not be satisfied with less than HIS righteousness. Q&C
V.27-28 – But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you… 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. Matthew 5:43-48, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more; do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
We are the light of the world, the salt of the earth, a city on a hill. As such we are to reflect the attitude of the Father and bring Him the glory. Yeshua is giving us a practical application here. He is referring in v.43 to De.23.3-6. No Israelite could marry a Moabite or an Ammonite. Moab and Ammon were Lot’s daughter’s sons. Yeshua shows the spirit of that law here. If you want to be the child of the Father in heaven, you have to love and do good to and pray for your enemies who hate you and despise you and use you spitefully. That’s how we all treat Yeshua at different times of our lives, even as believers. When we treat Yeshua like this as believers we are showing ourselves to be his enemies. And we all do this from time to time, consciously or unconsciously (I think unconsciously is worse, because it truly shows that we despise Elohim. If we presumptuously sin [Oh, Elohim will forgive me for this], we at least considered his reaction to it. Both are inadvisable). Elohim doesn’t treat anyone any differently in this life, we all get the same common blessings from him whether we believe him or not. Should we not treat every man with the same attitude, not just those in the household of faith? If you only defer to the Messianic, if you only love your family, what good are you to the kingdom? We are to be ‘perfect’ in our attitude of service to YHVH, as much as in our actual service to him, even as he is in his attitude (Phil.2.4-5) and his service (Phil.2.6-8).
Philip. 2:4-8, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5Let ^^this^^ mind be in you, which was also in Moshiach Yeshua: 6Who, being in the form of Elohim, thought it not robbery to be equal with Elohim: 7But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on the tree.”
That is perfection of attitude and service.
V.29-31, 35-36 – And unto him that smiteth thee on the cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise… 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Matthew 5:38-42, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have cloke also. 41And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth is a commandment of Yehovah in Lev.24.20. The context of that verse (beginning in v.10) is speaking of a deliberate attack on another, which needed to be justly met by the civil authority. It doesn’t seem to be talking about an accidental thing, but I could be mistaken. It is certain that an accidental death was to be given the grace of the city of refuge (Ex.21.12-14), but the premeditated murderer was to have no mercy. I think the principle applies. Here’s what I shared in January on this point in our Torah notes,
If a man killed an animal, he needed to make restitution, like for like. The same restitution was due when causing an injury to another person. The restitution was to be like for like, and the eye for eye, tooth for tooth doesn’t mean that if he did something to cause you to lose an eye, you had the right to gouge out his eye. It means he has to make the loss good – ensure that the one who suffered the physical loss doesn’t see any loss of life, property or lifestyle. For instance, if a singer’s voice is injured due to someone’s negligence, the negligent one needs to provide a similar income as the singer earned before the injury. So, guess where the idea of limited liability insurance came from. What was good for the Israelite – Torah – was good for the stranger. There is one law for both the Israelite and the stranger – v.22. And to make that point, Y’hovah invokes the enabling clause, “I am Y’hovah Elohechem.” And Moshe told Israel Y’hovah’s mishpat and they carried out the execution. The rabbis at Artscroll/Mesorah Publications say this about our parenthesis in Stone’s Chumash, pg.692, 693. I think they make sense.
This was more or less the letter, pashat, of Torah.
But Yeshua took the law one further and showed the spirit of it. He taught that you are not to render evil for evil. The idea of the greek word is to take an active stance against the wickedness coming against you. The idea is something akin to Ghandi’s nonresistance. Allow the evil to be brought against you. As we go on we’ll see the rest of the application in praying for them that despitefully use us and so on. Our treasure is not of this world, but of Elohim and kept for us in heaven. If someone is treating you badly or requiring your service unjustly, give that service your best effort and do more than you are required to do. Look at Rom.12.17-20.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
This is to be our response to injustice
21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: 22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and Yehovah shall reward thee. (Pro.25.21-22).
Give to him that asketh thee… The idea here is to pay what you owe when the bill comes due. Ask is from greek aiteo to demand what’s due. And don’t as a matter of course turn your back on someone who needs a loan. Yisrael was to loan to their brethren without interest (Deut.23.19-20). This word, daneizo, means to lend at interest. Therefore, it must refer to gentiles. Don’t turn your backs on unbelievers who need help. If you loan without thought of the return, you are doing as Yehovah has done for you and you are fulfilling the spirit of grace. You will be a witness against him at the great white throne if he doesn’t come to faith in Moshiach, and may be a witness to the grace of Elohim that will lead him to Moshiach. Either way, Elohim gets the glory. Q&C
V.37-38 – 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Matthew 7:1-2, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
Yeshua here tells us that we will be judged by whatever standard we use to judge others. The implication is very clear. We will never be able to live up to our own standards, we would ourselves be guilty in our own self-righteous judgment, how will we ever stand before a truly holy and righteous judge?
‘With what judgment ye judge’ tells us that when we are guilty of a fault, we will receive the same punishment we award others for that fault. ‘With what measure ye mete’ tells us we will be judged by the same standard we use. Do you judge others by their adherence to the Law of Elohim? Do you judge yourself by the same Law? Elohim will use the same yardstick we use and bestow the same mercy we bestow. Elohim save us from our selves.
With every principle taught in this lesson on the mount, I’ve been struck by my total inability to do what I’m told. My pride keeps getting in the way. I am not meek, nor a peacemaker, nor do I hunger and thirst after righteousness, nor do I forgive, nor do I seek first the kingdom of Elohim. And I certainly do not judge in righteousness, though I’m very good, indeed, at judging in self-righteousness. I’m quite good at finding fault in others and covering them up in myself. I fear that this is all too often the case in most of our lives. It is in this area, our total lack of honesty and humility, that we all probably need to repent in dust and ashes and ask Elohim’s forgiveness. Isn’t it wonderful that we have the promise of Elohim that he will forgive us if we confess our sins to him in an attitude of repentance?
“Good measure, pressed down and shaken together” means that he is filling us as full as we can be filled, and then making us overflow our vessel. If you ever want to fill a glass jar with solid material, you can always fill all the voids by shaking the jar, pressing the contents down and perhaps tapping the jar’s bottom on a table or counter top. After you get all the solids you can stuff into a jar, there is still space that a liquid can fill. Yehovah wants to fill us until we overflow with blessing.
We’ll come back to vv.39-40, as they do not occur in Matt’s besorah.
Vv.41-42 41 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 42 Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
This passage is a continuation of the last and must be taken in light of it. Notice that Yeshua changed from ye to thee, plural to singular. If you are pronouncing judgment on an issue of which you are yourself guilty, you are an hypocrite. Before any of us enters into a judicial situation we should be sure that we are not in transgression ourselves, that we are repented and confessed up to date. This is what is meant by “remove the beam from thine own eye.” And we should use the same standard Elohim used with us. Was Elohim gracious and merciful in his judgment and forgiveness? We ought to be, also.
‘Cast out the beam’ comes from the greek word ekballo and means just what it says here. The same word is used in 5.13 and means the same thing there. The same word is used for casting out devils, casting children of the kingdom into outer darkness (Mat.8.12), and any uncleanness taken in through the mouth being ‘cast out in the draught’ (Mat.15.17). It means to throw out; your gotten rid of it, and, by implication, never to have it bother you again. This is not to say that once this beam is removed, cast away from you, and you can judge properly on this matter that another beam will not get in your way on some other matter. We will not be able to judge in absolute objective righteousness until we are given our glorified bodies, mortal corruption changed to immortal incorruption, sinful pride changed to righteous humility.
To paraphrase the NIKE advertisements, just don’t do it. Unless you are absolutely objectively righteous. Two chances of that – FAT and NONE.
Vv.43-45 – For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 44 For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. 45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Matthew 7:15-17, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
The interpretation here is pretty straightforward. We are to be on the lookout to keep false prophets out of our midst; and one of the ways to smoke out a false prophet is to see if he judges people for what he himself is guilty, as we saw in our last passage. We’ll certainly know a false prophet by the outcome of their prophecy. Is it true? Did it happen the way he said it would? Does it fit the character of the Creator Elohim of the universe? If not, stone them without the gates.
This does not apply simply to foretelling or predictive prophecy. It also deals with forthtelling or expository prophecy. Is the word from the pulpit (or that guy in front of the room who keeps spouting off) in accord with the word of Elohim and the character of Elohim? What kind of fruit do you see in the preacher’s life? Does it meet the test of 1Jn.4.1? How about in your own life? Do you compare scripture with scripture, things spiritual with things spiritual? Or do you look for a scripture that can be twisted to say what you want it to say and support your lusts thereby? Are you a false prophet? What saith your fruit?
We have been warned that antimessiahs are all over the place. They had already crept into the assemblies in Yochanan’s day. How much more prevalent must they be today, so far removed in time from the source? Stay in the true Word of Elohim so you’ll know a counterfeit when he shows his ugly face. Try the spirit of the prophet and the spirit behind his teaching. If it doesn’t stand the sniff test, if something smells rotten, beware. If it doesn’t stand the comparison test, rebuke that spirit and get it out of your life. Then warn as many as will hear you.
If you are rooted in the Word of Yehovah, sustained by the Root of Jesse (Is.11.10), abiding in the vine (Jn.15.1-7), you will produce fruit to the Kingdom of Elohim. Notice that in Jn.15.2, there are those branches that are in the vine, but do not bear fruit. These the Father takes away. They are suckers, they drain the life from the vine and don’t add anything to it. This is what is removed in the purging. Notice that it does not say that what is purged is cast away, gathered up and burned. It says that what does not abide in him is cast away and gathered by men and burned. You can be a believer, in Moshiach, but not a disciple of Yeshua. There are many of these, especially in these last Laodicean days. The time will come when these will be removed and put where they can no longer drain the vitality from the vine and the good branches. But since they are in Moshiach, they will not be cast away. They will spend eternity with Moshiach without reward. Inheritance is what we get because we are adopted children. Rewards are what we get for our service in Moshiach. All who are in Moshiach will inherit eternal life. Only those who abide in Moshiach will receive rewards. What does your fruit look like? Do you have any?
What is symbolized by a tree in scripture? Trees are nations. The olive tree signifies Yisrael in belief. The fig tree symbolizes Yisrael in unbelief. If the tree bears no fruit, it is cut down and thrown into the fire. That refers to a nation. Individuals are seen in Jn.15, nations in Mat.7. Do not confuse them, or you will hold to false doctrine. An individual is adopted. A nation is a group of individuals. That nation whose Elohim is Yehovah is blessed (Ps.33.12). That is why America was blessed for so long, and why she is being cut down to be thrown into the fire now. She, as a nation, has forgotten Yehovah, though there are still many individuals who serve him. They will be rewarded, but the nation will soon be plucked up and removed, unless a true revival happens by Yehovah’s mercy and grace. I would have revival, but I think that America’s vial is almost full (Rev.15.7-8). Q&C
VV.46-49 – 46 And why call ye me, Master, Master, and do not the things which I say? 47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: 48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. 49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Master, Master shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22Many will say to me in that day, Master, Master, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. 28And it came to pass, when Yeshua had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
Don’t just say that you are saved; be sure of it. False prophets and false professors will get the same inheritance – death. Your faith does not depend on your emotions, how you feel at the moment, or any work of righteousness you perform, or a sinless life. If it did, you would need to be saved hundreds of times a day. In fact, it is not even your faith that saves you, but the faith of Master Yehovah Yeshua haMoshiach (Gal.2.16, Rev.14.12). Just because a person says, “I am a blood-bought, spirit-filled, prophet of Elohim and I perform all sorts of miracles” doesn’t make it true. What did Yeshua say in the previous verse? “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” So be a fruit inspector, especially your own fruit (7.1-5). What does the fruit look like in your life? Are you in the vine? Where is your abode? How tragic it would be if you lived and learned of the Bible, but never got to know the Author.
‘Not everyone that saith Master, Master, shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father’. What is the will of the Father?
“Yehovah is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2Pe.3:9
This is the simplest statement of the divine will, the very essence and the bare minimum – repentance. And the outcome of repentance can be seen in 2Chron.7.14, 30.9, Is.55.7, Zech.1.3, Lk.15.7, Job.22.23, Jer.24.7, Lam.3.40. If this is not the attitude of our hearts when we come before Yehovah to confess, we are wasting our breath. We must truly repent before we can expect to be forgiven. Does this ensure that we’ll never do the same thing again? No way, dude. But the shorter we keep our accounts with Elohim the easier it will be to get on with the rest of his will.
Proverbs 40.8 tell us specifically what the will of Yehovah is, “I delight to do thy will, O Elohai. Thy Torah is in my heart.” His Word is his will. Jms.1.22 is the Brit Chadashah equivalent, “But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
The first thing Elohim wants from us is repentance, the next thing he wants is compliance. After we’ve turned away from our sins and iniquities we are facing in the right direction and can actually comply with the divine will. We can now be made more like Yeshua and bear much fruit. It is up to us to lead people to him, and it is up to the Ruach ha Kodesh to convince them of their need for the Saviour. If we are led by the Spirit of Elohim we will bear witness to Yeshua. If we are not bearing witness to Yeshua, it follows that we are not led by the Spirit. Rom.8.13-17, Gal.5.16-26.
The difference between these two men is in what they did with the Word of Elohim. Hearing the Word of Elohim is not enough. It is in the doing that a man is adjudged wise by Elohim, not hearing only (Jam.1.22-25). The word for rock here is petra which means a mass of rock, bedrock. If you can dig your footer into bedrock, there’s nothing short of an act of Elohim that will take that building away. The same is true of your life and the Word of Elohim. If you base your life on compliance to the Word of Elohim, as simply understood as it can be done correctly, you will never waver in your faith, come hell or high water (this is where that saying came from). But if you base your life on the shifting sands of emotions or fashions or cultural whims or momentary fads, the smallest breeze will knock you down. Witness western civilization, and American civilization in particular, over the last 40 years. It’s a house of cards waiting for the wind to shift. When that happens it will all come down, and great will be the fall of it.
The word translated ‘astonished’ is ekplesso and it means literally to slap oneself with a flat hand – they probably said, “Oy, Veh!” while they did this. The reason was for the authority with which he taught. The greek word behind authority is exousia, which means out of himself. In other words, he wasn’t teaching from a text book, or from Talmud, or repeating what some guy thought. He taught what he knew experientially and essentially to be true. He was teaching himself, not some subject. To the people gathered there it must have been awesome. Here was a man teaching objective truth, not subjective opinion. How odd! What would happen if someone did this today? He’d be wrapped up in a strait jacket and deposited in the loony bin. Of course, that’s what the scribes, up to now the authorities on the Word of Elohim, wanted to so with Yeshua, so I guess there is nothing new under the sun (Ecc.1.9-10). So remember that when you proclaim the Word of Elohim without error, (something I’ll never have to worry about this side of glory) the authorities will try to have you put away. First you’ll be demonized, then marginalized, and finally shunted to a sidetrack for quick and quiet disposal into the dustbin of human history, they hope.
The next couple of vignettes do not occur in Matthew’s SoM, but do elsewhere in his besorah. I will quote both together and give brief comments.
V.39 – And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. (Matthew 15:14) In both Hebrew and Greek the words translated in KJV as ‘ditch’ refer to a hole dug for a trap. This is very likely the result of one who cannot see either the letter or spirit of Torah following one as blind as himself, which result is destruction; either physically, or spiritually, or both. Nothing GOOD can come of this situation.
V.40 – 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? (Matthew 10:24-25) – Yeshua warns us that they, the leaders of the religion, will do the same to us as they did to him, and that we should expect it from them. I say that we can soon expect it from all around because we are different in that we prepare for hard times, look forward to the return of Yeshua as Moshiach ben David to rule over the whole earth from Yerushalayim. In this last belief we get characterized as the same as the radical Islamists, even though we don’t behead people with whom we disagree or subjugate whole populations of people because they were unfortunate enough to be born female, as do Rad-Lamists. They hate us precisely because we will live according to Torah. I think it makes them feel guilty. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study