Read all of Matthew 12 carefully
As we all learned in school, context clues go a long way to explaining the meaning of a passage. The same rule applies when reading the Bible. Matthew 12 chronicles an encounter between the Pharisees and Yeshua concerning his willingness to commit actions the halakha of the Pharisees deemed illegal on the sabbath day:
Matthew 12:9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:10 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him. 15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all.
Yeshua embarassed the Pharisees by pointing out that the Torah clearly states, no one shall bear a burden on the sabbath. A maimed hand, if it can be healed, qualifies as an unnecessary burden. Healing wounds would infact serve the sabbath command by removing unneccesary burdens. He then furthers his point by reminding the Pharisees that in the halakha of the elders a man can get his animal out of a ditch on the sabbath day if its injured or trapped. By making this point he demonstrated that the Pharisees hold the life and health of Israelites in lower esteem than that of the beasts of burden of Pharisees. It's no surprise the people in that synagogue left immediately and asked to be healed.
Shortly thereafter, the Pharisee accuse Yeshua of serving the devil and healing with demonic powers.
Matthew 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: 26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?27 And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.28 But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.
Here he points out that he, as a Torah teacher, would make a poor ally for the devil because everything he teaches moves the men as far from the devil as possible. He then asks what evidence do they bring? He can heal, but so can the students of the Pharisees. They created a law unto themselves (the halakha) and now they'll have to play judge one with another ignoring the judgements in the Torah. However since Yeshua heals fully in accordance with the word of the Torah, that means the kingdom that can only be built by people following the Torah has arrived in Israel. Also Yeshua says to them "the finger of God" is the method of casting out demons. The finger of God wrote the Ten Commandments. Yeshua then puts the nail in the Pharisee's coffin saying:
29 Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
He has now publicly identified the sect of the Pharisees as invaders into the house of God. In his eyes, they came to bind and constrain the word of God. Then they could bind and constrain the people of Israel. Thereby they steal from the very family of God in his own house.
Now comes the great and frightening realization:
31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. 32 And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
Here the Messiah bombards them scriptural references and threats.
To understand the Messiah we need to understand the terms used. What is the Holy Ghost? Who is the Son of man? What is Blasphemy?
The Holy Spirit
The oracles of God are the breath breathed into the lips of Moses which Judah was prophesied to protect:
Num 12:8 With him will I speak MOUTH TO MOUTH, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the LORD shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
YHWH makes it clear in this passage that he breathed his words directly into Moses and if anyone speak against him they will be speaking against the Most High. Is it any surprise Yeshua, as the living Torah, would be enraged at men who made new laws to accompany the perfect oracles given to Moses? Yeshua testified of himself saying:
John 6:63 It is the SPIRIT that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the WORDS I SPEAK UNTO YOU, they are SPIRIT, and they are LIFE.
John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a COMMANDMENT (Torah), what I should say, and what I should speak.
He confirms he only speaks the words YHWH commanded and he speaks spirit and life. No surprise because the Torah is life. As explained by Solomon:
Proverbs 3:17-18 17Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.18 She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.
Son of Man
Thought Yeshua does refer to himself as the Son of man many times in the New Testament, I believe "Son of man" refers to Ezekial here. 93 times in the Tanak YHWH calls Ezekial "son of man". No surprise Yeshua would expect them to speak against him, Ezekial prophesied about the elders of Israel saying:
Ezekial 34 1And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
We confirmed the meaning of spirit as the Torah, so now we must understand the meaning of blasphemy. This word is blasphemia in the greek which strong's concordance defines as "slander, detraction, speech injurious to another's good name". So how does one detract from or injure the name of the Torah in which God established his good shem? The blasphemer must change it and or atleast reinterpret the words to serve his own modus operandi. Pharisees and Sadducees stand guilty of adding to the word of Moses as they saw fit for the furthering of the traditions of the elder's of Israel. 988
Tree and Fruit
God called the living Torah a tree (proverbs 3:18) to turn the people of Israel into fruitful trees (Romans 11:15-25). The fruit of Torah (Galatians 5:22) would show in the works of the believers. Eventually bringing the kingdom of heaven to the earth. The pharisees, by adding to the law, created a buffer preventing the fruit of the Torah from blooming in the lives of the believers. Halakha created a corrupted tree with corrupted fruit as Yeshua points out saying:
Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
The elders created halakha in the order to keep the people safe from sin, but neglected to remember a simple truth about the thoughts of men:
Matthew 19:17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
To close his indictment against them he says:
Matthew 12:34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
In summery, Yeshua showed the halakha as both the height of hubris and foolishness. It shows a lack of trust in the Torah and creates new sins YHWH must show his consent for by forgiving them through his system of forgiveness. This explains why Yeshua said, " blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven " because God doesn't allow others to define what sin is. Sin, by definition, is transgression of the Torah (1 John 3:4).
- Written by Raymond W. Myers
- Category: Matthew / Mattityahu
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Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Here Rabbi Yeshua describes a standard encounter at the Ekklesia (synagogue in the Hebrew, church in English). Since the time of the Babylonian captivity, and perhaps before, the Judean believers gathered together on the Sabbath day (Saturday in English) and studied the Torah. At this gathering, an elder would read from the words of the Torah (called the Torah portion even today) and sit in an ornamented chair called “Moses's seat”. Then the men of the group would discuss or midrash the text and discuss what they considered the meaning of the words to be and how they applied to the life of people living then. This process brings the men of Israel together fulfilling proverb 27:17 "Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."
Unfortunately, over time no new thoughts were discussed in the synagogue. Instead of considering new understandings of the words of Moses, the elders of the Pharisees would simply tell the congregation how the text should be interpreted. This interpretation, or oral tradition, grew into the Mishnah and Talmud we know of today. This enforced Halakha practice lead to divisions and sects like the school of Hilel and Shammai: both Sanhedrin members during the reign of Herod. Rabbis became more interested in their favorite commentator on the Torah than the Torah itself. Pharisee rabbis accused men who disagreed with the standard interpretation as bringing the word of God to no effect. Yeshua echos this accusation back in Mark 7:13, “Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
Rabbi Yeshua, as the living Torah, took great offense at the practice of teaching the traditions of the elders of Israel instead of allowing the men of Israel to explore the Torah. So he told his followers to listen to the Pharisee when he spoke the words of Moses while sitting in the seat of Moses, but to ignore the Pharisee when he stood and told the congregation what the passage meant.
A well known Hebrew translation of Matthew, called Shem Tob's Matthew, gives us a clear description of what Yeshua wanted when it came to dealing with Pharisees, "The Pharisees and sages sit upon the seat of Moses. Therefore, all that he (refering to Moses) says to you, diligently do, but according to their reforms (takanot) and their precedents (ma'asim) do not do, because they talk but do not do." These takanot and ma'asims make up the traditions of the elders of Israel.
Looking to the words spoken by Yeshua in Matthew 22:32 we can see he wants the Torah thought of as a living entity. The Torah is alive and lives in the living people walking the word. The Torah shall not be added to or taken away from by the thoughts and traditions of dead men:
“I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
The Apostle Paul, who dealt with mixed groups of Jews and non-Jews constantly, reiterated this idea in his 1st epistle to the Thessalonians saying:, “19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” Just as the pharisees and scribes in the synagogue had stifled the spirit of the word of God by locking it into long held traditional practices, people in the church in Thessalonica had troubles making sense of being believers in Messiah Yeshua without falling into Jewish traditions. Paul reminds us to take a great interest in what the prophets have said, to check and cross check every saying someone has concerning the word, and to remember the word of God as good above all else. Remember as Yeshua said in Mathew 19, “17 Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
On a final note, concerning the church of Thessalonica, in Acts 17 we see them mentioned, “10And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” We must be like those Bereans and scrutinize the word of God to understand what our place in God's word and the intentions of people who come to us as messengers from God.
- Written by Raymond W. Myers
- Category: Matthew / Mattityahu
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- Written by Raymond W. Myers
- Category: Matthew / Mattityahu
- Hits: 1509
Luke 19:41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, 42 Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. 43 For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44 And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
We need to consider the history of Israel the century before Yeshua made this statement to understand how the Temple looked in the eyes of YHWH by the time of his ministry. Then we will investigate “the time of thy visitation” as a reference to Yom Kippur.
The Temple of Ezra, which Herod expanded and renovated, stood as the glue holding together what remained of the Judean people. Though many Israelites chose never to return from Babylon during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the rebuilt Temple still beckoned to all Hebrew males to make three pilgrimages a year: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.
During the time of the Maccabees, a Greek king known as Antiochus IV Epiphanes , desecrated the Temple by stopping the temple services and ordering the worship of Zeus as head of all gods.. Greek rulers and many Hellenized Jews wanted Israelites to adopt the ways of polytheism and of Greek philosophy.
The writer of the Book of Daniel shows that the last actual seed-of-Aaron high priest was Yason of the Oniad family. Under the rule of Antiochus IV Epiphanes he attempted to pay a bribe to have himself confirmed by the Greek king as High Priest. Unfortunately, Menelaus , bought the position from Antiochus and the Aaronic line ended.
A civil war erupted between the orthodox Jews and the Hellenistic Jews in Palestine; take note, the book of the Maccabees, chronicles this war. One of the victors, Jonathan Maccabeus, assumed the leadership of Israel as High Priest. By the war's end a new kingdom rose in Judea called the Hasmonean dynasty.
Rule by the Hasmoneans, which included the office of High Priest, continued for almost 100 years until Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, two brothers competing for the throne, invited arbitration by the Romans of the city of Pompey in Syria. The Romans agreed to settle the dispute, named Hyrcanus the new king, and made a binding alliance contract with no end. Unfortunately this agreement made Israel essentially a vassal state under Roman protection. Within a few short decades Emperor Augustus confirmed Herod the Great as king of northern Palestine and the Hasmonean dynasty ended.
By the time of Yeshua, the office of the High Priest contained no members Aaron's blood line. Without a member of Aaron's blood line officiating, the office of the High Priest lay empty. Israel suffered the inability to perform the ritual of the fast, called Yom Kippur. Some would also point out that most likely the Ark of the Covenant stood no longer in the temple by this time period also preventing the proper execution of the ritual.
Even without the necessary pieces, without the necessary men, and without the necessary agreement with YHWH, temple services continued in Jerusalem. Yeshua, as the living Torah, knew the requirements of the high priests office and warned them of the coming destruction pointing out, “because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”
episkope g1984 , definitation 1.a. reads, “that act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad.”
Moldern Jews consider Yom Kippur thus:
"In Days of Awe, I mentioned the "books" in which G-d inscribes all of our names. On Yom Kippur, the judgment entered in these books is sealed. This day is, essentially, your last appeal, your last chance to change the judgment, to demonstrate your repentance and make amends." (http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday4.htm)
The Torah states:
Leviticus 16:21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
Without a proper High Priest, no one can fulfill the duty of cleansing the nation of Israel of iniquity. The judgment day of Israel passed every year with no intercessor.
Yeshua knew eventually all those curses listed in Leviticus 26:14-39 would come upon Israel again. He wept detailing how the armies Rome, as Babylonians before them, would encamp about the city and bring the sword and the beasts of the earth to discipline and scatter Israel again.
- Written by Raymond W. Myers
- Category: Luke / Loukas
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