Sermon on the Mount
Presented by Dan L Baxley
(Mat 5:1) Seeing the multitudes, He went up onto the mountain. When He had sat down, His disciples came to him.
(Mat 5:2) He opened His mouth and taught them, saying,
Comment: It is interesting to note that this is called The Sermon on the Mount and it is portrayed in many writings and films as a time our Lord YaHshua went up on the side of a mountain and stood up and preached a seromon to the people spread out below Him. And the last verses in the previous chapter does say that a great mulitude of people were following Him, many were bringing the sick to Him for healing. But, here, in the opening verses we find that YaHshua may have gone up on this mountain to get away from the multitude. Notice, His disciples came to Him, not the multitude and it is to personal disciples to whom He began to speak, to teach. This would better be titled, Sermon to His Disciples, but the Sermon on the Mount has been made famous. A small thing but a recurring shaping and reshaping of words leading to interpretations that are off track or begin to go off track. Certainly, these words, His words should be applied and followed by every person possible, not just disciples, but especially to disciples, to those confessing Him and only Him, YaHshua, as Savior, having come in the flesh. Let us read:
Comment: There is a running debate among commentators and commentaries about the meaning of this simple verse. Sometimes, simple is not so simple. Literally to be poor in spirit would mean that you do not have much the way of spirit, that would be one view, those lacking in the Spirit. Another view is that what He meant were those in sorrow, a sorrowful spirit, which is the side I come down on -- a humble person and most likely rich in His Spirit. Let's go a little deeper, but you could skip ahead if you have already see your understanding.Luke 4:18 says that He would preach to the “poor” and some say, again, that this is meant, literally, poor people but when you read the context in Luke 4:18 you see that it is seen as a prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 61:1, something most commentators agree on. This would also the meek and those suffering and led captive -- not captives or prisoners of evil but of injustice and, even perhaps, our brothers and sisters at various times in history were the only comfort that could be found would be in Him, in the belief in Him and His promise to return and set things right, making our suffering only temorary? However, this immediate verse, in Matthew 5:3, “poor in spirit”, seems to fit the context of both the Isaiah prophecy and the Luke/Matthew record of fulfillment. This would exclude the too literal meaning, saying that to be “poor in spirit”, is saying that these are those who have very little of His Spirit. It would be hardly expect that those with little of His Spirit would actually inherit the Kingdsom. We know that interpretaiton would be unreasonable and exclude those who believe and confess Him. This taken as only a particular people, too, would seem to exclude those rich in Spirit, which would make no sense. Are only the Poor in Spirit to inherit the Kingdom, or is this just one of the many traits the Children will possess or be working to possess? Certainly, the it is a trait in character all Children of the Living God will exhibit.Investigating this word, poor, in the Greek, it means poor, lacking in resources, the opposite of wealth. In the Greek this word may have been a poor choice and what our Lord meant may have had a better understanding in the Hebrew or Aramaic, the language He was actually speaking -- remember, He is in a private conversation or teaching with His Jewish Disciples and it is highly unlikely that He was speaking in the Greek. Knowing, then, that He could not be talking about people that do not have His Spirit or very little of it, and that speakign in the Aramic language we can surmise, then, that He meant to be of a truly humble mind, not one seeking attention or striving for things that feed the flesh. This is not about wealth or lack of wealth in His Holy Spirit. With such believers there is a certain sorrow that brings the believer to their knees in prayer and sorrow for what they witness around them. In 2 Cor 7:10, two sorrows are mentioned, one that works repentance and another for the world and that one works toward death. How is that possible?
(2Co 7:10) For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
Sorrow of the world is something we see and witness all the time. People loving the world they live in, not wanting it to change or thinking they can change it or help change it into the moral image they have. When a people have sorrow and sympathy for evil practices and gravitate to calling evil good and good bad. We see this continuing pattern as laws are removed from the books and new laws added making what was once (and still are) sins against mankind and against their Creator, into laws of righteousness. Sorrow for the world leads to a moral break down and that leads mankind to changing what was once moral and good to something less and elevating what was once against the moral code of nature itself into something that will no longer convict them in their own sin, removing the sorrow that would lead them to repentance.
(Mat 5:5) Blessed are the gentle (meek), for they shall inherit the earth.
Comment: Those who mourn, are sorrowful or in anguish over the sin they see in themselves and others, in an unrepentant world – this would be the Godly sorrow the mournful can feel and experience. To be Meek is not to be Weak. It is easy to explode and throw things around. It is easy to be opposite of meek. How many times are the examples of the Gentle Giant admired in writings and in film? He’s just a big Teddy Bear, they say. The meek do not seek self-aggrandizement. Look at how many times our Lord YaHshua, would withdraw from attention. Many times, He would disappear into the crowds. Almost all of His teaching was personal and directly to those following him, which numbered less than a hundred and most often only the original 12.
Of course, He was on a mission and in that mission, He would naturally receive attention, but we see a pattern in His character that was not seeking this attention, it came to Him only because what He was teaching rubbed the local religious authorities the wrong way and because He had the ability to heal people instantly. He healed a lot of people but by the numbers only a few actually followed Him. Next, notice how this verse and the previous verses are similar. The poor in spirit will inherit the Kingdom? While the meek will inherit the Earth? Can the two be separated? Hardly, these would be character traits desired in those who confess YaHshua as Savior. Our labor is to endure and our heavy hearts are witness to what we see in this world. The things a believer, a follower of YaHshua can do have nothing to do with gaining material goods – there are blessings of the world and then there are the forever blessings of the Spirit, even to life eternal, the true and right wealth we should all be seeking.
(Mat 11:28-30) Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you Rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.1Ti 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (gentleness).
The acquisition of money or wealth is a physical thing, while those things we are to seek, builds character that is morally pleasing to the One we worship. To follow after righteousness, is to do what is right -- . Godliness seeks the benefit for others as opposed to the self. Faith, is to believe the Word, His Word as the truth even if we have not proven it yet – in Abraham was found Faith because he believed YaHWeH – Gal 3:6, Heb 11:1 -- Will He find Faith, a belief in His Word, when He returns -- Luke 18:8?
(Mat 5:6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
Comment: Over and over again we find our Messiah comparing our Spiritual desire and growth as a food source. To hunger for His Words, His truths are like taking in nourishing food and drinking in the result of those truths is, most certainly refreshing, like cool, pure water after a heated exercise. The ultimate food, however, is YaHshua and we need to grow in knowledge about Him and accept Him as the bread of life – His is the righteousness we should thirst for as it is in Him and by His righteousness, we are able to come to the Father.
John 6:35 YaHshua said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst”.John 14:6 YaHshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me.”Eph 2:18 For through Him (YaHshua) we both have access by One Spirit unto the Father.
(Mat 5:7) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
(Mat 5:8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see the FATHER.
(Mat 5:9) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of the FATHER
Comment: Being merciful, pure of heart, and a peacemaker is to be one of His children. This is not three separate classes or levels of people, these are all character traits His Children, those called to YaHshua will have. At this point we can see in all of the points our Savior YaHshua mentions are all character traits the Children of the Living God strive to possess. Character traits to be cultivated and to live by.
(Mat 5:10) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Mat 5:11) "Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
(Mat 5:12) Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Comment: Verse 10 connects all of the verse or statements made back to verse 3 where we are told that the poor or gentle in spirit will inherit the Kingdom and here we either have another people or we have the same group of people possessing all of these character traits, and the Kingdom of Heaven is truly theirs.
(John 1:12-13) Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God (The Father).
Persecuted for righteousness sake, not for the sin of rebellion or brawling or any cause mankind or different groups may decide are righteous. Who is the most righteous of all? YaHshua, and to be persecuted for Him is a blessing because a reward will be waiting for those having suffered for Him – standing us for Him and for His word, not with violence but with doing what is right. We are not told what the reward is, only that there is one. The common thread running through these character points and the strength to endure mistreatment, even severe persecution belong to and mark those who have been called. It takes a certain strength of do what is right even when others disagree or turn away from you and the final message is that you are not alone, there are others and there were others before – you are in good company.
(Mat 5:13) "You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.
Comment: Salt of the Earth is a flavoring used on foods. In following the comparison beyond a simple flavoring is how it is used. Too much can destroy a meal, too little and the full flavor of a food is left out. When salt is sprinkled out over a food, say the children of the Living God over the face of the Earth, it is one piece here and another there, as opposed to being dumped, like sugar, into a single spot, salt is spread out and not clumped together, yet it adds to the world something not seen by most, save the angels of Heaven. This understanding is backed up by other verses.
Mat 7:13-14 Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in there at: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it.
What is it to lose your “saltiness”? Anyone who had entered a family group, a church group, a gathering of any kind with the name of your Savior on your lips and in your conversations know exactly what this means and have experienced. Your presence among those who know you feel your saltiness and like salt sprinkled over a salad you change the environment, wherever you might be, you change the flavor of the room or place or gathering. When a believer, a child of the Living God is ignored or avoided or the conversation changes in your presence, then you know what your salt is doing, you are changing the flavor just by being present. Here is a simple example: You hear people, daughters, sons, grandchildren, other coworkers, talking in another room, discussing thing and casually using foul language in expressing themselves but when you walk into the room the conversations all change or cease. There are lots of other examples of being ignored to being shunned to being tolerated – all of you with this kind of saltiness know exactly what I am talking about and what our Lord meant. How do you lose your saltiness? You stop refreshing yourself with the Word, His Word and words and the teachings and words of His Apostles – you stop learning and growing in Him. Some of the verse I will quote are picked and say what they say, but the reader would benefit greatly from looking these verses up and reading them in their full context.
(2Pe 3:18) …But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior YaHshua the messiah. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.(Col 1:10) … that you may walk worthily of the Lord, to please him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of the FATHER(1Pe 2:1-4) Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious: coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by the FATHER , precious.
(Mat 5:14) You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can't be hidden.
(Mat 5:15) Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.
(Mat 5:16) Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your FATHER who is in heaven.
Comment: If you are willing to confess YaHshua before your fellow man and to live by His Words and the words of His Apostles – John 17:20 – your light cannot help but light up the dark places. Good works are not about bragging about what you gave to some charity or about spooning out food for the homeless, it is also about what you will not do. Join in an unruly conversation, deliberately do something to be seen of men, this would be for your own glory. If a person lives a life that has the character attributes our Savior YaHshua has outlined in this “Sermon on the Mount”, you will be seen, even a small light reveals a lot in a dark room. One thing you would not do and that is join some commune hiding out on some far away island or bomb shelters in the wilderness somewhere. Hiding in a cave – that would be equivalent to putting your light under a basket.
(Eph 2:8-10) … for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of the FATHER , not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his workmanship, created in the messiah YaHshua for good works, which the FATHER prepared before that we would walk in them. (Read all of chapter 2, it is refreshing)
(Mat 5:17) "Don't think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn't come to destroy, but to fulfill.
Comment: This is one of the most batted around verse of them all. It is used by those voting for Torah observance and, or, restoration and by those who say this removes all legalism, as most Protestant teachers say. The word, fulfill, in the Greek and Aramaic means, to do completely. Notably, through out the Gospel writings we read where YaHshua butted heads, over and over again, with the religious authorities of the day. He and His disciples, were accused of Sabbath breaking on more than one occasion. YaHshua was accused of being a miracle worker by the power of Satan. YaHshua, corrected the religious teaching found in and taught from the Torah. The “eye for an eye” is one example – Mat 5:33-39. Several time YaHshua would say, You have heard it said, and He would then change they Torah teaching, “But I say to you … “ In fact, part of what He changes in Torah is in the last part of this study in The Sermon on the Mount. Just keep reading.
(Mat 5:18) For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished.
Comment: What a wonderful statement in support of the Law, but, wait, what LAW is He talking about? Again, the context – “”…until all thing are accomplished’, which is the Prophetic words, the LAW of Prophecy. Men have named the First Five Books of Moses as the LAW or TORAH, but those books are more than that, they are a History a list of Commandments and a collection of Laws or Torah. For example, a Torah was made, the first Passover law or torah. We all know the account, instructions were given to the people to kill a lamb and spread its blood on the door post, but an accommodation, or amendment was added to this single law, or torah, concerning those not of Israeli blood. The Gentiles living among the people leaving Egypt were to be circumcised and allowed to observe the Frist Passover so that they and their families, that had joined themselves to the people of God would also be Passed Over and would be allowed to escape with the people of Israel as adopted citizens. The Law of the Passover then, included the slaughter of the Lambs and the circumcision of the gentiles that had joined themselves to Israel. By this Torah or law, they became part of the people of Israel with equal rights. This Torah, in English is called a Law, singular, as a single law or torah – Ex 12:48-49. Later Commandments that YaHWeH would write out Himself would be given to Moses, were added – Ex 24:12.
And what is it that will not pass from the LAW? According to the context, the Prophetic word. In the prophetic word we are told about the coming of our Savior and about the coming Restoration of Israel. And about the return of our Lord and Savior. And about the changes to take place – just read Zechariah, chapter 14, read it carefully and then consider the Book of Revelation and our Lord’s prophetic outline leading up to the end-time of Satan’s rule – Matthew 24.
Will the prophetic Word or Torah ever end? Yes, as we read in Revelation Chapters 20 and 21, a New Heaven and a New Earth, as the first are destined to pass away. Not until every prophetic word is finished, fulfilled completely and then we enter the remaking of everything, as everything in Heaven and on Earth are purified and evil and death are vanquished forever.
(Mat 5:19) Whoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and teach others to do so, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Mat 5:20) For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Comment: What is the least of the Commandments? Is there a least commandment? It would seem that to break any commandment is to be guilty of breaking them all, then the least is all Commandments -- to break even would be sin.
(1Jn 3:4) Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.(1Jn 3:5) And you know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.(1Jn 3:6) Whosoever abideth in Him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen Him, neither known Him.(1Jn 3:7) Little children, let no man deceive you: He that does righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.(1Jn 3:8) He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.(1Jn 3:9) Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin; for His seed remains in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
These verses seem to be very clear. Now, ask yourself, Who does not transgress the law? Who are those of the Devil, then? Who is it that has not sinned? Who is it that cannot sin? Who is it that is Born of God? This instruction from John demonstrates the seriousness of our plight, for who is able to measure up, other than YaHshua Himself, the One we call Savior, and why would be call Him our Savior, for so long as we are in the flesh, our spirit will be at odds with this body that is not fit for Eternity and not fit for the Kingdom. To be completely sinless, without transgressing the Law, is the only way we can then be called children of God? What is John saying? Isn't he saying just that? It is my position that John is making a point in prefection, which we can work for or it is given as a gift -- so, which is it? I believe this is a point being made for our absolute need for a Savior, and not just any Savior but YaHshua only, for He is the only ONE who has evern met the conditions that John discribes here. I believe that John is telling us about our struggle, what we are to continually strive for, not that we have attained it but in our spiritual death with Him we are also raised with Him, even though we continue in these bodies of death. Even then, who is to define the Law? Law seems to be the definition of what Sin is -- break the law and you are a sinner. YaHshua reduced the Law down to two Commandments --
(1Co 15:50-51) Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
(Rom 7:4) Wherefore, my brethren, you also are become dead to the law by the body of (the) Christ; that you should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (Rom 7:5) For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.So much more could be written about this and what the Apostles taught. Suffice it to say, We cannot accomplish this goal of perfection without Him, it is His perfection we ride in on, not ours -- argue it any way you want, either way, without YaHshua and the confession of our lips we are lost. We could go on about the Before and After Covenants, the transition from the Old to the New and how the Apostles having not yet fully understood the mystery of the Gospel were prejudice against Gentiles coming into the exclusive club, the the extreme point that it took the demonstration by the Holy Spirit, on several occasions to clue the Apostles in, that, Yes, Gentiles too. We know, then, that there had been a before and after teaching. YaHshua spoke to all Israel, by the Old Covenant and all of the Law of Moses, even telling them to do exactly as the Priest and Pharisees instructed them -- that was then, does anyone believe that Christians are to obey the Jewish Priest of today, those who have rejected YaHshua as Messiah? Of course not, but He did say that.
We are told, in this teaching from YaHshua that we are to be more Righteous than the Scribes and Pharisees. If we were to accomplish the task to not break the least of the commandments then this should be easy, so why mention it? In a later place our Lord had this to say, about those we are supposed to be more righteous than --
(Mat 23:23) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
So, is tithing the least of the Commandments? Notice, YaHshua mentions weightermatters of the LAW -- not one is a physical action or duty, the wightier matters are mental actions and as such are true matters of the Spirit -- determining what is just, mercy and Faith -- mental, or spiritual actions of thought that can lead to denying the pulls of the flesh which forbid injustice and give us a forgiving nature and our belief in the All Mighty Creator. Still, in making the first point, the issue is BREAKING any Commandment and the second point is that of TEACHING anyone else to do the same is a greater sin in and of itself. Who, then, is teaching that we should break any Commandment? That is for you to determine.Today, people are arguing over what is Law or what is Sin when to the Spirit it should be obvious -- to always do the right thing, no matter the situation. To the devout Jew it is about animal sacrificing, because without that there is not real forgiveness of sin -- for other Jewish people it is all about the Lost Temple, they have been in a continual life of continual sin, no matter the amendments the Rabbis have entered into the Law, the Law of Moses is clear, they are living under the cloud of sin and death, continually. As for the Hebrew Roots Christians and the Jewish Roots people, there is this sin hanging over them because they are unable to restore the Old Covenant. By their teaching they too are living under a cloud of sin being unable to restore the Old Covenant -- all of it, excluding the Sacrifice of animal, of course, their one exclusion, but so long as they are not in the State of a Restored Israel they to are living under this cloud of sin, unable to fulfill the Law -- that would be the Law of Moses. The Christians have chosen, as practice and customs, the way of the pagans, which is fitting as this is, after all, the Times of the Gentiles,m or pagans, that we are presently living under. Jew and Hebrew root and all others, even the State of Modern Israel, are living under gentile rule, gentile treaties, gentie or secular style government and until the Times of the Gentiles is complete, this will continue -- Luke 21:24.Back to the Pharisees and the Scribes: Is the righteousness of the Pharisees the keeping of the Torah, or lack of it? At this time in history, when our Savior walked among the people, the Jewish religion was in full swing. The Temple of YaHWeH was grander than ever, the daily sacrificing, the sacred festivals and Holy Days, all being observed and administered by the Temple Priest -- Even YaHshua, telling the people, at that time, to obey the Teachers of the Law and the Pharisees because they sat in seat of Moses -- Mat 23:1-3. Torah, classified as the Laws of Moses was not only part of daily life but enforced by religious authorities like the Pharisees and the Scribes and YaHshua said to obey them? Now, give this some thought – what is Righteousness over and above that of the Pharisees? They observed the Law and the Scribes Taught the Law, so how do you become more righteous than they? Apparently observing the Torah and its Commands is not enough? This comparison is and warning is pronounced before YaHshua goes to the Cross. No one, not one person can ever approach the righteousness of the Pharisees of that time, for the simple reason, the Temple is no more, the sacrificial system is gone, a system necessary to cleanse the people of their sins – remember, the vast majority of Israelis reject YaHshua as Messiah and Savior. Again, what, then, is this ‘righteousness” our Savior is talking about?
(Rom 3:23)… for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of the FATHER ; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in the Messiah YaHshua;
Before YaHshua went to the Cross for us, there was one answer but after the Cross, came the final answer to this question of righteousness -- it is found only through Him that we can find redemption. For all have failed and it is impossible for the flesh to please our Heavenly Father. Before the Cross, is one thing – After the Cross, is another.
(Mat 5:21) "You have heard that it was said to the ancient ones, 'You shall not murder;' and 'Whoever shall murder shall be in danger of the judgment.' (Torah Commandment #6)(Rom 8:8) Those who are in the flesh can't please God.(Rom 8:9) But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if it is so that the Spirit of God (the Father -- His Holy Spirit) dwells in you. But if any man doesn't have the Spirit of the messiah, he is not His. (Must have both, Mat 11:27)(Heb 11:6) Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to Him, for he who comes to the FATHER must believe that He exists, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.(Rom 1:17) For in it is revealed the FATHER 's righteousness from faith to faith. As it is written, "But the righteous shall live by Faith."This is the reason so many in the Hebrew Roots Movement call Paul a Heretic as did others Jewish brothers in the First Century. To the Jewish converts it appeared that Paul was preaching the abolishing of the Law of Moses. All you have to do is read the book of Acts and see the struggle going on within the Jewish calling and the Gentile calling. What may could not understand was that while all were called in the same calling by the same Spirit they were not all called to be alike. Gentiles were not called to become Jews or Isralis. And Islrais or jews, were not called to become Gentiles -- Gal 2:14; 3:28, Col 3:11. Yet, eventually, both groups or sides, would demand the other become as they are and a division was formed. This rages on to this day and what did YaHshua say? A House divided? An interesting account is found in the Book of Acts, where Paul is given some very bad advice by James, the Head of the Jewish Ecclesia at Jerusalem. James tell Paul to take part in a purification ceremony, to prove to the Jewish brethren that he had not abandon Moses -- this nearly cost Paul his life and marked the end of his communications with the Jerusalem brotherhood -- Acts 21:21-31. While the Jewish brethren were happy to hear about the Holy Spirit accepting Gentile believers that was not enough for some and they wanted Paul to demonstrate that He was a Jewish as any of the rest. Paul was doing what Paul always did -- 1 Cor 9:20. We need to understand that even in the very beginning, as the Gospel went out into the world that there were two sides, the Cricumcised and the Uncircumcised and many could not see a union of the two without becoming one or the other, and this has broken up into many different division today, with various groups claiming supremacy over the others.We witness this division to this very day. I pose, however, that there is a group or calling, not of either Gentile of Jew or Hebrew Roots, but a calling to Yahshua and Him alone. He is the Head of this calling. A group visible as a United body in His Spirit, visible to the Angels of Heaven but most importantly, to our Heavenly Father and our Savior, YaHshua. Like the salt of the Earth, sprinkled out, one here another over there but all united by One Spirit.
(Mat 5:22) But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment; and whoever shall say to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council; and whoever shall say, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of the fire of Gehenna.
(Mat 5:23) "If therefore you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you,
(Mat 5:24) leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.
Comment: Something odd here, and not mentioned by anyone that I know of. Notice that our Lord uses the same language, "You have hear is said..." but notice, this is something said or spoken to the Ancient Ones? This would indicate a law that existed before the Torah of Moses. Still, this would be a saying coming out of one of the Books of Moses, but the Law or Torah against murder was something before the covenant made with Israel.Following along with the expanding of the Law and the gifts, we continue to assume YaHshua quotes from the Torah, or Law of Moses, mentioning a Commandment forbidding murder and what does He do? He expands this Torah (Law) from the physical to the mental. Making this a Commandment that anyone can break by the mere idea, an idea borne in one’s own mind. A murderous thought, or anger toward another and in this case, YaHshua makes the point that if you come to the altar, on your knees in prayer and harbor anger of ill will toward another you are committing an even greater sin. Settle your mind, removing the thoughts of anger or even murder toward someone else before you dare to come before Him in worship or petition. Asking for help is one thing but harboring evil thoughts while asking for help in your own cause is an attitude of murder. Pretending worship in front of Him is very dangerous thing, and YaHshua advises the believer to settle things first. This could be, however, another of those, Before and After, scenarios -- to rid ourselves of our murderous thoughts and temptations we (After in the New Covenant) instructed to come before Him with our petitions and calls for help in overcoming the evil ever present. Sometimes the only solution to this kind of problem is repentance, before and after we may have settled things against anyone we harbor ill will as a spontaneous reaction in the flesh. Coming to Him, on our knees in full repentance is often the only answer. Again, advice for those living under the Law of Moses as opposed to those Living under the Law of our Savior, YaHshua.
(Mat 5:25) Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him in the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison.
(Mat 5:26) Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.
Comment: Verse 25 & 26 are sister verses to the previous and this is good advice that more people should practice. If you are in a quarrel over something with a neighbor then work to get it settled before you get to court. The context of this warning is for those who know they may be in the wrong – settle up, like it or not, because if it goes against you in court then you may lose more than and argument. Again, however, we can see the Before the New Covenant and the AFTER the Old Covenant. The one is to settle up and avoid court, the second is to do the same but AFTER you go to your Heavenly Father in repentance and help in settling things with an adversay or a brother.
(Mat 5:27) "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;' (Torah Commandment #7)
(Mat 5:28) but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Comment: Another quote and alteration by YaHshua concerning the Law of Moses, the Torah books. This is a direct quote from the Ten Commandments, against the physical act of adultery. And what does YaHshua do? YaHshua turns this from a physical act into a purely mental act, one of the imagination. Is YaHshua changing Torah, as He said He did not come to do in verse 17 – 19? He cannot be contradicting Himself, right? You could argue that He is, but what seems to be happening is an expanding of the understanding, expanding the Commandments beyond what is only written in the books or on the stone. Expanding the spiritual nature of the Commandments onto the tablets of the inner heart, the mind and spirit of the individual. This should convict every heart, every mind, every spirit -- none are righteous, no not one, and our need for salvations by and through a Savior is our only hope. This is our struggle, to grow in Him and to stuggle against the flesh with all our might and when we fall to repent and trust Him to forgive us and to restore us -- not to do it again but toward growing more and more toward our Spiritual selves.
(Mat 5:29) If your right eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.
(Mat 5:30) If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into Gehenna.
Comment: Coming off of the spiritual application of the Commandments He seems to jump right back into the most physical of physical applications of how a person should live. The problem is, however, if this is purely a physical application then most Christians would be amputees and many others blind due to self-inflicted maiming. This, of course, is most unreasonable to the intelligent mind and given that YaHshua believes He is speaking to intelligent people would naturally assume the listener or the reader would have the common sense to know that He is still speaking of things spiritual or mental in nature. For example – you are hanging with a bad group of friends who are leading you off into other sins and conduct not fitting any of those characteristics He has already mentioned? So, what to do? In such a case a believer should cut all ties with these bad actors, those who would lead you off the path you have chosen.
(1Co 15:33) Don't be deceived! "Evil companionships corrupt good morals."(1Co 15:34) Wake up righteously, and don't sin, for some have no knowledge of the FATHER . I say this to your shame.(2Co 7:9-10) I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a Godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing. For Godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death.(Isa 5:20) Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
(Mat 5:31) "It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorce,'
(Mat 5:32) but I tell you that whoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away commits adultery.
Comment: Divorce was allowed under the Torah of Moses. Our Lord gives only one exclusion – unfaithfulness. If either party is unfaithful to the other then divorce is permitted but not just because you are unhappy. Of course, there are different forms of unfaithfulness, the most obvious is that of a sexual nature but that is not the only way to be unfaithful. A husband, for example, who beats his wife is being unfaithful to what is required of a husband, to love and protect as himself.
(Eph 5:25) Husbands, love your wives, even as the messiah also loved the assembly, and gave Himself up for it;(John 15:13) Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
(Mat 5:33) "Again you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to YaHWeH your vows,'
(Mat 5:34) but I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of the FATHER ;
(Mat 5:35) nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem (YaHshalayim), for it is the city of the great King.
(Mat 5:36) Neither shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black.
(Mat 5:37) But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be 'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.
Comment: YaHshua is expanding, literally changing how the Jews saw and treated the Law or Torah of Moses. In this case He is not changing the Law of the Vow but directing us away from making vows at all. Why? Because our Heavenly Father takes vows as serious as life and death, but men tend to make vows under duress and later skip their side of the vow. Other times, a vow is made in haste but cannot be taken back once made. In any event, the historical record of the Law of the Vow is not a good one and YaHshua is simply telling us to stop with all of the swearing of vows. Again, changing the Torah application, not erasing it, just telling us to quit using it. A Law we are to avoid, in other words.
(Mat 5:38) "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'
(Mat 5:39) But I tell you, don't resist him who is evil; but whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also.
Comment: this might be called, Taking the higher ground, say, in arguments and in the extreme cases, vengeance. However, we have plenty of examples of self-defense. For example, why carry a sword if you do not plan on ever using it or a need to use it at some future time? YaHshua’s disciples carried a couple of swords on their journeys, not to attack people, of course, so what for? Self-defense. Sometimes, the mere presence of a weapon gives pause to evil doers. Most who would attack you or your family do so from a point of weakness. If, however, you possess weapons the evil doers will leave you alone and look for someone more helpless. Yes, YaHshua knew about the weapon in His group. Luke 22:36 & 38, John 18:10-11. It should be understood, as well, that our Creator has authorized the authority to combat evil among all nations – Romans 13:3-4 – there are those who are called servant’s of God, civil servants with the authority to carry out what is required and they do not carry the sword or the gun in vain, and when you have people trying to tear that part of society apart, you have rebellion against God Himself.
Admittedly, these are a couple of very hard verses. Taken literally, we get a picture that is not too flattering for believers, that of always being the victim but is that the real message, did or does our Lord and our Heavenly Father expect us to not defend our wives, our children, our mothers and fathers? What about our friends? Didn’t YaHshua also say that a real friend would die for them? Just rolling over and become everyone’s victim seems to contradict true obedience in honor our fathers and our mothers and being the protector of our wives, of our families. How would this apply to the House of Cornelius? One of the first gentile converts be baptized, a man of means, in the Roman Military, a man of arms? This is something you will have to consider and something, when the opportunity, plus or minus, presents itself you will have the right answer at the right time. The bottom line, as an individual, in a singular moment involving only yourself is that you would have the courage not to strike back at someone striking you, and remember, being struck takes on many different images, to literally be struck by fist or bat, or by words and other acts of personal assault. Pay back is where we stop. Revenge is His not ours and this is what this says to me, personally.
(Rom 12:19) Don't seek revenge yourselves, beloved, but give place to God’s wrath. For it is written, "Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says YaHWeH."
(Luke 21:22) For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
By the evidence leading to the Baptism of a Military family, basically, those of Law enforcement, the family of Cornelius – Acts 10:45-48 – were all baptized, breaking the idea that Jews only were called. No where do we read a commandment for those in Law enforcement or the military are to quit their jobs, in fact, the Baptized are instructed to remain in the positions they are called in – after all, who knows that a person’s calling may not be for who they are but for the position they hold in society – 1 Cor 7:18-20. This all adds up to an interpretation of our Lord’s words that are not to be as some interpret them, but has a spiritual meaning, a personal meaning, in a one on one encounter with evil.
(Mat 5:40) If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak also.
(Mat 5:41) Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two.
(Mat 5:42) Give to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
Comment: For a Believer it is better to be the abused rather than the abuser. And then in such cases we do not seek revenge but leave room for our Heavenly Father’s vengeance, which will come, for truly, we are like Sheep led to the slaughter. Time and events will dictate our conduct as individuals. It is always, however, our Godly responsibility to protect those in our charge and to help the weak, as we are given purpose. The last verse assumes that you have the resources to “lend”, whether in goods or monetarily. Borrowing also means “pay back”, as borrowing is not to keep but to pay back what is borrowed. This, in a community of friends and neighbors helps to take the pressure off of friends and neighbors who need help. This also helps to limit usury among believers.
(Mat 5:43) "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.'
(Mat 5:44) But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you,
(Mat 5:45) that you may be children of your FATHER who is in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
Comment: Again, our Lord uses a now familiar saying, “You have heard it said…” and where is it that this comes from? Why doesn’t He say it is written in Torah? Well, it is and it is a really good example about how the Scriptures are read and then used for one’s own purposes, not by YaHshua but by those to whom the Law was written. YaHshua is referencing a Law in Leviticus –
(Lev 19:18) " 'You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; but you shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am YaHWeH.
And where does it say that you should hate your enemy? It does not. This is a saying that YaHshua raises as an issue for the wrongful adding to the meaning of the Law. The Jews took this Law about loving your neighbor, to mean only your own people or race or religion and then deduced that those outside of this special group is to be hated, thus, the saying – “You have hear it said …”, and not, “It is written”. Where YaHshua expands on this Law, is to include everyone, not just your brothers and sisters or fellow citizens but everyone. What a changed world if this one thing were followed – just this one thing – love others as you would love yourself – what a concept.
(Mat 5:46) For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same?
(Mat 5:47) If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don't even the tax collectors do the same?
(Mat 5:48) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your FATHER in heaven is perfect.
Comment: Certainly it is easy to love those who love us and are considered to be our own. The hard part is to love those we do not even know. Again, a concept that could change the world, and goes along with the instruction to love others, even your enemies as would yourself. This means you would treat everyone equally without being a respecter of persons. And, this is what is meant to be Perfect as our Father is in Heaven. To be Perfect as our Heavenly Father is and would be impossible. The Context is about being Perfect in this not being partial and treating everyone equally as opposed to taking the easy path of hate and disrespecting all we don’t like. This perfection would eliminate many prejudices and evils against those different from us or those we are joined with.
(1Pe 1:17) If you call on him as FATHER, who without respect of persons judges according to each man's work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear:
You cannot ever, while in the flesh, ever reach the Perfection of our Heavenly Father and YaHshua, of all people, knows that, so what it the Perfection He is talking about? You just read it as the context in the Sermon on the Mount continually points out. This Perfection is our attempt to be like our Father in Heaven in our treatment of others, without giving preferential treatment – judging others only by their conduct, their work, their actions, not by how rich or by their color or other social level. Judging by the overall character of a person or people no matter who they are or say they are. This is the message throughout this Sermon on the Mount – instructions on the kind of character a Believer is to work toward being.