This lesson is from Yavo, Inc, Prayer Partner tapes from October 1994 through May 1995, probably recorded at a Pastors/Teachers/Leadership Training Seminar with the theme: "Survey of New Testament - Special Emphasis on Synoptic Gospels and the Words of Jesus," March 4-8, 1993.  (Blanks indicate poor quality of recording.)

Dr. Roy B. Blizzard, Jr.

Let's look at verse 24 of Matthew chapter 15, emphasizing again we want to think about this in way of reflection back on what we've already seen and studied.  Jesus says, "I am not come but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."  And that should let us know once again that all of this material has to do with those who are a part of the family of God or the household of Israel.  He's not talking about relationships with pagans and a lot of this material that we take out of context and try to make it apply to some kind of a present-day situation.

When he talks about the Son of man is come to seek and to save those that are lost, etc., it's all in this Jewish context, and again, I am not come but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."  But the other side of the coin is that, at the end of his ministry, he sends those of his disciples out to all the world to preach the gospel to every creature, opening again the floodgates of the kingdom to everyone.  [The book he refers to is A Call to Christian Jihad by Mae Eye.]

Q.:  What would you say to the people who use this verse _______ replace the word Israel with the church?

Well, that's just that replacement theory again, the kingdom now stuff.  I'd say get this book and read it.

Here we see an instance in which you have someone who is not from the household of Israel coming, wanting something, to Jesus, and he's, quite frankly, rude to him.  A lot of people have problems with that, but look and see.  Is this being very kind?  She came, and when it says that she worshiped him, that's really not what it is as worship.  In Hebrew, it's l'hishtahave, l'hishtahavot.  Here, v'tishtachu lo, that she bowed before him.  L'hishtahavot is to bow oneself down, and she bowed before him in an attitude of subservience or humility, and she said, Lord, help me.  And he said, it is not meet that I should take the children's bread and cast it to dogs.  He called her a dog.  The Jews considered all Gentiles to be dogs.  They called them uncircumcised dogs.  She said that's true, and yet the dogs eat from the crumbs that fall from the master's table.  Because of this manifestation of faith, Jesus went ahead and performed a miracle and then departed and went back to the Sea of Galilee, and now we have the multitudes coming to him again, the lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and Jesus heals them insomuch that that multitude wondered when they saw the dumb speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.  Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, I have compassion on the multitudes because they continue now three days and have nothing to eat, so now what are we going to do?  We have this feeding of the multitudes over again.  This time, it's seven loaves and a few little fishes, and when they were finished they had seven baskets full, and those that ate were 4000 men besides the women and children, and he sent the multitudes away and took a ship and came into the coast of Magdala.  That's area where we found one of these little boats.

Now, a question.  Were there two events of the feeding of the multitudes or just one?  Notice, it (?) says "a parallel or a doublet."  Doublet means a duplicate account.  If you go back just in the text, the feeding of the 4000 is in Matthew 15:30-39.  In Mark, it's 8:1-10, but is it in Luke or John?  The feeding of the 5000 is in John but the feeding of the 4000 isn't, and that's one thing that causes us to wonder, is this one account or is it two accounts, because if Luke was first, we would expect Luke to have it.  One has this, and one has that, and maybe Luke is the only one who mentions something.  It's not uncommon.  So it's just something that we can't answer, except that it seems strange that there are the two accounts and they're so similar, and we don't find it in Luke but we're just going to assume that there were two accounts, two occasions, and go on, just noting that the account of the 4000 is in Matthew and Mark and not in Luke.

In chapter 16, we've already noted this coming to the coast of Caesarea Philippi in verse 13 when we were talking about Pan and Paneas, but we might say a little more about it as relates to Jesus' statement in verse 17 when he says, "Blessed are you, Simon bar Jona, for flesh and blood have not revealed that unto thee, but my father which is in heaven, and I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give unto you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.  Whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ."  Why would he do that?  Upon what is he going to build his church?  Read this carefully.  Those who have spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear.  He's not going to establish his church on Peter's confession.  He's not going to establish it upon Peter.  He says, "Blessed are you, Simon bar Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal that unto you."  What does that mean?  It just means that no man told you that.  But it was revealed supernaturally, spiritually.  You had the spiritual eyes to see, ears to hear, to understand.  It was revealed to you from above, and upon all that have that same ability to see and to understand spiritually.  Those are the kinds of people that are going to make up my movement.  He says, I'm going to give to you the keys that are going to unlock kingdom power, and it doesn't say bind and loose.  It says permit and forbid.  And then he charged his disciplesthat they should tell no man that he was Christ.  From this passage, a lot of people have said that Jesus tried to hide his messiahship.  Nothing could be further from the truth, because everything that he says, everything that he does is a testimony to who he is.  He just meant don't be running out and saying, that's that Christ, because by virtue of what he's doing and what he's saying, those who have this kind of spiritual insight will hear and they will understand.  And those who don't and won't, he doesn't want them a part of his movement.

Here you have a shift in this sentence from Hebrew to Greek.  Petros, petra; but we find rabbinic parallels for it, because you don't have the same kind of comparative in Hebrew as you do in Greek; a small stone and a large immovable foundation.  We have a half dozen different words for stone, but they don't make this kind of a comparative as you find in Greek, and we have other rabbinic parallels where rabbis would make a play on the words using both petros and petra, so it's not uncommon, and it's not something that's just unique with Jesus.

Notice that Jesus starts to tell them that he's going to be delivered to the elders, the chief priests to be killed but that he's going to rise again on the third day.  Then Peter begins to rebuke him, and Jesus refers to Peter as hasatan.  "Vayiphen va'yomer l'petros, sur me'alai hasatan."  Get behind me, satan.  It's the same word, same term.

Now Jesus starts some more of these pithy sayings.  "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  Whoever shall save his life shall lose it; whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.."  Then verse 28:  "There shall be some standing here which shall not taste death till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."  What does that mean?  Probably the best interpretation would be that this is referring to the events after the resurrection, but there are some who have said that this refers to John's vision when Jesus actually comes again the second time and dictates the apocalypse to John, but I think that that's a little far-fetched.

He goes up into a high mountain apart.  Let's note where this is.  Back over in verse 13 of chapter 16, where are they?  Caesarea Philippi, and all of these events take place there.  Then Jesus takes Peter, James, and John and brings them up to a high mountain apart and is transfigured before them.  And the question is, where did the transfiguration take place?  If you go to Israel today, there's a place called the Mountain of Transfiguration; it's called Mount Tabor adjacent to Nazareth.  But that's way down in the Valley of Jezreel.  They were way up at Banyas, Caesarea Philippi, at the foot of Mount Hermon.  Mount Tabor really isn't all that big.  It's not much higher in elevation, actually, than the beginnings of the lower Galilee, the hills of Nazareth.  Of course, in six days, they would have had time to get anywhere they wanted to get to in the country.  But it doesn't say that they went anywhere.  It just says that after six days they went up into a high mountain.  So the transfiguration probably took place on Mount Hermon and not on Mount Tabor.

Somebody wrote to me the other day, what does the transfiguration mean?  Why was Jesus transfigured with Moses and Elijah?  The answer is relatively simple.  It's not all that complicated.  Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the prophets.  And what are they doing speaking to one another?  We can only speculate.  Peter says, man, it's a good thing we were here to see all this.  Now let's make three tabernacles.  Notice, he doesn't say church.  It's just a sukkah.  Let us make three sukkot.  Then we have this voice out of heaven, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.  Hear him."  The same kind of a confirmation again of God presenting his Son to the world.

Q.:  If Moses represented the Law and Elijah the prophets, what would be correct for our purposes to say that Jesus represented?

Okay, here's the Law, here are the prophets.  The fulfillment of the Law and the prophets, that how he represents the fulfillment of it all.

Then they talk about this passage in Malachi 4:5, the disciples want to know, why do they say that Elijah must come first?  Then Jesus goes ahead and specifically declares to them that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of that particular passage that Elijah must come first, just as we saw previously.

Then we have this miracle of the epileptic that threw himself into the fire, and they brought him to the disciples and they couldn't cure him.  When Jesus comes down, of course he rebukes the devil and he departs, and the child is cured, and the disciples want to know why they didn't get any results.  How come we couldn't cast this thing out?  What was the purpose of fasting?  He says, "This kind comes out only through prayer and fasting."  The purpose is fasting is repentance and remembrance, and evidently they're just not as spiritually mature or as spiritually oriented as they should be to deal with this kind of condition.

While they're up in Galilee, Jesus says the Son of man is going to be betrayed, and they'll kill him and the third day he'll be raised.  They're back at Capernaum and they try to trick him with the tribute money, and Peter goes and finds the money in the mouth of a fish.

Then we have in chapter 18 the question of who's greatest in the kingdom, and Jesus again calls a little child and says, "Except you be converted and become as a little child, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever shall humble himself as a little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom, and whosoever shall receive one such as a little child in my name receiveth me.  But whosoever shall offend one of these it would be better for him if a millstone were hanged around his neck and he were drowned in the depths of the sea."  Again we have this idea that unless you become as a little child, and in this context what's it talking about?  Purity.  It doesn't mean that you become child-like (or childish).

Notice what we have, this same hyperbole that we found earlier.  If your hand or foot offends you, cut it off.  If your eye offends you, pluck it out.  It's better to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes be cast into hellfire.  We see this kind of hyperbole in Talmud in B'rachot 24a and in Nidah 2:1.  Now verse 11: "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save those that are lost."  And we already know what lost is from Ezekiel 34, and he's using this parallel again that you see in Ezekiel 34 about the sheep that have gone astray, and he's going out to find the one, and so on.  "Verily I say unto you, whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  If two of you agree on earth as touching anything which they ask, it will be done for them by my father who is in heaven, for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

Whatsoever you permit will be permitted.  Whatsoever you forbid will be forbidden.  If two of you agree on earth as touching anything, it will be done by my father who is in heaven.  We take this completely out of context and do all kinds of foolish things with it, and whenever they don't work, then we think something must be wrong with God.  If not God, then it must be wrong with us.  But keep in mind that Jesus has already told them that he's going to go away, that they're going to be left behind, and they're going to have decisions that they're going to have to make, and whatever they permit will be permitted; whatever they forbid will be forbidden.  It's just like at the Jerusalem council in 50, they permit the non-Jews to be admitted into the fellowship of the believers without having to go through the doorway of Judaism.  We see that there are decisions that they have to make, but there's something that is implied in all of this that we overlook that causes us at times to get ourselves into problems, and that is that whatever you permit, make sure that it's something that heaven would have permitted, or that God would have permitted.  Heaven here is a euphemism for God.  In other words, make sure that you know the will of God well enough to know that whatever action it is that you take, you know that it's what God would have you to do, or that God would have you stand behind it, and whenever two of you agree together that somebody's going to give you a new Cadillac, that's not necessarily the will of God.  Then Peter wants to know how many times that one is supposed to give, and we have another parable here about the king and the servant, and we'll say more about that a little later on in another context.

In verse 9 of chapter 19, we have the reiteration, "Whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication and shall marry another committeth adultery, and whoever marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."  We already know what this is, that there are certain things that were accepted and certain things that were just tradition, and if a person was properly put away, then there were no legal consequences.  But if they were improperly put away, then they really weren't divorced, so that anyone who married somebody that hadn't been properly put away, they actually weren't divorced.  The disciples, because of the current situation, which is that a guy can put away his wife for any reason at all, say that if that's the case, it might be good for man not to marry.  Jesus says something that's very disturbing to most of us, because we see things like this and then we think that Jesus didn't like women.  And Paul, when he said something like this, he didn't like women.  He says, "There are some who are eunuchs which were born so from their mother's womb.  There are some which were made eunuchs of men, and there are some which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom's sake."  Now we all know that a eunuch is someone who is incapable of reproducing or having children, and it could be for a number of reasons.  Just like Jesus said, he was smart enough to know that sometimes it was genetic.  They were born that way.  Other times, they had undergone some kind of a surgical procedure that had caused them to be sterile.  And then he says there are times when men have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake.  "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

Okay, what's the problem here?  What's the first positive commandment of Jewish law?  "P'ru ur'vu umil'u et-ha'aretz."  Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  By the way, you might like to know that that injunction is only on men.  The woman was not required to marry and have children if she didn't want to, but for the man, it was a positive commandment.  And if that's true, the question is now, was Jesus violating the Law by not getting married?  And if you say no, then explain to me why.  It's found in Tosefta, which is like a second mishnah, in Yevamot 8:7.  The story is told there of a very famous rabbi who had quite a number of students, and he was always telling his students, teaching them about the importance of marriage, but he wasn't married.  His students said, "Rabbi, why don't you practice what you preach?"  And the response was, "What can I do?  My soul is enamored by Torah.  The world can be yitkayem ba'acherim.  The world can be established or it can be built up by others." (Tosefta Yevamot 8:7)

There is that exception.  "My soul is enamored by Torah."  If the man knows that he's not in a position mentally or physically to fulfill his conjugal responsibilities, it would be a legitimate exemption.

Q.:  Looking at Jesus' life, didn't he perform spiritually everything the bridegroom would do _________ in the garden which was part of espousemen?

Well, that sounds like good Christian theology somewhere along the line.  It's all fabrication, and you can do this with anything.  It may all sound good.  There's only one thing wrong with it, and that is that it's wrong.  It sounds good, makes a good story.

Q.:  Did he have to be married at a certain age?

At 18, it says they were ready.  In fact, a lot of them didn't.  But if by 21 they hadn't married, everyone was already starting to wonder why.  All of this hypothesis, theories, little stories are not as relevant as this one fact - that in certain cases there are provisions made for exceptions to the rule, and Jesus was an exception to the rule in a number of ways.  We might ask ourselves the question, could he have even reproduced, since, if he was the second adam and had divine blood flowing in his veins, what would he have reproduced?  Then, too, the nature of his mission was such that he was traveling here and there and his calling is a higher calling because of Jewish law, as you see right here.  He would have had certain conjugal responsibilities, certain requirements, and he could not have been gone away from home and not fulfilled those conjugal responsibilities for any longer period of time than seven days at a time without violating the law, unless he took his wife with him.  Then if she went, as later on we know that the wives did go with their husbands, the conditions under which they traveled would have cast certain doubts upon the nature of the movement.

So there are all kinds of reasons that we can give that we have here an exception to the rule without having to go into all this speculation.

The possibility is, and I think that it's a great possibility, although I can't prove it, it's just supposition, but most, I think, scholars would agree that Paul had probably been married at one time and was a widower, and that because of the historical circumstances at that particular period of time, said what he said about marriage but which we'll go into at another time.

Again, Jesus says, "Permit the children to come unto me and forbid them not," for it's only going to be pure like these who are going to make up my kingdom.

Now notice something.  Verse 16 of 19, we have this individual coming up to Jesus and saying, "Good Master, what shall I do that I might inherit eternal life?"  What is he asking him?  He wants to know what he has to do to go to heaven, right?  This parable is commonly called the parable of the rich young ruler, and he wants to know, what must I do to have eternal life.  In Greek, it's zoen aionion.  Notice Jesus' response.  He says, "If you keep the commandments, will you not enter into life?"  And he asked, which?  "Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor thy father and thy mother, love thy neighbor as thyself."  Did he say anything about the Sabbath?

Jesus said anybody can get to go to heaven just by keeping the seven laws of Noah.  And he throws the seven laws of Noah back at him, because the question that he asks is, what must I do to get to go to heaven?  But that's not all that the guy wants to know.  He said I've done all these things from my youth up.  And Jesus said to him, well, if you really want to get in on the action, what you need to do is to go and sell everything that you have and give it to whom?  The poor in spirit.  But here we have this term again.  The poor - vaten la'ani'im.  Give to the ani'im.

An interesting thing is that the people at Qumran called themselves, not just the poor in spirit, but many times they just referred to themselves as the poor, the ani'im, the anyeh ruach.  It's interesting to note that Jesus from time to time picks up on certain statements that are used by the people at Qumran.  For example, he picks up on the statement, perhaps (this is speculation, but most of my colleagues agree with me on it, or I agree with them), that the word edah is used for those who are part of his movement.  Edah means the witnessing body, rather than qahal, the assembly.  So when he says, "Upon this rock I will build my ...," he would say edatih.  I am going to build my edah, my witnessing body.  The word edah fell out of usage after the united Hebrew monarchy and was not revived again or used again in Hebrew until the Dead Sea community.  They pick up on it and refer to themselves as the edah of God.  Remember how they used the term, the children of darkness and the children of light, and Jesus says that sometimes the children of darkness are wiser than the children of light.  Well, the Qumran community called themselves the children of light, and anyone who wasn't a part of the community was of the children of darkness.  If you weren't a member of their community, you were a child of darkness.  They also called themselves just "the poor."

What I'm suggesting to you is that Jesus had probably picked up on this usage, and he's not talking about going and giving this money to poor people, but to bring it and bring it to his movement.  If he wanted to be a part of his movement, bring what he had and donate it to the movement.

Notice that it says that the guy went away sad because he was a man of great possessions.  That also might lend support to the idea that maybe he was a Sadducee, because they were the ones who had the money by and large, but again there's nothing here to give us any definite indication.

Now the statement in verse 24:  "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."  Well, I hate to tell you this, but there's not any such gate in Israel, nor was there ever, a little gate in the wall of the city called the "needle's eye" gate.

We have rabbinic parallels of an elephant going through the eye of a needle.  So all of these attempts to try to explain it away ... He's just using an example here allegorically.  In the Greek, if you switch letters, you metaphesize, the word camel becomes rope, and that's still hard to do.  Later on, Luke uses the word needle that's a surgical needle referring to the same thing.

Q.:  Do we have anything that tells us what shape Jesus' ministry was in financially?  Was he poor?  Was he rich?  How was his ministry financially that we have evidence of?

We don't know.

If you have a numerically indexed Bible, turn to Matthew 19:24.  The number for needle for 4476.  In Luke 18:25, it's 956.

There are two different words that are being used here.  In Matthew and Mark, the word needle is trupimatos, and that's the one that it's referring to there, but I can't understand why it would be giving you the same word in Luke, because the word in Luke is belones.  It means a spear or missile, a needle, the point of a spear.  Belones means a little needle, and the other word, trupimatos, was a surgical instrument, trepan, the straight-pointed trepan, another kind with a guard to prevent its piercing through the brain.  Trepanning was cutting a hole in the brain.  The trepanum was a bigger instrument, where the one that's used in Luke is a little needle like a surgeon would use to sew up something.  Trepanum says that it's a surgical instrument, the trepan, where the other one is a little needle, and that's all it says.  But it's interesting to see that they're using two different kinds of needles here, Luke being the surgeon, using a different one.

Well, that was of monumental importance to us and certainly worth taking all that time to deal with.

In chapter 20, "The kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, went out early in the morning to hire laborers."  Now, we're going to be talking about this particular parable when we start studying the epistles of Paul, because there's a message here in this particular parable that's going to be of importance to us, and it all has to do with the idea of ... what?  As you look at this parable, the one comes to work early in the morning and he works all day long and he gets a penny.  And another comes at the end of the day, and he works for an hour or two and he gets a penny.  They both get the same.  This is a parable about God's grace, and the reason that we're going to pay some attention to it when we come to Paul is to show that Law IS grace.  You see, everybody's trying to say that there's a difference between law and grace, only they don't have the foggiest idea what they're talking about.  This is a parable that speaks to us of the grace of God, and when we start talking about the difference between law and grace, we'll call this more to attention, but the simple fact of the matter is that law IS grace.

The mother of Zebedee's children came up wanting to know if one of her sons could sit on the right hand and the other on the left in the kingdom, and Jesus responds with a really strange question.  You don't know what you ask.  Are you able to drink of the cup that I drink of?  What cup was that?  To be baptized with the baptism that I'm going to be baptized with?  What's that?  Judgment.  And they said we are able.  He said you are indeed going to drink of my cup, and you are indeed going to be baptized with the baptism that I've been baptized with.  They probably didn't understand what he was talking about.  But he said that to sit on my right and left hands is not mine to give.  It will be given to him for whom it is prepared by my father, and they got ticked off with the two brothers.  Jesus says, wait a minute.  One thing you need to understand is that whoever is going to be great, let him be a servant, and whoever is going to be the greatest of all, let him be the servant of all, because the Son of man didn't come to be ministered unto but to minister.

Q.:  Here, and in numerous other places in the book, we see a reference that it seems to be that Jesus is clearly referring to himself as the Son of God in the same form that we think of having sons.  It that true, or am I misinterpreting.

I should maybe have made that a little bit more clear than what I did.  The simple fact of the matter is that the Jews always believed that when Messiah comes, he's going to come as a son.  Son of God is not messianic.  It's Greek, it's western.  It's not Hebrew, but just the word son is, and whenever he says, no man knows the son but the father, they know exactly what he's talking about, because they always believed that when Messiah came, he was going to come a son, and there would be this son-father relationship.  Now, again Professor Flusser writes about that.

The pious were regarded as sons.  Long ago, scholars noticed the similarity between this story of Yehochanan the Withdrawn and Jesus' usual address to God.  They noted a parallel between the feeling of familiarity with God among the pious, and Jesus' special familiarity with his father which is in heaven.

Jesus regarded his relationship with God as that of a son to his father.  The pious and saints of the period felt especially close to God and defined their relationship to him as that of sons to a father.  Jesus saw himself as a revealer of divine secrets.  He gave thanks to God and said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to the simple ones."  He continued, "No man knows the son but the father, neither knows any man the father but the son, and he to whomsoever the son will reveal him."  Jesus regarded himself as a son who revealed the secrets of his father in heaven, and he spoke of the Almighty as father.  In Jesus' own sayings, we do not find the word redemption in its religious eschatological sense, but Jesus did use the expression "the kingdom of heaven."  The kingdom was a well-defined concept.  The kingdom of heaven existed then and there.

John the Baptist was the man who had begun the process of realization of the kingdom, and Jesus had brought it into fulfilment with the dissemination of his ideas and foundation of his movement.  He believed that the kingdom of heaven would spread and be realized if he succeeded in developing around him a movement which would bring people to repent, and thus avoid the destruction of the Second Temple.  Jesus stood at the center of a movement which was to bring about step-by-step realization of the kingdom of heaven on earth.  It was in accordance with this idea that he explained the miracles, the signs, the healings that he brought for the people.  Miracles, in Jesus' view, were not isolated phenomena, but were evidence that the devil had already fallen and that they were beholding the realization of the kingdom on earth.

Jesus believed that the process of the realization of the kingdom had already begun by the work of John the Baptist who had broken forth into the kingdom of heaven, although he had not quite entered it himself.  It is reasonable to assume that at times Jesus thought that he was not only at the center of this process, but that he was himself the Messiah who was bringing the kingdom of heaven upon Israel.

Then on page 58:   Since Jesus was regarded as Messiah and Son of God, and was literally identified with God, the New Testament has preserved expressions and views current in Judaism at the time of Jesus and ascribed to him.

In other words, these were all views that were current at that particular time, and when he said these things, they understood him to be declaring himself to be God.

Now we come with chapter 21 to the latter days of Jesus' ministry, and as they are coming close to the Mount of Olives, Jesus sends two of his disciples and says to them, Go into the village and find this donkey with the colt tied, and he rides the donkey, then, down the way.  Notice the multitude spreading their garments in the street, going before him, in verse 9, saying, "Hosanna to the Son of David.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest."

What is this hosanna?  Hoshanna.  Karu lemor (and they called saying), hoshanah l'ven David (to the Son of David).  Baruch haba (Blessed be the coming one) b'shem yud he vav he, hoshanah bam'romim.  That is, Save us, the One who dwells in the heights.  What they're doing is simply declaring him to be the king of Zechariah 9:9.

Then you have the account of Jesus going into the Temple and cleansing the Temple, turning over the tables, and he said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves."  Blind and lame came and he healed them.  Then he goes over to the city of Bethany, the cursing of the fig tree.  And then when he was come into the Temple, the Chief Priest and the elders came to him as he was teaching and said, "Who gave you the authority to do these things?  And Jesus answered and said, I also will ask you one thing if you will tell me.  The baptism of John; who was it?  Of God or of men?"  And they knew they were in trouble already.  They said, well, we can't tell you, and he said, well, I'm not going to tell you by what authority I do these things, either.

Then we have, in verse 33, the parable of the householder, some more parables, the parable of the vineyard, the stone that the builders rejected became the chief cornerstone (Ps. 118: 22-23), became the rosh pinah.  He says, whoever stumbles on this stone is going to be broken up.  Upon whomever this stone fall, they're going to be ground into little pieces.  They know what he's talking about, and they, from that moment onward, seek to lay hands on him, but they fear the multitudes.

I want you to notice something here.  How many times have we heard that the Jews never accepted Jesus?  Why are the religious leaders afraid to do anything about Jesus?  Because the multitudes are following him.  We see that all of the way through.  This is an old jibe that's been perpetuated by the anti-Semitic element in Christianity in order to justify ...  (Recording changes)

... a parable here of the king and the marriage and sent out to all an invitation, and those who were bidden to come didn't come, and he said to just go out into the highways and byways, and whoever you find, bid him come to the marriage.  So they brought them all - good, bad - and when the wedding was furnished and when the king came in to see, he saw that there was a man who didn't have on a wedding garment.  He said, How did you come in here, not having a wedding garment?  Because he didn't have a wedding garment, he was carried out and cast into outer darkness.  What's this whole thing?  It could be a lot of things.  The bottom line is that this guy wasn't properly prepared to come to the wedding feast, and because he wasn't, they kicked him out.  But he says, Many are called but few are chosen.  We've tried to come in here with this particular passage and come up with the doctrine of election.

Rabim hem ha'kru'im u'me'atim ha-nivcharim.  Many are called, few are the ones who are chosen.

The doctrine of election is that, from the very beginning of creation, God foreordained and predestined that certain people would be saved and certain people would be lost.  The came basically out of Calvinism, although, to be honest with you, you will see an element of it in Qumran in the Dead Sea Scrolls, but it's not until the time of Calvin, really, that we pick up predestination, and predestination is one of the principal tenets in the Presbyterian church today.  And it doesn't make any difference, you never know what category you're in until it all happens, so that if you're in the lost, there's nothing that you can do about it.  And if you're saved, there's not anything that you can do to get lost.

Q:  Is there a scripture to combat that.

Yes, but it's not in the gospels.  There is only one thing that was ever foreordained or predestined, and that was that whoever it is who comes to God will be conformed to the image of his son.  It doesn't say that all are going to come.  There is no place in the biblical text that talks about us being predestined; rather all of the way through there is the aspect of choice, of free will.  These terms - predestined, foreknowledge, free will - are all jumbled together in Christianity, but each one of them has a separate meaning and a separate application.  Predestined, or foreordination, that God foreordained something or predetermined it.  The only thing that was predetermined was that those who come to God by their own free will are going to be conformed to the image of his son.  Romans 8:29.

Comment:  That's no different than the law of gravity.  Those who step off of a building are predestined to fall, and those who study Torah and adhere to it are predestined to be blessed by God.  And it's not in the total sovereignty of God that he creates some to go to heaven and some to go to hell.

That's right, because if that were true, we'd be nothing more than pawns in some kind of a cruel game, especially if I were 1ed to be saved and didn't know it.

What does it mean that many are called but few are chosen?  The call goes out to all, but not everybody responds to the call.  The ones who respond and are properly dressed are going to be chosen.  But that goes along with other parables, like broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be that follow it, but narrow is the path and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it.  Everybody has the opportunity, but only a few are going to take it.

Jewish theology is not one of universal salvation.

Comment:  I thought that ______ would have said that a pretty large number of people would be "saved."

Well, what it would say is that the righteous of all nations and of all times are going to have their part in the world to come, but the bottom line is that there are not that many people who could be called righteous.  I think that there are probably going to be a whole lot more folks having a part in the world to come than most Christian denominations think, but they're still probably in the majority when you compare it with the total population of the world.

Q:  What is your comment on outer darkness?

It just means those who are separated from God.  It's the same as hell, the same as hades.  All of these terms are allegory or metaphor.  They're all synonyms, so you can't define it.  There's no definition that you can give.  Unfortunately, whatever you say about what heaven's going to look like that's been up there and come back or that hell's going to look like, that they've been there and they've come back, is nothing more than a flight of fantasy.  The only thing that you can say about heaven is that it's where God is, and the only thing that you can say about hell is that it's where he ain't.

Comment:  The Talmud says that you can't even say that it's where he isn't.  The Talmud says that it's where he's hidden, because there's that whole thing that they go through where God can't go into hell and then come back, but it comes back that God can go anywhere that he wants.

God owns hell.

Comment:  So the point is made in the Talmud that he must be hidden then, so that the point is that God can go anywhere he wants to, but in hell he's hidden.

Okay, we'll go along with that.  If he's there, at least the people don't know that he is, and he's not exerting his influence over anybody.

You see, we make all of these big to-do's over heaven and hell; the Jews don't.  There are not any comments to do anything over heaven or hell in Judaism.

(break time -- begins in different session??)


... and counsel how they might trick him.  Notice the disciples are with the Herodians.  They were also known as the Boethusians.  They say, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar or not, and of course you know the response:  Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's.  And then the same day, the Sadducees came to him, so we have the Pharisees, the Herodians, the Sadducees; and again, we're talking about Temple aristocracy trying to set him up.  They're asking him if a man has a wife and she dies, and seven brothers take her to wife, when they come to the resurrection, whose wife is she going to be.  He said, in the resurrection they neither marry or are given in marriage, but they are all as malachei Elohe bashamayim.  They are all as messengers.  Again, I don't like this word angel.  Actually, angel is not a translation of anything; it's a transliteration of the Greek word angelos which is a translation of the Hebrew word malach, messenger.  How do we understand that?  Well, frankly, I don't understand what he's talking about in the sense that I don't know what it's going to be like in heaven.  I don't know what relationships are going to be like.  Apparently, there is going to be some recognition and some knowledge of previous relationships, but what and how is all speculation, and the Jewish people don't go into it.  As a matter of fact, they say this, in tractate Chagigah of order Moed that there are four classes of people for whom it would have been better if they had never been born:  those who want to know what's up above, those who want to know what's down below, those who want to know the future, and those who are looking back to the past.  Because it says that any discussion on these four subjects is nothing more than useless speculation and idle prognostication and serves no useful academic purpose, but only serves to cause a falling away from true biblical faith.  So, what it's going to be like we don't know, but essentially he's saying, don't worry about it.  It's not important anyway.

And when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they gathered together and one of them who was a lawyer asked him a question again, trying to tempt him, saying, what is the great commandment of the law.  They were always arguing about this.  That would be very pharisaic.  And Jesus said, you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your soul.  This is the first and great commandment,  and the second is like unto it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself, and on these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.  It's interesting that almost 100 years later, another rabbi named Akiva made the same comment.

Then he puts them on the spot again with a quote from Psalm 110:1.  Now notice this particular psalm, because he's going to hit them between the eyes with it when they bring him before the Sanhedrin.

Here again in 23, we have the mention of Moses' seat.  He says, "Whatever they tell you to do, do, but don t do what they do because they don't do what they say.  They bind heavy burdens, and grievous to be born, and lay them on men's shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."  See here again the shoulder Pharisee.  They're bending under the heavy load.  They do all of their works to be seen of men.  They make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments.  "Marchivim (which means they expand) et tefilehem (from tefillin, the phylacteries) umagdilim et tzitziotehem."  They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge their tzitziyot.

He says that there are a lot of these hypocritical Pharisees who are doing this because they like the uppermost rooms at feasts and the chief seats in the synagogue and so on.  But he says, don't you be that way, because the one who is the greatest among you is going to be the servant of all, and whoever exalts himself is going to be abased, but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Notice in verse 14, "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you devour widows' houses."  How do you devour a widow's house?  Can you think of an instance in the Old Testament where a widow owed a debt and couldn't pay, and what were they going to do?  They were going to sell her son to pay for the debt, and a widow's house doesn't mean a building.  It means the family, the home.  How they devoured it was if the widow couldn't pay, they would take the son and sell him in order to collect the debt.  They way that you devour a widow's house is to sell them into debtor's prison or whatever it was that they did.

Woe unto you, Baptists, Charismatics; ye compass the sea and land to make one proselyte, to get one proselyte out of the Episcopal church.

Comment:  "These words show that the image of gentle Jesus, meek and mild, while short of reality, repeated slashing litany, angers Jews, mystifies Gentiles, and embarrasses Christians who find Yeshua ______, even un-Christ-like."

That's just true.  Christ was not very Christ-like.  Well, he just needed to repent.  Notice the words of condemnation that follow on those who are hypocrites.  In verse 23, "Woe unto you, hypocrites, because you pay tithe with mint and anis and cumin, and yet you have omitted the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, faith.  You ought to have done the first, but you ought also not to have left these that are more important undone.  You strain at a gnat and you swallow a camel."  And then on down, calling them "whitened sepulchres, serpents, a generation of vipers, those that have killed the prophets."

Then in chapter 24, they come and show him the buildings of the Temple, and he says that there is not going to be one stone left upon another that is not going to be thrown down.  "And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives" (he's looking right across the Kidron Valley over the Temple; they can see the whole Temple compound, all the buildings, everything in the Temple), he says that there isn't going to be one stone left upon another.

Then they ask him three questions:  When shall these things be?  What shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?  And he gives answers to all three, but they are all intermingled.  They're intermingled because all of this stuff is cut up, and actually you will find it in a much better form in Luke than here in Matthew.

In Luke 21, we have an A, B, and C.  I'm going to try to show you how this is reconstructed.  You can mark this down in your bibles as to the order in which it flows.  Verses 5 through 7 are in the Temple before his death, and that's A1.  Then you have from 8 through 11 - B1.  And then from 12 through 19 is C, and here is where that one passage in Matthew 5 goes about the persecution, and perhaps all of this was spoken at the Last Supper, but all of it should come before A and B, so C is pre-A and B in chronology.  It goes through verse 19.  Then, 20-24 is A2.  "And they ask him, when shall these things be, and what sign will there be that these things shall come to pass," and "when you see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.  Let them that are in Judea flee to the mountains" and so on --- and "Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled."  That's the context of it.

Them from 25 through 28 is B2.  "Be not deceived.  Many are going to come saying, I am Christ.  The time draweth near, but go not after them.  When you hear of wars and commotions, do not be afraid.  Nations will rise against nations, great earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be signs in the sun and the stars; men's hearts will fail them for fear, and looking after those things which are coming on the earth, the powers of heaven be shaken, and then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory, and when you see these things come to pass, look up for your redemption draweth nigh."

Then verses 29 through 32 are A3.  It should came after "be trodden down until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."  "And he spoke to them a parable, Behold a fig tree, and when they shoot forth and you see and know of your own selves that summer is nigh at hand, so likewise when you see these things come to pass, know that the Kingdom of God is nigh.  Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away until all be fulfilled."

Then 33 and following is B3.  If you read that in that context, I think that it will make more sense to you.

One of the real problems that we have today is, I think, the problem of eschatology, and we're going to get into it more when we look briefly at the book of Revelation, but everybody is interested today in eschatology and the signs of the end.  What's going on in Waco?  Why are those old boys up there?  Because they believe that the coming of the Lord is near, that the time of the end is near.

Well, there's a real problem here, and we can see this as we go on in the latter verses.  Verse 36:  "But of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels of heaven, but my father only."  And no one knows the day and the hour.  They say, yes, but you can know the month and the year.  Back in Matthew 24:35ff:  "As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood, they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not until the flood came and took them all away, and so shall the coming of the Son of man be."  If anybody tells you that they know the day, they know the hour, they know the month, they know the year, just don't pay any attention to them, because they're self-deluded.  That is, with the possible exception of me.  I'm going to write next year 1994 Reasons Why the Lord Is Going to Come in 1994.  All of this stuff is just so silly.  Not only that, but it is, in Hebrew, an anathema.  It's not just silly; it's forbidden that you even speculate on these things.  But beyond that, notice that it says, "Two are going to be in the field, one taken, the other left.  Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one taken, the other left.  Watch, therefore, for you know not what hour your Lord doth come."  Verse 44:  "Therefore, be you also ready, for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of man cometh."

Comment:  That means we're all going to be fooled.

That's exactly right.

Question:  How can that be, because there is always somebody saying it's just around the corner.  What kind of situation would it be if everybody is caught by surprise?

Everybody is going to be caught by surprise.

Q.  I'm trying to imagine what that would mean to the way we live.

Well, you know that the rabbis say.  One should always repent 5 minutes before they die.  And students say, well, how is that possible, because nobody knows when they're going to die?  And the rabbis say, that's just the point.  You should always be in a state of repentance.  Here's the whole bottom line:  Nowhere does it say that the Son of man is going to come soon.  What it says is that he is going to come suddenly.  Therefore, the injunction is what?  Be ready, because at a time when you think not, he's going to come.  Not only that, but, yes, everybody's going to be surprised.  But a whole bunch of folks, because they know that it's going to happen that way, are going to be ready.  And the big surprise may be when they wake up stoking coal instead of pickin' posies.

Then he goes on right into that with the parable of the ten virgins, five wise, five foolish, and essentially the same theme.  Here we see how that, in these teachings, these great haggadic themes, you usually close with two parables, both of them on the same theme, because out of the mouths of two witnesses is a thing established.

In verse 13:  "Watch, therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

Now we have the parable of the talents that have to do with the coming of the Lord, and the one who was faithful will hear the well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter into the joys of thy Lord.  And the one who hid his talent in the ground hears, depart from me, thou worker if iniquity, because I never knew you.  When the Son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then he shall sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations, and here you have the judgment of the nations.  Notice that whenever you have an indication of the coming of the Son of man, it's always the coming of the Son of man in his glory.  This is the terminology that is used relating to the end, or the second coming.  It's the coming of the Son of man in his glory, at verse 31.

Now, something interesting here.  This is the judgment of whom?  The goyim, the nations, the Gentiles.  What about the righteous?  They don't come under judgment.  They've already been judged.  There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.  They don't come under judgment.

Then the king shall say to them on the right hand, come, ye blessed of my father.  Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  On what basis are they going to inherit it?  You got out there and you went to church every Sunday, and you got so many folks saved, and you tithed, and oh, glory to God, you were so faithful.  "I was hungry and you gave me meat.  I was thirsty and you gave me drink.  I was a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me.  I was sick and you visited me.  I was in prison and you came unto me."  V'anu ha-tzadikim v'amru, adonenu, matai r'inukha ra'ev?  When did we see you hungry?  When did we see you thirsty and give you to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and take you in?  They're surprised at all of this.  And he said, "Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me."  So what we're talking about here is the judgment of the Noachides.

There is something significant here.  Who is he talking about?  Inasmuch as you have done it unto one ...  Now, how should this be punctuated in English?  Who is the "my brethren?"  The family.  Those who are part of the family.  He's talking about the Noachides out here who are doing something to and for the family.  And he says, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the very least of those that is a part of my family, i.e., kingdom, you have done it unto me.  Whoever does something for one of those who is a part of God's family, then it's as if they had done it unto God.  I think that in this particular context, we could be talking about Jews.

The Noachides are the Gentiles who are being judged here, and they're being judged on the basis of their acts of tzedakah.  The Noachides are the tzadikim out of the Gentile nations, not that all Gentile nations are Noachides, but the ones who are living as tzadikim from among the goyim are going to receive their place in the world to come.

Q.:  What does it mean by eternal punishment?  Does it mean that they're actually going to be punished for all eternity or that they're just going to be consumed?  Are we talking about the annihilation of the soul?

Frankly, it's a nickel of one and five cents of the other.  It doesn't make any difference.  They're going to be separated from God, and they're always going to be separated from God and they're not going to have a second chance.

Now, when he had finished all of these sayings, we're coming down to the days of the end.  It's time for the Passover.  The chief priests, the Scribes, the elders come together to the palace of the High Priest called Cayafa, and they consult how they might be able to take Jesus and kill him.  They said, we better not do it on the feast day or there will be a big uproar.  Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the Leper, and of course the woman comes with the alabaster box.  It's as if, he says, that he is being anointed for burial.  In verse 17, we have the beginning of the Passover.  They sit down and eat, and Judas is exposed as the one who is going to betray him.  He leaves, and then they start to eat the Passover meal.  If you know anything about the Passover itself, there are a lot of things that go on before the meal actually takes place.  Then the meal is eaten, and immediately after the meal, they eat the middle loaf that had been broken, called the afikomen.  At the very beginning of the Passover service, the middle loaf is taken out from three loaves, broken, and part of it is hidden away, and it's only brought back after the meal is over.  Notice, it says that as they were eating, Jesus took born again and blessed it and brake it and gave it to the disciples and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  Then he took the cup, gave thanks, gave it to them and said, drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the New Testament which is shed for the remission of sins.  And I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new with you in my father's kingdom.  And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.  Notice that it's probably, as we see the sequence of events here, the middle loaf that he takes out and from whence he institutes the Lord's Supper.  Then after the thing is over, they sing a hymn, the Hallel, and go out to the Mount of Olives.

Now Jesus goes out into the garden, the Garden of Gethsemane (the Hebrew is gat sh'manei, which mean olive press.  Evidently, there is an olive industry here in the area of the garden) to pray, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nonetheless, not as I will but as you will.  Shortly thereafter Judas betrays him with a kiss.  He's taken across the valley of Kidron into the Temple area and led away to Caiaphas where the Scribes and the elders are assembled.

Then they want to know, in verse 63, "I adjure thee, by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God or not."  And Jesus said, well, I'm not going to tell you, but one thing I will tell you is that, from this moment on, you're going to see the Son of man seated at the right hand of God in power.  And in order to understand what's happening here --- I've told before the little rabbinic story found in Talmud about the old rabbi who was on his deathbed.  He had been the rabbi of the whole area so that he had ministered to multitudes faithfully and long.  The people all came out and gathered in front of his house and waited.  While they were waiting, they were talking about how he had served them for so long, well, and what kind of sorrow his death was going to bring upon the community.  So they said, let him who brings us news of the rabbi's death be himself put to death.  So they waited, and no news came.  Finally, they chose out from among themselves one poor little fellow to go in and check on the well-being of the rabbi.  Wouldn't you know it, he was dead as a mackerel.  Now this poor little fellow is in deep trouble.  He comes back out on the porch and just stands.  And he stands.  And he doesn't say a word.  And he just stands.  Finally, their curiosity gets the best of them, and they cry out with a loud voice as one, Is he dead?  And the fellow said, You said it. --- So unless you know that, you don't appreciate what's happening here.  They say, Are you the Christ?  Atah hu hamashiach emor lanu.  He says, I ain't gonna tell you.  One thing I will tell you; that is, from this day onward you're going to see the Son of man (Dan. 7:13-14) seated on the right hand of God in power (Ps. 110), and when he says that, they say, well, if that's true, then you must be the Christ, and he said, you said it.

Psalm 110:  "The Lord says unto my lord, sit thou at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool."  That just throws them into a rage.  The high priest rent his clothes, said he has spoken blasphemy.  He's guilty of death, and they spit in his face and smote him with the palms of their hands and led him off to be crucified.  What he said, he said in a powerful way.  And he does the same thing when he stands before Pontius Pilatus.  Matt 27:11:  Pilate asks him, Art thou the king of the Jews, and Jesus said, you said it.  Then Pilate turns him over for crucifixion.  We might say that Pilate was a spineless wimp, and most of the records that we have about Pilate actually indicate that, that he was wicked, cruel, spineless, self-serving, and he had the authority to say to these Jews, Why don't you all shut up and go home?  Stay out of this thing.  Go home, or I'm gonna go thru the whole bunch of you like a dose of salt.  But he was weak and succumbed to their demands.  It is important to note that the Jews had no power or authority to put Jesus to death.  It could only be done by the Romans, and ultimately, it's a Roman act and a Roman method of crucifixion.  Crucifixion was a Roman method of putting someone to death for a capital crime.

Then we have here in the latter verses how they gave him vinegar to drink.  They crucified him, parted his garments, it says, that that might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, "They parted my garments among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots."  (Ps. 22)  Some said, If thou be the Christ, come down and save thyself and us, and then at the ninth hour, he cried with a loud voice saying, Eli, Eli, lama shabachtani.

Now, here we have in Mark a different account slightly, in that Mark says that he says, Eloi, Eloi, lama shabachtani.  And it's from Mark's account that some have said that actually Jesus was speaking Aramaic.  But let's look at that.  If you have a parallel text, you can follow it across.  Mark 15:34: And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.  In Matthew, it's Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.  Some have looked to Mark and said that Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani is Aramaic, and that shows you right there that Jesus was speaking Aramaic, but it shows you that they don't know Aramaic, and they don't know Hebrew, and they don't see what's going on here, because in the next verse, it says, And some of the bystanders hearing it said, behold, he's calling for Elijah.  That's an impossible mistake.  Its completely impossible.  Nobody would ever hear anyone say Eloi, Eloi and think that he was calling on Elijah because eloi means only one thing, and that is, my God.  So no one would ever think that in saying eloi, eloi, that he was calling on Elijah.  So Mark gives himself away, but what he actually said was what Matthew says that he said, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, and eli can mean either my God or it's a shortened form for Eliyahu (hanavi).  If you go to Israel, about half the men that you meet are going to be named Eli, and none of them are named "my God."  Eli can be my God or Eliyahu.  So if Jesus says Eli, Eli, which happens to be, by the way, a quote from Psalm 22:1, then there is a possibility that he could be mistaken.

Have you ever heard all of this silly commentary about how that, in that hour, Jesus became the worst sinner that the world has ever known, and God turned his back on him because he was bearing all of the sins, and God forsook Jesus on the cross?  It's silly.  Actually, what he's doing is quoting Psalm 22.  Looks what's happening.  The people are there.  We've already seen that they're mocking him.  They spit on him.  They took his garment, and they're casting lots for it, and they give him vinegar to drink, and they're reviling him and saying, Come down from the cross and save yourself, and so on.

Psalm 22:  "Eli, Eli, lama azavtani.  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from helping me?  My God, I cry in the daytime, but you hear not, in the night season, and I am not silent.  But thou art holy, oh, thou that inhabits the praises of Israel.  Our fathers trusted in thee.  They trusted and thou didst deliver.  They cried unto thee and they were delivered.  They trusted in thee, and they were not disappointed.  I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men and despised of the people.  All they that see me laugh me to scorn.  They shoot the lip, they shake their heads saying, he trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him.  Let him deliver him, see if he delighted in him.  I was cast upon thee from the womb; thou art my God from my mother's belly.  Be not far from me, for trouble is near.  Many bulls have compassed me around; they have gaped upon me with their mouths as ravening and roaring lions.  I am poured out like water.  All my bones are out of joint.  My heart is like wax.  My strength is dried up. My tongue cleaves to my jaws.  You have brought me to the dust of death.  Dogs have encompassed me.  The assembly of the wicked enclosed.  They have pierced my hands and feet.  I may tell all my bones; they look and stare upon me.  They part my garments among them.  They cast lots for my vesture.  Be not far from me, O Lord, my strength.  Haste thee to help me.  Deliver my soul from the sword.  Save me from the lion's mouth.  I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation, I will praise thee.  Ye that fear the Lord, praise him.  All ye seed of Jacob, glorify him and fear him all ye seed of Israel, for he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.  My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation.  I will pay my vows before them that fear him.  The meek shall even be satisfied.  They shall praise the Lord that seek him.  Your heart shall live forever.  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, for the kingdom is the Lord's, and he is the governor among the nations.  All that be fat upon the earth shall eat and worship.  All they that go down to the dust shall bow before him, and none can keep alive his own soul.  A seed shall serve him.  It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.  They shall come and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born that it is finished."

He starts with Eli, Eli, lama azavtani, and he ends with it is finished, and in the meantime, what is he doing? He's exposing them for what's happening right there.  All he has to do is say Eli, Eli, azavtani, and this whole Psalm 22 just explodes in their minds, and they suddenly realize that this is what's happening right now.  Notice what he says.  God didn't hide his face from him, but when he cried unto him, he heard, and said, I'm going to declare his praise from one generation to the other, for the kingdom is the Lord's, and they shall serve him from one generation to the next and declare his righteousness to a people yet to be born, that he was the one who did all this.  He finished it.

Q.:  One thing I didn't quite understand.  Did you say that Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani was Hebrew or Aramaic?

Hebrew.  It's all Hebrew.  Old Mark has to get all this Aramaic stuff in there, and when he does, he confounds people who really don't understand what's going on, but at times he over-Aramaics it, and he puts in stuff that's impossible in Aramaic.  This would be an impossible mistake, because nobody would ever mistake Eloi, Eloi for Elijah, because this means my God; that's it.

Q.:  In the Hebrew, it's a 2-part saying.  They say it this way:  "He cried with a loud voice," and then he quotes "Eloi, Eloi," and then it says, "Which is being interpreted..."  Did he write in Hebrew this time?  My God, my God?

Hebrew changes very little from one generation to the next, but this passage in Psalm 22:1 is "Eli, Eli, lama azavtani" from the Hebrew word azav which means to forsake or to leave something alone.  But in the mishnaic period, during the time of the mishnaic fathers, like 200 B.C. down to 200 A.D., shavach is being used instead of azav.  Just like I mentioned to you that there were words like edah, for example, that had fallen out of usage during the end of the First Temple period, and not until the time of the Qumran community was this word revived.  Well, they did this with a lot of words, especially a lot of names.  You don't find, for example, people named Esau in the first century.  You see names changing, words changing, and this shavach is a mishnaic Hebrew verb, but in order that everybody may know that this is a remez, or a hint back to Psalm 22:1, and there be no mistake about it, they go ahead and say, Which is to be interpreted (sh'tirgumo), Eli, Eli, lama azavtani.  But both of them are Hebrew, both mean the same thing.  It's just that the actual text itself, the Masoretic text, is azavtani.  And then he gave up the ghost.  The veil of the Temple was rent from top to bottom, the graves were opened, many of the bodies of the saints came out and walked the streets of Jerusalem, and some of the Romans who were around said, Truly, this must have been the Son of God.

In the evening, the women came down to take care of the body.  Joseph of Arimathaea came to Pilate and begged for the body of Jesus.  They wrapped it up in a linen cloth va'yich'rokh otah v'sadin tahor), and they wrapped him up with a little sadin.  Sindon actually means a burial garment, but thetachlikh means the windings, that they wound him up like a mummy and they put the spices in between and wound him up.  Then it says, They laid him in a new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock and rolled a great stone over the door.

The reasons I want to point these things out to you are, number one, there has been a whole lot to do of late over this shroud of Turin, and I hate to tell you this, but it's a complete hoax, it's a fake, it's a fabrication from the 14th century.  We know how the thing was made, we can do the reverse images, we even know of other pictures of the same guy that was done by the same artist.  Even the Catholic Church itself has declared this to be a forgery, but TBN has to hold onto it.  They have to have some kind of a religious relic so that they will be able to recognize the Lord when he comes again.

Now, how can we say that, even if we didn't know how all of this thing was duplicated, the shroud of Turin was a fake?  How could we say that with any sense of surety?

The text says, in Matthew, they wrapped him in a clean linen shroud.  In Mark, it says, in 15:46, they brought a linen shroud, and taking him down, they wrapped him in the linen shroud.  In Greek, it's sindoni.  In Luke, it's sindoni.  Notice, though, in John 19:39-40, who had come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight.  They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen clothes (edesan auto othonios meta ton aromaton).  They bound it in linen clothes with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.

Now, let's follow the story.  This is from John 20:3.  When they come to the tomb, notice that Simon Peter is one of the first ones to reach the tomb.  And Peter came out with the other disciple (probably John).  They both ran, the other disciple outran Peter, and they looked in and saw the linen clothes lying there.  Then Simon Peter came and went into the tomb, and he saw the linen clothes lying, and the napkin which had been on his head not lying with the linen closed, but rolled up in a place all by itself.  What is important for us to look at is these linen clothes.  What were they?

Strong's number 4676:  soudarion - 1) a handkerchief; 2) a cloth for wiping perspiration from the face and for cleaning the nose, and also used in swathing the head of a corpse.


In verse 24 of Matthew 15, emphasizing again, and we want to think about this in way of reflection back on what we've already seen and studied.  Jesus says, "I am not come but to the lost sheep of Israel."  That should let us know that all of this material has to do with those who are a part of the family of God or the household of Israel.  He's not talking about relationships with pagans, and a lot of this material that we take out of context and then try to make it apply to some kind of a present-day situation.


Yesterday, we were talking about the subject of marriage, divorce, remarriage, and an inquiry was made for the reference from the Mishnah on the times enjoined for marital or conjugal duties, and this is in tractate K'tubah, chapter 5, Mishnah 6.  There's something here in this Mishnah that's important to us from the New Testament as well.  It says, "If one puts [??____] under a vow to have no connubial intercourse, the school of Shammai says for 2 weeks, but the school of Hillel says for one week only.  Disciples may go forth to the study of the law without permission for 30 days, laborers only for one week.  The patterns for marital duties enjoined in the law are:  for men of independent means every day; for workmen, twice weekly; for ass drivers, once a week; for camel drivers, once every 30 days; for sailors, once every 6 months."  The whole tractate has to do with marital vows and so forth.  The tokens of virginity are mentioned in Mishnah 6 of chapter 1, "If one marries a woman and finds not in her her tokens of virginity and she pleads, after thou hast betrothed me, I was outraged, and thy field was inundated, and he plead, Not so, but it occurred before I had bespoken thee, and my bargain was a bargain concluded in error, R. Gamliel and R. Eliezer said she's believed, but R. Joshua said, we do not rely on her word, but she must be presumed to have been copulated with before she had been betrothed and to have received him unless she can produce proof of her statement."  Then it goes on, and all of this have to do with these tokens of virginity.  The reason it's important is because of the k'tubah.  It says that on such-and-such a day of such-and-such a month in such-and-such year since the creation of the universe, ... So-and-so said to this virgin, so on and so forth, daughter of blank, Be thou my wife and so on.  And it says, I will set aside for thee X number of dollars in lieu of thy virginity which are thine in accordance with the laws of Moses, and this virgin concurred and became his wife.  The bridegroom, blank, son of blank, and blank, the virgin daughter of blank have employed a means legally suited for the objects [____] everything that is stated above here, and all is listed and confirmed, and it's signed.  So all of this has to do very much with this passage here in Matthew when Jesus talks about if a man puts away his wife for any reason save for the cause of fornication, it would have to do with the fact that this marriage contract had been falsified, which would then render the marriage null and void, and beyond that he says nothing.

We were in verse 17 of chapter 10.  We'd completed that where it says, "Beware of men.  They are going to deliver you up to your councils, will scourge you in your synagogues.  You will be hated by all men for my name's sake."

Let's go to chapter 11.  "And it came to pass when Jesus made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and preach in their cities."  We've already read about John in prison, and now John sends some of his disciples to ask Jesus a specific question, "Art thou he that should come, or should we look for another?"  And what does Jesus respond back?  Notice what's happening.  John is asking a specific question.  He wants to know if Jesus is, in fact, the one who was the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9, the king that was to come having salvation in his hands.  John knew who he was, and he knew what his commission was.  His commission was to prepare the way for the coming of YHVH.  To make straight in the dry places a pathway for our God.  But he's not sure about Jesus.  Jesus could have been the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, just like John said and still not have been the king of Zechariah 9:9.  How is that possible?  Because Jews always believed that the death of a righteous man atoned for the sins of Israel.

"Even Jews who did not accept Christianity evidently believed that Jesus, like the other martyrs of the Roman authorities, had atoned for the sins of Israel."  Jews always believed that the death of a righteous man unjustly or for the faith, or just simply because he was a Jew, atoned for the sins of Israel.  So he could have been the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world, and John's still not sure whether or not this was the fulfillment of Zechariah 9:9.  So he writes to him and says, "Attah haba?"

Zechariah 9:9 - "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, O daughter of Jerusalem.  Behold thy king cometh unto thee."  In Hebrew, it's "haba;"  your king "ba."  He wants to know, are you the "haba," the one who was to come.  The one who was to come was to come as a king having yeshuah in his hands.  Notice how it goes on.  "He is just, having salvation, lowly, riding upon an ass, upon a colt, the foal of an ass."  How was it that the people, when Jesus rode into the city on this little donkey, took off all of their garments, threw them out into the streets, and took the palm branches and waved; Hosanna, hosanna in the highest, thou Son of David.  Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord?  They're tying that back to Zechariah 9:9.  They are declaring him to be a king.  But they think that he's going to come to set up an earthly kingdom, and then he says, my kingdom is not of this world, or my kingdom isn't a worldly kingdom.  Like, for example, the Roman kingdom, they just scatter like a covey of quail and don't know what to do.  It's not that they disbelieve; they're just confused.

John wants to know, are you the haba of Zechariah 9:9?  Who is this "haba" of Zechariah 9:9?  Number one, John came to prepare the way for the coming of YHVH, and this YHVH that was to come was to come as a king.  Jesus responds back, Go and show John those things again which you do hear and see.  The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them, and blessed is he who shall not be offended in me."  In other words, he said, look and see what's happening.  Where did he get these passages?  Isaiah 29:18:  "In that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.  The meek shall also increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel."  Then Isaiah 35:5:  "Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then the lame man shall leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing, for in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert and the parched ground shall become a pool."  Verse 8:  "And highways shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the Holy Way, and the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those, the wayfaring men, though fools shall not err therein."  Verse 10:  "And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing."

Isaiah 42:6 - "I, the Lord, have called thee in righteousness.  I will hold thine hand.  I will keep thee and give thee for a covenant of the people for a light to the Gentiles to open blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."  And then it says in verse 8, "I am YHVH; that is my name, and my glory I will not give to another."  So you see how specific he's being.  He wants to know, "Attah haba?"  And Jesus says, see what's happening.

Isaiah 61, the one quoted at Nazareth, "The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek, brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, the opening of prison to them that are bound, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, to appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning," and so on.

Again, we're talking about allegory in a lot of these places, and to raise the dead doesn't necessarily mean raise dead people.  They could be spiritually dead.  To open the eyes of the blind doesn't necessarily mean that everybody can't see.  There were a lot of these people who could see, but they were spiritually blind.  But the fact is that on occasion, he did do this with a few, but we're talking here about a spiritual condition that was the general rule, whereas the healings, the miracles, although numerous, are not the general rule.  The general rule is that the people as a whole have strayed.  They've gone away.  They're spiritually crippled.  They're spiritually blind.  They see and understand not, and they hear and hear not, and they're spiritually dead.  So this is the general condition, and he says I come to do this, and it's not important exactly whether this is a spiritual or a physical miracle or healing or whatever.  What is important is who is it that's doing this.  The Holy One of Israel.  THE Way.  The Holy Way, then I am YHVH; that's my name, and my glory I'm not going to give to another.

Notice again because the whole passage is important.  Jesus says to the multitudes, "what did you go out into the wilderness to see?  A reed shaken in the wind, or a man clothed in soft raiment?  Those that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.  What did you go out to see, a prophet?  More than a prophet, because this is he of whom it is written, 'Behold, I send my messenger before my face which shall prepare thy way for thee.'"  Again, Jesus is doing two things.  Number one, he's validating John's ministry, but number two, he's declaring himself to be the fulfillment.  In Malachi 3:1, before Messiah came, Elijah was to come.  That was commonly believed by the Jews then; it's believed clear to this day.  If you know anything about the feasts and festivals, you know that on the Passover a special table is set for Elijah with the cup of Elijah, and before the Passover service is over, there's a special time in the service when someone goes to the door to look out to see if Elijah has come, or to open the door to invite Elijah, because they believe that before Messiah comes, Elijah is going to have to come based on this passage in Malachi 3:1.

Jesus says, "Among those born of women, there has not arisen one greater than John the Baptist.  But he that is least in the kingdom (whatever that is right now) is greater than he."  We've never understood that because we didn't understand kingdom.  We thought that that meant if we can just get to go to heaven, we'll be greater than John the Baptist.  But that assumes that John the Baptist didn't go to heaven.

Then he goes ahead and says, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."  That's what the book, The Christian Jihad, is all about, the new movement today called the Kingdom Now movement, and their whole message is to go out and take the kingdom by force.  Their symbol is that of a sword in their hand, and they're going out and they're going to take the city, and they're going to take the county, and they're going to take the state, and they're going to run for office of president, and they're going to become the president of the United States and go out and take over all of these positions in government, and then impose God's laws off on all mankind.  Through their imposition of laws, they're going to bring about moral and ethical reform.  Well, I hate to tell you this, but an imposition of the law is not going to change a person's heart, and you're not going to be able to impose morality and ethics off on people by imposition of law.  That's only going to come through education and through understanding.  I believe that this is one of the most damnable heresies that's being perpetuated in Christianity today, and it's being perpetuated by some of the biggest names in the business.  And it's all based on this one passage, and it's a complete mistranslation.

Q.:  I was just flipping through channels last night and I happened to hit Trinity (Broadcasting Network), and this guy that heads up this movement, well, I have never heard him hit so hard, just in a couple of minutes, as he did last night on this very theme.  Militancy was what he was saying, and it was really tough to listen to.  Take the kingdom by force, and this and that, and then war.

I tried to tell these guys years ago that this was all a mistranslation, showed it to them, and they said, well, we don't care.

Their whole idea is that they're going to impose God's law, not the law of man.  And God's law is whatever they interpret it to be, and God's law would include such things as abstinence from sexual relationships.  God's laws would include pro-life and the pro-life movement.  God's laws would include creationism.  God's laws would include many of these other things that are being advocated by those in the more conservative fundamental evangelical Christian groups, and they think that by imposing this off on society that they're going to institute some kind of a great moral and religious reform.  It's not going to work that way.

Who is going to determine what God's law is?  In the Torah, there are 613 laws.  Beyond that, everything else is an interpretation of how these 613 laws are to be carried out.  Does God have anything to say about birth control?  The Roman Catholic Church does.  We don't understand that a lot of the people in the pro-life and the whole pro-life theology is based on Roman Catholicism and a promulgation of Roman Catholic theology.  But it's done under the guise of religion, and it's a complete misinterpretation and a misunderstanding, not just of the biblical text, because the biblical test doesn't deal with this, but on the Jewish interpretation of certain biblical passages from a moral and ethical perspective.  This is the thing that I'm talking about, that these people are trying to advocate and trying to impose upon society what they call God's laws that they think are going to effect some kind of a moral and spiritual reform, when, in fact, it's nothing more than their own interpretation.

If we had somebody that was smart enough to figure out what God actually wanted in each individual situation, in each individual circumstance, then that would be one thing.  But the unfortunate thing is that God is a God of situation ethics.  That, for fundamental Christianity, is an anathema.  But with God, there are not necessarily any specifics, black and white.  In many instances, things fall into a category or a shade of gray, and we don't really want to come to deal with that, but the Jewish community and the rabbis did.

Q.:  Setting aside for the moment the fact of various people trying to impose their views on others, is there something inherently bad about the generality of these views that are being discussed?

Yes, there is. Without going into a lot of detail, let me just urge you to get this book called The Christian Jihad.  This is an anthology of materials taken exactly from those who advocate this particular theology.  It is one of the most dangerous theologies that is being perpetuated today, and whenever you read it and read some of the statements, you're going to be thinking about this old boy ensconced in his fortress at Waco right now with the federal agents surrounding him and some of the things that he's said, because some of the things that they're advocating are dangerously similar. We're going out and take the country by force.  We're going to impose God's laws upon them.  Christians need to arm themselves and be ready to do battle.  Those who don't submit themselves to God's laws are to be eliminated.  All kinds of things.  You won't believe it if you don't read it.  But these are exact quotes, and the references are given you for the books, and it just so happens that I have a lot of these books at home in my library, and the lady who prepared the anthology is giving you the exact quotes.

Q.:  Have you or anyone researched this to see if these books indeed are reflective of the context?

Yes, sir, we certainly have.

(Comment)  The Law of Moses, the written Law, the death penalty was imposed, it wasn't optional.  Some guy gathering sticks on the Sabbath was to be put to death.  How do you deal with that?

Well, you know the funny thing about it is that you have, and I hate to use the term "law" again, but you have the edict, and now how is this thing practically carried out?  Do you know that they said that any Sanhedrin that actually put to death one person in the whole course of the history of that particular Sanhedrin was considered to be a bloody Sanhedrin, because they have all of these checks and balances, and if you read how, in the Mishnah, they have the checks and balances that allow clemency or a stay of execution right up until the last minute, you'll see that there are all kinds of precautions that are taken to ensure the individual's rights.  Now as you read this stuff of the way that the death penalties were carried out, they're quite terrible and just a little bit nauseating at times.  But the simple fact of the matter is that they were almost never carried out.  Let me give you an example.  Today, in our society, if you saw a man with a gun go into a room, there were no windows, no [other] exits, and only one door into the room, and you heard a shot, you went in, and you saw the man that went into the room standing over a second person with a smoking gun in his hand, and a man lying dead, according to our courts and our legal system, that would be pretty strong circumstantial evidence, and we could probably use that to convict the guy and sentence him to a long term in prison, if not death.  In Judaism, before he can be brought before a court of law, there had to be two witnesses that actually saw the crime committed, but beyond that, he had to have been warned ahead of time that what he was about to do was against the law.  It's just like this little woman who was taken in adultery.  They bring her out, and they're getting ready to stone her to death, to throw rocks at her.  Now, number one, is this the legal response on the part of the judicial system, or is it mob action?  It's mob action.  It's not legal response from the judicial system.

In the first century, you have Shammai over here who has this legalistic opinion - taken in adultery, stone her to death.  Hillel over here on this side would say, well, maybe there were some extenuating circumstances.  Maybe her husband wasn't fulfilling his conjugal responsibilities.  Maybe her husband had some kind of a physical infirmity that made it impossible for him to fulfill his conjugal responsibilities.  We don't know.  Maybe we better ask before we start throwing rocks.  But they just brought her out.  She was there.  Jesus comes along on the scene, and when he sees what's going on, he stoops down and writes something in the sand.  What does he write?  Probably lo tin'of.  Lo tin'of is thou shalt not commit adultery.  And then he looked up at them, and he said, now which one of you guys hasn't done this?  You throw the first rock.  You see, because they all had.  Remember, according to Hillel and Shammai, in Jesus' day, it was common that all a man had to do to put away his wife was if he didn't like her looks.  And they all were doing that.  And any divorce that wasn't according to Jewish law was an illegal divorce, and they in turn were causing the person to commit adultery.  So he said, whichever one of you guys hasn't done this, you throw the first rock.  Well, the fact of the matter is that this wasn't even a legal action.  It was a mob action.  Before anyone could have legally charged the woman, two witnesses would have to have actually witnessed her in the act of committing adultery.  Not only that, but she would have to have been warned ahead of time that what she was about to do was against the law.  That's where you have all of these checks and balances in Jewish law, that it's actually not as stringent in actual application as it seems to be in written form.

Q.:  I wish sometime you'd talk about the written law, though, where it came from and why it's so... to me it's not worthy of God in some places.

What portion of the written law are you talking about?

Q.: Well, a couple of things he does to the women.  I can make a list.  Well, killing a man for picking up some sticks on the sabbath, it just seems ...

You have to understand that you have written law and you have oral law.  The written law is Torah.  The written law is Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and there were 613 of them.  Any time it says, thou shalt, that's one.  Any time is says, thou shalt not, that's two.  And they're very brief.  What you're seeing a lot of times is not the written law, but you're seeing the rabbis' interpretation of written law, and that's called the oral law.  Oral law is always changing.  You're talking about written Torah.  Well, God's probably just a chauvinist ...

Q.:  When he's talking about his kingdom not of the world, isn't that an apparent level shifting from what we've been studying and what you've taught us that Judaism basically is of this world?

We shouldn't say that his kingdom is not of this world.  That's not true.  What is true is that his kingdom is not a worldly kingdom.  His kingdom is a kingdom of this world, and it is very much a kingdom of this world, but it isn't a worldly kingdom in the sense that he didn't come to set up a worldly kingdom over which he was going to rule and reign as a king.  His kingdom is a movement.  His kingdom is a kingdom of those who are ruled by God and are demonstrating his rule in their lives in action, and it is indeed and in fact a kingdom of this world, but it isn't a worldly kingdom.  Yes, it's a thing that's happening here and in the now, and it's of this world, but it's not a worldly kingdom in the sense of the kingdom of Rome or the kingdom of Greece.

Matthew 11:11 and 12 are two passages we want to have a look at.  I have before me a photocopy of an old book published in 1677.  It's a commentary on the prophecy of Micah by Edward Pocock who was the Canon of Christchurch and the Regius Professor of the Hebrew tongue at the University of Oxford.  This passage here in Matthew 11:12, "from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven has suffered violence and men of violence take it by force," is a reference back to what?  Micah 2:12-13.  It says that God is going to gather his people together as sheep in a fold, and then the breaker is going to break down the walls to the fold and the sheep are going to pass out through the fold with the king at their head.  Now, this word breaker is the same term that is used here in the Greek text of the Septuagint.  It says, "I will surely receive the remnant of Israel; I will cause them to return together as sheep in trouble, as a flock in the midst of their fold.  They shall rush forth from among men through the breach made before them.  They have broken through, passed the gate, gone out by it, and their king has gone out before them.  The Lord shall lead them."

In the Hebrew, it says "the breaker," ha-poretz is going to pass through, and it's this word breaker that we want to have a look at.  The term breaker in Greek is diakopes.

Poretz (6556), the breaker.  You see where they get the violence.  It comes from paratz and means to break through, to burst out, to break into, to break open, to break up, to break in pieces, to break out violently in sudden judgment, to use violence, to burst open.

The Greek word, now that they turn around and translate into English as violent, is this word diakope.  Diakope means a gash or a cleft, as in a skull, a rupture as of a blood vessel, a cutting or a canal through an isthmus or a mountain, through a wall or a dam, a narrow channel or passage, a breach, a rupture.

So they knew exactly what word they wanted to use in Greek, diakope, to convey the Hebrew idea of making the breach in the wall.  It doesn't have anything to do with violence.  Now, as we come to this commentary on Micah, there are a couple of things that I want to call to your attention from this.  Again, it was written July 19, 1676, and the dedicatory page says, "To the Right Reverend Father in God, Seth, the Lord Bishop of Sarum."  This was the guy who was probably the benefactor who put up the money for this old boy to take the time to write the book.  All of this is in Old English.  He says, "And thirdly, the need of patronage and protection that this work hath in regard that there is in it much stress laid on such part of learning, the oriental I mean, which, of late, if not all along, hath had that unhappiness as to be scarce able to keep itself, not only from neglect but contempt as needless, at least of no great use or necessity."  And even here in the 17th century when he writes, he's saying that the stress laid on the Hebrew is already going out of style.  And then in the preface, he says that, "I have labored as far as I could to find out the truth among them by examining such as I have occasion to take notice of by the original Hebrew which is the standing rule, which was at first by the goodness of God for such delivered to us by the prophets and the holy men divinely inspired and hath ever since by its wonderful province been preserved incorrupt and sincere."

So he's saying that I'm going to, in my commentary, go back and utilize the Hebrew text, commentaries, whatever the material, inasmuch as is possible.  Now when we come to this particular passage, Mic. 2:12-13, he says, "To him that was promised to be as such and exhibited as such and hath made good in himself what was promised, well may the title ha-poretz, in this or indeed in both senses agree, but if any think that by ha-poretz, the breaker, and malkam, the king, should be meant two distinct parties, let him hear what the ancient Jews, as cited by the modern, say for an explanation of this passage.  Ha-poretz, the breaker - that is Elijah, and malkam, their king - that is the branch, the Son of David.  And then observe what our Savior himself taught - that John the Baptist was that Elijah which was more to come."  Where he quotes these guys where he was utilizing this material that was 600-700 years before him.  Now the unfortunate thing is that this is a tragedy that this stuff has been in print for over a thousand years.  It's been there for anybody who wanted to look it up.

Now, what does this passage mean?  It says, "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom has been breaking forth."  John was the breaker.  John was the one who broke down the wall to the sheepfold, and now Jesus says I, the Son of David, malkam, their king that was to come, am leading my sheep (i.e., kingdom) out into pasture.  This is all a very beautiful image that he is painting here that has to do with who John was, who he is, and the nature of the kingdom.  It has absolutely nothing to do with violence.  That's the reason, he goes on to say, for all the prophets and the Law prophesied till John, and if you will receive it, this is Elijah which was foretold to come.  He's saying that John was the fulfillment of Malachi 3:1, that Elijah was supposed to come before Messiah came, but that John the Baptist came in the spirit and in the anointing of Elijah and was the fulfillment of that prophecy.  That goes right along the line with contemporary Jewish thinking in Jesus' day, that the breaker was Elijah and that the king was the Son of David, and now he's making that specific indication of himself and of John the Baptist that John the Baptist was the one who broke down the walls, and now he, the Son of David, is leading his kingdom out into pasture.  This is the reason, he said, among those born of women, there has not arisen one greater than John the Baptist, but he that is least in my movement is greater than he.  Why?  Because John's commission was just what?  To prepare the way for the coming of YHVH.  Now those who are a part of his movement, their commission is what?  To go and preach the gospel of the kingdom, heal the sick, lay hands on the sick, and say, the kingdom of God is come upon you, or that you've seen God penetrate into this world's sphere, and you've contacted God at the very point of your human need.  And from the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of Heaven has been breaking forth.

I'm going to try to give you almost as literal a translation as I can, because I've been paraphrasing.  "From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of Heaven has been spreading forth in strength, and the strong ones are seizing it, or laying hold of it."  In Hebrew, it's u'mimei Yochanan hamatbil ad henah (from the time of John the Baptist until now) malchut hashamayim nitp'sah (pasah in Hebrew means to spread or to be expanded), b'chazakah (chazakah is strength) v'hamitchazkim (and the strong ones) yach't'puha (are seizing it or grasping it).  It's from this chazak that they're getting all of this violence.  They're taking it by force.  And it doesn't have anything to do with that.  John the Baptist is the breaker, he's knocked the walls down, and now the kingdom is expanding; it's moving out and the people of strength are seizing it and laying hold of it.

He says, to what can I liken this generation?  Like children sitting in the marketplace.  We might say the same thing today.  To what can we liken this generation?  People playing church.  John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say he has a devil.  The Son of man came both eating and drinking, and they say he's a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners.  But wisdom is justified of her children.  What does that mean?

Verse 19:  But wisdom is justified of her children.  What he's saying is Nitzd'kah hachokhma me'et baneha.  Wisdom is justified by her children.  In other words, you're able to determine true wisdom by looking at the offspring that the wisdom produces.  And if you're making these stupid statements about me, then that must mean that you're not all that smart.

Q.:  This translation says, "The proof of wisdom is in the actions it produces."

That's not too far off.  That's pretty good, but actually it doesn't carry the weight of the sarcasm, though. He's really cutting them down.  He's saying, look, if you're making all these stupid statements about me, that's just an indication that you're not all that smart, and he's really cutting them down with his words.  Wisdom is justified by her children.  You're able to understand how intelligent somebody is by what it is that they're saying and what it is that they're doing, and if you're making these statements about me, then that's an indication that you're not all that smart.

Then notice that Jesus begins to speak about the cities of Chorazim, Beit-Zaida, Capernaum.  Three cities that are all in very close proximity one to the other from where he is staying at Capernaum, his own city.  He says that if the works that were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon...  The cities of Tyre and Sidon are up to the north on the coast in what is now part of Lebanon, still the cities of Tyre and Sidon.  The cities of Chorazim, Beit-Zaida, and Capernaum lay in ruins until today.  Notice in verse 28, "Come unto me all ye 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 you shall find rest for your souls.  My yoke is easy; my burden is light."

This sounds like he's talking to whom?  The shoulder Pharisees that carry the law on their shoulders like a burden.  He says come unto me, all you that are laboring under a heavy load, and I'll show you that the yoke is really easy to bear.

Then in chapter 12, he's going on the Sabbath day through the ears of corn and they are hungered, and they begin to pluck ears of corn and eat.  When the Pharisees saw it, "they said to him, behold thy disciples do what is not lawful for the Sabbath day, and he said unto them, have you not read what David did?"  They were tired.  He said, "Have you not read what David did when he was an hungered, and they that were with him, how they entered into the house of God and did eat the shewbread which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only for the prophets?  Have you not read in the law how that on the Sabbath day, the priests in the Temple profane the Sabbath and are blameless, but I say unto you that in this place there is one greater than the Temple.  If you had known what this means, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless, for the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day."  And then it says that when he had departed thence, he went into their synagogue and taught in their synagogue.

Now, what's going on here?  Number one, what is it that they were plucking?  What is that they were eating?  Well, one thing about it, it wasn't corn.  Probably wheat.  Some have said barley, but we have found in the not too far distant past, within the last 40-50 years, we've found wild wheat growing in this immediate area.    (12-second blank)    many of our modern-day cereal grains were produced.  The common opinion is that this was probably wheat.  They were going through and they were snapping the heads off, and then they were rubbing it in their hands to separate the kernels from the chaff.  Now, that constituted reaping, harvesting, which in turn constituted work, which was forbidden on the Sabbath.  The Pharisees were concerned that Jesus and his disciples were breaking the law.  But there's something interesting here, and that is that they knew well that if somebody was faint or hungry or ill and needed to eat on the Sabbath, there was a law that overrode all other laws regarding work on the Sabbath, and that was the law of picuach nephesh.  Picuach nephesh means the saving of the soul, or the saving of the life, the sparing of the life.  So the issue here is really one of a technicality that most people would probably just overlook, not knowing that there is a difference in the way that the law was interpreted in Judea and a different way in which it was interpreted in the Galilee.  In the Galilee even until today, there's a much more stringent interpretation of the law than there is to the south in Judea.  For example, even today I go into the hotels in Jerusalem and ask for Tobasco sauce, no problem.  They have it in a minute.  In the Galilee, it's not kosher, because they don't know how it's made.  They don't know what's in it, and because they haven't seen it and it hasn't been inspected by a rabbi, and it doesn't have the stamp on it, they won't allow it in the dining room.  Now, they'll allow it in the bar.  They have it in the bar for mixed drinks, but they don't allow it in the restaurant, so whenever I go in, the maitre d' will slip me a bottle of Tobasco sauce that I carry with me in my pocket or in my briefcase all of the time that I'm there because they can't have it out on the table.  If one of the rabbis would come in, they'd be in serious trouble and may lose their kosher certificate, because the rabbis in the Galilee are more stringent in the observance of some of the laws of kashrut.

That same thing was present in Jesus' day.  They knew that there was this law of picuach nephesh, but picuach nephesh meant that you only took what you needed to survive, and not knowing what's going on, they're not aware that Jesus and his disciples are hungry.  They probably assume incorrectly that they're out there reaping the wheat and taking actually more than what they need or more than what would be necessary for picuach nephesh.  When Jesus explains to them what he's doing, everything seems to be okay.  There's no further argument beyond this, and he departs and goes on to the synagogue.

Q.: ... He often meets the objection that people have, and then he goes on beyond even where they've taken the question ... one way or another or shows his authority, and it seems to be that he's, well, I want to use the word aggressive.  Someone goes against him and he takes it, and then he goes even further ...  as though to show them that they don't know who they're messing with.

There's probably some merit to what you're saying.  You remember, I told you that a lot of times he's sarcastic and has a kind of a warped sense of humor, we might say.  You do see him very frequently with his words cutting the people down and putting them right into their place, but that's Jewish.

Q.:  Isn't he dealing with sincerity here?  They were truly concerned that they may be breaking the Sabbath?

I wouldn't say it just exactly that way.  I think you have to understand that there's a religious hypocrisy, that these people are trying to nitpick.  They're trying to get to him, and they are nitpickers and they're, how do you say, overly religious, and he puts them in their place, and once he does, it's like, well, we've come up against somebody smarter on this deal than we are, so we're just going to keep our mouths shut.  But they'll move back and then they'll regroup.

It's interesting that he refers to the priests in the Temple and then he says that in this place there is one greater than the Temple, and he's referring to himself, again establishing his authority, putting them in their place.  The Son of man is Lord, even of the Sabbath.  Then he goes into the synagogue, and notice how they've regrouped.  They're just waiting for him to do something else.

He's declaring his son-ship as the Lord of the Sabbath, but he's not setting aside the law in doing so.  You could say this is midrash in the sense that he's giving his own explanation, but his explanation doesn't run counter to law.  That's the thing that you have to keep in mind, because he's never going to run counter to law.  Nothing that he ever does runs counter to law.

Then we have him healing the man with the withered hand, and again the Pharisees are upset.  They go and hold council that they might find something against him to destroy him, and Jesus withdraws.  Now we have a quote here from Isaiah once again, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, behold my servant whom I have chosen, my beloved in whom my soul is well pleased.  I put my spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles."  (Matt. 12:17-18)

Q.:  The rabbis from Nebraska told a friend that goyim doesn't mean the Gentiles.  It means the Jews because of what was said, "there shall be two goyim from your stomach."

Well, I know there are all kinds of crazy stuff going around, but the fact is that he's going to be the one who's not only going to judge the nations, but who's going to open the flood gates of the kingdom TO all nations, and he's going to be the one who's going to issue that decree later on as we are going to see as we continue our study.

Then one is brought to him that is possessed with a devil.  Look at this. What devil does this guy have?  He's blind and dumb.  Are we going to say that everybody who's blind and dumb has a devil, or are we going to say that anybody we know who is blind and dumb has a devil?  See how this is amplifying what we were talking about; how do we look at this?  How do we look at the incident of Jesus and the demoniac at Gadara with the whole concept of demons and devils.  If we're going to call these physical afflictions demons as something that is afflicting from without, then we're in trouble.  But if we see demon as some infirmity from within that's not necessarily caused by some type of an outside force, this could be nothing more than an unfortunate circumstance of birth, or it could be something resultant from an accident.  It could be genetic, something from within.  We're not going to have near the problem that we're going to have if we're going to start talking about literal demons and devils, but look what happens.  What does Jesus do to this guy who was possessed with a devil, blind and dumb?  He healed him.

When the Pharisees heard it, they said this fellow does not cast out devils but by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils, and Jesus knew their thoughts, and he said, well, if satan casts out satan, is he divided against himself?  If I, by baalzevul (lord of the flies), cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?  What does it mean, your children?  Your disciples, your students.  They were doing the same thing.  So he said, if they're doing the same thing that I'm doing, then you stand in judgment.  But if I am casting them out by the Spirit of God, then has the kingdom of God come to you.

In this context, here is a passage of extreme importance, and it's one we've completely taken out of context.  We don't have the foggiest idea what it means, but we've sure brought a lot of people (and sometimes even ourselves) under bondage because of it.  Notice he says, "if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God (verse 28), then is the kingdom of God come unto you, or else how can one enter into the strong man's house and spoil his goods except he first bind the strong man and then he will spoil his house.  He that is not with me is against me; he that gatherest not with me, scatterest abroad.  Wherefore, I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men.  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him, but whoso speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.  Either make the tree good and the fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and the fruit corrupt, for the tree is known by the fruit."

Who's the tree that he's talking about?  Himself.  The blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is saying that what he was doing, he was doing by the spirit of baalzevul.  This doesn't have anything to do with blaspheming the Holy Spirit.  This is something that happened to him at a certain, particular point in time and has never been and won't be repeated again.  You can write it down and underline it that there is no such thing as an unpardonable sin as long as a man seeks pardon.  There's no such thing as an unpardonable sin as long as there's a desire within the man for pardon.  This is an event in which Jesus is making the commentary on those who have accused him of casting out devils by the spirit of baalzevul or hasatan.

"O, generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things, an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.  But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account of in the day of judgment, for by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."  Of course, words have meaning and behind the word is the thought, by whatever it is that you believe, that's the way you're going to be judged.  If you believe that he's not who he says he is, then you're going to be judged by that.

In chapter 13, we have the parable of the sower and the seeds, and I'll have more to say about some of the parables a little later on, but he gives the explanation as to what the parable is.  Then right on top of them, the kingdom of heaven is like, the kingdom of heaven is like...  Verse 31, the kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, ... and the birds came to lodge in the branches thereof.  The kingdom is like leaven.  "And all of these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet saying, I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things which have been secret from the foundation of the world."  (Psalm 78:2)

"And Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house."  I keep emphasizing that Jesus had a house and he lived in a house, and the reason is because, at Capernaum where Jesus lived, in the archeological excavations, we've found a house on top of which had been built a church, and the successive levels of the church from the second and third centuries were nothing more than a domus ekklesia, just a meeting place for the called out until actually it takes on some kind of a formal structure in the fifth century as a church, and it's been identified by the Roman Catholics who are in charge of the site as the house of Simon Peter.  And I want to know why they identify it as being the house of Simon Peter when Jesus himself lived there.  Jesus had a house there.

Then he begins to explain some of the parables.  Most of these are well known to us.  The kingdom of heaven, again, in verse 45, is like a man seeking a good pearl.  The kingdom of heaven is like a net.  All of this is allegory, parable.  Jesus finished the parables.  He departed, was come into his own country, taught in their synagogue to the extent that they're all astonished and said where did this guy get all of this wisdom?  Isn't this just the carpenter's son?  And is not his mother called Mary and his brothers James and Joses and Simon and Judas (these are blood brothers) and his sisters?  Are they not with us?"  They don't name them.  How many he had we don't know.  Now, brother here could be translated in a number of different ways.  There are some who say, well, these are stepbrothers, actually, because Joseph died early and these were Jesus' stepbrothers by another father, but we don't have any indication of that.  It's all supposition.  In the text, it is structured in such a way that these are members of his immediate family.  These are his brothers.  James, Ya'akov, and Yose, Shim'on, and Yehudah, and his sisters aren't named.

Q.:  Why was it mentioned, "is this not the carpenter's son?"  I heard a teaching one time where the trade of carpenter could include rabbi.  They were saying that a rabbi could have been called carpenter, and I haven't been able to find anything on it in anything that I have to even come up with any remote possibility that this is so.  I'd like to find out if carpenter was a carpenter who also worked in metals.

Who told you that?

Joseph Good.

Figures.  What is true is that a rabbi ordinarily had a profession, and it was actually against the law for anyone to take money for teaching or preaching the word, so that rabbis more frequently than not had a profession by which they supported themselves.  There is absolutely no connection or relationship between the word for carpenter and rabbi.  Charash is the word for carpenter.  Actually, it has other meanings besides just carpenter.  It means a graver or an artificer.  It can be a worker in either wood or metal.  It could be a worker in stone, one who engraves gems, an artificer.

Chapter 14.  "At that time, Herod the Tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus and he said unto his servants, this is John the Baptist."  Now, which Herod is this?  Antipas.  Who was it that founded the city of Tiberias?  It was Herod Antipas who founded the city of Tiberias and named it after Tiberias Caesar.  But Tiberias is located just around the corner from Capernaum where Jesus is.  See how all this ties in?  And Herod heard of the fame of Jesus, and of course is the one who has John the Baptist put to death.  Then we have in verse 13ff the feeding of the multitudes with the five loaves and two fishes and the taking up of twelve baskets full, about 5000 men, not counting women and children.  So when we talk about feeding the 5000, there were many more than that.  Maybe three to four times that number.

You have to understand that most of these people, just like the people today, are pastoral people.  The sabbath year doesn't have all that much to do with it, if it was the sabbath year.  These are pastoral people.  What do they do?  They're largely farming or they're tending flocks of some kind or another.  They're their own boss.  They're not working for somebody else, so they can take off if they want to for a day or two days.  What's that going to mean.  So to try to explain why all these people are there by saying that it was a sabbath year is beside the point.

Q.:  Do you think that Jesus was demonstrating that he was God and feeding these people with a little bit of food or did he do this by the creative power that ... or what?

I think that this particular miracle was probably one that a lot of other rabbis could have duplicated.  I don't think that it proved much of anything.  I think that it has to do with the nature of God and the Jewish concept of miracle.  You see, I told you that they didn't have a concept of miracle in the first place.  They just thought that certain things were to be expected, and these people were all regarded as sons of God.  Page 34 in Jewish Sources in Early Christianity:  "The pious were regarded as sons of God.  When Honi the circle drawer had brought about rain, Shim'on ben Sheftach said to him, were you not Honi, I would have had you excommunicated, but what can I do, you who coax the Almighty to do your will like a son who coaxes his father to do his will.  When Rabban Yehochanan ben Zakkai asked R. Hanina ben Dosa to pray for him, he explained that he himself could not pray, since he once stood before the Blessed One as a dignitary while R. Hanina stood before him as his familiar servant, or as his son.  When the world was short of rain, the sages used to send for a pious man called Yehochanan the withdrawn.  They would send children who would grasp at the edge of his garment and implore him, father, father, bring us rain, and the pious man would then say, Master of the universe, do it for the sake of those who do not discern between a father who brings rain and a father who does not bring rain."

These guys performed all kinds of miracles.  "The contemporaries believed that the pious could perform supernatural acts such as bringing rain and healing through their prayers.  Jesus, the popular preacher who regarded himself as close to God as his ally or son and who was even capable of healing the sick clearly falls within the framework of the pious of that period."  The point is that this is something that probably, under another set of circumstances, a miracle that could have been performed by any one of the pious, because that's what they were doing.  This is just a circumstance where, if there is something underlying this whole thing that can be said about it, it would have to be that Jesus is demonstrating that he is a son.  But that's not all that unique because so many of the other pious were all sons as well.

We have the incident now of Jesus being out on the sea and the disciples being troubled because of the appearance of Jesus walking to them, and they didn't know what it was, but he spoke to them and said be of good cheer.  Peter said, Lord, if it's you, bid me to come out on the water, and he did, and when Peter came out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus, got out on a little sandbar and was walking across, but then it ran out and he fell into a hole and started to sink, and he said to the Lord, save me.  All of that's been given as an explanation.  Anybody who's ever been on the Sea of Galilee knows that there are just not very many places like that, and if you take it out of the context of a miracle and try to make it anything less than that, you're missing the point.

Then they came to the land of Gennesaret.  Where's the land of Gennesaret, or Gennesar?  It's on the west bank of the Sea of Galilee.  Gadara is over on the east bank.  Gennesar is an important site for us in our studies, because it marks the dividing line between lower Galilee that goes back to the valley of Jezreel, the mountains of Samaria, and upper Galilee.  At the little kibbutz on the shore of the Sea of Galilee at Gennesar called Nof Gennesar they recently found one of the ships from the first century and they have it preserved in a little museum there.  The ship is approximately 11 meters long (a meter is about 40 inches, so it's about 12 yards long, or approximately 36 feet), in a fairly good state of preservation.  It dates from the first century.  How do we know that it dated from the first century?  We found pottery vessels in the bottom of the ship that were from the first century.  There's not any way that you could date otherwise.  But we know that here in this area close to Nof Gennesar, there is also the little village of Magdala from whence Mary the Magdalene had come, and we know from Josephus that in the first century Magdala was a fishing village and boasted a fleet of ships in excess of 400.  Now, that's a lot of ships for such a little body of water.  It's interesting, as we've found this ship and had a look at it, to project ourselves back 2000 years and imagine that this was the same kind of ship in which Jesus and the disciples would have been traversing the Sea of Galilee, and we can say that pretty much with a certainty because we also have paintings and mosaics of those ships.  We even have some of them from Magdala, as a matter of fact, with ships on them that date from the Roman period, the second and third centuries, and show us the size and shapes of the boats that plied the little Sea of Galilee.

So they come over to the land of Gennesaret.  Notice now the men of that place, when they had knowledge of him, brought unto him all that had disease and besought him that he might only touch the hem of his garment.  Here we see this same thing again with the tallit.  This says to us, it lets us know, that Jesus is wearing the tallit (he probably wore all the time) with the tzitziyot, the fringes, and the idea that the people have that the Sun of righteousness will arise with healing in his wings.  And by virtue of what he's been saying and the way that he's been saying it, the people understand him to be the fulfillment of that passage, as well as many others, the Sun of righteousness, and so they come out and beseech him that they may touch just the tzitzit of his beged.  Then it says that as many as touched were made perfectly whole (v'chol hanog'im nosha'u).  They were yeshua'd.  They were completely l'yeshua'd.

Then chapter 15, the scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem said why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders, for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.  Then he said, why do you transgress the commandments by your tradition?  He's throwing it right back in their face.  How were they transgressing?  Here's the passage now to which we were referring earlier in our study, by taking this particular offering that they were supposed to use to sustain their parents in acts of tzedakah and saying that it was corban, it was a sacrifice, it's a gift.  Corban means a sacrifice, and in our archeological excavations at the Temple Mount, we actually found a part of a stone vessel that had the Hebrew inscription "corban" on it, testifying to this practice, and it gave us a firm archeological confirmation of this practice mentioned in Matthew 15.

Q.:  Actually he never transgressed the law.  He's always under the law.

He's always giving them his own unique interpretation on it.  He's not giving different law, but he might give a different perspective on the law.

The Jew was responsible to his fellow man in acts of tzedakah.  Let's, for just a moment, see that in the context of tithing.  The purpose of tithing was tzedakah.  It wasn't to support an ecclesiastical institution.  It wasn't to support the church.  It wasn't to support the Temple.  There were actually four different tithes, and the minimum amount of tithe that one could give was 21.7 percent.  However, they only tithed six years out of seven, because the seventh year was the sabbath year.  They didn't do any work; they didn't tithe.

The four tithes were, number one, the t'rumah.  T'rumah is also called the heave offering, and it could be anywhere from 1/30 to 1/60, but the person with a good eye, the generous person, gave 1/40, and that went to the priests.  Then there was the first tithe called the ma'aser rishon.  Then there was the ma'aser min ha-ma'aser.  This ma'aser rishon, the first tithe, went to the Levites, and the ma'aser min ha-ma'aser, that is, the tenth from the tenth, the third tithe, went to the priests; that is, the Levites tithed from this tithe and that tithe went to the priests.

The second tithe called the ma'aser sheni was actually the fourth one in our list.  That tithe was (the first and the second year) brought to the city of Jerusalem, offered up to God, and then the people ate it.  They threw a big wingding, had a big party, and ate it.  In the third year and the sixth year, that second tithe stayed at home and was used to take care of the widows, orphans, and anyone who might be in need.  It was kept within the city gates.  Notice what's happening with the tithe.  It's going to support those who are in need.  It went to the priests and to the Levites because they didn't have any inheritance in the land, so the whole purpose behind the tithe is tzedakah.  And in this act of tzedakah, the individual had the responsibility of taking care of the needy, and that may include their elderly parents, but the hypocritical Pharisees and others would get around that by taking this thing that was supposed to be given to support their parents or whatever to the Temple and say it's corban, it's a sacrifice, and they offered it up to God.  Well, obviously God can't spend money and he can't eat, so when they offered it up to God, then they would do with it whatever they wanted to, but they couldn't use it for anything else.  They had offered it up to God; it belonged to God.  They would, as the stewards, of course, naturally look after it in his behalf, but they couldn't squander it by giving it to somebody else.

This is a practice that we have firm archeological evidence for, and Jesus is calling them hypocrites because of this in failure to take care of their parents, and says that by their actions, they've made the commandment of God of none effect, and in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.  It's always good for us to see these statements that we frequently take out of context in the context and how the story is developing.

Q.:  Does it really make any difference to God where you tithe, to whom, as long as you are obeying the law?

Let's even go beyond what we were saying a minute ago and bring out some more information regarding the tithe.  The tithe was only for the Jew, and no one who was a Jew who lived outside of the land of Israel could tithe.  Only those who lived in Israel.  Any Jew who lived outside of the land of Israel was not allowed to tithe.

We see later on with Paul when he's gathering funds, it's not called tithe.  It's called an offering or a collection.  There's a difference between tithes and offerings, and insofar as offerings are concerned, the individual is not responsible for ten percent or 21.7 percent.  They were responsible for 100 percent.  They were responsible in these acts of tzedakah to do what was needed to be done, and we have to understand that as far as tithing is concerned, all this stuff that we hear today about tithing is a lot of religious gobbledegook.  Do you know when the whole practice of tithing was instituted in Christendom?  In the eighth century with one of the capitularies of Charlemagne, the king of the Franks, and that was the first time that tithing was imposed off on the church as a matter of law.  They impose it on the people in order to raise enough money to support the clergy and to build their churches.  We would do well if we would just forget about tithing and look at it in the sense of need, that there are needs out there, and we have a responsibility to help assist and to meet those needs.  Because there are so many needs, we obviously can't help everybody, what would God have us to do?  The best practice to follow would probably be to pay attention to God, listen to God as to what he would have you to do and how much he would have you to do, and don't think in terms of ten percent or fifteen percent or whatever.

Q.:  Here in America, they feel that the tithe is to build buildings, supporting the buildings.  In Israel today, are they building synagogues like we're building churches over here and then having to maintain them, etc.?

They quit tithing in Israel probably as early as the second century B.C.E.

Q.: How are the priests supported?

Well, actually what happens is you have the Temple and the Temple functionaries, but already in the second and third centuries, we have the development of this institution known as the synagogue with the rabbis and the educational system, and by the second century, some scholars believe that they're already starting to keep this money back and take care of the people in their own community, to support those who are widows, orphans, those who are serving in positions of leadership, teaching; that they're keeping the funds back for those purposes rather than sending it up to Jerusalem as a tithe.

Q.:  Do they have a lot of synagogues in Israel today?

Yes, and in the first century it's said that they had 480 synagogues in the city of Jerusalem alone.  Today they have one on almost every corner.  But how are they supported?  Well, they're supported through offerings by the people.

Q.:  But not tithes.

Well, it's interesting.  They don't call it tithes anymore. They call it dues.  If you want to be a member, you pay your dues.  It's like you belong to a club, and if you don't pay your dues, you're going to be dunned.  The people do it, but they don't do it thinking of the obligation of my having to give a tenth.  They come in and some will give a whole lot more, some will give less.  The whole idea of a tenth never existed in Judaism, because the tithe was always more than a tenth.  There were four of them and like I said, the minimum that you could give was 21.7 percent if you wanted to follow the whole letter of the law.  Besides that, nobody that lived outside of Israel was allowed to give of these tithes.

Giving the tenth started back with Abraham, and here's the question:  Why did he give it to Melchizedek?  Did God tell him to?  Because he had been blessed, and he wanted to be a blessing in return, and that's the whole principle in giving, tzedakah.

There were prescribed limits later on for those who had the tendency to give too much to the point that it hurt their families.

Where was the tomb?  We don't know, but there is an interesting theory that was proposed some time ago by an old boy by the name of Ernest Martin in a book that he wrote that has to do with the events surrounding the crucifixion, the interment, and the resurrection, and he makes a very good argument for the fact that the crucifixion and the interment both took place on the Mount of Olives, and there are a lot of my colleagues who believe that his supposition is probably a whole lot closer to being the truth than either of the two other traditional places that we have, either the garden tomb or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.  But if you're going to have to limit it to one of the two, the only alternative you have is the Church of the Holy Sepulchre because it's completely impossible for the other one to have been the site.  Notice that it was a new tomb, a rock was rolled over the door of the sepulchre, and the next day they come to the sepulchre, the stone is rolled away, he's not there, he is risen, and they go and tell the others that Jesus is risen.  As they are going, Jesus appears in their midst, greets them, and he says, Don't be afraid; go to those who are in Galilee, and there they shall see me.  Notice that Jesus then again appears to them and gives them what becomes the marching orders for those of the kingdom: Go and teach all nations.  Go and make disciples, or go and make students, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.

We might as well say a little bit about this Father, Son, and Holy Spirit business.  Is that a late addition, or did Jesus in fact say that.  We could argue about it and discuss it all we want to and probably never come to any, well, not just agreement, but we could never say with certainty.  But the one thing that we have to understand is that the important thing here, the emphasis, is not Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  That's not where the emphasis is.  The emphasis is upon name.  Name equals authority.  Simply go and baptize in the authority of the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit.  The simple fact is that this term "son" is Hebraic.  They thought of the pious as being sons.  For unto you a child is born, unto you a son is given, and his name is going to be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  These are all synonyms.  The stress is on name.  It's not on Father, Son, Holy Spirit.  It's on name.  Go and baptize in the authority of YHVH.  So all of these little petty arguments that we have are much ado about nothing.  But this is the marching order now for those of the kingdom, and it's with this commission that Jesus charges them to go out into all of the nations, and in so doing, to open the doors to the kingdom to all mankind.  Go out and make students, to baptize, and then to continue to teach.  And notice that the emphasis is upon teaching, upon study, upon learning.

There's a lot of do-to made by the Oneness folk over the subject of baptism, that you're baptized in the name of Jesus only, and this baptism in Father, Son and Holy Spirit implies trinity, and they don't catch the whole thing here.  It doesn't say in the name of Jesus only.  In the name, in the authority of the name.  Since in Israel you have so many people visiting the congregation that Dr. Lindsay had, the Narkis Street Congregation, and they're coming from so many denominations and not wanting to offend anyone, they developed a formula that goes like this:  Because you have come confessing your belief in Jesus as the Messiah of God, I baptize you into Jesus the Messiah who brings you to the Father that you might be filled with his Spirit.  They just cover all the bases and nobody can argue about that.

Q.:  Going back to the shroud of Turin, I just heard that somebody said that that thing was eight feet long.  If that's that truth, the shadow or whatever it is on there, Jesus was eight feet tall.

The cloth itself is, but the image on it is not.  But the whole thing is anatomically incorrect to anybody who knows anything about physiology.  It's one of these 14th century forgeries.  It's a complete forgery.  You can look at it and tell in a New York minute just by looking at it that the whole thing is a forgery, because it's anatomically incorrect.  Jesus would have to have had hands about six inches longer than the average man and look like an ape.  They sent off little fragments of the thing and had it carbon dated recently, and the carbon dating showed that it was from the 14th century.  We've always known that it was a 14th century forgery, but you can't get that through.  They've even found pictures, not just like the shroud, but on canvas, paintings of the same guy made by the same artist.

(Recording changes tone.) We got off onto this because all of you who have been to Israel have been to the Garden Tomb, and it sure feels good when you're there, doesn't it?  There's only one thing wrong with it.  It's First Temple period, and it's about 800 years too early to have been the tomb of Jesus.  So you go over there and see all of this stuff and think, oh boy, that's really wonderful, except it would have been impossible to have been the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.  It was First Temple period, and in spite of all of these books and everything else that has been written on it, you listen to anyone who is an archeologist or anyone who knows anything about archeology and the history of the area, the whole area there was a necropolis in the first century, and we've found, extending on over the side of the wall there, a garden and a number of other tombs.  We've examined them, the whole area, and it goes back to the First Temple period, and it's not the tomb of Jesus.  It's not the garden tomb.  It's not the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea, and you can take that and underline it and say that Roy said it, and if anybody wants to argue with you about it, send them to me.

Let's just briefly run through number 5, the biographical text, the synoptic Gospels and John.  We've gone through Matthew, and notice that we say that the author is unknown.  What we mean is that by our Greek text that we've just looked at, based on the original Hebrew life story of Matthew, the date that it was written we do not know.  Probably before 70, although the original Hebrew text was written very shortly after the establishment of the church, probably anywhere from 4 to 6 years after the establishment of the church.  The language of our Greek text that we have, of course, is Greek, but based on the original Hebrew (language), and the author is unknown.  We do not know who wrote our Greek text that we have.  But the purpose was to show Jesus as the Son of David, the son of Abraham.  We looked at Mark and Luke and John only casually as some event in Matthew would have a parallel with some differences of significance for us, but let's notice that Mark was attributed to John Mark, and again the date is questionable, the language Greek, written to the Romans to show that Jesus was the Son of the God who lives.  Luke, attributed to Luke the physician, was written probably around 60 and is the earliest of our synoptic gospels, contrary to what you'll probably read about the Markan priority.  We feel very strongly that Luke was the first of our gospels to appear in this reorganized form.  The language, again, is Greek, but based on Matthew's original Hebrew life story, written to Theophilus, which means simply a lover of God.  We do not know whether that was actually written to an individual by the name of Theophilus or whether it was just written in general terms to all lovers of God, but the purpose was to present Jesus as the savior.  John is the latest of the four gospels, attributed to John, and the language is Greek, but we're coming more and more to realize the very strong Hebrew undertones in John, so that, even with this gospel that has been overlooked largely by those of the Jerusalem School and others, because we've been basically dealing with the synoptics and the text drawing largely on the Hebrew of the original gospel of Matthew, we're coming more and more to realize that there is a Hebrew undertext behind John as well.  The gospel was written to all, and the purpose to present Jesus as the preexistent God, and that faith in him leads to eternal life.

Now we come to the book of Acts, and we're going to trace the history of the early community of believers as we go in a chronological order here through the rest of our course outline.

Q.:  Why is it that some Christians don't think of the book of John as a gospel?

Well, it's not that they don't take it as a gospel.  I don t know anyone who doesn't take it as a gospel.  They just do not call John a synoptic gospel.  Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the synoptic gospels.  John stands out here by itself as a biographical sketch of the life of Jesus, and the reason is because the synoptic means seeing something with the same eye.  It's not arranged in the same order, the same way as Matthew, Mark, and Luke, so it's not considered as one of the synoptic gospels, but it is one of the four gospels.

Let's start with Acts.  Acts is actually the early history of the community of believers that starts on the day of Pentecost in 30 of the present era.  In chapter 1, the people are gathered together in an upper room someplace, and Peter stands up in the midst of them, about 120 of them gathered together, and addresses them for just a moment and says that it's necessary for them to select out from among themselves one who would take the place of Judas who had betrayed and had killed himself in the field of chakal d'ma.  And the one who they select out is a man by the name of Matthias, a man about whom we know little or nothing, and we don't read a whole lot about him through the rest of the text.

Then it says in chapter 2, that when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  Now a question:  Where were they?  If we were going back into chapter 1, we would assume that they were all gathered together in an upper room, because it says that they were in an upper room, but later on we're going to see that there are quite a number of people there when the Holy Spirit falls on those who are assembled.  It says that there were Jews dwelling at Jerusalem, devout men out of every nation under heaven, and when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together and were confounded because every man heard them speak in his own language, and they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, are not all of these that speak Galilean?  Then it names the number of them.  Peter stands up and proclaims what we call the first of the gospel sermons.  The day of Pentecost was one of the principal feasts or festivals of the Jews.  There were three of the festivals that were observed during the cycle of the Jewish year that were known as pilgrim festivals, during which time all of the people from all over the country came together and assembled at Jerusalem -- Passover (Pesach), Pentecost (the feast of Weeks, or Shavuot), and the feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).  At these three festivals, all of the people would come together in Jerusalem.  We know from Jewish written sources where they assembled together.  (Howard Johnson's ... in the Trinity Room.)  Along the southern wall of the Temple compound, there was a monumental staircase that led up to a series of gates, a double gate and a triple gate, that were known as the Hulda gates, after the prophetess Hulda.  This was the assembling area.  We have found this spot in our archeological excavations.  We've found that here in this monumental staircase there is a large ritual immersion bath complex containing some 40 ritual immersion baths.  The people would climb the stairs, immerse themselves in the waters of the ritual immersion baths to become ceremoniously clean, and then they would put on fresh garments and ascend a flight of stairs and come out in the Temple compound itself.  We discovered this monumental staircase in our archeological excavations about 1973, when we first had an inkling of what we had discovered.  I excavated there personally.  I personally excavated in the ritual immersion baths and was a part of that expedition and have been associated with it in some capacity even down to the present day peripherally.  We know that this was the place of assembly.  So how did we get it that they came together in some house?  Because we refer back over to chapter 1 where it says that they were in an upper room.

Comment:  Chapter 2 says the noise filled all the house, verse 2.

Read the rest of it.

Where they were sitting.

They would come together and sit on the stairs of this monumental staircase.  In Greek, let's look at it:  and it filled the whole ton oikon where they were sitting.  Strong's number 3624 says:  oikos - Septuagint and numerous places for bayit.  Also for heichal - palace.  Mohel - tent.  Of the Temple at Jerusalem.

It can mean house, but if you notice in many of the places it means a tabernacle, the Temple at Jerusalem.  Why?  Because in Hebrew bayit means a house, but ha-bayit means the Temple, and this is the definite article - filled THE house, ton oikon, where they were sitting.  As we translate that from Hebrew, ha-bayit, into ton oikon where they were sitting, then what happens is that we translate that into English and we have a house, but we don't understand that bayit in Hebrew means Temple.  Not only that, but when they came together on this monumental staircase, they sat around all day long.

Follow the sequence of events, how it just works out perfect for the place, when Peter preaches the first gospel sermon and the people are stirred in their hearts, they say, What meaneth this, and he tells them.  At the conclusion, they say, What must we do.  He says repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, for this promise is unto you, to all that are far off even as many as the Lord our God shall call, and they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day were added about three thousand souls.  Now the question, where were they baptized?  Right here in these ritual immersion baths, and they had to walk just a matter of steps.  There were approximately 40 baths in the area, but the area is so large that -- I have been there at times when there have been probably close to 1000 to 1500 people sitting on the stairs there that are reconstructed.

Q.:  On the day of Pentecost when there were so many that believed and were baptized in the immersion baths, how many would they do at one time? Most of the ritual immersion baths were just large enough for one person to get into at a time, but how long did it take to go in and down and back up?  If you have a complex this big, you're talking about the whole bunch of them could have been immersed in a matter of 20-30 minutes.  In verse 42, it says:  "They continued steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine, fellowship, breaking of born again and in prayers.  We know from Justin Martyr and his writings a generation later that the church is still practicing this kind of program as they come together.  There is the reading of the memoirs of the Apostles and the Prophets, Justin tells us, and then they have a common prayer and observe the Lord's Supper, and then those who are willing and able give of their means, and that's deposited with the president, who in turn takes care of the widows and orphans and those who are in need.  This gives us some explanation for the meaning of the word fellowship, which is the Greek word koinonia, and it doesn't mean fellowship in the sense of shaking hands with one another, but it means a participation in something, an impartation, and it's a participation in the means of the community.  That is, the structure is designed in such a way as to take care of the needs of each one in the Temple.

Then we have Peter, James, and John in chapter 3 going into the Temple and seeing the man crippled there, and saying to him, Silver and gold have I none, but such as I have, I give unto thee.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.  I just want to emphasize again the importance of our paying careful attention as we look at things like this.  In verse 38, Peter says repent, every one of you, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.  Here again, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.  And name signifies authority.  It says that it's in the authority of.  It's like you are an ambassador of the king.  The king has sent you out as his emissary, and he has given you his ring or his signet or seal, that is, his stamp or seal that gives or grants to you the authority to act as the ambassador in his name.  When you put his stamp or his seal on something, it's just as if he had done it, just as if he had signed it, and this idea of our doing this in the name, means in the authority of Jesus of Nazareth.

Notice in chapter 4, Peter and John are in prison.  They, in verse 10, boldly proclaim once again the events that had happened and that the lame man had been healed by Jesus.  They're commanded to preach no more in the name, adding a threat of punishment if they do, but they give no heed, and notice how the church continues to grow.  In verse 31, we see again a similar account of what happened on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2.  When they prayed, the whole place was shaken together where they were assembled, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they spoke the word of God with boldness, the same kind of language that's used here in chapter 1 and 2.  Why is this important for us to take just a moment to note?  Because there are those who believe that only the 12 received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, according to some, and the others just received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and they make a difference between being baptized in the Holy Spirit and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, and I'll comment more on that a little later on.  I just want to point out to you that here in 4:31 we have another instance in which a great multitude of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.  It says that they came together as one.  No one said that whatever it was that they had belonged to them, but they brought their possessions, sold them, and laid the money down at the Apostles' feet, and notice that distribution was made to every man according as he had need.  Here again is this further idea of the practice of tzedakah being followed by the early church.  Then we're introduced to Barnabas who is going to become one of the traveling companions of Paul.

Then in chapter 5, we have the incident of Ananias and Sapphira, chapter 6 the appointment of the ones who are going to be the first of the deacons:  Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and then notice the last one.  It says Nicolas who was a proselyte from Antioch.  What does that mean?  He was a Greek from Antioch who had gone through the process of conversion to become a Jew.  Why do I want you to remember that?  Because Nicolas was the founder of this movement that we're going to read about in Revelation called the Nicolaitans.  And Tertullian tells us in his writings specifically that the founder of that movement was this Nicholas who was one of the first seven deacons who had been chosen.

Then again notice.  They set them before the Apostles; when they prayed, they laid their hands on them.  Notice the process.  They were selected out from among the congregation, had hands laid on them by the congregation, were sent out by the congregation, and they're responsible back to the congregation.

Then in chapter 7, we read of the martyrdom of Stephen.  Chapter 8, the evangelist now, Philip, who was one of the first seven deacons, goes up to Samaria, and insofar as time frame is concerned, we assume this to be that approximately 8 years have passed now.  So we're looking at about 38 A.D.  Eight years after the establishment of the church, Philip goes up to these half-blooded Jews, and this is the first occasion of anyone who is not a Jew being allowed admission into the fellowship of the believers, and these are actually half-blooded Jews.  And he preaches to them the gospel of Christ, and they give heed.  There are many miracles that are performed, and many of them accept Jesus as the Messiah, and it says that when they believed Philip concerning the Kingdom of God - notice what he's preaching; remember Jesus had preached the gospel of the kingdom, right? - verse 12, Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.  Is there any significance that you can see in that?  The question we might ask is, What was the name of Jesus Christ?  Jesus - Yeshua - was what he was doing.

Notice that Philip is here today and gone tomorrow, and when the Apostles, Peter and John heard what happened at Samaria, they went up and prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit, and probably to stabilize the congregation.  Philip was just there to preach.  He's like the evangelist.  He's here today, he doesn't tell them anything about organization, what they ought to be doing, how they ought to be doing it.  That was going to be left to Peter and John who could spend a little more time with them.  They go up, and then we have the story of Simon ["Magus"] and his attempt to purchase the gift of God with money.

Notice something interesting here with this story about Simon.  Simon wants to buy this power, verse 18, saying, Give me also this power that on whomsoever I may lay my hands he may receive the Holy Ghost, but Peter says, "your money perish with you because you thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  You don't have any part in this matter, for your heart's not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore, of your wickedness and pray God if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee, for I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.  Then Simon said, Pray to the Lord for me, that none of these things which you have spoken might befall me."  And it looks like old Simon repented, doesn't it?  If we didn't know any more of the story than that, what would we think?  Well, maybe Simon got straightened out, except we know again from the writings of the church fathers that he didn't, and he developed a whole movement around himself.  He's one of the earliest sectarians, so to speak, in this early messianic movement.  He and Nicolas are mentioned as being two of the ones who try to lead the believers astray, and it's from the word Simon that we get our English word simony, which is bribery.

Then notice in verse 26, "a messenger of God spoke to Philip, saying, go south to the way that goeth down from Jerusalem into Gaza which is desert, and he arose and went.  And behold, a man of Ethiopia."  Eunuch is not a good word here; it's v'hu saris v'shalit l'kandak malcat Cush.  He was an officer in the court of Candace, and Candace is not a name; it's a title.  Candace of Ethiopia, who had charge of all of her treasure.  He had come to Jerusalem to worship.  How do we know that he wasn't a eunuch?  He couldn't have gone into the Temple if he had been injured in his genitals.  The word saris just means an officer.  It can mean a eunuch, but it also just means an officer.  Notice that Philip was joined to the chariot.  The Ethiopian wants to know, who's this guy talking about, himself or somebody else?  And it says in verse 35, He opened his mouth and began at that same scripture and preached unto him Jesus.  The next verse says, As they went on their way, the eunuch said, here's water.  What does hinder me to be baptized?  Now, how did he know anything about baptism?  Implied in the preaching of the kingdom is the whole subject of baptism.  The kingdom cannot be preached without the preaching of baptism.  On the day of Pentecost, they say, what must we do?  And Peter says repent and be baptized.  In Samaria, when they hear the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom, what do they do?  They repent and they're baptized.  Now Philip to the Ethiopian, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, the Ethiopian says, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized.  And he commanded the chariot to stand still, and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

Now, this looks like Philip baptized the eunuch, does it not?  That Philip tunked him under.  Notice the sequence of events.  And when they were come out of the water, the spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, the eunuch went on his way rejoicing, and then Philip was found at Azotus, and passing through, he preached in all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

A couple of questions here.  Where was the eunuch baptized?  Did Philip actually baptize him?  Where did all of this occur.  We can trace this sequence of events.  Philip is up in Samaria when he joins himself to the chariot that is going down.  There are a number of highways that run down through the desert area, and another one comes down along the coast to Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Caesarea.  This main road that ran along the coast is the called the Via Maris, the Way of the Sea.  He's going down toward Gaza.  Philip joins to the chariot.  He says, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  What water is it?  The Mediterranean Sea.  The only problem is that, in order for the water of the sea, or any other living water,  to be kosher for immersion, there has to be at least 120 gallons surrounding the individual when they go under.  If you know anything at all about the coast along here, you know that it's extremely shallow.  You could walk from here to the back door and probably not be in water that would be much more than waist deep.  You have to get out quite a way, and the baptism had to be witnessed so that there could be an assist made in case they needed to go under, to make sure that they were all the way under.  In a little ritual immersion bath, a person could stand right by the side and could ascertain very easily, but if you're talking about having to walk out quite a way and there needs to be an assist, then Philip is going to have to go out there with him.

Q.:  Is it legal to get baptized in saltwater?  Is this the only case we know of that?

No.  They probably used saltwater extensively for the simple reason that saltwater, the ocean, is mentioned in tractate Mikva'ot as being the first mikveh created by God, because in Hebrew, it's a play on words where he called the mikveh, the gathering together of the waters, ha-mayim mitachat la-shamayim (the waters under the heavens), ul'mikveh (and the gathering together) ha-mayim ([of] the waters) kara yamim (he called seas).  Here in tractate Mikva'ot, it mentions that the ocean was the first mikveh.

Notice the sequence of events that's given to us here.  The Ethiopian goes on down toward Gaza, and Philip is found at Azotus.  Azotus was Ashdod, a Philistine city, and in Greek times it was called Azotus, and then he goes right on up the coast to Caesarea.

Q.:  What does "caught away" mean?

It could be any number of things.  He could have been translated in the spirit, or he could have been led from one place to the other.  Whichever fits your theology best.

Q.:  Back up in 4:32 where it talks about all the disciples having all their possessions in common, and they let the Apostles distribute them as needed, there are a lot of different teachings about that today.  Some people think that we ought to literally do that.  Some people say we ought to ignore it, and all in between.  What is your view?

I think that that's a good practice and I really advocate it as long as you'll give it to me, cause I are an Apostle.  If you're not gonna give it to me, then don't do it.  The simple fact of the matter is that they weren't commanded to do this.  Nobody told them to do it, but beyond that, it wasn't even in accordance with God's will.  They were supposed to go into all the world and preach the gospel, not to come out and form a little religious "bless-me" club or Praise-the-Lord Society.  Finally, in 38 because they didn't do what God told them to do, he sent persecution upon them, and then they were scattered abroad as a result of the persecution when, if they had gone out and done what they were supposed to have been doing in the first place, they wouldn't have ensconced themselves in some fortress and had the ATF come against them.

Chapter 9, we read about Saul.  We're introduced to Saul, the events on the road to Damascus, and here in chapter 9 we have somebody else telling the story of what happened, and Ananias tells him that God had sent him that he might receive his sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit, and scales arose from his eyes and he was baptized, and so on.  But let's turn to Acts 22, and we hear what Paul actually says happened.  The same account, but one time somebody else is relating it and the second time Paul is relating it, so we're going to get a more accurate account.  He tells how he was going along the road and the voice comes to him and he says, What must I do?  When this voice comes out and says, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?  He says in verse 10, what shall I do?  That indicates what?  That he believed whatever it was that was happening.  He's told to go into Damascus and there it will be told him what to do, and Ananias comes to him after he has been praying for some time, and in verse 16 tells Paul, Now why do you tarry?  Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.  I want to point out to you, here is Paul who had faith, and he confessed, and he obviously repented or he wouldn't have done what he did by going into the house and praying for the time that he was there.  Ananias tells him, Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.  We see here again the purpose of baptism, that it's for spiritual cleansing.

I think that it would be appropriate to mention that actually there is no baptismal formula involved.  Nobody says anything.  Whenever they went down into the water, they didn't have baptismal formulas like we have today.  It's that this calling on the name was something that took place on the part of the individual that they understood what was happening, that this was for spiritual cleansing that they might be in right relationship with YHVH.  Keep in mind, now, that those in this early movement of Jesus believed that he was YHVH.

Calling on the name of God would be like a confession that he's the one who can wash away their sins.  It's a demonstration of their faith, an act of contrition in doing what they're doing, that the whole thing is involved in.

Q.:  I believe that I once heard you say to the Jew, immersion was as if it were immersion in blood.

Well, actually, in Judaism, the two things that were essential for one to be in right relationship were the offering up of a sacrifice of blood and the ceremonial washings.  The two of them were coequal, and we haven't understood that in Christendom.  We've seen water as being the instrument that washes away sins, and a lot of people have the idea in their minds of water regeneration.  But sins are not atoned for by water.  Sins are only atoned for by blood, and there's this idea in Judaism that water and blood are somehow coequal.  If you will recall, when Jesus' side was pierced, blood and water came forth, and the idea in Christendom that we see being developed with Paul is that we're baptized into the death of Christ.  Know ye not that so many of you have been baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death.  There's this idea of baptism being a death.  Now, where was Christ's blood shed?  If I want to contact his death, how do I do it?  Where was his blood shed?  On the cross.  And at his death.  So if I want to contact his blood, I have to contact his death, and how do I contact his death?  Through baptism. But the emphasis isn't on water.  The emphasis is upon blood.  We can see that in just a law of language that things are equal to the same things are equal to each other, so if his blood was shed in his death and I want to contact his blood, if I contact his death, then I've contacted his blood.  They have this idea to the extent that, after the establishment of this movement in their observance of the Lord's Supper, the Lord's Supper now becomes wine mingled with water, so that in symbolizing the event of Christ's death on the cross and the blood and the water coming forth, they carry that over into the communion service.  It's something that Christians have never quite grasped.  They either don't emphasize the importance of baptism, or they overemphasize to the degree that it becomes water regeneration and they completely miss the whole point.

We read in chapter 9 about Dorcas.  Peter was over at Lydda, which is fairly close to Joppa, and a woman named Dorcas died.  Peter came down, and she was raised from the dead, stayed in the home of Simon the tanner.  Then in chapter 10, we're introduced to this one Cornelius who was a centurion in the Italian band, one who was a devout man, apparently a yireh Elohim, a fearer of God.  God fearer meant one who was in the process of converting to Judaism.  In the strictest sense, this guy is not a Gentile because he already has an association with the Jewish community as a ger toshav, as a .kyireh Elohim, a God fearer.  Notice something here now that we might focus on for a moment that I think is important.  A messenger of the Lord comes to him and tells him that his prayers are gone up before the Lord and tells him to send to Joppa for Simon who is going to come and tell him what he ought to do.  If this is a messenger from God and he knows God so well, why couldn't he have told him what to do?

Did you ever read a book called Angels on Assignment?"  This old boy was being visited by the angel Macaroni, and he was telling him all these things, biblical exegesis and giving him all of this information, and the poor angel was so stupid, some of the things that he said, if he had gone to a Bible college for a year, he'd have known more than what he was telling this guy.  They wrote it down and the book became a best seller, and everybody just got so excited about the fact that all of these angels were going around telling everybody all of these wonderful things.

Comment:  The walls of Jericho didn't fall.  They were pushed down into the ground by these angels.

They did it.  I'm sure that's true, too, if he said it.  He was discredited by Christians, but I wonder if he wasn't killed by God.  At least, he's dead.

Here's the point.  To whom was the commission given to preach the gospel of the kingdom?  Only to men.  No messenger from God ever was commissioned to reveal or to communicate biblical truth.  And anytime anybody comes along and tells you that an angel said this or an angel said that, or that they saw an angel, it didn't happen.  They may have heard it from somebody, but it wasn't from God, because only to man was the commission given to preach the gospel of the kingdom and reveal divine truth.  (Women are in the clear.)  Only to men, or women, or and women.

There's a difference between the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom and revealing divine truth, because in a way this angel did reveal divine truth in telling him to go down to Peter, but he didn't have the authority to communicate to him or to proclaim to him the gospel of the kingdom, and that's a good point and one well taken.

An interesting thing happens when Peter gets to Caesarea.  He begins to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom, and right in the middle of his sermon, the Holy Spirit interrupts him and baptizes all of these people in the Holy Spirit. Peter is as surprised as anybody about what happens, because they actually don't believe that the gospel is for anyone but the Jews, that this movement is for anyone but the Jews.  But when this happens, Peter is so confounded that the only thing that he can do is say, well, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.  What can I do, because he heard them speak in tongues and magnify God, and he says in verse 47, Can anybody forbid water that these should not be baptized who receive the Holy Spirit the same as we did?  Notice the emphasis that he's placing here upon baptism again.  Every time - you can write it down and underline it - every time that you find in the biblical text a case of conversion, they are always baptized.

Q.:  On that point, does that really mean that Paul was converted when it says that he was baptized?

No, it doesn't mean that he was converted in the sense that we think of it.  He's a Jew.  He'd already been to the ritual immersion bath about a half dozen times, and what he was doing, he was doing religiously as a religious mitzvah so to speak.  He felt like he had a divine commission to do this.  What happens is, and we might use this term which is not actually how we use it in Christianity when we use the term born again from John 3, but it doesn't say born again.  It says, you must be born from above.  But they believe nonetheless that, in going down into this water and being covered up by the water, there is a death that has taken place.  You see this with Paul in Romans 6.  Know ye not that so many of you as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  And when they come out of the water, it's as if they have been born anew, or had a new birth.  This is what's happening.  He's now born anew, born from above, or, if you want to use the term the way that we use it in Christianity, he was born again, not that he hadn't been born once or that he wasn't going to have his part in the world to come.  He has a new birth.  Old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new, and he has a whole new perspective, a whole new focus.  It wouldn't be correct to say that he had been converted necessarily.

In every instance of biblical conversion, the person is taken immediately and baptized.  It's just like with everything else in Christianity; it's out of kilter.  We don't understand it, so we don't do it.  But we can trace throughout the early church exactly what they did.  The person was taught and instructed first.  When they felt that the person had sufficient knowledge, plus the desire to be baptized, they required that they renounce the devil and declare that he no longer had any hold on their life.  Then they were baptized, and immediately after they came up, they were served the Lord's Supper.  But here in the biblical text, every time somebody accepts the Lord, they're immediately baptized.  And if we want to follow the biblical pattern, that's exactly what we'd do.

(Break in recording)  that the intent of a person's heart is the same as the overt act.  So if they really have that change in their heart, something happened, God would look upon that as the overt act.  I think we can get silly about some of this stuff.  Actually, what happens is that we get religious.  This is the example that we have, and since it's the biblical example, then I say that it's the best example.  It's what we ought to practice, but there can also be certain exceptions to the rule as well, and you don't want to get so rigid in your theology that you don't leave room for the exceptions.

Now I want to call your attention especially to a passage in chapter 11 when Peter has to go back to Jerusalem and explain what happened.  Look at verse 15.  Have you heard the discussion over the difference between the gift of the Holy Spirit and being baptized in the Holy Spirit?  That one is one thing and one is the other, that only a few are baptized in the Holy Spirit, but then everybody that receives the Lord receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, and when they're baptized in the Holy Spirit, there are these nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, and we have it so messed up that no one understands what they're talking about.  Notice something here.  When Peter goes back to explain what happened, he says, "As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as it did on us at the beginning."  When it fell on them at the beginning, what did it say about them?  They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then he says, "I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said that John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost, forasmuch then, as God gave unto them the like gift as he did to us who believed on the Lord Jesus, what was I that I could withstand God."  This gift is the same word in Greek and Hebrew that's used back in Acts 2:38.  Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  So you see all three of these terms used synonymously in one passage - being filled, being baptized, receiving the gift of, are all three synonymous, one and the same.

In verse 21, notice how the church is expanding.  A great number believed and turned to the Lord, and when the tidings of these things came to the church in Jerusalem, they sent forth Barnabas that he should go as far as Antioch.  That's up in Syria, and then Barnabas departed to Tarsus to seek Paul.  He found him, they came to Antioch, and they were there for a year in the congregation.  Now we notice something in verse 26, that the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.  This would be after 40 A.D., probably around 42, but what were they actually called?

Let's look at this in the Greek text.  Strong's number 5546 - "christianos: a Christian, a follower of Christ.  The name was first given to the worshipers of Jesus by the Gentiles, but from the second century onward, accepted by them as a title of honor."  They're saying that it was first given in derision, and not until the second century was it accepted by the people.  But the question is actually, were they being called "christianos," because that's Greek?  Of course, up in Antioch we're dealing with a lot of Greek-speaking Jews, but if you will read this passage in the Hebrew, they're not called Christians.  It says, in the Hebrew, likro et hatalmidim b'shem m'shichiyim.  They were called mishichiyim, or messianists, which, if you translate that into Greek, would be christianos.  But in Hebrew it's mishichiyim, or messianists, after Yeshua M'natzeret, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach, Jesus the Messiah.

What we do know is this, that in Israel they're not being called Christians, and they're not even using this term mishichiyim for themselves.  They're calling themselves by a completely different term, for which we have some firm archeological evidence and inscriptions.  They're calling themselves ma'aminim, or believers.  See how they picked up on this believer in 90 and took the ma'amin and called them minim.  Remember how we've already talked about that at the Council of Yavneh.  We have inscriptions as late as the fourth century in Israel written in Greek in which they have used the Hebrew ma'amin and transcribed it into Greek as minim.  They're not calling themselves Christians.  When the word christianos was first used, if, in fact, it was used here, as opposed to mishichiyim, it was originally given in derision, and it wasn't until the second century that it was picked up by Christians in the Greek-speaking world as a term of honor.  Up until that time, they're calling themselves by other kinds of names; followers of the Way, Nazarenes, whatever.

Chapter 12:  Herod Agrippa I stretched forth his hand and killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.  When did Herod Agrippa I reign?  41-44, so this gives us a time frame in which we can pinpoint these events.  This was the Herod Agrippa, by the way, who built the third wall around the city of Jerusalem.  It wasn't there in Jesus' day, and it stood for only a short of period of time.  It's not there today either.  We can show you just a fragment or two of the remains.  He stretched forth his hand against the church.  James the brother of John was killed with a sword.  This was not the James who presided over the Jerusalem conference about 6-8 years later.  Herod would also have laid his hands on Peter, had he been able to, but remember in verse 6 what happened.  He was delivered out of prison and then came and knocked on the door where the people had all been praying for his release, and when they saw him, they were all surprised.

At the last of chapter 12, Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem and then took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

The list of the various cities that are visited by Paul on his missionary journeys are in Acts 13-14, then 15:36 to 18:22, and the third from 18:23 to 28:31.  This is the sequence of the places that he went.

First:  Cilicia, Antioch, Seleucia, Cyprus, Salamis, Paphos, Pamphylia, Perga, Pisidia, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, Pisidian Antioch, Pamphylia, Perga, Attalia, Cilicia, Antioch, Phenice, Samaria, Yerushalayim.

Second:  Syria, Cilicia, Derbe, Lystra, Phrygia, Galatia, Mysia, Troas, Macedonia, Samothrace, Neapolis, Philippi, Thyatira, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Cenchrea, Syria, Ephesus, Caesarea, Yerushalayim.

Third:  Antioch, Galatia, Phrygia, Ephesus, Macedonia, Greece, Macedonia, Philippi, Troas, Assos, Mitylene, Chios, Samos, Miletus, Cos, Rhodes, Patara, Tzor, Ptolemaus, Caesarea, Yerushalayim, Caesarea.

Fourth:  Tsidon, Myra, Malta, Syracuse, Rhegium Puteoli, Appian Market, Three Inns, Rome.

In chapter 13, we start the first of the missionary journeys of Paul.  We're not going to go through all of them and the events that happened in each place.  This is basically the expansion of the church to the west.  The first, second, and third all basically leave from Antioch, and Paul and Barnabas pass through Seleucia, Cyprus (which was the birthplace of Barnabas), then to Salamis and Mark is with them.  At Paphos they have the conversion of the proconsul, then Mark leaves them at Perga, and then Antioch in Pisidia, which is the first Gentile congregation; Iconium, many believe; and then at Lystra they are regarded as gods and stoned.  They have considerable success at Derbe, at Lystra, Iconium, Antioch in Asia, and Perga, and then they return to Antioch in Syria, and that's the end of the first journey.

The second one is through Syria, Cilicia, Derbe, back to Lystra, Timothy joins them through Phrygia, Galatia, and you can follow these places on the map, going all of the way into Asia Minor, what's now a portion of Turkey and Greece.  It's here in Turkey that we have the location of the seven churches of Asia that we see in the book of Revelation.  Go on to Troas, Philippi.  This is about as far north as they're going to go in Greece, and this is where, of course, they're imprisoned, and we have the conversion of the Philippian jailer.

Let's look at just a couple of things before we continue on.  In chapter 13, I'd like for you to notice something here, and I want to mention this for a reason.  You may know that I've spent a considerable time for the last several years in Africa.  The first couple of years that I was in Africa, we spent a lot of time at the ranch of a friend of mine in Zimbabwe.  This guy was a retired preacher in the Full Gospel Church of God, which is quite large in South Africa, and he had a church on his farm and all of the black farmers from the area around came to services on Sunday with their families, and when they found out that I was an educator, that I knew Hebrew, that I was supposedly an authority on the Bible, they started asking questions of both me and my wife, who happened to be with me.  Their big concern was that the blacks, who were a part of the Communist government in Zimbabwe, had been telling them that Jesus didn't come for the black people and that the black people were actually not really human beings, that they were descendants of baboons, and that Jesus didn't come for them and that the Christian God was not the God that they should be worshipping.  So this black pastor who came and woke us up every morning (we didn't have an alarm clock) and brought us hot tea every morning and we got to be good friends, and we'd sit and visit, talk, and he was telling me these stories about these guys.  I said, man, I can't believe that.  I've never heard anything like that before, and I said do you not know that there were a lot of black people who made up a part of the congregation of God in the first century.  He said no, nobody ever told us that.  I said that the simple fact of the matter is that, number one, back then there was not any distinction made on the basis of color, for the simple reason that everybody was some shade of color.  There had always been black Jews.  Who do you think this Ethiopian was?  In Hebrew, he's called a Cush-i from Ethiopia.  Cush in Hebrew means black, or a black person.  It means someone from Ethiopia.  Cush is the country of Ethiopia.  Then I went on to mention that Jesus even had disciples, those who were a part of the early church, who were black.  He asked, where do you find that?  I said in Acts 13, verse 1, we read about Simon who was called - now, in English we have Niger - Simon Niger.  For I don't know how many decades, we've heard the word nigger, and today it's a term that's quite offensive, especially to those who are black.  But the question is, where did that term come from?  The fact is that it's the Latin word for black.  Niger (nee-GEHR) is the Latin word for black, and when it talks about Simon Niger here, it's Simon Nigar (nee-GAHR), which means Simon the black man.  In Greek, it tells you that it's the Latin word for black.  The reason I mention that is because of the experiences that I was running into in Africa and the Communists telling people there that the Christian God wasn't for them.  We have to keep in mind that in the first century, or in this historical period of time, people are not put in some kind of class distinction on the basis of color, because everybody was some shade of color back then.

We're talking about even the Romans, the Greeks.  You would find them in various shades of color, not as white as you might see the Greeks today.  Now, the Italians are usually darker.  But all through the Middle East, you're talking about people who are various shades of black or brown, and a lot of people don't realize, or they don't know, that most of the pharaohs of Egypt were black.  We can see the mummies of the kings of Egypt.  Most of them that we have were black.  So there's not this color distinction.  I want to emphasize that just because of what I had been running into in Africa.

Q.:  Do you agree or disagree that Hagar and/or Keturah were black?

Hagar, the Egyptian, was probably, if not black, at least [turn tape] she was very dark, and Keturah I don't know.  I'm not going to make any comment on that, but one thing that we do know is that Moses took an Ethiopian wife who, undoubtedly, was black.  All of these peoples were dark in color, and they didn't think anything about it.

Q.:  In the Midrash, it says that Keturah was the same as Hagar, and that she had kept true to God, and that of course Abraham married her in later years.

The thing about it is whether she was actually black or not would be difficult to ascertain, but look at the sons that she had and the nations that developed out of those, and they're all dark skinned people, but the people in that area were all dark skinned.

Chapter 16, now, takes us up to Philippi.  I'm going to just follow these missionary journeys through and look at a point or two.  This is now on the second missionary journey at Philippi.  We read about the Philippian jailer.  Paul and Silas are in jail.  They're praying, and the jail just falls down around them.  The jailer, seeing that they're loose and being afraid that they might have fled, starts to kill himself because he was in charge of them, and if something happened to them, he was going to be the one who would have to pay.  But Paul says, Do thyself no harm for we are all here.  He fell down before Paul and Silas and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved, and they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

The reason I want to point this out to you is because, on the day of Pentecost when the people ask what must we do, Peter tells them what?  Repent and be baptized.  He tells them something different from what they tell the Philippian.  Why?  Because in every instance you take the person where they are and go with them from that point on.  On the day of Pentecost, the people to whom Peter was preaching were already Jews.  They were already a part of the family of God.  They had 2000 years of moral and spiritual tradition behind them.  They were already people of faith, so he didn't have to say, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.  When they asked what must we do, he had already preached the gospel.  He had already told them about the Lord Jesus Christ.  He had already told them that they had killed him and that redemption was available through him.  So they asked, What must we do, and he said, you repent and be baptized.  But here's a poor old Philippian who's a pagan.  He's a Greek.  He doesn't know come here from sic 'em, and when his whole world collapses around him, he just wants to know what he's going to do to be spared.  He doesn't know anything about the Lord Jesus Christ.  He may never have heard anything about him before except in listening to Paul and Silas sing whatever songs they were singing.

Notice the next verse, 32:  And they spake unto him the word of the Lord and to all that were in his house.  After that happened, he took them the same hour of the night and was baptized.  So you see the sequence of events.  You're doing a terrible injustice, both to the text and to the people who are listening to you when they ask, what must we do, and you quote this passage - Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you'll be saved. That's not it.  That's not what the program is.  That's what the program was for the Philippian.  But that's not what the response is to the question, what must we do?  It depends on where that person is.

Comment:  Would you comment on 16:1 where they have Timothy being the child of a Jewish woman and a Greek man and Paul decides to circumcise him even though he was already a student?  Paul describes that since he is half Jewish, he needs to be circumcised.

He wasn't really half Jewish.  He was 100% Jewish, but apparently had not been circumcised.  If he's going to go with Paul, because Paul is a Jew and he's going to go places where a non-Jew is not going to be accepted, he has him circumcised.  Paul first of all goes to the Jews, goes to the synagogues.  He's going into synagogues and he's going as a Jew.  This kid, if he's going to go with Paul, he's going as a Jew, so Paul requires him to be circumcised.

The point that I wanted to make here stopping at chapter 16 was the conversion of the Philippian jailer and the fact that we take the words that Paul and Silas said to the Philippian out of context, and when someone asks the question, What must we do, our response is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  And that is not an intelligent or correct response.  That leaves the wrong impression that all we have to do is just believe and we'll be okay.

From Philippi, they go on to Thessalonica, then to Berea.  Then we have Paul's sermon on Mars Hill in Athens.  He says, I perceive that you are very religious people, and indeed they were.  They had all of these gods, even a god that they didn't even know just to make sure that they hadn't missed anybody.  Then we're introduced to Priscilla and Aquila.

I want to go back to chapter 15 and mention the Jerusalem Council.  Remember the issue is, what are we going to do now with all of these non-Jews, and the decision, in verse 20, is simply that we write to them that they abstain from the pollution of idols, fornication, things strangled, and blood, for Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.  Again, this is essentially the seven laws of Noah.

Interjected here in chapter 15, we need to take a brief glance at the epistle of James to catch it in proper chronology.  James is a letter to the Jews in the dispersion.  We have the salutation in 1:1, and we're dealing with, in James, the nature of true faith.  "James, a servant of God and the Lord Jesus to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad.  My brethren, count it joy when you fall into temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience."  We have an epistle of encouragement to the dispersed of the twelve tribes on what true faith is.  Verse 13 is an interesting statement.  "Let no man say, when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man, but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts."  Did you get that in light of some of the things that we've said previously?  The yetzer hara.  This document has to be seen as a Jewish document, writing to the Jews, and perhaps the principal scripture that we should note in the book of James is in 2:19:  "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well, because the devil also believes and trembles.  But know this, oh vain man, that faith without works is dead."  Then he goes ahead and talks about what true faith is, and in verse 24, "So you see how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only."  There is only one time in the entire biblical text where the term "faith only" is used together, and that's right here.  He says, by works a man is justified and not by faith only.  Now the question, Is this statement by James in conflict with the statements of Paul when he says that a man is justified by faith?  If not, then we need to know why, and we'll look at that a little later on as we continue in our study.  James is going to tell us about the nature of true faith, of wisdom, of the purpose of wisdom in chapter 3:13ff.  Wise is the man who is endued with knowledge among you.  Let him show, out of good conversation, his works with meekness of wisdom.  Wisdom descendeth not from above but is earthly, sensual, devilish if it's bitterness and envying and strife and lying, because where those things are there is just confusion, but wisdom that is above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy, good fruits without partiality and without hypocrisy, and the fruit of righteousness (tzedakah) is sown in peace of them that make peace.  Again, the emphasis is upon how one is to live before God with his fellow man.

Then an admonition:  "Is any among you afflicted?  Let him pray.  Is any merry?  Let him sing psalms.  Is any sick among you (5:14)?  Be sure and get to the first healing service that you can get to.  Is any sick among you?  Let him call for the elders of the church.  Who are the elders of the church?  The z'kenim, the zaken.  Yikra et ziknei ha-k'hilah v'yitpalalu va'ado.  Let them call for the ziknei ha-k'hilah, the elders of the congregation, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.  And if he has committed any sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess your faults, one to the other, and pray for one another that ye may be healed, because the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  When it says confess your faults to one another, what does that mean?  That we're to go around confessing our sins to each other?  Why not?  Because somebody might have the sin of gossip.  You confess your sins to God.  You confess your weakness or your faults to one another; you don't have to tell them what they are.  And then pray for one another that you may be healed.

Here again it has to do with the response of a brother toward a fellow brother, and this is what it's all about.  The congregation of God is not an institution.  It's not an organization.  It's an organism, and the organism is structured so that each individual member of the organism is important to the well-being of the organism as a whole, and we're charged with the responsibility of taking care of one another.  We don't have to wait for someone who's imbued with some kind of special privilege or special power to come in and to minister to the congregation.  The congregation should be ministering to each other.  They should be doing these things for each other and not having grudges against one another or being unkind to one another.

Then he closes:  If any of you do err from the truth, if somebody strays and you bring him back, let him know that the one that - and I don't like this - "converteth the sinner from the error of his ways shall save a soul from death and hide a multitude of sins," the way that that sounds in English, because it's not talking about those who are outside of the family.  It's talking about that, if one of the members of the family strays and you are able to correct them and bring them back, you've perhaps saved a soul from death.

With that we come to the end of James, and now the first epistle to the Thessalonians follows in chronological order.  The first epistle to the Thessalonians was written to the congregation at Thessalonica by Paul probably about 50.  The language is Greek.

These books are not in chronological order.  I want to interject these in their proper order.  This is as the church is expanding to the west.  Paul is going on his missionary journeys, and as he goes from place to place, certain things are happening, so he's sending these epistles out.  These are all epistles of encouragement or correction.  They're written to Greeks, to non-Jews off of Jewish soil.  Even the epistle of James was written to the Jews of the dispersion, those who are off of Jewish soil.

Paul, writing specifically to the congregation at Thessalonica, sends to them his greetings, tells of his relationship with them, then in chapter four, begins to deal with some specific problems.  He says, This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication, that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor, not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God, that no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any manner, because that the Lord is the avenger of all, for God has not called us unto uncleanness but unto holiness.  He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God who has given us the Holy Spirit.  Touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write to you.  Study to be quiet to do your own business, work with your own hands that you may walk honestly toward them that are without, that you may not lack anything.  Then I would not have you ignorant concerning those which sleep, that you sorrow not.  Evidently there is a problem here with understanding the time of the end, because they believe, and I think that even Paul himself believed, that the Lord was going to come again soon and they were anticipating his soon return.  Evidently, for the Thessalonians we have a problem understanding what's going to happen, that they understand that, when the Lord comes, he's going to descend from heaven with a shout and the dead in Christ are going to arise first, and those who remain behind are going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and he says, comfort one another with these words.  Basically an epistle of slight reproof, but encouragement, correction.  Be sober, put on the breastplate of faith and love, for a helmet the hope of salvation, for God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.

The latter verses:  rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, quench not the Spirit, despite not prophesyings, prove all things, hold fast to that which is good, abstain from all appearance of evil, and the very God of peace sanctify you holy, and I pray God that your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless until the coming of our Lord Jesus.  This is the only time in the biblical text where you have body-soul-spirit used in one verse, 5:23.  But I want you to see that these terms are being used synonymously.  It's not that Paul believes in the trichotomy of man, but this is a very Hebraic way of expressing it.  He's simply saying that the totality of your being might be preserved blameless until the coming of the Lord Jesus.

2 Thessalonians was written probably about a year later.  In chapter 1, verses 1 and 2, you again have the salutation.  From 3 to 12, he's talking about how they should respond in the midst of persecution.  Then the admonition and the encouragement that they not be led away by every wind or wave of doctrine that comes along.  Already by this time, there are a lot of people who are going around saying a lot of different things, and one of the principal concerns apparently by the Thessalonians is what they believe is going to be the soon-coming of the time of the end.  He says, Let no man deceive you.  That day is not going to come until there be a falling away first.  The man of sin is going to be revealed, the son of perdition.  He says, don't you remember, when I was with you I told you these things.  The one whose coming is after the working of Satan with power and signs and lying wonders and deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.  For this cause, God should send upon them a strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.  Therefore, he says, hold fast to the traditions that you've been taught, whether by word or by our epistle.  He says, it doesn't make any difference what anybody is coming along and telling you.  Don't pay any attention to it. Listen to what we're telling you.  Establish yourself in every good word and work, and pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be glorified, even as it is with you.  The Lord is faithful, and he's going to establish you, keep you from evil, and so on.  He gives them the exhortation in his final benediction and salutation.  Then he tells them, if anybody doesn't pay attention to what we've written in this letter, don't have any company with that person, but don't count him as an enemy but admonish him as a brother until such a time as he comes to his senses, and is reconciled into the body.

Then note something interesting.  The salutation of Paul, "With mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all."  Apparently he is dictating this to his amanuensis, or to his scribe, and just writing the final salutation with his own hand.

Galatians is the second epistle that emerged over this controversy of keeping the Law.  It's written to the congregation in Galatia, possibly about 48-49.  All of these dates are just relative.  None of them are absolute.  We don't know which ones were written first.  It's an arbitrary order.  If you pick up five different books, you'll probably see ten different dates.

The issue in Galatians is with the keeping of the Law.  Paul is establishing himself as being an Apostle of God.  He says that some are troubling by trying to pervert the gospel, and "though we or an angel of heaven preach unto you any other gospel than that which we have preached, let them be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that that you have received, let him be accursed."

Then he gives a little bit of his historical background, again to establish his Apostleship.  He said, you've heard of my conversation in times past in the Jewish religion, how that I persecuted the church of God and so on, but God had separated me from my mother's womb and called me by his grace to reveal his Son that I might preach him among the heathen.  When my conversion took place, I didn't go to Jerusalem to them that were Apostles with me, but I went to Arabia.  It says that he went la-Arav umisham shavti el-Damasek.  He went down into Arabia and then up into Damascus, and then only after three years did he go down to Jerusalem to see Peter and was with him for some time.

There are some who say that it was actually about 14 years before Paul started his ministry preaching the gospel after his conversion and before he moved out into his preaching ministry.  During that time, he was studying and sometimes being taught even by the Lord himself as he indicates, as we'll see in 1 Corinthians.  In 2:1:  "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas and took Titus with me also, I went up by revelation and communicated unto them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.  But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised, and because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might place us into bondage, to whom we gave place by subjection, not for one minute, that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. ... They saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed to me as the gospel of the circumcision was to Peter."  Here's an indication that Peter is ministering to Jews, Paul to non-Jews.  "And when James, Peter, and John who seemed to be pillars perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right of fellowship that we should go to the heathens (non-Jews) while they go to the circumcision.  And when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.  For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles, but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.  And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him, insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.  But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If you, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?  We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by ..." - now, we're getting into something here that is of importance.  These guys are still, at this late date, having a problem with the keeping of the law.  Notice how the Jews, sometimes when nobody is around looking, will go ahead and eat with the Gentiles, but if somebody is looking who might condemn them for it, they're not going to eat with the Gentiles and stay over on their own.  Paul says, you guys are being a bunch of hypocrites.  We have to come out and do what's right in this matter, that people not be offended.

What's happening here, and very few people are aware, is that there is a group of Jews who are called judaizers who are going around from place to place, sometimes ahead of Paul, sometimes behind him, and they are teaching that everyone who accepts Jesus as the Messiah must become a Jew.  They have to do so through the doorways of Judaism.  Paul is reacting to that, saying, none of the spiritual leaders of the church - Peter, James, John - believe that, but in certain circumstances, when these people who do believe that and are teaching that come in, they withdraw and get over here and act like they don't want to have anything to do with the Gentiles.  He says, it's about time we get this cleared up once and for all.  A man is not justified by the works of the law (Gal. 2:16).

The question is, how is a man justified?  A man is not justified by the works of the law, but we're declared to be righteous - some texts say - "by faith in Jesus."  That is an incorrect translation.  It does not say "by faith in Jesus."  We're not justified by faith in Jesus.  This is in the genitive, which is possessive.  This whole passage doesn't even make sense if it says, "knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we which have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by faith in Jesus Christ."  What does that say?  Nothing.  It doesn't make sense.  These guys that have translated it, some of them have missed it, not knowing that this is in the genitive, which means the possessive, and it says that we're not justified by the works of Torah, mitoch ma'aseh hatorah, but by the faith OF Jesus, even we who have believed in him that we might be justified by HIS faith. (See YD 6-6, pg 9)

(Last edit and corrections done [3/4/07] 3/21/09.)
Last update 8 February 2020