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Truth in Palmyra

By Wally Fry

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matthew 5

An Eye For an Eye?

Matthew 5_38

Luke 6: 27-38

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Kindness matters to God. Our behaving in a loving way to others matters to God. Forgiving others matters to God. If it did not matter, He would not have told us so often in His Word.

The above passage is quite complete, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, is one of my most used “go to” passages in God’s Word.

Is the description above how we are today? Well, now; we know that it is not. To get a clearer picture of how we are today, let’s take a trip back to Matthew Chapter 5, where Jesus delivers the same lesson with some additional comments.

Matthew  5:38-48

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The two phrases I want to key in on are the following:

38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

What makes these passages notable is Jesus’ use of the phrase it hath been said. What the really means is, “Okay, the Old Testament Scripture kind of said what you say it said, but you have taken it and twisted in around to suit your own needs.

An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth was never meant to be a code for personal revenge. This was part of the judicial code in the Mosaic Law. This was simply part of the law of the land of the day. This was official conduct and action, not personal conduct and action. It was never used in the context of interpersonal relationships, but always in the context of a civil judge presiding. It was no more than the law following the example we see even today, that the punishment should fit the crime.

The problem was, that the Pharisees had taken that snippet of Mosaic Law and used it to justify and give the okay to their concept of extracting personal revenge on their enemies.

Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. Indeed, God commanded us to love our neighbor. He commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves in fact:

Mark 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

Which of course references:

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

What is missing in those two passages? Yep, it’s that whole  and hate thy enemy thing.! God never said that. Again, the was just a conclusion drawn over the years by those studying and writing about the Law, and adding volumes to it I might add. “Hey, God says love your neighbor. He never mentions our enemies. That must mean it’s okay to hate our enemies!

So again, which one are we today? Clearly, in most of modern culture, we are far more like the Pharisees of that day than the actual standard God originally had, or the clarified lesson Jesus taught.

What’s in it for me?

Payback is a ______!

I’m gonna get you sucka!

It’s my money and I want it now!

I’ve got rights!

That’s us isn’t it? The problem is, that is our sinful selves; it is not the selves we should be as new creatures in Jesus Christ. As we continue on, we will look closely at what that actually means.

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The Eternal Torah ~ Part 8

It’s Monday, and time to continue this great study from Don at My Heart Is For Israel. Blessings and enjoy!

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  We’ve looked at Yeshua’s teaching on murder, adultery, divorce, taking of oaths, retaliation & giving.  In this post, will finish looking at what Yeshua himself says about the last of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ love your enemy.

LOVE YOUR ENEMIES

“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Love your neighbor – and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Then you will become children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun shine on good and bad people alike, and he sends rain to the righteous and the unrighteous alike. What reward do you get if you love only those who love you? Why, even tax-collectors do that! And if you are friendly only to your friends, are you doing anything out of the ordinary? Even the Goyim do that! Therefore, be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

There is no other passage of the Brit Hadashah that contains such a concentrated expression of Messiah-like ethics for personal relations.

The Tanakh taught that we should love our neighbor, but nowhere does it say to hate your enemies.  Passages such as Sh’mot 23:4-5 indicate just the opposite!  Unfortunately, hating your enemies was a man-made regulation.  Yeshua defined our enemies as those who curse us, hate us, and exploit us selfishly.  Since love is an act of the will, and not simply an emotion, He has the right to command us to love our enemies.  After all, He loved us when we were His enemies (see Romans 5:10).

We may show this love by blessing those who curse us, doing good to them, and praying for them.  When we pray for our enemies, we find it easier to love them.  It takes the “poison” out of our heart attitudes.

When we study this passage we must first try to find out what Yeshua was really saying, and what he was demanding of His followers.  If we are to try to live this out, we must obviously first of all be quite clear as to what it is asking.  What does Yeshua mean by loving our enemies?……read the rest of the post here: The Eternal Torah ~ Part 8

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 7

It’s Monday night, and time for another installment of Don’s great study of the Sermon on the Mount. Blessings and enjoy!

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  We’ve looked at Yeshua’s teaching on murder, adultery, divorce, and taking of oaths.  In this post, will begin to take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the fifth of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ retaliation & giving.

Retaliation

“You have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you not to stand up against someone who does you wrong. On the contrary, if someone hits you on the right cheek, let him hit you on the left cheek too! If someone wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well! And if a soldier forces you to carry his pack for one mile, carry it for two! When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something from you, lend it to him.”  (Matthew 5:38-42)

Now this is certainly a passage that has had some really bizarre interpretations in the past.  To properly understand what Yeshua is teaching to us in this passage, we really need to understand the context of the Jewish culture of the time……read the rest of the post here:The Eternal Torah ~ Part 7

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 6

Well, now that church camp is over, we can get back to our regular Monday night installment of this great series by Don at My Heart Is For Israel

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  In the Torah, God revealed His standards for holy living.  Yeshua said that He came to complete the Torah.  That is, He came to bring us back to God’s original intent of His instructions to Israel.  The Torah has always pointed the way to the Messiah.  But Yeshua said that the true righteousness that pleases God must exceed that of the Torah-teachers and the P’rushim.

We’ve looked at Yeshua’s teaching on murder, adultery and divorce.  In this post, will begin to take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the fourth of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ do not use the Lord’s name in vain.

My Word Is My Bond

“Again, you have heard that our fathers were told, ‘Do not break your oath,’ and ‘Keep your vows to Adonai.’ But I tell you not to swear at all – not ‘by heaven,’ because it is God’s throne; not ‘by the earth,’ because it is His footstool, and not ‘by Yerushalayim,’ because it is the city of the Great King. And don’t swear by your head, because you can’t make a single hair white or black. Just let your ‘Yes’ be a simple ‘Yes,’ and your “No’ a simple ‘No;’ anything more than this has its origin in evil.” (Matthew 5:33-37)

These verses can be wrapped up in one simple phrase: “My word is my bond.” Yeshua taught that our statements should be so honest and our character so true, that we would not need to take an oath to get people to believe us.  Spoken words depend on the character of the speaker and oaths cannot compensate for a poor character.  “When words are many, sin is not lacking; so he who controls his speech is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).  The more words a man uses to convince us, the more suspicious we should be…….read the rest of the post here: The Eternal Torah ~ Part 6

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 5

It’s Monday evening and time for Don’s continuing series on the Sermon on the Mount.

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

“We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  In this post, will begin to take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the second and third of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ adultery and divorce.

Do Not Commit Adultery

“You have heard that our fathers were told: ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that a man who even looks at a woman with the purpose of lusting after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)

The Torah is crystal clear:  “Do not commit adultery” (Sh’mot 20:14).  So serious a view did the Jewish teachers take of adultery that the guilty parties were stoned to death (Vayikra 20:10).  Once again, Yeshua states that not only the forbidden action, but also the forbidden thought is guilty in the sight of God.  Remember President Carter’s admission of lusting in his heart?Yeshua affirmed God’s law of purity, and then explained that the intent of this law was to reveal the sanctity of sex and the sinfulness of the human heart.  God created and protects sex.  He has the authority to regulate it and to punish those who rebel against His laws.  He does not regulate sex because He wants to rob us, but rather, because He wants to bless us.  Whenever God says, “No” it is that He might later say, “Yes.”

Sexual impurity begins in the desires of the heart.  The desire and the deed are not identical, but spiritually speaking they are equivalent.  The “look” that Yeshua mentioned was not a casual glance, but a constant stare with the purpose of lusting.  It is possible for a man to glance at a beautiful woman and know that she is beautiful, but not lust after her.  There is an extremely fine line, however, between admiring God’s creative beauty and lusting in your heart.  The man Yeshua described looked at the woman for the purpose of feeding his inner sensual appetites as a substitute for the act.  It was not accidental; it was planned…..read the rest of the post here: The Eternal Torah ~ Part 5

The Eternal Torah-Part 4

Here is this weeks installment of Don’s great study of the Sermon on the Mount. Blessings and enjoy!

Sitting at the Feet of Yeshua

We continue our quest to explore what I have been calling the Eternal Torah.  In this post, will begin to take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the first of six important topics contained in the Torah ~ do not murder and be reconciled.

Do Not Murder

“You have heard that our fathers were told: ‘Do not murder,’ and that anyone who commits murder will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who nurses anger against his brother will be subject to judgment; that whoever calls his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing!’ will be brought before the Sanhedrin; that whoever says, ‘Fool!’ incurs the penalty of burning in the fire of Gei-Hinnom!” (Matthew 5:21-22)

Statistically, murders are “crimes of passion” caused by anger among friends or relatives.  Yeshua did not say that anger leads to murder; He said that anger is murder.

In this passage Yeshua is arguing as any Rabbi might argue.  He is showing that he was skillful in using the debating methods that the wise men of His time were in the habit of using.  There is in this passage a different shade of anger and an increase in consequences.

Here is a person who nurses anger against his brother.  In Greek there are two words for anger.  One is described as being like the flame that comes from dried straw or flash paper.  It is the anger that quickly blazes up and just as quickly is extinguished.   The second type of anger is the anger of the person who nurses wrath to keep it warm; it is the anger over which a person broods, and which he will not allow to die.  This anger is liable to the judgment court.  The judgment court is the local village council that dispensed justice.  That court was composed of the local village elders…..read the rest of the post here: The Eternal Torah-Part 4

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 2

Part two of The Eternal Torah by Don. Blessings and enjoy!


 

 In my last post, we began to examine what I call the Eternal Torah based upon Matthew 5:17-20.  I began a brief history lesson as background.  In this post, we will look at each phrase more deeply.

“Don’t think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete.” ~ Matthew 5:17

Yeshua said that he had not come to destroy the Torah, but to complete the Torah.  That is to say, He came really to bring out the real meaning of the Torah.  What was the real meaning of the Torah?  Even behind the Oral Torah there was one great principle, which the Torah-teachers and the P’rushim had imperfectly grasped.  The one great principle was that in all things a man must seek God’s will, and that, when he knows it, he must dedicate his whole life to the obeying of it. The Torah-teachers and P’rushim were right in seeking God’s will, and profoundly right in dedicating their lives to obeying it; they were wrong in finding that will in their man-made hordes of rules and regulations….Read the rest of the post here: The Eternal Torah ~ Part 2

The Eternal Torah ~ Part 1

Tonight, we head in a new direction in this study of the Sermon on the Mount by my friend Don. Blessings and enjoy!


 

 In this post, we will continue our study of the Sermon on the Mount as we examine a critical passage of Yeshua’s teachings in Matthew 5.  Certainly after the crowd heard our Lord’s description of the kind of person God blesses, they said to themselves, “But we could never attain that kind of character.  How can we have this righteousness?  Where does it come from?” They wondered how His teaching related to what they had been taught all their lives.  What about Moshe and the Torah?

In the Torah, God certainly revealed His standards for holy living.  The P’rushim (Pharisees) defended the Torah and sought to obey it.  But Yeshua said that the true righteousness that pleases God must exceed that of the Torah-teachers and the P’rushim – and to the common people, the Torah-teachers and the P’rushim were the holiest men in the community!  If they had not attained true righteousness, what hope was there for anybody else?Many people believe that Yeshua was opposed to the Torah and taught that it no longer applies to us today.  Why do you think this is?  The answer is simple.  They have either not carefully studied the whole of scripture themselves or they have not listened to teachers who understand the importance of a Godly observant lifestyle.  Over the next several posts, we will take a closer look at what Yeshua himself says about the Torah ~ a series I call the Eternal Torah.……Read the rest of the post here: The Eternal Torah ~ Part 1

We Are to Be Salt and Light ~ Part 2

It’s Monday night and time for another great installment of this study of the Sermon on the Mount by my friend Don. Blessings and enjoy!

Salt and Light

In my last post, we began to look at Yeshua’s instruction that Believers are to be salt and light.  In this post, we will conclude our study with a deeper understanding of what it means to be salt and light.

“You are salt for the Land. But if salt becomes tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything except being thrown out for people to trample on. You are light for the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Likewise, when people light a lamp, they don’t cover it with a bowl but put it on a lampstand, so that it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they may see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven.” ~ Matthew 5:13-16 (CJB)

In both verse 13 and verse 14 the pronoun you is emphatic.  The idea is, “You are the only salt for the land” and “You are the only light for the world.” The world’s corruption will not be retarded and its darkness will not be illuminated unless God’s people are its salt and light.  The very ones who are despised by the world and persecuted by the world are the world’s only hope.

The ‘are in both verses stresses being rather than doing.  Yeshua is stating a fact, not giving a command or request.  Salt and light represent what Believers are.  The only question, as Yeshua goes on to say, is whether or not we are tasteful salt and effective light.  The very fact that we belong to Yeshua makes us His salt and light in the world.

Read the rest of the post here:We Are to Be Salt and Light ~ Part 2

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