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Matthew for the Jews

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					                            Matthew for the Jews

                       (The Doctrines of Matthew, Vol. I)

                                   CHAPTER 1

       Verse 1. The book... The book is the Bible, the holy writings of God (II
Tim. 3:15-17). The Bible is authored by God and therefore without error. God
authored the Bible through his Spirit, has preserved it by his power and its every
word can be trusted. The opening of Matthew's gospel establishes the fact that
God's word is written down; that is, His word is in the book and will be preserved
forever (Psa. 12:6-7),. To doubt the Bible is to doubt God. As God is believed
and reverenced, so should the Bible be also. It is not to be worshipped, but loved
and respected.
       ...of the generation... The genealogies of Jesus look backward through
David, the first LEGITIMATE king of Israel, to Abraham, the beginning of the
nation Israel. The implication of this verse is that all the promises made to
Abraham and David are in some manner associated with the work of Jesus Christ.
It was the Lord Jesus who gave these promises, and it is Jesus who has, or will,
fulfill them.
       ...of Jesus Christ,.. The two names, Jesus and Christ, denote the
completeness of God's Son as both God and man. Christ is his heavenly, spiritual
name, while Jesus is his earthly, human name. As Christ the Son of God and as
Jesus the son of Mary, he is both God and man (Col. 1:15, I Tim. 2:5).
       ...the generation of Jesus Christ,.. There are many similarities between this
verse and Genesis 5:1 where we read, "This is the book of the generations of
Adam." The expression, "The book of the generation of..." is used but twice in the
scripture: here in Matthew 1:1 and in Genesis 5:1. In the Old Testament, the
genealogy begins with Adam and works forward, specifically dealing with
Abraham and his descendants, while in the New Testament the genealogy begins
with Abraham and looks through the centuries to Jesus. There is another
difference in the two verses: in Genesis 5:1 the word generations is PLURAL,
while in Matthew 1:1 it is SINGULAR. In listing the descendants of Adam, three
sons are named; Cain, Abel and Seth. Since Cain killed Abel, only the lines of
Cain and Seth are pursued. Adam and Eve had other children, but they are neither
named nor followed by the scripture (Gen. 5:4). Although Cain was Adam's son
(Gen. 4:1), he is not listed in the genealogical account record in Genesis chapter
five. In the list of the descendants of Adam recorded in Genesis 5:1-32, Seth is
named but Cain is not. When the descendants of Cain are listed (Gen. 4:17-22),
the listing begins with Cain (verse 17) AND NOT WITH ADAM as does the
listing of Seth (Gen. 5:3).
      Adam was the physical father of both Cain the wicked, and Seth the son of
promise and was therefore the father of TWO generations (because of Satan's
WORDS, Cain was HIS SPIRITUAL son, I John 3:12, John 8:43-44).
      Adam was the beginning of two separate lines; therefore, the word
generations (plural) in Genesis 5:1 has significance. The singular word generation
in Matthew 1:1 not only refers to a backward look to Jesus' physical (human)
ancestors but looks forward to his spiritual descendant, Christians (Heb. 2:10).
There is but ONE church, ONE body of Christ and ONE "descendant" (I Pet. 1:23)
of Jesus (I Cor. 12:20).
      The word generation may be speaking of Christ's birth or origin, and
Matthew 1:17 may be a reference to stages in the successive descent from
Abraham, but the primary meaning, as it applies here, is ancestors.
      ...the son of David,.. Since Jesus was not the immediate natural son of
David, as was Solomon, Absalom, etc., this expression provides a standard by
which we can understand other passages where a person is called a son of
someone, when in reality he was a grandson or a great-grandson or, as in the case
at hand, many generations apart. The expression, son of, often means descendant
of.
      ...the son of Abraham. Approximately one thousand years passed from the
birth of Abraham until the birth of David, and another thousand years from David
until the birth of Jesus.
      Abraham was given a promise that he would be the father of a nation of
people through whom the Messiah would come (Gen. 12:2-3). He was also given
a promise that a land would be given to his nation as an eternal possession (Gen.
13:14-15, 15:7, 17:8).
      David was promised that among his descendants would be a King who
would rule the world. The three-fold promise God made to Abraham and David
was that he would make of them a nation, give them a land and a King who would
rule the world. Almost four thousand years have passed since God made his first
promise to Abraham, yet most of those promises are unfulfilled and will remain so
until the children of Israel repent and receive their Messiah.
      Verse 2. Abraham begat Isaac;.. The birth of Isaac was miraculous. It is
significant that no mention is made of Isaac's brother Ishmael. Isaac was NOT
Abraham's first and only son, although Genesis 22:2 states that God called Isaac
Abraham's ONLY son. The fact is, Abraham's son Ishmael was born before Isaac
(Gen. 16:15-16); however, God had a reason for saying that Isaac was Abraham's
ONLY son, as the following comments reveal.
      Genesis sixteen gives the account of the birth of Abraham's first son Ishmael.
On the insistence of his wife Sarai, Abraham married an Egyptian woman named
Hagar, and therefore had two wives. Ishmael was the product of Abraham's
second marriage. When God said that Isaac was Abraham's only son, he was not
denying the existence of Ishmael because it was God himself who named him
(Gen. 16:11). The significance of God's calling Isaac the only son of Abraham is
realized in seeing that the episode reveals a truth about how God is working out
his plans for the ages. Jesus, like Isaac, is called God's ONLY BEGOTTEN SON,
yet Genesis 6:2 and 6:4, Job 1:6, 2:1 and 38:7 all make reference to SONS OF
GOD. The key to understanding how God could have more than one son, yet say
that Jesus is his ONLY Son lies in the word BEGOTTEN. Jesus is God's only
BEGOTTEN Son. The other sons of God referred to in Genesis and Job are never
called begotten for they, like Lucifer (Satan), were CREATED.
      Jesus is the SPIRITUAL Son of God while these others are his NATURAL
sons. We read in First Corinthians 15:46, Howbeit that was not first which is
spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
The natural was first, then the spiritual. Abraham's FIRST son, Ishmael, was his
NATURAL son; while his second son, Isaac, was his SPIRITUAL son. The first
man, Adam, was CREATED, so he was the NATURAL son of God; while Jesus,
the SECOND Adam was BEGOTTEN (born); therefore, he was the SPIRITUAL
Son of God (I Cor. 15:22). FIRST CAME THE NATION ISRAEL, GOD'S
NATURAL SON (by creation), THEN CAME THE CHURCH, GOD'S
SPIRITUAL SONS (by birth). Jews, God's NATURAL children, are typified by
Ishmael while Christians, God's SPIRITUAL sons, are typified by Isaac. As
NATURAL sons of God, the nation Israel (under bondage of the law) could only
be SERVANTS, while Christians, under grace, are CHILDREN.
      ...and Isaac begat Jacob;.. Not only did Abraham have two sons (more
later), but so did Isaac. Isaac's first son was Esau, a NATURAL man, a man of the
earth, a hunter, therefore the promises made to Abraham were not passed to him.
The promises were given to the second son, the SPIRITUAL son, Jacob, whose
name was changed to ISRAEL (Gen. 32:28, a type of a Christian's new birth).
      ...and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; Jacob had twelve sons and
from them God chose Judah (Judas) to be the son of promise. It was Judah (Judas)
that God singled out to receive the promise of being Jesus' ancestor. Judah was
not the oldest but was Israel's fourth son. Reuben, Simeon and Levi were older,
and it is very interesting to see why God passed over Reuben, Simeon, and Levi to
choose Judah.
      In Genesis chapter forty-nine, Israel (Jacob) is said to have been approaching
death and was faced with the duty of blessing his twelve sons (or admonishing
them, as the case might be). He had to choose a son through whom the promise
given to Abraham, Isaac, and himself would pass. He did not choose Reuben and
explained why (Gen. 49:3-4). He referred back to Genesis 35:22, to the time when
his son Reuben had intercourse with his concubine, Bilhah, and for this reason
Reuben was deemed unworthy to receive the promise.
      Simeon and Levi did a treacherous deed when they took upon themselves to
defend the honor of their sister, Dinah. They deceived and killed the men of a city
of Hivites and, in so doing, brought dishonor to their father (Gen. 34).
      Judah also sinned, and his sin was as bad as his older brother's, becoming the
father of his daughter-in-law's (Tamar's) child (Gen. 38). But Judah did something
that his older brothers are never said to have done; he humbled himself (Gen.
38:26). Not only did he humble himself before Tamar, but he humbled himself
before Joseph and made intercession for his condemned brother Benjamin, and in
so doing, displayed love for both his father and his brother (Gen. 44:18). Jacob
chose Judah because Judah humbled himself. Humility is one of the most
important principles of Christian living; for our instructions are, Let this mind be
in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:.. who, ...humbled himself,.. (Phil. 2:5-8,
in part).
      Verse 3. And Judas begat Phares and Zara... Phares and Zara (Pharez and
Zerah in the Old Testament, Gen. 38:17-30), were twins, and both their names are
recorded, which is unusual. Ordinarily, the scripture names only the son through
whom the promise was given, in this case, Pharez.
      ...of Thamar;.. Thamar is one of five women referred to in Jesus'
genealogy. Four of the five make a strange assortment for the ancestors of God's
Son, both Thamar and Rachab (Rahab) being harlots. Ruth was a Moabitess
(forbidden to be taken in marriage by a Jew); and Bathsheba (not named, but
referred to in verse 6) was guilty of infidelity. The only one who seems to have
been qualified was Mary the virgin (verse 16). Only one out of five appears to
have been worthy, so when God selected Thamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba
(ALL GENTILES) to be the ancestors of his Son, it was an act of GRACE and
typified the work of God among the Gentiles in this present age.
      ...and Phares begat Esrom;.. Nothing is said about Esrom (Hezron) other
than the record of his birth in Genesis 46:12.
      ...and Esrom begat Aram; Aram is Ram in both the listing of Ruth 4:19 and
I Chronicles 2:9.
      Verse 4. And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson;
and Naasson begat Salmon; This same genealogy is recorded in Ruth 4:19-20
and in I Chronicles 2:10-11. Aminadab's name is spelled with two m's in the Old
Testament. Naasson is Nahshon in both Ruth and First Chronicles. Matthew and
Ruth spell Salmon alike but the Chronicle's account spells the name, Salma.
      Verse 5. And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of
Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; Booz (in Matthew) is spelled Boaz in both Ruth
and First Chronicles 2:11. Obed is spelled the same in all three listings as is Jesse.
      Verse 6. And Jesse begat David the king;.. First Chronicles 2:13-16 lists
David's brothers and names two of his sisters. It is interesting to note that David is
the youngest of SEVEN sons. Also interesting is the fact that David is called here
in Matthew 1:6, "the king," and although some of the others listed in this
genealogy were also kings, none are called such.
      The kingdom of heaven reached its pinnacle of glory under King David;
however, this glory diminished beginning with King Solomon and ended with the
reign of King Zedekiah. This glorious kingdom became so decadent and the
people so sinful that God caused them to go into bondage and denied them the
right to rule themselves (Lam. 5:16).
      ...and David the king begat Solomon... David begat other sons who are
listed in First Chronicles chapter three.
      ...of her that had been the wife of Urias; The woman who had been the
wife of Urias was Bathsheba. The account of how David became involved with,
and married the wife of one of his faithful and loyal soldiers, Urias (Uriah), is
recorded in Second Samuel eleven. It is a sad story of unfaithfulness on the part
of Bathsheba, love and devotion on the part of Urias (a Gentile) for his Jewish
king and the lust and deceit of his king, David. David had other wives who bore
him other children, but the son of the adulteress, Bathsheba, was chosen to be an
ancestor of Jesus. The story is a portrait of how God's grace is greater than sin
(Rom. 5:20), and typifies the intention of God to display his grace toward the
Gentiles (Bathsheba) as he is doing in this present age.
      Verse 7. And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and
Abia begat Asa; These men are listed in First Chronicles 3:10. The only
difference between that record and Matthew's is in the spelling of the name
Roboam (Rehoboam). Abia is mentioned nowhere else in the scripture, but Asa is
seen in First Kings fifteen and in Second Chronicles fourteen through sixteen,
where it is said that he was a good king.
      Verse 8. And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and
Joram begat Ozias; Josaphat (Jehoshaphat) was one of the more prominent kings
of Judah, and his reign is recorded in First Kings twenty-two and Second
Chronicles seventeen through 21:1. Joram is also called Jehoram and his reign is
recorded in Second Kings 8:16-18 and Second Chronicles twenty-one. He is not
to be confused with another Joram who was a son of a wicked king, Ahab (II
Kings 8:16-24). Ozias is Ahaziah in First Chronicles 3:11, and his administration
is recorded in Second Kings 8:24 through 9:29 and in Second Chronicles twenty-
two. He is also called Azariah (II Chr. 22:6) and Jeboahaz (II Chr. 21:17).
       Verse 9. And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and
Achaz begat Ezekias; This Joatham is the Jotham of First Chronicles 3:12 and
Second Kings 15:32-38 as well as Second Chronicles 26:23 through 27:9. Achaz
is listed as Ahaz in First Chronicles 3:13 and is mentioned by several prophets
(Isa. 1, 7, 14, 38, Hosea 1:1, Micah 1:1). He is seen also in Second Kings sixteen
and Second Chronicles twenty-eight. Ezekias is Hezekiah in the Old Testament,
and his name is mentioned more times than any other king of Judah except David
and Solomon. His reign is recorded in Second Kings eighteen through twenty and
in Second Chronicles twenty-nine through thirty-two.
       Verse 10. And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and
Amon begat Josias; King Manasses' (Manasseh) reign is recorded in Second
Kings twenty-one and Second Chronicles thirty-three. He was an evil king, and
his son Amon followed in his footsteps. The record of Amon's reign is in the same
chapters that record Manasses' reign. Josias (Josiah) seemed to try to please God
by restoring some form of temple worship and sacrifice, but lost his life because of
disobedience to the word of God (II Chr. 35:22-24).
       Verse 11. And Josias (Josiah) begat Jechonias (Jeconiah)... According to
the account in First Chronicles 3:15, Jeconiah was not a son of Josias, but a
grandson. The sons of Josiah were Johanan, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, and Shallum.
Looking back to Matthew 1:1, we are reminded that skipping a generation, or
several generations is in keeping with God's way of listing genealogies, as his
word often calls a grandson a son.
       ...and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
Jeremiah wrote a great deal about Josiah and his sons and grandsons. Jeremiah
was the prophet who warned Israel and her kings to turn to God or face his wrath.
Israel (Judah), however, led by wicked and rebellious kings, preferred wrath to
mercy, captivity to freedom, and their way to God's way. The result was that they
spent seventy years in Babylonian captivity.
       Verse 12. And after they were brought to Babylon... Notice the word
"brought"; not taken, not sent, but BROUGHT. This phrase is quite similar to the
expression in Genesis 39:1 concerning Joseph when his brothers sold him: And
Joseph was BROUGHT down to Egypt;.. This also reminds us of Noah when
God wanted him to enter the ark, and said, "COME thou..." (Gen. 7:1). Long
before there were kings in Israel, God promised his chosen people that he would
be with them in sickness as in health, in sorrow as in joy, in bondage as in freedom
(I Sam. 12:22). One of God's promises to the children of Israel is that he will
never leave nor forsake them. In Exodus 3:1-6, the Lord is seen in the midst of a
burning bush, a bush that typifies the nation Israel; burning, but never consumed,
with the Lord always in its midst. (See also Josh. 1:5 and I Kings 6:13.) None of
Israel's problems through the centuries came because God forsook them, but
because they forsook God. God warned them repeatedly that if they were
disobedient to him, he would remove them from the Promised Land (I Kings 9:6-
9). Still, Israel (Judah) turned from following and serving God, and the
Babylonian captivity and their present dispersion was the result. But God has not,
even now, forsaken his beloved Israel (Rom. 11:1). God still, leads Israel, whether
they realize it or not. When the chosen nation left Egypt headed toward Canaan,
God LED THEM; he PRECEDED them. Therefore, in keeping with his promise,
the Israelites were BROUGHT into Babylon; God was already waiting for them
there. God's man (Daniel) was ALREADY in Babylon (606 B. C.) when the main
body of the captivity arrived (586 B. C.).
       ...Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; Jechonias is
Jechoniah who was also called Coniah (Jer. 22:24, 28) and Jehoiachin (II Kings
24:6). His reign began after the initial captivity of Israel and he was next to the
last of Israel's kings, the last being Mattaniah (Zedekiah, II King 24:17). Salathiel
is listed in First Chronicles 3:17 but from that point the listing in Ezra must be
consulted (Ezra 3:2). It may be that Zerubbabel of First Chronicles 3:19 is this
Salathiel, and if so, then the scripture is speaking of a grandson, rather than a son,
with Pedaiah (a son) being left out. Zorobabel (Zerubbabel) was prominent in the
rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple after Israel's return from captivity in about
536 B. C.
       Verse 13. And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and
Eliakim begat Azor; Abiud is seen nowhere else in the scripture. It is unlikely
that Eliakim could be the person mentioned as being a priest in Nehemiah 12:41
(even though the dates would coincide) because this genealogy is following the
kingly line of Judah, and priests were from the tribe of Levi. Azor is mentioned
only in Matthew.
       Verse 14. And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim
begat Eliud;
       Verse 15. And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and
Matthan begat Jacob; The seven men listed in these two verses are not found
anywhere else in the Bible.
       Verse 16. And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was
born Jesus, who is called Christ. This is the only place in the Bible where a man
is introduced as a woman's husband. A woman is often introduced as some man's
wife (Gen. 11:31, Jud. 4:4, Jud. 4:17, etc.), but here, Joseph is called the husband
of Mary. Surely this lifts Mary to a prominent place, but not to a position of
sinlessness as some claim. Neither does it lift her out of her place as a woman nor
does it elevate her above her husband. Notice how careful the Bible is in
clarifying that Jesus was born of MARY and not of Joseph. The reason for Joseph
being introduced as he was is to leave room for the further revelation found in the
next verse.
      Verse 17. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen
generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are
fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ
are fourteen generations. Count them: 1. Abraham, 2. Isaac, 3. Jacob, 4. Judas,
5. Phares, 6. Esrom, 7. Aram, 8. Aminadab, 9. Naasson, 10. Salmon, 11. Booz,
12. Obed, 13. Jesse, 14. David. Indeed, there are fourteen.
      Now the second group of fourteen: 1. Solomon, 2. Roboam, 3. Abia, 4. Asa,
5. Josaphat, 6. Joram, 7. Ozias, 8. Joatham, 9. Achaz, 10. Ezekias, 11. Manasses,
12. Amon, 13. Josias, 14. Jechonias. No problem here, but in the third group of
fourteen there appears to be a problem.
      The third fourteen: 1. Salathiel, 2. Zorobabel, 3. Abiud, 4. Eliakim, 5. Azor,
6. Sadoc, 7. Achim, 8. Eliud, 9. Eleazar, 10. Matthan, 11. Jacob, 12. Joseph, 13.
Jesus. THERE ARE ONLY THIRTEEN. Yet, verse seventeen declares that
there are FOURTEEN.
      This presents the problem of having to determine who is missing.
      The next verse solves this problem when it clearly states that JOSEPH WAS
NOT THE FATHER OF JESUS, BUT THAT GOD WAS HIS FATHER!
      The proper genealogical list is: 11. Jacob, 12. Joseph, (13. GOD), 14.
Jesus.
      Verse 18. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:.. The
expression, "on this wise," is clarified by reading John 21:1 and Acts 7:6 where it
is seen to mean, "thus so," or, ''this way." In other words, it means that is the way
it happened.
      When as his mother Mary... The Bible often calls Mary Jesus' mother but
never calls Joseph his father. People SUPPOSED that Joseph was his father (Luke
3:23, 4:22) and Philip ASSUMED that Jesus was Joseph's son (John 1:45), but
these passages present only what some people THOUGHT and are not statements
of facts.
      ...was espoused to Joseph, before they came together,.. In the time of
Jesus, espousals were somewhat like engagements are today with one major
difference. An espousal was binding and required a writ of divorcement in order
to enact a legal separation. When the scripture says that Mary was espoused to
Joseph, it means that Joseph had asked Mary to marry him and that she had
agreed.
      ...she was found with child... This provided sufficient grounds for Joseph to
have asked for a divorce had he so desired.
      ...of the Holy Ghost. At that time Joseph did not know that the Holy Ghost
was the father of Mary's child. In fact, Mary herself seemed to have been
bewildered by all that happened to her (Luke 1:34). Mary's cousin Elisabeth knew
more about the situation than Mary or Joseph, calling Mary, "the mother of my
Lord" (Luke 1:43).
      Verse 19. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man,.. "Being a just
man," means that Joseph was righteous in God's eyes. Another man whom the
scripture called just was Noah, who in fact was the first person to be so called
(Gen. 6:9). Saved people of this age are said to be just (Rom. 5:1), being justified
on the basis of their faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:28).
      ...and not willing to make her a public example,.. Joseph either loved or
respected Mary enough not to make her condition public. Joseph sent her away to
her cousin Elisabeth and said nothing (Luke 1:39-40).
      ...was minded to put her away privily. These things make one wonder if a
"modern" Mary would have sought an abortion, or if a "modern" Joseph would
have abandoned her.
      Verse 20. But while he thought on these things,.. Surely Joseph's mind
must have been in a turmoil. What to do? How to do it? How to get out of the
situation without hurting Mary? "These things" about which Joseph pondered
must have hurt him deeply.
      ...behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream,.. The
angel of the Lord had appeared to many people in Old Testament times. He had
appeared to Hagar (Gen. 16:7-11), to Moses (Ex. 3:2), and to others (Judges).
Some Christians believe that the angel of the Lord is the Lord himself, and he
certainly may be. But, this makes difficult an explanation of how the Lord could
be newly born and lying in a manger, and appear to the shepherds in a field at the
same time (Luke 2:9). Another occasion when the angel of the Lord and the Lord
could not have been the same is on resurrection morning. When Jesus died and
was buried, he descended into the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:9). He was
there three days and three nights (Matt. 12:40), YET, the angel of the Lord came
DOWN FROM HEAVEN and rolled away the stone from Jesus' grave (see
comments on Matt. 28:2).
      On the other hand, when the parents of Samson saw the angel of the Lord
(Jud. 13:8-20), they declared that they had seen God (Jud. 13:22). Isaac said that
an Angel was his redeemer (Gen. 48:16), and only the Lord can redeem (John
14:6). Whether the Lord, or the angel of the Lord, the one that appeared to Moses
in the burning bush was God (Ex. 3:2-6), so perhaps both the Lord and the angel
of the Lord were present at the same time. This might be the explanation of
Daniel ten, which poses the difficulty of how the powerful personage speaking to
Daniel could have been hindered by Satan for twenty-one days. Satan MIGHT be
able to hinder the angel of the Lord, but hardly the Lord himself (Zech. 3:1-2).
      It appears that sometimes the angel of the Lord is the Lord himself, and
sometimes he is not. Whatever, the difficulty does not exist in the verse under
study since the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
      ...saying, Joseph, thou son of David,.. That Joseph was a descendant of
David has already been established in the genealogical record. While Joseph was
not directly a son of David, the expression, "son of," is used to denote someone's
descendant (see comments on verse 1).
      ...fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife:.. Mary is called, "thy wife." If
"take unto thee" means only an engagement as known today, then Mary could not
at this point be called, "thy wife." This shows the nature and characteristics of a
Jewish marriage, how the espousal (verse 18) was binding, but not consummating.
      ...for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. The Bible states
a second time that the Holy Ghost was the Father of Christ (verse 18-20), and not
Joseph as the New American Standard suggests (Luke 2:33, 43, NASV). When
Mary referred to Joseph as her son's father (Luke 2:48), Jesus corrected her and
said that he was about HIS Father's business (Luke 2:49, Father, being capitalized,
meaning God).
      Verse 21. And she shall bring forth a son,.. This is very similar to the
prophetic account recorded in Isaiah 9:6 many years before; For unto us a child is
born, unto us a son is given;.. and also to Isaiah 11:1 which states; And there
shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse,.. Jesus was prophesied to come
to the nation Israel through the line of Jesse. Jesse was to David in the first series
of "fourteens" (verses 1-6) what GOD was to Jesus in the third set of "fourteens"
(verses 12-17).
      Isaiah, in chapter nine, was not writing of Jesus the Prophet, or of Jesus the
Priest, but of Jesus the KING. Pilate, the Roman ruler, asked Jesus, "Art thou a
KING?" (John 18:37a), to which Jesus answered, "To this end was I born,.." (John
18:37b).
      And she shall bring forth a son,.. This resembles God's promise to Eve in
the very beginning when he said, "...her seed..." (Gen. 3:15), a phrase which takes
on great significance here in Matthew. The angel of the Lord revealed to Joseph
that his wife would bear a son whose Father was the Holy Ghost (God). In Eden,
God cursed two things, the serpent whom He cursed for his own sin, and the
ground which He cursed for Adam's sin. Although they sinned, God did not curse
Adam or Eve because God does not curse that which he has blessed (Num. 23:20,
Gen. 1:28).
      The promise of a seed was made to Eve, not to Adam. It was through the
seed of woman, not the seed of man, that God's gift of a Savior was to come. Had
Jesus been born of a human father he could not have fulfilled the promise made to
Eve. The promise was for a seed to overcome the serpent's seed, and only by the
sinless fatherhood of God's Holy Spirit could the promise be fulfilled. Only by a
sinless, sacrificial Savior could mankind be redeemed. Eve was deceived by the
serpent, but Adam was not deceived, for Adam had been given all the counsel of
God, therefore he sinned WILLFULLY (I Tim. 2:14). Through the seed of MAN,
who sinned willfully, none could be acceptable as a sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:26).
Adam sinned WILLFULLY having had full knowledge of the consequence of his
sin; therefore the seed of sin is transmitted through the MAN, not through the
woman who was only DECEIVED. This is not to imply that women do not have
inborn sin, for they do, because they all have human fathers who transmitted TO
them the seed of sin. Women HAVE the seed of sin but cannot TRANSMIT it.
Therefore, Jesus could have a human mother and be born without sin, as long as
he did not have a human father. His sinlessness also demanded that his mother be
a virgin, which Mary was (Luke 1:34, Isa. 7:14).
      ...and thou shalt call his name JESUS:.. A father has the right and duty to
name his son.
      ...for he shall save his people from their sins. The name Jesus means,
Savior. The two names, Jesus Christ, have great significance (see comments on
1:1). Jesus is his human name, Christ, his God name. Jesus was his name as the
son of Mary (a human being) and Christ was his name as the Son of God; thus He
is the God-man.
In this verse the definite term, "shall" or "shalt" is used three times: SHALL
bring forth a son, SHALT call his name Jesus, he SHALL save his people.
      Verse 22. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was
spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, One of the reasons for the preceding
explanation of Jesus' birth is to show the fulfillment of the words spoken by the
prophets about the Lord. The next chapter of Matthew's gospel (2), has three
"fulfilleds" (verses 15, 17 and 23). The evidence that the Bible is true and
inerrant, and authored by God," is the fulfillment of prophecy. For instance, Peter
was on the holy mountain (Sinai), when Jesus was transfigured (Luke 9:28-36),
and therefore saw the glory of God. He heard the voice of God speaking from
heaven, declaring Christ to be His own Son. He was given information through
two avenues of revelation, what his eyes SAW and what his ears HEARD. He had
also with him two other witnesses, James and John, yet Peter states that there is
something MORE positive than that. He said there is a "...more sure word of
prophecy;.." (II Pet. 1:16-19). The most positive and absolute proof of the
inerrancy and divine authority of the Bible is fulfilled prophecy.
      Verse 23. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a
son,.. Matthew recorded what the prophet Isaiah had been told by God and which
he had written: Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign;.. (Isa. 7:14). It
was written that God would give Israel a sign, a wonder, a marvelous thing—a
sign whereby one could KNOW that Jesus was Emmanuel (Immanuel). Simeon
knew (Luke 2:25-32) as did Anna (Luke 2:36-38). Any Bible-believing, God-
trusting person who knew Mary and Joseph COULD have known that Jesus was
God's Son.
      The virgin birth was the sign given concerning the FIRST coming of Christ
and there is to be a definite sign to reveal his SECOND Coming. Both signs are
for Jews and are not for either the Church or the Gentiles. It is the JEWS who
require a sign (I Cor. 1:22). Isaiah 60:2, Ezekiel 34:12 and Joel 3:14-15 all make
reference to the sign of Jesus' Second Coming—during days of darkness, THEN
shall appear the sign. The sign of Jesus' Second Coming is explained in Matthew
24:29-30, when in days of darkness, Jesus WILL COME IN GLORY AND
EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM.
      ...and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is,
God with us. They shall call his name Emmanuel. "They," not meaning Joseph
and Mary who had already been told to name God's son Jesus, but "they," the
Jews. They have not yet called him Emmanuel, but will someday. Christians
know him as Emmanuel now.
      Verse 24. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the
Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: It was in sleep that Jacob
had his eyes opened (Gen. 28:10-18), an event which is a portrait of any sinner's
spiritual awakening, something that has happened to every born again person (Col.
1:13). Until a person is saved, he is asleep and spiritually blind (II Cor. 4:4), and a
child of darkness (I Thess. 5:4). He becomes God's child through the new birth (I
John 3:1-2) and therefore a child of light (I Thess. 5:5).
      Joseph had his spiritual eyes opened and was obedient to God. Woe to the
man who, having been given spiritual light by God, is disobedient. An example of
someone who committed this sin is King Saul, who was given spiritual insight into
the will of God yet disobeyed him. Therefore, First Samuel 28:16 says that God
became his enemy. Another example of someone who was spiritually enlightened
but turned to darkness is the traitor, Judas. Joseph acted upon the light given him
and followed through with his marriage to Mary.
      Verse 25. And knew her not... This expression is one of the oldest in the
Bible, going back to Genesis 4:1 and means to have sexual relations. It is the
same expression Mary used when she questioned the angel Gabriel asking, "How
shall this be, seeing I KNOW not a man?" (Luke 1:34).
      ...till... Till means, until, a temporary condition, up to the time of, etc. The
use of this word in this scripture is a clear indication that Joseph and Mary would
have children, which they did (Matt. 12:46-47, Mark 6:3).
      ...she had brought forth her firstborn son:.. Mary's firstborn was also
God's firstborn (Rom. 8:29, Col. 1:15).
     ...and he called his name JESUS. There is indeed, something about that
name. To some it is disturbing and to others it is frightening, but to those who
know Him as their Savior, it is the most beautiful name ever heard.
     The name is so powerful that someday, when it is spoken, every knee will
bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil. 2:10-11).

         The name of Jesus is so sweet,
             I love its music to repeat;
         It makes my joys full and complete,
             The precious name of Jesus.

         I love the name of Him whose heart
              Knows all my griefs and bears a part;
         Who bids all anxious fears depart,
              I love the name of Jesus.

         That name I fondly love to hear,
              It never fails my heart to cheer,
         Its music dries the falling tear;
              Exalt the name of Jesus.

         No word of man can ever tell
             How sweet the name I love so well;
         Oh, let its praises ever swell,
             Oh, praise the name of Jesus.

         "Jesus," oh, how sweet the name!
             "Jesus," every day the same;
         "Jesus," let all saints proclaim
             Its worthy praise forever.




                         CHAPTER ONE, EPILOGUE
         Matthew presents Jesus as KING. His is the gospel of the
   KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. This, the first chapter presents the right
   and authority of Jesus to rule as king because of his ancestors. His
   GENEALOGY declares him to be the legitimate King through the
   royal line of Judah, and as the descendant of David, the King.
         Only in the Gospel of Matthew is the Kingdom of HEAVEN
   mentioned. The other three Gospels speak only of the kingdom of
   GOD.
         The KINGDOM OF HEAVEN was to have been a heavenly
   kingdom on earth. It was not established at Jesus First Advent;
   therefore, since it was promised by God through most of the Old
   Testament prophets, its coming awaits the return of the King, the
   Lord Jesus Christ.
         A most significant point to be made is that the intention,
   purpose and hope of Jesus at His First Advent was to establish HIS
   KINGDOM.
         Keep this fact in mind throughout the reading of Matthew's
   gospel.
         This point is stressed because most Bible teachers and
   preachers believe, or indicate they believe, that the purpose or Jesus'
   first coming was to establish the church.




CHAPTER 2

     Verse 1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea... Jesus was
born in Bethlehem, called out of Egypt, and lived in Nazareth. This confused the
religious leaders in their attempt to identify him (Matt. 16:13-14). However, they
also had trouble identifying John the Baptist (John 1:19-24).
      Sometime in the future, another personage, Antichrist, will appear on the
world's scene, and there will be confusion over his identity (John 13:21-30, Mark
14:18-19). This verse provides the first clue in the New Testament as to the
identity of the coming man of sin (II Thess. 2:3). Since this yet-to-come
personality bears mysterious characteristics and is to imitate Jesus, observing
some facts about the origin and nationality of Christ provides some interesting
facts about the origin and nationality of antichrist. Daniel 9:26 indicates that this
man will be a ROMAN ruler while Daniel 11:37 makes it appear that he will be a
JEW (or part Jew). Daniel 8:21-23 says that he will come from one of the four
divisions of the old Grecian empire, and Ezekiel chapter thirty-one reveals that it
will be ASSYRIA (Syria). The way things occur today, it would not be unusual
for a JEW (or half Jew) born in SYRIA to rule over a revised ROMAN empire.
For examples, Hitler ruled Germany, gained his position by promoting strong
nationalism, and was not born in Germany, but in Austria. Napoleon, an emperor
of France was a Corsican. Since the antichrist will imitate Jesus, and Jesus was
born in one place (Luke 2:4-7), called out of another (Hos. 11:1, Matt. 2:13-21),
and lived in still a third (Matt. 2:22-23), it would not be unusual for antichrist to
have a similar background.
      Another point to ponder concerning this soon-coming man of sin, is that he
will rule from three different locations; first from Rome (Rev. 17), then from
Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45), and finally from Babylon (Rev. 18). It is only natural that
his last place of rule will be Babylon, since that is where organized rebellion
against God had its great beginning (Gen. 11).
      ...in the days of Herod the king,.. Herod was a Roman ruler and Antichrist
will be a Roman ruler. Herod attempted to destroy God's Son but failed, and the
antichrist will do the same (Rev. 19:19). The first coming of Jesus was during a
time of Roman rule and Jesus will come again (to the Jews) during a time of
Roman rule.
      ...behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, These wise
men from the east bore an air of mystery. The Bible does not say from how far
away they came or how many there were. There is some indication of how far
they traveled in the fact that they were almost two years getting to Jerusalem.
Jesus was approximately two years old when they arrived (Matt. 2:16), but there is
nothing to suggest that the guiding star appeared to the wise men on the night of
his birth. It could have appeared weeks or months later.
      By far, the most likely nation of their origin is Babylon.
      Verse 2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? Where was
the King? These wise men had come to the right nation, Israel. They had come to
the right city, Jerusalem, and were asking the proper authorities. They were also
asking the proper question. The reception they received and the response to their
question was probably not what they expected.
      To anyone studying doctrine, it is of the utmost importance that the men
from the East did NOT ask, "Where is he that is born SAVIOR of the world, but
where is he that is born KING of the Jews. They were looking for a KING, not a
Savior.
      ...for we have seen his star in the east,.. This is NOT saying that the wise
men looked toward the EAST to see the star, (as most Christians seem to have
been taught) but that they were IN the East when they saw His star.
      Because they had seen a star, they knew that a king had been born in Israel.
There is no information given about how the wise men knew that the star meant
that a king had been born. WHAT information they had, as well as the SOURCE
of their information remains a mystery. It is unlikely that they had a source not
also available to the Jews. It may be that they had the same facts available (the
scriptures) but they (being WISE men) believed what they read while the Jews did
not.
      Upon his "conversion," Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon declared, "Now I
Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the KING of heaven,.." (Dan.
4:27).
      The wise men called what they saw, "HIS" star, not merely "A" star. This
suggests that there was something special about it. Because they had seen a star
these men traveled a great distance, believing that their journey would not be in
vain. It is curious that nothing is said about local residents noticing the star.
      If the source of information the wise men had about the star was indeed the
Scriptures, it was probably Numbers 24:17 where it is recorded that Balaam said,
"...there shall come a STAR out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of
Israel..." These wise men knew that a child would be born to Israel (Jacob) and
that he would be a King because a "Sceptre" denotes rule and authority. The First
Coming of Jesus was heralded by a star, and a star is to be involved in his Second
Coming. These wise men of the Gentiles knew more about the birth of Israel's
King than did the King's own people. When they read the Scriptures, they
apparently believed what they read.
      Second Peter 1:19 reveals that a star is somehow related to the Second
Coming of Jesus:

          We have also a more sure word of prophecy;.. more sure that
     eyes seeing and ears hearing, ...whereunto ye do well that ye take
     heed,.. men are to pay attention and believe what God has written, ...as
     unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn... the
     day that will dawn is the kingdom day, the day of judgment, the
     coming age of righteousness, ...and the day STAR arise in your
     hearts:

      The "day star" is JESUS for Jesus said, "I am the root and the offspring of
David, and the bright and morning STAR" (Rev. 22:16b).
      ...and are come to worship him. They made their intentions clear, and it is
apparent that their motives were pure. They had come to worship the Holy Child,
God's only begotten Son. Jesus is the Star of David and the only person worthy of
worship (Rev. 5:12-14).
      Verse 3. When Herod the king... This was Herod the Great (so called) who
secular history says was born circa 47 B. C. and lived until some years after the
birth of Christ. He was procurator of the land of Judaea during the reign of Julius
Caesar, and king of Judaea under Augustus Caesar.
      ...had heard these things.,.. The expression, "these things," suggests that a
longer conversation may have transpired between the inquiring wise men and the
baffled Jews. These men of the East had enough knowledge, wisdom, and
understanding to ask, "Where is your King? We have seen his star from our
homes in the east and know that he is born."
      …he was troubled,.. Herod did not respond to the wise men's inquiry with
great joy and celebration, but rather took offense at what he saw as opposition or
competition. It is possible that Herod knew that a King would be born to Israel
who would be Immanuel (God with us) and viewed God as his opponent.
        ...and all Jerusalem with him. All Jerusalem was troubled at the news of
the birth of God's Son. Jesus was a troublemaker. Even his birth troubled people.
He troubled the dreams of Pilate's wife (Matt. 27:19). His presence (preincarnate)
troubled King Belshazzar so badly that his knees knocked (Dan. 5:6). His look
troubled Peter so badly that it caused him to weep bitterly (Luke 22:61-62). He so
troubled the religious leaders of Israel that they crucified him. Those who
preached his gospel were considered troublemakers (Acts 17:8). Those who
worked miracles and cast out demons in his name and by his power were accused
of making trouble (Acts 16:20). Those who were called by his name (Christians)
so troubled the world in the early centuries of this age that they were killed and fed
to wild animals. Many of them were killed as a sport simply because the world
was troubled by the one whose name they bore. While the world nailed Jesus to a
cross and killed the Prince of Glory, his name continues to trouble the world even
in these last days.
        Christians proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ; how he died for man's sins,
how he was buried and how on the third day he rose from the grave (I Cor. 15:1-
4). Bible believers stand firmly on the conviction that Jesus is the only way to
God (John 14:6). It is not unusual to hear an unsaved person say, "That's the
trouble with you Christians, you think that yours is the ONLY WAY. You
Christians are narrow-minded in not believing that other religions are just as good
as yours." Christians indeed believe that Jesus is the only way. Buddhism
provides no savior. Hinduism provides no savior. Mohammedanism provides no
savior. These, and all other religions, have only rules and regulations, ethics and
betterments. Man does not need to be educated, reformed, or "shaped up." Man
needs a Savior, a sacrifice for his sins. Only Christianity has a Savior: Jesus
Christ, who rose from the grave and conquered death and hell. The cross of Jesus
is EMPTY. The tomb of Jesus is EMPTY. Jesus ROSE from the dead, from hell
and the grave, ascended into heaven and sat down on the right hand of God. The
Lord Jesus Christ IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN.
      When Christianity was new, its presence in the world troubled men. It is a
sad thing that modern Christianity is prone to trouble God and be friends with the
world. That is the trouble with Christianity today: Christians are not troubling the
world. When God's Son was born to woman and this age opened, the world was
troubled, Herod was troubled, Jerusalem was troubled, and the religious leaders of
Israel were troubled. YET THE REAL TROUBLE IS STILL FUTURE (Jer. 12:5,
Luke 23:31). If Jesus' first coming as a Lamb invoked such troubled minds,
imagine what troubles there will be when he comes as a Lion.
      Verse 4. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of
the people together,.. Herod gathered ALL the help he could muster and gave this
matter top priority. He gathered the right people, the priests and the scribes who
were responsible for knowing the scriptures. Herod was smart enough to know
that the answer to the question of where Christ would be born had to come from
the Scriptures. He believed that the Bible held the answer, which seems to be
more than present world leaders believe.
      ...he demanded of them... His was not a polite question, but a demand for a
true statement of facts.
      ...where Christ should be born. If the wise men who came from so far
away knew that Israel's King had been born, the Jews should have known
WHERE. That haunting question still rings out to Israel today; "Where is your
King?"
      Verse 5. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea:.. It seems
there was no scurrying about searching the scriptures, no discussion or dissension,
but total and swift agreement among the priests and scribes. They answered that
Jesus was to be born in Bethlehem which was located about six miles south of
Jerusalem. Bethlehem, which was also called Ephratah, is first seen in Genesis
35:19 (there spelled, Ephrath) where it is said to be the burial place of Rachel,
Israel's wife and the mother of Joseph and Benjamin. It was here that Rachel died
giving birth to her second son Benjamin. Therefore, Bethlehem is mentioned first
in the Old Testament in relation to death and burial, while its first mention in the
New Testament is in relation to birth and life.
      ...for thus it is written by the prophet, The prophet referred to is Micah
who recorded in chapter five, verse two:

          But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among
     the thousands of Judah... Micah made it clear that Bethlehem was a
     small, insignificant village in Judah. ...yet out of thee shall he come
     forth unto me... This speaks of Jesus' birth, his first coming as a Lamb,
     born in a stable in Bethlehem. ...that is to be ruler in Israel;.. Micah
     looked further into the future and viewed the Second Coming of Jesus
     when he will rule in his kingdom. ...whose goings forth have been
     from of old, from everlasting (Micah 5:2).

  This statement refers to a look backward to the beginning of time.
      Verse 6. And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least
among the princes of Juda:.. The way the priests and scribes quoted the scripture
to Herod was not exactly the way it was written. Micah declared that Bethlehem
was LITTLE among the cities of Judah, but that despite its insignificance Christ
would be born there. The priests and scribes misquoted Micah to make it sound as
though Bethlehem was not small and insignificant.
      ...for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the righteous King who would not only
rule Israel, but the whole world as well (Isa. 2:2-5, 9:6-7, 11:1-9, etc.). Many other
prophets foretold the coming of the King and his kingdom (Jer. 31:31-34, Ez.
36:25-38, Joel 2:21-27, Amos 9:13-15, Micah 4:1-7, Zeph. 3:14-20, etc.).
      While the scribes and priests quoted (or misquoted) Micah 5:2, the next
verse in Micah (verse 3) is very interesting and filled with prophetic truths:

           Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she which
     travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren
     shall return unto the children of Israel. In viewing this verse part by
     part these interesting facts come to light: Therefore will he (the Lord)
     give them (the Jews) up, until (a temporary separation) the time that
     she (the nation Israel) which travaileth (suffers) hath brought forth:
     (Jesus born). All this portion of Micah 5:3 is concerned with THE
     FIRST COMING OF JESUS. ...then the remnant of his brethren
     (scattered Jews) shall return (return to Israel, the Promised Land) unto
     the children of Israel (the Jews will become one people as well as one
     nation). This LAST portion of Micah 5:3, the portion after the colon,
     speaks of THE SECOND COMING OF JESUS.

       In relation to Israel's travail, two verses of scripture are especially revealing,
Isaiah 66:7 and Revelation 12:2. Isaiah 66:7 says, Before she travailed, she
brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. This
statement is strange by any sense of reasoning. It is abnormal for a woman to
"born" a child without birth pains PRECEDING and ACCOMPANYING the
delivery. In this verse from Isaiah, the pains are said to FOLLOW birth. This is
contrary to all the laws of nature, science or medicine. Yet the nation Israel did,
and will do, just that. Jesus was born to Israel almost two thousand years ago,
BUT ISRAEL'S TRAVAIL HAS NOT YET COME.
       In Revelation 12:2, Jesus is the man (and so are the 144,000) child born to
the woman (Israel). The TRAVAIL of Israel is seen in the verses THAT
FOLLOW (Rev. 12:6-17). Israel's travail is the coming great tribulation. The
birth of Jesus to Israel was related to his FIRST COMING, but the travail of Israel
awaits his SECOND COMING. There are to be approximately two thousand
years between the birth of Jesus and the travail of Israel. As surely as Jesus was
born to Israel, so must Israel travail (Jer. 30:7). Although Israel endured a certain
amount of travail at the time Jesus was born (being under the oppression of Rome)
that was insignificant in comparison to the travail she must face during the great
tribulation (Dan. 12:1, Matt. 24:21).
       Verse 7. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired
of them diligently what time the star appeared. It is likely that Herod took the
wise men aside because he did not want his words to reach the wrong ears. He
asked them exactly when the star appeared that he might know how old Jesus was.
His scheming mind was already at work, devising a plan to rid the world of God's
Son.
       Verse 8. And he sent them to Bethlehem,.. He sent them in the wrong
direction. He sent them to the place where the Scriptures said Jesus would be
BORN. It was not illogical for Herod to think that Jesus might still be in
Bethlehem, but the scribes and priests should have been able to make him aware
of what the prophets wrote about his being a Nazarene (Matt. 2:23), and
considered the possibility of his living somewhere else.
       ...and said, Go and search diligently for the young child;.. Herod did not
tell them to search for the BABY, but for the YOUNG CHILD. Having asked the
wise men what time the star appeared, his addressing Jesus as "the young child"
was probably based upon their answer. The evidence is that more than a year had
passed since the star first appeared to the wise men.
      ...and when ye have found him, bring me word again,.. Herod did not
send his own people to seek for Jesus, but asked the wise men to look for him.
Herod was intelligent enough to realize that these wise men of the east knew more
about the newborn King of the Jews than the Jews did. After all, they were the
ones who made him aware that a King had been born. It was their journey, their
pilgrimage, and to have denied them the right to search, or to have run ahead of
them, might have caused the wise men to appeal to a higher authority. No doubt
Herod wanted as few people as possible to know of Jesus' birth.
      ...that I may come and worship him also. His desire to FIND Jesus was
based on his desire to KILL Him. While it may be true that Herod was jealous and
fearful of being dethroned, it is quite likely that his hatred of Jesus went beyond
that. He was already an old man and Jesus would have been no threat to his
kingdom for years to come. Herod simply did not want Jesus whether He was a
King or not. Herod was little different from other rulers throughout the ages. He
attempted to hide his true intention behind the expressed desire to worship the
Lord. Men and rulers have not changed over the years, as people today often have
the same attitude that Herod had. Multitudes attempt to hide their dislike of the
Lord behind their expressed desire to worship him.
      Verse 9. When they had heard the king, they departed;.. They paid their
respect to King Herod, heard him out, and left to continue their search, but they
headed the wrong way. They started toward Bethlehem where Herod told them to
go, which was south of Jerusalem, but Jesus was with his mother and Joseph in
Nazareth, which was to the north. Whether or not the star guided them directly to
Jerusalem in the first place is not revealed. Evil came of their visit to Jerusalem
and Herod (Matt. 2:16); nevertheless, it was God's will that they go there.
Christians know that ultimately good will come from all things, that all things
work together for the good of God's people (Rom. 8:28). God's plan calls for both
good and evil to exist together until Jesus' work is finished and all his enemies
destroyed (I Cor. 15:25-28).
      ...and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them... Where
had the star been? Had it only led them to the area or vicinity of Jerusalem to
make inquiry of Herod? Whatever happened, it was to show that God
INTENDED that they go to Herod. Had God not wanted them to, he would have
guided them with the star straight to the home of Jesus, WHICH HE DID, AFTER
they had consulted Herod.
      The star that these wise men followed displayed some very mysterious and
miraculous characteristics. It must have been low, below the clouds (assuming
that at times there were clouds) in order for it to pinpoint a location in a way that
visible observation could identify. Had it been high in the sky where the other
stars were, it would have provided no guiding ability. THIS STAR MOVED.
The Scripture clearly states that the star "went before them."
      ...till it came and stood over where the young child was. Till, means a
temporary state or condition, and refers to the star having moved in front of them
TILL it stopped over where Jesus was.
      Verse 10. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great
joy. These wise men had seen the star from far away at their homes to the east.
They had followed it as long as they could see it, but it had apparently disappeared
somewhere along the way. Its disappearance was what made them inquire of
Herod. After seeing Herod and resuming their search the star reappeared and they
rejoiced at seeing it. They left Jerusalem, headed south towards Bethlehem, and
upon seeing the star, turned north and followed it to Nazareth.
      Verse 11. And when they were come into the house,.. The wise men did
not worship Jesus in the stable where he was born. He and his mother and Joseph
probably stayed in Bethlehem only a few days after his birth. Then family was in
Jerusalem eight days after Jesus' birth for his circumcision and Mary's purification
(Luke 2:21-22). It is likely that the family continued on to Nazareth where Joseph
and Mary lived (Luke 2:4) after the time required for Mary's purification. It was
to this home that the wise men came.
      ...they saw the young child with Mary his mother,.. The star guided them
to the right house and at long last they saw the Child of God. Since Jesus was the
firstborn of Mary, there were probably no other children around with whom the
wise men might confuse him. The Bible gives nothing to cause anyone to believe
that there were any visible characteristics or any aura about the Christ child to
identify him as God's Son. The star did NOT IDENTIFY Jesus, but only revealed
his LOCATION to the seeking worshippers. When the shepherds went to worship
him at his birth, the announcing angel told them that Jesus could be identified by
his LOCATION, his CLOTHING and his BED, and not by any mystical, physical
characteristics (Luke 2:12).
      ...and fell down, and worshipped him:.. The act of falling down before
Jesus indicated their deep reverence and respect for him. Here was a group of
outstanding men of great wisdom, prone upon the floor, worshipping a child.
Theirs was the position of supreme worship: upon their faces.
      As his death approached, Jesus' enemies surrounded him and when he asked
them, "Whom seek ye?" they said, "Jesus of Nazareth," to which Jesus answered,
"I am he" (John 18:4-5). When he said that, his enemies fell to the ground. But,
there was a difference between the way they fell before Jesus and the way the wise
men fell before him. Jesus' enemies fell BACKWARD (John 18:6), while the wise
men fell forward upon their faces. Backward (unwillingly) or forward (willingly),
someday all men will fall to the ground when they meet the great "I AM" (Rev.
1:17, Dan 8:17).
       ...and when they had opened their treasures,.. Out of their TREASURES,
wise men give gifts to Jesus the Lord. Foolish men give out of their leftovers, and
some men give nothing at all.
       ...they presented unto him gifts;.. When someone loves others he desires to
give them gifts. Anyone who loves God wants to give him gifts. When the wise
men gave their gifts to Jesus, it was not with a feeling or spirit of obligation, but of
heart-felt worship. It can only be that these Gentiles worshipped Jesus and gave
him gifts because they loved him. Someday, those who know Christ as Savior will
see these wise men who came from the east to worship Him. Surely they will be
deemed worthy to enter the kingdom, since ultimately, the basis upon which one
enters any heavenly kingdom is the first commandment; to love God. Christians
know that the act of receiving Jesus as Savior is accepted by God as an act of love
toward him.
       ...gold... Gold is a gift that befits a king. It is a noble metal, and as a gift to
Jesus, denoted his nobility and worthiness to rule and reign as KING. Gold is one
of the most valuable elements that exists. It will not tarnish under normal
conditions, and is found in its natural state without chemical bond to any other
elements. Its having been chosen as a gift to Jesus speaks also of his being pure
and untarnished, even when he walked in this sinful and impure world. Gold is
rare, found only in a few places, yet existing everywhere in minute particles in
soil, rocks, and even the oceans. This causes one to think of the uniqueness of
Jesus as God's only begotten Son, indeed rare and noble, walking only in a
relatively small area of the world (Israel.), yet everywhere. Gold is precious, of
great value, and so is Jesus.
       ...and frankincense,.. Frankincense is a fragrant resin derived from certain
trees, and was used in a mixture when offering a sweet smelling sacrifice to God
(Lev. 2:1-2). Frankincense speaks of Jesus as PRIEST.
       ...and myrrh. Myrrh is also derived from certain trees and has a sweet
aroma. It is seen in connection with the death of Jesus, and in olden times was
used in embalming (John 19:39-40). Myrrh speaks of Jesus the PROPHET (Matt.
23:37). The three gifts that the wise men gave Jesus show his threefold work as
Prophet, Priest and King.
       Myrrh is seen in relation to the First Coming of Jesus as the promised
Prophet (Deu. 18:15-19, Matt. 21:11, Luke 7:16, 24:18-19, John 4:19, 7:40-41,
etc.).
       Frankincense is seen in connection with the Jewish priesthood, and as a gift
to Jesus, speaks of his present work as Priest, seated on the right hand of God
(Heb. 4:14-16).
      Gold speaks of the work of Jesus as King, and looks forward to his Second
Coming.
      Thus: myrrh, frankincense and gold; Prophet, First Coming; Priest, present
position; and King, his Second Coming.
      Verse 12. And being warned of God in a dream... It was not unusual for
God to speak to men in dreams and visions in times past. God warned King
Abimelech about Abraham's wife, Sarah, in a dream (Gen. 20:3-6). Joseph was
shown the future in a dream, and was told that he would rule over his brothers
(Gen. 37:5-10). The fate of Pharaoh's chief butler and chief baker was revealed in
dreams (Gen. 40:5). The warning of seven years of plenty and seven years of
famine was given to Pharoah in a dream (Gen. 41). The destiny of the Gentiles
and their dominion over the kingdom of man was envisioned in a dream by King
Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Dan. 2). That heathen king was privileged to see the
Second Coming of Jesus Christ in his dream (Dan. 2:31-35). Dreams continued to
be a way by which God spoke to certain people in the New Testament as he did to
these wise men. In the next verse (13) of this chapter in Matthew, Joseph, Mary's
husband, was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt just as God had spoken to him
earlier in a dream, telling him to take Mary as his wife (Matt. 1:20). In all this,
there is an important doctrinal point to be understood: OTHER THAN A FEW
INSTANCES IN MATTHEW, AND THE QUOTATION IN ACTS 2:17 FROM
THE PROPHET JOEL, DREAMS ARE NOT FOUND IN THE NEW
TESTAMENT AS A WAY WHEREBY GOD REVEALS HIS INTENTIONS TO
MEN. GOD NO LONGER REVEALS HIMSELF, OR INFORMS PEOPLE BY
WAY OF DREAMS. The last UNSAVED person recorded in the Bible to have
had something revealed in a dream was Pilate's wife (Matt. 27:19), and that was
BEFORE THE DEATH, BURIAL AND RESURRECTION OF JESUS. The last
SAVED person who received a vision from God was the apostle John on the isle
of Patmos, and God recorded clearly that what John wrote was the conclusion of
his revelation to man (Rev. 22:18-19).
      Until his word was completed, God continued to speak to his apostles by
way of visions as seen in Acts ten when he disclosed his will to Peter and in Acts
sixteen when he disclosed his will to Paul. He gave John, to give to man, the great
book of his Revelation by way of visions (Rev. 1:1, 4:1), but the revelation is
COMPLETE. The word of God has already been given, and the Revelator, Christ,
warned that it was not to be added to, subtracted from, or altered (Rev. 22:18-19).
Hebrews 1:1-2 says,

         God, who at sundry (many and various) times and in divers
     manners (different ways) spake in time past unto the fathers by the
     prophets, Hath in these last days (from the First Coming of Jesus
     until the earth melts with fervent heat) spoken unto us by his Son,..
     Jesus gave his last word to mankind in Revelation twenty-two.

      God's revelation to man is finished and the Bible is complete. Anyone
claiming to have been given a revelation by God by way of dreams or visions is
denying the word of God, the sufficiency of the Bible, and is a false prophet. This
is not to say that people, even Christians, do not have dreams and visions, but if
these dreams and visions are said to provide new or additional information, adding
to what God has said in his Bible, it is certain that they are not from God. Satan
also works in the realm of dreams and visions (Jer. 23:32).
      ...that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own
country another way. Herod told them to come back to Jerusalem and tell him
when and where they found Jesus (verse 8), but they did not. They simply chose a
different route and returned to their homes in the east.
      Verse 13. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord
appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and
his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for
Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. God knows all things, past,
present and future, and knowing what Herod would do, instructed Joseph to leave
the Promised Land and go down into Egypt. Many years earlier, Egypt had been a
place of sanctuary for God's people. God nurtured his infant nation Israel in Egypt
from the time of Joseph (Jacob's son) until the time of Moses, a total of four
hundred years (Gen. 15:13, Acts 7:6).
      There are those who say that the Bible contradicts itself because of the
difference in the four hundred years the children of Israel are said to have DWELT
in Egypt as stated in both Genesis 15:13 and Acts 7:6, and the four hundred and
thirty years in Galatians 3:17 and Exodus 12:40. Of course there is no
contradiction because the passages in Genesis and Acts are speaking of how long
God's people DWELT in Egypt. The passage in Galatians is speaking of how long
it was FROM THE TIME GOD CONFIRMED THE COVENANT TO JACOB
(Gen. 35:9-15, I Chr. 16:16-17) WHICH HE HAD MADE EARLIER TO
ABRAHAM AND THE GIVING OF THE LAW (Ex. 20).
      Verse 14. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by
night, and departed into Egypt: No good byes were said, no Egyptian friends
were informed of their intentions. They simply departed by night. It is interesting
to note that the first occasion where the word night occurs in Matthew's gospel is
here in this chapter and verse. It is seen in relation to Jesus and his family going
away in the night, fleeing death, having been warned by God to do so. The last
occasion in which the word night appears in Matthew's gospel is in chapter
twenty-eight, verse thirteen. On that occasion it is seen in relation to the lie that
the elders of Israel paid the Roman soldiers to tell; giving them large sums of
money and instructing them to say that Jesus' disciples had stolen his body by
night.
       The first occurance of the word night in Matthew is in connection with
Joseph's obedience to God, and the last occurance is in connection with some
soldier's obedience to men. The word was first used soon after Jesus' birth, and
last soon after his death. Its first use was in relation to the truth of God, and its
last in relation to a lie of men.
       Verse 15. And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophets saying, Out of Egypt
have I called my son. The prophet spoken of in this verse was Hosea and the
quotation is from chapter eleven, verse one. In Hosea 11:1 the nation Israel is
presented as a type of God's Son, Jesus. When Israel was a young nation, God
called her out of Egypt. When Jesus was a young child, God called him out of
Egypt. Both journeys into Egypt, that of Israel the nation, and that of Jesus the
Son, were connected with a man named Joseph.
       Verse 16. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise
men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were
in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under,
according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Herod
knew what age group he wanted killed. His reckoning was in accordance with the
information given him by the wise men concerning what time the star appeared.
       The expression, "in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof," means the town
of Bethlehem and the surrounding area. All the Promised Land was not included
in this mass murder. John the Baptist escaped either because he was over two
years old, or because he did not live in the condemned area. When Mary went to
visit her cousin Elisabeth (John's mother) she went to a city located in the hill
country of Judaea (Luke 1:39), and John the Baptist grew up in the desert (Luke
1:80). Exactly where John the Baptist was or what circumstances prevented his
murder is not revealed, but John the Baptist did escaped the massacre.
       Verse 17. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the
prophet, saying, This is a reference to Jeremiah 31:15. There were three cities in
the land of promise by the name of Rama, or Ramah. One was in Naphtali and is
mentioned in Joshua 19:29, 36. Another was in Benjamin just north of Jerusalem
(I Kings 15:17), and still a third was in Ephraim, which is the one referred to in
Jeremiah thirty-one. The area where Herod killed the children was a large one,
Ephraim being north of the tribe of Benjamin, and Bethlehem south, in Judaea.
       Verse 18. In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping,
and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be
comforted, because they are not. Rachel typifies Israel. Many years before, the
infant nation Israel, finding themselves in Egypt, had faced the murder of their
infant children. On that occasion, when Israel's newborn babies had been killed, at
least one baby, Moses, escaped.
      Verse 19. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord
appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, The Scripture does not say how long
it was after the family fled until Herod died, but it was before Jesus was twelve
years old, because he was in the temple in Jerusalem at that time (Luke 2:42).
      Verse 20. Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go
into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
The angel of the Lord, when speaking to Joseph, referred to Jesus as "the young
child," and not as "your son," revealing again that Jesus was NOT Joseph's son.
      Death is appointed to all men (Heb. 9:27), and Herod met his appointment.
(Christians who are alive on resurrection day will not have to keep that
appointment, John 11:26, I Cor. 15:51, I Thess. 4:13-17.)
      Verse 21. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and
came into the land of Israel. God planned the entire episode and knew how it
would end from the very beginning (Acts 15:18). It is thrilling and comforting to
know that God knows all things, the future as well as the past (Eph. 1:4-5). It is
good to have and know God's blueprint of the ages, the Holy Bible, which reveals
to believers his eternal plan. It is also good to know that no matter how men try,
they cannot alter the plans of God.
      Verse 22. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the
room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being
warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: Even
when someone is obedient to God, he still may have doubts and fears. In all that
happened, Joseph and his family had been kept safely. He believed that God was
with him; yet he was afraid, but overcame his fear and returned to Nazareth.
      Archelaus was one of Herod's sons, and no information is provided about
him, for he is seen nowhere else in the Bible. The expression, "in the room of his
father," means that he ruled on the throne vacated by the death of his father,
Herod.
      Verse 23. And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might
be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
While Jesus' being from Nazareth gave occasion for his being called a Nazarite (or
Nazarene), there is another element involved in that title. A Nazarite was a Jew
who had taken the vow depicted in Numbers 6:1-21. The title, "Nazarite," denoted
one or both of two things; one's native city, and/or dedication because of a vow.
Two people of the Old Testament who were under the Nazarite vow were Samson
(Jud. 13), and Samuel (I Sam. 1:11). Samson was a Nazarite who judged Israel
twenty years (Jud. 16:30-31). Samuel was Israel's first prophet after they entered
the Promised Land (Acts 13:20).
      John the Baptist is said to have been the last of the prophets until Jesus
(Matt. 11:13) and evidence points to the probability that John the Baptist was a
Nazarite. John had several things in common with both Samson and Samuel,
especially concerning his birth and parents.
      Jesus may also have been a Nazarite because of the Nazarite vow, and not
simply because he was from Nazareth; therefore, a double Nazarite. The Bible
never says that Jesus drank wine or strong drink (which was a part of the Nazarite
vow, Num. 6:3), nor does the Scripture say that Jesus ate defiled food (which was
another part of the Nazarite vow, Num. 6:4). It is never said that he cut his hair
and he did have a beard (Isa. 50:6), which was the third part of the Nazarite vow.
He turned water into wine, he gave his disciples wine, he was accused of drinking
wine, but except at his death (John 19:29-30), he never DRANK wine.




                        CHAPTER TWO, EPILOGUE

          This chapter depicts the birth of the King and the testimony
     of wise Gentiles who declared him to be the King of the Jews and
     authorized to rule.
          They were not seeking a messiah or a savior, but a KING.
          It is an unusual thing, but foreigners from a distant land, a
     people who were in no covenant relationship with God, knew
     more about the King's birth than the Jews did.
          The star must have been very, very bright in order for the
     wise men to have followed it. It is unreasonable to believe that
     they traveled only by night.
          There were three distinctly different responses to the birth of
     Jesus. The wise men, who were Gentiles, sought him. Herod and
     the political world was troubled by the news of his birth. The
     Jewish religious leaders were apathetic; they did not even send
     anyone to Bethlehem to see the baby.
          There were only two occasions in the live of Jesus when
     leaders referred to Jesus as King—at his BIRTH (Matt. 2:2) and at
     his DEATH (Matt. 27:37).
          NONE OF THESE MEN WERE JEWS.




CHAPTER 3

      Verse 1. In those days... The days spoken of are those seen in the previous
chapter, when Christ dwelt in Nazareth. John's ministry could have preceded that
of Jesus' by only a few months, but likely by several years.
      ...came John the Baptist,.. Malachi foretold the coming of John the Baptist
and Jesus. In Malachi 3:1 (as well as Isa. 9:6, 11:3, and 61:2, etc.), both the first
and second coming of Jesus are seen in the same verse, separated only by a
punctuation mark.
      Malachi 3:1 says, Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare
the way before me:.. "My messenger" is John the Baptist and John's ministry was
to prepare the way for the FIRST coming of Jesus. The remainder of the verse,
...and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple,.. looks
further into the future to his SECOND coming. It is written in Isaiah 9:6, For
unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:.. which is a passage referring to
Jesus' FIRST coming, then, ...and the government shall be upon his shoulders:..
which refers to his SECOND coming. Likewise in Isaiah 11:3, we read, And
shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord:.. This refers to
Jesus' FIRST coming, while....and he shall not judge after the sight of his
eyes,.. refers to his SECOND coming. Also in Isaiah 61:2 we read, To proclaim
the acceptable year of the Lord,.. which refers to his FIRST coming, ...and the
day of vengeance of our God;.. which refers to his SECOND coming.
There is a long-standing belief, especially among those of the Baptist
denomination, that the group of Christians presently called Baptists, got their
name from this man, but this is not true. There was no appearance of any group
that could be identified by the name Baptist until the sixteenth century.
Apparently, the idea that this denomination originated with John the Baptist
grew out of the inability of these people to pinpoint the origin of their
denomination. Almost two century ago, when Christianity flourished in
America and Europe, and there was great interest in denominational origins,
those called Presbyterians traced their beginning to a man, John Knox. The
Methodists could point to Charles and John Wesley as the originators of their
denomination, and the Lutherans could trace their origin to Martin Luther. The
Anglicans could tell of their departing from Romanism, but the Baptists could
point to no particular time, person or place as their beginning. In early
America, there were few Baptists or Baptist churches. But as time passed,
many people were saved into this Christian body and the denomination grew
rapidly. In its early development the Baptist church had few educated
ministers, but as it grew in size, educated people were saved into the
denomination and called into the ministry. During this time (the late
seventeenth until the early nineteenth century), some of the more educated and
interested Baptists dedicated themselves to tracing their denomination's history.
Perhaps it was the endeavor of the early writers of Baptist history to predate all
other denominations that caused them to settle upon John the Baptist as their
denomination's originator. Also, the name Baptist was scriptural and gave a
ring of soundness. But the fact is that John the Baptist died not knowing what
the "church" was, or was to be. The church did not begin with John the Baptist
but began (was born) on the day of Pentecost.
...preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, It is important to know where and
what John the Baptist preached in order to rightly divide the word of truth (II
Tim. 2:15). God had given the world several preachers prior to the ministry of
John. Second Peter 2:5 says that Noah was a preacher of righteousness. King
Solomon was a preacher, even though he was (on occasions) a preacher of vain
human wisdom (Eccl. 1:1-2, 12-18). John the Baptist was a preacher of
repentance who preached in the wilderness of Judaea. The gospel of John
reveals that John the Baptist was preaching BEYOND Jordan (John 1:28), and
is even more specific in saying that he was in Bethabara. Bethabara was
located on the east of the Jordan River, EXACTLY OPPOSITE THE
ANCIENT CITY OF JERICHO, THE PLACE WHERE THE JEWS WERE
LED ACROSS JORDAN BY JOSHUA. The significance of this is tremendous
because the Jews must cross the Jordan in order to enter the bond of the
covenant of the law concerning the land, and the promised kingdom (Deu. 4),
THE KINGDOM THAT JOHN THE BAPTIST SAID WAS AT HAND (Matt.
3:2).
      Verse 2. And saying, Repent ye:.. Repentance is basically a change of mind
(without which there is no salvation). The type of repentance required for
salvation in this age of grace is somewhat different from that demanded by John of
Jews under the law. Under grace, repentance TOWARD GOD is demanded (Acts
20:21), a repentance which causes a person to be sorry for what he IS. In this
present age, it is not required that repentance PRECEDE belief, but true belief is
always accompanied by repentance as a work of the Holy Spirit. John preached
repentance to JEWS under the LAW that demanded that they be sorry for what
they had DONE. He did not preach, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou
shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31), nor did he preach (nor even know) the truth revealed
in Romans 10:9. He preached to Jews that which was necessary for them to enter
the kingdom of heaven; REPENTANCE AND BAPTISM IN THE JORDAN
RIVER. He was a prophet (Matt. 11:9), under the law (Matt. 11:13), crying out to
a people who were also under the law, to repent. "Re" means to do again, or
return to that already known or done, and "pent" means to be penitent, or express
sorrow for one's sins. John the Baptist was speaking to Jews, those who
ALREADY knew what God expected of them. He was a JEWISH prophet,
preaching a JEWISH message to JEWS and/or Jewish proselytes.
      ...for the kingdom of heaven... This is the first of many times in Matthew's
gospel that the term "kingdom of heaven" is encountered. There are three
kingdoms revealed in the scripture: 1. the kingdom of heaven, 2. the kingdom of
man, and, 3. the kingdom of God. Although they often run concurrently, the three
kingdoms are different and are generally manifested at different times in different
ways. The three kingdoms have a definite bond to the three groups of people seen
in I Corinthians 10:32: Give none offence, neither to the JEWS, nor to the
GENTILES, nor to the CHURCH OF GOD: Three groups, three kingdoms: the
kingdom of heaven is basically JEWISH, the kingdom of man is basically
GENTILE (they have been granted dominion over its systems), and the kingdom
of God, which is composed of those who have been saved into the body of Christ,
THE CHURCH.
       Everyone, at birth, is born into, and, thus, is a citizen of, the kingdom of
MAN. God has placed the rulers of the Gentiles over this kingdom—its political,
economic, social and religious systems. God places in position of authority
whosoever he wants to rule this kingdom (Dan. 4:17) and has set Satan, or
permitted Satan, to have dominion over it (Luke 4:5-6).
       The door to the kingdom of God is open in this present age of grace, and can
be entered by either Jews or Gentiles who, by the work of God, can be born again
(John 3:3). Those saved by the new birth, baptized by the Spirit into the body of
Christ (I Cor. 12:13), are sons of God (Rom. 8:14-17) and eternally children of the
kingdom of God.
       The kingdom of HEAVEN is a literal, physical, visible kingdom promised to
a particular people, Jews. This is the kingdom with which Matthew's gospel is
basically concerned. THERE ARE THREE FORMS OF THE KINGDOM OF
HEAVEN:
        1. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN UNDER THE LAW. This form of the
kingdom of heaven reached its greatest glory under King David and King
Solomon. It declined into literal captivity because of the sins and disobedience of
its rulers and citizens (II Chr. 36:20-21). This form of the kingdom is PAST.
        2. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN UNDER GRACE. This manifestation
of the kingdom of heaven is by far the most difficult to understand. It is the
kingdom of heaven in its MYSTERY form, the kingdom as it is during the
absence of its true King. During this age, and only during this age, one enters this
form of the kingdom UPON HEARING THE WORD OF GOD (Matt. 13:19-23).
This kingdom has within it both lost and saved people who were born (physically)
either Jews or Gentiles. Those within this PRESENT form of the kingdom who
are SAVED have not only HEARD the word of God, but have BELIEVED it and
been born again into the kingdom of GOD. Those who have heard but NOT
BELIEVED the word of God are in the kingdom of HEAVEN, but NOT in the
kingdom of GOD. (See chart #1 at the conclusion of chapter 13.)
        3. THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN UNDER RIGHTEOUSNESS. This
form of the kingdom will come when the nation Israel, as a nation, is born again
(Isa. 66:8), which it will not be until Jesus comes again. The situation in which a
nation can be born again does not exist in this present age, when only
INDIVIDUALS can be born again. The kingdom of heaven under righteousness
will be Christ's kingdom on earth as prophesied by Isaiah (chapters 9 and 11), as
described by Joel (3:18-20) and other prophets (Amos 9:13-15, Zech. 14:16-21,
etc.). When this form of the kingdom comes, Jesus will rule on earth for one
thousand years, during which time, law and grace will be reconciled. This aspect
of the kingdom will be manifested in the FUTURE. (See chart #2.)
       ...is at hand. John was saying that the kingdom in its physical, visible form
was being offered, or that it was present and that the Jews were being invited to
enter. The kingdom of heaven COULD have been established at Jesus' first
coming had the Jews repented and been baptized in the Jordan River. When John
preached, every Jew should have known what he was saying and what his message
meant. They should have known what repentance meant, what the kingdom was,
and that John was proclaiming its presence.
       Verse 3. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight. John declared that he was the prophet spoken of by
Isaiah (Esaias) and written about in Isaiah 40:3. John announced the promised
kingdom as the prophets declared he would (Mal. 3:1). God had given Israel the
law while they were wandering in the wilderness. The wilderness represents
wandering and crookedness, and John was telling Israel, "Go back to where you
got off the path (Ex. 17:7) and get back on again, back to where your wilderness
wandering began; go back to Sinai that you might reestablish a proper fellowship
with God."
       Verse 4. And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a
leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
Camel's hair was woven into cloth and used to make garments worn by the very
poor. Other than John the Baptist, only one person is said to have worn a leather
girdle and that was Elijah (II Kings 1:8). Both camel's hair and leather are the
product of animals; therefore, no plant substance was used in John the Baptist's
clothing (Gen. 3:7). The same is said of the food he ate—locust, an animal
(insect) and wild honey, the product of an animal.
       Malachi saw a similarity between John the Baptist (Mal. 3:1) and Elijah
(Mal. 4:5) in that both were to precede Jesus—John his First Coming, and Elijah
his Second Coming.
       Verse 5. Then went out to him Jerusalem,.. Jerusalem means God's peace.
It is strange that a city with such a name should have a history of violence and
death. Even so, someday this city will be the capital of the world, and the whole
world, along with Jerusalem, will dwell in peace (Zech. 14, Isa. 2:3-4).
       The expression, "Then went out to him Jerusalem," means that the people of
Jerusalem went out to see and hear John. When speaking of Judaea and the region
around Jordan, this verse says that ALL went; which was not said of Jerusalem.
      ...and all Judaea,.. Judaea was the southern portion of the Promised Land
and had been settled by the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. Those said to have
come from Judaea were people from the country and villages around Jerusalem.
      ...and all the region round about Jordan, This encompasses both the east
and west bank of the Jordan River.
      Verse 6. And were baptized of him in Jordan,.. There have been many
debates and arguments over the proper method of baptism and none of them ever
served any good purpose. The answer to the debate over whether to immerse or
sprinkle lies in the word of God. Romans 6:1-11 says that baptism is a portrait of
the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the association of believers with
him. The gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16), is the
good news that, ...Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And
that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the
scriptures: (I Cor. 15:3-4). If Christ's death, burial and resurrection, which is the
gospel, can be seen in a sprinkling ceremony, then sprinkling must be valid. If
not, then immersion is the prescribed way to baptize.
      …confessing their sins. Confession is not repentance. True repentance will
produce confession, but the two are not the same. Many people have confessed
their sins and continued on to hell. In Exodus 9:27, Pharoah not only confessed
that he had sinned, but followed by saying that God was righteous, but there is
nothing to indicate that Pharoah is in Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22). Balaam
cried unto the angel of the Lord, saying, "I have sinned;.." (Num. 22:34).
Nevertheless, God says that Balaam was a false prophet, and is the example used
by God to warn against false and evil prophets (II Pet. 2:15, Jude 11, Rev. 2:14).
Saul, Israel's counterfeit king and an evil man, confessed in First Samuel 26:21,
saying, "I have sinned:.. I have played the fool..."
      Confession is not repentance. Millions of people through the ages
(especially this present age) have been led to believe that all anyone needs to do is
confess his sins in order to establish a proper relationship with God. This is not
true, for an unsaved man needs a SAVIOR to BEAR his sins, not someone to
HEAR about his sins. While confession will usually alleviate one's feeling of guilt
and provide a certain degree of ease for the conscience, CONFESSION WILL
NOT SAVE.
      John the Baptist called for repentance. It is not implied that there were none
among those whom John baptized who did not repent; however, THE BIBLE
NEVER SAYS THEY REPENTED, only that they CONFESSED. Confession is
not repentance, but even if it were, REPENTANCE ALONE, OR
ACCOMPANIED BY CONFESSION, WILL NOT SAVE.
      Verse 7. But... This depicts a contrast; something different. John had a
different message for these religious leaders than he had for others.
       ...when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees... The word
Pharisee means "one separated." There were three, perhaps four, very "religious"
groups of Jews of which the Pharisees were one. They were known for their long
prayers (Matt. 23:14), for fasting (Matt. 9:14), and for tithing (Matt. 23:23), yet
Jesus told his disciples to beware of their teachings (Luke 12:1, Matt. 16:6-12).
They held to traditions that they themselves often formed. Another religious
group of Jews was the Sadducees, who were the "liberals" of their day. They did
not believe in the supernatural and denied that there was to be a resurrection (Matt.
22:23). Even though the Sadducees were directly opposite the Pharisees in their
doctrinal beliefs, Jesus warned against the teachings of BOTH groups (Matt. 16:6-
12). These two factions were enemies; however, for a brief period they set aside
their differences and united in their efforts to crucify Jesus. After Jesus'
crucifixion, neither the Pharisees nor the Sadducees yielded to the other in their
doctrines (Acts 23:6-8).
       ...come to his baptism,.. In verse six, it is said that people from Jerusalem,
Judaea and around Jordan came to be baptized. It is NOT said that the Pharisees
or Sadducees were baptized, only that they came to John's baptism. Some of the
publicans (Jews who worked for Gentiles) are said to have been baptized (Luke
3:12), but never the religious leaders.
         ...he said unto them, O generation of vipers,.. Vipers are snakes, snakes
are serpents, and Satan is called a serpent (Rev. 12:9, 20:2). Through association,
John called these people devils. John was not being harsh or unfair, but was
saying what God wanted him to say. Jesus called these same religious leaders
children of the devil (John 8:44). With venom that comes from their mouths,
vipers poison people, making them sick and causing them to die. It was the poison
that came from the mouths of the Pharisees and Sadducees that Jesus warned
against (Matt. 16:6-12).
       These religious leaders had strong doctrinal beliefs, and Jesus never
condemned them for the STRENGTH of their beliefs but condemned them for
WHAT they believed. He corrected their doctrines and warned others about them.
Sound doctrine is good and never condemned by God, but doctrine without love,
grace, and compassion is not sound doctrine.
       ...who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? To paraphrase:
"Who told you that God's wrath is coming? Who warned you to flee?" Well, God
had. The Scripture, so "highly regarded" by these religious leaders, was filled
with warning after warning of the coming wrath of God. The warnings they
received came from their own Scripture, the book God had given them through
their own ancestors. These religious leaders were not ignorant of what the
Scripture said. They simply did not want to apply what it said to their own lives.
It is one thing to KNOW and TEACH what God said, but it is something else to
DO what God said. These Jews KNEW and TAUGHT others what they
themselves would not DO.
      Verse 8. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: Putting this in
modern language, "If you really mean business, show it." God does not want only
lip service, but fruitful service.
      The word fruits is plural. The kind of fruit bearing John demanded was
possible, and expected, under the law. Fruit bearing was to be manifested in
righteous living and heartfelt worship. Under grace, fruit bearing is somewhat
different, and is directly proportional to a saved person's being "filled with the
Spirit." Fruit bearing in this age is a work of the Holy Spirit through those who
believe in Jesus Christ. Galatians 5:22-23 lists the fruit (singular) of the Spirit
which is the product of Christ's dwelling in a believer. Whether under law or
grace, when anyone truly believes, fruit is always borne. Fruit bearing is speaking
words that glorify the Lord.
      Verse 9. And think not to say within yourselves,.. "Saying within
yourselves," is referring to what these people were reasoning in their own minds.
Many people give themselves comfort and assurance through reasoning. Human
minds always try to justify human deeds, and man's mind tells him that a loving
God will not send anyone to hell. Man's reasoning leads him to conclude that all
people who do the best they can and try to be good will eventually be in heaven.
Within himself, that is, by his own reasoning, man will never know that he is lost
and needs a Savior. John warned these people not to tell themselves things that
were untrue even if they seemed to make sense.
      ...We have Abraham to our father:.. John knew their reasoning would
lead them to believe that simply because they were the descendants of Abraham
that they were secure in God. Jesus cited an incident, recorded in Luke 16:19-31,
of a Jew who missed the eternal joy of Abraham's bosom and found himself in
hell, even though he was a descendant of Abraham. Human reasoning has led
many people to believe that they will miss hell because their parents were
Christians, or because they at one time attended "church" or even because they are
Americans, but heaven is assured only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
      ...for I say unto you, that God is able... God is able to do anything,
anytime, anywhere, because he is God. The only restrictions on God are those he
places upon himself because he wills to do so. God is omnipotent. How absurd it
is for some to believe that God's power is limited. Many Christians would limit
the power of God by their endeavor to "protect" his sovereignty. They would limit
his supremacy by denying him the power to maintain his sovereignty while giving
man free will. God's sovereignty is not threatened by man's free will.
      ...of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. God does not NEED
man, but he does love and want man to be saved. He wants people to love him. If
he wanted people only to praise him, he would force them to, but that would be of
no value, for it would not be HEARTFELT; it would not be the result of LOVE.
He could get praise from stones (Luke 19:40) if that is what he wanted. If all he
wanted from the nation Israel was some people to call themselves the children of
Abraham, he could have gotten that by any means, even turning stones into
humans.
Verse 10. And now also the axe is laid unto the root... These trees have the
axe laid to (cutting) their roots. This goes beyond the symbol depicted in the
tree vision of Nebuchadnezzar where a stump was left after the tree was cut
(Dan. 4). There is no stump left when a tree is cut "unto the root." Some trees,
after being cut down, will sprout from the stump and bring forth another tree,
but there are few trees that can come back after having been cut unto the root.
       ...of the trees:.. Trees typify nations. The use of the plural word, trees,
indicates that Israel was not the only nation to be cut down. Nothing is said about
what other nations would be involved; however, some of the nations seen in the
Bible which are typified by trees are: Bashan, typified by the oak tree (Ez. 27:6,
Zech. 11:2, Isa. 2:13), Lebanon by the cedar (Isa. 2:13, I Kings 4:33), Babylon
(Iraq) by willows (Psa. 137:1-2) and Israel by the fig tree (Joel 1:7). It is
interesting that Bashan, Lebanon, Israel, and several other nations of the Middle
East, ceased to exist within a relatively short time after the First Coming of Christ.
It is even more interesting to see some of these nations rise again after hundreds of
years.
       The plural word, trees, COULD apply solely to Israel since Israel was
typified, not only by the fig tree, but by the olive tree (Rom. 11:17-24), and by the
grape tree, or vine tree (Ez. 15). This is probably the correct doctrinal application
of this verse in Matthew because it was from Israel that God expected to receive
fruit (Isa. 5:1-7, Matt. 21:18-19).
       The fig tree is the first tree called by name in the Bible. Its leaves were used
by Adam and Eve to manufacture clothing to cover their naked flesh (Gen. 3:7).
Another occasion when the fig tree is mentioned is in II Kings 20:7, where its fruit
was used to heal flesh.
       The grape tree (vine tree, Ez. 15) produces a fruit that makes one merry
(Eccl. 9:7, Est. 1:10, II Sam. 13:28), drunk (Gen. 9:21, Lam. 4:21, Hab. 2:15) and
naked (Gen. 9:21, Lam. 4:21, Hab. 2:15). It was forbidden for a priest to drink
wine (Lev. 10:9), and was also forbidden to anyone separating himself by taking
the Nazarite vow (Num. 6:1-5).
The olive tree bore fruit that produced oil which was used to provide heat, light
and healing. Olive oil typifies the Holy Spirit (Zech. 4:16).
       ...therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit... Trees can
produce either good or bad fruit, depending on the individual tree (Matt. 7:15-20).
The threat was not issued to the tree because it did not bear fruit, but because it did
not bear GOOD fruit. There is a difference between the fruit produced by Israel
under the law, which was the fruit of the flesh, and the fruit produced by
Christians, which is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). The flesh, of itself,
cannot produce good fruit, and the Spirit cannot produce evil fruit.
      ...is hewn down, and cast into the fire. This resembles John 15:1-10 where
Jesus said that fruit bearing is possible only in him. He pointed forward to the
Holy Ghost who alone can produce acceptable fruit. Unless one is in Christ (born
again, having the indwelling Holy Spirit) he cannot produce good fruit.
      Verse 11. I indeed baptize you with water... The baptism of the Holy Spirit
spoken of in this verse accompanies the new birth and enables one to produce the
good fruit referred to in the previous verse.
      John the Baptist did indeed baptize people in the water of the Jordan River.
Water baptism for God's people is always to be performed by a man. There are
three baptisms mentioned in this verse, and they are the only three referred to
anywhere in the Bible. They are, spiritual baptism, water baptism, and fiery
baptism. John's baptism was water baptism and was for JEWS. The Gentiles
know a water baptism, and Christians know a water baptism. There are three
groups of people in the world; the Jews, the Gentiles, and the church of God (I
Cor. 10:32): THUS THE BIBLE SPEAKS OF THREE WATER BAPTISMS,
one for each of the three groups. The WORLD (Gentiles) was baptized by water
in the days of Noah, the JEWS were baptized in the water of the Jordan in the days
of Joshua, and CHRISTIANS (the church) are baptized in water in this present age
by those qualified. Water baptism has never had anything to do with anyone's
salvation because MAN is given a responsibility in its performance (see further
comments at the end of this verse).
      ...unto repentance:.. Christians are not baptized "unto repentance," but
rather in water, as a symbol of entry into a local congregation, a local "church."
Water baptism is the means of entering into the "physical" body of Christ, the
local church. John's baptism was not sufficient for believers under grace (Acts
19:4-5). John's baptism was for Jews who repented. Entry into the kingdom of
heaven, which John proclaimed, was based upon Israel's repentance and baptism
in the Jordan River. Because Israel did not repent and receive John's baptism,
there is no visible kingdom of heaven on earth. His baptism was for the purpose
of showing an outward, physical display of repentance on the part of the baptized
subject. John's baptism, like any other water baptism, "saved" no one.
      ...but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not
worthy to bear:.. This was more than a display of humility on the part of John but
was an expression he used to point his hearers to the Deity of Christ.
      ...he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: There are three
baptisms for each of the three groups named in First Corinthians 10:32.
      First, the baptism of the world, the inhabited world (John 1:10), the Gentiles.
The world's first baptism was SPIRITUAL and is seen in Genesis 1:2. The world's
second baptism was WATER and is seen in Genesis 7, and is referred to in many
places throughout the Scripture. The world's third baptism is to be FIERY and is
seen in Second Peter 3:10-12 and in Revelation 20:9. There have been, or will be,
three baptisms for the world: first spiritual, second watery and third fiery.
      Second, the Jews will face three baptisms; spiritual, watery and fiery.
Israel's SPIRITUAL baptism was administered by the Lord when they crossed the
Red Sea (Ex. 14:21-30). They passed through the Red Sea, never to return to
Egypt, for this baptism is administered once, forever. Israel's second baptism was
their crossing the Jordan River (Josh. 3:14-17) which typified their physical,
WATER baptism. The third baptism of Israel is to be FIERY and will be
administered by God during the great tribulation (Zech. 13:9).
      Third, Christians (the church) are to undergo three baptisms. The first is
SPIRITUAL and is seen in First Corinthians 12:13. In the moment that an
individual trusts Jesus as Savior, the Holy Ghost baptizes him into the spiritual
body of Christ. This baptism is administered by God once and for all to an
individual believer and cannot be repeated. A Christian's second baptism is
administered by man, usually a preacher, and is a physical, WATER baptism.
This baptism unites an individual to the physical body of Christ, the local church.
The third baptism that a Christian must face is to be FIERY, and is future. That
baptism will be performed by the Lord at the judgment seat of Christ. It is very
unsettling to some Christians when they are told they must face a fiery baptism,
the one seen in First Corinthians 3:11-15. The fiery baptism at the judgment seat
of Christ is not for punishment, or chastisement, but for purification and perfect
sanctification. What the water of the word (Eph. 5:26) does not thoroughly
cleanse while a Christian walks in this world, the fire will cleanse at Christ's
judgment seat (Heb. 10:26-27). There are three aspects of sanctification: by the
Spirit, by water and by fire. This concept of a three-in-one baptism does not
contradict Ephesians 4:5 which states that there is one baptism. The following
verse (Eph. 4:6) says that there is but one God, yet God is three person (I John
5:7). The triune God is revealed as the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost in the
last two verses of Matthew three: And Jesus, (God the SON) when he was
baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were
opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God... (God the HOLY SPIRIT) And
lo a voice from heaven,.. (God the FATHER). In the same way that God is three
persons and yet one God, there are three baptisms which constitute one baptism.
To elaborate on this concept; mankind is one, yet God has divided man into three
distinct groups, the Jews, the Gentiles and the church, or Christians (I Cor. 10:32).
These three distinctly different groups are seen in other passages of scripture,
particularly John 1:10-12. John 1:10 says, He was in the world, and the world
was made by him, and the world knew him not. Notice the word world. It is
used three times in this verse and refers to the inhabited world, people other than
Jews—Gentiles. This same word, world, is found in John 17:9, 14, 16,18, and
First John 2:15-16, among other places, and refers to people who populate this
earth who are not identified as either Jews or Christians. Verse ten of John,
chapter one, is speaking of Gentiles, those who knew not the Lord.
        John 1:11 says, He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
This verse is speaking of Jews. It was to Israel that the promise was given of a
coming Messiah. It was through Israel that the promised Savior was to come. It
was to the Jews that the Son of God was born and the Jews were "his own." The
world (Gentiles) did not KNOW him (verse 10), and the Jews did not WANT him.
        John 1:12 says, But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Those who
receive him become Christians. Christians were once either Jews or Gentiles but
through faith in Jesus Christ have become a part of His body, the church.
To reiterate, these baptisms and those baptized; the three baptisms of each are:
     I.    Gentiles (world):
           1. Spirit (Gen. 1:2),

         2.    water (Gen. 7) ,

         3.    fire (II Pet. 3:10-12, Rev. 20:9).

   II.   Jews (Israel):
         1. Spirit (Red Sea, Ex. 14),

         2. water (Jordan River, Jos. 3:14-17),

         3. fire (the great tribulation, Zech. 13:8-9).

  III.   The Church (Christians).
         1. Spirit (upon being born again, I Cor. 12:13),

         2.    water (upon joining a local church, Acts 19:5),

         3.    fire (at the judgment seat of Christ, I Cor. 3:11-15).
      (Heb. 10:26-27 does not apply to the saved of this age DOCTRINALLY, but
does in TYPE.)
      A Christian's fiery baptism is NOT for PUNISHMENT but for
PURIFICATION. Christians will not stand before a Holy God as his children
without being ABSOLUTELY PURE. What the water of the word does not
cleanse while Christians walk in this sinful world (Eph. 5:26), Christ will purge
with fire at his judgment seat.
      In the verse under study, John the Baptist was speaking to Jews and had
their baptism in mind. Another view of these baptisms comes into focus when
Israel is viewed as a nation, rather than as individual Jews. To paraphrase what
John was saying, "I offer you a water baptism if you repent. If you reject my
baptism there is another coming which will be of the Holy Ghost (Pentecost,
Acts 2), and if you fail to receive it, there is coming still a third baptism of fire"
(the great tribulation, Rev. 8 - 16).
      If the nation Israel had repented and been baptized in the Jordan River,
Christ would have established the kingdom of heaven that he and John were
offering. Because Israel did not repent (Matt. 11:20) and receive John's WATER
baptism, a new age OPENED with a SPIRITUAL baptism (Acts 2), an age which
will CLOSE with a FIERY baptism (Rev. 8 - 16).
      Verse 12. Whose fan is in his hand,.. Fire was mentioned in the two
preceding verses. The fire of verse ten destroys the nonproductive, the fire of
verse eleven purifies the saints of God, and this fire of verse twelve burns the
enemies of God forever and ever.
      These three fires are found in other places in the Bible. The fire of verse ten
relates to the fire in Luke 16:24, where a son of Abraham is seen in flames of
torment. His torment in THAT fire is not eternal, for someday he will be
resurrected to stand before God and judged (Rev. 20:13). The fire of Matthew
3:11, relates to the purging fire of Zechariah 13:9, where the coming tribulation is
shown to be the purifying fire. The fire of verse twelve relates to the fire in
Matthew 25:41 and Revelation 20:10, where the unsaved dead join Satan and his
angels in the eternal lake of fire. There are three different fires, relating to three
different times, three different places, and three different groups of people, for
three different reasons.
      The fan is for separating chaff from grain (Ruth 3:2, Isa. 30:24). Grain
was thrown into the air to let the wind, or a FAN, blow the chaff away. "His
hand," is the hand of Jesus, for Jesus will do the separating himself. This is not
the same separation of Matthew 13:24-30, where angels are sent to separate
hypocrites (tares) from Christians (wheat) at the end of this present age of
grace. The separation spoken of in this verse (Matt. 3:12), pertains to the
nation Israel. This verse has no doctrinal application to the church, but does
have good spiritual applications.
        ...and he will throughly purge his floor... The word throughly is the same
as the word thoroughly, and means totally or completely. Purge means to clean in
a harsh manner, and denotes a purifying from foreign matter. HIS floor is Jesus'
floor and is the area where the threshing is done, in this case, the land of Canaan.
      ...and gather his wheat into the garner;.. It is his fan, his floor, his wheat
and his garner (Luke 3:17). A garner is a barn or storehouse. This verse says that
Jesus does it all.
      ...but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. HE shall
baptize,.. HE will throughly purge,.. HE will burn up the chaff. This reminds us of
Isaiah 63:3, I have trodden the winepress ALONE:.. In glory, it is all Jesus; in
love, it is all Jesus; in wrath, it is all Jesus, and in purifying his people from sin
and evil, the work is all of Jesus and none of man.
      Verse 13. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee... Joseph had ... turned aside...
into Galilee: (Matt. 2:22). Jesus grew up in Nazareth, a city of Galilee.
      ...to Jordan... This was where the full, visible separation of Christ to his
ministry began. The importance of the Jordan River in Jewish religious life can
hardly be overemphasized. The Jordan River was the place of separation.
Abraham was separated from Lot (Gen. 13), and the wilderness of wandering was
separated from the land of promise by the Jordan River. As a baby is separated
from its mother in weaning, in a similar way Israel was separated from God upon
crossing Jordan. God ceased to feed Israel with manna after they crossed Jordan.
      ...unto John,.. The Bible does not say whether John and Jesus had met
before this occasion. John, however, knew who Jesus was, for it was John who
identified Jesus to others (John 1:29).
      ...to be baptized of him. This was not an accidental encounter, but a
premeditated mission, because Jesus came to John for the distinct purpose of being
baptized.
      Verse 14. But John forbad him,.. John was not rebelling against Jesus, but
was showing a lack of understanding at this point in his ministry. Many people
today make the mistake of assuming that John, as well as the apostles, had all
knowledge and understanding of God's ways and will, but this is not true. For
instance, John the Baptist bore record that Jesus ...is the Son of God (John 1:34),
and of John, Jesus said, "...Among them that are born of women there hath not
risen a greater than John the Baptist:.." (Matt. 11:11), yet John, when in prison,
asked, "...Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" (Matt.
11:3). Bewildered apostles are seen in Acts 1:6-11, and a totally confused Peter in
Acts 10:9-17. There was disagreement among the apostles due to a lack of
enlightenment as recorded in Acts 15. The prophets of Old Testament times were
curious as to God's plan (Eph. 3:1-9, I Pet. 1:10-11, Dan. 12:8). Present day
Christians have the complete revelation of God's plans and intentions, and
therefore have no excuse for not knowing more than Israel's kings, priests,
prophets or apostles. We have the entire Bible, AND NO PROPHET, PRIEST,
JUDGE, KING OR APOSTLE HAD THAT.
      ...saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
John made this statement not merely to show his humility and unworthiness, but to
emphasize the magnitude of the righteousness of the one who approached him.
      Verse 15. And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now:..
The word suffer means to allow, release, or permit. The word NOW indicates that
Jesus was agreeing with John about who should baptize who, but NOW it was
John's place to baptize Jesus, not Jesus' place to baptize John. This does not
insinuate that John didn't NEED Jesus' baptism, but that it was not the proper
TIME for that baptism.
      ...for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. The word, becometh,
means proper. Jesus did not say, "...it becometh ME...", but rather he said, "
US..." This "us" could have meant himself and John the Baptist, and might even
have included others whom John had baptized. However, this "US" probably
meant the nation Israel. God expected Israel to live righteously and obediently, a
demand that included baptism in the Jordan River.
      Then he suffered him. That is, John baptized Jesus.
      Verse 16. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway... The
word straightway means in a correct or upright manner. It has the same meaning
as the word straight which is used in Matthew 3:3, where it is said ...make his
paths straight.
      ...out of the water:.. It is not likely that Jesus went into the Jordan River to
be sprinkled. Baptism is immersion and portrays the gospel which is the death,
burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:1-11, I Cor. 15:1-4).
      ...and, lo... The word lo means to look, see, and pay attention.
      ...the heavens... There are three heavens; the first heaven is the earthly
atmosphere where birds fly; the second heaven is the place of the stars; and the
third heaven is the abode of God which is also the heaven of heavens.
      ...were opened unto him... The veil was pulled back so that John might see
heaven opened and hear the voice of God.
      ...and he (John the Baptist) saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove,..
John saw the Holy Spirit descend from heaven, "...LIKE a dove." This statement
has given rise to the belief that the Holy Spirit looks like a dove. John said his
DESCENT was as a dove descends and Luke 3:22 says that when he came upon
Jesus he was in the BODILY SHAPE of a dove, but that does not indicate that the
Holy Spirit ALWAYS appears this way. In fact, this was probably the only time
that the Holy Spirit took the form of a dove.
      ...and lighting upon him: This was not the first time that the Spirit of the
Lord had come upon someone. He had come upon Othniel, Caleb's brother (Jud.
3:9-10) and upon Balaam, the false prophet (Num. 24:2). The same Spirit had
come upon Gideon (Jud. 6:34), and Jephthah (Jud. 11:29). He had come upon
King Saul (I Sam. 10:6-10), and Zechariah (II Chr. 24:20). There is a difference,
however, in the manner in which the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus, for it is stated
that he lighted upon him in a manner visible to John. The scripture does not say
whether anyone else saw the Holy Spirit descend and light upon Him, but John did
because he said, "...I SAW, and bear record..." (John 1:34). It was not just the
Spirit's descending upon Jesus that revealed his identity to John, but rather the
Spirit's REMAINING on him (John 1:33).
      Verse 17. And lo a voice from heaven,.. John received additional evidence
that this was the promised Christ. He not only saw the Holy Spirit visibly descend
upon Jesus, but also heard God's voice from heaven. John both SAW and
HEARD, yet Christians today have an even more sure foundation for their faith;
the more sure word of prophecy (II Pet. 1:19). Christians have the entire Bible,
God's complete revelation to man. All that God wants man to know about himself,
his nature, his attributes, and his plans is given in the Holy Scripture.
      ...saying, This is my beloved Son,.. God himself said that Jesus was his Son
and also declared that he was his beloved. Yet, God loved man enough to allow
heaven's precious Jewel to suffer and die for his sins.
      ...in whom I am well pleased. A father is proud of his son, especially when
he dedicates his life to pleasing his father, which is what Jesus did (John 8:29).
Christians are sons of God, and as such should dedicate their lives to pleasing their
heavenly Father. How blessed are those with whom God the Father is well
pleased.
                     CHAPTER THREE, EPILOGUE

This chapter deals with the herald of the King, John the Baptist and the
baptism of Jesus. The person and ministry of Jesus was declared righteous
by his fulfilling all righteousness.
What John preached was to be the early theme of Jesus' and the apostles'
messages.
           John's message was a message of the KINGDOM. He
     preached, "REPENT for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
     Since the kingdom was "at hand," the King also had to have been
     "at hand."
           The primary reason for Jesus' first coming was NOT to
     establish His church. He came to offer the promised kingdom to
     the Jews. Thus was the message of John the Baptist who probably
     never so much as heard the word "church".




CHAPTER 4

       Verse 1. Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit... The Bible reveals that God
is a triune Deity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (I John
5:7, see comments on 3:11). Sometimes God the Father is in the position of
leadership with Jesus and the Holy Spirit in subjection to His will, and sometimes
it is another way. In this situation, Jesus is in subjection to the leadership of the
Holy Spirit.
       Christians are told to, ...be filled with the Spirit; (Eph. 5:18). They are also
told to, Walk in the Spirit,.. (Gal. 5:16), and in Galatians 5:18 God says, "But if
ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Therefore, if Christians
would be FILLED with the Spirit, WALK in the Spirit and be LED of the Spirit,
all the demands of the law are met by the Holy Spirit, because the Spirit that is in
Christians is the Spirit of LOVE, and love is the fulfillment of the law (Gal. 5:14).
      The eighth chapter of Romans contrasts the Spirit with the flesh, and reveals
that God works through the SPIRIT to save and influence the souls of men, while
Satan works through the FLESH to influence and damn the souls of men.
      ...into the wilderness... Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and THEN
led by the Spirit into the wilderness, WHERE HE MET SATAN. Someday the
children of Israel will be DRIVEN into the wilderness by the devil incarnate, the
antichrist (Mark 13:14-18, Rev. 12:6, 14), WHERE THEY WILL MEET THE
LORD (Ez. 20:35-37). Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the
devil, and the people of Israel will be driven into the wilderness BECAUSE THAT
IS WHERE THEY TEMPTED GOD (Ex. 17:7). After meeting the Lord in the
wilderness at Sinai (where they chose to reject his leadership), Israel WILL BE
LED ACROSS JORDAN (baptized) BY JESUS, AND WILL ENTER THE
PROMISED LAND, NEVER TO LEAVE AGAIN. In that day, God will make a
new covenant with Israel, and will be their God, and they will be his people (Jer.
31:31-34).
      There is also a wilderness of testing for the redeemed of this age. It is that
period of time between someone's giving his SOUL to Jesus Christ for its eternal
salvation (Rom. 10:9), and his willingness to give him his LIFE for total service
(Rom. 12:1).
      The verse under study says that Jesus was, ...LED up of the Spirit... while
Mark 1:12 says, ...the Spirit DRIVETH him... This apparent contradiction
presents no problem if BOTH statements are accepted as true and accurate
accounts. The Holy Spirit surrounded Jesus, BOTH PRECEDING AND
FOLLOWING HIM, both leading and driving him.
      ...to be tempted of the devil. Christians have a perfect High Priest who was
tempted in all points, just as saints are (Heb. 4:15). It is comforting to know that
Jesus knows all of man's trials and temptations. No man will ever be able to
accuse God of not understanding the pain, suffering, trials, and temptations of this
world and life (Heb. 2:18).
      The temptation of Jesus was God's plan from the beginning to end. A great
controversy has prevailed for centuries over the point, that being God, Jesus could
not be tempted. Those who believe he could not be tempted base their view on
James 1:13, but that scripture states that God cannot be tempted WITH EVIL,
WHICH DOES NOT MEAN THAT JESUS COULD NOT BE SUBJECTED TO
THE SAME TYPE OF TEMPTATION ENCOUNTERED BY EVE, WHICH
OCCURRED BEFORE SHE OR ADAM KNEW GOOD FROM EVIL. If
Jesus could not have been SUBJECTED to temptation, then the forty days and
nights he spent in the wilderness were in vain. The point is NOT that Jesus
COULD NOT BE TEMPTED, but that being God, HE WOULD NOT YIELD
TO TEMPTATION (not that he COULD not, for being God, he could have done
anything he wanted to).
       Jesus was tempted for three reasons. First, he was tempted to reveal to the
devil and all men everywhere, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, God in the
flesh. Ordinary humans cannot withstand the devil's temptation. Adam, the most
perfect man (other than Jesus) failed when the devil tempted him, AND THE
DEVIL DID NOT HAVE TO TEMPT HIM DIRECTLY BUT ONLY
THROUGH HIS WIFE (Gen. 3). Second, Jesus was tempted so that his
worthiness and sinlessness, declared by his not having yielded to the tempter,
might be revealed. Third, he was tempted that he might be an understanding and
perfect High Priest for his saints.
       Verse 2. And when he had fasted... Spiritual strength is gained by fasting
whether the person fasting is lost or saved. Hindus, Buddhists and people in other
religions often realize the value of fasting. They fast that their spirit (the spirit of
the world) might be strengthened. India's ruler of a few decades ago, Ghandi,
became a great leader through the strength and influence gained by fasting. A
Christian fasts so that he might be an instrument of God, ready to be led by the
Holy Spirit. A Christian should never attempt to fast unless he is totally submitted
to God for there are spirits in the world other than the Holy Spirit which can bear
great influence on him while he is fasting (I John 4:1).
       ...forty days and forty nights,.. The number forty appears many times in the
Bible; however, other than in the three accounts of Jesus' fasting recorded in
Matthew, Mark and Luke, the expression, "forty days and forty nights," appears on
only four other occasions, three of which are also in relation to someone fasting.
It is seen in Exodus 24:18 and Exodus 34:28, where both instances are related to
the time Moses spent with God on Mount Sinai, and in First Kings 19:8, which
says that Elijah fasted forty days and forty nights in Horeb, the mountain range
where Sinai is located. The expression is found in Genesis 7:12 in relation to the
forty days and nights it rained during the great flood. In the record of the flood, a
mountain is mentioned (Gen. 8:4), although no one is said to have fasted on that
occasion.
       Moses and Elijah had several things in common: both fasted the same length
of time, both fasted on the same mountain and both expressed exasperation over
God's people and God's instructions. Both were with Jesus on the "Holy Mount"
(II Pet. 1:18), which is Sinai; both have something to do with the Second Coming
of Jesus (Mal. 4:4-5), and both will be on earth during the great tribulation (Rev.
11:3-12). The wilderness to which Jesus was led to fast and be tempted was the
same wilderness in which Israel wandered many years before, the wilderness of
Sinai. The "exceeding high mountain" upon which Satan carried Jesus (Matt. 4:8)
was Mount Sinai, the place of temptation (Deu. 6:16, Psa. 78:17-18, 39-40, 95:8-
10).
      ...he was afterward an hungered. Forty days and nights without food
would indeed cause anyone to be hungry. The number forty is the number of
testing or the number of temptation. For example: the children of Israel wandered
forty years in the wilderness, and were given forty years to accept the kingdom
after they crucified Jesus (33 A.D. to 73 A.D., Masada).
      Verse 3. And when the tempter came to him... When the tempter came to
Adam and Eve, they failed (Gen. 3), and when the tempter came to Simon Peter,
he failed (Matt. 16:21-23). The only person who ever withstood the temptation of
Satan was the Lord Jesus Christ. Man does not gain victory over sin or get to
heaven by overcoming Satan, but rather through faith in the only One who did.
      ...he said, If... That's how Satan began his conversation with Eve, with a
question, "Yea, hath God said,..?" Satan's statement to Jesus, "IF thou be the
Son of God,..", though not phrased as a question, was worded in such a way that
it cast doubt on Jesus' authority and QUESTIONED HIS IDENTITY! Satan used
the word IF, not the word SINCE as some "scholars" claim.
      On the basis of the assumption that Satan knew that Jesus was the Christ, a
professor in a seminary stated emphatically that the word "if" in this verse was
mistranslated and should have been "since." On another occasion, during a late
night radio broadcast, a leader of a religious cult defended his teaching that there
was no literal hell, by saying that no one entered paradise at death, but had to wait
until Judgment Day to see if he was "going to enter the kingdom." He held
strongly to his doctrine that Paradise was only a future hope, and could be entered
by no one until the kingdom comes, and he used the Bible to substantiate his
teaching. He referred to Luke 23:43 which states that Jesus said, "Verily I say
unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise," and SAID THAT THE
KING JAMES TRANSLATORS HAD MADE A MISTAKE. He said that they
had misplaced a comma and went on to explain that Jesus was NOT telling the
thief on the cross that he would be with him in Paradise THAT day, but that he
would be in Paradise SOMEDAY. His argument was that the Bible SHOULD
have stated that Jesus said, "Verily I say unto thee today, shalt thou be with me in
paradise," and explained that Jesus was SPEAKING to the thief "today," but that
paradise was where the thief "shall" be someday. This cult leader moved the
comma from its proper position BEFORE the word "today" (two words in some
Bibles), and placed it AFTER the word "today." All he did was move a comma by
one word WHICH CHANGED THE ENTIRE MEANING OF THE VERSE.
Many Christians, preachers and laymen alike, warn others about this man and his
teachings. YET, THAT FALSE PROPHET HAD JUST AS MUCH RIGHT TO
MOVE THAT COMMA OVER BY ONE WORD AS ANY SEMINARY
PROFESSOR, PREACHER, BIBLE SCHOLAR OR ANYONE ELSE HAS TO
CHANGE THE WORD "IF" TO THE WORD SINCE, IN THIS VERSE
UNDER STUDY. NO ONE EXCEPT GOD HAS THE AUTHORITY TO
CHANGE THE SCRIPTURE FOR ANY REASON. The main reason some want
to change words or wordings is that they do not like what God said, or they do not
understand what God said, and the reason they do not understand is that they do
not BELIEVE what God said, as He said it.
       Whatever argument anyone presents, THE WORD IN MATTHEW 4:3 IS
STILL "IF."
       ...thou be the Son of God,.. Satan did not know, for there was no way he
could have known. He was not present at the birth of Jesus, for the atmosphere
around that scene was filled with a multitude of the heavenly host (Luke 2:13).
The birth of Jesus was sacred and holy, and protected from evil eyes by the angels
of God. Old Simeon identified Jesus as the Christ soon after He was born, but that
was by special revelation of the Holy Ghost (Luke 2:25-32). Now this is not to
suggest that Satan did not know Christ. He knew him well, for they had been
together in heaven (Ez. 28:13-14) and had even fought against one another in
battle (Zech. 14:2).
       Of course Satan knew Christ! But, he had no way of knowing that Jesus,
born in humble surroundings, raised in a carpenter's home, grown to manhood,
was the Christ. Satan needed to know; "WAS THIS MAN JESUS, THE
CHRIST?" He could have simply asked; but had this man to whom John the
Baptist pointed and said, "Behold the Lamb of God," not been the Christ, he could
have lied about who he was and Satan still would not have known. Satan had to
KNOW. Was this man who stood before him, this Jesus of Nazareth, was He the
fulfillment of the promise God made so many years before to Eve? (Gen. 3:15).
The only sure way of finding out was to put him to the test. If he was the Son of
God HE WOULD NOT SIN and would endure the test, but if he were just
another son of fallen man, he could not resist his temptation. Satan knew that this
was the only infallible way of identifying Jesus as the Christ.
       It was only AFTER the temptation by Satan that it is written THAT ANY
DEMON KNEW WHO JESUS WAS. AFTER his temptation, the demons knew
him and verbally declared him to be the Holy One of God (Mark 1:24), and the
Son of God (Mark 3:11). Until their master Satan identified Jesus as the Christ,
these devils had no way of knowing that Jesus was God's Son. When they knew,
the battle against him began in earnest.
       ...command that these stones be made bread. Satan knew that the Son of
God could perform this miracle and that no ordinary human could. This same
Christ had fed the children of Israel in the wilderness for forty years.
       This appeal was to the flesh and was the first of a three point attack.
       Verse 4. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by
bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Jesus answered from the word of God, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3. The Bible
speaks of food for the flesh and food for the spirit and without both, the soul
suffers from malnutrition. Bread is food for the flesh, for both bread and flesh are
products of the earth (Gen. 3:19). The word of God is food for the spirit for both
the word and the spirit come from God: ...and the Word was God (John 1:1),
...the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit,.. (John 6:63).
       Jesus said, "it is written,.." and when he said that he meant that it is settled
forever and cannot be altered.
       Verse 5. Then the devil... The devil appears in the Bible by many names.
In Revelation 12:9 he is not only called the Devil, but Satan, that old serpent, and
the great dragon. Before his rebellion he was called, "Lucifer, son of the
morning" (Isa. 14:12), and in Ezekiel 28:14 he is called, "the anointed cherub
that covereth." He is (or was) very beautiful. (Ez. 28:17), for God created him
that way (Ez. 28:13, 15). THE BIBLE DOES NOT SAY THAT SATAN WAS
CREATED AN ANGEL, but rather A CHERUB, which is of a higher order than
angels. He is said to be as a roaring lion (I Pet. 5:8), and a wily enemy of God's
saints (Eph. 6:11-18). While Satan was not CREATED an angel, he is said to
have been TRANSFORMED into an angel, EVEN AN ANGEL OF LIGHT (II
Cor. 11:14). God granted Satan power second only to the power of the Triune
God Himself. He has angels under his command (Rev. 12:7), and God has
prepared an eternal place of punishment for both him and his angels (Matt. 25:41).
Satan fought against Jesus for a long, long time, and two thousand years ago he
lost the battle. Jesus' victory at Calvary spelled doom for Satan and all his subjects
(John 16:11). Although he is still free and active, his last great hurrah has not yet
come. After his last great stand he will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit
for a thousand years (Rev. 20:3). When the thousand years are over, he will be
released upon the earth for a brief period of time, only to be cast into the eternal
lake of fire (Rev. 20:3, 10).
       Satan is not only a person, but a spiritual being with great deceptive power,
even deceiving himself into believing that he has not lost his battle against Jesus
(II Thess. 2:4). His hope is to rule both heaven and earth (Isa. 14:13-14) and
someday he will achieve a great portion of that goal (II Thess. 2:4, Dan. 7:25, 8:9-
12).
       ...taketh him up into the holy city,.. The holy city is Jerusalem, and
Jerusalem means God's peace. This city which has known conflict and war for so
many centuries will someday be the capital of the world. In that day the word and
the law will go forth throughout all the earth from the city of Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2-
4). Until then, there will be no real peace on earth.
      ...and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, The pinnacle of the temple
was the highest point of the tallest building in Jerusalem. From there, one could
view the entire city and the surrounding area, and anyone perched on the pinnacle
of the temple could be seen by people throughout the city and the surrounding
area.
      Verse 6. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God,.. For the second
time the devil said, "IF thou be the Son of God." He still was not sure.
      ...cast thyself down:.. This appeal to "cast thyself down," was not aimed at
the flesh as was the first temptation, but at the soul, the mind. Pride is involved in
this temptation. In the first thrust of Satan's temptation he suggested that Jesus
turn stones into bread. The stones were undoubtedly on the ground and Jesus
would have had to REACH DOWN to get bread. In the second thrust of
temptation, Satan urged Jesus to CAST HIMSELF DOWN. In the third thrust
(verses 8 & 9), Satan's persuasion was an attempt to get Jesus to FALL DOWN
AND WORSHIP HIM.
      Jesus came DOWN to earth (John 3:13) that he might be lifted UP (John
3:14). At his first coming Jesus cast out Satan (John 12:31), while at his Second
Coming he will bind Satan (Rev. 20:1-2), so that the day will come when Satan
will bow DOWN before Jesus and confess that He is Lord (Rom. 14:11, Phil.
2:10).
Satan was intelligent enough to know that if he could get Jesus to cast himself
down from the temple that he, Satan, would be the winner, whether angels
protected and bore Jesus up or not. If there was no angelic intervention, then
Jesus would be killed. If angels DID bear him up, Satan's purpose would still
have been served, for pride would have been involved. Pride is the opposite of
humility and the work of Jesus required complete humility. Any degree of
pride would have destroyed his humility, thereby destroying his works. This
"casting himself down," and being "borne up by angels," would have been like
a circus performance, witnessed by a great multitude.
      ...for it is written,.. This time Satan appealed to the Scripture. He too
knows that when God writes something in His book that it is settled forever. Satan
knows that the most powerful weapon that exists in all creation is the word of God
(Eph. 6:17, Heb. 4:12).
      ...He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands
they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Satan was correct according to the scripture quoted (Psa. 91:11-12) EXCEPT FOR
SEVEN WORDS. He left out seven words, ...to keep thee in all thy ways. The
thought expressed in these seven words is that as long as Jesus did all those things
which were pleasing to God (he did, John 8:29), he would have angelic protection.
Christians, as God's children, also have divine protection. The protection that God
has given Christians exceeds that which angels can provide, for Christians have
the indwelling Holy Spirit. But, even though they have this divinely given
protection, they, by grieving the Spirit, can diminish His power to protect.
Although Christians often grieve the Spirit, he never LEAVES NOR FORSAKES
THEM, because when he entered, he sealed himself in (Eph. 4:30).
      Concerning the temptation of Jesus; any action on his part had to be an act of
his own free will, otherwise it would have been of no benefit to Satan. If Satan
could have MADE Jesus sin (which he could not) it would not have served his
purpose.
      Verse 7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again,.. As in the first
temptation, Jesus answered with the sword of scripture. Christians seldom use the
proper weapon against the devil. They have been given a sword, which is the
word of God (Eph. 6:17). The only thing that a Christian has that Satan fears is
the word of God, and it is usually the last thing they use to fight him. Their
armour is the word, their shield is the word, and their weapon is the word. In
many churches today, the Bible is in second place of authority and sometimes the
last place. There are some "churches" where the word of God has NO PLACE.
No wonder Satan is winning so many victories in these last days. Christians have
been misled to believe that they can fight against Satan with human organizations,
human endeavors and humanly devised techniques, and it was Satan himself who
led them to believe it, because he himself is the originator of the organizations,
endeavors, and techniques.
      ...thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Jesus was in the wilderness
when he was tempted; Horeb is in the wilderness and Sinai is in Horeb. The first
record of anyone tempting God was in Horeb and is recorded in Exodus 17:2-7.
This is the same place where Moses met the Lord earlier in the burning bush when
God called the place "holy ground" (Ex. 3:5). Peter called the mount of
transfiguration "the holy mount" (II Pet. 1:18). In First Kings 19:8, Mt. Horeb is
called, "the mount of God," so all these references are to one and the same place.
      It was at Sinai that the children of Israel tempted God and it was at Sinai that
the devil tempted Jesus.
      Before Exodus 17:7, it is not recorded that anyone ever tempted God.
Pharaoh opposed God and denied God, but as evil as he was, he never tempted
God.
      The incident at Sinai (Horeb) marked the great turning point for the children
of Israel. At that time and place they found themselves having to FIGHT THEIR
OWN BATTLE (Ex 17:8-13). Before that, God had done their fighting for them
(Ex. 14). God had come between Pharaoh's army and Israel, thereby giving them
absolute protection. He had opened the Red Sea, led his people safely through,
then closed the sea upon the armies of Egypt. He fed the Israelites with manna
and provided for their every need and was gracious enough to tolerate their
grumbling. But when Israel, having seen and enjoyed all the graciousness and
goodness of God, had the audacity to say, "Is the Lord among us, or not?" (Ex.
17:7), God's attitude toward them changed because they had tempted him. It was
at that time and place that Moses' chore became extremely burdensome (Ex.
18:13). And, because the children of Israel would not listen to HIS voice, God
gave Moses another voice to which he should NOT have listened, Jethro's. Jethro
was NOT A JEW (Ex. 18:24, Rom. 3:2). It was AFTER the children of Israel
tempted Him and listened to the wrong voice, that God gave them the LAW (Ex.
20). The writer of Hebrews refers to this specific event at Sinai, and states clearly
that it was because they tempted God that that generation was not permitted to
enter the Promised Land (Heb. 3:8-11). Moses, years later, when pleading with
the Israelites to keep all the laws and statutes of God, reminded them of their great
sin of having tempted God (Deu. 6:16), and said that it was in Massah (Sinai).
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
      Verse 8. Again, the devil taketh him up... In verse one, Jesus was LED UP
by the Spirit into the wilderness, in verse five he was TAKEN UP by the devil to
the pinnacle of the temple, and here he is TAKEN UP by the devil upon a high
mountain. The clear indication is that each move and temptation took Jesus a little
higher than the one before.
      ...into an exceeding high mountain... This exceeding high mountain was
Sinai. This is the only "high" mountain found in the New Testament other than
the one in Revelation 21:10, which COULD be Sinai, and the mount of
transfiguration (Matt. 17:1, Mark 9:2), WHICH WAS SINAI.
      ...and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world... The kingdoms of this
world are the developments and advancements made by mankind under Satan's
rule. This includes all human systems; political, social, economic, religious, etc.,
both "good" and bad. It includes all of man's discoveries and advancements in
science, chemistry, medicine, music, sports, entertainment, etc. Jesus said that
Satan was the prince of this world (John 16:11), and as prince of this world, has
dominion over the kingdom of man, which is also called the kingdom of darkness
(Eph. 6:12, Col. 1:13). As a prince over his kingdom, Satan has many subjects:
fallen angels (Rev. 12:4), demons, (or devils, Matt. 12:24), and every unsaved
person sane enough to be accountable for his own deeds (John 8:44, Eph. 2:2).
      Even though Satan is the prince of the kingdom of man, God rules it AND
GIVES IT TO WHOMSOEVER HE WILL (Dan. 4:17, 25, 32).
      Both John the Baptist and Jesus came offering the kingdom of HEAVEN to
Israel based on their repentance and baptism in the Jordan River.
      On Mount Sinai, Satan offered the kingdom of MAN to Jesus on the basis of
his falling down and worshipping him (verse 9).
      ...and the glory of them; To believe and say that there is no glory or
splendor in the kingdom of man is to deny its attractiveness. If it had no glory, it
could not ensnare man because there would be nothing appealing about it. If it
had no appeal, then the bright lights of the cities would not have led so many
people into sin. The lights of Broadway, Vegas and Hollywood have kept many
souls bound in the kingdom of darkness.
      Satan showed Jesus all his dominion, the kingdoms of this world, as they
were then, and probably as they are today at their pinnacle of glory. Luke adds
that he did it in a moment of time (Luke 4:5).
      Verse 9. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee,.. They were
his to give; therefore, Jesus never disputed Satan's right to offer them. He had
won dominion over all these things in the Garden of Eden. Luke records that
Satan also said, "...for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I
give it" (Luke 4:6). This in no way contradicts the scripture recorded in Daniel
four which states that God rules in the kingdom of man and gives it to
whomsoever HE wants. It simply shows that GOD CHOSE TO PLACE IT IN
SATAN'S HANDS FOR AS LONG AS HE WANTS HIM TO HAVE IT. In the
temptation of Jesus, Satan did not offer him a position IN his kingdom, but
dominion OVER it.
      ...if thou wilt fall down and worship me. It is God's desire to be LOVED
and worshipped while it is Satan's desire to be ADMIRED and worshipped. There
is a close relationship between the words love, worship and admire, but there is
also a notable difference. You can ADMIRE someone without loving or
worshipping him, and you can WORSHIP someone without loving or admiring
him (out of fear). But, you cannot TRULY LOVE someone without admiring and
worshipping him. God wants people to worship him because they LOVE him, not
because they admire or fear him. Satan wants to be worshipped whether the
motive is admiration, fear or anything else. The difference between the worship
God wants and the worship Satan wants IS DETERMINED BY THE MOTIVE
BEHIND IT.
      Verse 10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan:.. Jesus
called on no one to rebuke Satan, but did it himself. This was something the
mighty angel Michael did not do, but rather called on the Lord, saying to Satan,
"The Lord rebuke thee" (Jude 9). Jesus did not have to call on the Lord; HE IS
THE LORD.
      The word "hence" means away from this place. Jesus told him that he had
no further business there, and it was time for him to leave. Satan left (verse 11),
but returned briefly to encounter Jesus on at least two other occasions before Jesus
died (Matt. 16:23, Luke 22:3) and will come back to earth to have his last hurrah
before many more years (Rev. 13).
      Luke recorded that Jesus told Satan, "get thee behind me, Satan:.." (Luke
4:8) and by that statement, Jesus simply put Satan in his place.
      ...for it is written,.. There were three temptations, and Jesus answered with
three scriptures, wielding the sword of the Spirit (Heb. 4:12) which is the word of
God (Eph. 6:17).
      ...thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Jesus referred to Deuteronomy 6:13, and changed the wording slightly, WHICH
HE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO DO, AND NO ONE BUT GOD HAS THAT
AUTHORITY. Jesus changed the word "fear," to "worship," which depicts one
of the differences between the Old and the New Testaments. The quotation from
Deuteronomy is in relation to the sin committed by Israel at MT. SINAI. Sinai
denotes law, works, wrath, and FEAR. Jesus changed the word fear, to
WORSHIP. Worship, as God wants it, must be the product of LOVE, and THAT
REFERS TO MOUNT CALVARY.
      Verse 11. Then the devil leaveth him,.. Jesus did not win by out-debating
Satan. No Christian ever "wins" a debate. Debating Satan, OR HIS PEOPLE, will
never help the cause of Christ. When a Christian and a non-Christian enter a
debate over scriptural matters, the Christian never wins, even when he bests his
opponent in the debate. Preachers are told to present the scripture as it is, to
people as they are. When presented with the power of love, the word of God is the
weapon against which none can stand. Every attempt on the part of Satan to tempt
Jesus only resulted in his having been slashed with the sword of the word. After
three consecutive wounds, Satan left. His departure, however, was only
temporary, because Luke 4:13 says that Satan, ...departed from him for a
season. Another occasion when Satan came into the presence of the Lord and
struck out at him was through Jesus' friend, Simon Peter (Matt. 16:23), at which
time Jesus told him again to get behind him. Satan departed for a little season, and
came a third time, that time choosing to enter into Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:3).
Satan possessed Judas Iscariot, while he only influenced Peter. A person who is
born again cannot have the same experience that Judas had, but THE SAME
THING THAT HAPPENED TO PETER CAN HAPPEN TO A CHRISTIAN.
Satan can POSSESS the FLESH of a Christian, can even INFLUENCE the SOUL
of a Christian, but can neither POSSESS NOR INFLUENCE the SPIRIT of a
Christian. No Christian is on safer ground than was Peter when Satan influenced
him. Being born again does not mean that a Christian is not susceptible to the
wiles and influence of Satan. Warnings against the wiles and devices of Satan are
not issued to unsaved people, but to saved people (Eph. 6:11, I Pet. 5:8-9). Luke
22:46 says that a Christian's best defense against Satan's attack is prayer and
Ephesians 6:10-17 says that prayer should be preceded by preparation, which is
putting on the whole armour of God.
       ...and, behold,.. The word behold means to see or observe, and is usually
found in the scripture associated with something unusual. Approximately 85% of
the more than four hundred times the word behold appears in the New Testament,
it is in connection with something miraculous.
       ...angels came and ministered unto him. One of the functions of angels is
to minister to God's people (Heb. 1:13-14). Angels were present in great numbers
when Christ was born (Luke 2:13-15), and were present and immediately available
at his death (Matt. 26:53).
       Verse 12. Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison...
John was put in prison by Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. Herod the Great
tried to kill Jesus (Matt. 2:16), failed, and died while Mary, Joseph and Jesus were
in Egypt. Herod the Great was called Herod the king (Matt. 2:1), and his son was
called Herod the tetrarch (Matt. 14:1, Luke 3:1). Herod the tetrarch had
imprisoned John because John had spoken out in condemnation of his marriage to
Herodias, the wife of Herod's brother, Philip. John said that the marriage was
unlawful and Herodias was angered by his statement (Mark 6:19). While John
was in prison, Herodias tricked her husband into having John beheaded, even
though it grieved him to do so (Mark 6:22-26).
       ...he departed into Galilee; This was his home, his native state where he
had been raised to manhood (Matt. 2:22).
       Verse 13. And leaving Nazareth,.. Luke 4:29 says that he left Nazareth
because they thrust him out. Those who thrust him out were people of his own
hometown, people with whom he was raised and who knew him and his parents
(Luke 4:22). These people did not like or want Jesus because they did not like
what he SAID. The WORDS Jesus spoke so angered the people of Nazareth that
they attempted to kill him (Luke 4:29). Their very action and attitude fulfilled
what Jesus said in Mark 6:4 and Luke 4:24 concerning himself and concerning the
people's response to him: that no prophet is accepted in his own country. When
John recorded, He came unto his own, and his own received him not (John
1:11), this was literal in more than one way. "His own" not only meant the Jews
as a nation, but meant his own neighbors, those of his own hometown, his own
city, Nazareth, and even his own family (Mark 6:4).
       ...he came and dwelt in Capernaum,.. After his baptism and temptation, the
first place Jesus went to preach was in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16).
When the people there made it clear that they did not want him, he left and dwelt
in Capernaum. On arriving there, the first thing he did was go to the synagogue
and teach (Mark 1:21, Luke 4:31). Capernaum became Jesus' "headquarters," the
city from which he went forth ministering.
       ...which is upon the sea coast,.. The sea referred to is the sea of Galilee,
which is also called the sea of Chinnereth in the Old Testament (Num. 34:11),
Josh. 13:27, Gennesaret in the New Testament, Luke 5:1), and also, the Sea of
Tiberias (John 6:1). This was in the northern most part of Israel, an area where
few significant cities were located. The city of Capernaum is mentioned only in
relation to the earthly ministry of Jesus, and therefore, only in the four gospels.
       ...in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: This places the location on
the border of the land designated to Zabulon and Nephtahalim, two of Jacob's
sons. They had received property adjoining one another to the northwest of the
Sea of Galilee. Capernaum was among the larger cities of this area and was one of
the cities upon which Jesus later pronounced judgment (Matt. 11:20-24).
       Verse 14. That it might be fulfilled... This is the fifth time that the word,
fulfilled, is used in Matthew (1:22, 2:15, 2:17, 2:23, 4:14). In each case, it is
found in connection with something spoken by a prophet. When Jesus quoted
scripture to Satan (Matt. 4:4, 7, 10), he said, "It is WRITTEN." often, something
that an Old Testament prophet is said to have SPOKEN, cannot be found
WRITTEN by him or any other prophet. Everything that every prophet SPOKE
was not necessarily WRITTEN. In the case at hand, it happens that what the
prophet Esaias (Isaiah), SPOKE, he also WROTE (Isa. 9:1-2).
       ...which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Matthew recorded that
Isaiah SPOKE these things, and they are WRITTEN in Isaiah 9:1-2 and 42:6-7.
       Verse 15. The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way
of the sea,.. This region was located on the West Bank of the Jordan and of the
Sea of Galilee.
       ...beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; This territory west of Jordan
(beyond) was inhabited by Gentiles before God gave it to Israel. Both Zabulon
(Zebulon, Jud. 1:30) and Nephthalim (Naphtali, Jud. 1:33) failed to drive the
Gentiles from their land as God had told them (Num. 33:51:52); therefore, many
Gentiles still lived there in the days of Jesus.
       Verse 16. The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them
which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. This is a
reference to Isaiah 9:2 which is a great promise to both Jews and Gentiles. In
Isaiah 9:1 the expression "nations" is used, and in Matthew 4:15 the expression
"Gentiles", and both refer to one and the same people. This reveals that
sometimes those who are not Jews are referred to as NATIONS and sometimes as
GENTILES.
       The people which sat in darkness ... Satan's kingdom is called a kingdom
of darkness (Eph. 6:12, I Pet. 2:9). In this age, this includes all men outside the
kingdom of God, which all men are until they are saved (Eph. 5:8). In this verse
(16:4) the expression, ...people... in darkness... is speaking of Gentiles, since
Jews were not in darkness, already having the light of God's word (Rom. 3:1-2).
       ...saw great light;.. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world:.." (John 8:12),
and also said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John
9:5). The Gentiles of Galilee indeed saw great light because they saw THE great
light, the source of all light, Jesus Christ.
       ...and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death... Darkness is
related to death. All men everywhere were in darkness and ...were dead in
trespasses and sins; (Eph. 2:1), until they accepted life and light through Jesus
Christ.
       ...light is sprung up. The apostle John wrote, That was the true Light,
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). When Jesus
walked among these people, God walked among men. He was in the world...
among the Gentiles, ...and the world knew him not. The very people among
whom Jesus walked did not even know who he was (John 1:10).
       Verse 17. From that time... Jesus began his preaching ministry at this time.
He did not preach prior to this.
       ...Jesus began to preach,.. According to Luke's account the first place Jesus
preached was in his own synagogue, where he attended regularly (Luke 4:16). He
preached to his own home folk, in his hometown of Nazareth. The first people to
whom he preached were his own "friends and neighbors" who knew him (Luke
4:22). By today's standards, Jesus' first message was a failure (Luke 4:17-27), for
those who listened to him did not like what they heard (Luke 4:28-29).
       ...and to say, Repent:.. John the Baptist preached, calling for repentance
and so did Jesus. Repentance was a prerequisite for the kingdom's advent. If there
were no repentance on the part of the Jews, there would be no righteous kingdom
on earth.
       Repentance on the part of the Jews meant turning back to the laws and
statutes God had given them. That was the part of Jesus' message they did not
like, the part that called for repentance.
       Repentance on the part of the Gentiles meant turning back to something they
once knew. Every sane person knows that there is a power higher than his own,
even if he will not admit it. Every human being on earth is a descendant of Noah,
and Noah AND ALL HIS FAMILY KNEW GOD. Over the centuries mankind
has drifted further and further away from God, even to the point where many SAY
that they believe there is no God. God does not hold these people guiltless but
declares them to be without excuse (Rom. 1:20). With these people, repentance
must begin with their admitting that God IS (Heb. 11:6). BUT ADMITTING
THAT GOD IS, IS NOT SALVATION. God grants salvation to believers who by
faith TRUST him. Repentance is not required in order for someone to believe
God, but believing God always produces repentance.
       When the Philippian jailer cried out, "...what must I do to be saved?", Paul
and Silas said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,.."
(Acts 16:30-31). Nothing was said about repentance. Repentance, during this age
of grace, is a work God does in a Christian when he believes in his heart that
Christ died for his sins, that He was buried, and that God raised Him from the dead
the third day, and receives Him as his Saviour. Under grace, repentance will not
produce salvation BUT SALVATION ALWAYS PRODUCES REPENTANCE.
Without repentance TOWARD GOD there is no salvation. (See comments on 3:2.)
       ...for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Of the four gospels, only Matthew
used the term, "kingdom of heaven." Mark, Luke, and John used the term,
"kingdom of God," a term Matthew used five times. When John wrote of the
kingdom of God, he said that no one could enter it except by a new birth (John
3:3-8). The kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven ARE NOT ONE AND
THE SAME. Jesus never preached the gospel of the kingdom of GOD in
GALILEE until after the imprisonment of John the Baptist. John's death was a
turning point in the earthly ministry of Jesus. Until John's imprisonment and
death, both John and Jesus preached, "repent, the kingdom of heaven is a hand"
(Matt. 3:2, 4:17). After John was put in prison (Mark 1:14), Jesus preached,
...repent ye, and believe the gospel (Mark 1:15), and later, after the death of John
the Baptist, Jesus preached, ...whosoever believeth in him shall not perish,..
(John 3:16). This last message is to be preached throughout the world during this
age.
       In that portion of scripture commonly called, "the sermon on the mount"
(found in Matthew chapters five through seven), Jesus told the Jews what he
expected of kingdom of HEAVEN citizens. The demands he made were very
strict, and he told them that they could meet those demands, ONLY IF THEY
WOULD, ...seek ye FIRST the kingdom of GOD,.. (Matt.6:33). This is an
important doctrinal point. The kingdom of HEAVEN can be manifested only
when its subjects have FIRST ENTERED THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Since the
kingdom of God can be entered only through the new birth, THE NATION
ISRAEL MUST BE BORN AGAIN BEFORE THERE CAN BE A VISIBLE,
PHYSICAL KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. Someday, Israel, as a nation, will be born
again (Isa. 66:8) and there will be a kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, for which
JEWS are told to pray (Matt. 6:10).
       Verse 18. And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee,.. The sea of Galilee is
a small body of water about twelve miles long and six or seven miles wide. It is in
the northern part of Israel, and formed by the Jordan River. Most of the area
surrounding it is hilly and in the days of Jesus, was barren waste.
       ...saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother... This
was not the first time Jesus encountered Peter and Andrew, because John's gospel
declares that they had met before Jesus returned to Nazareth after his temptation
(John 1:40-41). At that time (John 1), Jesus called Philip (John 1:43), and
afterward went up to Nazareth and called Peter, Andrew and others. It appears
that Jesus issued a call to some of the apostles more than once. The call here in
Matthew's gospel does not appear to be the same as the one in Luke five.
      ...casting a net into the sea:.. The way this is worded indicates that it was a
throw net, the kind that descends upon fish and encloses them. The type indicated
in Luke 5:3-6 is a drag net or seine.
      ...for they were fishers. This was not their pastime but their occupation.
The Sea of Galilee has provided fish in abundance for years and years, and many
men have made their living fishing there.
      Verse 19. And he saith unto them, Follow me,.. The first recorded incident
in the Bible of a person being asked to follow someone is in Genesis twenty-four
when Abraham sent an unnamed servant to seek a bride for his son. The servant
asked a young woman, Rebekah, to follow him to a distant land, to marry a man
she had never seen. Rebekah, upon being asked, chose to follow the servant (Gen.
24:61). This beautiful chapter is a divine picture, in type, of God's having sent his
servant, the Holy Spirit, into the world to seek a bride for his son, Jesus. Finding a
bride for Jesus is the primary work of the Holy Ghost in this age of grace. In
Genesis twenty-four there are seven personages, or beings, all typifying the divine
work God has done, and is doing, beginning with the day of Pentecost and ending
with the coming of Jesus as a thief in the night. This chapter contains the clearest
and most complete outline of this present age that can be found in the Old
Testament.
      The seven types shown in Genesis twenty-four are: 1. Abraham, typifying
God the Father, 2. Isaac, a type of Christ, 3. Sarah, the nation Israel, 4. the
unnamed servant, the Holy Ghost, 5. Rebekah, Christians as the bride of Christ, 6.
Rebekah's family, Gentiles and 7. the camels, the world's systems.
      A brief outline of the typical teaching of Genesis twenty-four is: Abraham
(God) sent his servant (the Holy Spirit) into a far country (from Heaven to earth)
to find a bride for his son, Isaac (Jesus). This transpired AFTER Sarah (the nation
Israel) died (was put aside by God). The servant (the Holy Spirit) found Rebekah
(the prospective church), gave her gifts (I Cor. 12:8-10), and asked her to follow
him to marry his master's son. Rebekah agreed and followed the servant over a
long journey to meet her bridegroom (Jesus). When it was evening, and the
shadows were long, Rebekah (the church) dismounted from her camel (the social,
political, economic, etc. systems of the world) and ran to meet Isaac (Jesus, at the
"rapture").
      Today, the Holy Spirit is searching among the Gentiles and asking, "Will you
follow me to marry my Master's Son?" (Acts 15:14, I Pet. 1-8).
       The last time someone is seen following another in the Bible is in Revelation
19:14, where it is written, And the armies which were in heaven followed him...
This is when Jesus descends from heaven to destroy the armies of the Gentiles and
break their power and dominion over the world. Only those who follow the Holy
Spirit now will follow Jesus then.
       ...and I will make you fishers of men. Almost everyone enjoys catching
fish. Christians should enjoy, to a much greater extent, the "catching" of souls. In
today's church, soul winning, when it is done at all, is often treated as a pastime
rather than a duty.
       Verse 20. And they straightway left their nets,.. There was no shadow of
question, no "what if's." They left their nets immediately. In their later calling,
recorded in Luke five, it is declared that they "forsook all," whereas the verse
under study says they left only their nets (to which they later returned for a brief
time).
       ...and followed him. A person cannot follow Jesus without forsaking
worldly interests. However, when a person leaves his worldly interests, it does not
necessarily mean that he is following Christ. Many men have forsaken the things
of the world, gone out upon a lonely mountain, dedicated their lives to study and
meditation, only to grow farther and farther away from God. The apostles whom
Jesus called made two distinct moves, they FORSOOK, then FOLLOWED.
       Verse 21. And going on from thence... That is, Jesus continued his walk
along the shore of the sea of Galilee (verse 18).
       ...he saw other two brethren,.. There were three sets of brothers among the
apostles; Peter and Andrew, James and John, Judas (Labbaeus, Thaddaeus) and
James (James the less). (See comments on 10:2-4.) Whether all the apostles knew
one another before Jesus called them is not revealed; however, Peter, Andrew,
James and John were old acquaintances.
       ...James the son of Zebedee,.. It is certain that Peter and Andrew knew
James and John for Luke 5:10 declares that they were partners in a fishing
enterprise. It was these four disciples, Peter, Andrew, James and John who
privately asked Jesus the questions concerning the end of this age (Mark 13:3).
       There are at least three people named James in the New Testament: James
the brother of John and son of Zebedee (Matt. 4:21, 10:2, 17:1), James the son of
Alphaeus (Matt. 10:3, Acts 1:13, etc.) who MAY have been the same James called
James the less, the son of one of the women named Mary (Matt. 27:56, Mark
15:40, Luke 24:10), and James the half brother of Jesus (Matt. 13:55, Gal. 1:19,
etc.).
       As to whether it was James the son of Zebedee, James the son of Alphaeus or
James the half brother of Jesus, who wrote the epistle by that name is not
positively known. It is most likely that the epistle was written by James the
brother of John because it was this James (along with Peter and John) whom Jesus
singled out for special revelation and illumination not granted to the other nine
apostles. This James was with Peter and John when they saw the glory of Jesus on
the holy mountain of transfiguration (Mark 9:2-3). This James was privileged to
behold the power of Jesus when he raised Jarius' daughter from the dead (Mark
5:22-42), and was among the three selected to pray with the Savior when he was in
agony in the garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32-34). He was the first of the
apostles to die as a martyr, having been killed by Herod (Acts 12:1-3).
      ...and John his brother,.. John was probably the youngest disciple and the
beloved of Jesus, as he himself wrote (John 21:20). He was chosen to write five
books of the Bible; the gospel of John, the three epistles bearing his name, and the
book of the Revelation of Jesus. John seems to have been closer to Jesus than any
of the other apostles and was the only one brave enough to enter the courtyard
when Jesus was being-tried (Peter did enter, but not on his own initiative, John
18:15).
      It is interesting to note that in his writing, John used the word "love" more
than all the other gospel writers combined.
      ...in a ship with Zebedee their father... Zebedee means "Jah is gift," or
"God's gift." God so loved us that he gave his Son. Zebedee was called upon to
give two sons to a cause which was at that time unproved.
      ...mending their nets;.. Peter and Andrew were "casting" their nets (Matt.
4:18), while James and John were "mending" theirs. At one time the apostles are
seen "washing" their nets (Luke 5:2) and the gospel of John concludes with some
of the apostles "dragging" their net (John 21:8). This is an outline, in type, of soul
winning methods; casting, mending, washing, and dragging.
      ...and he called them. When Christ calls a person either to salvation of
service it is an eternal calling about which He never changes his mind (Rom.
11:29). To be called by Jesus to perform a work for him is the most noble calling
that exists. The cause for which Christ died is the only cause worth living for.
There seems to be many who have entered the "service of God" without Christ's
holy calling, and this has contributed greatly to the confusion so prevalent in
Christianity during these last days.
      Verse 22. And they immediately left the ship... Their ship provided their
livelihood, yet they, like Peter and Andrew, left immediately and followed Jesus.
      ...and their father,.. By faith they first left their livelihood, then their
family. The Lord does not ask anyone to exercise blind faith. BLIND faith
requires that one have no BASIS for what he believes, and God never asks that of
anyone. God asks man to have faith in his WORD. God always gives his word
BEFORE he asks anyone to believe him. God never leaves anyone to ask, "Faith
in WHAT?" God says something, then wants men, by faith, to take him at his
word. God has given man a Book, the Holy Bible, and asks him to accept it by
faith. That is NOT blind faith. It is faith in something that can be held in hand,
seen, read, and with divine guidance, understood.
       These men whom Jesus called were familiar with him, having known him
earlier (John 1:35-42).
       ...and followed him. That is what Christ would have all men do, follow
him. We follow Christ by following his word, led by the Holy Spirit.
       Verse 23. And Jesus went about all Galilee... This verse gives a view of
Christ's ministry in Galilee.
Galilee was the location of Kedesh which the first city of refuge named in the
Bible (Josh. 20:1-7). It was in Cana of Galilee that Christ performed His first
miracle, turning water into wine (John 2:1-11). It was in Galilee that He
performed His second miracle, healing and restoring health to a nobleman's son
(John 4:46-54). When Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, referred to the
miracles he had heard of His having done, he was referring to the ministry of
Jesus in Galilee.
       ...teaching in their synagogues,.. The New Testament reveals that Jesus did
more teaching than preaching. The longest discourse given by Jesus was a
LESSON, not a sermon (Matt. 5 - 7). Since Jesus taught more than he preached,
preachers should do the same (Neh. 8:8). Members of religious cults know more
about the Bible and their particular doctrines than Christians know about Christian
doctrines. This sad fact is true because Christians have not been TAUGHT
BIBLE DOCTRINES.
       Many of the endeavors of modern preachers are geared to harvesting and not
to sowing. Many are trying to reap where nothing has been planted. Such beliefs
as, "save the lost at any cost," are contrary to Bible doctrines.
       In his early ministry, Jesus taught in synagogues, Jewish places of worship.
Christians are usually taught, and worship in buildings called "churches." Jews
were required to worship in a prescribed manner, in a prescribed building while
Christians are not. However, Christians should be grateful for the buildings set
aside where they meet to worship God. Christians can meet anywhere, anytime.
There is no prescribed time or place for Christians to worship and be taught, for
their worship is "in spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24). It is both good and proper
that Christians have a time and place to gather for worship; otherwise, there would
be confusion and disorder. There is power and blessing in church fellowship, and
God's people are told not to forsake the assembling of themselves together (Heb.
19:25). The Bible reveals that in the beginning of this age, Christians met on the
first day of the week (I Cor. 16:2, Acts 20:7), and so should it be today.
       ...and preaching the gospel of the kingdom,.. Preaching means
proclaiming. Preaching is the heralding of something, in this case the good news
of the kingdom. No distinction is made as to whether Jesus was preaching the
gospel of the kingdom of HEAVEN (Matt. 3:2, 4:17), or the gospel of the
kingdom of GOD (Mark 1:14), or both. The main point is that Jesus was
preaching about a kingdom, which is the great bone of contention between Christ
and Satan, whether it was the kingdom of man, the kingdom of heaven or the
kingdom of God. The kingdom has been the most disputed issue since the
rebellion of Satan. The issue of the kingdom deals with the dispute over who will
rule the universe. Satan said that he will someday rule (Isa. 14:13-14), while God
says that he WILL NOT (Ez. 28:16-18) but that HIS SON JESUS WILL (Dan.
7:14).
       ...and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among
the people. "Healing all manner," leaves nothing out. There was not, and never
will be, any disease that Jesus could not heal. Isaiah foretold the coming of a time
when all sickness and disease would be healed (Isa. 35). He wrote that Messiah
would come and rule the earth, during which time the curse (Gen. 3) would be
removed and there would be no more war (Isa. 11). Jesus, in preaching the gospel
of the kingdom, was saying, "The time and conditions promised by the prophets,
the time of peace and freedom from disease, sickness and bondage is at hand. All
you have to do is repent and accept your King." Jesus, in working miracles, was
supporting the proclamation that the kingdom was at hand, but even though his
preaching was both, "SHOW and TELL," the Jews did not believe.
       Verse 24. And his fame went throughout all Syria:.. Although Jesus came
and ministered to his own people, Jews, his fame spread all the way into Syria, a
nation of the Gentiles. In the days of Jesus, the borders of Syria were not too
much different than they are today. Syria was located northeast of Israel and was
the second nation to rule over and oppress the children of Israel, Egypt being the
first. In about 721 B. C., King Shalmaneser of Syria captured Samaria, the capitol
of the northern ten tribes of Israel, and carried the Jews away, scattering them
throughout Syria and the surrounding territory (II Kings 18:9-12).
       ...and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers
diseases and torments,.. Galilee was an area covering approximately 2,500
square miles with numerous villages supporting a population of as many as three
million people. The word divers means "various or different." The word torment
means "agony," and indicates a severe trial or test. This is the first time in the
Bible that the word torment appears.
       ...and those which were possessed with devils,.. The word devil is used
over one hundred times in the New Testament, approximately half of which are in
the four gospels. Of the more than fifty times the word appears in the four
gospels, over half are in reference to devils possessing someone.
      Some prefer the word "demon" to devil, but the meaning isn't changed, since
demons are devils. The origin of these beings is unknown, but it is quite possible
that they are the disembodied spirits of angels whose physical bodies were
destroyed in a great battle between the forces of Jesus and the forces of Satan
(Zech. 14:3). Or, they might be the disembodied spirits of the beings called giants
in Genesis six. Since these "men of renown" (Gen. 6:4) were hybrids, a cross
between spiritual beings and human (physical) beings, there was no place prepared
for their spirits at death. Whatever their origin, devils are vile, discontent, and
know that they must someday face judgment and torment (Matt. 8:29).
      In the Old Testament, the word devil appears only four times, AND EACH
TIME IN A CHAPTER WHERE BLOOD OR SACRIFICE IS MENTIONED
(Lev. 17:7, Deu. 32:17, II Chr. 11:15, Psa. 106:37). In Leviticus 17:7 the word
devils is seen in relation to God's having told the children of Israel NOT to make
sacrifice to them. The other three places where the word appears (Deu. 32:17, II
Chr. 11:15, and Psa. 106:37), say that the children of Israel DID sacrifice to them,
which was the primary cause of their problems. By some mysterious means,
sacrificing to devils exposes one to their influence and possession. It is dangerous
for anyone to allow his curiosity about demons to lead him to become fascinated
by their power and abilities. There exists a world of the occult, peopled by
witches, soothsayers, hypnotists and palm readers, etc. People drawn into such
studies and practices often do not realize that they are dealing with demon spirits.
      ...and those which were lunatic,.. This verse makes it clear that there is a
difference between demon possession and lunacy. While both affect the mind and
soul, one is spiritual and the other mental. Both demon possession and lunacy are
favorite subjects of superstitious and occult oriented people. In the past sixty
years or so, scientific credence has been given to occult activity by so called
"reputable scholars," and as a result, many people are being led into occult
practices, Simply because some "studies" are called "scientific" does not keep
them from being dangerous.
      The word lunacy means "moon-struck and crazy." God's word indicates that
the moon does affect some people. Mental illness is a reality. While it may be the
result of a disease, it is also possibly the result of demon activity.
      Satan made a brilliant move by inciting the famous "witch hunt" in
Massachusetts many years ago. The effect of this was that many people were led
to believe that neither witches nor demons exist. In these modern times, many
people are honored and praised for their "God given powers" of extrasensory
perception (ESP), which are no more than the powers of demons.
      ...and those that had the palsy;.. While someone having palsy is usually
thought of as being affected with uncontrollable shaking, the word means
paralyzed.
      ...and he healed them. These are beautiful words. Jesus had no failures and
healed ALL the faithful who came to him.
      Verse 25. And there followed him great multitudes of people...
Multitudes followed Jesus as long as he dispensed physical benefits; food, healing,
deliverance, etc. But when he began to proclaim the word, his following
diminished. Mark's account of Jesus' ministry tells the sad story of how at its
beginning the statement was made by his apostles, "All men seek for thee"
(Mark 1,:37), but as his earthly ministry ended, Mark, speaking of Jesus' closest
friends, records that, ...they all forsook him, and fled (Mark 14:50).
      The people loved the way Jesus healed and fed them and provided
PHYSICAL benefits. When they ceased to follow him, it was because of what he
SAID, for he taught the SPIRITUAL things of God (John 6:63, 66).
      ...from Galilee,.. Galilee was the area north of Jerusalem between the Jordan
River and the Mediterranean Sea.
      ...and from Decapolis,..          Decapolis means ten cities.       Decapolis
encompassed the area east of the Jordan River between the sea of Galilee and the
Dead Sea.
      ... and from Jerusalem,.. This was supposed to be the King's city, but was
the headquarters of his enemies, the religious leaders of Israel.
      ...and from Judaea,.. This is the region west of the Jordan River reaching to
the southern border of Israel and westward to the Great Sea.
      ...and from beyond Jordan. This encompassed all the remaining portion of
the Promised Land that Israel had occupied. The point of this verse is that people
came from every area of the nation Israel to receive help from Jesus.




                        CHAPTER FOUR, EPILOGUE

            Herein is the account of the King's victory over temptation.
     It is the account of Satan's first attempt to get Him to fail. The
     temptation was on a mountain. The King's last temptation was in
     a garden.
          This chapter presented the theme of the King's early
     messages, "REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS
     AT HAND" (verse 17) while displaying the nature and character
     of the kingdom (verse 23).
          The King called twelve men to carry the same message He
     and John the Baptist preached: THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS
     AT HAND (Matt. 10:7).
          The Lord's early ministry met with great followings (verse
     25), but it was because of the physical benefits that the people
     enjoyed, not because of his messages.




CHAPTER 5

      Verse 1. And seeing the multitudes... The multitudes referred to are those
in the preceding chapter. Many people had come from all areas of Israel, most of
whom had come expecting to benefit physically, as stated in the closing verses of
chapter four. This discourse on the mountain, however, was not a session of
healing, but of teaching.
      ...he went up into a mountain:.. There are several points of view
concerning why Jesus chose a mountain on which to teach this lesson. One view is
that he went on the mountain to escape the multitude, which MAY have been the
case, for at the end of his discourse it is said that multitudes followed him,
apparently AFTER he came down from the mountain (Matt. 8:1). Another view is
that the multitude followed him, so he went into the mountain in order to have a
better place to speak to so large a congregation. While there may have been some
acoustical advantage in speaking to a large crowd from a mountain, it would have
been minimal. A third view is that there is more to his having chosen a mountain
than any PHYSICAL benefits that it may have provided and that there is a
DOCTRINAL factor involved. This lesson on the mountain was concerned with
THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, AND MOUNTAINS TYPIFY KINGDOMS
(Luke 4:5, Rev. 17:9-10, etc.).
      ...and when he was set,.. This simply means that he sat down and prepared
to speak.
      ...his disciples came unto him: The word disciple means one taught or
trained, or one who follows the teachings of another. A disciple does not
necessarily have to AGREE with the one he follows, because a disciple CAN BE
EITHER LOST OR SAVED. For instance, Judas was one of His disciples (Matt.
10:1-4) and he was not saved (John 17:12). Unlike salvation (in this age),
discipleship can be lost as John 6:66 reveals.
      Verse 2. And he opened his mouth,.. The first time the word mouth appears
in the Bible is in Genesis 4:11, where it is recorded that God said, "...the earth,..
hath opened her MOUTH to receive thy brother's blood..." According to Leviticus
17:11, the life of the flesh is in the blood, so the first time the word mouth appears
in the Bible, it is in connection with blood. The earth opened her mouth to
RECEIVE the BLOOD (life) of man. The first time a mouth is mentioned in the
New Testament is in this verse when Jesus opened his mouth to GIVE eternal life
to man. While PHYSICAL life is in the BLOOD (Lev. 17:11), SPIRITUAL life is
in the WORD (John 6:63). Another way of saying this is, the lifeblood of the
human soul is the Word of God.
      ...and taught them, saying, Jesus taught a lesson, he did not preach a
sermon. To some extent, however, all good lessons have a sermon and all good
sermons have a lesson.
      Verse 3. Blessed... While the word blessed means happy, as Genesis 30:13
says, its meaning goes beyond that and declares one who is blessed to be holy and
in a position of favor with God. The first appearance of this word in the Bible is
in Genesis 1:22, when God blessed the living creatures he had brought into
existence.
      ...are the poor in spirit:.. This lesson on the mountain appertained to Jews
and God's requirement for their entering the kingdom of heaven and how they
were to conduct themselves after they entered. One aspect of God's requirement
for kingdom entry is seen in this verse—to be spiritually poor.
      Although it is NOT God's requirement in this age for man to enter the
kingdom of God, realizing one's spiritual impoverishment is one of those divine
works of God that ACCOMPANIES salvation. When Christians are told to be
filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), they can only accomplish this when they realize
and admit how spiritually poor they are. It is admittedly strange, but NO ONE
WHO FEELS OR BELIEVES THAT HE IS SPIRITUAL EVER IS. There is a
close relationship between spiritual poverty and humility.
      ...for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus was speaking to a multitude of
Jews, those to whom the kingdom was promised. In this present age, Christians
should not teach that those who are poor in spirit will inherit a kingdom.
Christians should preach the gospel of grace, which is, ...if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved (Rom. 10:9). Anyone in this age
who believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead at the same time
recognizes his spiritual poverty, a truth that God shows those who believe the
gospel. Today's message for salvation is, ...Christ died for our sins... And that
he was buried, and that he rose again the third day... (I Cor. 15:3-4), which is
the gospel and the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Entry into the
kingdom of HEAVEN is not available to either Jews or Gentiles in this age in the
same manner that Jesus presented it on the mountain to the multitudes. Being
spiritually poor was what Jesus required of Jews in order for them to enter a literal,
visible, physical, earthly kingdom called the kingdom of heaven, which both John
the Baptist and Jesus offered (Matt. 3:2, 4:17). But, being spiritually poor WAS
NOT THE ONLY WAY TO ENTER THAT KINGDOM. Matthew 5:10 says that
those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake will also receive the kingdom.
BETWEEN verses three and ten there is a list of blessings that those who enter the
kingdom may receive. Kingdom citizens who meet the requirements will be
comforted, inherit the earth, be filled with righteousness, obtain mercy, see God
and be called the children of God (verses 4 through 9). Rather than declaring that
kingdom subjects WILL receive these blessings, the scripture informs us that they
MAY receive them, because these blessings are CONDITIONAL. These
BLESSINGS are promised only to those who meet certain conditions in a similar
manner that kingdom ENTRY is promised only to those who meet certain
conditions. The implication is that not all who are invited will enter (Luke 14:16-
24), and not all who enter will receive all available blessings.
      Verse 4. Blessed are they that mourn:.. God's chosen nation, Israel,
mourned on many occasions, sometimes as a nation and sometimes as individuals.
Abraham, the father of all Israel, mourned because of the death of his wife, Sarah
(Gen. 23:2). Jacob mourned because he thought his son Joseph was dead (Gen.
37:34) and King David mourned for his ailing son (II Sam. 12:15-19). The
children of Israel mourned over the consequence of their idolatry (Ex. 33:4) and
they mourned when God told them that they could not enter the Promised Land
(Num. 14:39). Nehemiah mourned over the condition of Jerusalem (Neh. 1:4).
There was mourning throughout Israel because Herod, troubled by the news that
Christ was born, killed Jewish babies under two years old (Matt. 2:16-18). While
Israel has mourned for centuries, God's promise is that when the kingdom comes,
those who mourn will be blessed and comforted.
      ...for they shall be comforted. This promise awaits the coming of the King
and his kingdom. Israel, who forsook their Lord, will someday be reunited with
him in a new and better covenant, never to be separated again (Heb. 8:7-13).
Abraham joined Sarah, Jacob found Joseph, David went to his son, and in the
coming kingdom, God says of Israel, "I... will be their God, and they shall be
my people" (Jer. 31:33).
      At Jesus' first coming, King Herod had his soldiers kill Jewish babies, but at
his second coming, King Jesus will kill the soldiers of the coming "Herod," the
anti-Christ (Rev. 19:11-21).
      Verse 5. Blessed are the meek:.. In Psalms 37:11, David also wrote that the
meek are blessed, and in the preceding verse he wrote that those who wait upon
the Lord shall inherit the earth. Moses was one of the greatest leaders who ever
lived, yet it is said that he was meek (Num. 12:3). Jesus said of himself, "...I am
meek..." (Matt. 11:29), and HE WAS GOD'S OWN SON. To be meek is to be
humble. We Christians are told to humble ourselves in order to be obedient
children of God (Phil. 2:5-8). Speaking of the future, of the time when Jesus will
reign on earth, Isaiah 11:4 says that the meek will come under special care of
Jesus. Those who survive the coming tribulation will be the meek and humble
(Matt. 25:1-12, Mark 13:11).
      ...for they shall inherit the earth. The word earth appears in the first verse
of the first chapter of Genesis when God declared that he created it and gave
dominion over it to man (Gen. 1:26). The first time the word earth appears in the
New Testament is here in Matthew 5:5 where it is recorded that the meek will
inherit it.
      Verse 6. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness:.. Hunger is a craving for food and thirst is a tormenting desire for
water. When anyone both hungers and thirsts, there is no room in his mind for any
other thought because he can concentrate on nothing but his condition and
suffering. No one can do effective work under such conditions, for his mind is
filled with his personal needs and desires.
      The hunger and thirst Jesus was talking about in this verse was not physical
but spiritual. These people of whom he was speaking hunger and thirst after
RIGHTEOUSNESS. This kind of hunger and thirst depicts anguish of mind and
soul over sin and unrighteousness that causes a craving for true righteousness. An
individual in such a state will yearn for the righteousness of God. There are, and
have been, millions of people who have sought for righteousness of some sort, but
looked in the wrong place and for the wrong righteousness. Every religion has
some FORM of righteousness. Thousands of religious schemes and practices have
been developed and promoted by men in a quest for righteousness. All of them
have failed because God demands perfect righteousness in order for anyone to
enter his domain, and the only righteousness that is perfect is that of his own Son,
the Lord Jesus Christ. Without HIS righteousness, no one will see the kingdom of
God (John 3:3). Man has often found a degree of satisfaction in his endeavors to
work for his OWN righteousness, but only the righteousness of GOD can satisfy
those who HUNGER AND THIRST for it. The only righteousness that brings
eternal contentment and satisfaction is that of Jesus Christ. He is the food, and the
only food, that gives eternal life (John 6:48-53) and he is the water, and the only
water, that quenches the thirst of perishing souls (John 4:13-14).
      Blessed are they...
      ...for they shall be filled. This does not indicate that every person in every
age who has sought righteousness will someday find it, but is speaking of the time
when Christ will establish his righteous kingdom on earth, and in THAT day fill
with righteousness those who hunger and thirst for it. This condition of being
filled with righteousness (of which Jesus spoke in this lesson) does not exist in this
present age. This truth is applicable to Christians in this age only to the extent that
we became Christians by recognizing a hunger and a thirst for a righteousness that
can be obtained only by receiving Jesus as Savior. Jesus said, "If any man thirst,
let him come unto me, and drink" (John 7:37). The filling with righteousness
that Christians receive upon accepting Jesus as their Savior is a gift, and one of
many things that accompany salvation.
There are presently multitudes of people throughout the world who claim some
sort of righteousness but who do not know Christ and HIS righteousness. Until
people see their own unrighteousness in the light of Calvary and recognize it to
be no more than filthy rags, they will not be filled.
      Verse 7. Blessed are the merciful.:.. Mercy is compassion in action (Matt.
20:30-34). All Christians should be merciful, but it was not on the basis of a
Christian's having been merciful that God showed him mercy. He received mercy
from God as a gift, as one of the many things that accompanied salvation, and not
as a payment for having been merciful. Although many of the blessings, called the
"beatitudes," are granted to a sinner by the Holy Spirit in bringing him to
salvation, the "Sermon on the Mount" does not contain God's plan of salvation for
this age.
      When Jesus rules on earth, those who are merciful will be blessed:..
      ...for they shall obtain mercy. In this entire message, Jesus was speaking to
and about Jews and presenting the REQUIREMENTS FOR KINGDOM ENTRY
AND DEMANDS FOR KINGDOM LIVING. In this age of grace, those who
believe that being merciful to others obligates God to be merciful to them are in
error. No one can expect God's mercy if he rejects the love offered by his Son, no
matter how compassionate or merciful he is. The conditions and requirements
Jesus presented in Matthew chapters five through seven can be manifested only
when Satan is bound and Jesus rules the earth personally.
      Verse 8. Blessed are the pure in heart:.. Every human being who ever
lived is excluded from this blessing, unless pure does not mean pure, OR unless
God provides the purity. Despite the fact that Christians sin, God has deemed our
hearts pure on the basis of the purity of Jesus. It is a lovely and mysterious thing
how... that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus
(Rom. 3:26). In spite of the fact that God himself declares that, ...all have
sinned,.. (Rom. 3:23), he sees those who receive his Son as having never sinned
and as pure and holy. Despite our sins, Christians will someday see God.
      Blessed are the pure in heart:..
      ...for they shall see God. A Christian's assurance that he will see God is not
based on his works and attempts to make his heart pure, but on his having
accepted Christ as Savior. Every saved person SHOULD want to see God. Moses
wanted to see God. Moses and God talked as a man speaketh unto a friend (Ex.
33:11), but Moses asked for more. He asked to see God's glory. God told Moses
that to look upon his face would be to die (Ex. 33:20); nevertheless, God provided
a way whereby Moses might behold his glory and live (Ex. 33:21-23). God has
provided THE way by which everyone who has accepted THAT way (which is
Jesus, John 14:6), will someday see the glory of God. (See comments on Matt.
21:42-44.)
      Verse 9. Blessed are the peacemakers:.. Peace is a condition of calm, quiet,
and tranquillity. In the physical realm, peace is an absence of war, a freedom from
quarrels and disagreements and a state of mind free from disturbance. A
peacemaker is one who makes peace by settling disagreements or quarrels. When
Jesus came into the world, he certainly was not a peacemaker (Matt. 2:3, 10:34).
He disturbed people everywhere he went. YET, Jesus is the only person who can
bring peace to either this world or the world to come. The work of Jesus at his
first coming was to provide the WAY THAT THERE MIGHT BE PEACE
BETWEEN MAN AND GOD (Rom. 5:1). This is SPIRITUAL peace. God's
promise of physical peace WILL COME, but not until Jesus returns and rules on
earth. It is foolish for man to think that there can be peace in this present age with
Christ in heaven and Satan walking to and fro upon the earth (Job 1:7, I Pet. 5:8).
      There is no greater peace to be found than peace with God. In this sense
Jesus was a peacemaker, because he settled forever the quarrel between believers
and God. This peace is granted to a believer upon his receiving Jesus as Savior,
and is among the many gifts that accompany salvation.
      ...for they shall be called the children of God. The implication is that
those who are NOT peacemakers, are NOT to be called the children of God, and
the only other option is to be called the children of Satan (John 8:44, I John 3:10).
The statement that peacemakers are to be called the children of God creates
somewhat of a dilemma in the light of the fact that God called Jesus his Son (Matt.
3:17), and JESUS WAS NOT A PEACEMAKER (Matt. 10:34). The dilemma
could be resolved if Christians would rightly divide the word (II Tim. 2:15). At
his FIRST coming, Jesus did not BRING peace, but became the WAY of peace,
FINISHING THE WORK REQUIRED TO BRING PEACE LATER. At his
SECOND coming, Jesus will bring peace and the conditions that he presented in
the "sermon on the mount" will be the rule. He OFFERED peace at his first
coming, offering himself, the Prince of Peace, but was rejected (Matt. 11:20, John
19:14-16).
      Those saved in this age of grace ALREADY have peace WITH God (Rom
5:1), and SHOULD have the peace OF God (Phil. 4:7). Peace WITH God is
offered freely (Matt. 11:28), but the peace OF God must be earned (Matt. 11:29).
      In the passage under study, the peacemakers who will see God certainly were
not the pacifists of that day. Neither are they those who settle arguments in this
day, but are the citizens of the future kingdom.
The redeemed of this age are children of God (Gal. 4:7) on the basis of having
received the Prince of Peace as Savior, and not because they may, or may not,
be peacemakers.
Verse 10. Blessed are they which are persecuted... If this statement were not
qualified by further explanation, almost every human being who ever lived
would receive this blessing. A child may claim persecution when punished for
disobedience, or when he is corrected in some manner. A civil rights activist
may claim persecution because someone attempts to stop him from taking away
someone else's rights. Some people seek persecution, believing that it confirms
their belief that their cause is noble or heroic. There are people who thrive on
persecution, and appear unhappy unless they feel that they are being
persecuted. Persecution of itself merits no one any reward. What Jesus said in
this statement was concerned with people who were persecuted:..
...for righteousness' sake:.. The book of Acts is filled with incidents of
persecution, which were ALL "FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS' SAKE." Acts four
says that Peter and John were persecuted because they taught in the name of
Jesus; teaching his death, burial and resurrection. In Acts five, Peter and other
apostles were beaten because they spoke, "in the name of Jesus" (verse 40).
Acts six and seven tell the sad story of the murder of Stephen, murdered
because he preached Jesus Christ and Him crucified (Acts 7:52). Of course
these men will be blessed, and so will anyone who is persecuted for Jesus' sake.
But, as in the preceding seven verses, the specific application of this verse is to
citizens of the coming kingdom of heaven.
       Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake:..
       ...for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This aspect of Jesus' discourse
began in verse three with a promise that the poor in spirit would inherit the
kingdom of heaven. Verse ten closes this aspect of his discourse with the same
words, ...for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
       Jesus said that there were two conditions for kingdom entry: being poor in
spirit, and being persecuted for righteousness' sake. The six conditions of verses
four through nine are promises to those who enter the kingdom, having entered on
the basis of either verse three or verse ten.
       Up to, and including this verse, Jesus' teaching was in the third person; they,
theirs, etc. It is possible that Jesus was speaking about all Jews who ever lived,
and that these promises included all eligible Jews, but the more likely possibility is
that he was speaking to, and about, that specific generation.
       Verse 11. Blessed are ye,.. Prior to this verse, Jesus may have been
addressing the multitude about the nation Israel in general, but, from this point on,
he was addressing and talking about those who were in his immediate presence,
the ones who were facing and listening to him.
       ...when men shall revile you,.. The word revile means to declare vile, to
rail, upbraid or speak injuriously. Among the judgments and statutes that God
gave Israel was, thou shalt not REVILE the gods ... (Ex. 22:28). These "gods"
appear many times in the Bible, an example being Psalms 82:1-8. (The gods of
Psalms 82:6 are human beings.) These gods (little "g") are supernatural beings,
angels, principalities, powers, cherubs, etc., and the entities referred to by Satan
when he enticed Eve (Gen. 3:5). No matter how evil they may be, these gods are
not to be reviled. Exposed, yes—reviled, no (Jude 9). These gods (little "g") ARE
FREE WILLED BEINGS HAVING THE CAPACITY TO WORSHIP.
       Yet, it seems that man has always assumed that he has the right to revile
certain people when the notion strikes. The object of much revilement has often
been either God's servants or God's children, an example being the Jews who
reviled their own prophets (Jer. 37).
      ...and persecute you,.. Communism is the brainchild of evil men and its
sworn enemy is religion. In communist Russia, religious people are persecuted,
whether they are Christians or not. This has given rise to the assumption that all
religions are good and should unite to oppose communism. This is nothing more
than a smart move on Satan's part, since Christians are in more danger from
religion than they are from communism. Satan has often caused Christians to flee
from one of his traps, only to become ensnared in another. No one should believe
that everyone who is, or has been, persecuted for the sake of RELIGION, has been
persecuted for CHRIST'S sake. MARTYRS MAKE EXCELLENT VEHICLES
FOR SATAN'S LIES.
      ...and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely,.. The key word is
FALSELY. Many people speak evil of others and there is no fault in that, IF those
spoken against are enemies of God, and IF the intention is to pray for them and
help them see the truth. It is a sin when men speak evil of others for the sake of
gossip, and have no intention of praying for them and trying to bring them to the
truth. If people speak evil of evil people (which is certainly not a sin, Gal. 1:9,
5:12, etc.) it should be for the purpose of exposing them, and NOT for the purpose
of hurting them. It is NEVER so much as suggested in the Bible that Christians
are to keep their mouths shut about evil men. To the contrary, Christians are to
warn others about them and their evil. Not to speak out against an evil person is to
remain silent when a warning should be shouted. However, if someone speaks
evil of evil men with no compassion for them, he sins, EVEN IF WHAT HE
SAYS IS TRUE!
      What this verse teaches, however, is not concerned with what covenant
people say about others, but what others say about them. A blessing is NOT
promised to someone simply because another speaks evil of him, but only when
the evil is spoken FALSELY, PLUS ANOTHER QUALIFICATION which is:..
      ...for my sake. These three little words qualify the blessing even further. If
someone simply speaks evil of you, you are not due a blessing, or if someone
speaks evil of you FALSELY, no blessing is forthcoming. The promise is to
covenant people who have evil spoken against them falsely, FOR JESUS' SAKE.
      Verse 12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:.. Based on the attitude of the
modern American Christian, this might well be, "pout and be exceeding
depressed." Christians in America have been programmed to accept the contention
that if a Christian is reviled, persecuted, and "evil spoken of" for Christ's sake, he
must be doing something wrong. But, God says, "rejoice," so let God be true and
every man a liar (Rom. 3:4).
      ...for great is your reward... God does not ask his people to endure
hardship, pain, sorrow, persecution and such, for nothing. He is a great rewarder
of them who claim his promises and do his will.
      ...in heaven:.. Some who profess to be Christians believe and teach that
God's children are to have their blessings here and now. They teach that the
reward for living a Christian life is health, wealth and prosperity in this present
evil world. God never promised Christians these things as they journey through
their lives here an earth, although some Christians MAY be blessed (or cursed, as
the case may be) with earthly treasure.
      …for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Stephen
challenged the Jews to name just one prophet that their fathers had not persecuted
(Acts 7:52). Stephen said that they did the same to Jesus, and when he said that,
the people to whom he was speaking KILLED HIM (Acts 7:58-60).
A prophet is someone who is supposed to tell people what God said. Since few
people want to hear THAT, many men who stand in holy pulpits today are no
longer interested in preaching, "thus saith the Lord." If ANYONE does not
preach the Bible as it is, to people as they are, he should never claim that God
called him to preach. God said, "Preach the word" (II Tim. 4:2), and only the
Bible is his word.
      Verse 13. Ye are the salt of the earth:.. God commanded,

           And every oblation of thy meat offering shalt thou season with
     salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant of thy God to
     be lacking from thy meat offering: with all thine offerings thou
     shalt offer salt (Lev. 2:13).

      It is almost impossible to eat certain foods without salt because they depend
on salt to give them flavor. Salt not only lends flavor to food but also stings open
wounds. When someone gets a tiny grain of salt in even the smallest cut or sore
he knows it immediately; it exposes wounds. Christians should be salty in that
they should have flavor, and Christian preaching should be salty. As salt exposes
wounds of the flesh, so does salty preaching expose sins of the soul. Salt stings
and reveals the location of affected areas as preaching is to expose areas of sin.
      Salt heals. Although the application of salt to fleshly wounds results in pain
and anguish, salt is nevertheless a great healing agent. It fights infection, toughens
scar tissue and hastens healing.
      The preaching of God's word should be salty, not only that it might reveal
sin, but that it might aid in its cure. Although the salty word of God applied to
wounds of sin causes pain and anguish, it at the same time aids the healing
process. The salty word of God fights the devil, protects the saint, and restores
fellowship with God.
      Salt preserves. Years ago the only agent used in most areas of the southern
United States to preserve meat, to keep it from spoiling, was salt. When people
killed hogs the meat was cut and carefully packed in salt.
      The salty word of God preserves. Wherever the salty word of God is
preached, society is strengthened morally and the decadence caused by sin is
retarded.
      Salt melts ice and intensifies cold. It is used to melt ice that forms in
undesirable places such as highways and sidewalks but is also used with ice to aid
in freezing home made ice cream in mechanical freezers.
      The salty word of God will either melt an icy heart or intensify the cold of a
frozen heart. No heart or life is the same after having been touched by the salty
word of God.
      Salt looks like sugar. Put salt in a sugar bowl and no one would know the
difference until he tasted it. In these days it is a common practice for some
preachers to feed their flock sugar coated, rather than salty words. Much modern
preaching is sweeter than it is salty, and many Christians cannot tell the difference,
or if they can, PREFER the sweet to the salty. Many people do not know the
difference between sweet and salty preaching simply because THEY HAVE NOT
TASTED THE WORD (I Pet. 2:2-3). To the person who loves God and is in
proper fellowship with him, THE SALTY WORD OF GOD IS SWEET (Psa.
119:103).
      The salty word of God needs to be applied to this sin torn world, applied
with love and compassion, not simply to sting the wounds of sin, but to heal and
cure. To "sugar coat" the word of God is to mix sugar and salt, and such a mixture
is good for nothing.
      Many practical applications for Christians are in these verses, but their
DOCTRINES are basically for Jews.
      ...but if the salt have lost his savour,.. Salt looses its savor when it is
watered down, and so does the word of God. Salt looses its savor when it is mixed
with other agents, and so does the word of God. Christians who mingle
themselves with the world and mix Christian living with worldly living also lose
their savor.
      Notice the word HIS in this phrase, ...if the salt have lost HIS savour,.. God
was speaking of more than a mineral, but was speaking of individuals.
      ...wherewith shall it be salted? Although modern science has produced
many imitations, there is no real substitute for salt. Presently, only Christians are
the salt of the earth, and should Christians lose their savor, there is no other salt
with which the world can be salted.
      ...it is thenceforth good for nothing,.. The word "good" appears seven
times in the first chapter of Genesis. God created light and said that IT was good
(Gen. 1:4). He divided the land from the sea and said that IT was good (Gen.
1:10). He brought forth trees and grass and said that IT was good (Gen. 1:12). He
made the sun, moon and stars, and said that IT was good (Gen. 1:16-18). He
created fishes and fowls and said that IT was good (Gen. 1:21). He created all the
other animals and said, that IT was good (Gen. 1:25). Then last of all God created
man (Gen. 1:27), but said nothing about IT being good until he summarized that
ALL that he had created was good, that is, his creative act was very good (Gen.
1:31). Everything that God created, as he created it, was good for SOMETHING,
but salt that has lost its savor is good for NOTHING.
      …but to be cast out,.. The first occurrence of this expression, cast out, is
found in Genesis 21:10 when Sarah told Abraham, "Cast out this bondwoman
and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son,.."
Applying Sarah's expression to the present text would lead to the conclusion that
heirs of God will either be salty or they will be cast out and cannot become heirs.
God's children are God's heirs, and Matthew 5:9 says that peacemakers are called
the children of God. There seems to be a slight contradiction here since "salty"
people seldom are seen in the roll of peacemakers. The seeming contradiction is
resolved when we realize that a change occurred between verses ten and eleven
where there is a change from the use of third person pronouns to second person
pronouns. (See comments on verse 11.)
      ...and to be trodden under foot of men. This denotes a very low position
and is to be contrasted with the high position of savory salt. Savory salt is a
seasoning to be desired, while savorless salt is a useless agent good only to be cast
out and walked on.
      Verse 14. Ye are the light of the world. While Christians are the light of
this present world, in the kingdom Jesus will be the light of the world. Jesus said,
"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 9:5). Before
the first coming of Jesus, the nation Israel was the light of the world. They were
given the word of God (Rom. 3:1-2), and the WORD and the LIGHT cannot be
separated (John 1:1-9). Almost two thousand years ago, the INCARNATE Word
was the Light of the world. Today, the WRITTEN word is the light of the world,
and since the word abides in TRUE Christians (John 15:7), Christians are
responsible for REFLECTING Jesus, the source of all light.
      A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. While any city sitting on a hill
cannot be hid, the reference is to Jerusalem, the city of God built on a hill. The
Bible often contrasts it with the city of Satan, Babylon, which was built on a
PLAIN (Gen. 11:2-4). Jerusalem was not very successful as the city of light that
God wanted it to be, but the future city of Babylon will be quite successful
(temporarily) as the city of darkness that Satan wants it to be (Rev. 18).
       Verse 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel... God
hoped that Jerusalem would be the light source of the whole house of Israel, but it
did not work out that way.
       Hidden light has no value. A candle has one primary function, to give light.
A candle is to shine forth its light that men might see and not stumble. There are
five reasons why a candle might not give light: 1. it has not been lit, 2. the wick
has burned away or needs trimming, 3. it has been blown out, 4. it has been
snuffed out or quenched, or, 5. it has been covered, or hidden.
       As it is with a candle, so it is with a human life. Before it can become a
source of light, it must be lit. Until a person has the word in him, he has not been
"lit." Then, having been lit, his wick may become frayed and dirty with sin, in
which case he finds himself in a "backslidden" condition. He may have his candle
blown out with every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14). He himself may quench his
own light by quenching the Spirit (I Thess. 5:19), and a Christian can hide his own
candle under the cares of the world (Matt. 13:22).
God set Jerusalem on a hill, expecting it to shine with his light. Because of
man's sin and failure to trust God, Jerusalem never became a light source for
the world. But someday there will be a new Jerusalem which WILL be the
light of the world (Rev. 21:23-24).
       ...but on a candlestick;., The function of a candlestick is to lift up a candle.
In a sense, the cross was a candlestick. Jesus said, "I am the light of the
world:.." (John 8:12), AND THAT LIGHT WAS LIFTED UP (John 8:28).
       ...and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Jesus is the source of
all light. As the sun is the source of all light and energy in man's physical world,
so is Jesus the source of all light and energy in the spiritual world. As the moon
reflects the light of the sun during the night, so should Christians reflect the light
of Jesus in this age of darkness.

     Jesus bids us shine with a clear pure light,
       Like a little candle burning in the night,
     In this world of darkness, we must shine,
       You in your small, corner, and I in mine.

      Verse 16. Let your light so shine before men,.. The people to whom Jesus
was speaking had some sort of light or else he would not have told them to let it
shine. Only covenant people have lights, so the people to whom Jesus spoke were
either servants of God or sons of God. Since the Bible refers to no human being
between Adam and Jesus as a SON of God, and no person, save Jesus, is called a
son of God until AFTER his death, burial and resurrection, Jesus was speaking to
SERVANTS (Jews). Jesus told them WHERE to let their lights shine, before
men; then told them WHY they were to let them shine:..
       ...that they may see your good works,.. They were not to let their light
shine in order to expose the sins of others but rather to make visible their own
good works. They were not to let their light shine for the purpose of exposing the
bad works of evil people, as Jesus did in John 3:19-21.
       The light they were told to let shine was not the same light that Christians are
to bear, for the light Christians bear is that of the glorious gospel of the death,
burial and resurrection of Jesus (II Cor. 4:4, I Cor. 15:3-4). Whether by servants
of God, or by children of God, light bearing is always to be for the glory of God.
       ...and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Everything that God has
done or created is for his glory (Col. 1:16). Man has the option of either giving
God glory NOW or giving him glory LATER. Ultimately, every knee will bow
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God (Phil. 2:10-
11). In that day when every knee shall bow and every tongue confess, it will not
be a matter of choice, but a matter of compulsion. Man is now given a choice. He
can CHOOSE to glorify Jesus in this present life, or else be COMPELLED to
glorify him at the great white throne.
       Verse 17. Think not that I am come to destroy the law,.. A clear
distinction is made between the three divisions in the Old Testament. The
divisions are: 1. the books of Moses (the law), 2. the prophets, and 3. the Psalms
(writings). These divisions are listed in Luke 24:44 where Jesus separated the law
from the prophets and declared that his ministry would be no threat to the writings
of Moses, that is, the law. Although the religious leaders tried to find fault with
Jesus, that they might accuse him of breaking the law, the only thing they could
find to accuse him of was breaking the Sabbath (Matt. 12:10), to which Jesus
replied that it was not unlawful to do good on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:12-13).
       ...or the prophets:.. Jesus taught and did nothing that contradicted any law
or any prophet.
       ...I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. In this phrase Jesus stated his
purpose in relation to the law and the prophets. First he dealt with the negative, I
am not come to destroy,.., then he dealt with the positive, ...but to fulfil. When
Jesus said he came to FULFIL he did not mean to ERADICATE. In saying that he
came to fulfill the law and the prophets, he meant that he would live up to the
requirements of the law and the prophets, and that his life and teachings would be
in keeping with them. No man other than Jesus Christ ever fulfilled the law, that
is, lived by the law perfectly. Romans 3:23 tells us that all have sinned and come
short of the glory of God, the only exception being Jesus Christ. In order for an
individual to enter heaven, God requires perfect righteousness. Since no man
other than Jesus Christ ever lived up to the demands of the law and the prophets,
no man save Jesus Christ has perfect righteousness. Therefore, those who will
enter heaven will do so only on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who
GIVES his righteousness to anyone who receives him as their Savior. Jesus, who
knew no sin, was made sin for those who believe (II Cor. 5:21). Jesus
FULFILLED THE LAW for all who would receive him as their Savior and
thereby, receive the gift of his righteousness. Christians are going to heaven, NOT
on the basis of what they DO, BUT ON THE BASIS OF WHO THEY TRUST.
The law was not given that it might save, but was given that it might reveal to
man his need of a Savior. The law can expose sin, but does not have the power
to deliver from sin.
      Verse 18. For verily I say unto you... The word verily means truthfully.
Jesus was speaking to Jews, people who knew the law and the prophets as well as
the promise of a kingdom.
      ...Till heaven and earth pass,.. Someday, heaven and earth WILL pass
away (Matt. 24:35), but not until Jesus finishes his rule and reign and puts down
all opposing rule and authority (I Cor. 15:24). When he does, this present heaven
and earth will be burned with great heat (II Pet. 3:12), and God will create a new
heaven and a new earth (II Pet. 3:13, Isa. 66:22, Rev. 21:1). The law, though SET
ASIDE in this age, HAS NOT BEEN REVOKED, for until all rule and authority
is put down: ...one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law,.. This is
an absolute truth, and such a statement should frighten the modern Bible
"translators" who seems to have no fear or reservations about taking liberty with
God's holy word. A jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet and a tittle is
an ornamental curve used in Hebrew letters to add character. A jot and a tittle were
to the Hebrew Bible, what commas, colons, periods, ifs, ands or buts are to the
English Bible. Since Jesus said that neither jot nor tittle would pass, both are very
important. He not only said that a jot or tittle would not pass, but said that they
would, "in no wise pass," meaning that what God has written he intends to
preserve eternally (Psa. 12:6-7).
      The law is not evil but good, and did exactly what God intended that it do. It
had, and has, and will always have a purpose.
      ...till all be fulfilled. This is the second time the word "till" appears in this
verse. The first time was in relation to an event, the passing away of heaven and
earth. The second time it appears it is in relation to THE FULFILLMENT OF
THE LAW BY THOSE TO WHOM THE LAW WAS GIVEN, ISRAEL. When
the kingdom comes, Israel will fulfill the law because God said that in that day,
"...I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:.." (Heb.
8:10). While "thy kingdom come" is a Jewish prayer, seeing that in that day all
Israel shall be saved (Rom. 11:26) and the world will know no war (Isa. 2:4,
Micah 4:3), Christians should pray for that day also. Christians are not in error to
pray for the coming kingdom, even though they may not be directly involved in it,
because until the kingdom comes the world will have no real peace (Matt. 24:6).
      Verse 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least command-
ments,.. The law consisted of more than the Ten Commandments. There were
civil and social laws as well, and breaking some laws did not carry as severe a
penalty as breaking others (Lev. 20:9-21).
      Although this discourse has many practical applications to Christians, its
doctrines belong to Israel. Jesus was telling his audience about a kingdom and the
laws of that kingdom and was speaking to those who were prospective citizens of
that kingdom. The phrase under study is in reference to kingdom citizens breaking
kingdom laws, and Jesus issued this warning to those who would break kingdom
laws:..
      ...and shall teach men so... The sin would be twofold. They would sin by
their ACTIONS (break the law themselves), and by their WORDS (teach others to
do the same). As it is with influencing others to sin, so it is with influencing
others to live righteously. Others are to be taught godly principles by both deeds
and words, but when deeds and words contradict one another, there can be no
effective witness.
      ...he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven:.. Notice what
Jesus did NOT say about breaking the law and teaching others to break the law of
the kingdom. First, he did NOT say that breaking the law WOULD KEEP
ANYONE FROM ENTERING THE KINGDOM, and second, he did NOT say
that breaking the law and teaching others to WOULD CAUSE THEM TO BE
EJECTED FROM THE KINGDOM. What Jesus DID say was that breaking the
law and teaching others to do so would cause people to FORFEIT their
POSITION in the kingdom.
      ...but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great
in the kingdom of heaven. This is not talking about kingdom citizens teaching
kingdom citizens, for there will be no such thing in that day (Jer. 31:34). This
could be referring to kingdom CITIZENS teaching kingdom SUBJECTS, that is,
Jews teaching Gentiles during the millennium; however, it is probably talking
about people during the tribulation. Jews who survive the great tribulation will be
judged to determine who among them will enter the kingdom (Matt. 25:1-13).
Jews who are RESURRECTED at the end of the tribulation will be judged, not
only to determine who among them will ENTER the kingdom, but WHAT THEIR
POSITION IN THE KINGDOM WILL BE (Matt. 25:14-30). Since the
POSITION of RESURRECTED Jews will be determined at the same judgment
that determines whether they ENTER the kingdom, the verse under study must be
referring to Jews who will enter the kingdom without having died. THEIR
position in the kingdom will be determined by whether they keep and teach the
law.
      There is no way that the demands of this discourse can fit the people and
conditions of this present age. Neither will it fit the people nor the conditions of
the eternal age of God, the age of ages. This entire discourse is concerned with the
kingdom of heaven, its citizens and subjects.
      Verse 20. For I say unto you,.. Jesus was talking ABOUT the people TO
whom he was speaking AT THAT TIME—I say unto YOU.
      This is the first time that Jesus taught a SPECIFIC requirement was to be met
in order for anyone to ENTER the kingdom of heaven. Verses three and ten said
that the poor in spirit and those persecuted for righteousness' sake would enter the
kingdom. THEIR entrance is apparently based upon an INHERITANCE, while
the people spoken of in this verse must somehow OBTAIN a specific
RIGHTEOUSNESS. In verses three through ten, third person pronouns; they and
their, are used, but beginning with verse eleven, and including the verse under
study, second person pronouns are used (see comments on verses 10 and 11).
      ...That except your righteousness... This made it personal, I say unto
YOU, That except YOUR righteousness...                   Isaiah wrote, ...all our
righteousnesses are as filthy rags;.. (Isa. 64:6), so the righteousness of which
Jesus spoke had to come from a source other than personal endeavors. Abraham
had the kind of righteousness about which Jesus referred (Rom. 4:3) and King
David had the same kind of righteousness (Rom. 4:6). The righteousness Jesus
spoke of had to be AVAILABLE, else he would have been unjust in demanding it.
It was his own righteousness, the righteousness which God imputes to those who
through FAITH trust HIM.
      ...shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees… The
righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees WAS THE BEST THAT HUMAN
ENDEAVORS COULD PRODUCE. No one could do any better than these
Jewish religious leaders, yet Jesus said what they had was not good enough to get
them into the kingdom. The Jewish religious leaders represented the ultimate in
that which human "goodness" could produce, but Jesus said that if anyone did not
do better than THAT, then:..
      ...ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Verses three and
ten dealt with kingdom entry on the basis of INHERITANCE; the verses
BETWEEN three and ten dealt with kingdom BLESSINGS and were given in
reference to Israel in general. Verses eleven through the end of the lesson (Matt.
7:27), were spoken to his immediate listeners, AND TO JEWS OF THE FUTURE
TRIBULATION. The King's demand upon them for kingdom entry was a
righteousness that exceeded the righteousness of their religious leaders. The
preceding verse (19) dealt with kingdom CONDUCT in relation to the law. THIS
verse (20) deals with kingdom ENTRY, WHICH REQUIRED A
RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT THE LAW COULD NOT PROVIDE (Rom. 9:31-
32).
       Verse 21. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time,.. The
people to whom Jesus was speaking had either read or been told what "them of old
time" said. There is no doubt that the religious leaders quoted often from the law
and the prophets. Exodus 20:13 says,..
       ...thou shalt not kill... This means MURDER, not capital punishment or war
(Gen. 9:5, Deu. 7:2, Acts 25:11).
       ...and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: God
instructed Israel to appoint judges to settle disputes and to judge issues arising
between his people (Deu. 16:18). While this may be the type of judgment referred
to in this verse, it is more likely Israel's last judgment when they stand before
GOD.
       Verse 22. But I say unto you,.. Jesus began to contrast what the people had
HEARD said with what he was saying. He had already declared that he would not
change any law or contradict any prophet; therefore, his "but" is not a
CONTRADICTION of the law and the prophets, but rather a CLARIFICATION
of the law and prophets. The scribes and the Pharisees said that what "them of old
time" said meant one thing, and Jesus was telling the people that it meant
something else.
       ...That whosoever is angry with his brother... Who has never been angry
with a brother? If this statement were not qualified by other comments it could be
concluded that all men are in danger of judgment. But, there is more.
       ...without a cause... Without this phrase, Jesus himself would be in danger
of judgment. Mark 3:5 states that Jesus ...looked round about on them with
anger... Jesus was not smiling with compassion and love when be cast the money-
changers and merchants from his temple (John 2:14-15, Mark 11:15-17). Jesus
had CAUSE to be angry. His was a righteous anger which was expressed for a
legitimate reason.
       ...shall be in danger of the judgment:.. The Bible never raises the question
of whether there WILL BE a judgment. This verse verifies that there will be a
judgment and concerns itself with WHO WILL BE THERE. This judgment
COULD be referring to the great white throne since that is the ONLY judgment
that is seen AFTER the kingdom age is complete. Because this discourse concerns
itself with kingdom subjects, and this particular verse with their CONDUCT
WITHIN THE KINGDOM, these people certainly could not be judged BEFORE
the kingdom comes.            It is possible that these people will be judged
THROUGHOUT the thousand year reign of King Jesus as circumstances demand.
      ...and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca,.. The word, Raca, is found
nowhere else in the scriptures and linguists say that it means vain or empty. This
certainly is not a common "curse word" in this present age. At its worst, it could
hardly be considered harsh or cruel, but mild. Yet, anyone under the conditions of
the "Sermon on the Mount," upon calling a brother, Raca:..
      ...shall be in danger of the council:.. The word council appears only once in
the Old Testament (Psa. 68:27) and it means an assembly. It first appears in the
New Testament in this verse, and the same meaning is implied, possibly a
Sanhedrin type assembly.
      ...but whosoever shall say, thou fool,.. Jesus called two of his disciples
fools (Luke 24:25), and Paul called people who do not believe in the resurrection,
fools (I Cor. 15:36), but it is unlikely that either Jesus or Paul are in danger of hell
fire. Nevertheless, the people referred to in this verse, under the CONDITIONS
revealed in this discourse, at the TIME referred to, upon saying, "thou fool:.."
      ...shall be in danger of hell fire. The only thing anyone knows about hell,
he knows because the Bible told him, for there is no other source of information.
Most of what the Bible says about hell came from Jesus himself. In this chapter,
Jesus mentioned hell three times (verses 22, 29, 30).
      This verse has been used by certain religious groups to frighten Christians
into adopting a better life style. It has been used to threaten certain Christians
(those who do not know that salvation is eternal) into living a "holy life." The
condition, as presented in this verse, does not exist in this present age. The
reference is to a KINGDOM situation.
      Verse 23. Therefore... This connects verse twenty-three with the preceding
verse, and shows a continuation of thought. The indication is that what has been
stated previously is to be applied in the manner revealed in this, and following
verses.
      ...if thou bring thy gift to the altar... Christians do not worship at, nor bring
gifts or sacrifices to an altar. They worship in spirit and in truth and bring gifts
and offerings to Jesus.
When working a jig-saw puzzle, someone may in frustration attempt to force a
piece into a place when it fits neither the picture nor the pattern. Likewise, any
attempt to force this scripture on Christians is equally erroneous, for it fits
neither the picture nor the pattern of the church age.
      When the kingdom comes there will be a temple in Jerusalem and temple
worship will be restored and certain sacrifices made (Ez. 40 - 48). Temple
worship will not be carried out in ANTICIPATION of Christ's work as was done
by Jews in Old Testament time, but as a memorial in REMEMBRANCE OF
WHAT CHRIST HAS ALREADY DONE.
      ...and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; This
is not a situation in which a person going to worship remembers that HE has
something against a brother, but remembers THAT A BROTHER HAS
SOMETHING AGAINST HIM.
      Verse 24. Leave there thy gift before the altar... The worshipper is to
leave his gift at the altar rather than take it with him. Leaving the gift at the altar
frees the worshipper to seek reconciliation with the brother he wronged and lends
credence to his intentions, being a testimony that his heart is right.
      ...and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother... There is a right and
a wrong way of doing things, and first things need to be first. Being reconciled to
a brother through apology, or by the return of a stolen item or some such thing, is
a testimony that a person is sincere about worshipping God.
      ...and then come and offer thy gift. When a person is sincere, and really
wants to worship God in spirit and in truth, God will accept his gift and offering.
In the instructions Jesus gave concerning giving gifts, nothing was said about the
VALUE of the gift or the NATURE of the gift. The gift Jesus was talking about
in this lesson was the same AFTER the worshipper had been reconciled to his
brother as it was BEFORE. Thus the emphasis is on the HEART OF THE
WORSHIPPER and not on the gift.
      Verse 25. Agree with thine adversary quickly... This statement is
concerned with the sixth commandment, thou shalt not kill, and further explains
verse twenty-two; do not be angry with a brother without a cause, do not say,
"Raca," to anyone, and do not call anyone a fool. In this verse, the hearer is told to
AGREE with his adversary quickly. The word, agree, is found but once in the Old
Testament, in Amos 3:3, where it is written, Can two walk together, except they
be agreed? This verse from Amos is concerned with a relationship between God
and man. The verse under study is concerned with a man's relationship with a
brother, or fellow citizen.
      ...whiles thou art in the way with him;.. While the opportunity exists, while
walking with him, as soon as possible, agree with the brother who has been
wronged:..
      ...lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge... The offended
brother would have the legal right to bring charges whenever he chose. The idea
is, do not let it reach the court, do not let it reach the ear of the judge. It would be
a lot easier for the offending brother to make things right while he has the
opportunity, rather than let it get to court where the judge would have to rule on
the matter.
      ...and the judge deliver thee to the officer,.. The only just verdict would be
guilty, because an innocent man would hardly be delivered to an officer.
      ...and thou be cast into prison. The first person the Bible records having
been put in prison was Joseph who was cast into prison because somebody lied
(Gen. 39:7-20). Jeremiah was cast into prison simply because he said what God
told him to say, and the ones to whom he spoke did not like what he said (Jer.
32:2-3). John the Baptist was put in jail because of what he said, although what he
said was true and had God's full approval (Matt. 14:3-4). Many of the apostles
were jailed because they preached a resurrection through Jesus Christ (Acts 4:1-3).
Paul and Silas were put in jail because they taught things that people did not want
to hear (Acts 16:20-24). But the person spoken of in this verse is not cast into
prison unjustly, as were those listed above. He was jailed because he injured a
brother and did not make it up to him when he had the opportunity.
      Verse 26. Verily I say unto thee... This phrase is used five times in this
discourse (5:18, 26, 6:2, 5, 16). The first time is in relation to the eternalness of
God's word and law, the second is in relation to escaping judgment, and the third,
fourth and fifth are in relation to rewards.
      ...thou shalt by no means come out thence,.. That is, the person in jail will
not get out:..
      ...till... This is talking about a temporary imprisonment, its length based
upon the time required, until:..
      ...thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. All will be repaid. A farthing
was the smallest bit of money, and amounted to about one-fortieth of a denarius,
which was a day's wage. In other words, the individual would not be released
from prison until be paid every tiny portion of indebtedness. How this man was to
earn money to pay his debt while in jail is a mystery. Maybe his family could
make payment.
      Verse 27. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time... This
expression was used in verse twenty-one in relation to murder and here it is used
in relation to adultery. Jesus made it clear that what these people HEARD had
been said by "them of old," was not necessarily what "them of old" had said. He
was not correcting "them of old," but WAS CORRECTING THE SCRIBES AND
PHARISEES who had misinformed the people concerning what "them of old"
(Moses and the prophets) had said. Jesus was clarifying what the Old Testament
said and meant.
      ...thou shalt not commit adultery: This is the seventh of the Ten
Commandments, and the second one having to do with a man's relationship to his
fellow man. The sin of adultery is second only to murder in the degree of pain and
sorrow it causes. While murder and adultery are NOT unforgivable sins, the
consequence of either is terrible. Moses killed a man (Ex. 2:12), and David
committed adultery (II Sam. 11:3-4), and although both Moses and David lived to
regret their sins, neither went to hell (Heb. 11:24-32).
      Verse 28. But I say unto you,.. For the second time in this lesson the
contrast between what the people HEARD said, and what Jesus said is revealed.
Jesus was not correcting or adding to the law, but rather was EXPLAINING THE
TRUE MEANING OF THE LAW. The loudly voiced objection to Jesus' view of
adultery is usually, "THEN NO ONE EVER KEPT THE LAW PERFECTLY!"
Amen! No one EXCEPT JESUS. But during the kingdom age, conditions will
be different and by the grace of God, the ability to live by the law will be granted
to kingdom citizens because law and grace will be reconciled.
      ...That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed
adultery with her already... Who has never committed the adultery Jesus was
talking about? This certainly must have angered the Pharisees who abstained from
physical adultery and considered themselves righteous in doing so. In this
statement, the cloak of self-righteousness is stripped from every Pharisee, Catholic
priest, and Baptist preacher who ever lived. The only exception was Jesus.
      ...in his heart. And that is the heart of the matter. There is no such thing as
pure flesh in this world, for, ...flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of
God;.. (I Cor. 15:50). Keeping the flesh unspotted from physical sins cannot
change the heart, and without purity of heart no one will be accepted into the
kingdom of God. There is a sinful nature in all men that can be remedied only by
the gift of Christ's righteousness. Men either have HIS righteousness or no
righteousness acceptable to God. In the future, when Jesus comes with his
kingdom (Luke 19:12), Jews will be given his righteousness and the laws of God
will be written in their hearts (Heb. 8:10) and they will be given the ability to keep
the law as Jesus did.
      Verse 29. And if thy right eye offend thee,.. The first appearance of the
word offend is in the Old Testament in Genesis 20:9 and is used IN
CONNECTION WITH ADULTERY. Its first appearance in the New Testament
is here in Matthew 5:29 where it is also in relation to adultery. The word offend
means to cause to stumble and does not mean that the eye is diseased or damaged,
or that someone does not like its appearance. In relation to the eye offending
someone, the meaning has already been viewed in the preceding verse where a
man LOOKS upon a woman to lust after her. This is speaking of the LUST of the
eye.
      ...pluck it out... In light of the alternative, God's advice to anyone with an
offending eye is that they pluck it out. It is hardly likely that the person being
spoken of in this verse is ALREADY IN THE KINGDOM, but is awaiting
ENTRY into the kingdom. IF the person is already a kingdom citizen, then it is
possible to be ejected from the kingdom of heaven. Christians are in the kingdom
of GOD (which they did NOT enter by plucking out their eye) and no one having
entered this kingdom will ever be ejected. Christians proclaim salvation by grace
through faith, and once saved always saved, but this condition was not true until
this present age. Only a CHILD of God can know eternal salvation as a present
possession. Servants, such as Jews under the law, could lose their servitude
through disobedience (Luke 16:2). However, a Christian is not a SERVANT but a
SON (Gal. 4:7). Since sin will not be tolerated in the coming kingdom of heaven,
sin will be dealt with immediately (Isa. 11:3-4), even by casting the offender into
hellfire.
       ...and cast it from thee:.. The idea is to get rid of the offending member,
which is a form of self-judgment. The threat issued to these people is that failure
to judge themselves might result in their being cast into hellfire. To show the
difference between these people in the kingdom of heaven, and Christians in the
kingdom of God, Christians are told to judge themselves that they might not lose
their PHYSICAL life (I Cor. 11:28-32), but are never threatened with hellfire.
       ...for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish,.. For
someone to pluck out his eye and throw it away and it be called a good investment
depicts a drastic situation. But, it is not really drastic when one considers the
alternative, which is:..
       ...and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. An eye, or some
other member, in exchange for an entire body is not a bad investment.
       It was by way of her ear and eye that Satan "got to" Eve. The Devil's
promise to Eve was that upon eating the forbidden fruit, her EYES would be
opened (Gen. 3:5). After LISTENING to Satan, ...the woman SAW... (Gen. 3:6).
Since it was through the eye that Satan got Eve to sin, God's remedy for sin also
has something to do with the eye. Moses put a serpent on a TREE that those who
would LOOK upon it (see with their eyes), might be healed (Num. 21:8). The
only sense that Satan did not use to entice Eve seems to have been the sense of
smell. He first got her to HEAR him (Rom. 10:17, the remedy), then he got her to
LOOK at the tree, then to TOUCH the fruit and finally to TASTE it. (She
possibly smelled it before she tasted it.)
       Verse 30. And if thy right hand offend thee... Returning to the garden of
Eden we see, And the Lord God said,.. lest he put forth his HAND, and take
also of the tree of life,.. (Gen. 3:22). The first time the Bible mentions the eye, it
is in connection with a tree, and the first mention of the hand also is in connection
with a tree. It was by his hands (and feet) that Jesus was nailed to a tree (John
20:20-25, Acts 5:30). It was into the hands of God that Jesus commended his
spirit (Luke 23:46). By the hands of God the Father and the hands of God the Son
do we know eternal salvation (John 10:28-29).
The verse under study specifically designates the RIGHT HAND and the
RIGHT EYE which denotes the stronger, or better of a pair.
      ...cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of
thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into
hell. To lose an eye or a hand is a terrible tragedy, yet any rational person would
exchange either his eye or his hand for eternal life in heaven instead of eternal
death in hell.
      Verse 31. It hath been said,.. The expression changes from, Ye have heard
that it was said (verses 21 and 27), to, It hath been said. Jesus was referring to
Deuteronomy 24:1-3, where God gave instructions to Israel concerning divorce.
God PERMITS a couple to be divorced, but Mark 10:5 makes it clear that God
never APPROVES of divorce.
      ...Whosoever shall put away his wife,.. The expression, put away, means to
set loose or cast away.
      ...let him give her a writing of divorcement: The scripture tells us that
Israel was God's wife (Isa. 54:5, Jer. 3:20), yet, because of her sins and adultery,
God gave his beloved wife a writ of divorcement (Isa. 50:1, Jer. 3:8).
      Verse 32. But I say unto you,.. For the third time, Jesus clarified an Old
Testament lesson. First he straightened out what had been taught about murder,
then adultery and now, divorce.
      ...That whosoever shall put away his wife... The expression, put away, is
found throughout the Bible and its explanation given in the comments under the
preceding verse.
      ...saving for the cause of fornication... Saving for, means, except for. At
this point in the scripture, the ONLY reason for a man to give his wife a writ of
divorcement was for fornication, but after the death, burial and resurrection of
Christ, God extended his exceptions to include abandonment. This is revealed in
First Corinthians 7:15 where it is written, ...if the unbelieving depart, LET HIM
DEPART. A brother or a sister is NOT UNDER BONDAGE IN SUCH
CASES:.. Paul also wrote that if a CHRISTIAN is divorced from a spouse and
remarries, HE HAS NOT SINNED (I Cor. 7:27-28). So we see further evidence
that this discourse was not spoken or recorded for doctrinal application to
Christians. The ONLY reason for a person to be divorced in the kingdom of
heaven will be for fornication.
      ...causeth her to commit adultery:.. A woman, put away (divorced) for any
cause other than fornication is placed in a position causing her to commit adultery.
Note carefully how God said it; "CAUSETH her to commit adultery." WHY this
CAUSES a woman to commit adultery is not clear, but it does because God says
so.
      ...and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
What Jesus told these Jews was clear enough; to marry a divorced woman was to
commit adultery. To Christians, God says, "...if the unbelieving depart, let him
depart. A brother or a sister IS NOT UNDER BONDAGE IN SUCH
CASES:.. Art thou loosed from a wife? SEEK NOT A WIFE. But and IF
THOU MARRY, THOU HAST NOT SINNED;.." (I Cor. 7:15, 27-28).
Marriage, divorce and remarriage IS NOT AN UNPARDONABLE SIN. Its
CONSEQUENCE is usually bad, but the Bible does not say that anyone was ever
condemned to hell for divorce and remarriage. Since we are speaking of
condemnation to hell, the only sin that condemns someone to hell is the sin of not
believing and trusting God, which in this age is the sin of not trusting Jesus as
one's personal Savior (John 3:18).
      Verse 33. Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old
time,.. This is the fourth time Jesus referred to what his audience had been taught.
Jesus probably quoted what Moses or one of the prophets SAID because it is not
found in anything that they WROTE. This is not unusual since there are numerous
occasions in the New Testament where a reference is made to a prophet having
SAID something that is not RECORDED in the Old Testament.
      ...thou shalt not forswear thyself... To forswear is to swear falsely or to
commit perjury.
      ...but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths: The first Biblical account
of anyone requiring or giving an oath is found in Genesis 21:23-24 where
Abraham swore to King Abimelech that he would deal kindly with him and his
descendants.
      An oath is a promise, and no Christian should make a promise he does not
intend to keep, nor should he ever forget a promise he has made. In the following
verse of Matthew, Jesus said not to swear at all and some Christians abide by that
command. But these instructions in Matthew's gospel are to KINGDOM citizens
and not instructions to Christians. Jesus himself was placed under oath and he did
not object (Matt. 26:63). If a Christian is asked to appear in a court of law and is
required to swear to tell the truth it would not be a violation of Christian principles
to do so.
      Verse 34. But I say unto you, Swear not at all;.. Here again is the contrast
shown between what the people had heard said and what Jesus was saying. The
doctrines of this verse, as well as the preceding verses, are not instructions to
Christians. If they were, then a Christian could not serve on a jury, give a
testimony in a court of law, nor marry in a ceremony that required a vow, for a
vow is an oath. A Christian could not say the pledge of allegiance to the flag, for a
pledge is an oath. Some cult's members, who call themselves Christians, refuse to
take any vow, oath or pledge, simply because of the misapplication of this verse.
      ...neither by heaven;.. How often have boisterous, crude voices cursing and
swearing in the name of heaven filled the air. Filthy words are often mingled with
the name of Jesus, cursing mixed with the name of God, swearing with the same
breath that calls upon heaven—such is the nature of unregenerated man.
      ...for it is God's throne: This means little or nothing to an unsaved man.
Yet, someday all unsaved men will stand before the great white throne of God and
hear terrifying words that may be, "His name is not in the book, cast him into the
eternal. lake of fire." The same throne by which many have sworn will someday
be their throne of judgment. That same throne is now a throne of grace, available
to all who will believe God and receive his Son as their Savior. Now, in this
present age of grace, the Savior is seated at the right hand of the throne of God,
willing to accept into the kingdom of God any who will receive his gift of eternal
life. Those who reject his throne of grace will face his throne of judgment.
      Verse 35. Nor by the earth;.. The Psalmist wrote, What is man, that thou
art mindful of him? (Psa. 8:4). Another question might well be, "What is the
earth that you chose to put man upon it, why not Venus or Mars, or some other
solar system or galaxy?" The earth is very insignificant in relation to other
heavenly bodies. The sun is tiny in comparison to other stars in the universe.
Why earth?
      It is not known WHY God chose the earth, but only that he did. In the
Genesis account of creation, God did not record the names of the sun, the moon or
the stars, but he did give this planet a name and called it, Earth (Gen. 1:10). God
likely chose the earth BECAUSE of its insignificance (Deu. 7:7, I Cor. 1:25-29).
      ...for it is his footstool:.. In the light of this revelation earth can hardly be
considered insignificant, for in being God's footstool, it is exalted beyond the
realm of human understanding. The God of glory has walked upon this planet and
in his wisdom has chosen it to be the dwelling place of man and the battleground
for souls.
      ...neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King. Not only is the
earth God's footstool and the orb on which he chose to place man, but here on the
earth he has chosen to place a city where he will someday dwell among men.

     Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
      Lift up your voice and sing,
     Hosanna in the highest,
      Hosanna to the King.

     The name Jerusalem means, God's peace. It is the Holy City and the city
from which Jesus will rule as King for one thousand years.

     Hosanna to the King of Kings,
      To God all glory be,
     Christ will return, this earth to rule,
      And reign eternally.

      Verse 36. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not
make one hair white or black. A person can dye his hair, but that will only
cover its true color temporarily. Since man lacks the ability to alter, modify or
change in any way the color of his own hair, how much less control he has over
God's ways. Hair is God's creation and gift to cover man's head; therefore, the
head is far more important than hair, and not to be sworn by.
      It is foolish of man to think that the destiny of the world is in his hands. It is
equally foolish for man to believe that he creates his own fate, or that he can alter
the eternal plan of God through the exercise of his free will. The extent of man's
ability to have anything to do with his eternal destiny lies only in his choice of
whether to accept or reject God's gift of salvation. This is not to suggest that man
is not RESPONSIBLE for his own fate or that he does not CHOOSE his fate, but
that he does not CREATE his fate. Neither does this suggest that a Christian's
prayers and works cannot alter the SITUATION of the world and its systems, but
that the ultimate DESTINY of the world cannot be changed.
      Verse 37. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay:.. This
instruction was given in relation to taking an oath, and does not indicate that an
individual's conversation should be restricted to saying only yes or no. What it
does say is that OATHS should be confined to either yes or no, a stand which
would leave no neutral or middle ground. If your communication demands a yes,
say yes and stand on it, and if no, then likewise say no. Mean what you say, say
what you mean, and do not say it if you are not willing to stand on it.
      ...for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. James, in his epistle,
says that man's tongue gets him into trouble, and that it is difficult to control
(James. 3:3-8). When responding to a question, a simple yes or no is sufficient.
Asking a person to go beyond that would be to question the validity of his word. A
man's word should be his bond, for if you cannot trust a man's WORD, he cannot
be trusted at all. If someone cannot take you at your word, and requires more than
a simple yes or no, whatever follows will only lead to evil.
      Verse 38. Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a
tooth for a tooth: This is the fifth time that Jesus said either, "Ye have heard
that it hath been said," or, "It hath been said." The first time he used one or
the other of these expressions was in relation to murder (verse 21); the second was
in relation to adultery (verse 27); the third was in relation to divorce (verse 31);
the fourth was in relation to taking an oath (verse 33) and the fifth is in relation to
justice.
The words Jesus quoted in this verse are from three different Old Testament
books, Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20 and Deuteronomy 19:21. The Lord
demanded these things of his people that they might not be careless or hateful.
      Verse 39. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil:.. Jesus was speaking
about conditions that have not yet existed. He was speaking of kingdom
conditions and kingdom situations, a time yet future when he himself will execute
all judgment (Isa. 9:7). In Old Testament times, Jews were told to extract justice
by, "an eye for an eye, a hand for a hand and a foot for a foot" (Lev. 24:20, Deu.
19:21). The people to whom Jesus was speaking were told to put up no resistance
against evil. That is because when the kingdom comes, Jesus will personally and
immediately judge and execute all evil.
In contrast, Christians are told to RESIST the devil and his evil (Eph. 6:10-18, I
Pet. 5:8-9).
      ...but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the
other also. This is not an easy thing to do under the best conditions, but to a
limited extent this is applicable to Christians. Christians who have been wronged
and meekly "offer the other cheek" only to be struck again, might feel a degree of
satisfaction, knowing that God will take care of the offender on judgment day, but
the question is still raised, "Where do you go from there?" This particular passage
seems to give one no right to protect himself and leaves no room for self-defense.
The doctrinal application of this particular verse fits the future kingdom when
Jesus will be present and available to handle the offender personally, immediately,
and justly (Isa. 11:1-5).
      Verse 40. And if any man will sue thee at the law,.. It is neither honoring
to Christ nor to the cause for which he died for a child of God to sue a fellow
Christian. It is even more dishonoring when a church family sues another church
family. When a Christian takes an issue into a court of law against a brother, or a
church takes another church to court, it is in violation of God's instructions (I Cor.
6:1-12). This happens quite often in these days, and is one of many signs that
Jesus is coming soon.
      ...and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. If a Christian
attempted to abide by this rule in these days the one suing him would quite likely
want his car, his house and his property also. The evidence is mounting that this
discourse is in no way DOCTRINALLY applicable to Christians. It COULD have
been applicable to the people to whom Jesus was speaking had they received the
kingdom and its righteousness, BUT THEY DID NOT. Therefore, Jesus was
speaking of a dispensation, or era, not yet manifested on earth, a time and
condition that is still future.
      Verse 41. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him
twain. This verse has a PRACTICAL application to the present age, as did the
preceding verse, but, should a Christian attempt to apply this principle, he must do
so with discernment and love. When love is applied and practiced, all Bible
principles become practical.
      Verse 42. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow
of thee turn not thou away. In these last five verses, four attitudes which will be
expected of kingdom citizens were given. The first pertained to kingdom citizens
and physical attacks (verses 38 and 39). The second was in regard to their
personal possessions (verse 40). The third was in relation to time and energy
(verse 41), and this fourth is concerned with a citizen's attitude about charitable
deeds (verse 42).
      Verse 43. Ye have heard that it hath been said, thou shalt love thy
neighbor, and hate thine enemy. This is the sixth and final division of the King's
discourse on the expected attitudes and actions of kingdom of heaven citizens.
They were in relation to: 1. murder, 2. adultery, 3. divorce, 4. oaths, 5. judgment,
and 6. enemies.
      The Bible never tells anyone to hate their enemies. The Jews were told to
DESTROY their enemies (Deu. 7:2). God himself declared that he would FIGHT
their enemies (Deu. 20:4), but never told them to HATE anyone, even though he
himself HATED their idols (Deu. 16:22) and even HATED an individual, Esau
(Mal. 1:3). God's hatred of Esau may have had something to do with the fact that
Esau was the first person in the Bible to have hated someone; he hated his brother
(Gen. 27:41). Although the word hate appeared earlier in the scripture, it is seen
in relation to a national (Gerar) attitude toward an individual, and not an
individual's hatred for another (Gen. 26:27). Cain KILLED his brother, and
PROBABLY hated him, but if he did, the Bible does not mention it.
      Verse 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies,.. This "love your
enemy," is given in contrast to what was said in the previous verse, "hate thine
enemy." Christians in this age may find that the degree to which love MAY BE
MANIFESTED depends on the situation. Suppose a Christian is drafted into the
armed service of his nation and placed in a position where he meets the enemy
face to face. He is legally under the authority of his government (I Pet. 2:13-14,
Rom. 13:1-7), and has been trained and commanded to kill the enemy. Upon
meeting the enemy, the choice is to kill, or not kill and risk being killed. This
soldier, being a Christian, remembers Matthew 5:44, jumps up and shouts, "I love
you," and gets shot. If he were alone, the situation might not be so bad, since
being a Christian he would go to be with the Lord, but chances are he would be
among other soldiers who were depending on him to do his duty and kill. He
failed his allies, and, because of his action, some of them might be killed by the
very man he failed to kill.
      Of course, this kind of speculation could go on and on, and the situation
depicted above is somewhat ridiculous, but loving one's enemy does not mean
jumping up in the thick of battle and telling him so. Neither does loving one's
enemy justify disobedience to legally delegated authority. In a situation similar to
the one above, there is the possibility that a Christian soldier may come face to
face with a soldier in the army of his nation's enemy, WHO MIGHT BE A
CHRISTIAN BROTHER. At the same time that he is called on to kill this
Christian brother, it is possible that none of his allies are Christians so he would
have to face the dilemma of enemy identification. Who would be the Christian
soldier's REAL enemy, his unsaved allies or his Christian foe? All this is simply
to show that in this age, loving your enemy cannot always be manifested by a
display of benevolence. Another possibility that lends a rather weird twist to this
commandment is that it is possible to LOVE a person, even an enemy, without
LIKING him.
      …bless them that curse you,.. This is not always easy to do, but this is
somewhat of a universal principle which is applicable to Christians, and when
done with love and humility will often produce miraculous results.
      ...do good to them that hate you,.. This will leave a person's enemy
defenseless quicker than anything. It is POSSIBLE that this practice will work for
ANYONE; Jews, Gentiles or Christians; however, it will not ALWAYS work for
everyone in EVERY situation (in this age), but it WILL work in the coming
kingdom.
      ...and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; In
this entire commandment, which began in verse forty-three, the theme is love.
Love your enemies and you'll have no trouble blessing them or praying for them.
The important thing is to notice that LOVING one's enemy PRECEDED both
blessing him and praying for him.
      Verse 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in
heaven:.. This statement poses the question, how can one have a father, and NOT
be his child? How can it be possible to MAY BE, something you ALREADY
ARE? A person is either the child of his father or he is not his father's child, so
logic leads to the conclusion that if you have a father, you are his child.
      Jesus used the term, YOUR Father, not, THE Father or MY Father. Yet, on
other occasions Jesus referred to God as HIS Father (John 14:2, Luke 23:46,
24:49, etc.). Before Christ ascended into heaven the FIRST time, after his
resurrection, speaking to Mary, said, "...I ascend unto MY Father, and YOUR
Father;.." (John 20:17), instead of saying, "OUR Father." It appears that Jesus
was talking about two different Fathers, his and hers. This is complicated and
confusing, but the dilemma is cleared up when a few other truths are applied.
Israel, as a nation, is the SERVANT SON OF GOD, and is typified by Ishmael,
the SERVANT SON OF ABRAHAM. Ishmael WAS ABRAHAM'S SON, and
that cannot be denied (Gen. 16:15), yet, when Abraham was instructed to offer his
other son, Isaac, as a sacrifice, God called Isaac, Abraham's ONLY Son (Gen.
22:2, 16). What this says is that God considered Ishmael's relationship to
Abraham to be different from Isaac's, EVEN THOUGH BOTH ARE SAID TO
BE ABRAHAM'S SONS (Gal. 4:22). The difference between Ishmael's
relationship to Abraham, and Isaac's relationship to Abraham was that Ishmael
was a SERVANT son, while Isaac was a FREE son. In this, ISHMAEL
TYPIFIES THE NATION ISRAEL AND THEIR RELATIONSHIP TO GOD,
and ISAAC TYPIFIES JESUS AND HIS CHURCH, AND JESUS AND HIS
CHURCH'S RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. Ishmael typifies bondage, law,
servants, Jews (Gal. 4:23-25), while Isaac typifies grace, freedom, heirs, Christians
(Gal. 4:7, 28-30, Rom. 8:16-17).
In the Old Testament, when Israel is called God's son, the reference is to Israel
as a NATION, and not as individuals, and IS ALWAYS IN REFERENCE TO
THE FUTURE KINGDOM (Psa. 89:26, Isa. 63:16, 64:8, Jer. 3:19). While the
nation Israel under the law was a SERVANT son of God, when the kingdom
comes that nation will have been born again, and be a FREE son of God (Isa.
66:8).
      Applying these truths to Matthew 5:44 shows how the expression "YOUR
Father" will someday be "OUR Father." This will not be the case until the "new
birth" of the nation Israel makes it possible. CHRISTIANS NOW call God
"Father" IN THE SAME WAY THAT JESUS DID. That is because since the day
of Pentecost those saved into the kingdom of God have the same relationship to
God that Jesus has. In the future kingdom, Israel, as a nation, will have a similar
relationship to God the Father as individual Christians have in this present age
(Rom. 11:26). To further clarify this concept, when Jesus was speaking to Jews,
as he was in this discourse, he never used the expression, OUR Father; always,
YOUR Father or MY Father. BUT THE APOSTLE PAUL DID USE THE
EXPRESSION, OUR FATHER WHEN REFERRING TO HIMSELF AND
OTHER CHRISTIANS (Rom. 1:7, I Cor. 1:3, etc.). Lest someone object to this
view and use Matthew 6:9 as its basis, indeed Jesus DID instruct Jews to pray,
"OUR Father which art in heaven,.."; however, HE was not calling on God, but
telling his audience HOW to call on God. Jesus was not praying, but teaching
Jews how to pray.
      ...for he maketh the sun to rise on the evil and on the good,.. The mind
and thoughts of God are not revealed by nature. Nature (wind, rain, seasons, birth,
and such) can only reveal the EXISTENCE of God. HOW and WHAT God is, his
attributes, his thoughts and plans, are revealed by a BOOK, THE BIBLE. No one
can be a student of theology if all he studies is his environment, and so called,
"acts of God." The sun, the moon and the stars do not reveal the NATURE of God,
they can only reflect his glory. Yet the world is filled with people claiming to be
seeking knowledge of God who spend their lives gazing at the stars, studying the
moon, observing the seasons, watching the habits of animals or the customs of
humans. God gave his word, and through it tells man everything he needs to know
about his creator. All man needs to know about HIMSELF, where he came from,
why he exists and where he is going, God has written in his book. Still, it is rare
to find anyone willing to accept what God says about himself and about mankind.
       Everyone SHOULD know that God does not distinguish between good and
bad people by sending sunshine, rain, violent weather, or whatever, on one and not
the other. This verse makes it clear that God sends the sun and the rain equally on
all, both evil and good.
       While God has presently chosen to reveal himself to man through the
preaching of the written word, in the kingdom there will be no preaching (compare
Rom. 10:11-15, with Heb. 8:7-11). In the coming kingdom, God will reveal his
attributes through his personal presence and through the righteous lives of his
people Israel, AS DEMANDED IN THE "SERMON ON THE MOUNT."
       ...and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. This truth applies to this
age. A Christian's identity is not revealed to the lost of this world by God's having
blessed him with physical blessing above his unsaved neighbor. A Christian's
identity is revealed to the unsaved of this world by his testimony, which is, what
he SAYS, and what he DOES. If an unsaved person tried to distinguish between a
Christian and a non-Christian by whether or not nature favors one above the other,
he could learn nothing at all. As God has said, "The sun will rise on both good
and evil people, and the rain will fall on both just and unjust people"
(paraphrased).
       In the kingdom age, rain WILL be withheld from those nations which refuse
to worship the King at Jerusalem (Zech. 14:17), but it will be withheld only for
that particular sin.
       Verse 46. For if you love them which love you, what reward have ye?
It's easy to love someone who loves you since this requires only a RESPONSE to
someone else's love. Because God's people already have the love of God in them,
they should RADIATE love to others that THEY might respond to love.
       ...do not even the publicans the same? This is the first time the name
publicans appears in the Bible. Publicans were public officials, usually Jewish tax
gatherers, who worked for the Roman government. They were generally hard,
unyielding people who had few friends except for other publicans.
       Verse 47. And if ye salute your brethern only, what do ye more than
others? do not even the publicans so? This statement expands what Jesus said
was expected of kingdom citizens concerning love, and has good PRACTICAL
application to Christians.
      Verse 48. Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in
heaven is perfect. The demand for perfection meant that one was to, "do it all,"
or, "be complete." Sinless perfection is not demanded of Christians that they might
remain in the kingdom of God, but sinless perfection is the ultimate goal to be
attained by Christians. This is a work that God began in his child when he
received Christ as his Savior, and which He is doing in him in his earthly sojourn.
This work will be completed at the judgment seat of Christ.




                           CHAPTER FIVE, EPILOGUE
         Chapter five presents the King's requirements for entry into
   the offered kingdom, and the expected conduct of those who
   would enter. This was all prospective to that generation,
   depending on whether they would or would not repent.
         Some people obviously met the King's demands and died
   without receiving the kingdom and its blessings. When the King
   returns, there will be a resurrection and the people who sought
   God's righteousness (Matt. 6:33) will live again and enjoy the
   delights of the kingdom.
         Chapters five, six and seven of Matthew must be taken as a
   unit, all three containing messages to prospective kingdom
   citizens.




CHAPTER 6
      Verse 1. Take heed that ye do not your alms before men,.. While chapter
five contrasted what the people had HEARD SAID with what JESUS said, chapter
six contrasts the IMPROPER WAY of doing things with the PROPER WAY. In
chapter five, the expression, "ye have heard it said," was contrasted with, "but I
say," five times. In chapter six, the word "not" is used eight times in relation to
the improper way of doing something contrasted with the proper way: 1. do NOT
your alms before men (verse 1), 2. do NOT sound a trumpet to glorify yourself
(verse 2), 3. do NOT be as hypocrites in public prayer (verse 5), 4. do NOT use
vain repetition when praying (verse 7), 5. be NOT like the heathen in prayer (verse
8), 6. be NOT like hypocrites when fasting (verse 16), 7. appear NOT unto men to
fast (verse 18), and 8. lay NOT up treasures upon earth (verse 19).
      Doing alms meant more than tithing or giving an offering but extended to
doing good deeds or acts of kindness. The expression, "do not your alms before
men," is explained in the first five verses of this chapter.
      ...to be seen of them:.. Some people do good deeds ONLY when they can
be seen by others.
      ...otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Most
people sell themselves cheap, accepting worldly trash in preference to heavenly
treasure. It is heartbreaking to see Christians who will spend ETERNITY in
heaven, who are only passing through this world on a brief sojourn, seeking
worldly things. Most Christians are not interested in serving Jesus unless they can
be seen or heard, or have their deeds publicized. They will find at the judgment
seat of Christ that their works will be no more than wood, hay and stubble. The
greatest work a Christian can do is that which he does in the name of Jesus, where
Jesus is given credit and NO ONE KNOWS WHO DID IT EXCEPT HIMSELF
AND GOD.
      Verse 2. Therefore when thou doest thine alms,.. Jesus was not criticizing
anyone for doing alms, because doing alms was expected. He was criticizing the
improper WAY, or manner, of the hypocrites. Although this discourse continues
to speak DOCTRINALLY to Jews as kingdom citizens, it contains many
PRACTICAL applications for Christians. Such is this lesson on alms giving.
      ...do not sound a trumpet before thee,.. The next phrase says that some
people actually had someone precede them, sounding a trumpet to draw attention
to their deeds. The way this is done today is a little more sophisticated. Today, a
Christian's good deeds are often made public through Christian literature. It is
almost impossible to read a "Christian" publication without finding articles
dedicated to exalting a Christian and his good works. Christian literature should
exalt CHRIST or not be referred to as Christian literature. Christ alone is to be
glorified, and this modern trend of glorifying Christians is no more that twentieth
century "trumpet sounding." Some Christians do not need anyone to precede them
with a trumpet, because they are willing to blow their own horn.
      ...as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets,.. The
synagogue was to a Jew what the "church house" is to a Christian, a place of
worship. A hypocrite is someone who pretends to be what he is not. The first
time the word hypocrite appears in the Scripture is in Job 8:13, where it was
spoken by a hypocrite, Bildad (Job 42:7-9).
      ...that they may have glory of men. This is what MOTIVATES a religious
hypocrite. He seeks his own glory and the praise of his fellowman rather than
seeking the glory and praise of God.
      Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Good deeds are usually
rewarded in one manner or another. A person can have his reward while he lives
on earth, which is the praise of men, or he can have a reward in heaven later,
which will be the praise of God. One can seldom have both the glory of man and
the glory of God.
      Verse 3. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy
right hand doeth: This expression shows the importance of not allowing anyone
to know about your good deeds. When you do good deeds, it should be as though
it were second nature and to the extent that you give the act no further thought. It
is difficult to imagine being able to perform some good deed so privately and
quietly that you are not aware of it, but that is how this verse implies it should be
done.
      Verse 4. That thine alms may be in secret:.. There is a tremendous contrast
between the way the hypocrites in verses one and two are said to have given alms,
and the way Jesus said it should be done. While the hypocrites sought the
attention and glory of men, Jesus said that the proper way to do good deeds is in
secret, even if it necessitates going out of the way to keep men from knowing
about them.
      ...and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
There is nothing that God does not see (Zech. 4:10); therefore, nothing is hidden
from him (Psa. 139:7-8). God knows every man's deeds, and will give to the
secret alms-giver an open reward. He will not only give the reward, but will make
public the reason for the reward being given; and THAT will be glory.
      Verse 5. And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites
are:.. The PRAYERS of the hypocrites are not contrasted with the prayers of the
righteous, but rather the WAY, ATTITUDE and MOTIVE of their prayers IS
contrasted. Jesus did not say, "thou shalt not PRAY as the hypocrites DO," but
said, "thou shalt not BE as the hypocrites ARE." The next phrase of this verse tells
HOW the hypocrites were in their prayer life.
      ...for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of
the streets... In the same manner that the hypocrites gave alms, so did they pray,
WHERE THEY MIGHT BE SEEN OF MEN.
      Many Christians are hypocritical in their prayer life. When someone
organizes an all night prayer meeting, advertises it far and near, tells the whole
community about it with a lot of fanfare and publicity, usually a large crowd will
attend. But call for a voluntary prayer meeting with a simple announcement,
purely for the sake of prayer, where the Christian community is simply informed,
and the crowd will be small. However, one person, on his knees in heart felt
sorrow for lost souls, asking God for something beneficial to the cause of Jesus,
will have far greater results than an entire nation praying because they have been
led to do so by human promotions. Yet, in these last days, Christians want human
recognition, so:..
...that they may be seen of men. "Look at me," is the cry of a child, a baby.
"Pay attention to me," is the call of the immature. But, such is the prevailing
attitude among most Christians today. Many "Christian" organizations are no
more than havens for religious egotists and exist only to provide ways for
Christians to be seen, heard, or made to feel important. Many of the endeavors
of these organizations are totally unscriptural. While a Christian should never
humiliate another Christian, neither should one Christian glorify another. That
is God's work, not man's. God will humble and God will exalt.
      Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. All they have coming in
the way of reward for prayer they received when they were seen of men.
      Verse 6. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet,.. The
instructions concerning the proper PLACE for prayer in this phrase is in direct
contrast to the place chosen by the hypocrites. A closet, as seen in the Bible,
means an inner room and suggests a very private place, and while not necessarily
identical to what we call a closet, is similar.
      ...and when thou hast shut thy door,.. There may be more than one reason
for shutting the door, but the context implies that it is to keep from being seen or
heard by one's fellow man. What a person says and asks in prayer is between
himself and God. No Christian needs company, a mediator, or a "priest" in order
to talk to God since saved people already have company (Matt. 28:20), a mediator
(I Tim. 2:5) and a High Priest (Heb. 4:14).
      ...pray to thy Father which is in secret;.. Prayers are to be addressed to
God the Father. They should not be TO Jesus, but THROUGH Jesus (John 14:6).
Christians should not pray TO the Holy Spirit but IN the Spirit (Eph. 6:18). When
Christians pray to God, Christ is the mediator (I Tim. 2:5), and the Holy Spirit is
the translator (Rom. 8:26-27). As most Christians know, it is not necessary to
speak audible words in order to be heard by God.
      ...and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. Jesus
said that rewards await secret alms givers, and a reward will be given for secret
prayer. The EFFECT of prayers is more than their being answered and the benefit
they may produce in this world, but prayers will be REWARDED whether they
are ANSWERED or not. The reward that the Lord will give for secret prayer will
be like that given for doing alms in secret, that is, openly or publicly.
      Verse 7. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions... This is self-
explanatory, meaning to say something over and over. A Christian can be caught
in the snare of repetitious prayer without realizing it. Prayer is talking to God and
no one should use "holy phrases" when talking to Him that are not used in
ordinary conversation. A radio preacher was praying and he sounded like a
broken record, repeating the expression "out yonder" over and over. He seemed
not to be able to close a sentence without repeating, "out yonder." He never made
it clear the location of "out yonder," nor did he make it clear who inhabited that
imaginary place. He used the expression only as filler words and his repeating the
expression was no more than vain repetition.
      Another form of repetition is beginning each and every sentence of a prayer
with such words as, "Father," or, "Dear God." God should be addressed at the
beginning or a prayer, and once addressed, there is no need to re-address him.
      ...as the heathen do:.. Of course God recognizes that heathens pray and this
verse reveals that they know HOW they pray. Jesus used the prayers of heathens
as his second example of improper prayer, and dealt mainly with vain repetition.
Jesus used the prayers of the hypocrites as his first example of improper prayer
and dealt mainly with publicity. About the only other difference between the
prayers of the hypocrites and the prayers of the heathens was that the hypocrites
knew what God wanted and expected and the heathens did not.
      ...for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. When
we pray, we should first of all praise God and tell him how good, great, and
wonderful he is. We should next confess our sins and failures, and then present
our petition, which should be short and directly to the point. A long prayer is
seldom a good prayer. We can, and should, pray short prayers all day long for this
is a very effective way of praying and meets with God's approval.
      Verse 8. Be not ye therefore like unto them:.. Jesus gave the examples in
the preceding verses, identified the guilty parties and explained their errors. He
admonished his hearers not to be like them. In giving examples of what not to do
and how not to pray, Jesus used RELIGIOUS PEOPLE AND HEATHENS. In
verse five, he told his audience WHERE NOT to pray, in verse six he told them
WHERE TO pray, in verses seven and eight he told them HOW NOT to pray, and
in verses nine through fifteen taught them HOW TO pray by an example.
...for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
There could be no better reason for not using vain repetition. The normal
course of human reasoning leads one to wonder, "Since God already knows
what we need, why does he want us to ask, why doesn't he just give it?" The
answer lies in the word faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God
(Heb. 11:6). Our prayers display our faith. God KNOWS what every man has
need of because he is God; but his GIVING what we need is connected with the
exercise of our faith. And even so, WE DO NOT ALWAYS GET WHAT WE
ASK FOR, EVEN WHEN WE ASK IN FAITH, WHICH BECOMES A REAL
TRIAL OF OUR FAITH. God WANTS his people to pray whether he intends
to grant the petition of their prayers or not (I Thess. 5:17, Eph. 6:18, Luke
21:36, 18:1, Mark 13:33, etc.), for in prayer obedience is displayed, and
obedience is a fruit of faith. God's people can display their faith by prayers and
their love by works.
      Verse 9. After this manner therefore pray ye:.. The IMPROPER aspects
of prayer were viewed in the preceding verses and examples given. In verses nine
through fifteen Jesus gave his listeners an example of the PROPER way to pray.
He did NOT tell his listeners to pray this prayer, but told them to pray this WAY.
Notice the words, After this MANNER... pray ye. Praying this prayer on a
scheduled basis would render one guilty of the "vain repetition" cautioned against
in verse seven. There is no value in repeating this prayer other than the blessing
one receives from quoting scripture.
      Our Father... This should be a Christian's, as well as Israel's, way of
addressing God. In using the word "our," Jesus was teaching his hearers that God
is the Father of the nation Israel. But, he declared in other scripture that THEIR
relationship to God as their Father was not the same as HIS relationship to God his
Father (John 20:17). (See comments on 5:45.)
      ...which art in heaven,.. Jesus simply identified the Father he was
addressing as the HEAVENLY Father.
      ...Hallowed be thy name. The word hallowed means "holy, set apart or
separated for special honor." The very NAME of God is holy and should be
spoken with awe and respect and never used in vain.
      The outline of this prayer is simple and to the point and divided into five
main parts. The first part is in verse nine, which is the salutation. The second is in
verse ten, and relates to God's will and intentions. The third part is in verse eleven
through the first part of verse thirteen, and is the petition. The fourth part is the
ending which gives praise and glory to God and the fifth and last part is the all
important, Amen, meaning true, faithful and affirmed.
The first part is broken down into two segments: first, the one being addressed
is identified as the Father in heaven, and second, the nature of the one
addressed is revealed—the one and only God, the hallowed or sacred One.
       Verse 10. Thy kingdom come. There are two segments of the
INTENTIONS of God. First, the prayer is a request for the promised kingdom
which God planned to bring to earth from the foundation of the world (Matt.
25:34). That kingdom has not yet come, and there is no reason to believe that the
Jews, as a nation, ever prayed for it to come. In the future tribulation the Jews will
earnestly pray, "thy kingdom come."
       Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. This is the second aspect of
God's intention. God's will cannot be done on earth until the kingdom comes, so
this second part of God's intention is hinged upon the first. The day WILL come
when God's will shall be done on earth. That day is to be sought by all of God's
people for it will be a day of righteousness, justice and peace.
       Verse 11. Give us this day our daily bread. This goes beyond simply
asking for the RIGHT to EARN food, but is asking for a GIFT. For forty years
God fed the nation Israel with heavenly bread (Ex. 16:4-35). In the middle of the
coming tribulation, Israel will again return to the same wilderness where they
wandered under Moses (Matt. 24:16), the place God has prepared where he will
feed them with manna for three and one half years (Rev. 12:6, 14).
It is rumored that certain religious organizations have stored food in an ancient
city of Moab, Petra, assuming that this is where Israel will flee, and that God
will use the food stored there to feed the fleeing Jews. While this may be a
good thought, it is hardly likely that God intends to feed his nation in this
manner. God is quite capable of feeding them the same way he fed them so
many years ago, with heavenly manna.
       Requesting daily bread is this model prayer's first petition, and deals with the
needs of the flesh.
       Verse 12. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Through
the centuries, the nation Israel has accrued numerous debts. On many occasions
Jews have found themselves depending on other nations for sanctuary and
sustenance. Egypt sustained them during a great famine (Gen. 42:1-2). Tyre and
its king, Hyram, aided Israel in building the temple (I Kings 5). Many nations
have provided a dwelling place for Jews during the almost two thousand years that
they have been away from their own land, and nations that have aided them have
been blessed for doing so (Gen. 12:3).
       The forgiveness sought in this prayer, however, is not from the nations to
whom Israel is indebted, but rather from God for their indebtedness to him. Sins
are not ALWAYS debts, and debts are not ALWAYS sins. Asking God for the
forgiveness of DEBTS insinuates that the Jews are to recognize that they have
wasted God's goods, and owe him for having done so. Israel, as a nation, wasted
God's goods over which he had made them stewards (Luke 16:1-12). Having lost
their right to be God's servants (which happened at Christ's first coming), they
used God's goods to purchase for themselves places to dwell and survive among
the nations during the time of their loss of servitude. (In regard to Israel. and their
plight during this present age of grace, read Luke 16:1-13.)
      The plea for forgiveness will be heard only on the condition that the one
seeking forgiveness also be forgiving. It is senseless for anyone to ask God for
forgiveness when he himself will not forgive others.
      Verse 13. And lead us not into temptation,.. Many have tried to explain
this phrase away saying that it does not mean exactly what it says, contending that
it violates James 1:13. But James 1:13 does not say that God does not LEAD
anyone into temptation but rather that he does not TEMPT anyone WITH EVIL.
Matthew 4:1 states plainly that Jesus was LED up of the Spirit (CAPITAL 'S')
into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. God has the same right and
privilege to lead into temptation whomsoever he chooses. God may LEAD into
temptation, but he does not do the tempting, for that is done by the world, the flesh
and the devil.
      ...but deliver us from evil: First the negative, lead us not, and now the
positive, deliver us from evil. The evil spoken of here goes beyond an evil
situation or evil deed, and means an evil being, Satan himself. This is a personal
reference to the antichrist.
      For thine is the kingdom,.. In Luke 19:12-27, there is a parable telling of a
nobleman who went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom. The
certain nobleman in that parable is Jesus, and the kingdom he returned to heaven
to receive is the same kingdom seen in this verse in Matthew. The kingdom
belongs to Jesus, who went to heaven to receive it, and in this prayer, Jews are
instructed to pray that its coming might be soon.
      ...and the power,.. All power belongs to Jesus. His victory over sin and
death gave him the power to say, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in
earth" (Matt. 28:18). Jesus has the power to forgive sins (Mark 2:10), which only
God can do (Mark 2:7), since ALL sins are against HIM (Psa. 51:4).
      ...and the glory, for ever. Amen. All glory belongs to Jesus. It is his by
creation (Col. 1:16), it is his by proclamation of God (Col. 1:19) and it is his
through the victory he won over sin and death (Rev. 1:18).
        Verse 14. For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father
will also forgive you: The condition required for receiving God's forgiveness, is
forgiveness of others. This condition was demanded of the people to whom Jesus
was speaking, but this demand does not apply to the unsaved of this present age.
This is not among God's prerequisites for obtaining personal salvation under the
present system of grace. "Just as I am," will not fit this verse of Scripture and
neither will the account of the salvation of the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:25-33).
The gospel that Paul preached (I Cor. 15:1-4), and God's requirement for salvation
in this dispensation (Rom. 10:9), does not fit this verse in Matthew. A Christian's
salvation was not granted on the basis of his having forgiven others. But, while
his salvation was not granted upon his forgiving others, no man who ever
recognized himself as a lost sinner and received Christ as his Savior was not at
that moment WILLING to forgive others. In this age, the brokenhearted
willingness to forgive others is one of the many things that accompany salvation,
and is a work done by the Holy Spirit in and for Christians. Forgiveness is an
EFFECT, and not a CAUSE, of salvation in this present age.
All this is further evidence that this scripture is not to be applied
DOCTRINALLY to Christians. DOCTRINALLY, this scripture pertains to the
kingdom of HEAVEN and its citizens.
Verse 15. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your
Father forgive your trespasses. The King's requirement for forgiveness is
clearly set forth. If a person is not willing to forgive others, he has no right to
expect God's forgiveness.
      Verse 16. Moreover when ye fast,.. This chapter tells of the King's
requirements for alms giving (verses 1 through 4), prayer (verses 5 through 13),
forgiveness (verses 14 and 15), and in verse sixteen, his requirements for fasting.
Notice that this statement is not, "IF ye fast," but, "WHEN ye fast," giving one to
know that fasting is expected. As in the preceding verses, the demands of this
discourse are not repeated in any of the epistles written to churches. While fasting
will HELP a Christian, it is not REQUIRED.
      …be not, as the hypocrites,.. This is the third time in this discourse that
Jesus used hypocrites as an example of how not to BE something. Matthew
twenty-three tells exactly who these hypocrites were—the Jewish religious
leaders, the scribes and Pharisees.
      ...of a sad countenance:.. A sad countenance, or sad look, should not
accompany fasting because they have nothing in common.
      ...for they disfigure their faces,.. When those hypocrites disfigured their
faces, it did not necessarily mean that they applied make-up or a paint and powder
veneer. They probably adopted a pained or sorrowful look that caused an
unnatural appearance. The following verses indicate that they may have stopped
washing their faces and grooming their hair. Knowing exactly what they did to
disfigure their faces and how they did it is not as important as knowing not to be
like them in their ATTITUDE.
      ...that they may appear unto men to fast. The REASON these hypocrites
fasted was that they might be noticed by their fellow man. As with doing alms
and praying, their MOTIVE was entirely wrong.
      Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. They will receive nothing
in the way of reward when they enter the kingdom (if they enter at all) because
they have already received all they have coming. They could have had great
heavenly treasure, but chose earthly garbage.
      Verse 17. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy
face; Anointing their head meant putting oil on their hair that it might stay in
place when they combed it. This was done for the purpose of looking neat and
was not a religious ritual. There are many commercial products sold today for the
same purpose.
Since instruction to wash one's face was given in contrast to what the
hypocrites were doing, it can be assumed that the religious leaders did not wash
their faces during their periods of fasting.
      Verse 18. That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father
which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee
openly. As it is with giving alms and praying, so it is with fasting; it is to be done
for the glory of God.
      Verse 19. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth... Jesus said
almost as much about earthly treasures as he did about good deeds, prayer and
fasting combined. There are many practical teachings in this and the following
verses that are to some extent (but not totally) applicable to Christians. This, "lay
not up for yourselves treasures upon earth," is not telling anyone in this age not to
work and provide for worldly things. Christians are expected to provide for
themselves and have no right to impose on society, forcing others to supply their
food, raiment or shelter. Anyone who will not provide for his own necessities
shifts his responsibility to others, or else does not survive. This particular phrase,
however, is not dealing with earthly provisions, but rather with earthly
TREASURES which are contrasted with heavenly treasures. The lesson to be
learned is, heavenly treasures are to be valued more highly than earthly treasures.
      ...where moth and rust doth corrupt,.. Moths destroy garments made from
plants and animals: cotton, flax, wool, fur or other fibers. It is a well-known fact
that many people value clothing to the extent that they make treasures of them.
Some people become rich designing clothes and some become famous modeling
them. One of the products of modern technology is cloth made from material that
moths will not eat, and by such technology many are deceived into believing that
man can bypass the curse God placed on the earth (Gen. 3:17-19).
      Rust destroys items made of metal, so men, by modern technology, are
working on that problem and have indeed produced wonders. But, in man's quest
to invent and produce durable goods, it should be remembered that someday
everything in and on this earth will burn up (II Pet. 3:10-13). Prior to that,
however, during the great tribulation, even noble metals such as gold and silver
will rust (James 5:2-3).
      ...and where thieves break through and steal: A thief is not always a
bandit with a mask over his face. A merchant, a banker, or a businessman may, by
unscrupulous practices, be a thief. Those in positions of responsibility, who
through improper management cause money to lose value, are thieves. Whatever a
theft may be, the idea is that there is no absolute security for one's treasure here on
earth. There is no such thing as a foolproof investment when the investment is in
earthly things.
      Verse 20. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither
moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor
steal: This is the alternative to laying up treasure on earth: lay it up in heaven.
Treasure is what man makes it: clothes, jewelry, gold or what have you; but the
Bible indicates that MONEY is man's greatest earthly treasure (I Tim. 6:10).
Heavenly treasure is laid up by the doing of good deeds, praying, fasting, and
doing things out of love in the name of Jesus Christ. Giving money to the needy
in the name of Jesus Christ is a way of laying up treasure in heaven. But
considering how often men are admonished to pray, prayers must be one of the
most precious treasures that a person can put in heaven's account. Revelation 8:3
gives a glimpse of the value of prayers as they are mingled with the incense of
heaven, then poured upon a golden four-horned altar and offered to God.
      Verse 21. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. This
is a very simple statement that bears a tremendous truth. While treasures may be
good deeds, prayers, etc., they may also be departed loved ones—a mother, father,
sister, brother, son, daughter, or friend. Every Christian has at least one treasure in
heaven: Jesus. Our thoughts and devotions should be focused on him who died
that we might live.
      Of all that Jesus said in this entire discourse, the part that is most applicable
to Christians is this part having to do with treasures. Colossians 3:2 says to; Set
your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
      Verse 22. The light of the body is the eye:.. The first act of God in
restoring the earth was to bring forth light (Gen. 1:3), which is the opposite of
darkness (Gen. 1:4). The light of the world is Jesus (John 3:19, 12:46).
As light is admitted into the body through the eye, in a like manner (spiritually
speaking) light is admitted into the world through Jesus. Satan blinds the eyes
of unbelievers so that the light of Jesus and his gospel might not illuminate
their spiritual understanding (II Cor. 4:3-4).
      ...if therefore thine eye be single,.. The word "single" is usually thought of
as meaning not united with another, but Acts 2:46 says that it also means pure, or
free from defect. A "single eye" is one that can view all that is visible, and admit
all available light.
      ...thy whole body shall be full of light. The eye is the only organ that can
admit light into a living being. There is nothing else that can give illumination to
the body, and the eye is totally sufficient to its task if it is healthy and
unblemished.
      Verse 23. But if thine eye be evil,.. The "evil eye" is contrasted to the
"single eye" of the preceding verse. The "eye being evil" does not necessarily
suggest witchcraft, but rather an eye that prefers darkness to light, an eye that sees
the things of this world and refuses to look upon things above. Darkness does not
shine upon the eye, neither can it enter through the eye. Light available to the
single eye is no different from light available to the evil eye. It is the
CONDITION OF THE EYE, not the intensity of the light that makes the
difference.
      ...thy whole body shall be full of darkness. It is the evil of the eye that
turns the light into darkness. In other words, the difference of whether light enters
through the eye or does not depends upon the CONDITION of the eye. It was
stated above that light must enter the body through the eye and if the body is full
of darkness it is not because there is only darkness without, but because the eye
has not admitted the available light. How anyone SEES things is what makes the
difference of whether a body is filled with darkness or filled with light. An eye
that is evil can admit only darkness even when adequate light is available;
therefore, light that comes through an evil eye, BECOMES DARKNESS.
      …if therefore the light that is in thee be darkness,.. What caused this
situation is that the light entered through the wrong kind of eye and BECAME
darkness.
      ...how great is that darkness! This is a statement, not a question. What
could be darker than light that gives no light? There can be no greater darkness.
To sum up what verses twenty-two and twenty-three mean: anyone who has light
available, and through unbelief turns that light into darkness, has more darkness
inside than if he had never been exposed to light. Because of his persistent
unbelief, that person would have more darkness in him than he would have had,
had he been surrounded by darkness rather than light.
      Verse 24. No man can serve two masters:.. This is a continuation of what
Jesus taught in the preceding verses and is connected with heavenly treasures
versus earthly treasures, and light versus darkness. This verse narrows it down to
two MASTERS: the Prince of Light versus the prince of darkness. The Prince of
Light and the giver and keeper of heavenly treasures is Jesus (God). The prince of
darkness and promoter of earthly things is Satan.
      ...for either he will hate the one, and love the other;.. It is not difficult to
find people who profess to hate Jesus. These people will eagerly express love for
Satan, expressing it by their habits, their life style, and their words. Christians
rejoice when one who hates Jesus "sees the light" and is saved. That person then
becomes a lover of Jesus and a hater of Satan. It is impossible for anyone to
LOVE both Jesus and Satan, and it is improbable for anyone to HATE both Jesus
and Satan. (Those who profess to be atheistic can hate anything or anybody).
      ...or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. This simply means
that a person will display loyalty to his chosen master and despise the one he
rejects.
      Ye cannot serve God and mammon. There are but TWO CHOICES and
they are clear and plain. A person WILL choose to serve either heavenly things or
earthly things, good or evil, God or money (mammon). There is no middle
ground.
      Verse 25. Therefore... In this verse, Jesus is no longer dealing with the
choice of two masters but is telling those who would make the PROPER CHOICE
how to SERVE their master. The instructions are to those who have already made
the decision to serve God rather than mammon. Verses nineteen through twenty-
four dealt with the choice of which of two masters one would serve, while this
verse (25) and the following verses are instructions to those who have ALREADY
chosen God.
      ...I say unto you,.. Jesus used the expression, "I say unto you," nine times in
chapter five (verses 18, 20, 22, 26, 28, 32, 34, 39 and 44). Here in verse twenty-
five is the first time this expression is encountered in chapter six, and is the only
time that it is seen in connection with the word "therefore." In chapter five, verses
seventeen through forty-eight, Jesus was dealing primarily with what people had
HEARD SAID and contrasted that with what HE SAID. In chapter six Jesus
contrasted what people were DOING with what he said they SHOULD DO.
      ...Take no thought for your life,.. Survival should not be the primary
concern of God's people, whether they are servants or sons. Survival is the most
powerful of human instincts, but to a Christian, survival (self) should be in third
place behind God and others. Although this message is to Jews as prospective
kingdom citizens, it contains practical applications for Christians since MOST
Christians think too much of themselves.
      ...what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink;.. This statement, as the one
preceding, appertains to survival. Eating and drinking are both pleasant and
necessary and this is not an insinuation that someone should not eat or drink, but
that they should not be overly concerned with where or how to obtain food and
drink. This resembles Exodus sixteen and seventeen. While Israel wandered in
the wilderness, they did not have to concern themselves with obtaining either food
or water, for God provided both. Israel will find themselves in a similar situation
in the last half of the seven years of tribulation (Matt. 24:16, Rev. 12:6, 14).
      ...nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. God not only provided food
and water for his people as they wandered in the wilderness, but he also made
provisions for their clothing and shoes (Deu. 29:5-6).
      Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Many
Christians might answer this question affirmatively, but few show that they
believe it by the way they live. The old saying, "first things first," usually means,
"me first," and one's prime consideration is (physical) survival, not Jesus. The
world teaches that survival is granted to the fittest, while God teaches that survival
belongs to those who trust Jesus. The idea prevalent today is that life IS food,
raiment, entertainment, and pleasure. Jesus was talking to Jews, potential
kingdom citizens, about kingdom conditions and not to his bride about "church"
conditions.
      Verse 26. Behold the fowls of the air:.. Fowls typify evil! In Genesis 15:8-
13, fowls attempted to eat up and destroy the sacrifice Abraham made to God. In
Matthew 13:19 and Luke 8:5, fowls are seen to be agents of Satan, hungry to
snatch away the words of God (seeds) and devour them before they take root in
the heart of the hearer. In Acts 10:11-13, fowls are listed among UNCLEAN
animals (on that occasion, typifying the Gentiles whose prince is Satan, Eph. 2:2,
II Cor. 4:4). The point made in this verse is that people should consider the most
evil and seemingly useless birds, and know that God provides for THEM, and that
His people are more important to Him than birds.
      ...for they sow not,.. Birds do not plow fields or plant seeds, for that is not
their nature and is not what God created them to do.
      ...neither do they reap,.. There is no harvest time for birds because they eat
what they gather as they gather.
      ...nor gather into barns;.. Man must have storehouses to keep his produce
through the winter. Squirrels store nuts, acorns, etc., and bears eat enough in
summer to last through winter, but birds must survive from day to day, and eat
what they can find. God takes care of them in his own way and it is not often that
birds starve.
      ...yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. The Bible does not say that God
is the Father of birds. Jesus said, "YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER" takes care of
the birds.
      Are ye not much better than they? Jesus compared the lowest of his
creation with the highest, the least with the greatest (cold-blooded life not
considered). Fowls are the lowest form of warm blooded life, man the highest.
The reasoning is simple, clear and to the point: if God takes care of his lowest
form of creatures, he will certainly provide for his children.
       Verse 27. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his
stature? This is not saying that a person cannot make himself taller by stretching,
exercise or by supplementing a hormone deficiency, but is talking about someone
increasing his height by positive thinking. The truth is, positive thinking is of no
value in making one taller, neither will it provide anyone with food, water or
clothing. In this age the requirements demanded by the condition and situation of
this discourse can be met only by one who is TOTALLY committed to Christ.
Any attempt to apply the teaching of this passage to the average Christian would
only produce chaos. Those who use the "Sermon on the Mount" as a requirement
for Christian living cause much damage, often producing an irresponsible attitude
and groups whose philosophy is, "God will provide." They argue that, "God
provides for the birds, he'll provide for us." But these people overlook the fall of
Adam, the result of which was that God said to man, "In the sweat of thy face
shalt thou eat bread,.." (Gen. 3:19).
       Verse 28. And why take ye thought for raiment? This verse presents
positive proof that the DOCTRINES of this discourse do not belong to the church.
The Apostle Paul, who was a Christian, TOOK THOUGHT FOR RAIMENT (II
Tim. 4:13).
       Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;.. A lily is good for only one
thing—its beauty. Lilies grow whether men cultivate them or not. It is not by the
devices of men that lilies are beautiful, for they are under the direct care of God.
       ...they toil not, neither do they spin: Lilies are not beautiful because THEY
decide to be, but are beautiful because God clothed them with beauty.
       Verse 29. And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was
not arrayed like one of these. Solomon was the richest and most gloriously
arrayed king who ever lived (II Chr. 9:13-22). He had gold, silver, and the most
beautiful clothing that man could produce, yet his glory could not touch the glory
and perfection of the common lily.
       Verse 30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field,.. The lily of
Bible times was not necessarily the flower that we know as the lily today. A lily
was used as an example because of its worthlessness, and contrasted with God's
children who are of great value. It was obviously a wild flower because the
context discloses that it was under God's direct care. The expression, "grass of the
field," makes it even more obvious that Jesus was speaking of a common flower of
little or no value.
       ...which today is, and to morrow is cast into the oven,.. The expression,
"cast into the oven," does not mean that the grass was to be made into bread and
cooked, but rather, that it was to be burned in the oven for heat.
       ...shall he not much more clothe you... As God's children are far more
valuable than birds, so are they more valuable than lilies.
       …O ye of little faith? The scripture discloses many examples of
unfaithfulness on the part of the nation Israel. Yet, because God made them
promises based upon his grace, Israel is still his eternally chosen nation despite
centuries of unfaithfulness.
       God never demands blind faith of anyone and he never asks anyone to have
faith in anything unbelievable. It is not the AMOUNT of faith one exercises, but
rather the OBJECT of one's faith that is of value. Someone may believe that he
has enough faith to be able to fly by flapping his arms, and exercise his faith by
jumping from a high place, but he will fall no matter how much faith is involved.
His failure would not be due to his LACK of faith but rather because he had
MISPLACED his faith. His misplaced faith prompted an action that subjected
him to the law of gravity. In a similar manner, A PERSON CAN MISAPPLY
HIS FAITH IN A PROMISE OF THE BIBLE. A person can place his faith in a
promise that God did not make to him, but made to others. Many times Christians
attempt to claim a promise which God made to Jews, and then blame themselves
for its failure, assuming that they did not exercise enough faith. When faith is
placed in a promise made to someone else, the AMOUNT of faith one exercises
will not insure its fulfillment.
       Verse 31. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or,
What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? The only occasion
when this situation occurred was when the children of Israel wandered in the
wilderness. A similar situation will occur involving Israel in the future tribulation.
       A Christian who tries living by these principles will find himself in trouble
unless he is TOTALLY dedicated to the Lord.
       Verse 32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:).. Since these
words were written, the Jews and the Gentiles have changed positions. In this age,
it is the Jews who seek after worldly things (generally) more than do the Gentiles.
       ...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
This truth goes beyond citizens of the kingdom of heaven, and reaches to all of
God's children in all ages. Christians do not need to inform God of their needs as
though He did not know them already. Christians should EXPRESS their needs in
prayer however, for this displays faith and faith pleases God (Heb. 11:6). Some
people argue that since God already knows man's needs, there is no reason to pray,
but their argument is invalid on the grounds that God WANTS people to pray and
is pleased when they do, even when they ask for what he already intends to give.
       Verse 33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God,.. Jesus was speaking to
prospective citizens of the kingdom of HEAVEN. He set forth the rules,
requirements and regulations of the kingdom. Even when taken liberally, these
were very stringent demands. No one could possibly meet these demands on the
basis of his own efforts and his own righteousness; therefore, JESUS told his
audience THE WAY BY WHICH THESE SEVERE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
DEMANDS COULD BE MET.
      Jesus said, "...seek ye FIRST the kingdom of GOD, and HIS
righteousness;.." The kingdom of GOD must be entered BEFORE one enters the
kingdom of heaven if the kingdom of heaven is to succeed. In order for anyone to
live up to the standards required of kingdom of HEAVEN citizens, one must
FIRST enter the kingdom of GOD. Those who heard Jesus speak these words
were likely confused by much of what he told them, or at least they were
ASTONISHED (Matt. 7:28). There is no record that they asked HOW to enter the
kingdom of God, and the first person Jesus told was Nicodemus. Jesus told
Nicodemus (and all who read the Bible) that the kingdom of God is entered only
by a new birth, a SPIRITUAL birth (John 3:3).
To paraphrase, Jesus told these Jews, "Before you can live up to the rules,
regulations and standards demanded of kingdom of HEAVEN citizens, you
must first become a citizen of the kingdom of GOD. You must first have the
righteousness of God. The issue is RIGHTEOUSNESS."
      ...and his righteousness;.. This righteousness is so far superior to anything
man can attain by his own efforts until the two cannot be compared. This is
GOD'S righteousness! In order to obtain this righteousness one must see the
inadequacy of his own endeavors, and through faith receive it as a GIFT from
God. This is the righteousness of Jesus, which can be received only by faith—the
righteousness God GIVES to anyone who receives his Son as Savior. All this is a
part of the new birth. Again to paraphrase what Jesus was saying, "All of you
need to be born again. You, Israel, as a nation, need a new birth. Receive ME and
be born again and all that my Father requires of you as kingdom citizens will be
GIVEN unto you. I AM THE WAY THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE."
      ...and all these things shall be added unto you. "These things" of which
Jesus spoke that would be "added unto you," were not only food and clothing,
BUT ALSO THE ABILITY TO LIVE UP TO KINGDOM STANDARDS.
      Verse 34. Take therefore no thought for the morrow:.. Have you ever
tried to live by this rule? Only a completely dedicated Christian can do so. This
verse is speaking of life as it is to be in the day of his kingdom, when Christ rules
the earth in peace and righteousness. In that day, God will provide all that is
required for his people to live by the rules and requirements contained in this
message. This is not to say that the redeemed of this present age are not to trust
God completely for all things, because among a Christian's many failures is the
one caused by being anxious over worldly things. There is a very good poem that
relates to this situation:
     Said the sparrow to the robin,
      "I would really like to know,
     Why these anxious human beings,
      Rush around and worry so."

     Said the robin to the sparrow,
      "I think that it must be,
     That they have no heavenly Father,
      Such as cares for you and me."

      ...for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. God has just
as much of tomorrow in his hands as he has of today. He is never surprised by
anything that happens, or by any thoughts of men.
      Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. The first time the Bible records
that anyone had a thought is found in Genesis 6:5 where it says that man's
thoughts were "evil continually." The thoughts and attitudes of man never
changed from Adam until Jesus (Mark 7:21). Second Corinthians 10:5 says that
the same thing holds true today, and this verse says that it will be true in the
future.
      God wants his children to be guided by HIS thoughts and not by their own,
for his thoughts are superior to the greatest thoughts of men (Isa. 55:8-9).




                            CHAPTER SIX, EPILOGUE

     The most significant truth in this chapter is in verse thirty-three.
     In chapter five, the King laid down stringent stipulations and rules
     for kingdom entry and conduct. These stipulations could never be
     met by man's most strenuous endeavors. God's aid is absolutely
     essential. Verse thirty-three gives the answer to "How can anyone
     possibly live up to these standards?"
           But seek ye first the kingdom of GOD, and HIS
     RIGHTEOUSNESS; and all these things shall be added
     (given) unto you.
           Jesus told his congregation (Jews) to pray, "THY
     KINGDOM COME" (verse 10)




CHAPTER 7

      Verse 1. Judge not,.. This statement does not stand alone, for if it did, it
would deny the right to pass judgment on anything. Neither is it instructions
telling someone NOT to judge, but is a CAUTION concerning HOW TO JUDGE.
The Bible says that Christians will judge the world, and even more, that Christians
will judge angels (I Cor. 6:2-3). Passages from First Corinthians assure Christians
that they are to judge matters arising among themselves. Christians are told to
judge themselves and to judge whether certain things are appropriate or Christ
honoring (I Cor. 11:31). One of the shortcomings of the church at Corinth was
their hesitancy to pass judgment.
      ...that ye be not judged. If this was telling people to judge nothing under
any circumstance, then it would also be an assurance that one who never judges
would be exempt from God's judgment. However, God will judge ALL men both
living and dead (II Tim. 4:1), and will judge both the saved (II Cor. 5:10) and the
lost (Rev. 20:11-15), WHETHER THEY EVER JUDGED ANYTHING OR NOT.
While some people WILL escape DEATH (John 11:26, I Cor. 15:51-56) it is
doubtful that anyone will escape JUDGMENT (Heb. 12:23). Hebrews 9:27 says,
"And as it is APPOINTED unto men once to die, but after this the judgment," but
this does not say that all men WILL die and be judged, only that men have this
APPOINTMENT. There is a difference between an appointment and an actual
visit. Certain SAVED people (those living on resurrection day) will not have to
keep their appointment with death (I Cor. 15:51-55). An appointment is NEVER a
settled certainty.
      The Bible teaches that not all men will stand the same judgment. The
scripture divides mankind into three distinctly different groups, the Jews, the
Gentiles and the Church: Give none offence, neither to the JEWS, nor to the
GENTILES, nor to the CHURCH OF GOD: (I Cor. 10:32). These three groups
will be judged at their own respective judgment. The judgments of all (both living
and dead), Jews, Gentiles and the Church are these:

    I.     The judgment of the Jews (Matt. 19:28),
           1. living (Matt. 25:1-13),
           2. and dead (Matt. 25:14-30, Luke 19:12-27).

    II.     The Gentile's judgment (world, John 1:10, Rom. 3:6),
            1. living (Matt. 25:31-46),
            2. and dead (Rev. 20:12-15).

   III.      The judgment of the Church (Christians, Rom. 14:10, II Cor. 5:10),
          1.    living (I Cor. 15:51, I Cor. 3:11-15),
          2. and dead (asleep, I Cor. 15:52, I Cor. 3:11-15).

      Verse 2. For with what judgment ye judge,.. In order to understand this
scripture it is necessary to be aware that it is speaking of Judgment Day situations
and conditions. Man is not presently living in Judgment Day, and in fact, there
has not been, nor CAN there be, any judgment prior to Judgment Day. Judgment
Day will come, or BEGIN, with an event referred to as "a thief in the night" (II
Pet. 3:10). Judgment Day will END with the burning of the present heaven and
earth (II Pet. 3:10-12). Judgment Day will not be simply a twenty-four hour day
but will be AS A THOUSAND YEARS (II Pet. 3:8), during which time the Old
Testament says that Jesus will be the presiding judge (Isa. 9:7, 11:3-4).
       This verse, like the preceding verses, is similar to a part of a jig-saw puzzle
which fits both the shape and details of the picture of the kingdom age, but will
not fit the picture of the present church age.
       ...ye shall be judged:.. In the coming kingdom, judgment will be both swift
and just, and as in all of God's judgments, ultimately based on the attitude of one's
heart. God states in this verse that as people judge, so will they be judged. Treat
others meanly; expect to be treated meanly. Treat others with compassion; expect
compassion in return.
       ...and with what measure ye mete,.. Mete, means measure or portion and is
from the same word as meter, a device used for measuring amounts.
       ...it shall be measured to you again. The picture is of a merchant using a
shortened rule to measure goods, or using an inaccurate scale when selling
produce by weight, or a container which holds less than a full measure. The point
is, if an individual deals unfairly with others, the King will remember his attitude
on Judgment Day.
       Verse 3. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye,..
As with judging in verse one, this is not saying that a kingdom citizen should not
notice a speck in a brother's eye, or that he has no right to look into his brother's
eye, but before he does he is to first examine his own condition.
       ...but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Nothing is said
against anyone whose eyes are clear and free of foreign matter helping a brother
who has something in his eye. What Jesus said was, that a person should exercise
self judgment before attempting to judge others.
       It is human nature to judge others before judging self. Seeing faults in others
while ignoring our own severe shortcomings is the normal way of man. This is
what Jesus told his audience to overcome.
       Verse 4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote
out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Verse three was
concerned with how a person sees faults in another and judges him without first
seeing his own faults and judging himself, while this verse is concerned with how
a person expresses the desire to help a brother while ignoring his own
helplessness.
       Verse 5. Thou hypocrite,.. The first lesson Jesus taught was to the common,
everyday Jew and was outdoors on a mountain, where he used the word hypocrite
quite often. His last lesson (other than his discourse on the end of the age, which
he gave only to his disciples) was to the Jewish religious leaders in the temple at
Jerusalem, where he used the word hypocrite even more often (Matt. 23).
      ...first cast out the beam out of thine own eye;.. This is like the blind
leading the blind. A blind person could not become an eye surgeon. If he himself
would first go to a doctor and have his own sight restored, then it would be
possible for him to help others with sight problems.
A very similar situation exists today in Christendom with people who do not
know Christ as their Savior trying to tell others how to be saved. This has
wrought confusion and has made it very difficult for true Christians to show an
unsaved person the simplicity of salvation.
      ...and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's
eye. This simply puts first things first. Until an individual himself sees clearly,
there is no way that he can help a brother see clearly.
      Verse 6. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,.. The Bible often
presents dogs as a type of evil or something undesirable and they are sometimes
used to typify Gentiles (Deu. 23:18, Psa. 22:16, 20, Matt. 15:26). The word dog is
found in approximately forty places in the scripture, and in almost every occasion
is used in relation to sin, death, blood or something defiled.
      ...neither cast ye your pearls before swine,.. The word pearl appears first in
the scripture in Job 28:18 where it is found in connection with wisdom. This may
have given rise to the expression, "pearls of wisdom." As used here in Matthew's
gospel, the word pearls could be referring to anything valuable, but is likely
speaking of wisdom. The admonishment is not to cast one's wisdom before the
unwise or the unappreciative. Swine are used as an example of creatures
incapable of understanding the value of pearls.
      ...lest they trample them under their feet,.. The word trample appears three
times in the Bible: here in Matthew 7:6, in Isaiah 63:3 and in Psalms 91:13. In
Matthew it is used in relation to something GOOD being trampled on by
something EVIL. Both references in the Old Testament are in relation to
something EVIL being trampled by someone PRECIOUS. In Psalms 91:13,
Christ is seen trampling upon the dragon (Satan) and in Isaiah 63:3, Christ is seen
trampling the wine press of Armageddon.
      The doctrinal teaching of this verse is that no one is to take that which is
precious and give it to those who cannot appreciate it. This doctrine can be
applied practically to Christians in this age since Christians are not to take the
word of God and give it to those who do not want it.
      ...and turn again and rend you. While it is possible for an unsaved person
to appreciate the word of God, some use the Bible in an attempt to harm
Christians. Every person in this age who has claimed to believe there is no God
HAS USED THE BIBLE AS HIS EXCUSE FOR BEING AN ATHEIST. Satan
used the word of God (at least HIS VERSION of it) against Jesus (Matt. 4:6) and
cultists use the word of God to confuse and scatter God's sheep.
       No matter how much of the word of God is taught to an unsaved man or how
much of it he has memorized, he is still no more than a dog or a swine until he
BELIEVES the word, accepts Christ as his Savior, and God makes him a sheep.
       The two animals used in this verse, a dog and a pig, are used in II Peter 2:22,
where it is taught that until regeneration, a dog is still a dog and a pig is still a pig.
       Verse 7. Ask, and it shall be given you;.. Many Christians have never
received everything they asked God to give them. The apostle Paul did not
receive all that he asked from the Father, God (II Cor. 12:7-9). Neither did God's
own Son receive that which he asked (if "Let this cup pass from me" meant not
having to drink it, Matt. 26:36-44) even though both he and Paul asked THREE
times. Neither Jesus nor Paul violated James 4:3, a scripture used by many today
who attempt to make Christians feel "spiritually poor" for not having received
their request.
       ...seek, and ye shall find;.. This promise is to those who will have already
fulfilled Matthew 6:33, who as kingdom of heaven citizens, WILL HAVE
ALREADY ENTERED THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Many Christians living under grace have sought and never found; therefore,
this promise does not belong directly to God's children in this age, but to his
children in the future age.
       ...knock, and it shall be opened unto you: This is not God knocking on an
individual's door, but an individual knocking on God's door. While this has
certain PRACTICAL applications for Christians today, DOCTRINALLY it
pertains to kingdom of heaven citizens. DOCTRINALLY, this age sees Jesus
knocking, especially in these last days, on the door of his church, wanting to be
received into the congregation from which he has been expelled (Rev. 3:20).
       Verse 8. For every one that asketh receiveth;.. A progression is clearly
seen in this verse; ask, seek and knock. John's gospel provides additional
information about asking; And whatsoever ye SHALL ASK IN MY NAME,
that will I do... (John 14:13), IF ye shall ask anything IN MY NAME, I will do
it (John 14:14), IF ye abide in me, (which no one can do unless he is born again),
and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done
unto you (John 15:7), ...Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father IN MY NAME, he
will give it you (John 16:23). Notice that all these promises quoted from John's
gospel are conditional, "IF ye abide in me, IF my words abide in you, IF ye ask IN
MY NAME." The promise given here in Matthew is not conditional. The
promises in John's gospel are to the redeemed of this age, and the promises of
Matthew are to the redeemed of the future age.
      ...and he that seeketh findeth;.. Saul of Tarsus was seeking ways to defend
God from Christianity but found something totally different. He found that God
was for and in Christianity, not against it. The ones to whom this promise was
given are told that they WILL FIND WHAT THEY SEEK.
      ...and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. There is no promise that a
door will be opened unless someone knocks. Those to whom this promise was
made should not expect to receive anything without asking, to find anything
without seeking, or to have any door opened upon which they have not knocked.
      Verse 9. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he
give him a stone? In this verse, Jesus gave an example of God's relationship and
attitude toward children of the kingdom in regard to asking and receiving. There
is a novel written a few decades ago about a Jewish boy who, because of his
misfortune in life, felt that he had been handed a stone by both his earthly father
and by God. It is a sad story based on the promise in this scripture. It is sad
because the author overlooked the fact that this promise can be claimed only by
those who first receive Jesus Christ. Without first receiving Jesus as Savior,
neither a Jew nor a Gentile can approach God as their Father and ask him for
anything. The only way an unsaved person can approach God is as his GOD, and
NOT as his FATHER. An unsaved person CAN approach God and ask for
forgiveness of sin and for salvation, but this he can do only in the name of Christ.
Jesus made it very clear that the way to God was through him for he said, "I am
the way, the truth, and the life: NO MAN cometh unto the Father, BUT BY
ME" (John 14:6). Some people become angry with God for not answering their
prayers when it is their own fault because they overlooked God's CONDITIONS.
No one can ask the heavenly Father for anything if God is not his heavenly Father,
and until a person receives Jesus as Savior, God is NOT his heavenly Father.
      Verse 10. Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? A stone in place
of bread? A serpent in place of a fish? It would take a cruel father to do such a
thing. An important point to notice in this promise is that NO PROMISE IS
MADE THAT THE BECEECHING SON WOULD BE GIVEN THE BREAD
OR THE FISH FOR WHICH HE ASKED (although it is IMPLIED that he
would), BUT THAT HE WOULD NOT BE GIVEN A STONE OR A SERPENT
INSTEAD.
      Verse 11. If ye then, being evil,.. Jesus called his hearers evil. Man is evil
by birth (Psa. 51:5), by nature (Eph. 2:3), and by choice (Rom. 5:12, I Tim. 2:14).
God will not accept anyone into his kingdom who does not have perfect
righteousness, and the only ones who do are those who by grace have been given
the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 3:23-25). God's plan of salvation for this age is
that by the preaching of the gospel (I Cor. 15:1-4), men might see their
unrighteousness in the light of God's righteousness (Rom. 1:16-17), and believe on
Jesus (Acts 16:30-31). Applying Christian principles to one's life will not SAVE.
Attempting to live by the law will not SAVE. Good intentions will not SAVE.
Being religious will not SAVE. Positive thinking will not SAVE. Church
membership, baptism, confession of sin, or any other device of man cannot SAVE.
ONLY JESUS CAN SAVE, FOR SALVATION IS IN THE PERSON OF THE
LORD JESUS CHRIST. When God speaks, not everyone listens, but that does
not affect what God says. God said, "He that believeth on him (Jesus) is not
condemned (will not go to hell): but he that believeth not (on Jesus) is
condemned already (will go to hell), because he hath not believed in the name
of the only begotten Son of God" (the REASON for being condemned, John
3:18).
      ...know how to give good gifts unto your children,.. The greatest gifts a
father can give his children are the knowledge of the love of God, God's word,
church attending parents and a Christian home. It is important that a father teach
his children WHAT GOD HAS SAID. Teaching children human concepts of
good and evil is of great value. However, most unsaved people do that. In
teaching children the ways in which they should walk, the word of God is
sufficient and can be understood without the aid of any new programs of education
or human philosophy.
      ...how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things
to them that ask him? This verse summarizes the teachings of the previous four
verses: the heavenly Father gives better gifts than earthly fathers.
      Verse 12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do
to you,.. This verse summarizes everything Jesus taught in this chapter.
      Jesus told his hearers to consider how they themselves would like others to
treat them, then treat others that way. He said to first give thought to how they
would like to be treated, then...
      ...do ye even so to them:.. Consider others before doing anything.
      ...for this is the law and the prophets. All that God requires of man is
NOT summed up in this statement as some claim, but it IS the best summary of
how he expects His people to treat others. When Jesus said that this was the law
and the prophets, he was saying that that was what the law and the prophets were
trying to get God's people to do; to love one another. Not only did this "golden
rule" include those who were under the law and the prophets, but includes
Christians under grace to whom and of whom Romans 3:31 says, "Do we (who
are saved by faith in God's grace) then make void the law through faith? God
forbid: yea, we establish the law." Christians are expected to fulfill the law, and
can do so only through love: For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in
this; Thou shalt LOVE thy neighbour as thyself (Gal. 5:14).
      Verse 13. Enter ye in at the strait gate:.. In the majority of places where
the word enter is found in the New Testament, it is seen in connection with things
that are distinctly good or distinctly evil. Pertaining to something GOOD either
entering or being entered, examples are given of the kingdom of heaven (Matt.
5:20, 7:21), the kingdom of God (John 3:5, Mark 9:47), life (Matt. 19:17), the ark
(Luke 17:27) and the synagogue (which SHOULD have been good, even if it was
not always, Mark 3:1).
      Pertaining to EVIL entering, or being entered, examples are given of demons
that entered into people (Luke 8:30) as well as into pigs (Luke 8:32). Satan
entered into Judas (Luke 22:3), wolves entered the flock (Acts 20:29) and God's
people enter into temptation (Matt. 26:41).
      When the kingdom of heaven becomes a reality it can be entered (Matt. 5:20)
only by those who first enter the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33), which is
accomplished upon entering Jesus (John 10:9), which is the new birth (John 3:5).
The issue in Matthew 7:13 is which of two gates to enter and how to enter them.
The two gates lead to totally different destinies.
      The DOCTRINAL teaching of verses thirteen and fourteen is NOT about life
style, it is NOT a demand for God's people to live righteously (although all
scripture encourages that), and it is NOT an appeal for Christians to walk the
Christian walk. Doctrinally, these verses are telling TRIBULATION PEOPLE
HOW TO ENTER THROUGH ONE OF TWO GATES. The main theme of this
entire discourse is THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, HOW TO ENTER IT, AND
HOW THOSE WHO ENTER ARE TO LIVE.
      ...for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction,..
The alternative to entering the strait or narrow gate, is entering the wide gate
situated on a wide street. The word "strait" does not necessarily mean straight like
an arrow, but rather means narrow or restricted. What is pictured in these two
verses (13 and 14) is two gates, one wide and the other narrow. The narrow gate
is difficult to enter, but leads to life while the other gate is wide and easy to enter,
but leads to destruction. The word destruction means the same thing as the word
perdition and refers to Hades, the evil, unseen world.
      These verses have good practical applications for Christians, and many good
salvation sermons have been preached over the years using this text. There is
nothing wrong with using any scripture to bring the lost to Jesus and salvation
even when it does not apply doctrinally. Lost people are to be pointed to the
gateway, or doorway, of salvation which is JESUS (John 10:7-9), that they might
believe and be saved. In Luke's account of this same lesson (Luke 13:24), it is
demanded that one "STRIVE" to enter the strait gate. God does not require that
anyone STRIVE to enter Jesus in this age. We enter into Jesus upon believing the
gospel and receiving him as our Savior (Rom. 10:9-10, Acts 16:30-31). In the
coming tribulation however, the Jews MUST ENDURE TO THE END (Matt.
24:13), and in order to do that THEY WILL HAVE TO STRIVE!
      ...and many there be which go in thereat: The gate to destruction must be
wide in order to accommodate the multitude that passes through.
      Verse 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which
leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. These verses have been used for
centuries to frighten Christians into "walking the strait and narrow"; however,
Christians are not to walk in fear, but in faith (Rom. 1:17, II Cor. 5:7, Gal. 3:11).
How narrow or wide a Christian's path may be is proportionate to his faith in God
and his love for God and others.
      While it is probably true that few people who lived over the past nineteen
hundred years have been born again, and most have died and gone to hell, those
few who enter the strait gate as in this verse under study are not those who have
been redeemed in this age. Notice that these people must FIND the narrow gate
that leads to life. Throughout this age, Jesus is the one who does the FINDING. If
you are a Christian you KNOW that Jesus found you, and that you did not find
Jesus. You know that it was YOU who were lost, not Jesus. AFTER
CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM EARTH (I Thess. 4:13-17, I Cor.
15:51-54), GOD WILL BEGIN DEALING WITH HIS NATION ISRAEL, BUT
HE WILL USE A DIFFERENT PLAN OF REDEMPTION, REQUIRING
THEM TO FIND LIFE.
      Verse 15. Beware of false prophets,.. False prophets have been around
since shortly after their father deceived Eve in Eden. They have deceived kings (II
Chr. 18:5-22), made things difficult for true prophets (Isa. 9:15, 28:7, Jer. 5:31,
Ez. 13), were around in the days of Jesus (Matt. 7:15), disturbed the preaching of
the apostles (Acts 13:6), have increased in number and influence in these last days
as the Scripture said they would (II Pet. 2:1, I John 4:1), and will reach their zenith
of activity during the coming tribulation (Rev. 13:11-16, 16:13, II Thess. 2:11,
Matt. 24:11, etc.).
      ...which come to you in sheep's clothing,.. God's people in every age are to
be concerned about false prophets. No caution is issued about wolves that appear
as wolves, but about wolves that appear as sheep. Christians often make the
mistake of fleeing from wolves who look like wolves, only to be caught by wolves
that look like sheep.
      ...but inwardly they are ravening wolves. A false prophet cannot deceive
God's sheep into following him if he presents himself as he really is; therefore, he
must come in disguise. In order to be successful, he must LOOK as much as
possible like a true prophet, imitate the SOUNDS of a true prophet and ACT like a
true prophet. The closer to a true prophet he can present himself, the more
successful he will be in deceiving people, which is what all false prophets
endeavor to do. Christians often look no further than the outward appearance
when attempting to identify a prophet, but this verse says that no false prophet can
be identified by his APPEARANCE. Christians, fleeing obvious error or apostasy,
are often ensnared in other Satanic traps, sometimes more destructive than the one
from which they are running. Satan's most effective snares are those that a person
may already be in, but because he is made to feel comfortable (having plenty of
food, companionship and entertainment, etc.), fails to realize the severity of his
problem, if indeed he sees any problem at all. Satan often uses false prophets to
soothe and comfort those who are ensnared in error and deceit, assuring them that
all is well and God loves them and would never send them to hell.
       Verse 16. Ye shall know them... YE SHALL KNOW THEM! God did not
say that you MIGHT know them or that you COULD know them, but that you
SHALL know them.
       ...by their fruits. NOT by their dress, NOT by their life style and NOT by
their WORKS, BUT BY THEIR FRUITS. There is a difference between
FRUITS and WORKS.               WORKS ARE ATTEMPTS TO PRODUCE
SOMETHING, WHILE FRUITS ARE A PRODUCT. It is not said that false
prophets can be identified by what they ATTEMPT to produce, but by what they
PRODUCE. False prophets can even do WONDERFUL WORKS (verse 22), but
CANNOT PRODUCE GOOD FRUITS. There are good fruits and bad fruits,
good works and bad works. A false prophet CAN do good works, but he
CANNOT bear good fruit because good fruit is the product of the Holy Spirit
dwelling in an individual (Gal. 5:22-23) and a false prophet does NOT have the
Holy Spirit DWELLING in him (although the Holy Spirit MAY BE
INFLUENCING HIM, Num. 24:2).
       Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Long ago (three days
before he created Adam) God caused the earth to bring forth trees, herbs and grass,
and declared that each would produce fruit, "AFTER HIS KIND" (Gen. 1:11).
Like produces like. A pine tree cannot produce apples, a gum tree cannot produce
peaches nor can an elm tree produce pecans. A tree's seed is in its fruit and its
seed can produce only another tree after its kind. No one expects a peach tree to
come up when he plants an orange seed. In a like manner, a false prophet can
produce only "wolves" and not "sheep." A false prophet can deceive sheep and get
them to follow him but he cannot PRODUCE SHEEP.
       Verse 17. Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit;.. A good tree
WILL produce good fruit and does not have the option of producing any other
kind. The fruit produced by the Holy Spirit dwelling in Christians is not the result
of works or deeds accomplished by their own endeavors. Fruit bearing is a normal
course of action for a Christian when he is led by the Spirit. The option afforded a
Christian is not WHETHER the Spirit within him will produce fruit, but whether
he WALKS AFTER THE FLESH, OR AFTER THE SPIRIT. If a Christian
walks after the flesh, little fruit can be produced, but many WORKS can. The
works that are produced as a result of an unsaved person's walking after the flesh
are listed in Galatians 5:19-21 and are all evil. When a Christian is led by the
Spirit, FRUIT is produced and the fruit is listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and IS ALL
GOOD. To show the difference between a false and a true prophet, a false prophet
CAN perform works, either good or bad, but CANNOT produce good fruit. A
true prophet CAN perform works, either good or bad, but he CANNOT produce
bad fruit.
       ...but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A false prophet, like a
corrupt tree, can produce only evil fruit.
       Verse 18. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a
corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Both the positive and the negative are
viewed in this verse; good cannot produce evil nor can evil produce good.
       Verse 19. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down,
and cast into the fire. No one can of himself produce good fruit. Jesus made it
clear in John 15:4 that fruit bearing can be accomplished only by those who are in
him. In that same chapter, in verse six, he said that those who do not abide in him
cannot bear good fruit, and will be burned. To anyone who does not know the
new birth, these passages should be frightening. The people to whom Jesus was
speaking knew nothing about a "new birth" because they were Jews under the Law
of Moses. Christ was laying the foundation for events that were to be revealed
later: his death, burial and resurrection. Although when Jesus offered the kingdom
(and his offer was legitimate), the kingdom could not have succeeded until its
citizens were first restored to the position Adam had before he sinned. Adam's
position was that of a SON of God (Luke 3:38) and the Bible refers to NO MAN
between Adam and Jesus as a SON of God. Sonship is granted to an individual
upon exercising faith in the death, burial and resurrection of God's sinless Son. At
the time Jesus spoke to these people, the gospel of his death, burial and
resurrection had not been manifested. How God would have worked things out
had these Jews received Christ and his kingdom at his first coming is a mystery.
No one should "what if?" the Bible. Jesus' offer of the kingdom was a bonafide
offer. Accept the fact that Jesus came to his people, the Jews, offering them the
kingdom of heaven (Matt. 4:17), which would have come had they repented (but
they did not, Matt. 11:20). However, he DID bring a kingdom: the kingdom of
GOD, the door to which he opened by his death, burial and resurrection. The
kingdom of GOD is presently WITHIN THE MYSTERY FORM OF THE
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. (See chart #1 at conclusion of chapter thirteen.)
       Verse 20. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. This verse
closes the aspect of Christ's discourse that began in verse fifteen. Between verses
fifteen and twenty Jesus taught about false prophets and how they were, and are, to
be identified. As illustrations he used bad trees which produce bad fruits and good
trees which produce good fruits. He presented the specific WAY of identifying
false prophets, both at the beginning of his teachings about them—Ye SHALL
KNOW THEM by their FRUITS (verse 16 and at the close—Wherefore by
their FRUITS ye SHALL KNOW THEM (verse 20).
      Where these last six verses dealt with FRUITS, THE NEXT VERSES WILL
DEAL WITH WORKS. FRUITS AND WORKS ARE NOT ONE AND THE
SAME. FRUITS ARE WORDS!
      Verse 21. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord,.. It is apparent
from the scriptures that both men and gods can call Jesus Lord, and never know
him as their Savior. The day will come when EVERY creature will confess that
Jesus is LORD, whether they are saved or lost (Rom. 14:11, Phil. 2:10). It is clear
from such passages as Mark 1:24, 34, Luke 4:41, etc., that demons know that
Jesus is Lord even though it is not recorded that any devil addressed him as such.
But it is recorded that a devil addressed Jesus as "CHRIST" (Luke 4:41) long
before any man did (Matt. 16:16). Demons called Jesus, "the Holy One of God"
(Luke 4:34), and, "the Son of God" (Luke 4:41). Any devil who knows that much
about Jesus, knows that he is Lord. None of the demons who knew Jesus was the
Christ, who called him the Son of God, were "SAVED." The KNOWLDEGE that
Jesus is Lord could not save these demons any more than that knowledge can save
any MAN. Neither did CONFESSING that Jesus was God's Christ and Son save
any demon, nor will CONFESSION save any man. To be SAVED one must
receive Jesus as his SAVIOR. Many beings, both men and demons, know that
Jesus is Lord, but do not know him as Savior. While no one is saved by his
KNOWLEDGE of Christ's LORDSHIP, he will recognize that Jesus is Lord upon
accepting him as SAVIOR. Once a person is saved, he has the option of allowing
Jesus to be Lord of his life or not. This is the area of a Christian's greatest failure:
not allowing his SAVIOR to be his LORD (I Cor. 3:1-3, 1 Cor. 5:5). The proper
order of salvation and living the Christian life is this: first, RECOGNIZE Jesus as
Lord, second, ACCEPT him as Savior and third, ALLOW him to be Lord.
      ...shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;.. An example of this truth is
given in the parable of Matthew 25:14-30. In that parable, the man who received
the one talent called Jesus, Lord (verse 24), but we are also told that this man was
cast into outer darkness, far from being allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven
(verse 30). If no other truth can be found in this verse, it is clear that calling Jesus
LORD is NOT the prerequisite for entering the (literal) kingdom of heaven.
      ...but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. This
statement surely sounds like works are demanded for kingdom of HEAVEN entry,
WHICH IS TRUE (Matt. 24:13, Heb. 3:6, 14, Rev. 12:17), but works are NOT
demanded for kingdom of GOD entry (Eph. 2:8-9).
       While continued obedience will be DEMANDED during the future kingdom
age, this demand is not IMPOSED upon Christians in this age (II Tim. 2:11-13).
Continued obedience IS EXPECTED of Christians, but they are never threatened
with being dismissed from the kingdom of God because of disobedience.
       Verse 22. Many... This simply indicates a large number of people.
       ...will say to me in that day,.. The multitude of whom Jesus spoke will
someday address him as Lord, obviously at their judgment since "that day" means
Judgment Day. This verse refers to people who will look back into their past lives
when they sojourned on earth and hold their works before the Lord, earnestly
believing that they should be granted entry into the kingdom. This judgment is
neither the judgment seat of Christ (Rom 14:10, II Cor. 5:10) nor the great white
throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15). This is the judgment of Jews, both living and
resurrected, at the end of the tribulation, before the kingdom is manifested on earth
at "the throne of his glory" (Matt. 19:28, 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27).
       ...Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? This is the FIRST of
a list of THREE things false prophets will claim as the basis of their belief that
they are worthy to enter the kingdom—PREACHING IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
While this scripture has no DIRECT reference to the false prophets in the world
today, it is nevertheless true that false prophets of any age must prophesy in the
name of the Lord, or else they would deceive no one. While this discourse is
aimed at kingdom of heaven citizens, there is sufficient scripture in the book of
Acts and in the epistles written to churches and to preachers that men might know
that false prophets have been in the world throughout this age of grace (Acts
20:28-30, II Cor. 11:2-4, 13, 26, II Tim. 3:13). THERE WILL BE NO
PROPHETS, FALSE OR OTHERWISE, DURING THE THOUSAND YEARS
WHEN JESUS RULES AS KING (Zech. 13:2-5, Jer. 31:31-34, Heb. 8:8-13).
       ...and in thy name have cast out devils? This is the SECOND claim that
false prophets will make on judgment day in an attempt to defend themselves.
Many assume, on the basis of Mark 3:23, Luke 9:49-50 and similar scripture, that
only a true prophet, a child of God, could possibly cast out demons, but demons
are subject to their master, Satan, WHO HAS POWER TO CAST THEM OUT.
Satan will gladly cast out demons when it aids his endeavor to deceive men. False
prophets can do whatever their master, Satan, gives them power to do within the
bounds of God's permissive will.
       ...and in thy name done many wonderful works? When the false prophets
offer this as their THIRD defense, Jesus gives no indication that he will deny any
of their claims. At their judgment, these unregenerated prophets will claim to
have done three things in the name of Jesus: in his name they PREACHED, they
CAST OUT DEMONS, and DID MANY WONDERFUL WORKS. The Bible
does not say what these wonderful works are, but they could very well include
"healing." Since Satan has the power to afflict people (job 2:1-6), he can also
remove an affliction, AND WILL BE GLAD TO DO SO WHEN IT SERVES HIS
PURPOSE. During the tribulation, THE false prophet will perform great and
deceptive works (Rev. 13:11-13) EVEN GIVING LIFE TO AN IMAGE (Rev.
13:15). The Bible says clearly that false prophets can preach, cast out demons and
do many wonderful works, AND STILL NOT DO THE WILL OF GOD. All
these things a person can do, WITHOUT THE LORD EVER KNOWING HIM!
       An extremely significant truth about false prophets of this present age is that
they have and will all come in the name of the Lord, and will all profess that
JESUS IS GOD'S CHRIST (Matt. 24:5). Men who have arisen claiming to be
Christ were not false prophets. They were proponents of some false religion, but
they deceived no one for long, for they all either died or failed miserably in their
promises and predictions.
       Verse 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:.. The one
who professes, "I never knew you," is Jesus. In these verses, Jesus plainly stated
that he is Lord, and not only that, but that he will be the one who will judge on
Judgment Day. In saying these things, Jesus was making it clear THAT HE IS
GOD.
       The expression, "I never knew you," verifies that those who will claim to
have done wonderful things in the name of Jesus, were NEVER saved. In light of
the word "never," it is clear that these people were not at some time saved and
later lost salvation.
       ...depart from me,.. In Matthew 13:41-42, Jesus clearly said that he has the
power to send false prophets into a furnace of fire.
       ...ye that work iniquity. Iniquity means, lawlessness or wickedness.
       The same things false prophets call wonderful works, Jesus calls works of
iniquity.
       A similar condition exists in relation to Christians. While a Christian will
not be cast out of the kingdom of God, nor will he be cast into a furnace of fire, he
CAN LOSE HIS REWARD. Christians are told that they can do works for which
they will not be crowned, because they did not work lawfully (II Tim. 2:5). Only
works of FAITH will be rewarded.
       Verse 24. Therefore... This "therefore" looks back to the beginning of all
that Jesus said in this lesson, beginning with chapter five, verse three.
       ...whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,.. Christians
should be overwhelmed with gratitude that the demands of this "Sermon on the
Mount," are not requirements given for our entering into, or living within the
kingdom of God. Jews who enter and live in the kingdom of heaven will be able
to abide by these standards because God will make a NEW COVENANT with
them and says that he will, "...put my law in their inward parts, and write it in
their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jer. 31:33).
Under the conditions of this new covenant, Israel, as a nation, will be "born of
God" (I John 3:9) and will be able to live up to all of God's statutes and laws.
      ...I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
This verse begins the summation of all that Jesus said in this discourse, and
declares that what he said is like a foundation stone. While Jesus himself is the
ROCK (Deu. 32:30-31, I Cor. 10:4), the rock he referred to in this verse IS HIS
WORD. Jesus and his word cannot be separated.
      The word "house" is used three ways in the Bible: to denote dwelling place
of either God (Mark 2:26) or man (Luke 4:38), family (Gen. 7:1, Acts 16:31), or a
nation (Psa. 98:3, Isa. 14:2).
In the future kingdom, the house of Israel will stand solidly upon the Rock of
Ages.
      Verse 25. And the rain descended, and the floods came... Rain is a type
of judgment or trial when followed by a flood (Gen. 7:12). Floods are seen in the
Bible as a type of attack by Israel's enemies (Jer. 46:7-8, Isa. 59:19), and as a type
of depression or persecution (Psa. 69:2, 15). Otherwise rain is a blessing (Joel
2:23), and also a type of God's doctrine (Deu. 32:2). Trials and persecutions are to
be expected by God's people during any economy because even in the kingdom of
heaven people will have trials.
The specific DOCTRINES of this verse are applicable only to TRIBULATION
JEWS (Jer. 12:5, Rev. 12:15).
      ...and the winds blew,.. Wind is seen in the Bible as an agent which God
used to cause floods to abate (Gen. 8:1, Ex. 14:21), to bring and take away plagues
(Ex. 10:13-19), to typify false prophets (Jer. 5:13, Jude 12) and to typify false
doctrine (Eph. 4:14). On the other end of the spectrum, wind also typifies the
Holy Spirit (John 3:8). In the verse under study, both the floods and the winds
typify Israel's enemies, both physical (flood) and spiritual (wind) as these forces
will be brought against Israel in their great day of judgment.
      ...and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a
rock. Jews who "endure to the end" are those who will have founded their house
upon the Rock. In the kingdom, the house of Israel will withstand all enemy
attacks (not necessarily wars) and false doctrines. Israel will stand because of her
foundation, Jesus Christ. The covenant which God will make with Israel in that
day (Jer. 31:31-34, Heb. 8:8-13) will enable them to keep his laws and to
withstand floods of trials and winds of false doctrine.
      Verse 26. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth
them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the
sand: While HEARING the word will not place anyone upon the Rock, the
proper RESPONSE to the word will. Both the message of Matthew and the
message of James are basically to JEWS (James 1:1); however, both teach certain
principles which are applicable to Christians. Works are encompassed in the
requirements of Jews to ENTER the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 25:14-30).
Christians cannot ENTER the kingdom of God by works (Rom. 3:28, Eph. 2:8-9),
but Christians, having entered the kingdom of God by faith, are expected to do
good works (Eph. 2:10), but will not be expelled if they do not (I Cor. 3:15).
In order to understand the difference between works and faith and the
difference between law and grace, one must understand the difference between
the kingdom of HEAVEN and God's requirements for entry and conduct, and
the kingdom of GOD and his requirements for entry and conduct. (See chart #1
at conclusion of chapter 13.)
      Verse 27. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds
blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. During
the kingdom reign of Christ, there will be no war (Mic. 4:3) or prophets (Zech.
13:3-5). The Day of the Lord encompasses more than his thousand year reign, for
within the Day of the Lord is encompassed the beginnings of sorrow, the great
tribulation and a period of darkness all of which will precede the kingdom.
During those days prior to the kingdom and after the rapture, there will be war
(Rev. 14:18-20, 16:13-16, Matt. 24:27-28), and prophets, both true (Rev. 7:4-8,
11:3-12) and false (Matt. 24:11, Rev. 13:11-15, 16:13). The day of the Lord also
encompasses the last war, the war which will not only CLOSE THE DAY OF
THE LORD, but will also OPEN THE ETERNAL DAY OF GOD (II Pet. 3:10-
12, Rev. 20:8-9). The Day of the Lord, which is AS a thousand years (II Pet. 3:8),
will OPEN with a Gog and Magog war (Ez. 38 and 39, Matt. 24:7, Rev. 6:3-4, I
Thess. 5:3). This Gog and Magog war will coincide with, or accompany, the
rapture (compare I Thess. 5:2-3 with II Pet. 3:10 and Luke 17:29-30). The Day of
the Lord will CLOSE with a Gog and Magog war (II Pet. 3:10-12, Rev. 20:8-9).
      ALL JUDGMENTS ARE ENCOMPASSED WITHIN, AND CONFINED
TO THE DAY OF JUDGMENT. The Day of the Lord is JUDGMENT DAY (Isa.
11:3-4).
      The Day of the Lord not only begins with a Gog and Magog war, but also
with an event called, "a thief in the night" (II Pet. 3:10). The first Gog and Magog
war, and the Coming of Jesus as a thief in the night WILL OCCUR THE SAME
DAY (Luke 17:29-30).
      The great tribulation, and all that it encompasses, is a JUDGMENT;
therefore, it is confined to JUDGMENT DAY which will BEGIN with an event
called, "a thief in the night." Some Christians believe that this present day of
grace ENDS with the great tribulation, but it does not. The Bible teaches that the
tribulation does not begin until some time (three and one-half years) AFTER the
day of grace ends. The anti-Christ and his counterfeit kingdom will NOT
EVOLVE from the present social, political, economic and religious systems, BUT
WILL RISE OUT OF THEIR DESTRUCTION.
      In "rightly dividing the word," believers are not only to apply to Jews that
which belongs to Jews, and to Christians that which belongs to Christians, etc., but
must also place judgment where judgment belongs, in the Day of Judgment.
The words spoken by Jesus from the outset of this discourse (Matt. 5:3) through
and including this verse (Matt. 7:27), pertain to JEWS AND NOT TO
CHRISTIANS. These last four verses (24 through 27), are a portrait of the
house of Israel, who at the first coming of Christ, chose to reject him and build
upon sand, thus their homeless condition and wanderings over the last two
thousand years. They put their confidence in the Gentiles and their king,
instead of the Lord Jesus Christ, their true King (John 19:15). At the second
coming of Jesus when Israel accepts their true King, they will be likened unto a
wise man which built his house upon a Rock; therefore, in that day the house of
Israel will stand (Isa. 66:8-9, Rom. 11:26-27).
      Verse 28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the
people were astonished at his doctrine: It is no wonder that they were
astonished. Jesus had just finished telling them that what the law demanded was
insufficient, YET THEY HAD NEVER BEEN ABLE TO ACHIEVE WHAT
THE LAW DEMANDED. They were astonished at his doctrine—what he
TAUGHT. The next verse gives another reason for their astonishment.
      Verse 29. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the
scribes. Of course he taught as ONE HAVING AUTHORITY; HE WAS, AND
IS, AND WILL BE FOREVER THE AUTHORITY. Everything he said was
authorized. Everything he wanted written down in his Holy Bible was, is, and will
be forever authorized. The King James Version of the Bible is God's authorized
word (Matt. 24:35).
                  CHAPTER SEVEN, EPILOGUE

      This chapter is the King's last words concerning the demands
for entry into the kingdom of heaven and the requirements of
citizens' conduct, his audience being the potential inhabitants.
      The King's warning about false prophets will not apply to
either the conditions or the people of the kingdom when it comes.
This warning was about men who would appear and spread
deception if (and since) the kingdom was rejected. False prophets
will be around throughout this present age and the first few years
of the new age. They will abound during the early years (14
years) of the coming age of righteousness.
CHAPTER 8

      Verse 1. When he was come down from the mountain,.. On many
occasions the Bible uses mountains to typify kingdoms (Amos 6:1, Mal. 1:3,
Luke 3:5) and says that when Jesus establishes his kingdom on earth it will be
upon a MOUNTAIN (Isa. 2:2-3).
      Jesus gave this discourse concerning what he expected of kingdom
subjects while on a mountain (Matt. 5:1). It may not be a mountain exactly like
mountains on earth, but the Bible says that God's throne sits upon a mountain
(Ez. 28:14, Isa. 14:13).
      As Jesus descended from heavenly Mount Zion (Heb. 12:22, Rev. 14:1)
and came into this world of sin, in a like manner he descended from the
mountain seen in this verse in Matthew to encounter sin (verse 2, leprosy
typifies sin).
      ...great multitudes followed him. When Jesus comes again, descending
from heavenly mount Zion, a great multitude will follow him then also (Rev.
19:14).
      At the beginning of Jesus' ministry great multitudes accompanied him, but
as his ministry ended it was another story, a sad story. Even his apostles
forsook him and fled (Matt. 26:56).
      Common thinking today is that if a ministry does not grow and grow, God
is not blessing it. Modern teachings and practices seem to be designed for the
purpose of increasing numbers and creating great followings. It is also
presently taught that Christians are to follow the example of Jesus, yet those
who teach this ignore the example given in the Bible of his ministry. His
followers certainly did not increase in number, so by modern standards Jesus'
ministry could only be called a failure. When he began his ministry he had a
large following, but as his ministry closed only one man, John, stayed with him
to the end. There were, perhaps, among the multitude that followed him down
from the mountain some who later cried, "crucify him" (Mark 15:8-14).
      Verse 2. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him,.. Leprosy
typifies sin (Lev. 13, Num. 12:10, II Chr. 26:19), and a leprous person typifies a
sinner. Since all have sinned (Rom. 3:23), all are spiritual lepers. In light of the
fact that Jesus came to save sinners, the portrait drawn in Matthew 8:1-4 is of
Jesus descending into the world at his first advent to save sinners. The leprous
man worshipped Jesus, and is the first Israelite seen in the scripture to have done
so. This man worshipped Jesus because he wanted something.
      The book of Matthew presents some interesting facts about those who
worshipped Jesus.

    1.   The first people recorded to have worshipped him were Gentiles: wise
         men, whose motives were pure and whose worship was genuine (Matt.
         2:11).
    .
    2.   The leper who worshipped Jesus in Matthew 8:2 was a Jew who wanted
         to be healed.

    3.   A Jewish ruler worshipped him because his daughter was dead and he
         wanted her life restored (Matt. 9:18).

    4.   His disciples worshipped him because they were troubled and afraid and
         were awed by one of his miracles (Matt.14:22-33).

    5.   A woman of Canaan, a Gentile, worshipped him because her daughter
         had a devil and needed help (Matt. 15:22-28).
    6.   The mother of James and John worshipped him because she wanted her
         sons to be in first and second position in the kingdom (Matt. 20:20-21).

    7.   This same woman, Mary the mother of James and John, and Mary
         Magdalene worshipped Jesus after his death, burial and resurrection, and
         were apparently sincere and reverent (Matt. 28:9).

    8.   The last occasion recorded by Matthew of people worshipping Jesus was
         upon a mountain, and even though they were his own disciples, some
         worshipped with doubt (Matt. 28:16-17).

         From these and other occasions, several facts about worship are revealed:

    1.   The only times that anyone worshipped Jesus with sincere reverence
         were either in connection with his birth or with his death (Matt. 2:11,
         28:9).

    2.   On all other occasions, those who worshipped him were either in trouble
         and wanted something or were doubters (Matt. 8:2, Mark 5:6-7, Matt.
         9:18, 14:30-33, 15:22-25, 20:20, 28:17).

    3.   The only Jews who worshipped him with sincere love were two women
         (Matt. 28:9).

    4.   The kind of worship that gained Jesus' greatest respect was that of a
         Gentile woman (Matt. 15:22-28).

    5.   Demon possessed people can worship Jesus (Mark 5:2-6).

    6.   Worship can be mocking (Mark 15:19-20) and vain (Matt. 15:9).

    7.   God wants men to worship him and him alone (Ex. 34:14), and to do so
         in spirit and in truth (John 4:23).

      …saying, Lord... This is the first occasion in the New Testament where
anyone addressed Jesus as Lord. The title, Lord, not only denotes respect and
reverence but distinctly speaks of the Deity of Jesus. The last person to address
Jesus as Lord before his death, burial and resurrection was the thief beside him on
the cross, who said, "Lord, remember me..." (Luke 23:42).
      ...if thou wilt,.. The Bible does not say whether this leper was among the
multitude that came down from the mountain with Jesus, or whether he had heard
Jesus say in regard to prayer, "Thy will be done..." (Matt. 6:10), but, somehow he
knew that it had to be the will of Jesus, or his prayer would not be answered.
     ...thou canst make me clean. These are beautiful and touching words.
Every sinner who knows salvation, and knows that it is by the grace of God,
rejoices that Christ has made him clean.
      Did we who are saved not cry out within our own hearts that glorious hour
when we saw ourselves as hell-bound sinners, "thou canst make me clean?" We
know he cleansed us, because it was his will (II Pet. 3:9).
      Verse 3. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him... Under the law,
it appears to have been forbidden for a priest to touch a leper (Lev. 5:2-3, 13:1-
28), but Jesus touched this leper. Jesus has power over all things, and is above all
things, because he is the creator of all things (Col. 1:14-18).
      ...saying, I will; be thou clean. Jesus spoke the words, "be thou clean," and
a leprous man was made whole. Only God himself is more powerful than his
word. It was by his WORD that all things were created. In the beginning, he
spoke the word, and something was created from nothing (Heb. 11:3). The ONLY
thing that has ever made SOMETHING from NOTHING is the WORD OF GOD.
The only thing that can make something dead alive again is the WORD OF GOD
(Ez. 37:1-10), and the only thing that will bring the dead out of their graves will be
the word of God (John 11:43-44, I Thess. 4:16).
      And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Christ, the almighty God,
spoke the word and sickness became health, uncleanness became clean and sin
became righteousness.
      Verse 4. And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man;.. This certainly
is not in any way like the modern "faith healer" who would have all "healed"
people tell the world of his work and power. While the "healer" usually gives
Jesus credit, saying something like, "Jesus did it through me," he pleads for money
which goes into HIS OWN ACCOUNT. He leaves no doubt that he wants others
to hear of his power, and with "humility" attempts to cover his desire to be
famous, accumulate a following, and build a kingdom.
      ...but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest,.. This was required by the law
(Lev. 13-14). It was the priest's duty to declare a leprous person clean or unclean.
      ...and offer the gift that Moses commanded,.. The gift that Moses
commanded is found in Leviticus 14:1-7. Two birds were to be offered, one killed
in an earthen vessel over running water, the other let loose. There were seven
items used in this sacrificial gift: 1. a bird to be killed, 2. a bird to be freed, 3.
cedar wood, 4. scarlet, 5. hyssop, 6. an earthen vessel and 7. running water. This
gift, to be offered for the cleansing of lepers, is a portrait of the gospel, God's plan
of salvation.

    1.    The bird that was killed speaks of the death of Christ.

    2.    The bird that was loosed typifies the resurrection of Christ.

    3.    Cedar wood is known for its fragrance and beauty, and refers to the
          temple of God (II Sam. 7:7), and to that which pleases God.

    4.    Scarlet typifies both royalty (Dan. 5:29, Matt. 27:28) and sin (Isa. 1:18),
          which speaks of a King who became sin for man (II Cor. 5:21).

    5.     Hyssop was a common plant used for sprinkling either water and/or
          blood for the purpose of cleansing and/or sanctification (Ex. 12:22, Lev.
          14, Num. 19:6, 18, Psa. 51:7).

     While it is never taught AS SUCH in the Bible, hyssop typifies faith.
Christianity is a FAITH and not a religion. The church is the product of the
wounded side of Jesus (John 19:34), and is formed in a like manner as was Eve,
the bride of Adam (Gen. 2:21-23). The bride of Christ, the church, is formed
when the water and the blood (John 19:34) is applied to the by faith (Eph. 2:8-9).

           Rock of ages, clift for me,
            Let me hide myself in thee;
           Let the water and the blood,
            From thy wounded side which flowed,
           Be of sin a double cure,
            Save from wrath and make me pure.

    6.    The earthen vessel typifies the human body of Christ; therefore, the
          sacrificial bird had to be killed in an EARTHEN vessel. (Heb. 2:14).

    7.    Running water typifies the word of God, given motion by the Holy Spirit
          (John 6:63, Eph. 5:26).

      ...for a testimony unto them. The testimony was A SIGN (Ex. 4:6-7) and
was for the benefit of the priest. Christ wanted the priest to see the evidence and
hear the testimony of this cleansed leper. He wanted the leper to go directly to the
priest without broadcasting his miraculous healing to others. It would be the
priest's responsibility and delight to tell the religious leaders that the Deliverer had
come.
      Verse 5. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto
him a centurion, beseeching him, Capernaum was the headquarters from which
Jesus directed and practiced his ministry. A centurion was a Roman soldier who
was in charge of a century, that is, one hundred men. Generally, Jesus and his
apostles had a better relationship with centurions than they did with their Jewish
religious leaders. At the crucifixion of Jesus it was a centurion who said,
"Certainly this was a righteous man" (Luke 23:47). The first Gentile to whom
Peter was commanded to preach the gospel of grace was a centurion (Acts 10).
When Jesus came down from the mountain (8:1), the first person he encountered
was a Jewish leper, not only a type of sinner, but a type of the nation Israel. The
second person Jesus encountered was a centurion, a Gentile, a type of the world.
Both the Jewish leper and the Gentile centurion, because of who they were, were
denied access to the covenant of the law (Lev. 13:46, Eph. 2:12). However,
because of the finished work of Jesus, both were given access to the kingdom of
God (John 3:16).
      Verse 6. And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy,
grievously tormented. Both the Jewish leper and the Roman centurion addressed
Jesus as Lord, and presented their situation and desire simply, without fanfare. It
is obvious that the centurion had a heartfelt compassion for his servant, was
grieved for one whom he loved, and was seeking help for him.
Palsy is a paralysis of any voluntary muscle, usually brought on as the result of
some disorder in the nervous system. Often this paralysis is accompanied by
involuntary tremors. The servant who was afflicted was said to be "grievously
tormented," that is, he was deeply afflicted.
      Verse 7. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. As it was
with the leper, so it was with the centurion, for Jesus said, "I will..." Surely these
words were like music to the ears of both the leper and the centurion, as they are to
anyone who seeks help from Jesus.
      Verse 8. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that
thou shouldest come under my roof:.. Humility accompanies faith that permits
one to enter either the kingdom of heaven or the kingdom of God. This centurion's
expression denoted his feeling of unworthiness, and he was apparently sincere or
else Jesus would have detected his insincerity. This man of authority was an
humble person, willfully submitting himself to the higher authority, Jesus.
      Christians lose their effectiveness to win others to Christ when they lose
humility. Successful Christian living is this: Let this mind be in you, which was
also in Christ Jesus:.. being found in fashion as a man, be HUMBLED
himself... (Phil. 2:5,8 in part).
      Satan would like to fill Christians' hearts with pride and destroy their
testimony, robbing them of eternal rewards. It is so easy to allow pride, which
destroys humility, to creep into our lives. Humility and faith are connected with
the grace of God (I Pet. 5:5, Psa. 9:12, Eph. 2:8-9).
      ...but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. This
centurion believed that Jesus could heal his servant whether he saw him, touched
him, or even came close to him. This man displayed faith, simple, humble faith
and believed that the WORD of Jesus could heal.
      Verse 9. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me:..
This Roman knew the meaning of authority, himself having authority and ability
to issue orders, while at the same time knowing how to submit to higher authority.
He was obviously a responsible person, for the position he held was granted only
to those who proved themselves worthy.
      ...and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he
cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. A man who was used to
giving orders found himself begging (beseeching, verse 5). He made this
statement concerning his position of responsibility to establish the fact that he was
used to GIVING orders, but was also willing to TAKE orders and to do as he was
told. Jesus saw deep humility and faith reflected in what he said.
      Verse 10. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled,.. To marvel means to
admire. Jesus admired this man for what he said and how he said it. The
centurion was a Gentile, a stranger to God's covenant, begging a Jew whom he
called Lord to heal his sick servant. He believed that Jesus had the power, and
even believed that Jesus could heal without having to be in the presence of the
afflicted person.
      ...and said to them that followed,.. This is referring to the Jewish multitude
that followed him, either down from the mountain or after he and his disciples
came down from the mountain (see comments on 5:1).
      ...Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
In this statement, Jesus contrasted the faith that he found in this Gentile soldier
with that which he found (or did not find) in his own nation Israel.
      Verse 11. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and
west,.. Those who would come from the east and west were Gentiles. We have
already seen those who came from the east to worship him, the Gentile wise men
of chapter two. The centurion, whom Jesus was using as an example of faith, was
a Roman, and Rome was toward the west. To carry this even further, the Queen of
Sheba was from the south, and she will be resurrected at the Jewish resurrection
and will no doubt enter the kingdom (Matt. 12:42).
      Although the kingdom of heaven is promised to Jews and will be established
in the land promised to Jews and will be ruled by the King of the Jews, this does
not mean that all Jews who ever lived will enter the kingdom. Nor does it mean
that a Gentile could NOT enter the kingdom. Whether Jew or Gentile, entry into
the kingdom is based on faith (Rom. 9:30-32), and faith in God is always
accompanied by humility.
      ...and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the
kingdom of heaven. In this passage, Jesus clearly stated that many Gentiles
would not only enter the kingdom of heaven, but would reign (sit down) with the
fathers.
      Verse 12. But the children of the kingdom... This is referring to those to
whom the kingdom was promised, Jews.
      ...shall be cast out into outer darkness:.. Matthew's gospel is the only one
that mentions the kingdom of HEAVEN, and likewise is the only gospel that
mentions outer darkness. There is a connection between the kingdom of heaven
and outer darkness. Although outer darkness will be "hell," in so much as it will
be eternal punishment, it is not the hell of the unsaved dead as seen in Luke 16:19-
31. Neither is outer darkness the same as the lake of fire that is reserved for Satan
and unsaved Gentiles (Matt. 25:41, Rev. 20:11-15). In every place that outer
darkness appears in the Bible, it is in connection with Jews who were given the
KNOWLEDGE of the kingdom of heaven and God's requirements for entry, but
who REFUSED TO MEET THOSE REQUIREMENTS. In Matthew 22:1-14,
outer darkness is mentioned in a parable which relates to Jews and the kingdom of
heaven. In Matthew 25:14-30, outer darkness is mentioned (verse 30) in relation
to a Jewish judgment. Outer darkness is a place reserved for those who are invited
to enter the kingdom of HEAVEN, but who fail to qualify for entry or citizenship.
ONLY those who are INVITED to enter the kingdom of heaven are threatened
with being cast into outer darkness, should they refuse to enter.
      ...there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Not only is outer darkness
mentioned in connection with the kingdom of heaven, but is always accompanied
by weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 8:12, 22:13, 25:30), indicating deep
suffering, sorrow and regret. The inhabitants of outer darkness are left to meditate
forever on what might have been.
      No one is cast into outer darkness because of something he DID, but because
of something HE DID NOT DO.
      This teaches that there are TWO places of eternal torment, the lake of fire
and outer darkness. The lake of fire is for HEATHENS, those who were never in
a covenant relationship with God, while outer darkness is for those who WERE in
a covenant relationship (SERVANTS) BUT FORFEITED THEIR POSITION BY
UNFAITHFULNESS.
      Verse 13. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou
hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the
selfsame hour. When Jesus told the centurion to, "Go thy way," he was
instructing him to return to his normal activities as a soldier. Despite what many
modern, self-righteous "do gooders" seem to believe, Jesus did not say, "Get out of
the army, throw down your sword, seek peace through passive resistance, etc."
Jesus in no way condemned this man or his profession. Rather, Jesus
COMMENDED the centurion for his faith and granted him the request of his
prayer, and his servant was healed within that same hour.
      Verse 14. And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's
mother laid, and sick of a fever. Additional. information concerning the healing
of Peter's mother-in-law is given in Mark 1:29-31, and Luke 4:38-39. In reading
all the scripture pertaining to this occasion it is obvious that Andrew, James and
John were present and that Jesus had already been approached concerning her
sickness. It is also obvious that between the healing of the centurion's servant and
his arrival at Peter's house, Jesus had gone into the synagogue in Capernaum
(Mark 1:29).
      There are those who believe that the church was founded on Simon Peter,
and that Peter was the first Pope. Those who believe such nonsense ignore this
verse. These same people demand that a Pope not marry, and Peter had a wife.
(Concerning the foundation of the church, see comments on 16:18.)
      Verse 15. And he touched her hand,.. This is the second of several times
in Matthew's gospel that Jesus touched someone.

    1.   Jesus touched a leper and cleansed him (8:3).

    2.   Jesus touched Peter's mother-in-law and healed her (8:15).

    3.   He touched two blind men who were begging for mercy and sight and
         granted their desire (9:29-30).

    4.   He touched many afflicted people in the land of Gennesaret and all
         whom be touched were healed (14:36).

    5.   He touched his close friends, Peter, James and John, comforting them in
         their fright when they saw his glory on Mt. Sinai (17:6-7).

    6.   Two blind men cried out for mercy and in his compassion Jesus touched
         them and they received sight (20:30-34).

    7.   On another occasion someone touched Jesus and was made whole (9:20-
         21).
     After his death, burial and resurrection, Jesus went back to heaven and sat
down on his Father's right hand, BUT HE CAN STILL BE TOUCHED (Heb.
4:14-15).
      ...and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them. This
was complete and instantaneous as were MOST of his hearings, however, not ALL
of Jesus' healings were instantaneous as Mark 8:22-26 reveals.
      There is an interesting passage in Mark 6:4-6 that indicates that God's power
is somehow related to man's faith. It is clear from the context that what Jesus
could or could not do for the people on SOME occasions was proportionate to
their faith. Indeed, the ability of Christ to work miracles did diminish in
proportion to the people's unbelief. The first time Jesus fed a multitude there were
about five thousand men, plus women and children involved. He had but FIVE
loaves and TWO fishes, yet when all were filled there remained TWELVE baskets
of scraps. The next time Jesus fed a multitude there were only four thousand men
plus women and children and he had SEVEN loaves and a FEW fishes, but this
time only SEVEN baskets of scraps remained.
      Verse 16. When the even was come, they brought unto him many... The
sun was setting and twilight had descended upon them. The Bible reveals that
many interesting things happened at EVEN time.

    1.   At even time he healed their sick (Matt. 8:16, Mark 1:32).

    2.   At even time he crossed the Sea of Galilee, slept while a storm raged,
         then calmed the sea (Mark 4:35-39).

    3.   At even time he crossed the sea again, this time walking on the water
         (Matt. 14:23-29, Mark 6:45-51, John 6:17-21).

    4.   At even time he left Jerusalem to spend the night in Bethany (Mark
         11:19).

    5.   At even time he sat down with his disciples, ate, and had fellowship with
         them (Matt. 26:20, Mark 14:17).

    6.   At even time his friends buried him (Matt. 27:57, Mark 15:42).

    7.   In the even of his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his assembled disciples
         (John 20:19).
    8.   It was at even time that the first Christians were imprisoned for their
         testimony (Acts 4:3).

      When evening has come and gone and when night is over a new day dawns
(having in mind that a Jewish day began at sundown). The evening of the first
advent is past, the night of this age has been long and dark during which sickness
disease, sin, sorrow and death have ruled. War has been common and peace rare.
The Gentiles have borne rule over this world and its systems, and many kingdoms
have risen only to fall. The lot dealt to man because of his choice (Luke 23:18)
has been one of heartaches and grief, but someday the Sun of Righteousness shall
rise, a new day will dawn and the world will be healed (Mal. 4:2).
       There are several similarities to the healings and miracles of Jesus, which he
performed at his first coming, and those he will perform at his Second Coming.
When Jesus comes again, when the new day dawns:

    1.   There will be healing (Isa. 35:5-7, Mal. 4:2).

    2.   He will calm the sea (the sea typifying the Gentile nations, Rev. 17:15)
         and he will subdue the Gentiles and they will be subject to him (Isa. 2:3-
         4, Zech. 14:16).

    3.   When the morning comes he will tread upon the nations as he trod upon
         the sea (Rev. 14:20).

    4.   When the new day dawns, Jesus will enter Jerusalem (Ez. 44:1-2).

    5.   When the morning comes there will be a resurrection of those who sleep
         in Christ (I Thess. 4:13-18, II Pet. 3:10). No graves will be opened (I
         Cor. 15:52) as some were opened at his first coming (Matt. 27:52-53).

    6.   When morning comes, Christians will sit down with Jesus in heavenly
         places to eat and fellowship with him as his bride (Rev. 19:7-9).

    7.   When Jesus comes back, when his day dawns, there will be no more
         bondage, there will be no more prisons (Isa. 42:7).

     ...that were possessed with devils:.. Since the Bible says that many people
were possessed with demons (devils), it is foolish to deny the existence of these
supernatural beings. It is equally foolish for those who call themselves "exorcists"
to attempt to cast out demons by the methods they use. Demons are certainly
present in this world and possess many people today, but they are not to be cast
out in the manner that Jesus used, BUT BY THE PREACHING OF THE WORD
OF GOD. When the word of God is preached, either the demon or the demon
possessed will depart.
      ...and he cast out the spirits with his word,.. Demons are evil spirits. Jesus
cast them out with his word and Christians have his word. We are to use his word
and by preaching it, cast out demons. This present fad of casting out demons by
such hocus-pocus methods as exorcism is straight from hell and the devil.
      ...and healed all that were sick: The key word in this phrase is, "ALL."
Jesus had no failures even though he issued no demand for faith to be exercised by
those whom he heated. A common teaching in Christian circles today is, "If you
had enough faith you could be healed." This teaching is just as much from hell as
the devil and his demons. When the centurion's servant was healed (verses 5
through 13) it was on the basis of the CENTURION'S faith and not on the basis of
the faith of the servant who was healed. Jesus brought a man back to life in the
city of Nain, AND NO ONE WAS REQUIRED TO EXERCISE ANY FAITH
WHATSOEVER (Luke 7:11-15). Jesus restored life to that man on the basis of
his own compassion (Luke 7:13).
       Verse 17. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the
prophet,.. This is the sixth time in Matthew's gospel that it is stated that an Old
Testament prophecy was fulfilled (1:22, 2:15, 2:17, 2:23, 4:14, 8:17). Six times
Matthew has declared that Jesus FULFILLED what Old Testament prophets SAID
THAT THE JEWISH MESSIAH WOULD DO, YET THE JEWS DID NOT
RECOGNIZE JESUS AS THE MESSIAH.
       ...saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. This
reference is to Isaiah 53:4 where it is written that because of the Lord, our
GRIEFS will be borne and that he will carry our SORROWS. Where Isaiah used
the words griefs and sorrows, Matthew used the words infirmities and sicknesses.
It is easy to see that the wording of the Old Testament, when quoted in the New
Testament, was changed somewhat, but it is God's privilege to do so since he is
the author of both Testaments. This privilege is reserved by God and not granted
to anyone else (Rev. 22:18-19).
       It was not as though Jesus waved his hand and sickness and suffering ceased.
The statement that Christ took upon himself our sicknesses and our infirmities
does not indicate a blanket healing of the world. Those who came to Jesus for
healing approached him one by one. In a like manner must a person be saved.
Although Christ bore man's sins upon the cross, not all men are saved. Salvation
is granted only to those who appropriate the gift Christ purchased. Any
transaction that involves a gift must involve at least two people. There must be
one to give the gift and one to receive it. A gift can be offered without being
received and a gift can also be desired but not offered. The gift that Christ offers
is the gift of eternal life, but like any other gift, it CANNOT be FORCED upon
anyone; therefore, only those who WILLINGLY RECEIVE Christ's gift have
eternal life. While the gift is OFFERED to all (John 3:16), it is GIVEN only to
those who RECEIVE it (John 1:12). Simply because the gift of eternal life is
AVAILABLE to all DOES NOT MEAN THAT ALL HAVE ACCEPTED IT.
Salvation is of the Lord: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. God the Father
PROVIDED the gift, Jesus the Son IS the gift and the Holy Ghost PRESENTS the
gift. While the Godhead—the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost—all contribute
to a soul's salvation, it is Jesus who is the Savior. Jesus said, "Come unto ME...
and I will give you rest" (Matt. 11:28) and "I am the way, the truth, and the
life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by ME" (John 14:6).
       Verse 18. Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave
commandment to depart unto the other side. There is a great contrast between
the reaction of Jesus and the reaction of many modern preachers upon seeing a
multitude. Jesus did not display an affinity for large crowds but was more
interested in a personal relation with individuals.
The expression, other side, referred to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.
They were in the area of Capernaum on the northwestern shore; therefore, Jesus
commanded that they go to the eastern shore.
       Verse 19. And a certain scribe came,.. A scribe was a writer or recorder.
Scribes were leaders of the Jewish religious community and were considered
"authorities" on the word of God. Jesus spent a great deal of time warning people
about what they taught and did (Luke 20:46, Mark 12:18). They, along with the
priests and Pharisees, were the force behind the trial and crucifixion of Jesus
(Matt. 26:2-4, 57-59, Luke 23:10).
       ...and said unto him, Master,.. Jesus is referred to as Master by someone
other than himself eight times in the book of Matthew. Seven of the eight times he
is called Master are in connection with either a question or with someone wanting
something. The first in the following list is the one exception.

    1.   MASTER, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest (8:19).

    2.   Why eateth your MASTER with publicans and sinners? (9:11).

    3.   MASTER, we would see a sign from thee (12:38).

    4.   Doth not your MASTER pay tribute? (17:24).
    5.   Good MASTER, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal
         life? (19:16).

    6.   MASTER, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God
         in truth,.. Tell us... Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
         (22:16-17).

    7.   MASTER, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother
         shall marry his wife,.. in the resurrection whose wife shall she be..?
         (22:24,28).

    8.   MASTER, which is the great commandment in the law? (22:36).

      Of these eight references, the last seven are questions or statements designed
to CHALLENGE HIS BEING MASTER.
      The last person to refer to Jesus as master in Matthew's gospel was he
himself and it was in relation to his death, burial and resurrection (26:18).
      ...I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. Jesus said, "...no man can
come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father" (John 6:65). This
verse from John's gospel is the closing parenthesis of a discourse on eating Christ's
flesh and drinking his blood (SPIRITUALLY) which opened with John 6:44.
Before Jesus began that discourse he had a large following. After hearing what he
had to say, and knowing what was required of them, many of his disciples ceased
to follow him. John 6:66 says that, From that time MANY of his disciples went
back, and walked no more with him. Notice that God has given in that chapter
and verse the number of antichrist (666, John 6:66); a verse which shows the
antichrist attitude of those who once followed Jesus, then fell away (Judas, a type
of the antichrist).
      This scribe of Matthew 8:19 had no calling from God, had no idea what he
was getting into and was not prepared to follow the Lord. The Bible does not say
what happened to this man, only that he was not among the twelve and that he is
not mentioned again.
      Verse 20. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds
of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. In no
instance where they appear in the scripture are foxes or birds portrayed in a good
light. Ezekiel saw false and foolish prophets as foxes (Ez. 13:3-4). Jesus spoke of
King Herod (a type of antichrist), calling him a fox (Luke 13:32) and birds are
presented as evil agents in Matthew 13:31-32. It is interesting to note that in every
instance listed above where foxes or birds (and beasts, Rev. 13) are used to typify
something evil, they are in chapters numbered thirteen (Ez. 13, Luke 13, Matt. 13).
      Jesus was telling this scribe, and others who heard him, that the most
objectionable of animals, whether birds or four-footed creatures, had luxuries that
he himself had forfeited. Had this scribe chosen to follow Jesus, he too would
have been required to forfeit certain conveniences.
      Jesus was also speaking of the fact that false prophets (foxes) and false
doctrines (birds) had been accepted by the people of Israel, while he, the HEAD of
all authority was being rejected.
      Verse 21. And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me
first to go and bury my father. To paraphrase what this "disciple" said: "I will
follow you as soon as I have taken care of certain responsibilities, after all, my
father died and funerals are very important."
      Verse 22. But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury
their dead. The lesson taught in this verse is clear: those who continue to follow
Jesus have life and those who do not, have no life BUT ARE DEAD. Therefore,
Jesus was telling this disciple, "Let those who do not follow me (the spiritually
dead) bury your father (who is physically dead)." Doctrinally, this scripture can
apply only to Israel under the law. Christians (under grace) are born again, and
eternal life has ALREADY been given them whether they choose to follow Jesus
after becoming Christians or not (Rom. 12:1-2).
      Verse 23. And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed
him. Whether this man whose father was dead or the scribe of verse nineteen
were among those disciples who entered the ship the Bible does not say. At this
point in Jesus' ministry he had many disciples because Luke says that he chose the
twelve, whom he called apostles, FROM AMONG HIS DISCIPLES (Luke 6:13).
      Verse 24. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea... Verses
twenty-three through twenty-seven present a portrait of the coming great
tribulation. Someday the nations of the world will rise like a tempest in a sea, and
indeed, "The Old Ship of Zion" will be in peril. But Jesus will tread upon the
nations and rebuke them with the sword of his mouth and there will be peace and
calm for one thousand years.
      ...insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves:.. There was a
physical storm, on a physical sea, threatening the physical lives of those who were
in a physical ship. It was a very dangerous situation. Both Mark and Luke tell of
this adventure and declare that the ship was full of water (Mark 4:37, Luke 8:23).
The disciples were frightened, and for good reason.
      ...but he was asleep. While the storm raged, Jesus slept. It was as though
he was not concerned about the situation and neither was he disturbed nor
frightened; HE SLEPT.
      His disciples thought that the situation was serious, BUT JESUS SLEPT.
      There was another occasion, in the garden of Gethsemane, when JESUS
KNEW the situation was serious, and asked for help from his three most loyal
apostles, BUT THEY SLEPT! He asked them earnestly to watch and pray;
explained to them the need to watch and pray, BUT THEY SLEPT! The Lord
Jesus Christ was facing a spiritual tempest, a crisis situation, an invisible war,
BUT HIS BEST FRIENDS SLEPT! (Matt. 26:36-45).
      Today Christians are in a spiritual battle, an invisible war and the situation is
critical. Christians are told to watch and pray, as were Peter, James and John
(Luke 21:36, Eph. 6:18), BUT WE SLEEP!
      If the battle were physical and our war visible, most Christians would
eagerly volunteer for active service, BECAUSE THEY COULD BE SEEN OR
HEARD BY OTHERS. But since the war being fought is spiritual (Eph. 6:12),
very few are willing to engage themselves in combat. Christians are soldiers,
called by God to be spiritual prayer warriors. Our armour, shield and weapon are
SPIRITUAL and are truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace (not peace, but the
GOSPEL OF PEACE), faith, the knowledge of salvation, and the word of God
(Eph. 6:13-17).
      The Christian's battle is: PRAYING ALWAYS (Eph. 6:18).
      PHYSICAL problems were of little concern to Jesus in comparison with his
concern for SPIRITUAL problems.
      Verse 25. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord,
save us: we perish. Some of Jesus' disciples were seasoned fishermen, familiar
with the Sea of Galilee and with ships. This storm must have been severe and
extraordinary enough to cause them to realize their helplessness. Although they
apparently believed that Jesus would be of help, he was their last resort, which
merely displayed their human nature.
      Verse 26. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little
faith? Had the ship sunk, all aboard would have gone down including Jesus.
Jesus had told Peter and Andrew that he would make them fishers of men, which
HE HAD NOT DONE AT THIS POINT. If that promise was to be fulfilled, he
certainly could NOT ALLOW THEM TO PERISH. At least these two disciples
COULD, AND SHOULD, HAVE KNOWN that they would not perish.
      But what was said of all the disciples, including Peter and Andrew, is true of
us also: O ye of little faith.
      Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea;.. The disciples who
were with him in the ship should have recognized immediately who it was that
rebuked the winds and the sea (Psa. 89:8-9). These men were Jews, children of
Israel, who were familiar with their national history—how the Lord had led their
fathers out of Egypt. These men were familiar with the account of how God had
caused the wind to blow upon the Red Sea, and how he had made it part so that
their fathers might pass from bondage to freedom (Ex. 14:21). They knew the
song of Moses very well (Ex. 15:1-19).
      ...and there was a great calm. Sometime in the future, stormy winds of
rebellion will blow upon the sea of nations, and there will be great tribulation that
will come upon the whole world. But Jesus will rise and rebuke the enemies of
God's people and will bring to earth a glorious kingdom of peace and great calm.
      Verse 27. But... This "but" is a conjunction connecting what has been
presented in the previous verses with the verse being introduced and denotes a
continuation of the previous thoughts in a contrasting manner. It is used in a
similar way as the words, yet or however. The word "and" opens twenty-three
verses of this present chapter of Matthew, while the word "but" open only three
(12, 22, 27). In every case where the word BUT opens a verse, it is for the
purpose of revealing a contrasting situation or truth. Jesus calmed the winds and
the sea, his disciples witnessed it, BUT...
      ...the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this,.. Although
this sentence ends with an exclamation mark, it is clearly a question as can be seen
in the corresponding account in Mark 4:41. These men were EXCLAIMING a
QUESTION, "What kind of man is this?!"
      ...that even the winds and the sea obey him! Indeed, what manner of man
was this? This was the very God of heaven who CREATED the winds and the
seas and all things that exist (Col. 1:14-16).
      Verse 28. And when he was come to the other side into the country of
the Gergesenes,.. Mark wrote that it was the country of the GADARENES and so
did Luke (Mark 5:1, Luke 8:26). Mark and Luke do not contradict what Matthew
wrote, but simply say that there were two names for this region. Some scholars
say that Gadara was a city in the community of Gergasa. This may or may not be
true, but either name, Gadara or Gergasa, is correct. Many places appear in the
Bible having two names. For instance, the Sea of Galilee is also called the Sea of
Tiberias (John 6:1).
      ...there met him two possessed with devils... Mark's account states that "a
man" met him, while Luke states that "a certain man" met him. The reason
Matthew records that there were two men, while Mark and Luke state that there
was one, can be understood in the light of the fact that Matthew's gospel is
concerned with the kingdom of HEAVEN, while Mark's and Luke's are concerned
with the kingdom of GOD. The last time the kingdom of heaven was manifested
on earth, IT WAS DIVIDED, having split after the death of King Solomon. Ten
tribes chose Jeroboam as their king and became the Northern Kingdom, Israel;
while the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin chose as their king, Rehoboam and
formed the Southern Kingdom, Judah. Both Mark and Luke, speaking of the
kingdom of GOD, refer to a kingdom in which there is no division, but is the body
of Christ, which is ONE (I Cor. 12:12-13).
      While this may not be the exact or the only reason that there is a difference
between the accounts, surely it is for a definite purpose, and one does not
contradict the other.
      ...coming out of the tombs,.. Graveyards and "churches" seem to be a
favorite "haunt" of demon spirits. The first time Matthew records an encounter
between Jesus and devils (demons) is in this verse under study. It was at the site
of a graveyard. The first time Mark records Jesus encountering devils was in the
synagogue ("church") at Capernaum (Mark 1:23-26).
      ...exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. Men often
forfeit their will to other powers, powers they cannot see or understand.
Sometimes this is done consciously when a person subjects himself to hypnotism,
attends a seance (necromancy), or studies witchcraft or some similar thing in
search of information or knowledge. A person can also come under the influence
of these powers UNWITTINGLY through the same methods mentioned above,
plus many more. Among the things that can open one to demon influence are
reading occult books, playing with tarot cards, crystal balls, and ouija boards.
What is commonly called E.S.P. (extra sensory perception) is no more than an
attempt on the part of man to play God, and such practices open one's will to Satan
and his demons. Any attempt to communicate with the dead can lead to
communication with demons and is what the Bible calls necromancy (Deu. 18:10-
11), which can lead to demon influence and/or possession. Emotions, allowed to
become extreme, can also lead to demon possession. Greed, hate, envy, pride or
any such emotion, when uncontrolled can be very dangerous. Of course, sin is the
door through which all evil enters. Sin influences everyone whether they are lost
or saved because one's environment is altered by its very presence.
      One of the most desirable havens for demon spirits in the world today is
''churches" where "exorcisms" are performed. In many cases, when people
practice "casting out demons," it is no more than an overpowering of these forces
by demon-spirits of greater power. Other favorite "haunts" of demon spirits in
these days are churches where "tongue talking" is practiced. All that is
accomplished by such practices benefits Satan and deceives God's children. In
these present times, many churches are engaged in occult practices and claim to
"feel the presence of the spirit," but what they feel is NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT.
      God said, "Preach the word" (II Tim. 4:2), and when and where this is done,
demons find no rest or refuge.
      It is stated that the demon possessed men of Gergasa were "exceeding fierce"
so we are to know that demons sometime amplify the physical strength of a
possessed person.
      Verse 29. And, behold,.. This expression is a demand for urgent
consideration; a call to see and pay strict attention.
      ...they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee,.. There were two
occasions when Jesus engaged in conversations with demons. They were: 1. in the
synagogue of Capernaum (Mark 1:21-26, Luke 4:33-36) and 2. in the graveyard of
Gadara (Matt. 8:8-33, Mark 5:1-15, Luke 8:26-34). From these accounts, we can
gain a great insight into the minds and thoughts of demons.
    I.     Demons knew Jesus, and addressed him as:

           1.   The Son of God (Matt. 8:29),

           2.   the Son of the most high God (God most high, Mark 5:7,Luke
                8:28) and,

           3.   the Holy One of God (Mark 1:24, Luke 4:34).

    II.    They knew that Jesus could send them into torment (Matt. 8:29, Mark
           5:7, Luke 8:28).

    III.   They knew that he could destroy them (Mark 1:24, Luke 4:34).

    IV. They feared ''the deep" (Luke 8:31, probably the bottomless pit, Rom.
        10:7).

    V.     They knew that a time has been set for their torment (for they said,
           "before THE TIME," Matt 8:29).

   VI.     They can occupy either men or animals (Matt. 8:32, Mark 5:13, Luke
           8:33).

      ...Jesus, thou Son of God? These demons either knew more, or had better
sense, than the scribes and Pharisees. They knew and admitted that Jesus was
God's son, and that is more than the majority of the scribes and Pharisees ever did.
      ...art thou come hither to torment us before the time? These demons
believed that a day of judgment and eternal punishment was coming, AND THAT
IS MORE THAN SOME "CHRISTIANS" BELIEVE. Demons know and believe
a great deal of truth, including the fact that their doom has already been sealed.
They believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he has power over them, that he
will someday judge them, that he will carry out the sentence that he will impose
upon them, and they believe that there is but one God (James 2:19). BUT THEIR
KNOWLEDGE OR BELIEF WILL NOT SAVE THEM. Any person can know
and believe everything that these demons knew and believed and not be saved.
      Verse 30. And there was a good way off from them an herd of many
swine feeding. This was obviously Jewish territory, and Jews were forbidden to
eat pork. It may have been that the owners of the swine were Jews, raising them
to sell to Gentiles. It was a very large herd of swine, as Mark says that there were
about two thousand (Mark 5:13). Exactly how far the herd of swine was from the
demoniacs is not revealed. Mark says, "...there was there nigh unto the
mountains a great herd of swine feeding" (Mark 5:11). Luke says, "...there
was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain:.." (Luke 8:32),
while Matthew says, "...there was a good way off from them an herd of swine
feeding." The different terminology used by each writer poses no difficulty, since
distance is measured by different frames of reference. If you are flying in a jet,
one hundred miles is not far, while another continent would be considered far off.
If you are walking, one mile might be considered near and one hundred miles far
off. If you are walking and carrying a very heavy load, one hundred feet might be
considered near and one mile far off.
      Verse 31. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer
us to go away into the herd of swine. These demons preferred pigs as their
second choice; their first choice was men. These demons REQUESTED that they
be allowed to enter the herd of swine. In a sense their request was a prayer and
although it may seem unreasonable, the Lord answered their prayer and granted
their request. Satan himself is recorded to have made a request of God on two
occasions and his requests were granted (Job 1:7-12, 2:1-6). On the other hand,
the apostle Paul made a request of God three times (II Cor. 12:8), asking that a
problem he referred to as "a thorn in the flesh" be removed, but GOD DID NOT
GRANT HIS REQUEST. God's own Son prayed three times (Matt. 26:44) that
the cup of God's wrath (Psa. 75:8, Isa. 51:22) might pass from him (Matt. 26:42),
BUT GOD DID NOT GRANT HIS REQUEST IF "PASS FROM ME" MEANT
NOT HAVING TO DRINK IT (John 18:11). Such truths clearly contradict the
teachings of false prophets who would have people believe that God is
OBLIGATED to grant Christians their every desire. They even use such teachings
to make Christians feel guilty or inferior if God does not grant the petition of their
every prayer. (See comments on 7:7.)
      Verse 32. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out,
they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran
violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. The
demons asked Jesus to let them go into the hogs. Jesus granted their request, and
the hogs preferred to be dead rather than demon possessed.
      While it is somewhat strange that Jesus granted these demons' request,
nevertheless, a twofold work was accomplished. Two men were delivered from
the bondage of demons, and a herd of illegal hogs was destroyed. Jews were not
SUPPOSED to have anything to do with swine. While it might be presumptuous
to assume that the owners and keepers of these pigs were Jews, the situation
makes it quite unreasonable to believe that they belonged to Gentiles. Had
Gentiles been the owners and keepers of this herd, they certainly would have made
a legitimate protest against Jesus for destroying their property because it was never
forbidden for Gentiles to own swine. Since no such protest is recorded, it is
unlikely that the owners of the herd of swine were Gentiles.
      Verse 33. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the
city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.
Those who kept the herd of swine had two good reasons to be frightened. They
were frightened because of what they had witnessed at the sea shore, and they
were frightened of having to tell the owners that their herd had been destroyed.
When they reached the city, they not only told those they encountered what had
happened to the herd of swine, but also what had happened to the demon
possessed men.
      Both Mark and Luke recorded that at least one of the demoniacs had been
naked but that after being delivered he sat clothed, listening to the words of his
Savior (Mark 5:15, Luke 8:35).
      Verse 34. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus:.. This
phrase makes it sound as though the entire city wanted to meet this man from
Galilee, to shake his hand and praise his name, but that was not the situation.
      ...and when they saw him,.. It seems that seeing Jesus affected these people
in some manner, perhaps because they expected someone who had an
extraordinary appearance. Chances are, had Christ looked like a wizard or a
mystic, they would not have reacted as they did. The one they met was a plain,
ordinary man, and there was nothing about his looks to indicate that he was the
Son of God (Isa. 53:2). So, upon seeing him...
      ...they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts. There is a
possibility that the herd of swine was community property, everyone in the city
being a part owner. It is interesting to note that none of the three gospels in which
this incident is recorded mention that anyone demanded payment for the herd,
which is a clear indication that the people who owned the herd knew that they
were operating illegally.
      It is also interesting to note that no one is recorded to have been appreciative
of Jesus' having cast out the demons from the two men. The reaction of these
people upon seeing Jesus was simply the request, "Depart from us."
     This entire account concerning the visit to the Gergesenes is a picture of
Jesus offering himself to his nation Israel, cleansing it of devils (Luke 10:18), only
to have his own people prefer swine (Barabbas, Matt. 27:20) and demons (Caesar,
John 19:15). These Gergesenes pleaded with Jesus to DEPART FROM THEIR
REGION, and at his trial his own people cried, "AWAY with this man,.. AWAY
with him, crucify him." (Luke 23:18, John 19:15). Thus was the ministry of the
Son of God.




                        CHAPTER EIGHT, EPILOGUE

      This chapter reveals the King's right and worthiness to rule. He
     displayed his power and authority over diseases and demons. He
     gave all his followers a view of kingdom condition.
      This chapter also reveals the lack of faith possessed by the Jews,
     and how some Gentiles, who were in no covenant relationship
     with God, displayed unusual faith.
      The incident with the Roman soldier sets the foundation for the
     book of Acts wherein it is revealed that the message of the gospel
     of grace preached to Jews diminished and began to be offered
     primarily (but not exclusively) to Gentiles.
CHAPTER 9

      Verse 1. And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his
own city. The city to which he came was probably Capernaum and not Nazareth
because the parallel account in Mark says that he LATER left THERE
(Capernaum) and went into "his own COUNTRY" (Mark 6:1). His own country
was Nazareth, for his mother, brothers, and sisters were there (Mark 6:3).
      Verse 2. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy,.. (See
comments on 4:24 and 8:6 concerning palsy.) The first healing Jesus accomplished
upon coming down from the mountain was of a man with LEPROSY (Matt. 8:1-
4), an unclean and loathsome disease. The first healing Jesus accomplished upon
coming up from the sea was of a man with PALSY, a disease that paralyzes and
immobilizes. The lesson taught by this is that sin is loathsome and unclean and
like palsy, paralyzes and immobilizes. The nation Israel was sin-sick, loathsome,
unclean, paralyzed and immobile.
      This man who was brought to Jesus by his friends was paralyzed and
immobile, and was ...
      ...lying on a bed:.. He was totally helpless, and had no one been willing to
aid him, he could not have come to Jesus. Were God the Father not willing to help
mankind, no one could come to Jesus in order to come to HIM (John 6:44).
      ...and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy;.. It was the
faith of those who brought this man to Jesus and not the faith of the sick man that
brought about his healing. In other words, this man was healed on the basis of
someone else's faith.
      ...Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. This man's sickness
seems to have been the result of his sins. This does not mean, however, that
sickness necessarily comes on people when they sin. Neither does it indicate that
sickness comes ONLY on those who commit certain sins, for all sin, but all do not
get sick. Likewise, it does not necessarily insinuate that some individual with
palsy or leprosy has sinned some particular sin. For example, it was not the sin of
the blind man in John 9:2-3 that caused his blindness; neither did Jesus mention
sin when he cleansed the leper in Matthew 8:3, but simply said, "be thou clean."
        Verse 3. And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves,
This man blasphemeth. This verse provides an insight into the hearts and minds
of the scribes and reveals that their thoughts and intentions were becoming
progressively worse. Their attitude proceeded downward from skepticism to
hatred. In saying within themselves that Jesus blasphemed, they denied his Deity.
They accused Jesus of being disrespectful and contemptuous toward God. They
knew that God alone could forgive sin; therefore, they saw Jesus as a man calling
himself God and actually playing God. What they chose to ignore was the fact
that the man with palsy was healed.
      Verse 4. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil
in your hearts? They did not have to express their thoughts verbally. It is not
difficult for a person to show outward appearances of righteousness while being
totally evil inwardly; however, God knows the thoughts and intents of men's hearts
and cannot be fooled by outward appearances.
These scribes were given three distinct signs that Jesus was God's son and their
Messiah. In the first place, Jesus said, "...thy sins be forgiven thee," and only
God can forgive sin (Luke 5:21). In the second place, the man's palsy was
cured, and in the third place, Jesus knew what they were thinking, having "read
their minds."
      Verse 5. For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to
say, Arise, and walk? Jesus told them that he could have said, "Arise, and walk."
but purposefully chose to say, "...thy sins be forgiven thee." He was simply
informing them that either statement would have borne the same result.
      Verse 6. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth
to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed,
and go unto thine house. Jesus worded his statement to the man sick of palsy the
way he did for the benefit of the scribes. He wanted THEM to know that he had
the power to forgive sin.
      Jesus addressed himself as the Son of man. The Bible does not record that
Jesus ever addressed himself as the Son of God. John recorded that he
REFERRED to himself as the Son of God on several occasions (John 9:35-37,
10:36, 11:4), but these references were all made in the THIRD person. Simply
because Jesus did not ADDRESS himself as the Son of God does not insinuate
that he was not, or that he was being evasive. He provided ample evidence
wherever he went that he was who God said he was (Matt. 3:17, 17:5, Mark 1:11,
9:7, Luke 3:22, 9:35).
      Verse 7. And he arose, and departed to his house. The afflicted man was
obedient to the words of his deliverer.
Leprosy typifies sin and was a disease that seems to have been related basically
to the nation Israel. Palsy typifies helplessness, and is seen in relation to the
nation Israel while outside the bounds of their covenant. A Jew outside his
own land is helpless, paralyzed and spiritually useless. This is true of the
Diaspora (dispersed Jews) throughout the world today. In order to be within
the bond of the covenant that God made with the nation Israel, Jews must be
home in their Promised Land. While a few Jews have already returned to their
Promised Land, a much larger number still dwells among the nations. Jews
will someday depart from the nations where they dwell and return to their own
house (the land of Israel; some to inherit the promised kingdom), as did this
man with palsy return to his house.
Verse 8. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled,.. On most
occasions the multitude's response to the teachings and workings of Jesus was
different from that of their religious leaders. The multitude "marvelled" while
for the most part the religious leaders expressed jealousy and self-
righteousness.
...and glorified God... The multitude rejoiced, gave thanks to God and
glorified his name. The beginning of the downfall of any nation, as well as that
of any individual, occurs when there is failure to give God glory. In Romans
chapter one, starting with verse twenty-one, a distinct regression is revealed
which begins with failure to give God glory. In Romans 1:21 it is recorded that
there are those who knew God, but, "... glorified him not as God, neither
were thankful;.." The second step in their regression was that they "...became
vain in their imaginations,.." and the third, that "...their foolish heart was
darkened." The fourth step downward is in Romans 1:22 where after
"Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools," and the fifth, in
Romans 1:23 where it is said that they changed the glory of God into an image
of man (lower than God), and then to birds (lower than man), then to four-
footed beasts (lower than birds), and then to creeping things (lower than four-
footed beasts). The RESULTS of this digression, which began with not
glorifying God, are revealed in Romans 1:26-27 where it is recorded that man
becomes even lower than creeping things; women become lesbians (Rom.
1:26), and men homosexuals (Rom. 1:27).
...which had given such power unto men. The multitudes saw Jesus as a man
to whom God had given his power, but did not see him as God.
Verse 9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named
Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow
me. And he arose, and followed him. Matthew's calling is recorded in Luke
5:27-32 and in Mark 2:13-17 as well as here in his own gospel. Both Mark and
Luke refer to Matthew as Levi. Mark 2:14 says that Matthew was the son of a
man named Alphaeus, and Luke says that he was a publican, that is, a Jew who
was employed by the Romans.
The answer of Matthew the Levite to the call of Jesus depicts unquestioning
obedience, an obedience which Christ has the right to expect from his people.
Matthew, like Peter, Andrew, James and John, left what he was doing, right in
the middle of doing it, and followed Jesus instantly. There were no questions,
no ifs, ands or buts. Luke 5:28 says that he forsook ALL even though he quite
likely had a considerable sum of money already collected for which he was
responsible. He left it! Matthew had a good job. He left it! He forsook all and
followed his Master. Those who forsake all and follow Jesus never regret
doing so in the long run.
      Verse 10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house,.. The
expression, "sat at meat," simply means that he ate a meal. The meal was a feast
which Matthew had prepared in his house (Luke 5:29).
      ...behold, many publicans... Publicans were Jewish officials, usually tax
collectors who worked for the Roman government. It was a matter of practical
policy for the Romans to use Jews to collect their taxes for them. Tax gathers
were hated, and Roman officials did not cherish a job that would make them the
object of hatred, so they hired Jews to do their undesirable work.
      Jesus did not condemn those Jews who worked for Rome, neither did he
condemn Rome for collecting taxes from Jews.
      ...and sinners came... Sinners were Jews who had become disenchanted
with the Jewish religious system and as a result no longer worshipped in the
temple. They had ceased to "go to church" because of the hypocrisy they saw in
their religious leaders.
      ...and sat down with him and his disciples. These publicans and sinners
were quite likely friends of Matthew and had been invited by him. It may have
been that these publicans had formed some sort of bond or union because of their
mutual jobs and interests. It is likely that they were among Israel's most wealthy
citizens outside the religious community and apparently had more compassion for
"sinners" than did the religious leaders. Matthew was not the only publican to
have granted sinners and undesirable people the hospitality of his home (Luke
19:1-10).
      Verse 11. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples,
Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? The reasoning behind
their question was no different from the reasoning of any self-righteous person
from Cain until the present. These Pharisees, by their question, were expressing
their feeling that if Jesus were righteous, he would not associate with publicans
and sinners. They felt that he should associate with them because they considered
themselves to be the righteous ones.
      Verse 12. But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be
whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. Until a person sees and
realizes his sickness, he will not seek a doctor unless he is a hypochondriac. There
are cases where people DO see and realize their sickness, AND STILL REFUSE
THE SERVICES OF A DOCTOR. In relation to sin, the only person capable of
revealing man's sin sickness is the Holy Ghost, who not only reveals sin but points
the sinner to the only physician, the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:8-11). Without the
work of the Holy Ghost, no one is ever aware that he is sin sick and on his way to
hell.
      In the situation under study, the Pharisees were not aware that they were sick
and needed a physician, being blind and incapable of seeing their own
unrighteousness. Although they lived righteous lives and took part in temple
worship and daily sacrifice, they did not understand what it was that God wanted
from them (Psa. 51:16-17).
      Verse 13. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and
not sacrifice:.. Jesus referred to Hosea 6:6. These Pharisees were familiar with
that scripture, but they did not know WHAT IT MEANT. The problem that these
Pharisees had was the same problem that most Bible scholars have today: they do
not KNOW what the scripture MEANS because they do not BELIEVE what it
SAYS.
      Everyone knows that God exists, whether he admits it or not. Since all men
know that God exists, one of man's first questions should be, "What does God
want or expect from me?"
If you have ever sincerely asked that question, God has revealed to you THAT
HE WANTS YOU TO LOVE HIM. God wants man's affection, and ritualistic
worship cannot display affection. The relationship of Christians to Jesus is
likened to that of the relationship of a wife to her husband (Eph. 5:22-33).
      ...for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. A
person who thinks himself to be righteous cannot be saved until he sheds his cloak
of self-righteousness and sees himself as a helpless sinner. These Pharisees could
not be saved until they were willing to admit their own unrighteousness. They
needed to recognize themselves as sinners and no better than the people they were
calling sinners. A sinner can see his need to repent, but a self-righteous person
cannot.
       Verse 14. Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we
and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? There was nothing out of
order in what they were asking. Their question was legitimate. If it had not been,
Jesus would not have answered in the manner he did.
These people were Jews who knew that their scripture spoke of fasting and
recorded that David (II Sam. 12:21), Ahab (I Kings 21:27), and Nehemiah
(Neb. 1:4) among others, fasted. There is nothing holy or redeeming about
fasting, but it does strengthen. Jesus fasted BEFORE his ministry began, but
did not fast afterwards.
       Verse 15. And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the
bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? In using the
expression, "the children of the bridechamber," Jesus was referring to his
disciples. In using the expression, "the bridegroom," he was referring to himself.
People do not fast at a wedding, they feast. Weddings are happy, joyful occasions,
and happiness and joy are not expressed by fasting. Fasting expresses trial, sorrow
and grief. Jesus was saying that as long as he was with his disciples, there was no
need for fasting, for while he was with them he was their FEAST.
       ...but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from
them, and then shall they fast. Jesus knew that he was going to be rejected, and
this is the first revelation of that fact recorded in Matthew's gospel. Jesus knew he
would be refused and that he would return to heaven. He was telling these
Pharisees that his disciples would fast after he was gone, which they did (Acts
13:2-3).
       Verse 16. No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment,..
Jesus gave a three-part answer to their question, which was: 1. there is no fasting
at a wedding, 2. new cloth is not to be put on an old garment, and 3. new wine is
not to be put in old bottles. While these answers may SEEM to be disjointed,
together they depict a portion of God's plan for the ages.
       The first appearance of the word garment in the Bible is found in Genesis
9:23 and is seen as that which is used to cover one's nakedness. Garments existed
before that, the first being made of fig leaves (Gen. 3:7), and the second being
made of skin (Gen. 3:21). The first HOLY garment seen in the scripture is in
Exodus 28:2 and was worn by Aaron in order that he might perform his priestly
duties. The nation Israel was to be a kingdom of priests, holy and acceptable unto
God (Ex. 19:6), and God gave specific instructions as to how he wanted the
priestly garments made. The duty of priests required that they be clothed in holy
garments. Israel defiled her priesthood and was stripped of the right to be a priest
nation. This was typified by Aaron's being stripped of his priestly garment and his
right to be a priest (Num. 20:24-28). The Jewish priesthood typified the law. God
required that the priest be clothed with a holy garment. Jesus was speaking of
establishing ANOTHER PRIESTHOOD, A NEW PRIESTHOOD. The old
priesthood could not be fixed by adding something new just as an old garment
cannot be fixed by adding a new piece of cloth. Jesus came to strip the nation
Israel of its old garment, the law, and not to patch up Israel by ADDING
something new. A new priesthood was being offered along with a new priestly
garment. The new garment was the righteousness of Christ offered by grace.
       ...for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the
rent is made worse. God did not send his Son (grace, John 1:17) to patch the law.
The grace God offered Israel was not SPECIFICALLY grace as it is in this age,
but the grace that will accompany the NEW COVENANT God will make with
ISRAEL (Jer. 31:31-34, Heb. 8:1-13). This is not saying that grace is not grace,
but the MANIFESTATION of God's grace as it is today is different in some
respects to that offered Israel. Israel COULD have received God's grace at the
first coming of Jesus, but they did not.
       This teaching concerning not putting new cloth on an old garment goes even
further and looks into the future tribulation. At that time, Jesus will not merely
patch up "old" Israel, but will create of them a "new" Israel through a new birth
(Isa. 66:8, Rom. 11:26-27, II Cor. 5:17).
       Verse 17. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles
break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new
wine into new bottles, and both are preserved. This verse provides further
evidence that the Lord was speaking of Israel, particularly under the new covenant
(Jer. 31:31-35), and NOT about the church.
       Wine, particularly new wine, typifies (among other things) the Holy Spirit
(Acts 2:13, Eph. 5:18). On the day of Pentecost, when the disciples were filled
with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4), witnesses thought that they were full of new wine
(Acts 2:13). In Ephesians 5:18 the Bible tells Christians to be filled with the
Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit often causes a saint to talk to himself about
Jesus or the Scripture, or causes him to sing and praise God (Eph. 5:19-20). An
unregenerated person, witnessing such action might assume that the Spirit filled
person is drunk—full of wine.
       While there are several practical applications of this verse to Christians,
DOCTRINALLY it is applicable only to Israel. What Christ said in the last three
verses cannot be reconciled with all the instruction and hopes given to Christians.
But, EVERYTHING he said in these verses could have fit Israel in the day these
words were spoken, and will fit Israel in the future age. God is NOT through
dealing with Israel (Rom. 11:1). God gave Israel many promises that have not
been fulfilled. Following is a list of some of the things God will do to and for
Israel in the future.

    I.      The nation Israel will be given a new name upon entering the new
            covenant with God (Isa. 62:2), in the same manner that a person is given
            a new name upon being "saved" such as;

            1. Abram changed to Abraham (Gen. 17:5),

            2. Sarai changed to Sarah (Gen. 17:15),

            3. Jacob changed to Israel (Gen. 32:28) and

            4. Simon changed to Cephas (John 1:42).

   II.      God will do new things for Israel (Isa. 43:19), which will include;

            1. A new way (Isa. 43:19), that is, a new path or highway in the
          wilderness
                  (Isa. 19:23),

            2. a new river in the desert (Isa. 43:19, 35:1) and

            3. a new nature that will be given to the beast of the field (Isa. 43:20,
                  11:9).

   III.     God will place a new heart in the nation Israel (Ez. 18:31, 36:26). This
            new heart is typified by the new BOTTLE or container.

   IV.      God will give Israel a new spirit (typified by new wine)to fill the new
            heart (Ex. 18:31, 36:26-27).

   V. All these things come as a "package" which will accompany the new
       covenant which God will make with Israel (Jer. 31:31-35) after they
       have been purified in the great tribulation (Zech. 13:8-9).

     Throughout these last three verses (15 through 17) Jesus was answering the
question, "Why don't you and your disciples fast?" He made reference to his first
coming and his being present with the "children of the bridegroom." As he was
present with the children of the bridegroom at his first coming, so will he be
present with them at his second coming (Matt. 25:10). Before his first coming it
was common practice for Jews to fast. When Jesus came and began his ministry,
neither he nor his disciples fasted. After his death, burial, resurrection and
ascension into heaven, they fasted. When Jesus comes again (to Israel), there will
be NO MORE FASTING. In that day he will give Israel NEW CLOTHING (not
patch the old cloth), create in them a NEW HEART (new bottle), and place in
them a NEW SPIRIT (new wine).
     There is no DOCTRINAL application to the church in these last three verses.
     Verse 18. While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a
certain ruler, and worshipped him,.. First the wise men worshipped him, then a
leper, and now a ruler. While Matthew introduced this person as "a certain ruler,"
both Mark and Luke say that his name was Jairus (Mark 5:22, Luke 8:41). Mark
says that Jairus fell at the feet of Jesus and besought him greatly. Luke says that
he besought him, and Matthew says that he worshipped him. This man was deeply
troubled and was desperately seeking help.
     …saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand
upon her, and she shall live. Apparently there was no doubt whatsoever in the
heart and mind of Jairus that Jesus could and would restore life to his daughter. It
is obvious that he had heard of the miracles Jesus performed even though he likely
had not witnessed any personally. This man came to Jesus expecting him to
restore life to his dead child; therefore, he must have believed that Jesus was the
Son of God and the promised Messiah. The fact that Jairus, who was a ruler,
knew of the fame of Jesus indicates that other rulers throughout all Galilee knew
of his work and miracles also.
     It was not that the Jews did not KNOW who Jesus was, but that they would
not ACCEPT him. While speaking to certain people of Jerusalem, among them
rulers, Jesus said," Ye both KNOW me, and ye know whence I am:.." (John
7:28).
     When Jairus said, "My daughter is even now dead:..", he may have been
stretching a point to get Jesus' attention. Mark presents the situation a little
differently, saying that Jairus told Jesus that his daughter was "...at the point of
death:.." and Luke says that she "...lay a-dying" (Mark 5:23, Luke 8:42).
     Verse 19. And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
Both Mark and Luke say that not only his disciples followed him but also a great
multitude. Mark and Luke also add that as the throng approached Jairus' house,
they were met by people who declared that the child was already dead. On their
way to Jairus' house something else occurred.
       Verse 20. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of
blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
The issue of blood of which this woman was diseased was undoubtedly the
affliction spoken of in Leviticus fifteen. Mark and Luke record the account of this
woman, and reveal that she had spent much money and endured much grief
because of her problem. When Mark stated that she had suffered many things at
the hands of physicians (Mark 5:26), it was not necessarily a condemnation of
physicians. Luke was a physician (Col. 4:14), and was used by God to pen two
books of the Bible (Luke, Acts). Neither does this verse suggest that there is
power or healing in "holy things," such as the robe of Jesus. There is no godly
healing or blessing in any "holy shroud," "holy cup" or "holy water." All such
things are rooted and grounded in the occult and are believed by the superstitious,
promoted by deceivers and false prophets, and made merchandise by unscrupulous
religionists (II Pet. 2:3).
      This diseased woman is said to have touched the hem of Jesus' garment. The
hem of a Jewish garment was bordered with a band of blue to remind them of the
Lord's commandments. The religious leaders of Jesus' day wore garments with
wide hems, or borders, but seemed to have forgotten WHY they were there.
      Verse 21. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I
shall be whole. This woman had discussed her intentions with no one nor asked
anyone for permission to touch Jesus. This is apparent by her having "said within
herself." She acted on her own thoughts and her own faith, not someone else's.
Whether she had given her action any preliminary thought is not revealed, but it is
likely that she acted on the spur of the moment. Her action may or may not have
been prompted by belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah and the Son of God.
What she believed was that somehow this man Jesus could make her whole.
      Verse 22. But Jesus turned him about... The fact that Jesus turned about is
an indication that he intended to make use of this occasion to teach some vital
doctrine. Jesus wasted neither motion, time nor words. His mission was far too
important to engage in frivolous action or "small talk."
      Both Mark and Luke go into greater depth in recording this incident than
does Matthew, and declare that Jesus, upon turning, asked who it was that touched
him. This does not imply surprise or ignorance on his part. Jesus knew the hearts
and minds of all those who thronged to him (John 2:25) and knew who touched
him and why, but wanted this incident and all it implied to be known to the
multitude and to those who read the account in his word.
      ...and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith
hath made thee whole. The first record in Matthew's gospel of Jesus' hearing
someone on the basis of faith was the centurion's servant who was healed on the
basis of his master's faith (Matt. 8:10). The second time Matthew records
someone being healed was a man sick of palsy who was healed on the basis of his
friend's faith, those who brought him to Jesus (Matt. 9:2). This third occasion is
the FIRST time that someone was healed on the basis of their OWN faith. Jesus
said, "...THY faith hath made thee whole." Matthew records two more
occurrences when Jesus healed on the basis of faith (Matt. 9:28-29 and 15:22-28)
BUT IN NO OTHER HEALING INCIDENT IS FAITH MENTIONED IN HIS
GOSPEL. Therefore, the modern "faith healer" who blames HIS failure on people
for THEIR lack of faith is not in line with Bible doctrine.
      And the woman was made whole from that hour. This was no "hocus-
pocus" healing and there is none found anywhere in the Bible. This woman was
healed without any show or fan-fare.
      Verse 23. And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the
minstrels and the people making a noise, Jairus' daughter was dead when Jesus
and his company arrived at her home and the people were already mourning her
death.
      Verse 24. He said unto them, Give place:.. Give place simply means,
"make way for me to get to her.''
      ...for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. In John 11:11-14, Jesus explained
the meaning of the word "sleep." This expression is used in relation to dead
BELIEVERS. When an UNSAVED person is dead, the Bible says that he is
DEAD (Rev. 20:12). When a BELIEVER dies, the Bible says that he is ASLEEP
(I Thess. 4:13). In I Corinthians 15:20, the Bible declares that Christ, upon rising
FROM THE DEAD, became the first fruits of them that SLEPT. This scripture is
clearly speaking of dead BELIEVERS and not dead UNBELIEVERS. First
Corinthians 15:51 says that on the day Christ returns for his bride, all believers
will not be SLEEPING, and it is obvious that the ones being referred to are
Christians who will be LIVING on resurrection day. First Thessalonians 4:13 says
that Christians are not to be concerned about those who sleep (are dead) in relation
to the coming of Christ which IS resurrection day. First Thessalonians 4:14 says
that the souls of dead believers will return from heaven with Christ (to receive
their new bodies) and verse fifteen says that Christians who are alive on
resurrection day will have no advantage over those who are asleep (dead).
      Jesus, here in Matthew 9:24, was not saying that Jairus' daughter was not
PHYSICALLY dead, but that she was not SPIRITUALLY dead and could be
resurrected to live again.
      And they laughed him to scorn. These people were not strangers to death.
They knew when someone was dead. Their reaction to the words of Jesus was not
unusual or contradictory. They just did not know who Jesus was and that he was
the authority on life and death, having instituted both (Col. 1:16, Gen. 3:19).
      Verse 25. But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her
by the hand, and the maid arose. Both Mark and Luke give additional
information, saying that Jesus took Peter, James, John and Jairus and his wife into
the room with him (Mark 5:37, Luke 8:51). There were seven people in the room,
the three family members, three apostles and Jesus. When Jesus touched her and
told her to arise she did so immediately and was given something to eat according
to Jesus' instructions (Luke 8:55-56).
      Verse 26. And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land. The news
of someone's having been raised from the dead naturally spread quickly. Even so,
in spite of his miracles, there seems to have been very few who believed that Jesus
was
the promised Messiah.
      Herod, to whom Pilate sent Jesus, had heard of the miracles that he had done
and was glad to see him. However, Herod's joy at seeing Jesus was not because he
thought he was the Son of God, but because he anticipated seeing Jesus perform
magic (Luke 23:8). At that time, not even the apostles had full realization of the
fact that Jesus was the Son of God and the Messiah of whom the scripture spoke.
All Israel either witnessed or heard of the miracles of Jesus, but they seem to have
been blinded to the truth THAT PROPHECY WAS BEING FULFILLED
BEFORE THEIR VERY EYES!
      There is abundant evidence that the Bible IS true, and every attempt on the
part of those who try to prove that it contains errors has failed. The evidence that
the Bible is true IS FULFILLED PROPHECY (II Pet. 1:16-19). Satan's attack
against Jesus and his word must come through his attack upon mankind, especially
saved people and upon the Bible. Since we Christians are what we are BECAUSE
OF WHAT WE BELIEVE (John 3:18), Satan must attack the foundation of
WHAT WE BELIEVE, THE BIBLE! It is Satan's teaching that nothing is
absolute, that all things are relevant and HE INTENDS TO PERSUADE MEN
THAT GOD'S WORD IS NOT ABSOLUTE, AND POINTS TO THE MANY
BIBLE TRANSLATIONS TO PROVE HIS POINT. Once Satan instills the
idea (that the Bible is relevant) in the minds of "Bible teachers" and "Bible
scholars," he can easily persuade them to alter it to fit their human understanding,
correct it to remove the portions that cause them to feel guilty, and change the
parts they do not like or understand. Throughout the ages, man's attempts to
change the word of God (to help you understand it, bless their hearts) have all
proved to be foolish and erroneous. Despite the many assaults against it, the Bible
(King James Version) has withstood every attack. Every WORD of the Bible is
necessary and means something and no words are left out; therefore, the last
warning in the Bible is given against adding to, or taking from, God's word (Rev.
22:18-19).
      Among the most foolish men are those who present themselves as
"fundamental, Bible defenders" WHO CANNOT EVEN IDENTIFY THE
BIBLE. There are still men around who have staked their lives and souls for
eternity on the belief that MAN STILL HAS THE INERRANT, ETERNAL
WORD OF GOD (King James Version, in the English language). I have yet to
find a professing Christian who is willing to stake his life and soul on his belief
that THERE ARE ERRORS IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE, EVEN THOUGH
THEY SAY AND TEACH THAT THERE ARE SOME. Most of those who say
such things are only parroting what they heard some "spirit filled, godly man" say;
a man who himself was only repeating WHAT SATAN PROMPTED HIM TO
SAY. Those who teach that there are errors in the King James Bible do not
believe so because GOD revealed it to them.
       The Jews who witnessed the works and miracles of Jesus but were blind to
the fact that they were seeing prophecy fulfilled were not too much different from
people today. There are many today who are not only witnessing prophecy being
fulfilled (II Thess. 2:3, falling away) but are EVEN CONTRIBUTING TO ITS
FULFILLMENT without realizing it (II Tim. 4:3).
       This entire episode in which the daughter of a ruler was restored to life and a
woman had her infirmity healed (verses 18 through 26), is a portrait of a greater
work that Jesus has done, is doing, and will do. It all relates (in type) to his
greater work to and for Israel. Jairus typifies religious Israel; his daughter typifies
scribes and PHARISEES (verse 14) who were spiritually dead; the woman with
the issue of blood typifies publicans and sinners; and Peter, James and John typify
faith, hope and charity (I Cor. 13:13). Both Jairus' child and the afflicted woman
ARE CALLED DAUGHTERS (verses 18 and 22), and Israel is called the
DAUGHTER of Zion (Isa. 1:8, 37:22, 52:2, 62:11). This episode portrays another
picture of the nation Israel as God has dealt, is dealing, and will deal with them
from the first coming of Christ to his Second Coming. As Jairus' daughter was
brought back from the dead, so shall the daughter of Zion (Israel) be resurrected at
the Second Coming of Jesus (Isa. 62:11, Ez. 37:5-14, Matt. 24:29-31). Between
Jesus' having heard of the death of Jairus' daughter (which typifies his first
coming) and restoring life to her (which typifies his Second Coming), he stanched
the issue of blood of a DAUGHTER (Matt. 9:22). Healing the woman with the
issue of blood typifies the work of Jesus toward Israel at the end of this age as
Israel is presently contaminated by adultery, serving other gods, and wandering
among the nations seeking help (Deu. 28:59-66, 29:25-26).
       Verse 27. And when Jesus departed thence,.. Jesus left Jairus' house,
having raised his daughter from the dead. While this typifies the resurrection of
the nation Israel (Ez. 37:1-14), it does not include all that Jesus will do for Israel
when they enter the kingdom. The nation, divided after the death of Solomon,
must once again become one nation (Ez. 37:15-22) and their spiritual blindness
must be healed (Rom. 11:25-27).
       ...two blind men followed him,.. When God created Adam and gave Eve to
be his wife, the two became one flesh (Gen. 2:24). When Eve was beguiled by
Satan, she ate the forbidden fruit, and in doing so SEPARATED HERSELF
FROM Adam. ONE BECAME TWO. Adam's solution to the problem was to
join Eve in sin (Gen. 3:6), thereby separating himself from God. The result of
their sin was that …the eyes of them both were opened... (Gen. 3:7). While their
eyes were opened to the fact that they were PHYSICALLY naked, their eyes were
BLINDED to the fact that they were SPIRITUALLY naked. Sin both blinds an
individual to spiritual things and severs his fellowship with God. The nation Israel
has been blind and out of fellowship with God for a long, long time. Israel was
once ONE NATION of twelve tribes, but, because of rebellion against God,
became two nations (Israel and Judah, I Kings 11:30-37). Ten tribes formed the
Northern Kingdom of Israel and went quickly into deep sin. Not only did Israel
sin, but caused Judah, the Southern Kingdom to follow (Jer. 3:6-11). God has not
yet reunited Israel and Judah under one king, but someday he will. Ezekiel 37:22
says,

          "And I will make them one nation in the land upon the
     mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and
     they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into
     two kingdoms any more at all:"

      Until the Lord performs this, which he will do at his Second Coming, BOTH
ISRAEL AND JUDAH ARE STILL BLIND (Rom. 11:25). The two blind men
typify the divided, blind nation Israel.
      For almost three thousand years Israel has been a divided nation. When
Jesus comes again they will be reunited and will: 1. have ONE heart (Jer. 32:39,
Ez. 11:19), 2. have ONE shepherd (Ez. 34:23), 3. be ONE nation (Ez. 37:22), 4.
know the ONE Lord (Zech. 14:9) and 5. be united in ONE day (Isa. 66:8).
The healing of the two blind men is related to the raising of Jairus' daughter and
the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. After Jesus started toward
Jairus' house to raise his daughter (Israel), be encountered and healed another
"daughter" (Israel in dispersion). Then, having raised Jairus' daughter
(resurrected Israel, Ez. 37:10), he restored sight to two blind men as he will, at
his Second Coming, restore sight to Israel and Judah.
      ...crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. Joseph,
Mary's husband, had been addressed by the angel of the Lord as, "... thou Son of
David,.." (Matt. 1:20), which implies that he was a PHYSICAL descendant of
King David. Since Jesus was NOT a physical son of Joseph (as the New
American Standard says, Luke 2:33), he was the physical Son of David only
through his mother, Mary. Here in Matthew 9:27 is the first of four different
occasions when Jesus was addressed as the Son of David (Matt. 9:27, 15:22,
20:30-31, 21:9-15). Mark and Luke both record the same accounts of Jesus being
addressed as the Son of David (Mark 10:46-48, Luke 18:35-43) and John records
none. Matthew accents the work of Jesus as KING. Mark accents the work of
Jesus as a PROPHET, Luke as a PRIEST and John as the SAVIOR.
      Verse 28. And when he was come into the house,.. He departed from the
house of Jarius (verse 27), but there is no clue as to whose house Jesus entered.
Since no other gospel carries a parallel of this account, information is confined to
that which Matthew reveals. When the Bible says, "...he was come into the
house,.." it is to teach something, for God does not waste words. This entire
situation was given to reveal to the reader something about the children of Israel as
a nation and how the Lord deals with them. The first time Jesus was called the
Son of David was in relation to these two blind men. The last time he was called
the Son of David was when he entered his city (Jerusalem) and his palace (the
temple, Matt. 21:9-15). Both of these occasions are seen in connection with his
being KING OVER HIS KINGDOM. When Jesus entered Jerusalem riding upon
the colt of an ass, he was referred to as a KING (Luke 19:38, John 12:12-15), but
this was only an INDIRECT reference. The people did not say, "blessed is JESUS
our King," or, "blessed are YOU our king," but they said, "Blessed is THE king
of Israel." The only people who addressed Jesus directly as King were Gentiles:
the wise men at his birth (Matt. 2:2) and Pilate at his death (the inscription Pilate
placed over the cross, Matt. 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38, John 19:19).
      In the passage at hand, the house seen in relation to the healing of the blind
men typifies the "house" of Israel. When the house of Israel. (Ez. 37:11) is
resurrected, Jesus will enter HIS house, which will be the temple in Jerusalem (Ez.
40 - 48). In that day, Jesus will restore sight to Israel.
      ...the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that
I am able to do this? The eleventh chapter of Romans gives a view of Israel in
the future. Romans 11:25 says that Israel was temporarily blinded (spiritually)
because of unbelief and other verses say that Israel is like a branch either being
broken off or grafted into an olive tree. Israel was broken off (blinded) because of
unbelief (verse 20), but will be grafted in again (sight restored) when they believe
(verse 23). One of the major purposes of the coming tribulation is to remove
Israel's blindness.
      They said unto him, Yea, Lord. From the very beginning the nation Israel
usually said, "nay Lord." The two blind men who answered Jesus affirmatively are
a picture of Israel at the end of the tribulation saying, "yea, Lord."
      Verse 29. Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith he
it unto you. Jesus extended the touch of mercy to these men, without which they,
like all men, had no hope. It was because of his mercy that he paid the price for
man's redemption. It was because of his mercy that he said, "Come unto me,..
and I will give you rest." It was because of his mercy that he cried out, "Father,
forgive them; for they know not what they do."
      Verse 30. And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them,
saying, See that no man know it. The expression, "he charged them straitly,"
means that he gave them exact and specific instructions: they were to tell no one
what had happened. This is only one of many occasions recorded in the Scripture
when Jesus worked a miracle or revealed some truth and instructed witnesses to
tell no one.

    1.   When a leper was cured, he was told to tell no man (Matt. 8:4, Luke
         5:14).

    2.   A deaf and dumb man had his hearing and speech restored and was
         instructed to tell no one (Mark 7:31-37).

    3.   A blind man had his sight restored and was told not to go into town or to
         tell anyone who lived in town about his having been healed (Mark 8:22-
         26).

    4.   Upon raising Jairus' daughter, Jesus told her parents to tell no one (Luke
         8:56).

    5.   When God revealed to Simon Peter that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of
         the living God, the disciples who heard him were told to tell no one
         (Matt. 16:13-20, Luke 9:18-21). Jesus first wanted people to believe him
         for his WORDS and not because of his miracles and works. After it
         became apparent that they would not believe his WORDS, he asked that
         they believe him for his WORKS (John 14:11; some believed his words
         AFTER his death, burial and resurrection, John 2:22). Most of the
         people did not believe that either his words or his works presented
         sufficient evidence that he was the promised Messiah, the Son of God.

      Verse 31. But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in
all that country. These men could not remain silent. They had been blind, but
now could see, so their inability to remain silent is quite understandable. What is
difficult to understand is how anyone in this present age whose spiritual sight has
been restored can possibly remain silent (Rom. 10:9-11).
      At his First Coming, Jesus asked that his works and words be publicized only
by those whom he appointed. During this present age Jesus wants his works and
words published throughout the world. When he comes again and establishes his
kingdom, no one will be appointed to publish his fame and glory. No one will be
allowed to preach or proclaim either his laws or his righteousness (Zech. 13:2-5,
Heb. 8:11). Nevertheless, knowledge of him will extend throughout the whole
world during his glorious reign (Isa. 2:1-4).
     Verse 32. As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man
possessed with a devil. All dumbness or disease is NOT necessarily caused by
demon possession. In Mark 7:31-37 a deaf man who had a speech impediment
was not under the influence of a demon. However, it is true that in most cases
when an individual was afflicted with dumbness, a demon spirit WAS involved.
Notice in this list where dumbness is the affliction, devils are involved.

     1.   Here in Matthew 9:32-33, And when the DEVIL was cast out, the
          DUMB spake:..

     2. ...one possessed with a DEVIL, blind, and DUMB:.. (Matt. 12:22).

     3. ...Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a DUMB
        SPIRIT (Mark 9:17).

     4. And he was casting out a DEVIL, and it was DUMB (Luke 11:14).

       As this present age comes to its close, the influence of demons (devils) is
tremendous. People are attacked from every angle and avenue by necromancy,
witchcraft, E.S.P., hypnotism, speaking in tongues, eastern religions, and
unlimited occult practices and procedures. Christians are not immune to the
influence of demons and are often as deeply involved in Satanic practices as
unsaved people. In these present days children are subjected to toys and games
that have their roots in the occult. They are designed to open doors that lead to the
forbidden spirit world. Television, movies, cartoons and books bombard our
senses with the suggestion that we are surrounded by an invisible world from
which we can obtain power and knowledge. People are enticed to participate in
the power and influence of the occult through daily horoscopes seen in most
newspapers and magazines throughout America. The influence that this wicked
spirit world bears upon man is manifested in the increase of immorality, crime and
insanity. Because of the influence of demons, despair is prevalent and suicides are
increasing. The curiosity and superstitions of people concerning the spirit world
enhance the deceptive power of demons. There is no doubt that an invisible spirit
world exists, for the Bible says it does and that those beings that inhabit that realm
can provide certain knowledge and power. God, however, has provided the Bible
and the Holy Spirit to give all the knowledge man needs to understand his origin,
reason for existence, and possible destinies.
      Verse 33. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the
multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. There is no doubt
that this man's dumbness was a direct result of demon possession because the cure
was administered by the expulsion of the demon.
      The word, multitudes, is plural and denotes that many people witnessed this
saga. Those present recognized that there was something different and special
about Jesus and about what he said and did. When the multitudes expressed their
amazement by saying that it was never like this before in Israel, they were
speaking with knowledge, for they had heard of the miracles of Elijah, the might
of David and the strength of Samson. But they knew that this man Jesus displayed
more power than had ever been displayed by any prophet, priest or king.
      Verse 34. But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the
prince of the devils. Pharisees, Sadducees, scribes and priests were all religious
people, yet Jesus found his greatest enemies among these groups. The heathen
Romans gave him almost no trouble or opposition and as a general rule were
courteous and responsive to him and his teachings.
      This verse begins with the contrasting conjunction, BUT, which indicates a
continuing but opposing action or view is about to be introduced. The word,
"but," opens several verses of scripture where Jesus was being opposed, subjected
to ridicule or challenged by religious people. These following situations appear
where a verse opens with the conjunction BUT:

    1.   BUT the Pharisees... They accused him of operating by the power of
         Satan (Matt. 9:34).

    2.   BUT when the Pharisees saw it... They accused Jesus of allowing his
         disciples to break the law of the Sabbath (Matt. 12:2).

    3.   BUT there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in
         their hearts, Their reasoning led them to accuse Jesus of blasphemy
         upon seeing him cure a man sick of palsy by saying, "Son, thy sins be
         forgiven thee." (Mark 2:5-7).

    4.   BUT their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples...
         They did not like seeing Jesus and his disciples eat with publicans and
         sinners (Luke 5:30).
    5.    BUT the Jews did not believe concerning him... A blind man gave his
          testimony, both physically (he, having been blind since birth, had his
          sight restored) and verbally. Despite his testimony concerning Jesus, the
          Jews did not believe him and even tried to persuade him that he was not
          who he said he was (John 9:1-38, verse 18).

    6.    BUT the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God... They
          rejected the baptism of John and in so doing rejected the counsel of God
          (Luke 7:29-30).

    7.     BUT the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they
          should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. They swayed the people,
          insisting that the multitude demand the release of Barabbas and the
          crucifixion of God's Son (Matt. 27:20).

     Verse 35. And Jesus went about all the cities and villages,.. As shown by
the context, this does not include all the Jewish cities and villages of Palestine, but
all the cities and villages of Galilee. Jesus did not minister in the southern region
of Judaea until later (Matt. 19:1, Mark 10:1).
     …teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the
kingdom... The first thing he did was TEACH. He was no doubt explaining the
scripture (the Old Testament), laying the foundation for preaching. He preached
THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. It is not likely that there were any Jews
who did not know that a kingdom was promised to Israel and that this promise had
not been fulfilled. Those Jews who were familiar with John the Baptist and what
he proclaimed knew that he preached, "Repent ye: the kingdom of heaven is at
hand" (Matt. 3:2), which was the same thing that Jesus preached when his
ministry began (Matt. 4:17).
     Jesus preached in Galilee, the territory that constituted the old Northern
Kingdom of Israel when they separated themselves from Judah under King
Jeroboam. It was in this area (Galilee) AND ONLY IN THIS AREA THAT
JESUS PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. When
he journeyed into the southern area of the Promised Land (Judaea), he did NOT
preach the gospel of the kingdom, but rather told an INDIVIDUAL, "Ye must be
born again" (John 3:1-19). Jesus did NOT preach to MULTITUDES in Judaea
(Judah) until AFTER his offer of the kingdom had been rejected by the Galilean
Jews (Matt. 11:20). The people of the territory of Galilee (the portion of the
nation that was once the Northern Kingdom, Israel) were the FIRST of the Jews to
go into idolatry; therefore, they were the FIRST to whom Jesus came calling for
repentance.
     ...and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. The key
word in this phrase is the word "every," which reveals that Jesus NEVER failed.
While Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom in the northern territory of
Galilee, HE HEALED AND GAVE KINGDOM SIGNS. But, upon entering the
southern territory of Judaea, HIS MIRACLES AND HEALINGS DIMINISHED
AS HIS ENCOUNTERS WITH RELIGIOUS LEADERS INCREASED (Matt.
19:3, Mark 10:1-2). The fact that his miracles diminished only indicates that God
INTENDED for them to decrease.
     Verse 36. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with
compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as
sheep having no shepherd. There is nothing more "lost" than a lost sheep.
Sheep are the only animals that require a shepherd, someone to lead them to green
pastures. Sheep have no sense of direction and cannot find their way. Sheep are
the "dumbest" of all dumb animals. They cannot be trained like other animals.
They are never seen performing in circus acts like dogs, cats, horses, elephants and
even FLEAS.
       All we LIKE SHEEP have gone astray (Isa. 53:6). When Jesus looked upon
the multitude, he saw as it were, a flock of sheep having no shepherd. The Jewish
religious leaders, priests, scribes and Pharisees were supposed to be the shepherds
of Israel. As shepherds, they were appointed to find and feed God's sheep.
Instead, they fed themselves, neglected the flock and unknowingly fulfilled the
prophecy of Ezekiel 34:7-8.
In this present day of grace, preachers are told to feed God's flock (Acts 20:28,
John 21:15, 16, 17, II Tim. 4:2) and are to lead God's sheep through the green
pastures of His word that they might feast upon the spiritual food of Scripture.
Christians are expected to grow spiritually, and spiritual growth demands
spiritual food.
       Verse 37. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous,
but the labourers are few; It is tragic to see a bountiful field sit unharvested. A
great deal of work is involved in preparing soil, planting seed, fighting grass,
insects, and diseases, all of which is wasted if there is no one willing to harvest the
fruit. This was the way Jesus viewed the nation Israel at his First Coming,
comparing the people and their plight to two situations: a flock of sheep without a
shepherd, and a field ready for harvest but without reapers.
       Verse 38. Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send
forth labourers into his harvest. Jesus stated plainly that the problem would be
solved if his disciples would pray, but the scripture does not say that they did.
       The most neglected aspect of Christian living is prayer. Many Christians
seem to delight in being involved in activities where they are doing something
PHYSICAL because that way they can be seen or heard. But Christians who are
willing to spend just one hour each day alone in prayer are few. Somehow in his
sovereignty, God has permitted the prayers of his people to influence his
decisions. Jesus could have told the disciples, "Go into the harvest and start
reaping," but he did not. He told his disciples to PRAY to the Lord of the harvest
THAT HE WOULD SEND FORTH LABOURERS INTO HIS HARVEST.




                           CHAPTER NINE, EPILOGUE

          The King continued to reveal his legitimacy and right to rule
     by displaying his power over DEATH. He completed his trek
     through the remains of the old Northern Kingdom continuing to
     preach the gospel of the kingdom and showing kingdom signs
     (verse 35). His healing works was evidence that His offer of the
     kingdom was genuine
CHAPTER 10

      Verse 1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples,.. This is
NOT an account of Jesus' INITIAL call to the twelve into his ministry but rather it
is the account of his calling them to receive their COMMISSION.
      ...he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out,.. A
successful ministry demands that correct procedures be followed. In order to
successfully rid an area of problems, one must first eliminate the SOURCE of the
problems. Before demon related diseases and sicknesses could be cured and
remain cured, the demons that caused them had to be cast out. Jesus did not first
cure a demon related disease and THEN cast out the demon, but he FIRST cast out
the demon, then healed the affliction. Eliminating the cause of an ailment is the
only way of assuring a lasting cure.
      ...and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. As Jesus
healed EVERY sickness and EVERY disease (Matt. 9:35), so did he give the
twelve disciples power to heal ALL manner of sickness and disease.
      The account of Jesus' commission to the twelve apostles is also recorded by
both Mark and Luke. Mark adds that they went in pairs (Mark 6:7), and Luke tells
us that Jesus also sent out an additional seventy disciples (Luke 10:1). Each of the
three gospel accounts reveals a somewhat different command as to what the
disciples were to preach. Matthew records that Jesus instructed the twelve to
preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and more specifically, to preach that
the kingdom was at hand (Matt. 10:7), while Mark records that they were to
preach that men should repent (Mark 6:12), and Luke that they were to preach the
kingdom of God (Luke 9:2). Luke also says that after sending the twelve, Jesus
sent an additional seventy (Luke 10:1) who were told to say (or preach), "The
kingdom of God is come nigh unto you" (Luke 10:9). The fact that Matthew,
Mark and Luke do not carry IDENTICAL accounts of Jesus' commission is not an
indication of a contradiction. The difference in each gospel writer's account is
there to show that each writer viewed the situation differently for the purpose of
disclosing different aspects of the greater work of Jesus as Prophet (Mark), Priest
(Luke) and King (Matthew). The gospel writers reveal a progression that changes
from the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of HEAVEN, to the preaching of
the gospel of the kingdom of GOD. Jesus came offering the kingdom of heaven, a
literal, visible, physical kingdom, but upon its rejection (Matt. 11:20) began to tell
of the INVISIBLE, SPIRITUAL kingdom of heaven that included the kingdom of
God into which a person could enter ONLY BY A NEW BIRTH (John 3:1-8).
The FIRST kingdom offered was to JEWS, the SECOND kingdom offered was to
"whosoever," either Jew or Gentile. It was demanded of Jews (until their
dispersion, 70 A. D.) that they repent (repentance toward God) and of Gentiles
(Greeks) that they have faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).
       Verse 2. Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first,
Simon, who is called Peter,.. Upon meeting him, Jesus told Simon, "...thou
SHALT be called Cephas,.." (John 1:42). But the first time Peter was CALLED
by that name was AFTER he testified that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the
living God (Matt. 16:16-18). The name Cephas and the name Peter both mean a
small stone or pebble. Although Peter is never ADDRESSED by the name Cephas
in the scripture, he is REFERRED to by that name in First Corinthians 1:12, 3:22,
9:5, 15:5, and Galatians 2:9. The name Peter is from the Greek language while the
name Cephas is from Syriac.
       The Bible pictures Peter as impetuous, usually speaking or acting before
thinking (Matt. 16:22, 17:4, 26:33, 35, 74, Acts 1:15-16, Gal. 2:11-14). In spite of
his impetuous ways, the Bible depicts him as a staunch believer, greatly used by
God. Simon Peter…

    1.    Preached the death, burial and resurrection to Jews on the day of
          Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40).

    2.    Was used by the Lord to heal a lame man at a gate called Beautiful (Acts
          3:1-11).

    3.    Preached the first sermon on the Second Coming of Christ after the
          ascension of Christ into heaven (Acts 3:19-21).

    4.    Stoutly defended his right to preach Jesus Christ and the gospel of his
          death, burial and resurrection (Acts 4:19-20).

    5.    Exposed the lie of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-10).
    6.   Laid hands upon Samaritans that they might receive the Holy Ghost
         (Acts 8:14-17).

    7.   Healed Aeneas of palsy (Acts 9:34).

    8.   Restored life to Tabitha (Dorcas) (Acts 9:36-40).

    9.   Was the first apostle to preach THE GOSPEL to a Gentile (Acts 10).

  10.    Was imprisoned by Herod for preaching, but was released by God (Acts
         12:1-11).

  11.    Spoke in defense of preaching the gospel of grace to Gentiles (Acts 15:7-
         11).

  12.    Wrote two epistles to tribulation people, First and Second Peter.

        ...and Andrew his brother;.. It was Andrew who brought Peter to Jesus
(John 1:40-42). Andrew is the only person in the Bible so named, and it was he
who suggested that five barley loaves and two small fishes might help feed over
five thousand people (John 6:8-10). It was to Andrew that Philip presented some
Gentiles who desired to see Jesus, and Andrew knew how to handle the situation
(John 12:20-22).
        ...James the son of Zebedee,.. James, his brother John, and Peter were the
closest to Jesus of all the apostles (Mark 5:37, 9:2, 14:33). James and his brother
John were rebuked by Jesus on two occasions. Jesus first rebuked them when they
asked if they could sit on his right and left hand in the kingdom (Mark 10:35-40).
The second time Jesus rebuked them was when they said they thought Jesus
should bring down fire from heaven and destroy a Samaritan village (Luke 9:51-
56). James is also the first apostle said to have been killed (Acts 12:1-2) so he is
NOT the James of Acts 12:7, 15:13, 21:18, Galatians 1:19, but IS the writer of the
epistle by his name.
        ...and John his brother; This John is also called the beloved disciple (John
13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 20). John was privileged to write more books of the New
Testament than anyone except Paul. He penned the gospel and the three epistles
that bear his name and the book of the Revelation—five altogether. In neither the
gospel nor the epistles of John, will one find his name or the name of his brother,
James. John is portrayed as being quite opposite in nature and personality from
Simon Peter, yet John and Peter remained closer to Jesus throughout his trial and
crucifixion than any of the other apostles. They remained close to one another
after the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord. The Bible gives us these facts
about John:

    1.   John was with Peter when the lame man was healed at the gate of the
         temple (Acts 3:1-11).

    2.   He was with Peter preaching boldly to the rulers of Israel at Jerusalem
         (Acts 4:8-13).

    3.   He stood with Peter and defended their right to preach the gospel (Acts
         4:19-20).

    4.   He was with Peter in Samaria when they laid their hands on the
         Samaritans that they might receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).

    5.   He was old and alone when Jesus came to him on the isle of Patmos and
         gave him words and visions: the Revelation of things to come (Rev. 1:9).

    6.   He will preach again some day AFTER Jesus comes for his church (Rev.
         10:11).

     Verse 3. Philip... Philip and Andrew seem to have had a close relationship
with one another and had several things in common. The Bible notes these things
about Philip:

    1.   Philip, like Andrew, brought someone to Jesus. Andrew brought Peter;
         Philip brought Nathaniel (John 1:45).

    2.   He was from Bethsaida, the city from which Andrew came (John 1:44).

    3.   He claimed, as did Andrew, that he had found Jesus (John 1:45), when in
         reality, Jesus found him (John 1:43).

    4.   He was the apostle Jesus asked about feeding the multitude of five
         thousand men (John 6:5-9).

    5.   He consulted Andrew when approached by Gentiles who wanted to see
         Jesus (John 12:20-22).
    6.   Philip was rebuked by Jesus for not recognizing him as the Lord (John
         14:8-9).

    ...and Bartholomew;.. Bartholomew is listed among the apostles by both
Mark (3:18) and Luke (6:14), and is seen with the other ten apostles in the upper
room on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:13), but is not mentioned in any other
scripture.
    ...Thomas,.. The attitude and action of Thomas gave birth to the term,
"Doubting Thomas." John records that he was also called Didymus (John 11:16).
Some facts about Thomas are:

    1.   He was ready and willing to die with Jesus, or at least suggested that he
         was (John 11:16).

    2.   He expressed bewilderment about where Jesus was going, but wanted to
         know how to follow him (John 14:5).

    3.   He DID NOT receive the Holy Ghost at the time that other ten apostles
         did (John 20:22-24).

    4.   He expressed doubt that Jesus had risen from the grave or that the other
         disciples had seen him (John 20:25).

    5.   Eight days after the resurrection he received an invitation from Jesus to
         touch him, to feel his wounds, so that he might believe (John 20:26-27).

    6.   Upon seeing and feeling Jesus (assuming he felt him) he believed (John
         20:28).

     ...and Matthew the publican;.. Matthew is the only gospel writer who
records that he was a publican. In the record of his initial calling to follow Jesus,
both Mark and Luke refer to him as Levi (Mark 2:14, Luke 5:27-29).
     Publicans were Jews who were employed by the Roman government, usually
in a position of tax collectors.
     ...James the son of Alphaeus,.. James is said to have been the brother of
Judas (not Iscariot), another apostle (Luke 6:16). This COULD be the James
referred to in Acts 12:17, 15:13, 21:18 and First Corinthians 15:7; however, Jesus
had a half brother named James to whom these scriptures COULD refer (Matt.
13:55, Mark 6:3).
     ...and Lebbaeus, Whose surname was Thaddaeus; Only Matthew calls this
man by two names, Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus. Mark lists him by the name
Thaddaeus (Mark 3:18), but Luke does not list him by either name. Luke lists a
man named Judas who is said to have been the brother of James (Luke 6:16, Acts
1:13), but does not list anyone by the name of either Lebbaeus or Thaddaeus;
therefore, Judas (not Iscariot), Lebbaeus, and Thaddaeus are one and the same
person. John states in his gospel that Judas (Lebbaeus, Thaddaeus) asked Jesus a
question (John 14:22), the answer to which was a revelation of the truth of the
Holy Spirit dwelling in believers (John 14:23 - 16:16). This man MAY have been
the writer of the book of Jude, but, that book COULD have been written by Jesus'
half brother (Matt. 13:55).
     Verse 4. Simon the Canaanite... Both Matthew and Mark identify Simon as a
Canaanite, which does not imply that he was a Gentile, but rather that he was from
Cana in Galilee where Jesus performed his first miracle, turning water into wine
(John 2:1-11). Luke lists Simon by the name Zelotes, a name which implies that
he was full of zeal (Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13).
     Some of the apostles had the same name (two Jameses, two Judases and two
Simons) and discernment is necessary to determine of which man the scripture is
speaking. This is further complicated by the fact that Jesus had half brothers
named James, Judas and Simon (Matt. 13:55, Mark 6:3).
     ...and Judas Iscariot,.. Many possible meanings of the name Iscariot have
been suggested, the most likely being, "man of Kerioth." Kerioth was a village of
the tribe of Judah (Josh. 15:21-25); however, it was also the name of a city in
Moab (Jer. 48:24, 41, Amos 2:2). Judas Iscariot is referred to as the son of Simon
on four occasions, all of which are in John's gospel (John 6:71, 12:4, 13:2, 26).
     ...who also betrayed him. Each of the four gospel writers introduces Judas by
mentioning his treason (Matt. 10:4, Mark 3-19, Luke 6:16, John 6:71). (For more
information about Judas Iscariot, see comments on 27:3.)
     Verse 5. These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them... This
commission was not given at the apostle's initial calling (see comments on verse 1)
but was given later. Jesus first CALLED them and later COMMANDED them.
This is God's way of commissioning people; first salvation, then service (Judas,
the exception, John 17:12). The method God uses to call people into his service is
outlined in Matthew 11:28-29. Jesus said, "Come unto me,.. and I will give you
rest" which is his call to SALVATION while, "Take my yoke upon you,.. and
ye shall find rest unto your souls" is God's call to SERVICE, his commission,
his command to go forth. The proper order is, called, then commanded.
     In this list of the twelve apostles, they are seen to have been paired off in units
of two. Peter is separated from Andrew by a comma (,) but they are separated
from James and John by a semicolon (;). James and John are separated from
Philip and Bartholomew by a semicolon (;), and so on throughout the list. Poor
Simon the Canaanite was paired off with Judas Iscariot.
     ...saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles,.. This is the beginning
statement of Jesus' command to his apostles to preach the gospel of the kingdom
of heaven. His initial statement was NEGATIVE; he told his apostles where NOT
to go. Jesus made it very clear that the message he gave them was NOT to be
preached to Gentiles. Gentiles are people of any nationality or race who are not
descendants of Abraham's grandson, Jacob (Israel).
       ...and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: Samaritans were
people of mixed nationality—part Jew and part Gentile. Jesus told his apostles
that they were not to enter into their cities in carrying out the Lord's commission to
preach the gospel of the kingdom.
       Verse 6. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The
expression, "house of Israel" means the descendants of the man Israel, that is,
Jews.
       In this verse Jesus began the POSITIVE aspect of his command. Having told
his apostles where NOT to go, he then told them where TO go—to the lost sheep
of Israel. The lost sheep of Israel were Jews, referred to in Luke 15:1-6 as
publicans and sinners. The fact that Jesus commanded them to go to the lost sheep
of Israel indicates that they were NOT TO GO TO THE SCRIBES, PHARISEES,
OR RULERS OF ISRAEL.
       Verse 7. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
This was the same message that both John the Baptist (Matt. 3:2) and Jesus (Matt.
4:17) had been preaching, minus the demand to repent. Jesus had, in fact,
ALREADY PREACHED THE SAME GOSPEL IN THE CITIES AND
VILLAGES TO WHICH HE WAS SENDING THE APOSTLES (Matt. 9:35).
       Verse 8. Heal the sick,.. This is the third time that the children of Israel
would hear someone preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. They first heard
it from John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-12), then they heard it from Jesus (Matt. 9:35),
and now they were going to hear it the third time from the apostles.
       There is no resemblance between the abilities and powers granted to the
apostles and the abilities and powers claimed by modern faith healers. It is not
unusual, while driving through cities and towns across America (especially in the
South), to see signs along the highway advertising faith healers. The name of the
faith healer may differ from town to town, but the type of people are basically the
same whether they be named, "Mother Marie," "Sister Sue," "Madam Mozelle,"
etc. Their advertisements usually claim that they can read one's palm or tell
fortunes by some other means. They often refer to themselves as "spiritual
advisers" and/or "faith healers." Most Christians know to shun these people like a
plague. HOWEVER, SOME CHRISTIANS ARE DEEPLY ENGROSSED IN
SIMILAR FORBIDDEN PRACTICES (Deu. 18:10-12) SIMPLY BECAUSE
THEY ARE PERFORMED IN "CHURCHES" BY "PREACHERS." Because a
person does not CLAIM to be a palm reader or a fortune teller and because he
PERFORMS in a church and DRESSES in the garb of a preacher, that does not
make him a more LEGITIMATE "faith healer" than the Madam beside the
highway. He is merely more subtle and far more dangerous. If there are those
today who can heal the sick, then LET THEM ALSO CLEANSE THE LEPERS
AND RAISE THE DEAD.
      ...cleanse the lepers,.. Jesus did not separate the power to heal the sick from
the power to cleanse the lepers.
      ...raise the dead... The power granted the apostles enabled them to raise the
dead. It is interesting to note that in this entire command, Jesus did not mention
faith one time. It is not said that Jesus gave the apostles the ability to MEASURE
ANYONE'S FAITH, YET THE MODERN FAITH HEALER OFTEN BLAMES
HIS FAILURE ON THE AFFLICTED PERSON'S LACK OF FAITH.
      ...cast out devils:.. Interest in demons (devils) has greatly increased over the
past few decades. This growing curiosity about demons, their origin, their power,
their knowledge, and their activities has been a tremendous factor contributing to
the increase of their presence and manifestations. Along with the increased
interest in and activities of demons there has also been an increase in the number
of very strange people who call themselves exorcists. The modern exorcists, like
the palm readers beside the highway, have available to them only the power of
their father, the devil (John 8:44), WHO CAN WORK MIRACLES (Rev. 16:13-
14).
      ...freely ye have received, freely give. Unlike most exorcists, the modern
faith healer wants payment for his services, usually in the form of a "love gift."
      The word freely is one of the most important words in the entire Bible.
When God told Adam that he could eat of every tree of the garden (except one), he
used the word FREELY (Gen. 2:16). When the serpent asked Eve what God had
said, Eve replied that they were permitted to eat of every tree of the garden (except
one), but she OMITTED the word FREELY (Gen. 3:2). THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN EVERY FALSE RELIGION AND THE ONE TRUE FAITH LIES
IN THE WORD FREELY (Rev. 22:17).
      Verse 9. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, In
spite of the fact that there is no way to misunderstand what Jesus said in this
phrase, the modern faith healer spends a major portion of his "show time" begging
for money AND USING (MISUSING) THE BIBLE TO JUSTIFY HIS DEEDS.
      Verse 10. Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes,
nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. Jesus assured his
apostles that if they would deliver the SPIRITUAL MESSAGE, he would see that
all their PHYSICAL NEEDS were met. For this to work in a Christian's ministry,
he must be TOTALLY engaged in the SPIRITUAL battle he is told to fight (Eph.
6:10-18). HOWEVER, when a Christian "minister" is enjoying PHYSICAL
abundance, THAT IS NOT EVIDENCE THAT HE IS NECESSARILY IN THE
WILL OF GOD! In other words, physical abundance is NOT a sign of
SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS since abundance is often a CURSE. A Christian should
not feel guilty for lacking great worldly possessions, for being poor is NOT a sign
that someone lacks faith.
      Verse 11. And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who
in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. The word "worthy" means
deserving. Jesus told the apostles to exercise discernment regarding those to
whom they preached. They were to take note of how people responded to their
message and not waste time with those who did not respond favorably. Those
who did not receive their message with gladness were to be considered unworthy
and undeserving to hear more.
The word worthy is found in the Bible several times and its use reveals these
interesting facts:

    1.     A God-called preacher is WORTHY of his pay (Matt. 10:10, I Tim.
5:18).

    2.   Not all people WANT to hear God's word, and GOD WILL NOT
         FORCE HIS WORD ON ANYONE! Those who do not love his word
         are not WORTHY of hearing it (Matt. 10:11-13).

    3.   No man, either great or small, is WORTHY of Jesus (Matt. 3:11, John
         1:27). It is by GOD'S GRACE that he is ours and not because of our
         WORTHINESS.

    4.   Those who bear the cross of Jesus are declared WORTHY; those who do
         not are UNWORTHY (Matt. 10:37-38).

    5.   The world has never been WORTHY of God's prophets (Heb. 11:38),
         much less his Son.

    6.   God's people, the Jews, and the world's people, the Gentiles, who had
         been at odds for years, compromised their differences in order to crucify
         Jesus, although he had done NOTHING WORTHY OF DEATH (Luke
         23:15).
    7. Only Jesus (God) is WORTHY of praise, honor and glory (Rev. 5:12).

    Verse 12. And when ye come into an house, salute it. A salute as in a
military gesture is not in view, but rather a blessed greeting. To salute means to
honor, to greet, or present oneself to another in a friendly manner. The salute
commanded in this verse was probably to include a brief account of their purpose
and message.
    Verse 13. And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if
it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. Jesus said not to cast pearls
before swine (Matt. 7:6), and a similar situation is indicated in this verse. To
paraphrase what Jesus told the apostles, "Before settling in with a family or
preaching in a city, first determine if they will accept you and your message."
This verse indicates that houses or towns to which Christ's apostles would preach
were to receive peace or unrest according to their worthiness or unworthiness.
      Verse 14. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words,
when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. The
apostles were not to impose themselves or their message on anyone. They were
to…

    1.   ENTER a city or town (verse 11).

    2.   ENQUIRE who might be worthy that they should abide there (verse 11).

    3.   SALUTE the house (verse 12).

    4.   DETERMINE if the house was truly worthy (verse 13).

    5.   ESTABLISH PEACE with them of the household (verse 13).

    6.   REMOVE THE PEACE if the household was determined unworthy
         (verse 13).

    7.   SHAKE the dust from their feet when they left the unworthy house or
         city (verse 14).

      Shaking the dust from one's feet was a testimony against those who
refused to receive the apostles and their message, and showed that the apostles
were not to be contaminated by the dust of that house or city (Luke 10:11).
      Verse 15. Verily I say unto you... Whenever Jesus used this expression
he was making a strong point and intended that his hearers pay close attention.
        ...It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha...
Sodom and Gomorrha (Gomorrah, 0. T.) were two cities well known for their
sin and depravity. In fact, throughout the history of man, these two cities have
been used as examples of the ultimate in sin and evil. The account of the
destruction of these cities is recorded in Genesis nineteen and the events
leading to their judgment and destruction is in Genesis eighteen. In Genesis
18:20 it is recorded that the Lord was grieved because of the great sins of
Sodom and Gomorrha. In Genesis 14:12 it is said that Abraham's nephew, Lot,
dwelt in Sodom. Almost half of the eighteenth chapter of Genesis is devoted to
the account of how Abraham bargained with God for Lot's sake, praying that he
might not destroy Sodom. Abraham asked God to spare Sodom if fifty
righteous men could be found there. He then "Jewed" God down from fifty
(Gen. 18:24) to ten (Gen. 18:32), but still lost the bargain because there were
not ten righteous men in the city. Yet, Jesus said that it would be more
tolerable for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha on judgment day than for the
cities of Israel that rejected the apostles and their message. He indicated that
their sin of REJECTING HIS WORDS was greater than the physical sins (sins
of the flesh) of Sodom and Gomorrha.
        ...in the day of judgment,.. Second Peter 3:8 says that the Day of
Judgment (day of the Lord) is AS a thousand years. The Day of Judgment
appears in the scripture by many different names. Some of the names of
judgment day are:

    1.    The day of trouble (Psa. 20:1, Nah. 1:7, Hab. 3:16).

    2.    THAT day (Isa. 2:11, 19:16, 18, 19, 24, 29:18, Hag. 2:23, Zech. 9:16,
         13:1, 2, Matt. 7:22, etc.

    3.    The day of the Lord (Isa. 2:12, Amos 5:18, Zeph. 1:7, Zech. 14:1, I
         Thess. 5:2, II Pet. 3:10).

    4.   The day of grief and desperate sorrow (Isa. 17:11).

    5.   THE day (Joel 1:15).

    6.   The great day (Zeph. 1:14, Jer. 30:7, Mal. 4:5, Rev. 6:17, Joel 2:11).

    7.   The cloudy and dark day (Ez. 34:12, Zeph. 1:15, Joel 2:2).

    8.   The day of their (Israel's) calamity (Obad. 13).
    9.   The day of distress (Obad. 14, Zeph. 1:15).

  10.    The day of (the Lord's) wrath (Psa. 110:5, Zeph. 1:18, Rev. 6:17).

  11.    The day of the Lord's anger (Zeph. 2:3).

  12.    The day of his coming (Mal. 3:2).

  13.    The day of wasteness and desolation (Zeph. 1:15).

  14.    The day of Christ (Phil. 1:10, 2:16, II Thess. 2:2). (This term is not
         indicative of the entire day of the Lord, but particularly days within the
         tribulation.)

         Judgment day, which is AS a thousand years (II Pet. 3:8), begins with an
EVENT called "a thief in the night" (II Pet. 3:10, I Thess. 5:2); often called "the
rapture." In the same instant that the rapture occurs, fire will come down from
heaven and destroy many who are not taken away by Jesus (I Thess. 5:3, II Pet.
3:7, Ez. 39:6, Rev. 6:4, Luke 17:29-30, Isa. 66:15-16). When Jesus comes as a
thief in the night, he will, as quickly as the twinkling of an eye, take his saints,
both dead and living (both will be given new bodies, I Cor. 15:52), to meet him in
the air.
         Judgment day not only begins with the Lord's removing his church but with
fire coming down from heaven, perhaps as in some type of war. Judgment day
also ends "about" a thousand years later with a war involving fire from heaven (II
Pet. 3:10-12, Rev. 20:9).        ALL OF THE LORD'S JUDGMENTS ARE
CONFINED TO JUDGMENT DAY, WHICH BEGINS WITH AN EVENT: "A
THIEF IN THE NIGHT."
         ...than for that city. The city in view was any city that rejected the
apostles and the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.
         Verse 16. Behold, I send you forth as sheep... God's people are often
referred to as sheep in both the Old Testament,(Isa. 53:6) and the New Testament
(John 10:1-18). Cows, horses, geese hogs, and other domesticated animals can be
driven, but sheep must be led. Jesus gave the apostles POWER over disease,
sickness and evil spirits (Matt. 10:1), yet, he told them to conduct themselves as
sheep. When God's people attempt to act like LIONS they lose their power,
BECAUSE JESUS SHEPHERDS SHEEP, NOT LIONS. The strength of God's
people is in their SHEPHERD, not in themselves.
       ...in the midst of wolves:.. Wolves eat sheep and work and survive either
alone or in packs. They can dress to look like sheep (spiritually speaking) and as
wolves in sheep's clothing are very dangerous (Matt. 7:15). The wolves Jesus was
specifically speaking of were scribes and Pharisees while the "lost SHEEP of the
house of Israel" were publicans and sinners (Luke 15:1-6).
       ...be ye therefore wise as serpents,.. Jesus did not tell them to be LIKE
serpents, but to be WISE as serpents. He was telling them to be shrewd and
discerning, to keep their eyes open and to pay attention to what was going on.
       ...and harmless as doves. In this text, Jesus used four animals to describe
various characteristics of men: sheep, wolves, serpents and doves. Sheep and
doves were used to characterize his FRIENDS, while wolves and serpents were
used to characterize his ENEMIES. Jesus told his apostles to ACT like sheep,
THINK like serpents, and BE as harmless as doves.
      Verse 17. But beware of men:.. The warning issued in this verse DID NOT
appertain as much to the apostles to whom Jesus was speaking concerning the
particular mission before them, as it will to another group that is going to preach
the same message in the future. The apostles WERE NOT delivered up to any
council nor were they scourged in synagogues WHILE CARRYING OUT THAT
PARTICULAR MISSION. Even the troubles encountered by the apostles AFTER
the resurrection of Jesus did not fulfill ALL he said would happen to them. The
complete fulfillment of this verse, in fact most of this chapter, awaits a time
AFTER the Second Coming of Jesus "as a thief in the night." There will be a
more DIRECT application of this verse to the 144,000 Jewish young men who will
preach during the first half of the tribulation (Rev. 7) than to the apostles to whom
Jesus was speaking.
      The Bible does not record that God ever warned his people about the danger
of lions, wolves or snakes, BUT HE DID WARN THEM ABOUT THE DEVIL
WHO IS LIKE A LION (I Pet. 5:8), AND ABOUT RELIGIOUS LEADERS
WHO WERE LIKE WOLVES AND SNAKES (Matt. 7:15, 23:33, 16:1-12). The
only time when God's people are in danger of animals is when they DISOBEY
HIM. God used a whale to cause disobedient Jonah to complete his mission, and
he used a lion to carry out his sentence on his own man who was disobedient (I
Kings 13). But, an obedient servant of God has no reason to fear wild animals to
any great extent. God's OBEDIENT people are warned to beware of MEN.
       ...for they will deliver you up to the councils,.. This warning has no direct
application to Christians since there exists no such "council" in this age. This
council refers to the Jewish court, the Sanhedrin. This is not to say that there are
not certain types of "councils" in these present days, because it is well known that
many Christians have been persecuted and sentenced to long jail terms by rulers or
councils.
        ...and they will scourge you in their synagogues; There have been few, if
any, Christians scourged in synagogues since the apostolic period of this present
age. The message of Matthew is basically Jewish and pertains not only to the time
when Jesus sent his apostles throughout the cities of Israel, but pertains also to the
future when he will again send forth a group of Jews into all the world to preach
the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 24:9-14, Rev. 7).
        Verse 18. And ye shall be brought before governors...The twelve
apostles did not encounter this situation while carrying out their mission AT
THAT TIME, and the condition and situation portrayed in this verse was only
PARTIALLY fulfilled during the apostolic period, as revealed in the book of Acts.
The apostle Paul was brought before the governor Felix (Acts 23:23 24:27).
        ...and kings... Paul was also brought before King Agrippa (Acts 25:12 -
26:32).
        ...for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. When
Paul was brought before Governor Felix and King Agrippa, he was indeed a
testimony against them. He preached the gospel to them, which they both
rejected.
      Verse 19. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how... (ye shall
speak). Not everyone has the ability to speak before others. Some people find it
difficult to speak in public under any circumstance or condition. Jeremiah was
faced with this problem (Jer. 1:6) and is a testimony to men everywhere as to what
God can do in giving someone ability to speak. Moses confessed to God that he
could not speak (Ex. 4:10), and God provided him with a spokesman, his brother,
Aaron (Ex. 4:14-16).
      ...or what ye shall speak:.. Even when someone knows HOW to speak, that
does not necessarily mean that he knows WHAT to speak. Jesus told his apostles
that they did not need to meditate on how or what they were to say.
      ...for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. Jesus
promised to supply his apostles with both the ability and the words he wanted
them to speak. It was not that Jesus gave them the ability or the words to speak at
the time he commissioned them, but rather he gave them the promise that God
would supply the ability and the words at the time they needed them.
      Verse 20. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which
speaketh in you. This verse explains HOW God would handle the situation
should the need arise.
      In speaking to the apostles, Jesus referred to God as, "your Father.'' In the
same way that Abraham was the father of Ishmael., so is God the Father of the
nation Israel. The nation Israel is God's "SON OF THE BONDWOMAN" (Gen.
21:9-10, Gal. 4:22-25), and as such, is not a "BEGOTTEN" son of God (Gen.
22:2), but a SERVANT son of God. As a servant son, the nation Israel CANNOT
BE GOD'S PRIMARY HEIR. (If Jews are born again into the body of Christ in
this present age they become heirs, Galatians 4:7, 30, 31.) God is the Father of
Christians in the same manner that Abraham was the father of Isaac. Isaac was a
BEGOTTEN son of Abraham (Gen. 22:2) and as such, his heir (compare Gen.
15:2-4 with Rom. 8:14-17). Christians are BEGOTTEN (BORN) sons of God as
was Isaac the BEGOTTEN son of Abraham. Therefore, even though Abraham
was the father of both Ishmael and Isaac, HIS RELATIONSHIP TO EACH, AS
THEIR FATHER, WAS DIFFERENT. In a like manner God is the Father of
both the nation Israel and individual Christians, BUT HIS RELATIONSHIP TO
EACH, AS THEIR FATHER, IS DIFFERENT!
       The expression, "...the Spirit of your Father which speaketh IN YOU"
does not imply that the Holy Spirit DWELT in the apostles at that time as he does
in Christians in this age. This was BEFORE the death, burial, and resurrection of
Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit into the world as a sealing, indwelling
PERSON of God. The Spirit of God was in the apostles in the same manner that
he was in Bezaleel, the master craftsman (Ex. 31:2-5) and Ezekiel the prophet (Ez.
2:2, 3:24).
       Verse 21. And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the
father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and
cause them to be put to death. Verse eighteen of this chapter resembles verse
nine of the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew. The similarity between this verse
(21) and verse ten of Matthew twenty-four is even closer. In fact, this entire
discourse of Matthew 10:16-23 very closely resembles the discourse of Matthew
24:9-14. Chapter twenty-four is a discourse on the end of this age and the
beginning of the next age, and on the second coming of Jesus (Matt. 24:3).
Comparing scripture with scripture, it becomes evident that the portion of the
discourse in chapter ten, verses sixteen through twenty-three, also relates to the
beginning of the new age and the Second Coming of Jesus. While the conditions
and circumstances that Jesus told the apostles they would face were PARTIALLY
fulfilled at his First Coming, they will be TOTALLY fulfilled in the era of his
Second Coming.
       The circumstances and conditions in which a brother delivers up a brother to
death and a father delivers up a child to death and children rise up against their
parents, IS A PORTRAIT OF THE FIRST HALF OF THE TRIBULATION.
Survival will be uppermost in the hearts and minds of the Jews during those
troublesome times.
       Verse 22. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he
that endureth to the end shall be saved. This verse relates directly to Matthew
24:13. The apostles to whom Jesus spoke were not required to endure to the end,
neither was it required of the Jews to whom they preached. Neither are Christians
required to endure to the end since the Holy Spirit dwells in us and endures for us.
Those of whom the Bible speaks who must endure to the end are Jews, who in the
first half of the tribulation hear the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom of
heaven (Matt. 24:14, Rev. 7), but who will hear NO PREACHING during the last
half of the tribulation, the time and conditions through which they must ENDURE.
       Verse 23. But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another:..
If these instructions were applicable to Christians, then the apostle Paul was
disobedient for he did not FLEE persecution but rather ENDURED persecution (II
Cor. 11:23-28). God instructs Christians to be prepared for persecution, and says
that if they live Godly lives they are to EXPECT persecution (II Tim. 3:12).
       While Christians are not told to flee persecution, we are told to flee from: 1.
fornication (I Cor. 6:18), 2. idolatry (I Cor. 10:14), 3. the love of money (I Tim.
6:10-11), and 4. youthful lusts (II Tim. 2:22).
       ...for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of
Israel,.. In verse six the apostles were instructed to go only to Jews. That they
went into ALL the cities of the Jews is highly unlikely. In fact, this verse declares
that they would NOT complete their mission at that time (see comments on Matt.
28:19-20). While the apostles were distinctly told to go only to Jews, the 144,000
who will preach during the first half of the tribulation will preach throughout all
the world and not just in Israel.
       ...till the Son of man be come. This is speaking of the Second Coming of
Christ in relation to setting up his kingdom, before which the voices of the
144,000 will be heard throughout the world.
       Verse 24. The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his
lord. Looking back to the beginning of this commission in verse five through the
present verse, these instructions were given to the apostles. They were told:

    1.    Where NOT to go (verse 5),

    2.    where TO go (verse 6),

    3.    what to PREACH (verse 7),

    4.    what to DO (verse 8),

    5.    what to CARRY (verses 9 and 10),

    6.    how to determine WHETHER TO PREACH in any certain city (verses
          11 through 15),
    7.    what ATTITUDE to adopt (verse 16),

    8.    what to be CAUTIOUS of (verse 17),

    9.    what to EXPECT in response to their preaching (verse 18),

   10.    how to RESPOND to that response (verses 19 and 20),

    11.    what to expect concerning the ATTITUDES AND ACTIONS of those
           to whom they would preach (verse 21),

    12.    to PERSEVERE in the atmosphere of fear and hatred (verse 22),

    13.    what to DO upon encountering PERSECUTION (verse 23) and,

    14.    to ANTICIPATE the second coming of Jesus (verse 23).

      Verse twenty-four is the beginning of the third part of Jesus' commission, in
which he told his apostles the general attitude he wanted them to maintain in light
of what he said in the previous eight verses. The FIRST aspect of this discourse
(verses 5 through 15) pertained to the commission as given directly to the twelve
apostles to preach AT THAT TIME. The SECOND aspect of this-commission
(verses 16 through 23) while given to the twelve apostles, describes a situation that
will exist in the future, during the great tribulation.
Verse twenty-four is similar to verse sixteen where Jesus told the disciples to
be as sheep. As a sheep is not above his shepherd, neither is a disciple above
his master. While Jesus is the Lion of Judah, he nevertheless humbled himself
and became as a Lamb. He instructed his apostles to be like-minded, to
characterize themselves as sheep, even as he himself did.
      Verse 25. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master,.. This
third aspect of Jesus' commission was aimed at giving the apostles boldness and
power. The power God gives to those whom he commissions in no way resembles
power that the world might be able to give. The world offers power through
education, fame, money, etc. This power is sought by UNSAVED people.
SAVED people often forfeit the power that God has given them when they choose
to seek the power of the world. When two powers collide, the greater power will
always emerge the victor. When a Christian loses the battle with the world it is
NOT because he does not HAVE the power to win, but because he does not USE
that power (I John 4:4). Often a Christian is tempted to join forces with his
enemy, and should he do so, exchanges his greater power for a lesser power and
thus suffers defeat. Many "Christian" ministries are built on the wrong power and
would cease to exist were it not for worldly education, fame or money.
      A disciple has no right or reason to expect better treatment than that shown
his master. Jesus, using himself as an example, was preparing the apostles for the
rejection that He knew they would encounter.
      ...and the servant as his lord. Paul's epistle to the church at Philippi says,

         Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who,..
    made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a
    servant, and... humbled himself,.. (Phil. 2:5-8, in part).

      Christ's servants should never exalt themselves or attempt to create for
themselves a worldly reputation.
      If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub,.. Jesus was
referring to himself by the expression, "the master of the house," and to, Satan by
the name, Beelzebub. In other words, Jesus' enemies called him Satan (Mark
3:22). The age of the law ended with Jesus' enemies CALLING HIM SATAN.
THIS AGE OF GRACE WILL END WITH PEOPLE CALLING SATAN,
JESUS! (II Thess. 2:9-11).
      ...how much more shall they call them of his household? Since they
called Jesus the Devil, the apostles were to expect to be called something as bad or
worse.
      Verse 26. Fear them not therefore:.. There were two things Jesus told his
apostles not to fear: people who would call them devils (verses 25 - 26) and people
who might try to kill them (verse 28). Then Jesus gave them the REASON they
should not fear: because God placed great value on them and would be with them
(verses 29 - 31).
      The word fear has more than one definition. It means: 1. dread, terror, fright;
2. respectful dread, awe, reverence; and 3. concern or apprehension. The way it is
used in this verse it means to dread, to be filled with terror or fright. To
paraphrase what Jesus said, "Do not be afraid of those who will call you evil
names or try to kill you."
      ...for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed;.. There is no
place that anyone can go to hide from God. There is no place where God is not.
Zechariah the prophet wrote that the eyes of God run to and fro through the whole
earth (Zech. 4:10). The Psalmist, David, declared that there is no place a person
can go to escape the presence of God, whether it be heaven or hell (Psa. 139:7-8).
Not only are men's deeds not hidden from God but neither are their thoughts.
Through the prophet Ezekiel, God spoke and said, "...I know the things that
come into your mind, every one of them" (Ez. 11:5). There is nothing covered
that shall not be revealed.
      ...And hid, that shall not be known. Darkness cannot hide men's deeds
from God. Many foolish men have hid their deeds and thoughts from human
authorities and believe that they are also hidden from God. But anyone who
believes this does not understand that there will be a judgment when every thought
and deed will be revealed. Do not attempt to cover sins with false hope. Jesus
invites all living men everywhere to bring their sins and evil deeds to him, to have
them forgiven and to exchange them for God's righteousness.
      Verse 27. What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light:.. This
instruction is contrary to the ways of Satan and of the world. While Satan
attempts to hide his deeds and cover them with darkness, the ways of God are
revealed openly.
      Christianity is not a secret society but a faith, open to the world. The church
is not to conceal secrets but rather to reveal the secret things of God. The word of
God is light, not darkness. Jesus gave his message to his chosen men and
commissioned them to broadcast it to all who would hear.
The hidden things of God are to be revealed to men by men (Rom. 10). When
God wants his words given to men, he intends that everything he said be passed
on exactly as he said it without any additions, subtractions, or alterations (Deu.
4:2). God expects those who hear his word to act on what they hear without
changing what they heard (Deu. 12:32).
      ...and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. This
statement means that Jesus wanted his words to be heard by all who would listen.
      Verse 28. And fear not them which kill the body,.. Man is a triune being
consisting of a body, a soul, and a spirit (I Thess. 5:23). An unsaved man's spirit
is like a storage battery with only one pole or terminal and is therefore DEAD.
His soul can be killed but still continue to exist in bell. His body is made of the
dust of the earth and when he dies, to the earth his body will return. The body of a
saved person can die or be killed but his soul will go to be with the Lord and thus
not die. The spirit of a saved person (in this present age) has been made alive by
means of the new birth, and God's Spirit (the missing pole of the once dead
battery) has married the spirit of the believer (I Cor. 6:17) and made him a child of
God. The spirit of God which abides eternally in any regenerated person will
never die; therefore, the spirit of a saved person (being married to God's Spirit, I
Cor. 6:15-17) will likewise never die.
      The condition revealed in this verse (28) of Matthew is not directly
applicable to Christians, for once an individual is born again (which the apostles
were not at that time) the SOUL of that born again person will never die.
      ...but are not able to kill the soul:.. This condition was possible at the time
Jesus spoke these words to the apostles, but is not possible in relation to believers
in this present age of grace. The soul of a Christian cannot be killed.
      ...but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
The one who can destroy both body and soul in hell must either be God or Satan.
Revelation 1:18 tells us that Jesus said, "I... have the keys of hell and of death."
Jesus spoke these words AFTER his death, burial, and resurrection; however
BEFORE that, THE DEVIL had power over death (Heb. 2:14) and hell (Ez.
28:14). The scripture says that Satan still has the power to destroy a human body,
EVEN OF A SAVED PERSON (I Cor. 5:5). This power is granted to him by the
permissive will of God, as God uses Satan to do certain evil works (Isa. 45:7, Deu.
32:39).
      The expression, "destroy both soul and body in hell," refers to physical death
and an eternity in hell. The fact that both body and soul are seen as being
destroyed in hell poses no problem since the word hell (as used here) means the
grave, the pit, and the prison.
      Verse 29. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? In Luke 12:6 we are
told that five sparrows were sold for two farthings. In this verse two sparrows are
sold for one farthing.
      Years ago there was a man who peddled hot tamales from a pushcart, selling
them two for a nickel or five for a dime. A dime has the same value as two
nickels. This man's practice was the same as that seen in the scripture; two
sparrows for a farthing (nickel?), five sparrows for two farthings (dime?). The
point of this verse, however, is that a sparrow does not have much value.
      ...and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. This
passage has been misunderstood or misinterpreted by many throughout this age. It
does not suggest, as some believe, that God merely SAW the sparrow fall, BUT
THAT HE WAS THERE WHEN IT FELL. This verse is a great source of
comfort to a Spirit filled Christian who not only knows that God SEES him and is
WITH him, but is IN him.
      Verse 30. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. How would
you like a job counting the hairs on someone's head? Can you imagine what it
would be like to have to count the hairs on the heads of every individual on the
face of the earth? Yet, God in his perfect knowledge knows, not only every
human who ever lived, but knows how many hairs are in their heads at any given
time and knows them BY NUMBER.
      Verse 31. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many
sparrows. If God is interested enough in the beings that he created to be with
every sparrow that falls, how much more interested is he in man whom he created
in his own image. Knowing that God himself is ever with us, Christians have no
cause to fear anything. We have the promise of Jesus himself who said, "...I am
with you alway, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:20). God told Isaac,
"...fear not, for I am with thee,.." (Gen. 26:24). To Israel (Jacob) God said,
"...fear not to go down into Egypt;.. I will go down with thee..." (Gen. 46:3-4).
God said to Moses concerning the giant King Og of Bashan, "Fear him not: for I
will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand;.." (Deu. 3:2).
God told Joshua, "Fear not,.. I have given into thy hand the king of Ai,.."
(Josh. 8:1). The Psalmist David wrote that death should hold no fear for the
redeemed of God, those who know the Lord as their Shepherd: "...I will fear no
evil: for thou art with me;.." (Psa. 23:4). John, the beloved apostle, gave God's
secret for overcoming fear when he wrote, "There is no fear in love; but perfect
love casteth out fear:.." (I John 4:18).
       Jesus told his apostles not to fear, and that command extends to His people
everywhere. Jesus, whom John saw standing in the midst of seven golden
candlesticks, proclaimed to all that are his own, "Fear not; I am the first and the
last:.. and have the keys of hell and of death" (Rev. 1:17-18).
       We are God's children and far more valuable than sparrows.
       Verse 32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I
confess also before my Father which is in heaven. If a person is saved he will
be able to say so. He may not be able to stand before a congregation and give a
lengthy testimony, but when asked whether he is a Christian or not, he will be able
to say yes, and will not say no. No Christian should ever be ashamed that he is a
Christian even though he may often be ashamed of HIMSELF as a Christian
whose life dishonors Christ.
       Jesus told of a group of people who would call him Lord, preach in his name,
and do many wonderful works, but who would be denied a home in heaven (Matt.
7:22-23). Jesus said that he would deny ever having known these people.
Therefore, confessing Jesus before men goes beyond merely using his name,
preaching in his name, and doing wonderful works in his name, and demands that
the confession be of a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.
       The basis of whether Christ will confess an individual before his Father rests
upon whether that individual confessed Jesus (a personal relationship) before men.
       Verse 33. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny
before my Father which is in heaven. From this statement it becomes clear that
since the Bible teaches eternal security for the believers of this age, a saved person
will not deny Jesus. This certainly does not extend to Christians whose families
have been tortured, and who, in an attempt to alleviate their suffering, have denied
knowing Jesus. This demand extends only to those who would not be influenced
by suffering, drugs or other forces. This verse is speaking of those who by their
own free will deny Jesus and whom Jesus will deny before his Father.
      Verse 34. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not
to send peace, but a sword. This is an outstanding verse of scripture, not because
it is much quoted, but because it has been ignored. Jesus said in Matthew 24:6,
"ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars." Anyone, whether a politician, a
social worker, a professional soldier OR A CHRISTIAN, who teaches that there
will be peace in this present age is a deceiver. Those who believe that their nation
should not be prepared for war DO NOT BELIEVE GOD. God said that there
SHALL be wars. Anyone who believes that peace can be attained by laying down
one's own weapon has ignored what the Bible teaches.
      Bible believers are faced with the same problem today that Ezekiel faced in
his day. The problem that Ezekiel encountered was false prophets telling people
that there was going to be peace when in fact, war was imminent (Ez. 13:1-16).
      Pacifists often quote scripture about turning the other cheek (Matt. 5:9, 39)
without knowing TO WHOM Jesus was speaking or that his instructions pertained
to kingdom conditions and not to present conditions.
The sword of which Christ spoke in this scripture is a sword that divides or
separates. In war, a sword is used to separate a man's head, arm or leg from his
body. It is used to separate a person from life. Even the SWORD OF THE
WORD is manifested for the purpose of separation and division (Heb. 4:12).
      Verse 35. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and
the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother
in law. The word variance means to divide into two parts or parties. At his first
coming, Jesus came as the great DIVIDER. Many modern "Christians" attempt to
present Jesus as the great UNIFIER. The only thing that Christ is uniting in these
days is the Jew and the Gentile into one body, his body, the church (I Cor. 12:12-
13). Being united into one body is a function performed by God when either a
Jew or a Gentile receives Jesus as his Savior. Even when uniting an individual
into his body, God SEPARATES that person from the world (spiritually
speaking).
      A day IS coming when God will unite all things (Eph. 1:10), but that day
will not come until Jesus has conquered all his enemies and will have put down all
principalities and powers (I Cor. 15:24-28), and that day will not come for over a
thousand years (I Cor. 15:26, Rev. 20:14).
At the time Christ spoke these words to the apostles he was looking forward to
this present age as well as to the future tribulation which will precede his
glorious kingdom. This verse (Matt. 10:35) sums up what the preaching of the
gospel of Jesus Christ (his death, burial, and resurrection) would do.
Throughout this age of grace, wherever the gospel has been preached, the result
has been variance and separation among families and friends.
       Verse 36. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. This
statement has been proved valid by the testimonies of thousands of saints
throughout this age and has been particularly true of saved Jews. There have been
cases where Jewish parents have declared their own son or daughter to be dead,
held a mock funeral and declared their children to be buried, simply because they
left the Jewish religion and became Christians.
       Verse 37. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of
me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Love motivates almost everything that man does. One of the most important
things to man is the OBJECT of his love. The Bible declares that the love of
money is the root of all evil, and money is the OBJECT of most men's love,
because when a man loves himself, he will also love money.
       God is interested in the OBJECT of man's love. The Bible declares that
God's first commandment is that men LOVE HIM (Matt. 22:36-38).
       Love (of itself) is neither good nor evil. The OBJECT of one's love makes it
good or evil. The Bible says that LOVE is the root of all evil: THE LOVE OF
MONEY. It is not the ACT of loving but the OBJECT loved that makes love
good or evil (I Tim. 6:10).
       Although John the apostle wrote, Love not the world... (I John 2:15), it was
not meant as a commandment not to love, but a warning about WHAT not to love.
In the verse under study, there is no suggestion that a person is not to love father
or mother, or son or daughter, but rather that love for them should not exceed one's
love for Jesus. The teaching is clear that unless a person puts Jesus in first place,
he is not worthy of him.
       Verse 38. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not
worthy of me. The cross was not only a MEANS of death, but a SYMBOL of
death. Paul explained this when he wrote,

          What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace
    may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are DEAD to sin, live
    any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized
    into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are
    buried with him by baptism into DEATH:.. For if we have been
    planted together in the likeness of his DEATH, ...our old man IS
    CRUCIFIED with him... (Rom. 6:1-6). Buried with him in baptism,..
    (Col. 2:12).

       In order for the new birth to be enacted, a person must first die to himself.
The cross is the symbol of death. For one to take up his cross means to die to the
flesh.
      In regard to SALVATION, a Christian bears a cross only once like Jesus
bore his only once (Rom. 6:9-10). A person can be born physically only once, so
in like manner a Christian can be born spiritually only once.
However, bearing a cross is a CONTINUOUS act in that a Christian is to
remember DAILY (I Cor. 15:31) that he has ALREADY DIED TO SIN (Rom.
6:11).
      Verse 39. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life
for my sake shall find it. DOCTRINALLY, this verse pertains to people of all
nations and races who will live during the coming tribulation (Rev. 6:9-11, 7:9-
17).
PRACTICALLY, this verse is an explanation of (and another way of saying),
"Ye must be born again." A person must die to the flesh in order to be born of
the Spirit. Paul, writing to the Christians at Rome, said,

          "For they that are after the flesh (unsaved) do mind the things of
    the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit (saved) the things of the
    Spirit. For to be carnally minded (mind the things of the flesh) is
    death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace" (Rom. 8:5-6).

We who are saved have already died to the flesh, having been born of the
Spirit, and are to walk after the Spirit. We took up the cross that we might live
unto Christ, but most of us do not follow through with daily Christian living.
In order to live a victorious Christian life, one must be led by the Spirit, which
cannot be done if he walks after the flesh. Therefore, successful Christian living
demands that the Christian die (to the flesh) daily (I Cor. 15:31).
      Verse 40. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me
receiveth him that sent me. The term, "receiveth you," meant showing
hospitality.
Jesus was presenting a condition to the apostles which is not seen in this present
age. No one receives Jesus by receiving (or showing hospitality to) a preacher, a
priest or a rabbi. A Christian has indeed received GOD by having received JESUS
(as this verse also states), but receiving Jesus must be done directly and not by first
receiving a preacher or any other person (or by "showing hospitality" to Jesus). A
preacher, like any Christian, is to present the gospel of the death, burial, and
resurrection of Jesus to the unsaved, for IT is the power of God unto salvation
(Rom. 1:16). He is to feed saved people by leading them through the green
pastures of the Holy Bible, presenting, explaining, and giving understanding to the
Scriptures (Neb. 8:8). A preacher is no more a priest than any saved person and
certainly not one through whom a person must go to reach Christ. Therefore, the
words, "He that receiveth you receiveth me," were intended for the apostles to
whom Jesus was speaking and were spoken in relation to preaching the gospel of
the kingdom. The requirements to enter the kingdom of HEAVEN are quite
different from the requirements to enter the kingdom of GOD. The kingdom of
heaven (in its physical form) is entered by God's SERVANTS who have met the
requirements demanded of SERVANTS. The kingdom of God is entered by God's
SONS, those who have met the requirements for becoming SONS.
The Jews (as a nation, and the apostles to whom Jesus was speaking) were
God's SERVANT SONS (typified by Adam, Ishmael, Esau, etc.). The church
(Christians) is made up of God's BEGOTTEN SONS (typified by Isaac, Jacob,
etc.) and are the brothers of Jesus (Heb. 2:11).
      Verse 41. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall
receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the
name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. This verse is
speaking of Judgment Day, and specifically, "the throne of his glory" (Matt. 19:28,
25:31). The throne of his (Jesus') glory is seen in association with both the
judgment of Jews (Matt. 19:28, 25:14-30) and Gentiles (Matt. 25:31-46) who
survive the tribulation.
      Matthew was speaking specifically of the future when the gospel of the
kingdom of heaven will be preached throughout the whole world (Matt. 24:14).
      Verse 42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones
a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he
shall in no wise lose his reward. The smallest of kind deeds is recorded by God
and judgment day will reveal them all.
      The judgments of this verse resemble those recorded in Matthew twenty-
five, and this verse also refers to the disciples who will preach during the
tribulation (Rev. 7). The 144,000 Jews will be persecuted as they preach, and kind
deeds shown them by anyone will be rewarded (Matt. 25:31-46).
      That which is presented in this verse does not hold true for this present age,
for even though a person may be sympathetic towards Christian preachers, he has
no reward unless he receives Christ as his Savior. No manner of good works will
permit a person to stand before God to receive a reward if he has rejected Christ as
his Savior. In this age, no one enters heaven on the basis of what he DOES, but
ONLY ON THE BASIS OF WHOM HE TRUSTS. In this age, no one enters hell
because of what he DOES, but because OF WHOM HE REFUSES TO TRUST,
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (John 3:18).

     Christ died on the cross to save my soul,
      No longer am I in Satan's fold.
     He died on the cross my soul to save
      From things of the world for which I did crave.
Because He died my soul to save,
  I am God's child, and no more a slave.
I rejoice in my mind, my heart and my soul,
  Thank you Jesus for making me whole.

        Lynne Carney




                    CHAPTER 10, EPILOGUE
          Chapter ten is divided into two segments, the breaking point
     being verse sixteen. The first sixteen verses are a disclosure of the
     twelve apostles' first trek among the Jews preaching the gospel of
     the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 22:1-8).
          Verse sixteen to the end of the chapter is a disclosure of what
     the 144,000 will encounter during their trek across the face of the
     entire earth preaching the kingdom of heaven gospel to both Jews
     and Gentiles (Matt. 22:9-10).




CHAPTER 11

     Verse 1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of
commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach
in their cities. These men were sent forth to precede Jesus and prepare the way
for the kingdom in the same manner the 144,000 will prepare the way for the
kingdom before his Second Coming (as to Jews). Jesus preached, "in THEIR
cities," meaning the cities of the disciples, which was in keeping with his original
ministry, as he taught FIRST in his own city of Nazareth (Luke 4:16). Likewise,
this conforms to the commandment given the apostles at his ascension (Acts 1:8),
to go first to home folk (Jerusalem and all Judaea), then to the next of kin
(Samaritans), then to the rest of mankind, the Gentiles (the uttermost part of the
earth).
      Verse 2. Now when John had heard in the prison... The first mention of
John's imprisonment in Mark's gospel is in chapter one, verse fourteen, and the
first mention in Luke's gospel is in chapter three, verse twenty. John's gospel,
however, gives no details of John the Baptist's imprisonment. Although the first
mention in Luke is prophetic in relation to the context, it is significant that like
Mark, it appears early in his gospel. The first mention of John's imprisonment in
Matthew's gospel is in this verse and its significance is enormous in that, until
some statement concerning John's imprisonment appears, THERE IS NO
PREACHING ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD RECORDED IN ANY OF
THE FIRST THREE GOSPELS.
      The kingdom of HEAVEN is proclaimed many times in Matthew's gospel
but not until AFTER JOHN'S IMPRISONMENT is the kingdom of GOD ever
preached. The kingdom of God is MENTIONED in Matthew 6:33, but only as a
prerequisite for enabling one to successfully live in the kingdom of HEAVEN.
The gospel of the kingdom of GOD was not preached in GALILEE until AFTER
John's imprisonment. (Matt. 12:28, AFTER John's imprisonment, Luke 9:2,
AFTER John's imprisonment, Mark 1:14, AFTER John's imprisonment.)
      John the Baptist was put in prison because he preached that God demanded
righteousness and Herod's wife didn't like that (Matt. 14:3-4). John the Baptist
was the last of the prophets until Jesus, and Herod was afraid of his words (Matt.
14:3-4), as other rulers had been afraid of the words of other prophets. Samuel
was the first of the prophets (Acts 3:24), and King Saul was afraid of his words (I
Sam. 28:20). The ruler Belshazzar was so afraid of the words written by God and
spoken by the prophet Daniel that he lost control of his joints (Dan. 5:5-6). King
Jehoiakim of Judah was so frightened by the words of God that were spoken by
Jeremiah, written by Baruch, and read by Jehudi, that he cut the Bible in pieces
and burned it, which of course, altered nothing other than making his own
judgment more severe (Jer. 36).
      The word of God is soothing to a saint but frightening to a lost person.
      ...the works of Christ,.. While in prison John continued to hear about the
works Christ was doing.
      ...he sent two of his disciples, John wanted a sure word, and therefore sent
two men to ask Jesus a question.
      Verse 3. And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look
for another? This is a most unusual question from the very man whose ministry
had pointed people to Jesus. John had already declared Jesus to be ...the Lamb of
God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). John had seen the
Spirit of God descend upon Jesus and had heard God's voice from heaven
declaring Jesus to be his own Son (Matt. 3:16-17). Something must have
happened other than John's imprisonment to make him, a man who had stood up
against the rulers of Rome and the leaders of Israel, ask this question. Whatever
happened must have contributed to John's apparent dilemma because his
imprisonment alone would hardly have been sufficient to cause him to express
what APPEARS to be genuine doubt. While his doubt was probably caused by
both something he saw and something he did not see, it was basically prompted by
what he HEARD. What he saw was that God's chosen people were still oppressed
by Rome, and that there was great opposition to the word of God. What he did not
see was repentance on the part of Israel, any manifestation of the promised
kingdom or any indication that Jesus would become king. However, his doubts
arose because of what he HEARD concerning the works of Jesus (...when John
had HEARD... the WORKS of Christ, he sent ... his disciples, verse 2).
      Something John heard while in prison about the works of Jesus prompted his
concern and question. Perhaps John had heard false accounts of Jesus' works but
that is not indicated by the scripture. He was apparently expecting something
different, or something more, from Jesus' works, or else expected the RESULTS
of his works to be different. The most logical answer is that John rightfully
expected a King and a kingdom, which the WORKS of Jesus had not produced.
John, being a prophet with Old Testament knowledge, had no reason to know that
the kingdom was to be postponed. None of the other prophets, or even the angels,
knew that (I Pet. 1:11-12). There is neither reason nor right to try to make John
the Baptist a citizen of the Kingdom of God (those to whom knowledge of the
kingdom's postponement was given), when all he knew was the kingdom of
HEAVEN. Almost every Old Testament prophet had spoken of a glorious
kingdom, and John himself had preached that it was "at hand." Yet, there was little
physical evidence to testify to its presence. All that had been prophesied
concerning the kingdom and its King was not being fulfilled.
      John is not to be belittled for his reasonable doubt. Even the apostles did not
know of the kingdom's postponement until Acts chapter fifteen. John had no
knowledge of this present age and was in no way displaying a lack of faith by
questioning Jesus. John had no way of knowing about the church age, and those
who say he did do him a great injustice. His question was justified.
       Verse 4. Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again
those things which ye do hear and see: Jesus answered John's disciples' question
in the same manner he answered the high priest's question concerning his identity
(Matt. 26:63-64). Rather than giving them a simple yes or no, he presented facts,
wanting them to draw their own conclusions. He told the two disciples to present
John with the facts concerning what he was preaching and the work he was doing,
knowing that John would reach the proper conclusion.
       Jesus did not scold John and in fact later commended him (verse 11). This is
further evidence that John's question did not display a lack of faith, but rather a
lack of knowledge. Jesus told them to show John AGAIN those things they saw
and heard which indicates that Jesus wanted to verify to John that he was still
doing the same work and preaching the same message. Had Jesus NOT been
doing and preaching the same things, John would have known to look for another.
       Jesus also knew that his answer would satisfy John.
       Verse 5. The blind receive their sight,.. Isaiah wrote that the blind would
see (Isa. 35:5, 42:7), and they did (Matt. 9:27-28, 12:22, Mark 8:22-23, 10:46-49,
etc.).
       ...and the lame walk,.. Isaiah prophesied that the lame would walk (Isa.
35:6), and they did (Matt. 15:30-31).
       ...the lepers are cleansed... Only a priest was eligible to deal with leprosy
(Lev. 13), and a priest was to be of the tribe of Levi. Jesus, however, was from the
tribe of Judah but was nevertheless performing certain priestly functions, thereby
showing John that he was more than an ordinary man. Jesus performed a priestly
function when he cleansed people of leprosy (Matt. 8:1-3, Mark 1:42, Luke 5:12-
13). This list is given to show John that Jesus could have gotten him out of jail.
       ...and the deaf hear... Again, it was Isaiah who foretold that the deaf would
hear (Isa. 29:18, 35:5), and Jesus gave them hearing (Mark 7:32-37).
       ...the dead are raised up... Ezekiel foresaw the resurrection (regeneration,
Matt. 19:28) of the nation Israel (Ez. 37:1-14) as did Daniel (Dan. 12:2). Jesus
raised people from the dead (Matt. 9:18-26, Luke 7:11-15, John 11:14-44), thereby
giving visible proof that he was who and what he said he was (John 11:25).
       ...and the poor have the gospel preached to them. Isaiah was the prophet
who foretold that this would happen (Isa. 61:1) and Jesus said that he was
fulfilling that prophecy (Luke 4:18-19, Matt. 11:1).
       Verse 6. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. Some
people hear the word of God and love it while others despise it and are offended
by it. Some people know that they are not righteous while others believe that they
are. Some people know they need a Savior; others believe they need nobody, or at
most, only a religious leader. Some people want to behold the glory of God (Ex.
33:18) while others fear his glory (Rev. 6:15-16). Some people love Jesus and
want to see him; others are offended by his name. Jesus said that those who were
NOT offended in him would be blessed. He did not say anything in this verse
about those who WERE offended in him, but later an entire chapter is devoted to
what he said to and about them (Matt. 23).
      Everything in the last three verses was given in answer to John's question,
"are you the one?" Everything about Jesus' answer pointed John to kingdom
situations and conditions. The evidence is mounting that the first three gospels,
especially Matthew's, are almost entirely Jewish.
      Verse 7. And as they departed,.. Beginning with this verse and continuing
through verse fourteen the Bible tells what Jesus knew about John the Baptist and
how he felt about him and his ministry.
      "They" are the two disciples sent by John to question Jesus. It is as though
Jesus, addressing the multitude that apparently heard the question, wanted it
understood that he was in no way offended by John's question. To the contrary, he
defended John and praised him.
      ...Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John... Some people
can question God and receive a tender loving answer, while there are those who
cannot. Abraham questioned God and God was not offended (Gen. 15:8-18).
Moses, seeking assurance, questioned God and God was gracious to him (Ex.
33:16-23). Peter questioned God (Jesus) and received a thrilling and merciful
answer (Matt. 19:27 - 20:16).
      On the other hand, Pharoah questioned God (indirectly, but he did question
Him) and encountered His wrath (Ex. 5:2, 14:23-28). Satan questioned God (Gen.
3:1) and brought upon himself a curse (Gen. 3:14-15). Some of God's own people
questioned Him (Jer. 42:1-6) and He gave an answer (Jer. 42:7-22) they did not
believe (Jer. 43:1-4) and they were punished for questioning His veracity (Jer.
43:7, 46:13-20).
      The difference between those who questioned God and were blessed and
those who questioned Him and were cursed is obvious. Abraham, Moses and
Peter never questioned the AUTHORITY of God, while Satan, Pharoah and the
Jews who opposed Jeremiah did. John the Baptist did not question the WORD or
the AUTHORITY of God but was only seeking understanding, as were Abraham,
Moses and Peter.
      ...What went ye out into the wilderness to see? Jesus was speaking to
multitudes (plural) so it goes without saying that a large number went to see and
hear John. These people were familiar with John the Baptist and his preaching
because Jesus said, "What went YE out to see," ye, being the multitudes to whom
he was speaking. These people had been exposed to John's preaching; they had
heard and seen him and knew what he preached.
       "What went ye out into the wilderness to see?" is the first of three questions
Jesus asked the multitudes concerning John.
       A reed shaken with the wind? Wind blowing upon a reed can make a
curious noise that might attract attention. These multitudes had been attracted to
the wilderness by the preaching of John the Baptist. His was a voice, a sound
which had attracted their attention but had apparently been no more to some than a
noise created by the wind blowing on a reed. Jesus was impressing upon the
multitude the fact that John's voice was much more than they supposed.
       Verse 8. But what went ye out for to see? This is the second of three
questions Jesus asked these Jews. The first question had to do with what John
SAID, the second with John's SOCIAL AND FINANCIAL STATUS (what he
wore) and the third with WHO HE WAS.
       A man clothed in soft raiment? With the exception of Daniel, most of the
prophets were "country folk" and few, if any, of the prophets could be considered
"gentlemen." Somehow, Christians in 20th century America seem to think that
God and his prophets should be different. The current custom is for "God's man"
to be clothed immaculately, speak softly and conduct himself as a gentleman in all
situations. If John the Baptist appeared today and lived and dressed similar to the
way he did when he preached, he would be labeled a fanatic.
       ...behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. It is not
always preachers' fault when (in these days) many live and dress better than kings
of a few decades ago. Often Christians demand of their pastor that he meet
THEIR code of dress and conduct.
       Verse 9. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Jesus said there
were three primary reasons people went into the wilderness to see John: some
went out of curiosity to hear what he would say, some went to see how he was
dressed, and some went to see a prophet.
       ...yea,.. Jesus agreed that John was indeed a prophet.
       …I say unto you, and more than a prophet. Jesus added to the fact that
John was a prophet by saying that he was MORE than a prophet. He explained his
statement in verses twelve through fourteen.
       Verse 10. For this is he, of whom it is written,.. Two prophets wrote
distinctly of the ministry of John the Baptist: Isaiah in chapter forty, verse three,
and Malachi in chapter three, verse one. Malachi 3:1 is especially interesting in
that it covers John's ministry over a vast period of time, including both the FIRST
and the SECOND coming of Jesus. Malachi 3:1 reveals these truths:

         Behold, I will send my messenger,.. This messenger was John the
    Baptist. ...and he shall prepare the way before me:.. John was to
    announce the kingdom and herald the king, which he did at Jesus' First
    Coming. ...and the Lord, whom ye SEEK... This portion of Malachi 3:1
    refers to the great tribulation, for the scripture speaks of no other time
    when Israel will seek Jesus. ...shall suddenly come to his temple... This
    relates to the Second Coming of Christ when he comes to the Mount of
    Olives, enters Jerusalem and goes to the millennial temple described in
    Ezekiel 40 – 48. ...even the messenger of the covenant... This is the
    new covenant that the Lord will make with his nation Israel at that time
    (Jer. 31:31-34, Rom. 11:26-27, Heb. 8:7-13). ...whom ye delight in:..
    And this is speaking of the kingdom of heaven in its righteous
    manifestation, the millennial reign of Jesus.

       Verse 11. Verily I say unto you,.. Jesus used this expression quite often,
preparing his audience for an important lesson.
       ...Among them that are born of women... This is an interesting and
provocative statement that makes a clear distinction between two entities; those
who are born of women and those who are NOT born of women. While this
statement may seem ridiculous, the scripture says that there are many self willed
beings, great and small, who are NOT human (Col. 1:16, Eph. 6:12, Heb. 13:2,
etc.). To teach that there are self-willed beings other than men on earth is sound
Bible doctrine. The earth was populated by them before the first man Adam was
created (Gen. 1:28, Job 38:7). These beings interfered with the affairs of men in
the days of Noah (Gen. 6:1-4) and will do so again during the great tribulation
(Luke 17:26, Dan. 2:43, Joel 2:1-11).
       …there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:.. Jesus
distinguished John the Baptist, saying he was greater than Noah, Abraham, Moses,
Job, David, Elijah or any other man who had a human father.
       ...notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater
than he. Jesus had just said that John the Baptist was the greatest man who ever
lived and then said that kingdom citizens would be greater than he. It is no
wonder that the demands required of kingdom of heaven citizens as given in the
"Sermon on the Mount" are so stringent (Matt. 5 - 7). While the people of the
kingdom will be greater than John the Baptist, children of the kingdom of GOD
are even greater than they, being heirs of God (Rom. 8:14-19, Gal. 4:7, I John 3:2,
I Cor. 3:11-15).
       Verse 12. And from the days of John the Baptist... The starting point of
the violence suffered by the kingdom of heaven was with "the days of John." This
expression obviously applies to the time when John began his ministry. The Bible
does not say how long John preached before he baptized Jesus, but it COULD
have been only a short while for he MAY have been thirty years old when he
began. Chapter four of the book of Numbers contains stipulations about priestly
duties, and specifies that those who minister in the house of God be at least thirty
years old. Had this prerequisite held over to prophets, John had only preached a
few months before baptizing Jesus, being only a few months older than Jesus. It is
very unlikely that this is the case for even though John was a PRIEST (Luke 3:2)
he was also a prophet. Like Jeremiah, he probably had been preaching since he
was a child (Jer. 1:6). At any rate, "the days of John" must refer to the time he
began preaching and not to the time of his birth. John preached, "REPENT, the
kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 3:2), a message which received a violent
response.
      ...until now... The violence suffered by the kingdom did not cease with
John's imprisonment. Why the kingdom of heaven suffered violence is best
understood in the light of what John preached. He preached the same message
that Jesus and the twelve apostles preached: "REPENT, the kingdom of heaven is
at hand" (Matt. 3:2, 4:17, 10:7).
      ...the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence... When the Old Testament
prophets foretold the coming of the kingdom, they indicated that it would be
accompanied by violence (Amos 5:18, Zech. 14:1-3, etc.). It was when the
kingdom was announced and said to be "at hand" that the violence began. Who
was responsible for this violence is not revealed in this passage, but other
scriptures point to Satan and his children, the Jewish religious leaders (John 8:44).
In order for the kingdom of HEAVEN to be manifested, the kingdom of MAN had
to be overthrown. Naturally, those who championed the cause of the kingdom of
man (Satan, devils, powers, principalities, fallen angels, and all unsaved men)
opposed the kingdom of heaven. They strove and fought violently to keep the
kingdom of heaven from usurping the kingdom of man. Before an existing system
of government will yield to another, either a compromise will have been reached
or the first power will have in some way been subdued. Certainly Jesus would
never compromise or surrender, or would Satan and his crowd compromise or give
up without a fight. A new power cannot be installed until the old power has been
subdued or destroyed. Destroying the power of the kingdom of man was exactly
what Jesus was doing when he cast out demons and healed sickness. He was
binding Satan's power as the prince over the kingdom of man (Luke 4:5-6). (See
comments on Matt. 12:22-29, particularly verse 29.)
      Since Jesus proclaimed the same thing as John the Baptist, that is, that the
kingdom of heaven was at hand (compare Matt. 3:1-2 with Matt. 4:17), it was to
be expected that violence would follow. This was one force opposing another: the
kingdom of heaven versus the kingdom of man.
      ...and the violent take it by force. The violent are those who defended the
kingdom of man and opposed the kingdom of heaven. Their ruler, Satan, had
already sought a "compromise" (which would have meant Jesus' defeat) and failed
(Matt. 4:9, Luke 4:7). The alternative to compromise was war; thus, violence.
Jesus came as a Lamb, not as a Lion, so he and his followers were certainly not the
violent ones. Although this violent opposition was between invisible powers
(Dan. 10:12-13, Eph. 6:12), it was manifested physically through such people as
Herod and his wife, who had John imprisoned and beheaded. Others who aided in
this violent opposition to the kingdom of heaven were the high priest, the chief
priests, the elders, and all the council of Israel (Matt. 26:58-59). Add to them
Rome and her army (Matt. 27:27-30) plus the scribes and Pharisees (Matt. 23),
Judas Iscariot (Luke 22:47), and the people of Jesus' own hometown of Nazareth
(Luke 4:16-29).
      Satan had no trouble finding people for his army who were not ashamed or
afraid to get involved in battle. He found his army ready and willing to fight.
It was the little army of Jesus that was disloyal. He asked three of his very best
to fight with him for only one hour, and they went to sleep (Mark 14:32-40).
One did display a shred of bravery at Jesus' betrayal (Matt. 26:51) but he later
denied even knowing him (Matt. 26:70-74).
      Verse 13. For all the Prophets and the law prophesied until John. The
Old Testament prophets FORETOLD the coming of the kingdom and its King but
they never proclaimed it to be "at hand" as did John. They saw the kingdom as
being an age of righteousness, knowing that the law demanded a righteous
kingdom and a righteous King (Isa. 2:2-4). It was the demand for REPENTANCE
AND RIGHTEOUSNESS, the main characteristics of the kingdom, that caused
the violent opposition. As long as the righteous rule of a righteous King was only
SPOKEN OF (Isa. 11:1-5), Satan and his followers were not too upset. But when
there was the threat of its INSTALLATION, that was different. That called for
violent opposition and organized resistance.
      This verse says that at this point a change occurred in God's program. It says
that John the Baptist and his ministry marked the end of God's old program and
the beginning of his new one. Among other things, that which was old was the
law, and that which was new was grace. Under the law, the kingdom of man had
subdued the kingdom of heaven (II Chr. 36:14-21, Lam. 5:16). Now, God was
offering grace to his own people (John 1:17) even though they did not want it
(John 1:11). Had the Jews accepted this grace (Jesus) they would have been able
to live up to the demands of the law, and the promised kingdom would have been
established. One thousand five hundred years without grace (manifested) had
shown them that they were unable to live up to the demands of the law. Those
who were under the law (Jews) rejected Jesus, thereby rejecting grace, thereby
rejecting the kingdom. Because those who knew the law rejected grace, grace was
offered to those who did not know the law, the Gentiles. A NEW FORM of the
kingdom of heaven was established, WITHIN WHICH IS THE KINGDOM OF
GOD (Matt. 21:43). It is the present form of the kingdom of heaven under grace,
without the law. In its present form, the kingdom of HEAVEN is peopled by both
lost and saved, all of whom have HEARD the word of God (Matt. 13:19-30).
Within this kingdom of HEAVEN is the kingdom of GOD that is peopled only by
those who are saved, having been born again by trusting Jesus as Savior. (See
chart #1 at the conclusion of chapter thirteen.)
       Verse 14. And if ye will receive it,.. "If," is prospective, based (in this case)
on how one exercises his free will. "Ye," is definitely those to whom Jesus was
speaking, the Jews. "Receive," simply means to accept and "it" can be nothing
except that which was being offered, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
       ...this is Elias, which was for to come. "This," is referring to John the
Baptist, and Elias is Elijah of the Old Testament (I Kings 17 through II Kings 2).
Elias was the man God promised would be sent before the great and dreadful day
of the Lord (Mal. 4:5).
       The statement, "this is Elias," presents a small problem since Jesus said that
this (John) was Elias (Elijah) while John said that he was NOT Elias (John 1:21).
It would seem that either Jesus was right and John was wrong, or else John was
right and Jesus was wrong, or they both were wrong, or the Bible simply made an
error. Human reasoning would lead to one of these conclusions but there is
another alternative, which is the correct one. That is, BOTH Jesus and John were
right. Recall now the word "IF." Jesus said, "IF ye will receive IT, this is Elias."
Jesus was telling his audience that IF they would receive the kingdom that was
being offered, then the work and life of John the Baptist was sufficient to fulfill
the prophecies concerning the coming of Elijah. Luke wrote of John the Baptist,
and said that he would go before Jesus in the, ...SPIRIT and POWER of Elias
(Luke 1:17).
Another way of looking at this is that if the Jews had received Jesus and his
kingdom, John's ministry could and would have fulfilled both Malachi 3:1 and
Malachi 4:5. Also, looking at the ministry of Jesus under this same "if," IF the
Jews had accepted the kingdom, the ministry of Jesus could and would have
fulfilled all that was prophesied concerning both his first and second coming.
He could have, somehow, satisfied the promises of both his suffering and his
glory. It did not happen that way and God knew from the beginning that it
would not, so there is no need to speculate about "what if" they had accepted
the kingdom. They simply did not.
Verse 15. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. The insinuation of this
verse is that not everyone would hear and understand what Jesus was saying.
This principle is presented in Matthew 13:9-16, where Jesus explained that
God's word is often given in such a way that only those with willing eyes and
ears could see and hear it. There are five situations in the Bible where Jesus
PERSONALLY called on those who had an ear, to hear. They are in…

     1. this verse where Jesus wanted the hearer (and the reader) to
        understand the relationship between the ministry of John the Baptist
        and the ministry of Elijah regarding the kingdom of heaven (Matt.
        11:15),
     2. all seven parables in Matthew thirteen concerning then present aspect
        of the kingdom of heaven [Matt. 13:9-43 (notice in that chapter that
        Elijah is being quoted in verse fifteen, the same lesson is recorded in
        Mark 4:9-23 and in Luke 8:5-8)],
     3. Jesus' teaching about the things by which a person is defiled (Mark
        7:15),
     4. Jesus' message concerning salt that has lost its savor (Luke 14:34-35),
        and
     5. the warnings and promises he gave to the seven churches in
        Revelation two and three.

      This is not to say that this expression is not used elsewhere in the Bible,
because it is (Rev. 13:9), but we are speaking in reference to the times Jesus used
it. This expression, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear," teaches that Jesus
wanted and expected his words to be heard, understood, and applied.
      Verse 16. But whereunto... Not, TO WHOM will I liken this generation, but
WHEREUNTO. To paraphrase (which is not always good), Jesus was saying,
"Where would I have to go to find a generation of people like you?"
      ...shall I liken this generation? Indeed, where could Jesus go to find such a
people? The word generation, as used here, means a particular people living at a
particular time. Jesus later went into details about what he introduced in this verse
(verses 20 through 24).
      It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their
fellows, The public market was not only a place where people sold their wares, but
also where their children played. Knowing what these children said is imperative
for the proper understanding of verses eighteen and nineteen.
      Verse 17. And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not
danced;.. The main theme of this verse is that there was a lack of interest and no
respect on the part of some for the music played to them by others, and there was a
lack of compassion on the part of some for the mourning of others.
      To paraphrase, these children were saying, "We have played music for you
but you haven't danced." There was no response to the gaiety of music.
      ...we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. These two
conditions typify the two ends of a spectrum. There was no response to music,
which represented an atmosphere of happiness, and there was equally no response
to mourning, which represented an atmosphere of sorrow. These last two verses
(16 and 17) are the groundwork, the foundation, for the next two verses (18 and
19).
       Verse 18. For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He
hath a devil. John the Baptist and his preaching is represented in verse seventeen
by, we have mourned unto you. There was not much response to John's
preaching, which is indicated in verse seventeen by, ye have not lamented. There
was not one thing gay or flippant in John's life or preaching. He warned people of
God's judgment and certainly was not "good time John.'' He did not frequent the
better restaurants; in fact, he probably never saw one from the outside, much less
the inside. The way he dressed, it is not likely he would have been admitted into
many of them (Matt. 3:4). Because he was crude, uncultured, and avoided "city
ways," the people accused him of being possessed, saying that he had a devil.
       John typified the lamentation end of a spectrum. The next verse shows the
other end of the spectrum and tells about JESUS.
       Verse 19. The Son of man... This verse speaks of Jesus and his ministry,
and relates to that part of verse seventeen which said, "We have piped unto you,
and you have not danced..."
       The son of man is Jesus, a title he used more than any other when speaking
of himself.
       ...came eating and drinking,.. Of course everyone eats and drinks, but the
thought expressed here indicates a public manifestation of eating and drinking. It
is talking about more than a meal at home. Apparently, the publicans and sinners
sometimes "put on feasts" and invited others. Jesus ate with them, or visited with
them, even when he had to invite himself (Luke 19:5). The first thing the publican
Matthew did after agreeing to follow Jesus was invite him home to eat (Mark
2:14-15). Jesus did not eat and fellowship only with publicans and sinners but ate
and fellowshipped with Pharisees also (Luke 14:1). Jesus did spend MORE time
among the publicans and sinners, but that was because they were willing to HEAR
him (Luke 15:1-2), and when he ate with the Pharisees, they only wanted to
WATCH him (Luke 14:1).
       ...and they say,.. "They" means the generation of whom Jesus was speaking.
       ...Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber,.. It is not a nice expression,
but it fits the situation Jesus was describing: "damned if you do, and damned if
you don't." John did one thing and his words were ignored and his ways criticized.
Jesus did the opposite and his words were ignored and his ways criticized. John
neither ate nor drank (publicly), and they said he had a devil while Jesus ate and
drank publicly and they said that he was a gluttonous drunk.
      ...a friend of publicans and sinners. The religious leaders accused Jesus of
running around with the wrong crowd.
      But wisdom is justified of her children. Jesus called the generation about
which he was speaking, "the children of wisdom" and was speaking of the wisdom
of the world as seen in Romans 1:22 and Ephesians 2:2. Jesus likened this
wisdom to a woman who defends her children, the children of wisdom, by
justifying all they do or say whether good or bad.
        The last four verses reveal another lesson which fits the meaning
doctrinally as well as the comments above. There were three people, or groups,
representing three positions or attitudes.

     1.    "This generation," were Jews who were aware of the preaching and
           teaching of John and Jesus.

     2.    "Their fellows" were both John and Jesus, John being the one who did
           not dance (Luke 3:4), and,

     3.     Jesus the one who did not mourn (Luke 8:52).

      To comment further on the situation, John the Baptist came preaching
mournful judgment if these people ignored his message, "repent the kingdom is at
hand." John was a plain, simple, austere man. His home was in the wilderness,
away from the cities. His diet was locusts and wild honey, and his clothing,
camel's hair with a leather girdle. Because of his simplicity and directness, John
was accused of having a devil. He refused to be like others. He did not dance to
the tune of the time.
      Jesus, on the other hand, came among the people giving greatly to their
needs, offering every manifestation of who he was: the melody, or music, of the
kingdom (healing the sick, the blind, the deaf, and raising the dead), and they said,
"he is a glutton and a drunk." Jesus did not mourn but rather presented the
overtures of a King. The words, works, and attitudes of both John and Jesus were
totally rejected although they were completely opposite. They were REJECTED
and the people refused to REPENT.
      Although both the publicans and sinners on the one hand, and the scribes and
Pharisees on the other (opposing one another in their religious views), saw and
heard Jesus and John offer the kingdom from opposite views and ideas, their
conclusions were the same. Both groups rejected both John and Jesus.
      Verse 20. Then began he to upbraid the cities... This was the first turning
point in the ministry of Jesus. FROM THIS TIME, JESUS NEVER AGAIN
PREACHED THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. Prior to this, Jesus spoke of
judgment as a possibility, but from here on, he spoke of judgment as inevitable.
Later, after God revealed the true identity of his Son to Peter (Matt. 16:16-17),
Jesus began to tell of his death, burial, and resurrection (Matt. 16:21).
      The word upbraid means to rebuke bitterly or to scold severely.
      ...wherein most of his mighty works were done,.. There would have been
no purpose served by carrying this new message and manner of preaching into
new territory. Jesus upbraided the cities where he had ALREADY preached,
healed and worked miracles.
      ...because they repented not: This was WHY Jesus changed his message.
He had called for repentance and they had not, so he went back to the ones to
whom he had preached and told them what the consequence of their decision
would be.
      Throughout the Bible, it is seen that preaching the word of God always does
one of two things. Either it will bring its hearer into a better relationship with
God, or it will increase the severity of his judgment upon those who do not want
fellowship with him.
      The importance of this verse cannot be overstressed.
     THE JEWS DID NOT REPENT!
      Verse 21. Woe unto thee, Chorazin... This verse elaborates on the
statement made in the previous verses concerning the severity of the judgment to
come upon those who had been exposed to God's word and work but did not heed
and repent.
      The only other place this city is named in the Bible is Luke 10:13, which is a
record of this same account. Chorazin is thought to have been located near the Sea
of Galilee in the northern part of Israel.
      ...woe unto thee, Bethsaida… Bethsaida was the hometown of Philip,
Peter, and Andrew (John 1:44). It too was located not far from the Sea of Galilee.
This was not the same Bethsaida near where Jesus performed the miracle of
feeding over five thousand people (Luke 9:10-17).
      ...for if the mighty works, which were done in you,.. Other than this
reference, there is no direct mention anywhere of Jesus ever doing any works in
Chorazin, but this verse says that such scripture as Matthew 9:35, 11:1-2, etc.,
COULD have included this city. Not all the works and teachings of Jesus were
recorded, simply because all the books in the world are not big enough to contain
the accounts of them (John 21:25).
      ...had been done in Tyre... Tyre was a Gentile city on the shore of the
Mediterranean Sea. This was the area assigned to the tribe of Asher, although they
never occupied all of it. It, like Sidon, was a heathen city, yet its one-time ruler,
Hiram, was a friend of Israel during the reign of Solomon (I Kings 9:11-12).
God's judgment was pronounced on this city (Isa. 23) because of its pride (Ez.
27:3, Isa. 23:9), which was a result of its beauty. There is a close association
between Tyre and Satan (Ez. 28:11-17).
      Tyre, in the New Testament, is Tyrus in the Old Testament.
      ...and Sidon,.. This city was also on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It
had been founded many years before by Sidon, the eldest son of cursed Canaan,
the son of Ham (Gen. 10:15). It, like Tyre, was within the land assigned to the
tribe of Asher, but never fully occupied by them. It is also called Zidon (Jud.
1:31), and is included with Tyre in God's judgment (Isa. 23). They were both
heathen cities, yet:..
      ...they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Another
heathen city, Ninevah, had repented when Jonah preached to its people (Jonah 3:5-
10) and Jesus told his audience that someone greater than Jonah was among them
(Matt. 12:41). Jesus was upbraiding these cities because they did not repent (verse
20), and used the heathen cities of Tyre and Sidon as examples in order to reveal
to these people their foolishness and sin.
      Sackcloth was a very rough material worn by penitent people to display
outwardly their inner feeling, and ashes were used to depict sorrow of heart.
      Verse 22. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and
Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. One of the basics upon which
people will be judged is the proportion of light to which they have been exposed.
Chorazin and Bethsaida had been exposed to the light of the word. (Read and
study Eph. 4:6-14 in relation to John 1:44, II Cor. 4:3-4, Rom. 1:16, and I Cor.
1:17-24.) The condemnation pronounced on these cities was because light was
given them and they chose darkness (John 3:19). Their deeds were evil, and the
light exposed that evil, so they hated the light. Tyre and Sidon will not come
under the same harsh condemnation as Chorazin and Bethsaida because they were
not exposed to as much light. Simply because that generation is long since dead
and the cities returned to dust does not mean that their judgment is past. These
people are yet to be judged on that great day when they will have to face the same
Christ they rejected. On Judgment Day, the heathen people who did not hear the
word will fare better than the people of God (Jews) who did. The Jews were given
ample warnings and opportunities to repent.
      Verse 23. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be
brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee,
had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. Capernaum
was Jesus' "hometown" (Matt. 4:13) and is where he was when he said that he was
the bread of life, and that unless a person ate his flesh and drank his blood, there
was no life in him (John 6:48-59). This is the city where, when he taught about
himself, many of his disciples walked no more with him (John 6:66). Jesus said
that had his mighty works that were done in Capernaum been done in Sodom,
Sodom would not have been destroyed, that Sodom would have repented.
Capernaum never repented.
      Verse 24. But I say unto you, That it shall be... Jesus was speaking of a
time still in the future as he previewed judgment day. JUDGMENT DAY
CANNOT COME UNTIL JESUS RETURNS "AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT,"
since judgment day BEGINS WITH THAT EVENT (II Pet. 3:10). In that terrible
day, the wicked people of Sodom will fare better than the citizens of Capernaum
who had God walking, teaching and dwelling among them.
      ...more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for
thee. Although the people of Sodom were killed many centuries ago, they have
not yet been judged. No man will be judged prior to Judgment Day, and Judgment
Day has not come. Judgment Day has not come because Judgment Day begins
with an event that has not occurred. That event is the gathering of Christians to
meet the Lord in the air (I Thess. 4:13-17), the coming of Jesus as a thief in the
night (II Pet. 3:10). It will be the day that millions (saints) will seem to have
dropped dead.
      Verse 25. At that time... Although the connection may seem vague, this is a
continuation of the same discourse seen in the beginning of the chapter. It relates
to John's imprisonment and his question (verses 1 through 3), and Jesus' answer
.(verses 4 through 6). It is Jesus' assessment of John (verses 7 through 15), his
assessment of the people who heard both John and himself (verses 16 through 20)
and his foreview of their destiny (verses 20 through 24).
      That which is to follow is connected with that which is past: same time, same
place, same people.
      ...Jesus answered and said... This is a display of the brilliance of the Holy
Spirit in authoring the Bible. Before the reader can form the logical question,
"What is Jesus going to do now?" the Bible gives the answer. The answer is, HE
PRAYED. When he knew Judas was betraying him, he prayed (Matt. 26:25-43).
When Peter was under the attack of Satan, Jesus prayed for him (Luke 22:31-32).
When his own people crucified him, he prayed for them (Luke 23:33-34). When
Jesus knew that the time had come when he should leave his friends and return to
heaven (John 13:1), he prayed (John 17). Before the redeemed of this age were
ever born into the kingdom of God, he prayed for them (John 17:20).
      ...I thank thee,.. His first, expression was one of gratitude, thanksgiving and
appreciation. This is a strange thing, an unusual thing.
      Jesus had just faced the greatest disappointment in his more than thirty years
of life. He had openly declared that a kingdom door was open to the Jews. He
had given signs of kingdom conditions by curing diseases, raising the dead and
casting out demons (Matt. 10:8). His herald, John the Baptist, had offered the
possibility of that time and condition (Matt. 3:1-2). The King Himself had offered
the kingdom (Matt. 4:17, 9:35). The King's apostles had offered the kingdom
(Matt. 10:7). No payment was asked, it was all free (Matt. 10:8).
      But one demand was made of the Jews; that they repent (Matt. 3:1-2, 4:17).
      But they imprisoned the King's herald (Matt. 11:2) and did not repent (Matt.
11:20).
      This must have been bitterly disappointing to a Savior who had such deep
hope that his nation would repent.
      So what was the King's response?
      HE THANKED GOD!
      Giving thanks always for all things… (Eph. 5:20).
      …O Father,.. God was Christ's Father and so is he the Father of all who are
born again.
      ...Lord of heaven and earth,.. Jesus gave all praise and glory to his Father,
God, who alone deserves it. Every child of God recognizes him as Lord of all and
should want to give him all praise and glory. Jesus declared God to be Lord of
heaven and earth and did not mention the third place, hell, Satan's domain. But
AFTER his death, burial and resurrection Jesus gained victory over Satan and his
domain also (Rev. 1:18).
      ...because... This introduces the REASON for his prayer.
      ...thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent,.. One of the most
outstanding characteristics of the Bible is that worldly wisdom cannot be used to
fathom its truths (I Cor. 1:25-31). It is a book that must be spiritually discerned (I
Cor. 2:10-16).
      ...and hast revealed them unto babes. Those eligible to assume this title,
"babes," are those who are willing to admit their helplessness. This verse speaks
of those who are willing to come to Jesus in childlike faith and humility (Matt.
18:3-5).
      Verse 26. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. This is
another way of saying, "You know best Father, thy will be done."
      Verse 27. All things are delivered unto me of my Father:.. In order to
better understand this phrase, Colossians chapter one should be read, particularly
verse nineteen. Compare that verse with Colossians 2:9, and it is clear that of the
Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, it is the Son, Jesus, who is the
preeminent one. Although both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit were
active in the creation of all things, it was primarily the work of Jesus.

         For by HIM (Jesus) were all things created, that are in heaven,
    and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones,
    or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by
    HIM (Jesus), and for HIM (Jesus): (Col. 1:16).
      ...and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father;.. Jesus said that no man
could come to him (Jesus) except the Father (God) draw him (John 6:44). There
are many people today who profess to be Christians who are offended by this
statement. There were people with similar attitudes in the day Jesus spoke those
words (John 6:66). No one can earnestly seek God unless the Holy Spirit leads
him to do so. God says to those who seek him (to paraphrase), "Seek my Son: you
can only come to me through him. Make friends with Jesus, for you cannot be my
friend if you are an enemy of my Son."
      This phrase, ...no man knoweth the Son, but the Father;.. resembles First
Corinthians 2:11; ... the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
One of the works of the triune God is that of revealing himself to man. Jesus
reveals God the Father, God the Father reveals the Son, the Holy Ghost reveals the
Son, the Son reveals the Holy Ghost, the Father reveals the Holy Ghost, and on
and on. But, in all this, Jesus is the preeminent one.
      ...neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son,.. Jesus said that no
one could came to him unless the Father draw him (John 6:44), and also that no
one could come to the Father but by him (John 14:6). In redeeming man to
himself, the Father does some of the work, the Holy Spirit does some of the work,
and Jesus does some of the work. But in it all, Jesus does (or did) the most. He is
the preeminent one.
      ...and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. The apostle Philip asked
Jesus, "Lord, shew us the Father," to which Jesus answered, "he that hath seen me
hath seen the Father" (John 14:8-9. In this verse under study, Jesus was saying
that some can know God as He knows God, that He will reveal the Father to some
people. Of course, those to whom Jesus reveals the Father are those who receive
him (John 1:12). Those who reject Jesus as their Savior will never know God as
their Father.
      Verse 28. Come unto me,.. and I will give... When salvation was the issue,
Jesus never told anyone to live by religious practices or programs. Whereas, in the
case of the rich young ruler (Mark 10:17-22), after listing some commandments
that the young man said he had kept, Jesus clearly told him THAT WAS NOT
GOOD ENOUGH (Mark 10:21). That rich young man went away, and in doing
so REJECTED JESUS, the only one who could have given him the eternal life he
professed to desire.
      Jesus did not come into the world as a religious leader. He did not give rules
or laws by which one could live in order to be saved. He did not attempt to
modify living conditions in Israel through physical involvement. He did nothing
by way of reformation or alteration of political, social or economic systems to
make it easier for people to live. He did for mankind what mankind needed: HE
DIED FOR MAN'S SINS, THAT HE MIGHT BECOME THE SAVIOR OF ALL
WHO WOULD TRUST HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Jesus said, "Come unto
me,.. and I will GIVE you rest." While this is true concerning salvation after
Pentecost, Jesus spoke these words to Jews who knew only the law.
       ...all ye that labour and are heavy laden,.. The picture is of someone
burdened by a yoke. According to Galatians 5:1, a yoke is symbolic of bondage
and is borne by a servant or a slave, not by a son. The book of Galatians teaches
that the yoke of bondage is the law, so of all people on earth, these Jews should
have known that the law was a yoke of bondage BECAUSE THEY HAD BEEN
SHACKLED BY IT FOR 1,500 YEARS. But it was not easy for a Jew to learn
that the law could not save. The apostle Paul had to be knocked from his (high)
horse and blinded before he learned (Acts 9, Gal. 2:21).
       The apostles to whom Jesus was speaking did not understand at that time, but
when Jesus said, "come unto me," he was saying (paraphrased), "I am the
fulfillment of the law, I have fulfilled the law for you. Simply trust me. Come
unto me and I will take the burdensome yoke from your shoulders. Come unto me
and I will GIVE you what you could never obtain through the works of the law"
(read Rom. 10:4).
       Nothing was wrong with the law, it had a purpose, which it accomplished,
but it could not produce the new birth. Here are some interesting things about the
law.

    1.   It was given to reveal sin (Rom. 7:5-7).

    2.   It could not save (Gal. 5:1).

    3.   It was a yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1).

    4.   Although it was a yoke of bondage, it was not evil or sinful (Rom. 7:7).

    5.   Some people prefer law (works) to Jesus (grace), even though working
         under the law is burdensome and grace gives freedom (Gal. 4:21).

    6.   If a person wants to live under the law, he must keep every law perfectly
         (Gal. 5:3, 3:12).

    7.   Christ is the end, or fulfillment of the law for believers (Rom. 10:4).

      ...and I will give you rest. THIS rest is GIVEN and typifies salvation. The
rest in the NEXT verse must be EARNED, and is speaking of the believer's life.
First come to Jesus, THEN work (Eph. 2:8-10). ...seek ye FIRST the kingdom of
GOD... (Matt. 6:33).
      Verse 29. Take my yoke upon you,.. This verse is speaking to those who
have ALREADY COME TO Jesus and received his GIFT of rest. The plea in this
verse is for those who have been given rest, to WORK IN ORDER TO FIND
ANOTHER REST, A DIFFERENT ONE.
      This is speaking to those who have already received the gift, the rest seen in
the preceding verse. It is not a continuation of the demands for salvation, nor is it
a requirement for keeping the "rest" already given. It is what is expected of saved
people who have already received the gift of rest seen in verse twenty-eight. Jesus
was saying, "Now that you are saved, take my yoke and serve."
      A cross is like a yoke, a beam with a cross-member. Like a yoke, a cross has
a position on either side of the beam and it takes two to make a team.
      Jesus is already on one side of a yoke. He wants a saved person to fill the
vacancy on the other. A COMPLETE UNIT IS A TEAM OF TWO, JESUS ON
ONE SIDE AND A SAINT ON THE OTHE5 (Gal. 6:5). One of the great
problems that the modern church must face is the one created by well meaning but
deceived Christians who dedicate themselves to forming "teams" and committees.
The only team that works is Jesus and a saint pulling together. If the load is too
big for one team, the Holy Spirit knows how to attach more than one team to a
load. Jesus and a committee never "works," but Jesus and one dedicated saint
does.
      ...and learn of me;.. Paul wrote that Christians are to have the mind of
Christ, which means we are to humble ourselves (Phil. 2:5-8). The writer of
Hebrews admonishes God's children to keep their eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:1-2). If
Christians are to "learn of Jesus," then they must humble themselves and keep
their eyes on him.
      ...for I am meek and lowly in heart:.. Jesus, like the Lamb he is, was born
in a stable where lambs are often born. He did not exalt himself nor was he high-
minded, and in this he is our example. When he said, "learn of me," he meant to
be meek and lowly in heart.
      ...and ye shall find rest unto your souls. This is not the same rest presented
in the preceding verse for that rest was OFFERED FREELY, whereas this rest
must be FOUND. Finding this rest is associated with yoke-bearing and is the rest
that is missing in the lives of most Christians. Christians have received the free
rest, but neglect finding the one that comes with the yoke.
      Christians shirk Christ's yoke, despite the fact that he said:..
      Verse 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. In light of the
context, it would be doctrinally correct to take this to mean, "Grace (which is only
in me) is easier than the burden of the law that you are presently under." Jesus
was speaking to Jews under the law and not to Christians under grace.




                     CHAPTER ELEVEN, EPILOGUE

           This is the chapter that reveals the first and main turning
     point in Jesus' ministry. Until this time, Jesus had preached in all
     the cities and villages throughout Galilee. He had proclaimed the
     same message preached by John the Baptist, "repent, the kingdom
     is at hand" (Matt. 3:1-2, 4:17). He sent out the twelve to preach
     the same message to the same people (Matt. 10:15).
           It is in chapter eleven that we find out that there was NO
     REPENTENCE, a demand that had to be met before the kingdom
     would come. From chapter eleven, verse twenty, Jesus never
     again preached the gospel of the kingdom, but preached judgment
     (upbraided them) upon those who had heard the gospel messages
     and failed to repent.
           The next turning point in Jesus' ministry is recorded in
     chapter fourteen, initiated by the death of John the Baptist.
CHAPTER 12

       Verse 1. At that time... This account is also found in Mark 2:23-28 and
Luke 6:1-5.
Matthew is the only gospel writer who used this expression in reference to this
occasion. Luke's account says that it was the second Sabbath after the first, and
the only other Sabbaths mentioned in Luke prior to this is in chapter four, verse
sixteen when Jesus was in Nazareth, and in verse thirty-one when he was in
Capernaum. Both these occasions were a long time before the account of his
disciples' eating corn on the Sabbath.
       The indication from Matthew's account is that the occasion was AFTER
Christ gave his discourse on John the Baptist, which was AFTER John's
imprisonment, yet Luke records the account as having occurred BEFORE John's
imprisonment (Luke 7:19-28). This creates a dilemma the answer to which this
writer has not been given. This is not to suggest that there is no solution but only
that it is to be revealed later, perhaps to some reader.
      It seems that in the light of the expression, "at that time," that this account in
Matthew sets the occasion in relation to Christ's eulogy on John the Baptist.
      ...Jesus went on the Sabbath day... All three gospel writers establish that
this occurred on a Sabbath, which of course was the point of the whole matter
(Mark 2:23, Luke 6:1). The Pharisees saw Jesus' disciples husking grain (which
they considered work) and said that this violated the Sabbath.
      ...through the corn;.. The much belabored point made by some that this
could not mean corn (maze) because corn was unheard of until the discovery of
America is invalid. Europeans who first came to America may not have known
what corn was, but the Egyptians had corn during the time of Joseph (Gen. 41:5-
7). In his writing, Moses called corn, corn (Gen. 42:1), wheat, wheat (Gen. 30:14)
and barley, barley (Lev. 27:16). Corn COULD mean wheat or barley (John 12:24)
because the scripture calls barley an ear (Ex. 9:31), but the corn spoken of here
was likely corn as known today.
      If the season in which this episode occurred had been given, then the answer
could be more certain because wheat and barley ripen in spring or early summer
and corn in late summer or fall. All this is relatively unimportant in view of the
lesson being taught by the passage, which is that religious people usually put
emphasis on things the Lord considers unimportant.
      ...and his disciples were an hungered,.. Jesus worked miracles to feed
multitudes two different times, but it is never said that he worked miracles to feed
himself or his disciples. Certainly Jesus could have fed them on this occasion but
the point he intended to make required that the religious leaders see them "violate"
the Sabbath.
      ...and began to pluck the ears of corn,.. The field in which they walked
must have been close to town in order to have been in view of the Pharisees or else
the Pharisees were following them around the countryside. These religious leaders
considered plucking corn to be work and Luke adds that the disciples were
"rubbing them in their hands" (Luke 6:1) which they also considered work.
      ...and to eat. Anyone who eats raw corn (or wheat or barley) has to be
extremely hungry. This episode also reveals the dedication of Jesus' disciples.
      Verse 2. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy
disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. The
Pharisees claimed that Jesus' disciples were breaking the law as written by Moses
(Ex. 20:10, Deu. 5:14). In light of the fact that Jesus and his disciples were in a
field of corn and the Pharisees saw them, the Pharisees must have had them under
close surveillance.
      Verse 3. But he said unto them... It is evident that this entire saga (Jesus
and his disciples hungry and walking through a field of grain on the Sabbath in the
sight of the Pharisees) was a purposeful act intended to teach a lesson, not only to
the Pharisees but to the disciples and all who hear and read these words.
       "But" is a contrasting conjunction that reveals that Jesus' answer was given
from an opposing point of view.
       ...Have ye not read what David did,.. No doubt they had because these
men were "Bible scholars." Jesus asked them this question that he might reveal
their lack of spiritual understanding. A person can be well read in the scriptures
and still be spiritually ignorant.
       ...when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; This account
of the life of David is found in I Samuel 21:1-6.
       Verse 4. How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the
shewhread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were
with him, but only for the priests? First Samuel twenty-one names Abimelech
as the priest to whom David went for bread for himself and his soldiers while
Mark's account states that Abiathar (the son of Abimelech, I Sam. 22:20) was the
high priest (Mark 2:26). This is not a contradiction since there were more than
eighty-five priests on duty in Nob where David was (I Sam. 22:18).
       Moses recorded in Leviticus 24:5-9 that it was unlawful for anyone except
the priests to eat the shewbread.
       Verse 5. Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days
the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? Leviticus
23:3 declares that no work was to be done on the seventh or Sabbath day. Yet, in
Numbers 28:9-10 instructions were given for certain work to be done by the
priests on the Sabbath day.
       In answering as he did in this verse, Jesus was laying the foundation
necessary for establishing three points to use against his accusers.
       Verse 6. But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the
temple. This is the first of three points Jesus gave in answer to the Pharisees’
criticism, saying that he himself was greater than the temple.
       Verse 7. But if ye had known what this meaneth ... There is no doubt that
the Pharisees knew the scripture to which Jesus referred.
       Jesus did not say, "If you had known the scripture," because they knew the
scripture. Although every one of them could have probably quoted that scripture,
it is obvious that they did not know what it MEANT. Many people can quote
scripture and still not know what it MEANS simply because they do not
BELIEVE what it SAYS.
       When Jesus said, "have ye not read in the scriptures?" or, "have ye not read
in the law?" he meant that he expected those who read it to understand what they
read.
       There are many professors of theology in these days who teach that the Bible
cannot be understood and like the Pharisees, have neither right nor authority to
teach God's holy word.
       ...I will have mercy, and not sacrifice... This is the second point Christ
made in answer to the Pharisees' accusation; what God really wants and expects
from his people. Jesus quoted from Hosea 6:6 and emphasized God's desire for
heartfelt worship more than the works of the flesh. David knew what God wanted
and recorded in Psalms 51:17; The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a
broken and a contrite heart,.. Samuel also knew God's desire and told Saul the
king, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in
obeying the voice of the Lord?" (I Sam. 15:22). Like Saul, these Pharisees
thought more of religion and ritualistic worship than they did of obeying the Lord.
They were proud-hearted, and proud-hearted people cannot please God.
       ...ye would not have condemned the guiltless. Religious leaders still seem
to enjoy finding fault with others and exalt themselves upon the ruin heap of
wounded saints. There are even Christians who seem to delight in the failure of a
brother, and preachers who rejoice when another falls into a snare of sin. It is by
no means unusual to see Christians desert and condemn rather than help a
wounded or fallen brother. It has been well said that the Christian army is the only
army that abandons or shoots its wounded.
       One of the favorite weapons used by Christians and non-Christians alike to
wound and destroy God's people is criticism. Criticism of fellow Christians is a
means often used by Christians to elevate themselves.
       This is not to imply that all criticism is wrong and uncalled for. Any person,
whether saved or unsaved, who attempts to lead someone away from faith in God
and his word is to be criticized. Those who profess to have been to Jesus and to
have had their sins forgiven and themselves refuse to forgive others are to be
criticized. Christians who have drifted into a life of sin who have been reminded
of who they are and of the sin they are in, but who refuse to repent, are to be
criticized. Jesus himself was criticizing those who criticized him and his disciples.
       Criticism and fault finding are not necessarily one and the same. Criticism
must always be justifiable and accompanied by a willingness to help and
strengthen. Christians should assess their own lives, identify and admit their
failures, and make appropriate corrections, but finding fault in the failure of others
should be left to God.
       Verse 8. For the Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day. This is the
third point Jesus made in answering the criticism of the Pharisees, saying that he
created the Sabbath and created it for man and not man for the Sabbath (Mark
2:27). The Pharisees, however, missed the point, not recognizing that Jesus was
Lord. Jesus told the Pharisees that HE established the Sabbath and the Pharisees
told Jesus that they would submit to the Sabbath but would not submit to HIM.
They loved and wanted to keep their dead religion and rituals but did not want the
Savior, thereby preferring law to grace.
      Verse 9. And when he was departed thence, he went into their
synagogue: The following verse reveals that this happened on a Sabbath but Luke
6:6 says that this was not the same Sabbath on which they ate the grain.
      Verse 10. And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered.
Both Mark and Luke give additional details about this occasion (Mark 3:1-6, Luke
6:6-11). Luke adds that it was the man's right hand that was withered (Luke 6:6).
      And they asked him, saying... Both Mark and Luke say that the Pharisees
watched Jesus but neither says anything about this question.
      ...Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath days? Mark and Luke state that they
watched him to see if he WOULD heal on the Sabbath day. The question noted in
Matthew's gospel, directed to Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees, concerned
whether it was LAWFUL to heal on the Sabbath.
      ...that they might accuse him. They were going to accuse him on either or
both counts, whether he CONSIDERED IT LAWFUL to heal or not, or whether
he WOULD heal or not. They were looking for a basis on which they could
accuse him by either or both what he SAID and/or what he DID.
      Luke 6:8 states that Jesus knew their thoughts, meaning that Jesus knew they
were seeking ways whereby they might accuse him of lawbreaking.
      Verse 11. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you,
that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he
not lay hold on it, and lift it out? The scribes and Pharisees (Luke 6:7) asked
Jesus one question and in answering, Jesus asked them FOUR questions.

    1.   If a man has a sheep that falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not pull it
         out? (Matt. 12:11).

    2.   How much more valuable is a man than a sheep? (Matt. 12:12).

    3.   Is it lawful to do good or to do evil on the Sabbath? (Mark 3:4).

    4.   Is it more lawful to save a life on the Sabbath or to kill? (Mark 3:4).

      Verse 12. How much then is a man better than a sheep? Christ did not
suffer and die for sheep, not even for angels, but for men.
      Man is incapable of comprehending the value of his own soul, but the Bible
reveals its worth in the price that was paid for its redemption (I Pet. 1:18-19).
Jesus asked one of the most profound questions ever recorded when he asked,
"...what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matt. 16:26).
       Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days. This is the
conclusion of the matter. The Pharisees in the days of Jesus, like their twentieth
century counterparts, placed laws and regulations ahead of human needs.
In churches throughout America today programs have replaced preaching,
singing has replaced soul winning and causes have replaced compassion.
       Verse 13. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he
stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Jesus did not
carry the man away to some obscure corner of the synagogue in order to heal him
but told him to stand forth (Mark 3:3, Luke 6:8). He then instructed the man to
stretch forth his hand, and in obedience to Jesus, he stretched it forth, revealing it
to be ALREADY healed.
       A maimed person was no longer disabled; a man with only one good hand
now had two. But the religious leaders, those men of God, did not approve and
responded viciously.
       Verse 14. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him,..
The event recorded in this verse had its beginning in verse one of the preceding
chapter and reveals the agreement reached by the religious leaders to reject Jesus.
       None of the four gospels records that a council of this nature had been held
before.
       Chapters eleven and twelve of Matthew's gospel mark a turning point in
Jesus' ministry. Here in chapter twelve is the first indication that Jesus had a
ministry to the Gentiles (verses 17-21), as well as the first mention of his
forthcoming death and resurrection (verses 38-40). The chapter also includes the
first revelation of his turning from the Jews to "whosoever" (verses 46-50).
       ...how they might destroy him. They did not intend to simply destroy his
ministry nor did they conspire to discredit his teachings or attempt to keep him
from healing on the Sabbath. They intended to kill him and conspired that they
might devise some way to carry out their intention.
       Verse 15. But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence:
and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; There are four
truths revealed in this verse and a fifth in the following.
       1. But when Jesus knew it... Someone may have told Jesus that the
religious leaders were conspiring to kill him, but it would not have been necessary,
for Jesus knew their thoughts (Luke 5:22, 6:8, 9:47, I Cor. 3:20).
       2. ...he withdrew himself from thence:.. Jesus did not linger to argue or
defend his position, but simple went elsewhere. Had he been interested in "civil
rights" as some believe, he surely missed a golden opportunity to defend his.
       3. ...and great multitudes followed him... Jesus did not continue to preach
the gospel of the kingdom, even though a great multitude followed him. He knew
how easily a multitude whose basic interest was their physical conditions could be
swayed. These multitudes had not yet complied with his instruction to "seek ye
first the kingdom of God AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!"
       4. ...and he healed them all; His compassion was unending, and will
remain so until the day of his wrath (Rev. 6:16-17).
       5. Verse 16. And charged them that they should not make him known:
Up to this point in his ministry Jesus was interested in revealing himself to the
people, but from this time on he instructed people NOT to make him known.
These people had heard the message of John the Baptist who had declared Jesus to
be "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). They
had heard Jesus preach, had seen his miracles, and had heard the message of the
apostles as well. Yet, they had neither repented nor sought the righteousness of
God. Their religious leaders had rejected his message (Matt. 11:20), his miracles
(Matt. 12:10-13), and finally they rejected Him (Matt. 12:14).
       Verse 17. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the
prophet, saying, This is the sixth time the word fulfilled appears in the book of
Matthew, and as in the majority of cases the prophet Isaiah was given the
foreview. This verse does not declare that Isaiah (Esaias) WROTE this prophecy
but that he had SPOKEN of its happening. The next four verses are a quotation
from the words spoken by Isaiah and they reveal these six facts about this
particular portion of Jesus' ministry:

      1.    God's assessment of Jesus as his SERVANT.

      2.    God's assessment of Jesus as his SON.

      3.    What God vowed to do for his Son.

      4.    What Jesus would do for the Gentiles.

      5.    What Jesus would cease to do for Israel.

      6.    How the Gentiles would respond.

    Verse 18. Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in
whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall
shew judgment to the Gentiles. Four of the six things listed above are found in
this verse. The first of these four (God's assessment of Jesus as his servant) is
broken down into two segments:
      1. Behold my servant,.. God the Father was quoted by Isaiah (Isa. 42:1) and
Isaiah was quoted by Matthew. God called Jesus his servant although he was his
Son; therefore, Jesus was both servant and Son. His FIRST being called a
SERVANT speaks of Jesus' ministry to ISRAEL to whom he went FIRST.
      2. ...whom I have chosen;.. From the foundation of the world God chose
Jesus to be the great sacrificial Lamb (Gen. 22:8, Rev. 13:8).
      When the expressions, "chosen," "my chosen," "the chosen," or, "chosen
people," appear in the Bible they are always-referring to Israel unless otherwise
stipulated. In this verse, Jesus is called a chosen servant. In First Chronicles
16:13 the nation Israel is called a chosen servant. The first portion of Matthew
12:18 (Behold my servant, whom I have chosen;..) is speaking of Jesus as God's
SERVANT and his ministry to ISRAEL. From this point through the end of verse
twenty-one Jesus is spoken of as God's SON and his ministry to the GENTILES is
in view.
      The second of the six things quoted from Isaiah and listed above is also
divided into two segments: first, the title given Jesus, "my beloved," and second,
God's approval of, and pleasure in, his Son.
      1. ...my beloved,.. This title is reserved for Jesus as the SON of God (Matt.
3:17, 17:5, Mark 9:7). PAUL called Luke the BELOVED physician (Col. 4:14),
and refers to Tychicus and Onesimus as BELOVED (Col. 4:7-9). Paul also called
the redeemed of this age BELOVED (I Cor. 15:58) and Peter (I Pet. 4:12), John (I
John 3:2, etc.), and Jude (Jude 3) refer to certain people as BELOVED, but GOD
calls only his Son BELOVED.
      2. ...in whom my soul is well pleased:.. As it is with the expression, "my
beloved," so is it with this expression; it is spoken in reference to JESUS ONLY.
The Bible records two occasions when God spoke these words: at the baptism of
his Son (Matt. 3:17, Mark 1:11 and Luke 3:22) and at the transfiguration of his
Son (Matt. 17:5, Mark 9:7, Luke 9:35 and II Pet. 1:17). In every account of God's
having declared that Jesus was his Son, He also said that Jesus was either his
beloved or that he was well pleased with him.
      Behold my servant, whom I have chosen;.. This phrase presents Jesus as
God's SERVANT, baptized in the Jordan river by John the Baptist, AND
PICTURES JESUS' FIRST COMING AS RELATED TO ISRAEL.
      ...my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased:.. This presents Jesus as
God's SON in his glory, exalted on a mountain AND SPEAKS OF JESUS'
FIRST COMING AS IT RELATES TO THE CHURCH.
      ...I will put my spirit upon him,.. God vowed to do this for his Son, and he
did (Matt. 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:21-22). At his First Coming, Jesus was
anointed by the Holy Spirit when he was baptized (Matt. 3:16). Afterward, he
offered himself as King of Israel (Matt. 4:17). At his SECOND coming he will be
anointed a second time (Rev. 19:16) as was David the king (I Sam. 16:13, II Sam.
2:4). After David's FIRST anointing (I Sam. 16:13), he SERVED for several years
before his SECOND anointing when he RULED as KING.
      ...and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. This is the fourth aspect of
the quotation from Isaiah which speaks of the work and ministry of Jesus toward
the Gentiles. The word "shew" (show) means to make visible or cause to be seen.
Showing judgment to the Gentiles is a work that is being done by the HOLY
SPIRIT in this age as he is reproving them of sin, righteousness and JUDGMENT
(John 16:8). (The word reprove means to convince or convict, Webster's New
World Dictionary, P. 1207.)
      DOCTRINALLY, this verse appertains to the millennium when JESUS will
judge (rule) the nations (Gentiles) with a rod of iron (Isa. 2:4, 9:7, 11:1-5).
      Verse 19. He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his
voice in the streets. Jesus did not argue with anyone nor did he protest against
the oppression of Rome. He did not demand civil rights, human rights or religious
rights. He did not crusade against taxes nor did he deride any system of
government.
      Verse 20. A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he
not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. This verse is a quotation
from Isaiah 42:3. The DOCTRINAL application of this portion of scripture shows
Jesus turning from Israel to the Gentiles. This is the fifth of the six things listed
above, and speaks of what Jesus would NOT do for Israel.
      A bruised reed shall he not break... In Second Kings eighteen and in Isaiah
thirty-six it is recorded that an Assyrian named Rabshakeh, speaking on behalf of
his king Sennacherib, referred to Egypt as a bruised reed (II Kings 18:21) and as a
broken reed (Isa. 36:6). While Rabshakeh was a Gentile and not in a covenant
relationship with God, he claimed to have been in the will of God (II Kings 18:25,
Isa. 36:10). He also said that God was with him and that his orders to destroy
Jerusalem had come from God. For a Gentile to have received such a commission
from God is not unusual for King Cyrus of Persia was commissioned by God. He
was told to permit and lend aid to the rebuilding of God's temple in Jerusalem after
the children of Israel returned from their Babylonian captivity (Isa. 44:28, 45:1-3,
Ezra 1:1-3). Therefore, the fact that Rabshakeh was a heathen does not insinuate
that his veracity was questionable.
      Rabshakeh was speaking to Hezekiah, king of Judah (speaking through
Hilkiah and Shebna, Second Kings 18:18) telling him that he could not trust Egypt
for help. He first called Egypt a BRUISED REED (II Kings 18:21) and then a
BROKEN REED (Isa. 36:6). Egypt was the first of the nations (Gentiles) to
persecute Israel (Ex. 1:8 - 14:28). Because they persecuted and oppressed Israel,
God first BRUISED Egypt (Ex. 14) and then BROKE Egypt (Jer. 46:2).
        When Jesus came into the world, he went first to his own people (John 1:11)
and offered them the promised kingdom (Matt. 4:17). At the time Israel was under
the oppressive rule of Rome, a heathen Gentile nation, and they were burdened by
excessive taxation, persecution and humiliation. Had Israel accepted the offered
kingdom, Jesus would have broken the power of Rome and freed his people (Dan.
2:35). Because the Jews rejected the kingdom, Jesus withdrew his offer and
turned to the oppressors (Gentiles) with another offer. While the apostles, not
knowing that the offer of the kingdom was being withdrawn from Israel, continued
to preach kingdom messages, Jesus, at this point in his ministry, was fulfilling the
prophecy of Isaiah THAT HE WOULD NOT BREAK THE POWER OF EVEN
THE WEAKEST NATION THAT OPPRESSED ISRAEL.
        Although Jesus withdrew his offer of the kingdom to his own people, THE
WITHDRAWAL IS TEMPORARY, FOR DURING THE TRIBULATION,
144,000 YOUNG JEWISH PREACHERS WILL AGAIN PROCLAIM THE
COMING KINGDOM (Rev. 7, Matt. 24:14).
        ...and smoking flax shall he not quench... The Jews bound Samson and
delivered him to their enemies, the Philistines, but when the Spirit of God came
upon him the cord with which he was bound became as "flax that was burnt with
fire" (Judges 15:14).
        Jesus said that his work of casting out demons was for the purpose OF
BINDING THE POWER OF SATAN (Matt. 12:25-29). Jesus' work of casting
out demons was opposed by the Jewish religious leaders (Matt. 12:24). Smoking
flax TYPIFIES THE WEAKENING OF A BINDING AGENT, AND SPEAKS
OF JESUS' UNWILLINGNESS TO FIGHT AGAINST THE RESISTANCE HE
ENCOUNTERED FROM THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES. In other words,
Jesus was binding Satan's power (casting out demons) but Israel's religious leaders
attempted to weaken the strength of the binding agent (smoking flax) and Jesus
permitted the flax to smoke (did not quench the fire).
        ...till... While the preceding chapters of Matthew's gospel were aimed at
Jews, these verses are speaking of Jesus' work toward the Gentiles. Isaiah's
prophecy which is being quoted by Matthew was addressed to Gentiles (Isa. 42:1)
and Matthew ends this particular teaching with a reference to the Gentiles (verse
21).
        "Till" denotes a temporary condition and implies that someday Jesus WILL
break the bruised reed and quench the smoking flax. That "till" began at this point
in Jesus' ministry and has continued through this entire age, and will continue
"till:.."
      ...he send forth judgment... Jesus will not send judgment against the
Gentiles (strive against them, cry, be heard in the street, break bruised reeds or
quench smoking flax) until he is through showing mercy to them. Attempting to
identify WHICH particular judgment is in view in this statement demands
consideration of several possibilities. There was a judgment on the day Christ
died on the cross, the judgment of SIN (II Cor. 5:21), the LAW (Gal. 3:13), THE
WORLD (John 12:31, no judgment of INDIVIDUAL men) and the WORLD'S
PRINCE, SATAN (John 16:11). This COULD be the judgment in view, with
verse twenty-one picturing this present age following Calvary.
      It is unlikely that the judgment of the redeemed of this age are in view (Rom.
14:10, II Cor. 5:10, I Cor. 3:11-15) because the church has not been mentioned at
this point in Matthew's gospel. Neither is it likely that this is the judgment at the
great white throne (Rev. 20:11-15), for that is to be the judgment of millennial
people, nor the judgment associated with Christ's throne of glory (Matt. 19:28,
25:31).
      The judgment which best fits this scripture IS THE COMING
TRIBULATION. In Revelation six, it is Jesus who opens the seven sealed book
and sends forth judgments throughout the world. This judgment will not only be
to draw his nation Israel into a covenant with himself, but will also destroy the
power of their oppressors.
      ...unto victory. Victory will come (not the FINAL victory, I Cor. 15:24-26)
when Jesus destroys the power of the Gentiles in the battle of Armageddon at the
close of the great tribulation (Rev. 19:11-16).
      Verse 21. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust. This verse ends the
quotation from Isaiah which began with verse eighteen and is the sixth and final
point listed above, revealing the RESPONSE of the Gentiles to God's Son (John
1:12-13).
      Verse 22. Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind,
and dumb:.. This was the second time Jesus is recorded to have healed blind,
dumb and demon possessed people. Only one person was involved in this episode
while the first time Jesus worked a similar miracle three people were involved
(Matt. 9:27-34).
      This man had a triple affliction. He could not think because the devil had his
mind, could not see because he was blind, and could not talk because he was
dumb.
      ...and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and
saw. This verse is given not only to show the compassion of Jesus for an
individual, but is a picture of God's compassion on his demon possessed, blind,
and dumb nation, Israel (Rom. 11:25-26). (See comments on verse 24.)
      Verse 23. And all the people were amazed, and said, is not this the son of
David? John the Baptist called Jesus the Son of GOD (John 1:34), while Jesus
called himself the son of MAN (Matt. 9:6, etc.). The people, the multitudes, called
Jesus the son of DAVID (Matt. 21:9), and for all practical applications, the
Pharisees called Jesus the son of SATAN (Matt. 9:34, 12:24).
      Jesus was called the son of David on seven occasions in Matthew's gospel.

    1.   His Father, God, called him the son of David (Matt. 1:1).

    2.   Two blind men called him the son of David (Matt. 9:27).

    3.   The people called him the son of David on seeing him heal a blind,
         dumb demoniac (Matt. 12:23).

    4.   A Canaanite woman desiring Jesus to heal her daughter addressed him as
         the son of David (Matt. 15:22).

    5.   On a second occasion two blind men called him the son of David (Matt.
         20:30).

    6.   Upon entering Jerusalem the multitudes heralded him as the son of
         David (Matt. 21:9).

    7.   When he entered his temple and cast out those who sold and bought,
         little children praised him and called him the son of David (Matt. 21:15).

      Four of the seven accounts listed above were associated with blind people
(9:27, 12:23, 20:30, 21:14-15).
Many of the Old Testament prophets had spoken of a future day when the
throne of David would be reestablished and of a righteous King who would rule
over a glorious kingdom (Isa. 9:7, 16:5, Jer. 23:5, Ez. 37:24, Hosea 3:5, etc.).
Those who called Jesus the son of David were correct in addressing him thusly,
but their failure was in not recognizing that he was also the Son of God.
      Verse 24. But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth
not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. The reaction of
the Pharisees was the same in this incident as it was when Jesus healed two blind
men earlier (Matt. 9:27-34).
      In fact, there are three similar factors involved.

    1.   Both cases involved blind people (Matt. 9:27, 12:22).
   2.   People addressed him as the son of David on both occasions (Matt 9:27,
        12:23).

   3.   Both times the Pharisees said that he received his power from Satan
        (Matt. 9:34, 12:24).

      But when the Pharisees heard it,.. To this point, not one Pharisee had
agreed with anything Jesus said or approved of anything he did. Until he was
crucified they found fault with:

   1.   the company he kept (Matt. 9:11),

   2.   his works of mercy (Matt. 9:34, 12:24),

   3.   his refusal to give them a sign (Matt. 12:38),

   4.   his view of the Sabbath day (Matt. 12:1-14),

   5.   his not having taught his disciples to wash their hands before eating
        (Matt. 15:1-2),

   6.   his having told the truth about cleanliness (Matt. 15:3-12),

   7.   the truth he told about THEM (Matt. 21:42-45),

   8.   his words (Mark 12:13, Luke 11:53),

   9.   what they thought to be a lack of discernment about who touched him
        (Luke 7:39),

  10.   whom he received and ate with (Luke 15:1-2),

  11.   his assessment of Israel (Luke 16:1-14),

  12.   his accepting praise (Luke 19:37-39),

  13. what some people thought and said about him (John 7:31-32),

  14. what he said about himself (John 8:12-13) and,
  15. his raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:46-57).

      ...they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub...
Beelzebub was the name of the most powerful evil deity known; therefore,
Beelzebub and Satan are one and the same.
      ...the prince of devils. The Bible presents Satan as a prince of many powers
and dominions. In Daniel 9:26 he is called the prince that shall come, a specific
reference to the antichrist. Daniel 10:13 presents him as the prince of Persia, Paul
calls him the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), and Jesus referred to him as
the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11).
      The age of the law ended with Jesus working miracles that THE
RELIGIOUS LEADERS SAID WERE WORKED BY THE POWER OF SATAN
(Matt. 9:34, 12:24). This age is ending WITH SATAN WORKING MIRACLES,
AND RELIGIOUS LEADERS CALLING THEM MIRACLES OF GOD! (Rev.
13:14, 16:13-14). Many religious people, some Christians, are presently being
deceived by miracles being worked by Satan and his people (Matt. 7:22-23), AND
THE DECEPTION WILL INCREASE AFTER CHRISTIANS ARE TAKEN
FROM THE EARTH (II Thess. 2:9-12).
      Verse 25. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every
kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or
house divided against itself shall not stand: This begins the longest answer
Jesus gave thus far to the criticism of the Pharisees. Jesus first justified his actions
(verses 25-30) and then condemned their attitude (verses 31-37).
      And Jesus knew their thoughts,.. He not only knew their thoughts but ours
also. We should therefore be cautious and, "Let the words of my mouth, AND
THE MEDITATION OF MY HEART, be acceptable in thy sight..." (Psa. 19:14).
      ...and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to
desolation;.. The expression, "united we stand, divided we fall," did not originate
with man, but with God.
      ...and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: This verse
is the foundation for the lesson Jesus taught in the following verses.
      Verse 26. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how
shall then his kingdom stand? Jesus said that a divided kingdom is destined for
destruction.
      And if Satan cast out Satan,.. Verse twenty-two stated that the man whom
Jesus healed had a devil, and that when Jesus cast him out, the Pharisees accused
him of using the power of Satan. Jesus told them that he had CAST SATAN
OUT, making Satan and devils, for all practical purposes, one and the same.
       ...he is divided against himself;.. Had it been Satan who was casting out
Satan then he would have been fighting against himself.
       ...how shall then his kingdom stand? This is the logical deduction and
conclusion of the preceding premise.
       Indeed, Satan has a kingdom referred to in the Bible as the kingdom of man
(Dan. 4:17, 25) and as the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5). (For further
information about Satan's kingdom see comments on Matt. 4:8.)
       Verse 27. And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your
children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. The term, "your
children," means the Jewish religious community, among which there were those
who were casting out devils. In at least one instance a person was casting out
devils in the name of Jesus (Mark 9:38, Luke 9:49). Jesus asked the Pharisees
what power was being used by others when they cast out demons. He was
therefore saying, "Go ask your own people who are casting out devils where they
get their power to do so. Then, let their answer judge your attitude and your
accusation" (paraphrased).
       Verse 28. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God,.. There are but two
sources from which power comes enabling one to cast out devils, God or Satan.
Because Jesus said that if Satan cast out devils he was divided against himself, it is
not to be assumed that he is INCAPABLE of doing so. Satan can, and will, cast
out devils if it serves his purpose.
       Two different groups of "children" inhabit the world, the children of God and
the children of the devil (I John 3:10), and there are but two spirits in the world,
the Spirit of truth (God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit) and the spirit of error (I John 4:6).
THE SPIRIT THAT DWELLS IN A PERSON DETERMINES WHOSE CHILD
HE IS.
       ...then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Jesus left these people with
a distinct choice of deciding whether his power came from God or from Satan. If
they concluded that it was indeed from God, they must also realize and admit that
the kingdom of GOD was with them.
       Verse 29. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house,.. Jesus
was still answering the thoughts and accusations of the Pharisees who said that he
had healed a man by the power of Satan.
       The picture Jesus portrayed for them was of an invader intent on conquering
someone's territory. The invader is Jesus (John 1:10) and the strong man whose
territory was being invaded is Satan (Eph. 6:11-12). The strong man's territory
(house) is the kingdom of man, that is, the kingdoms of this world (Luke 4:5-6).
       ...and spoil his goods,.. Spoiling Satan's goods would be to spoil or destroy
his source of strength.
      ...except he first bind the strong man? Jesus was binding, or holding back
the power of Satan by casting out devils.
      ...and then he will spoil his house. Jesus offered and intended to establish
the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 4:17) but could do so only if Israel first entered the
kingdom of GOD (Matt. 6:33). Establishing the kingdom of heaven also depended
upon the destruction of the kingdom of Satan, for the two kingdoms cannot
coexist.
      Until the nation Israel enters the kingdom of God, which they can do only
through the new birth (John 3:3, Isa. 66:8), there will be no physical manifestation
of the kingdom of heaven. Although the nation Israel rejected the kingdom at
Jesus' first coming, it will be offered again during the great tribulation (Matt.
24:14), at the end of which those who "endure to the end" will receive it (Matt.
25:21, 23). During the course of Christ's Second Advent, Satan's "house", or
kingdom, will be destroyed (Dan. 2:34-35, 4:20-23).
      Verse 30. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not
with me scattereth abroad. Despite Satan's attempt to distort and confuse Bible
doctrines, truth is still truth, evil is still evil, black is still black and white is still
white. When dealing with issues such as sin and righteousness, any gray area
exists only in the imagination of those who have been deceived by Satan and
refuse to believe the Bible. This verse gives two distinct statements that God does
not deal in a "gray area," but that with him all things are black or white, up or
down, good or evil. The first statement declares that people are either FOR Jesus
or AGAINST him. The second statement declares that people are either gathering
or scattering. In God's work and ways there is no such thing as neutral ground,
although Satan can DECEIVE people into BELIEVING there is. Satan has little
trouble persuading people to believe that they are gathering when in reality they
are scattering. One of the best examples of this phenomenon is the modern
practice of "talking in tongues," a manifestation of the devil's work, deceiving
EVEN CHRISTIANS into believing they are FOR Jesus when they are
AGAINST him. Throughout the history of Christianity, nothing has been more
deceptive and more successful in dividing and scattering church members than has
"talking in tongues." The evidence of being filled with the Spirit is NOT
manifested by WORKS nor by EXPERIENCES nor by SPIRITUAL GIFTS nor
by FEELINGS but by FRUIT-BEARING. (Compare Matthew 7:16 with
Galatians 5:22-23.)
        In the preceding six verses (25 - 30), Jesus was still answering the
accusation of the Pharisees and presented these five points (paraphrased).

    1.    "If I am on the Devil's side as you say, then Satan is divided against
          himself and cannot stand."
    2.     "If my power comes from Satan, where do your children (other Jews) get
           their power?"

    3.     "If my power is from God, why have you not recognized the presence of
           His kingdom?"

    4.     "Since my power is from God, I am binding the power of my enemy,
           Satan, by casting out devils."

    5.     "You are on one of two sides, either mine or Satan's."

      Verse 31. Wherefore... The six previous verses dealt with Jesus' analysis of
and answer to the Pharisees' accusation, and this verse is the beginning of a
warning of the danger in what they SAID.
      Jesus said (to paraphrase), "Because of what you said and because of my
answer, there are other facts that follow which you need to be aware of."
      ...I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto
men:.. No sin is omitted by this statement, but an exception will be presented in
the next phrase.
      Forgiveness of sin is presented as being AVAILABLE by this statement, but
blanket forgiveness is suggested neither here nor elsewhere in the Bible.
      ...but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto
men. The preceding phrase is qualified by this statement. This sin is the
exception to all other sins and has been a source of concern to Bible readers
throughout the centuries. Basically four questions are generated by this verse.

  1. Is there an unpardonable sin?

  2. If so, what is it?

  3. Can it be committed in this age?

  4. Since blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is unpardonable, exactly what is
     blasphemy?

       The answers in the order in which the questions appear are these.

  1.      Yes, there is an unpardonable sin.
  2.     The Bible is clear in stating that the unpardonable sin is blasphemy
        against the Holy Ghost.

  3.     Whether or not it can be committed in this age depends on whether an
        individual is lost or saved. A person saved in this age CANNOT
        COMMIT ANY UNPARDONABLE SIN because the unpardonable sin
        of this age is not the same as that described by Jesus in the scripture under
        study. An UNSAVED person HAS ALREADY COMMITTED THE
        UNPARDONABLE SIN, THE SIN OF REJECTING JESUS (John
        3:18).

  4.     Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is attributing to Satan work done by
        the Holy Ghost.

       While it is possible for an individual to commit the unpardonable sin of not
trusting Jesus as his Savior, he cannot commit the sin of blaspheming the Holy
Ghost in the same manner that the people to whom Jesus was speaking could.
This particular sin, could only be committed during the days that God was in the
flesh.
       THE ONLY UNPARDONABLE SIN NAMED IN THE SCRIPTURE IS
COMMITTED BY WHAT A PERSON SAYS OR DOES NOT SAY.
       An interesting point to ponder is that this age opened with miracles of God
and the religious leaders attributed them to Satan. In doing so Jesus said that they
had committed the unpardonable sin. The Bible says that this age will end with
miracles of Satan and many will be deceived and say they are miracles of God (II
Thess. 2:9-12, Rev. 13:11-17, 16:13-14). Perhaps attributing Satan's miracles to
God is just as much an act of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost as attributing
God's work to Satan.
       Many people profess interest in knowing exactly what the unpardonable sin
is, apparently believing if they can avoid THAT particular sin they will make it to
heaven. When told that NOW the unpardonable sin is the failure to receive Christ
as one's personal Savior, these people seem to lose interest. Satan is the master of
deception. He can and has deceived many into believing there is some way to
enter heaven other than receiving Jesus Christ as one's personal Savior.
       God said,

         "...if thou shalt confess with thy MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and
    shalt believe in thine HEART that God hath raised him from the
    dead, thou shalt be saved." (Rom. 10:9).
     This is God's requirement for entering heaven in this age, and if a person has
met this requirement HE WILL ENTER HEAVEN. Personal accomplishments
such as abstaining from sins, raising a large family, faith in a preacher, priest or
church, enduring a sacrificial life, doing the best you can and being sincere are not
God's requirements for entering heaven.

       Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost CANNOT be committed (as such) in this
age, BUT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN OF REJECTING JESUS CAN.
       Verse 32. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it
shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall
not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come. A
person can speak evil of Jesus and be forgiven but he cannot blaspheme (speak
evil of) the Holy Ghost and be forgiven.
       When Jesus said, "...neither in this world, neither in the world to come," the
word "world" implies an age or dispensation the same as it does in Matthew 13:39,
24:3, and 28:20. When he said, "in this world," he was referring to the age in
which he lived, the age of the law. When he said, "the world to come," he
COULD have been (and probably was) speaking of this present age since in a
sense rejecting Jesus is to reject the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Some people
believe that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit CAN be committed in this age and
is committed when one recognizes that the Holy Spirit is dealing with him about
the sin of unbelief and professes that he is being dealt with by the devil. While
this MAY BE, and Jesus COULD have been speaking of this age when he used
the term, "the world to come," it is still a sin that CANNOT be committed by a
SAVED person. The expression, "the world to come," quite likely looks forward
to the coming age of judgment. If this is the case, then Jesus was saying (in other
words), "If you speak against the Holy Ghost, you will not be forgiven now OR IN
JUDGMENT DAY."
       Verse 33. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the
tree corrupt,. and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. FRUIT
IS TO A TREE WHAT WORDS ARE TO A HUMAN HEART.
       Jesus said in Matthew 7:18, "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither
can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." The word to be emphasized is,
CANNOT. Jesus was telling these Pharisees that they were like evil trees
attempting to bring forth good fruit.
       Either make the tree good,.. Jesus told them to clean up their own lives.
       ...and his fruit good;.. If they were to clean up their lives and get themselves
in a proper relation to God, their fruit would reflect the change (their attitudes and
their teachings).
       ...or else make the tree corrupt,.. He was telling them to stop acting
righteous when they were not, and to admit their own sinfulness and corruption.
       ...and his fruit corrupt:.. The product of their unrighteousness was rotten
fruit.
       ...for the tree is known by his fruit. Not understanding this truth has
caused many Christians to misjudge a brother and misidentify false prophets. It is
NOT BY THEIR WORKS, BUT BY THEIR FRUITS THAT THE TRUE AND
THE FALSE CAN BE IDENTIFIED.
       Verse 34. O generation of vipers,.. Jesus was not out to "win friends and
influence people." He called these religious hypocrites a bunch of snakes. John
the Baptist also called them a generation of vipers (Matt. 3:7) and here in Matthew
12:25-50 (which is a record of the first lengthy conversation Jesus had with the
Pharisees) Jesus called them vipers as he did in his last conversation with them
(Matt. 23:33).
       ...how can ye, being evil,.. The Bible presents the serpent as the epitome of
evil and a viper is a serpent.
       ...speak good things? Evil cannot produce good or can good produce evil,
neither can evil SPEAK good nor good speak evil. Satan spoke to Eve through a
serpent, and what he said SOUNDED good even though it was evil. Man's
attempt to discern the good he hears from the evil he hears must be done in the
light of God's word; otherwise he will be deceived.
       ...for out of the abundance of the HEART the MOUTH speaketh. Jesus
used an example of a tree and its fruit to typify an individual's heart and his words.
As a good tree can produce only good fruit so can a good heart speak only good
words. In a like manner, as an evil tree can produce only evil fruit so can an evil
heart speak only evil words. This is not talking about cursing but about deceptive
words.
       Verse 35. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth
forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil
things. As a tree produces fruit so does the heart produce words. As fruits reveal
whether a tree is good or evil so do WORDS reveal whether a heart is good or
evil. Jesus said that false prophets could be known by their FRUITS and not by
their WORKS (Matt. 7:15-23), so he warned his apostles ABOUT WHAT THE
PHARISEES SAID AND NOT ABOUT WHAT THEY DID (Matt. 16:12).
       Verse 36. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. Idle words are a
product of an idle or evil heart. Let the WORDS of my MOUTH, and the
meditation of my HEART, be acceptable in thy sight,.. (Psa. 19:14).
       Jesus later called the people to whom he was speaking hypocrites and vipers
(Matt. 23). There is, therefore, a close relationship between a viper and a
hypocrite, as a hypocrite is one who says one thing but means another and is like a
viper with a forked tongue. God is interested in an individual's HEART (Psa.
51:17) since it is the SOURCE of man's words.
     The Bible has a great deal to say about the human heart.

    1.    It is the source of sin (Matt. 5:28).

    2.    It is the source of evil (Matt. 9:4, 15:19).

    3.    It is the source of true forgiveness (Matt. 18:35).

    4.    It is the source of human thoughts (Luke 24:38).

    5.    The meditations of the heart are known unto God (Psa. 19:14, Luke 9:47,
          16:15).

    6.    The love of God must originate in one's heart (Matt. 22:37).

    7.    Satan is interested in man's heart (John 13:2).

    8.    Until a person is saved he has a dark and lustful heart (Rom. 1:21, 24).

    9.    In order to be saved one must believe in his heart that God has raised
          Jesus from the dead (Rom. 10:9-10).

    10. When anyone believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead
        and receives Him as Savior, then God's Spirit dwells in his heart (Gal.
        4:6).

    11.   Jesus also dwells in the heart of a saved person (Eph. 3:17).

    12.   The light of the gospel of Christ gives knowledge in a Christian's heart
          (II Cor. 4:6).

    13.   When a person knows he is saved he will make melody to the Lord in his
          heart (Eph. 5:19).

    14.   A person does not know salvation by grace until he knows it in his heart
          (Col. 3:16).
      But I say unto you,.. "But" is a contrasting conjunction and denotes an
opposing view contrasted with the point previously made. In the preceding verses,
Jesus spoke of evil hearts producing evil words. In this verse he spoke of IDLE
words. Idle words are not necessarily evil words; nevertheless, Jesus said that
every idle word would be remembered on judgment day.
      ...That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account
thereof in the day of judgment. Since people will have to give account of every
IDLE word they have spoken, how much more severe will be the judgment upon
the EVIL words they have spoken.
      Verse 37. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words
thou shalt be condemned. It cannot be determined that a member of a cult is
unsaved by observing his CONDUCT. His lost condition in revealed by what he
SAYS!
      The worst thing a person will face on judgment day will NOT be what he has
DONE, but what he has SAID.
      In relation to salvation, confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord DOES
NOT SAVE ANYONE. One must FIRST BELIEVE IN HIS HEART and upon
doing so will confess with his mouth THAT GOD HAS SAVED HIM. In other
words, what someone says does not save, but salvation will always produce
confession (Rom. 10:9-10).
      Words are a reflection of the heart of an individual and these verses from
Matthew speak of people being either justified or condemned by their words.
While these verses apply DIRECTLY to Jews under the law, they have an
INDIRECT application to Christians in this age.
      This verse presents a factor that was bewildering to the Jews; something they
had not heard before.
      This is the first statement in the Bible announcing that a person is to display
his faith by his WORDS. The Jews knew only justification by WORKS.
      Justification is always through FAITH whether in the past age of the law, the
present age of grace or the future age of righteousness.
      For a brief time, sometime in the future, during the tribulation, the Jews will
place themselves back under the law. James spoke of that time, clearly stating that
a man is justified by WORKS (James 2:14-26) WHICH WILL BE TRUE OF
THAT DAY AND AGE. But James was writing about both the past and the
future and not about this present age of grace.
      Verse 38. Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered,
saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. Having heard Jesus distinctly
teach that they would be justified or condemned by their WORDS, these pious
religious leaders had the audacity to ask Jesus for some DEED. They had heard
with their ears but not with their hearts. They therefore indicated that if they could
see a miracle with their EYES that they MIGHT take him seriously. Romans
10:17 says that faith comes by HEARING and hearing by the WORD of God.
These Pharisees said that they might display faith if they could SEE a sign, all of
which reveals that faith does not come to ALL who hear the word of God.
      Verse 39. But he answered and said unto them,.. These people had
ALREADY BEEN GIVEN A SIGN which they ignored. Their own prophet,
Isaiah, said that a SIGN would be given Israel by God himself;

         Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a SIGN; Behold, a
    virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name
    Immanuel (Isa. 7:14).

      The SIGN Isaiah foretold was concerned with THE BIRTH OF JESUS.
Jesus was about to tell of another SIGN they would be given that concerned his
DEATH, BURIAL, AND RESURRECTION.
      ...An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;.. As to their
demanding a sign, Jesus had just healed a dumb, blind demoniac, a miracle they
observed, but they still did not believe that Jesus was the Lord. They had both
seen his miracle and heard his words and still did not believe. God's faithful
people believe his WORDS, but the UNFAITHFUL ask for visible evidence or
signs. Those who require visible evidence that God's word is true have no right to
claim that they live by faith. Jesus said that EVIL people seek evidence and that
ADULTEROUS people look for signs. God wants his people to live by FAITH,
and believing SIGNS DOES NOT REQUIRE FAITH.
      Nevertheless, Jesus told them that they would be given a sign.
      ...and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
If these Pharisees were like some seminary graduates of modern times they did not
believe that a whale swallowed Jonah in the first place.
      Verse 40. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of
the earth. Jonas (Jonah) preached the gospel whether he knew it or not. The
gospel is explained in First Corinthians 15:3-4;

        For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
    how that Christ DIED FOR OUR SINS... And that HE WAS
    BURIED, and that HE ROSE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY...

      These scribes and Pharisees heard what Jesus said, knew what he meant, and
later even quoted Jesus' own words (Matt. 27:40, 62-63). When Jesus died, these
religious leaders were so afraid that the sign of Jonas WOULD BE FULFILLED
they asked the aid of Rome TO TRY TO KEEP IT FROM BEING FULFILLED
(Matt. 27:62-6 3).
      Jesus said, "...as Jonas was... so shall the Son of man be..." As Jonas was
in the belly (middle, center, heart) of the whale, so was Jesus in the heart (middle,
center, belly) of the earth. If a person will not believe that Jonah was in the belly
of the whale for three days and three nights, neither will he believe that Jesus was
in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. The portion of this scripture
that meets with the greatest resistance is the part that says he went into the
HEART of the earth. Those who object to this teaching may agree that he went
into the grave and some that he went immediately to heaven. Some teach that he
remained somewhere on the face of the earth, but they will not accept the fact that
the Bible declares that Jesus descended into the HEART of the earth. The basis of
their objection to the truth stems from their rightfully connecting the heart of the
earth with hell and cannot accept the fact that Jesus descended into hell. David,
however, said that while Jesus' body (flesh) was in the grave, his soul WAS IN
HELL (Psa. 16:8-10). Peter agreed with David (Acts 2:25-37, 31), and so did
Paul (Eph. 4:9-10). When Jesus had borne our sins on the cross, he, like the
scapegoat of old (Lev. 16:8-10), carried them into hell. This does not insinuate
that Jesus suffered the fires of hell, but only that he deposited believer's sins there.
Before his death, burial, and resurrection, both hell and Paradise WERE IN THE
HEART OF THE EARTH (Luke 16:19-31). Paul says that Jesus descended that
he might take Paradise from the heart of the earth and carry it into the realm of
Heaven. Peter said that when Jesus went there he preached to those who were in
prison, which might have included those in Paradise (I Pet. 3:19-20, 4:6). When
Peter said that Jesus preached to people in hell, he certainly did not indicate that
He was offering them a "second chance." Jesus was telling them what God said,
WHICH IS WHAT TRUE PREACHING IS (Neh. 8:8). Many people ASSUME
that all preaching is for the purpose of getting lost people saved, but the Bible says
that preaching is telling people what God said, whether they are saved or not.
Most of Jeremiah's preaching was telling Israel that they had ALREADY crossed
God's limit of patience and that they had best prepare for judgment. When Jesus
preached in the heart of the earth to those who were said to be in prison, it wasn't
for the purpose of "offering an invitation" but for preparing them for judgment (I
Pet. 4:6).
      Until the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, Paradise was in the heart of
the earth, separated from hell by the bottomless pit (Luke 16:19-31). Paradise (the
abode of saved souls) was DOWN when Samuel was there (I Sam. 28:15). The pit
was also DOWN when Korah and his followers DROPPED into it (Num. 16:31-
33). Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth, and after three days and
three nights, he ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN, CARRYING PARADISE
(Abraham's bosom) AND ALL ITS INHABITANTS INTO HEAVEN (Eph. 4:8-
10).
      Until the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the word "hell"
ENCOMPASSED ALL THE UNSEEN SPIRIT WORLD, PARADISE AS WELL
AS THE PLACE OF TORMENT. Until! Christ's victory over death, Satan held
the key to both hell (Ez. 28:14) and death (Heb. 2:14), but, after his victory, Christ
possessed the keys of both (Rev. 1:18).
      Those who object to the teaching that Jesus descended into the heart of the
earth, preached to the lost dead, and carried Paradise up to Heaven, are extremely
presumptuous, denying the one who created heaven, earth, and hell (John 1:3, Col.
1:16) the right and authority to go where he wants, when he wants, for whatever
reason he wants.
      Verse 41. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment... The people of the
Assyrian city of Nineveh were heathens, yet when a Jewish prophet, Jonah,
preached to them they believed God and repented. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
Hosea, Joel, Amos, etc. were Jewish prophets who preached to their own people,
WHO DID NOT REPENT. In a like manner, when the Prophet of prophets,
Jesus, came to the Jews, they neither believed HIM nor repented.
      This verse does NOT say that the people of Nineveh would rise ON
judgment DAY (although it is implied), but that they would RISE IN
JUDGMENT, indicating that they will somehow have some part in JUDGING.
When Jonah preached to the Ninevites and they repented, they did not simply
escape physical destruction, but purchased for themselves a better judgment.
Basically, whether man is under law or grace, salvation is granted to those who
believe God to the extent that they act upon their belief whether they are Jews or
Gentiles (Rom. 2:13-15).
      ...with this generation,.. "This generation" meant Jews who lived during the
earthly walk of Jesus. He said that that generation would be regenerated
(resurrected) to stand before him at "the throne of his glory" (Matt. 19:28, 25:31).
Jesus will sit on the throne of his glory after the tribulation and before he
establishes his kingdom (compare Matt. 24:29 with Matt. 25:34).
      ...and shall condemn it:.. The people of Nineveh who repented will not be
condemned on judgment day, but will condemn the Jews who heard Jesus and did
not repent.
      ...because they repented at the preaching of Jonas;.. The fact that they
REPENTED will qualify the people of Nineveh to sit in judgment on Jews who
heard Jesus BUT DID NOT REPENT.
      ...and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. This verse presents a contrast
between two groups of people and their different responses to the preaching of the
word. The heathen people of Nineveh heard the preaching OF GOD'S PROPHET
and repented while the chosen people of Israel heard the preaching of the GOD
OF THE PROPHETS AND DID NOT REPENT.
      Verse 42. The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this
generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of
the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than
Solomon is here. The queen of the south was the Queen of Sheba seen in First
Kings ten and Second Chronicles nine. This verse is presenting the same
condition and situation that was presented in the preceding verse. The Queen of
Sheba was to Solomon what the people of Nineveh were to Jonah and Jesus said
that he was greater than either Jonah or Solomon.
      To paraphrase what Jesus said; "The Queen of Sheba responded positively to
the lesser man Solomon, while you are responding negatively to the greater man,
me."
      Verse 43. When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man,.. This verse
refers back to the occasion in verse twenty-two when Jesus cast the devil out of
the blind, dumb demoniac.
      Since Jesus spoke these words in response to the Pharisees' criticism of his
having cast a devil out of a man, this phrase is speaking of a demon who was
CAST out and not a demon who simply WANDERED out of someone. This
entire episode of Jesus' having cast the demon out of the blind, dumb man, typifies
Jesus' coming to cast the devil out of his blind, dumb nation, Israel.
      ...he walketh through dry places... However tormenting or uncomfortable
this dry place may be, it is obviously more comfortable for demons than being in
the presence of Jesus and hearing his voice.
      ...seeking rest,.. Wherever this dry place is, it is not a place of rest.
      ...and findeth none. There will never be any rest for demon spirits although
they seem to find some degree of satisfaction while inhabiting a person's body, but
even then they are apparently restless.
      Verse 44. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came
out;.. There are many ways in which a person can open himself to demon
possession: playing with ouija boards, palm reading, reading horoscopes, engaging
in religious practices, being overcome with hatred, bitterness, jealousy, engaging
in or even studying witchcraft, etc. All these things are sins of a spiritual nature.
The doctrinal truth presented by this statement teaches that the first desire of an
evil spirit upon being cast out is to return and re-enter the individual.
      ...and when he is come,.. That is, when the demon returns to the one from
whom he has been cast out:..
      ...he findeth it empty,.. Nothing filled the vacancy left by his having been
cast out.
      ...swept, and garnished. When Jesus cast out demons he not only rid the
individual of the evil spirit but cleaned him completely, removing any influences
that might have been left.
      Verse 45. Then goeth he,.. The evil spirit, having found no rest, upon
returning to the individual he once possessed, found him empty and clean.
Apparently desiring company, he departed again, this time to find companion
spirits and invite them to dwell with him.
      ...and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself,..
Not only did the demon desire company, but also wanted his comrades to be of a
more wicked nature than himself.
      ...and they enter in and dwell there:.. This causes one to wonder about the
SIZE of demon spirits since eight occupied one man in this situation, and two
thousand dwelt in two men who lived in Gadara (Mark 5:13).
      ...and the last state of the man is worse than the first. It certainly was
worse; having had only one demon, the man then found himself with eight, seven
of whom were more wicked than the first.
      Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation. Jesus was speaking
to a company of Jews, highly privileged, living in the time of Messiah's first
advent and being cleansed, swept and garnished of disease and devils. But like the
man in the illustration, the nation Israel did not fill the void left by the departed
devils; therefore, the condition of the nation Israel was worse after rejecting Jesus
than it was before he began his ministry. Jesus wanted his chosen people to fill
the emptiness left by the departing demons with himself, their Messiah.
      Verse 46. While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his
brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Although this event was
recorded by both Mark (3:31) and Luke (8:19-21), none of the gospel writers say
why Jesus' mother and brothers wanted to see and talk to him.
      In verse thirty-eight, the scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign despite
the fact that they had ignored the sign they had been given, the sign of the virgin
birth (Isa. 7:14). While Jesus was still talking to the religious leaders, his
MOTHER WHO WAS A VIRGIN WHEN HE WAS BORN, WAS OUTSIDE
THE DOOR.
      Verse 47. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren
stand without, desiring to speak with thee. THESE PEOPLE KNEW WHO
JESUS WAS AND WHO HIS MOTHER WAS! They had enough information
to have been able to understand that        JESUS WAS VIRGIN BORN, but they
WERE WILLINGLY IGNORANT.
      Verse 48. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my
mother? and who are my brethren? How much Mary knew about her firstborn
and about his mission the Bible does not say, but it does say that his brothers did
not believe (that he was the Messiah? John 7:1-5).
     Verse 49. And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said,
Behold my mother and my brethren! When Jesus was twelve years old, his
mother misidentified his father as Joseph (Luke 2:48); however, Jesus quickly
corrected her and identified his true Father as God (Luke 2:49). On this occasion
someone among the multitude misidentified his mother and his brothers (Matt.
12:47), and Jesus corrected him (Matt. 12:48-50).
     Verse 50. For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in
heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. To paraphrase what
Jesus said, "My family is not to be identified by my mother and my brothers, but
by my Father. I do not consider my family to be determined by flesh and blood
(physical), but by spiritual qualities."
CHAPTER TWELVE, EPILOGUE

        The King introduces a gospel that had never been made clear
   in the Old Testament. It was the gospel of grace, the gospel, or
   good news, of His death, burial and resurrection (I Cor. 15:1-4).
   The King revealed that this gospel was portrayed by the life of
   Jonah, his being dead in the whale's belly for three days and three
   nights (Matt. 12:40). The gospel of the King's death, burial and
   resurrection was to be a SIGN to the Jews (Matt. 12:38-39).
        The doctrine of justification by WORDS rather than by
   WORKS is introduced.
        Jesus was born TWICE: first from a virgin WOMB, and
   second from a virgin TOMB (Col. 1:18). BOTH WERE SIGNS!
CHAPTER 13

      Verse 1. The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea
side. There is no better work on this chapter than that done by Arthur W. Pink,
The Prophetic Parables of Matthew 13. The quality and thoroughness of this
work and the Spiritual guidance behind it is obvious.
      The previous chapter ended with Jesus' being informed that his mother and
brothers were outside the house, wanting to see and speak to him. Having
informed his audience that his true family was made up of those who followed
him, Jesus left the house and sat by the seaside without one word being said about
whether he saw and spoke to his mother and half-brothers.
      The same day went Jesus out of the house,.. Jesus' leaving the house
typifies his turning away from (leaving) the "house" of Israel (Heb. 8:10).
      ...and sat by the sea side. The sea typifies the Gentiles (Rev. 13:1, 17:1, 15)
and his having "sat by the sea side" typifies his turning toward them.
      Verse 2. And great multitudes were gathered together unto him... This is
the second time Matthew recorded that a multitude heard Jesus TEACH; the first
being the "sermon on the mount" (Matt. 5 - 7).
      There are both similarities and differences in the first and second time a
multitude gathered to hear Jesus (see comments on verse 3.).
      ...so that he went into a ship,.. When Jesus taught the lesson recorded in
Matthew five through seven, he was on a mountain speaking to his own people.
Entering the ship denotes his separating himself from his people, the Jews.
      ...and sat;.. The FIRST time Matthew recorded that Jesus sat was on a
MOUNTAIN (Matt. 5:1), the SECOND time was BY THE SEA (Matt. 13:1) and
the THIRD time was IN A SHIP ON THE SEA (Matt. 13:2). On the FIRST
occasion he taught principles required for entering a PHYSICAL KINGDOM and
the demands on those who would enter (Matt. 5 - 7). The SECOND time he
simply sat until the multitudes assembled (Matt. 13:1) and the THIRD time he
taught the strange peculiarities of the MYSTERY (spiritual) FORM OF THE
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
     ...and the whole multitude stood on the shore. Jesus separated himself
from his people (Israel) for the first time in his ministry, being in a ship while they
were on the shore. This typifies his turning from his own (the Jews, John 1:11)
and moving toward the "whosoevers" (Gentiles or Jews, John 1:12).
     Verse 3. And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying,
Behold, a sower went forth to sow; Jesus' first discourse on the kingdom of
heaven (the sermon on the mount) and this second discourse have both similarities
and differences.
  1.     Both messages came immediately after his having healed and cast out
     devils (Matt. 4:24, 12:22).

 2.    Multitudes heard him on both occasions (Matt. 5:1, 13:2).

 3.    His first lesson was taught on a mountain, while his second was taught on
       the sea (Matt. 5:1, 13:1-2).

 4.    The first was given from a HIGH place, the second from a LOW place
       (Matt. 5:1, 13:1-2).

 5.    Before he taught, he sat (set), both on the mountain and in the ship (Matt.
       5:1, 13:2).

 6.    While on the mountain, he taught in clear, distinct language, but while on
       the sea, he taught in parables (Matt. 5:2, 13:3).

 7.    In his first lesson, Jesus taught the DEMANDS, EXPECTATIONS, AND
       RESPONSIBILITIES of citizens of the kingdom in its PHYSICAL
       FORM.         In the second, he dealt with the NATURE AND
       CHARACTERISTICS of the kingdom IN ITS SPIRITUAL FORM.

 8.    The lesson on the mountain was for the JEWS, while the lesson on the sea
       was for ''whosoever," oriented to either Jew or Gentile.

 9.    The lesson on the mountain dealt with a physical, visible kingdom about
       which the Jews knew and expected, while the lesson on the sea dealt with
       the kingdom of heaven in its spiritual, invisible form, about which the Jews
       knew nothing.

 10. The first (physical) kingdom, was rejected, and the second (spiritual) was
     established.
 11. The first form of the kingdom, having been rejected at Christ's first coming,
     was postponed and is therefore FUTURE, while the kingdom in its mystery
     form is PRESENT.

  12. When he finished his lesson from the mountain, his disciples asked him
      no questions, but when he finished his lesson by the sea, they found it
      necessary to question him (Matt. 13:36).

  13. When Jesus finished his first lesson, it is recorded that multitudes
      followed him (Matt. 8:1), but when he finished his second lesson nothing
      is said about anyone following him.

  14. When he finished his first lesson, it is said that the people were astonished
      (Matt. 7:28), while no such thing is said about their response to his second
      lesson. (Later, on another occasion, people were astonished at what he
      taught, Matt. 13:54.)

      And he spake many things unto them in parables,.. These are the first
parables taught by Jesus and the first in the New Testament. He explained why he
taught this way in verses eleven through fifteen, saying that such a manner of
teaching would allow some to understand while others would not.
      ...saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; Jesus told what this parable
meant in verses eighteen through twenty-three; therefore, a full commentary on
this particular parable (verses 3 through 8) will be given later.
      Verse 4. And when he sowed ... The sower was not careless or
irresponsible, permitting the seeds to fall ACCIDENTALLY where they did, but
his work required that he sow seeds upon the entire field regardless of its
condition.
      ...some seeds fell by the way side,.. The way side was a road through the
field. It was apparently on a way side that Jesus and his disciples were walking
when they plucked the ears of corn and were accused by the Pharisees of working
on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1). A road would naturally be packed hard and provide
no fit place for seeds to be covered or take root.
      ...and the fowls came and devoured them up: Jesus identified fowls as
agents of Satan, or Satan himself (verse 19). Other scripture says that fowls are a
type of God's ENEMIES, agents of EVIL (Gen. 15:11, Dan. 4:12, 14, 21, Rev.
19:17, 21).
      Verse 5. Some fell upon stony places... Any ground, regardless of how
good the soil may be, is rendered unfit for cultivation by the presence of stones.
The presence of stones was not a concern of the sower and they were not there due
to carelessness or irresponsibility on his part.
      ...where they had not much earth:.. The topsoil was apparently shallow,
and the stones may or may not have been visible.
      ...and forthwith they sprung up,.. Because there was little or no soil to
cover them, the seeds germinated and sprouted quickly.
      ...because they had no deepness of earth: Whether in the physical world or
the spiritual world, things that lack depth cannot provide enduring sustenance.
      Verse 6. And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because
they had no root, they withered away. In the beginning God said, "Let the
EARTH bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit,
"…whose seed is in itself,.." (Gen. 1:11). Because a seed has life within itself, it
can "born" a new plant, but can sustain its life for only a limited time. Seeds must
also extend roots into the earth since it is the earth that sustains the life produced
by the seeds.
      And when the sun was up, they were scorched;.. Four elements are
essential to sustain plant life: earth, air, sun, and water. The sun, although
essential, without the accompanying benefits of earth, air, and water, will scorch
and wither plant life. Likewise, the earth cannot sustain plant life without the
accompanying benefits of sun, air, and water. Also, water (PURE water) cannot
sustain life without the accompanying benefits of sun, air, and earth. The same is
true of air.
      The four elements needed to sustain plant life are a portrait of the triune God
and his word. Water typifies God's WORD, the sun typifies God the Father, the
earth typifies God the Son, and air typifies God the Holy Spirit.
      ...and because they had no root, they withered away. The seeds
accomplished their purpose in that they reproduced life, and the fact that the new
life quickly withered cannot be blamed on the seeds but on the condition of the
soil.
      Verse 7. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and
choked them: Before Adam sinned, there were no thorns in Eden, or for that
matter anywhere on earth. Thorns are the product of God's curse, and God's curse
was the result of man's sin (Gen. 3:18). Any field left untended will soon be
covered with thorns because that is the way God ordained the things of nature.
      When Jesus was crowned by Roman soldiers, it was not with a diadem of
gold but with a crown of thorns. His having borne the crown of thorns typifies his
having borne the curse and man's sins (Matt. 27:29, Heb. 9:28, I Peter 2:24).
      And some fell among thorns;.. The first plants that appear in the Bible as a
consequence of the curse were thorns (Gen. 3:18).
       ...and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: A field left untended,
neither plowed, hoed, nor treated with chemicals, will produce briars and other
undesirable plants which will overpower and choke tender plants. Since Eden, the
"natural" has always prevailed over the "cultivated" (unless God intervened). This
truth is typified by Cain the "uncultivated" and Abel the "cultivated," Esau the
"uncultivated" and Jacob the "cultivated," and the flesh (uncultivated) and the
spirit (cultivated).
       Verse 8. But other fell into... This is the last of four soil conditions
presented in the parable. The first condition was depicted as a way side being
packed and hard, the second was of stony soil being shallow, and the third was
thorny ground producing natural plants that competed with and overcame the
desired crop. The first seeds fell BY the way side, the second fell UPON stony
places, the third fell AMONG thorns, but these last fell INTO good ground.
       ...good ground,.. Good ground is soil which is neither packed, stony nor
thorny (uncultivated).
       ...and brought forth fruit,.. It was not possible for the seeds that fell by the
way side, among stony places, or among thorns to produce fruit. Only the seeds
that fell into good soil accomplished the purpose intended.
       So it is with the words of God; like seeds, it is God's intention that they
produce fruit. In this parable, ONLY THE GOOD SOIL REPRESENTS A
SAVED PERSON. Saved people ALWAYS produce fruit because fruit bearing is
the manifestation of the spirit of God who dwells in saved people. Fruit is not
MAN'S product but GOD'S (Gal. 5:22-23). While it is God's words (seeds) that
produce new life, it is man's heart (soil) that sustains God's words (seeds) that they
might bring forth fruit. It is therefore man's responsibility to tend to the
CONDITION OF HIS OWN HEART.
       ...some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. While fruit is
always the product of salvation, the AMOUNT of fruit borne will vary from saint
to saint. This truth is portrayed in many passages of scripture and made especially
clear in John 15:1-5 which depicts various degrees of fruit bearing. In verse two,
there is pictured a branch that can bear fruit, more fruit, and in verse five, much
fruit. These three aspects of fruit bearing correspond with thirty-fold (fruit), sixty-
fold (more fruit), and hundred-fold (much fruit).
       Verse 9. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. Jesus was speaking
figuratively and indicating that because someone has physical ears he may not
hear "in his heart." He explained what he meant by this statement in verses eleven
through seventeen.
       Verse 10. And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speaketh
thou unto them in parables? Jesus may have paused after giving his first parable
allowing the disciples opportunity to ask their question, or they may have
interrupted him with their inquiry.
      Their question was NOT, "What does this parable mean?" or, "Why do you
speak unto US in parables?" but, "Why do you speak unto THEM in parables?"
      The first four of his seven parables Jesus spoke to both his disciples and the
multitude, while the last three he spoke only to his disciples. He did not explain
any of the parables to the multitude but reserved their explanations for the twelve.
      Verse 11. He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you
to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
This verse teaches that GOD GIVES SOME PEOPLE AN ABILITY TO
UNDERSTAND HIS WORD THAT HE DOES NOT GIVE TO OTHERS. This
does not mean that God predestinates who WILL OR WHO WILL NOT
BELIEVE, but rather WHO CAN AND CANNOT. The first parable in this
chapter established this truth. The seeds that did not bring forth fruit did not fail
because of any fault of their own or because the soil was bad, BUT BECAUSE OF
THE VARIOUS CONDITIONS OF THE SOIL. In a like manner, God does not
give understanding of his word to someone and not to another because of any
variance of his word, or because one person's MENTAL ABILITY to understand
his word is greater that another's, but because of THE CONDITION OF ONE'S
HEART. God's predestination of who CAN receive and understand his word IS
BASED ON THE CONDITION OF AN INDIVIDUAL'S HEART; A HARD,
STONY, OR THORNY HEART CANNOT HEAR HIS WORDS, BUT A GOOD
HEART CAN.
      He answered and said unto them,.. Jesus answered the disciples' question.
      ...Because it is given... "It," means understanding, and since "it" is given,
there must be a giver who, of course, is God. There is no other source of
understanding or knowledge. If God does not grant understanding of his word, the
best minds with the best education cannot comprehend its precepts. Even when
someone has the ability to quote the Bible from cover to cover, he cannot
understand what he has quoted until God enlightens him (I Cor. 2:11-15).
      ...unto you... Those to whom it was given to understand were the disciples,
and those to whom it was not given were the multitudes and the religious leaders.
      ...to know... Jesus expected his disciples, who HEARD his words and who
HAD BEEN GIVEN THE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THEM, to KNOW
what he said and what he meant even when he spoke in parables.
      ...the mysteries... A mystery is something unexplained, unknown, hidden, or
kept secret, and which will remain a mystery until it is unveiled, revealed or
explained. From a theological standpoint, a mystery is a truth which God has
hidden until he is ready to reveal its meaning. No theological mystery can be
SOLVED by man; only REVEALED by God.
      ...of the kingdom of heaven,.. While the first parable of Matthew thirteen
was not introduced by the phrase, "The kingdom of heaven is like" (or likened) as
were the other six (verses 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, and 47), Jesus identified it as one
also. When he said, "The MYSTERIES of the kingdom of heaven," he was
speaking of hidden things not clearly revealed by either the Old Testament or by
the manner in which he presented them. Jesus was saying that he would speak
veiled words, discernible only by those to whom God would give understanding,
and then told his disciples that they were the privileged ones.
      ...but to them it is not given. While unsaved people, as well as a large
number of Christians, do not want to accept it, GOD DISCRIMINATES. The
Bible reveals that God gives some people abilities that he does not give others.
God CHOSE Abraham to be the father of his CHOSEN nation, Israel. He CHOSE
David to be king of Israel and CHOSE Jeremiah to be his prophet. Jesus CHOSE
twelve disciples, etc. While this truth has disturbed many people throughout the
course of history, it seems to be particularly disturbing to men in the twentieth
century who place great emphasis on "human rights." A LACK OF
DISCRIMINATION REFLECTS A LACK OF INTELLIGENCE AND
HONESTY! God has the right to choose whom he wants, when he wants, to do
whatever he wants.
      Verse 12. For whosoever hath,.. This concept is the foundation of God's
righteous judgment. When a CHRISTIAN has been given a SPIRITUAL gift but
DOES NOT USE AND DEVELOP IT, GOD WILL NOT TAKE IT AWAY
(Rom. 11:29). However, God WILL ALLOW a saint to abuse, misuse or even
lose it (but NOT with his APPROVAL). When God judges the Jews, he will
judge them on the basis of whether or not they USED OR MULTIPLIED THE
TALENTS HE GAVE THEM, AND WILL TAKE AWAY THEIR UNUSED
TALENT (Matt. 25:14-31).
      What an individual "hath" can be skills, abilities, knowledge, wisdom or
other gifts of either a physical or spiritual nature. In the light of the spiritual
context, however, this verse is more applicable to SPIRITUAL gifts than to
physical (natural) gifts, and certainly is not referring to WORLDLY GOODS or
physical ABUNDANCE.
      ...to him shall be given... Because the world applauds the "ROBIN HOOD"
concept of taking from the rich and giving to the poor, most people cannot
understand the justice in this verse. Their inability to understand IS EXACTLY
THE PROBLEM DEALT WITH BY THIS VERSE. An unsaved person can only
comprehend the things of the world (I Cor. 2:14) and can only reason and think
within the realm of the physical things he can see, touch, hear or smell.
      ...and he shall have more abundance:.. God gives physical blessings and
material goods to some people and nations that he does not give to others. This
truth is a reflection of how God deals with SPIRITUAL gifts as well. While God
may or may not take away material (physical) BLESSINGS because they are not
used and multiplied, and while he WILL NOT TAKE AWAY A SPIRITUAL
GIFT (Rom. 11:29), HE WILL DENY SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING TO
THOSE WHO DO NOT RECEIVE HIS WORDS INTO THEIR HEARTS AND
BEAR FRUIT.
      ...but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away... In the light of
the two parables Jesus gave that preview the Jewish judgment, EVERY servant
who was held accountable was given at least ONE TALENT (Matt. 25:15, Luke
19:13), so the expression "hath not" refers to WHAT GOD'S SERVANTS DID
NOT GAIN OR PRODUCE, AND NOT TO THAT WHICH THEY WERE
ORIGINALLY GIVEN. Even though God discriminates, he apparently does so
on the basis of what he sees in, and knows of, an individual's heart. Ideally, if a
person's heart does not desire the things of God, HE WILL NOT BE OFFERED
THE THINGS OF GOD.
      ...even that he hath. Even if a person has no spiritual understanding or
desire for spiritual things, HE STILL HAS A SOUL. This verse is almost
identical to Matthew 25:29, which is followed by the statement that the servant
who had GAINED NOTHING LOST HIS SOUL IN OUTER DARKNESS
(Matt. 25:30).
Neither this verse in Matthew thirteen (verse 12) nor the parables concerning
the judgments of Matthew 25:14-31, nor Luke 19:12-27 are referring to
physical talents or abilities, but to SPIRITUAL UNDERSTANDING. Jesus
was speaking in PARABLES about MYSTERIES and said that some would be
given the ability to KNOW WHAT THEY MEANT WHILE OTHERS
WOULD NOT.
      Verse 13. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see
not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. When God tells
someone something, he expects him to HEAR, UNDERSTAND AND RESPOND.
Jesus had spoken the clear words of God to the multitudes on a mountain and none
of his words had been veiled or shrouded in mystery or spoken in parables, yet
only his disciples had shown any response. Since he had spoken to the multitude
distinctly and they had not responded, he said,..
      Therefore speak I to them in parables:.. Not only had the people not
responded to Jesus' message on the mountain, neither had they responded to the
preaching of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:1-8, 11:20). These people HEARD the
words of God and SAW his miracles (Matt. 8:1-3, 16, 28-34, 9:18-26, etc.).
Therefore, Jesus began to speak to the multitude in a manner which was veiled and
unclear, THEREBY LIMITING THE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND TO THOSE
FEW WHO HAD RESPONDED TO HIS CLEAR TEACHING.
      ...because they seeing see not;.. This statement refers to the miracles which
they saw but refused to believe had come from God (Matt. 12:24). They saw and
did not believe; therefore, their ability to see was diminished. Unbelief always
produces spiritual blindness (Rom. 11:25).
      ...and hearing they hear not... They heard the words of God with their
PHYSICAL ears but could not hear the SPIRITUAL ASPECTS of his words
BECAUSE OF THE CONDITION OF THEIR HEARTS (Matt. 13:15).
      ...neither do they understand. God, as man's creator, is obligated to reveal
himself to man, which he does through his word. When man does not hear and
understand God's clear and distinct words, God will change the manner in which
he speaks, presenting his words in such a way that only receptive hearts can hear
and understand them.
      The Bible is an excellent illustration of this point, being written in such a
manner that even the wisest men cannot understand its doctrines and precepts
without spiritual enlightenment. Because of their inability to understand the word
of God (KJV) many modern religious leaders have attempted to change it,
producing numerous translations which have helped no one, including themselves.
Their new translations have only added to their frustration and to their inability to
understand the word of God.
      Verse 14. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith,
By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see,
and shall not perceive: Jesus quoted from Isaiah 6:9-10, and as in every case
where he quoted scripture, he left no doubt that he expected people to believe and
understand the word of God.
      Preachers are responsible for presenting the word of God as it is, to people as
they are. They should also give understanding about the word, explaining it
clearly to the flock (Neb. 8:8). Preachers will not be held accountable for people's
response to God's word, but are told to simply proclaim it (II Tim. 4:2).
      Verse 15. For this people's heart... The people of whom Jesus spoke had
only themselves to blame for their deafness and blindness.
      Man's heart is the "heart" of his problems and is referred to almost nine
hundred times in the Bible. In most instances the word heart is used to indicate
the center or innermost part of a man in the same sense that the term ''the HEART
of the city" is used. Man's heart is also the source of his emotions, attitudes and
conscience or innermost thoughts. From a "kind heart" comes various "feelings"
such as love, devotion and sympathy. From an "evil heart" comes "feelings" such
as bitterness, hatred, and spitefulness. When an individual is filled with pride, the
Bible often says of that person that "his HEART is lifted up." As an illustration,
the Bible presents King Belshazzar whose downfall began with a prideful heart
(Dan. 5:20-22).
      In order for a Christian's work to honor Christ and be accepted by God, all.
three of man's components (body, soul, and spirit) must be in harmony (I Thess.
5:23).

      1. A Christian is to be motivated by what is in his HEART and not by his
thoughts or the desires of his flesh. The CONDITION of one's HEART must be
right for his motives to be pure. An humble and loving heart can produce nothing
but good words and good deeds. MAN'S HEART IS THE WOMB OF GOD'S
WORD (I Pet. 1:23) AND THE EAR IS THE GATEWAY TO THE HEART
(Rom. 10:17).

     2. In order for his works to honor Christ and be accepted by God, a Christian
must have a proper MIND. The MIND is the seat of man's consciousness and can
only produce thoughts that please God when humbled (Phil. 2:5-8).

      3. The HAND, typifying man's physical being, can only do that which it is
instructed to do by the mind. Without the PROPER HEART, which produces
proper thoughts, which produce proper deeds, only vain service can be rendered
unto God.

      Man's soul is in some way connected to his mind, and is the source of his
ability to worship. Since it is the desire of both God and Satan to be worshipped,
the SOUL of man is important to both. God works for the soul of man by way of
the heart, while Satan works for the soul of man through the hand, or flesh.
Christianity concerns itself with man's HEART, and religion (Christianity
excepted) concerns itself with man's HAND (flesh).
      ...is waxed... This is an Old English expression still used today that means to
grow, enlarge, or increase.
      ...gross,.. Gross means large, dense, insensitive, and lacking perception.
      ...and their ears are dull of hearing,.. Many people have the ability to "tune
out" things they do not want to hear. It is quite possible for someone to sit through
an entire lesson and not "hear" anything.
      ...and their eyes they have closed;.. Jesus' audience had also been
spectators when he worked miracles, yet they had not really "seen" the truth
involved, the truth being that he was their promised Messiah. Their blindness was
the result of their own willful decision, and not because of something God
predestinated.
      ...lest... Lest means, "in fear that," or, "in case of."
      ...at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears...
Among man's many problems is PRIDE which prompts him to say, "let ME do it,"
or, "I can do it myself; I don't need any help." This philosophy has damned many
souls to an eternal hell, for it blinds man to his need of God. Pride is the basis of
all false religions for every religion except Christianity teaches that a person's
OWN righteousness is what makes him acceptable to God. Pride blinds man to
the truth that he MUST have THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF JESUS in order to
enter heaven.
       ...and should understand with their heart,.. This verse reflects the attitude
of the people who heard the words of Jesus and saw the miracles, but who WERE
AFRAID TO SEE, HEAR, OR UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEARTS. The
basis of their fear was the knowledge that admitting that they needed Jesus would
be to ADMIT TO THEIR OWN UNRIGHTEOUSNESS.
       ...and should be converted... Their ears could not hear (spiritually), their
eyes could not see (spiritually), and their hearts could not be softened (spiritually)
because THEY RESISTED AND OPPOSED CONVERSION. Conversion meant
admitting their own helplessness and unrighteousness and accepting the help and
righteousness of Jesus. Usually, the more religious a person is, the more difficult
it is for him to be converted.
       ...and I should heal them. Before Jesus healed anyone, he FIRST preached
to them, DEMANDING CONVERSION (Matt. 4:23, Mark 1:14, 21:24, Luke
4:15-27, 33-40). The nation Israel did not repent and was not converted at the first
coming of Jesus and, therefore, there was no national healing. When Jesus comes
again, Israel WILL be converted (born again, Isa. 66:8) and will be healed (Isa.
35:5-10, Hosea 14:1-9, etc.).
       Verse 16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they
hear. They could see and hear because their HEARTS were right.
       Verse 17. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous
men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them;
and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. Among the
prophets who yearned for more information about God's plan for his people was
Daniel. God consoled Daniel, telling him with tender kindness that he would
someday know and understand (Dan. 12:8-13). Daniel would have rejoiced to
have been able to see and hear Jesus.
       Job longed for Jesus (Job 9:32-33 with I Tim. 2:5), desiring an opportunity to
present his case to God. Job would have loved to have seen and listened to Jesus,
God in the flesh.
       Abraham, the father of faithful men (Rom. 4:16), yearned to see the day of
Jesus, but saw only its promise (John 8:56).
       The prophets who wrote of Jesus searched the scripture for more information
concerning him, but were kept in darkness and denied the privilege of foreseeing
the manner in which God would give his grace (Jesus) to the Gentiles (I Pet. 1:10-
11).
       Both the multitudes and the religious leaders of Israel saw the glory of God,
witnessed his miracles and heard his words, yet failed to grasp the fact that this
man Jesus was the one whom the prophets and righteous men of old had desired to
see. With the truth before their eyes, they willingly turned to error.
       To point out the foolishness and willful ignorance of the religious Jews is
also to reveal the foolishness and willful ignorance of today's religious society.
Like the Pharisees of old, modern religious leaders are willingly turning from
God's Holy Word (King James Bible) to other "translations." There are, however,
still preachers today who preach the true word of God, only to see the multitudes
turn their itching ears to those who promise healing, physical abundance and
worldly benefits. False prophets, with their "be good" messages that promote
"positive thinking" attract the ears of those who DO NOT WANT TO HEAR THE
WORD OF GOD.
       Verse 18. Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. Jesus spoke the
words recorded in verses eighteen through twenty-three to his disciples only. In
the preceding verses (10-17), he explained WHY they would be given the
understanding which would be withheld from the multitudes and their religious
leaders.
       Jesus taught in parables for two DIFFERENT reasons: first, to REVEAL
truth to some people, and second, to HIDE truth from others.
       Verse 19. When... "When" means at a particular time or on a particular
occasion.
       ...any one... The expressions, "any man," and "any person," are found
throughout the Bible, but the expression, "any one," is found nowhere other than
in Matthew 13:19. The significance of this wording is simply that God wants it
known that EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, AT ALL TIMES is included in this
phrase.
       ...heareth... The primary gateway to the heart is the ear. Satan knew this
when he approached Eve in the Garden of Eden. Before he enticed her to LOOK
or to TOUCH or to TASTE, he first SPOKE, and Eve listened to his WORDS.
Since this is how man's unfaithfulness and separation from God began, God uses
the same gateway to restore man to a proper relationship with himself. Faith
comes by HEARING (Rom. 10:17), not by FEELING, SEEING, TASTING OR
SMELLING. In the context in which we find God's prescription for obtaining
faith (Rom. 10:17), we are told that faith must be heartfelt: ...if thou... shalt
believe in thine HEART... (Rom. 10:9).
       ...the word of the kingdom,.. While both Mark 4:3-20 and Luke 8:5-15
record this same parable, neither account says anything about HEARING the word
of the kingdom. Nevertheless, both Mark and Luke emphasize the effect that the
word of God has upon the hearts of men.
      This parable is a lesson on how God's word affects different people in
different ways. Some people, upon hearing the word of God, make changes in
their LIVES, and their WORKS and WAYS become better BUT THEY DO NOT
GET SAVED. Others hear God's word and as a result change their MINDS about
life and its complexities, BUT STILL COME SHORT OF SALVATION. Some
people, upon hearing God's word, are affected EMOTIONALLY, their conscience
is stirred and they become more aware of their sins, BUT NEVERTHELESS
COME SHORT OF SALVATION. Still others who hear God's word become
aware that they are SINNERS, receive the word in their hearts, and become new
creatures (II Cor. 5:7), being born again (John 3:3) by the word of God (I Pet.
1:23) and the work of the Holy Ghost. These people produce fruit, some more
than others (Matt. 13:23, John 15:2-5). God, by his WORD and his SPIRIT (John
6:63), changes their HEARTS, and as a result, their EMOTIONS, MINDS, AND
WAYS are affected and improved.
      ...and understandeth it not,.. This statement makes it obvious that God
expects those who HEAR his word to UNDERSTAND it. When anyone reads the
Bible and does not understand what he has read, it is usually because of one or
more of these three reasons: 1. he does not WANT to understand, 2. he wants to
understand for the WRONG REASON, or 3. his heart has been HARDENED BY
SIN.
      ...then cometh the wicked one,.. Ephesians 6:16 says that the wicked one is
Satan as does First John 2:13-14, First John 5:18, and Second Thessalonians 2:8.
      ...and catcheth away that which was sown... As the parable stated that
seeds were sown and some fell on the way side, Jesus' explanation likens the seeds
and the way side to the words of God and an individual's heart.
      ...in his heart. God intends that his word be planted, not in one's hand or
head, but in his heart. A person can take God's word with him in his hand (carry a
Bible), memorize it and be able to recite it (from his mind) but still not know it in
his HEART.
      BECAUSE SOMEONE KNOWS THE WORD IN HIS HEART DOES NOT
NECESSARILY MEAN HE CAN ALWAYS RECALL IT TO MIND AND
REMEMBER IT.
      This is he which received seed by the way side. The way side, being
"packed," typifies a "hard" heart.
      Verse 20. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he
that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; This parable presents
four different kinds of hearers, ALL OF WHOM, UPON HEARING THE WORD
OF GOD, ENTERED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. However, despite the fact
that all four hearers entered the kingdom of heaven, not all produced fruit. The
one who produced fruit did so, NOT because he entered the kingdom of
HEAVEN, but because he WENT FURTHER AND ENTERED THE KINGDOM
OF GOD.        These seven parables of Matthew thirteen depict the kingdom of
heaven AS IT IS IN THIS PRESENT AGE, its spiritual form, its mystery form.
      But he that received the seed into stony places,.. This depicts people who
have heard the word of God but whose hearts are hard. There may be many
factors that cause a person's heart to become hard and non-receptive; nevertheless,
regardless of what CAUSES a heart to be hard, an individual is still held
accountable for its condition.
      ...the same is he that heareth the word... God considers the heart that has
heard his word as one that has RECEIVED his word. But as this parable relates,
as the seed did not take root and bear fruit neither does the word always ENTER
one's heart that it might take root and BEAR FRUIT.
      ...and anon with joy receiveth it; While receiving God's word is essential
for fruit bearing, this parable makes it clear that simply receiving the word, even
when it is received with joy, does not of itself result in fruit bearing (salvation).
      The word anon means immediately or at once. Those pictured in this verse
might be said to "pounce upon the word of God with joy."
      Verse 21. Yet hath he not root in himself,.. The individual depicted in this
verse is NOT someone who is saved and very quickly loses salvation. God never
threatens his children with losing salvation. Since God's children did not do
GOOD in order to receive salvation (Eph. 2:8) they cannot lose it by doing BAD.
      The seed of the word cannot sink its roots into a heart of stone.
      ...but dureth for a while:.. "Dureth" does not denote salvation. The person
in view was AFFECTED by the word because he received it with joy (verse 20),
but his heart BORE NO FRUIT.
      ...for when tribulation or persecution ariseth... The Bible gives assurance
that both tribulation and persecution will arise if a person is a fruit bearer (John
15:20-21, II Tim. 3-12). When Jesus gave the parable about the seed that fell on
the way side he said, "when the sun was up" (verse 6), and in giving the
explanation said, ''when tribulation and persecution ariseth," therefore likening the
sun upon seed to tribulation and persecution upon his word. When he said, ''when
tribulation and persecution ARISETH," Jesus was further likening this to the sun's
rising in the morning. In the same way that the sun can wither plants which have
not taken root, so can persecution and tribulation wither God's word in a heart
where it has no root.
      While the sun can wither plants that have no roots, it is nevertheless essential
for sustaining the life of plants that DO have roots. So it is that while tribulation
and persecution can wither the rootless word, both are essential for sustaining the
life of words that take root.
      Neither the sun nor the seeds can be blamed for the plant's having withered,
but rather THE CONDITION OF THE SOIL. In a like manner, neither can
persecution and tribulation, nor the word of God, be blamed for a lack of fruit
bearing, but the CONDITION of an individual's heart.
      ...because of the word,.. This phrase qualifies the previous statement. If a
person encounters persecution and tribulation for a reason not related to exposure
to God's word, the previous statement is invalid. In speaking of suffering, Peter
wrote, If ye be reproached FOR THE NAME OF CHRIST,.. (I Pet. 4:14) and
Paul wrote, ...ALL THAT WILL LIVE GODLY IN CHRIST JESUS SHALL
SUFFER PERSECUTION (II Tim. 3:12).
      ...by and by he is offended. The word "offend" means to come under
attack, the act of creating resentment, or hurting another's feelings. A hard-hearted
person who hears the word may not be offended immediately, but eventually he
will fall, away.
      Verse 22. He also that received seed among the thorns... This verse
presents the third of four soil conditions. The first typified what Satan himself
does to prevent fruit bearing, the second what the flesh does to prevent fruit
bearing, and the third what the world (the environment) does to prevent fruit
bearing.
      The expression "he also" lets us know that this person is no more saved than
those in the two previous situations.
      Thorns are a result of God's curse and God's curse is the result of sin and sin
is the result of man's having listened to the WRONG WORDS (Gen. 2 - 3). When
Jesus bore a CROWN OF THORNS, it TYPIFIED his having borne OUR SINS
and having taken upon himself the curse (John 19:2, II Cor. 5:21, Gal. 3:13).
      ...is he that heareth the word;.. This parable does not relate to those who
have NOT heard the words of God but is confined to those who have. Those who
have not heard the words of God are dealt with in an entirely different manner
(Rom. 1 - 2).
      These seven parables of Matthew thirteen relate specifically to the present
form of the kingdom of HEAVEN, and have nothing to do with the kingdom of
MAN (Dan. 4:17, 25, Luke 4:5-6) and very little to do with the kingdom of GOD
(John 3:3).
      IN THIS PRESENT AGE OF GRACE, the age with which these seven
parables deal, the kingdom of MAN is entered by physical birth, the kingdom of
HEAVEN is entered upon hearing the word of God, and the kingdom of GOD is
entered by, and only by, a spiritual birth (the new birth). (See chart #1 at the
conclusion of this chapter.)
      ...and the care of this world,.. Problems encountered in the normal course
of life and man's struggle to exist are not what is meant, but rather a person's love
or affection for the world (I John 2:15-16). The world cannot be blamed for this
situation. The one who is responsible and who must bear the blame is the one who
LOVES the world and remains A FRIEND of the world (James 4:4).
      ...and the deceitfulness of riches... The history of man reveals that when a
person has wealth, he is usually deceived into believing that there is nothing of
more value than his possessions, and the Bible declares that man's nature causes
him to believe that way (Mark 10:22).
      Not only do the care (love) of this world and the deceitfulness of riches
(wealth) prevent lost people from being saved but they also prevent saved people
from becoming bountiful fruit bearers.
      Revelation 3:14-20 tells us that riches and the deceitfulness they produce
have resulted in a religious society devoid of the presence of Jesus. A prevalent
teaching today suggests that the possession of riches is a blessing of God, but such
a teaching is far more beneficial to Satan than it is to God. In this age, the Bible
often speaks of abundance as a curse rather than a blessing. When Christians have
riches, that does not mean that they are in any particular favor with God.
      ...choke the word,.. To choke means to block up or obstruct by clogging, to
hinder action, smother or suppress. Farmers today still use this term when
referring to how grass and weeds affect their crops.
      As thorns will choke and smother young and tender plants, so will the care of
this world choke the word of God.
      ...and he becometh unfruitful. As in the previous cases, there was nothing
wrong with the seeds, the sower, or the soil, but with the CONDITION OF THE
SOIL. The first soil had a hard and packed surface, the second had a hard interior
and the third had undesirable seeds already planted.
      Verse 23. But he that received seed into the good ground... This verse
presents the last of four soil conditions, and the only one conducive to fruit
bearing. All four soil types received seed, but this is the only one that was in a
condition to produce fruit.
      Galatians 5:22-23 says that the fruit of the spirit IS (singular) love, joy,
peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. Fruit
is ALWAYS a product of salvation, and no unsaved person can produce the fruit
of the spirit. Spiritual FRUIT CANNOT be counterfeited or successfully
imitated, but SPIRITUAL GIFTS CAN.
      Spiritual GIFTS are NOT evidence of salvation because they are given to
both LOST and SAVED PEOPLE. One of the purposes of spiritual gifts is to
bring people TO salvation. In fact, a person cannot be saved unless he is first
given the GIFT of faith. First Corinthians 12:9 lists faith as a GIFT and Ephesians
2:8 says that a person is saved through FAITH which is the GIFT of God. A lost
person cannot be saved unless he has been given the gift of faith WHICH COMES
BY HEARING THE WORD OF GOD (Rom. 10:17).
      The account of how Abraham selected and provided a wife for his son Isaac
is recorded in the twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis. The account recorded there is
a beautiful type of how God is presently selecting and providing a bride for his
Son, Jesus. Abraham sent an unnamed servant (who typifies the Holy Spirit) into
a distant country (which typifies the earth) where he met and chose Rebekah (who
typifies Christians) and GAVE HER GIFTS BEFORE (verse 22) HE ASKED
HER IF SHE WOULD MARRY HIS MASTER'S SON, ISAAC (verses 57 and
58). Rebekah could have said "no" to the servant's proposal even after having
been given gifts, and the servant would not have demanded their return (Rom.
11:29). In a like manner, many people throughout this age, upon hearing the word
of God, have been given spiritual gifts but have never said, "I do" to Jesus.
Therefore, SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE NOT THE RESULT OF SALVATION BUT
THE RESULT OF HAVING HEARD THE WORD OF GOD.
      …is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it;.. The way side
hearer of verse nineteen did not understand what he heard. While understanding is
not mentioned either in relation to the STONY GROUND hearers or THORNY
GROUND hearers, the implication is that they understood SOME of what they
heard because they progressed beyond the point reached by the WAY SIDE
hearer, having permitted the seeds to take root and produce plants.
      ...which also beareth fruit,.. Although the seeds, the sower, the sun, and the
soil were the same in all four situations, the RESULTS were not the same;
therefore, the determining factor was the soil's CONDITION. The way side soil
could NOT produce fruit and neither could the stony or thorny soil, but the good
soil could NOT remain unproductive. This parable leaves no possibility of good
soil not producing fruit. Fruit is first the verbal account of one’s salvation
experience.
      ...and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
Fruit bearing will be manifested in one of three quantities. In the three places in
the New Testament where fruit bearing is in view, fruit is listed in groups of three.
Here in Matthew 13:23 the amount of fruit produced is presented in three
quantities: thirty-fold, sixty-fold and hundred-fold. In John 15:2 and 5, fruit
bearing is presented in three different quantities: fruit, more fruit and much fruit.
In Galatians 5:22-23 the fruit of the spirit, while presented in a cluster of nine, is
broken down into three groups of three each: love, joy and peace (personal fruit),
longsuffering, gentleness and goodness (fruit for others), and faith, meekness and
temperance (fruit for God).
       Verse 24. Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom
of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: The basic
message of this second parable is that within the kingdom of heaven (in its present
form) there are both lost and saved people. Jesus explained this parable in verses
thirty-seven through forty-three.
       Verse 25. But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among
the wheat, and went his way. There are nine items in this parable: 1. a man
(verse 24), 2. good seed (verse 24), 3. the man's field (verse 24), 4. men (verse 25),
5. the man's enemy (verse 25), 6. tares (verse 25), 7. the man's servants (verse 27),
8. the harvest (verse 30), and 9. the reapers (verse 30). Only SEVEN of these nine
items appear in Jesus' explanation of this parable (verses 37-43), the two missing
items being the men and the servants.
       But while men slept,.. These men apparently typify mankind as a whole
since they are not specifically identified.
       The Bible notes many interesting things that have happened while someone
slept.

    1.    While Adam slept, God took a rib from his side and formed his bride,
          Eve (Gen. 2:21-22).

    2.    While Jacob (Gen. 28:11-15) Pharaoh (Gen. 41:1-7), Nebuchadnezzar
          (Dan. 2) and Joseph (Matt. 1:20-24) slept, God gave them revelations.

    3.    While Samson slept, he was betrayed by Delilah (Jud. 16:19).

    4.    While eleven of Jesus' disciples slept, the twelfth betrayed him (Mark
          14:32-41).

    5.    While ten virgins slept, the bridegroom came (Matt. 25:1-6).

    6.    While Elijah slept, God provided his sustenance (I Kings 19:4-6).

    7.    While men slept, the devil was still working (Matt. 13:25).

In four of the situations listed above, God was working (Nos. 1, 2, 5, and 6)
while in the other three (Nos. 3, 4, and 7), Satan was working.
     ...his enemy came... "His" is the man, and the enemy is the devil (verse 39).
     ...and sowed tares... While the Bible does not specifically identify tares,
they were quite likely a variety of plant that closely resembled wheat, the
difference between the two being distinguishable only by their fruit (Matt. 7:16,
20).
      ...among the wheat,.. The devil apparently sowed his seeds throughout
God's entire field. He did not choose a certain location within the field and restrict
his seeds to that area but sowed his seeds everywhere among the good seeds.
      Since the wheat represents saved people and the tares represent unsaved
people, and both are planted together in the same field, it is foolish for saved
people to attempt to isolate themselves from the unsaved. God intends for both
the lost and the saved to live and work together until the end of the age.
      ...and went his way. Man does not need to cultivate weeds, thorns or tares
since they are quite capable of growing on their own. Satan's seeds do not demand
his constant care, and he could not care less about what happens to his plants.
Tares
are to the plant world what goats are to the animal world, both being capable of
surviving on their own. Wheat, on the other hand, is to the plant world what sheep
are to the animal world, both incapable of surviving without care and attention.
      Verse 26. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit,
then appeared the tares also. In order to understand the doctrinal teachings of
this parable, it is important that we know when the tares APPEARED, not when
the sprung up. The indication is that they may have been present for some time
before they were noticed.
      But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit... When a
plant brings forth its fruit, IT IS ALMOST HARVEST TIME.
      ...then... This "then" refers back to "when" the blade (wheat) sprung up and
PRODUCED FRUIT. The tares did not appear when the wheat sprouted, nor
while it was growing into a mature plant, BUT WHEN THE FRUIT APPEARED.
      DOCTRINALLY, this verse teaches that the UNSAVED who profess to be a
part of the body of Christ would not be identifiable until near the end of the age.
      ...appeared the tares also. Nothing is said that might indicate that the tares
were not PRESENT, but that THEY WERE NOT APPARENT.
      Verse 27. So the servants of the householder... The man who owned the
field and sowed the seeds was not surprised by the appearance of the tares, but his
servants were.
      Jesus declared himself to be the householder (verse 37); therefore, those who
asked about the source of the tares were his own servants. These servants could be
men or they could be angels. In the Old Testament, David (Psa. 78:70), Moses
(Psa. 105:26), Abraham (Psa. 105:42), Isaiah (Isa. 20:3) and the nation Israel (Isa.
44:21) are all called servants of the Lord.
      In the New Testament, Paul (Rom. 1:1), James (Jam. 1:1), Peter (II Pet. 1:1)
and Jude (Jude 1) called themselves servants of either God the Father or Jesus or
both (Jam. 1:1). The only writer of a New Testament epistle who did NOT refer to
himself as a SERVANT was John, who is also the only epistle writer who referred
to himself as a SON of God (I John 3:1). In Revelation 22:8-9 it is recorded that
John bowed before an angel to worship him, only to have the angel tell him not to
do so BECAUSE HE (the angel) WAS ALSO A SERVANT.
      In light of the context, the servants in this parable are more likely angels
because in verse twenty-eight, they asked if they should go and gather the tares,
obviously a function exceeding man's ability. Another fact that seems to point
toward these servants being angels rather than men is in verse forty-one where it is
stated that the ultimate gathering of both wheat and tares will be done by angels.
      ...came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy
field?.. The servants did not come to the householder out of curiosity but out of
concern. Curiosity would not have prompted them to ask the question they did
(verse 28). The servants knew that bad plants could not come from good seeds, so
their first assumption was that some of the seeds were bad.
      ...from whence then hath it tares? To paraphrase their question, "If you
sowed only good seeds and good seeds can produce only good plants, then where
did the tares come from?"
      Verse 28. He said unto them... Jesus spoke of himself speaking to his
servants, saying,..
      ...An enemy hath done this. Jesus knew the source of the tares and
identified them as the product of his enemy, Satan (verse 39), who has power to
sow his seeds in the field of the world.
      Satan has access to heaven, earth and hell. In the day of Job, Satan walked
upon the EARTH (Job 1:7, 2:2), and he still does (I Pet. 5:8). He had access to
HEAVEN in the days of Job (Job 1:6, 2:1) and still does (Rev. 12:10). He could
walk through HELL from the day of its creation (Ez. 28:14) and still can (Ez.
28:16). Despite his present power and abilities, Satan will someday be cast into
the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:2), and finally cast into the lake of fire where he will
be tormented day and night for ever and ever (Rev. 20:10).
      The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them
up? This is the third of three questions the servants asked their master. 1. "Didn't
you sow good seeds?" 2. "If all you sowed was good seeds, where did the tares
come from?" 3."Do you want us to go and pull up the tares?"
      Verse 29. But he said, Nay:.. The Lord said "no," and then gave them his
reason.
      ...lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.
Jesus did not want his servants to root out the tares because he APPROVED of
their presence but because of his concern for the wheat. There is the possibility
that the servants might not have been able to distinguish between the wheat and
the tares; however this is hardly likely since the fruit had already appeared (verse
26). Even if the servants made no mistake and pulled only tares, the roots of both
the tares and the wheat would be entwined beneath the surface. Having told them
what not to do, the sower (Jesus) provided the solution.
      Verse 30. Let both grow together until... It was the Lord's seeds, the
Lord's field, the Lord's problem and the Lord's solution. No Christian has been
commissioned to weed out tares. The Lord PERMITTED Satan to sow his field
with bad seeds. He knew from the beginning of creation what Satan would do and
certainly had the power to prevent him from sowing bad seeds. Both wheat and
tares are a part of God's plan and program for the age. We are therefore not to
worry or fret about the tares among us, for God knows about them and has a plan
to deal with them.
The Lord did not want to hinder the growth of the tares. Since the Lord did not
want the tares to be either rooted up or hindered in their growth, neither does he
want his children preoccupied with attempts to destroy or hinder the ministry of
false prophets. God expects Christians to do their best within the condition and
situation he places them. Regardless of attempts by men or angels to rid the
world of tares, they will remain until...
      ...the harvest:.. At harvest time the tares could be either cut or uprooted
without damaging the wheat because the wheat would already have reached
maturity and be incapable of producing more fruit.
      The harvest is the coming of Jesus "as a thief in the night" to remove the
saved of this age, both living and dead, from the field of the world (I Thess. 4:13-
17).
      Three interesting things are seen in this verse pertaining to separating wheat
from tares.

     1.         When? The Lord said that it will be at harvest time, or in the time
              of the harvest, which relates to the end of this age.
     2.         Who does the gathering? The Lord will assign angels the chore of
              gathering the tares and binding them in bundles to be burned.
              Whether or not these are good or evil angels is not revealed, but it is
              likely that both will be involved since God controls evil angels (Psa.
              78:49) as well as good angels. It may be that he will send EVIL
              angels to gather the tares (verse 41) and GOOD angels to gather his
              wheat (I Thess. 4:16-17).
     3.         What is the order of the separation? The tares will be bound
              FIRST and then the wheat gathered into his barn.
      ...and in the time of harvest... In the time of harvest there can be no
mistaking wheat for tares, because both can be identified by their fruit. Since the
wheat will have reached full maturity, it cannot be harmed by cutting or pulling
either the stalk or the roots.
      ...I will say to the reapers,.. The TIME of the harvest implies a season and
not necessarily a specific DAY; therefore sometime during harvest SEASON the
Lord will tell his servants WHEN, WHAT and HOW to harvest his field.
      ...Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles… The
wheat remains unharvested while the tares are bound. In other words, while
TRUE Christians are still on earth, God will supernaturally bind PROFESSING
(but unsaved) "Christians" in some sort of groups or bundles. Quite likely these
bundles will be humanly devised fellowships united around some supernatural or
spiritual phenomenon readily accepted by hungry seekers. Exactly how this will
be achieved the Bible does not say, but angels will be involved (verse 41), and
Christians who have placed their faith only in their feelings will be united in
groups and BOUND TOGETHER BY SOME SORT OF SPIRITUAL
EXPERIENCE.
      For centuries, religious leaders have attempted to unite denominations and
churches into some sort of world council, but have failed because their endeavors
lacked any SUPERNATURAL element. In this century, however, a supernatural
phenomenon has occurred which has caused both leaders and members of various
religious groups to be bound together in a common body. This mysterious enigma
has encompassed Pentecostals, Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Catholics and
whatever. The movement is not confined to national boundaries or ethnic groups,
but has spread very quickly across the earth.                  THIS EXTREMELY
SUCCESSFUL, SUPERNATURAL BINDING AGENT IS THE TONGUE
TALKING MOVEMENT. While "speaking in tongues" may not be the only or
final manifestation of the binding work of angels, it has been very successful so
far.
      The bundles into which people are being bound are cells, or groups, within
an overall movement, all being BOUND by a common element, the experience of
glossolalia, or tongue-talking.
      ...to burn them:.. "TO" burn them implies that they are not to be burned
upon being bound, but at some later time. The order of events as given in this
parable is: first, the tares are to be bound into bundles; second, the wheat is to be
gathered into the householder's barn; and third, the tares are to be burned.
      ...but gather the wheat into my barn. The only event in the Bible that fits
the gathering of the wheat is the coming of Jesus for his church. This event will
be instantaneous and secret (I Cor. 15:51-52, Matt. 24:42-43, Luke 12:39, I Thess.
5:2-4, II Pet. 3:10, Rev. 14:14-16).
      Verse 31. Another parable put he forth unto them,.. Of the seven
parables of Matthew thirteen, the first three are concerned with seeds. The first
parable taught that all good seeds (God's word) would not bring forth fruit, the
second taught that bad seeds (Satan's children) would grow among the good seeds
(God's children, I John 3:10) and the third teaches that some seeds produce
HERBS WHICH CAN BECOME TREES.
      The "them" is the multitude on the shore (verse 34) and not just his disciples.
      ...saying, The kingdom of heaven... Jesus was depicting the MYSTERY
FORM of the kingdom of heaven that he established at his first coming. He
OFFERED the kingdom of heaven in its PHYSICAL FORM to his people (Matt.
4:17) but they refused it (Matt. 11:20, John 19:13-19).
      ...is like to a grain of mustard seed,.. Mustard seeds appear in scripture
here and in the corresponding account's in Luke 13:19 and Mark 4:31. Mustard
seeds are also found in Matthew 17:20 and Luke 17:6 where they are used as an
example of something very small.
      Mustard is an annual plant, its leaves used for food and its seeds for
seasoning and hearing. It is used for hearing as an anti-irritant or counter-irritant,
and is also used to increase circulation in areas where applied. While the oil of
mustard seeds is used as a counter-irritant, it is itself an irritant that can produce
blisters. There are similarities between the qualities of mustard and the qualities
of salt (see comment on Matt. 5:13).
      ...which a man took, and sowed in his field: The man is Jesus and the field
is the world. Unlike the two previous parables, in this parable Jesus PLANTED
ONLY ONE SEED. The emphasis is not on the field or the seed however, BUT
ON WHAT THE SEED PRODUCED.
      Verse 32. Which indeed is the least of all seeds:.. Mustard seeds are among
the smallest of seeds.
Verse thirty-one presented a normal situation and the normal activity of a
planter. However, while there were no thorns or thistles, no stony or packed
soil and no evil agents to devour the seeds, as in the two previous parables,
SOMETHING WAS WRONG.
      ...but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs,.. An herb is a plant
produced by a seed (as opposed to those that sprout from roots or bulbs) whose
stem withers after each season's growth, and in this way is distinguishable from a
tree or shrub whose woody stem lives from year to year. The stem, leaves and
seeds of herbs are often used for medicine or seasoning.
      As it is used in this verse, the word "greatest" means the largest rather than
the most effective or of the best quality. The statement, "it is the greatest among
herbs," is strange insomuch as a mustard plant is not the largest among herbs.
Therefore, this parable is presenting an UNUSUAL situation, or one that is
contrary to nature.
      ...and becometh a tree,.. For a mustard seed to produce an herb which
becomes a tree defies the laws of nature and the laws of God. A seed is supposed
to produce a plant "AFTER HIS KIND" (Gen. 1:11), which this seed apparently
did, but nevertheless BECAME a tree. It is obvious that SOMETHING WENT
WRONG.
      ...so that the birds of the air... In most cases where they are found in the
Bible, birds and fowls are one and the same (compare Matt. 13:32 with Mark
4:32), and they are usually found in connection with something evil, dead or
undesirable (I Sam. 17:44, Jer. 7:33, 15:3, 19:7, Ez. 29:5, 39:17, etc.). The fowls
of Matthew 13:4 are said to be agents of the wicked one in verse nineteen. The
fowls seem to be particularly attracted to the mustard plant which became a tree
because they...
      ...come and lodge in the branches thereof. Another occasion when birds
found refuge in a tree is recorded in Daniel, chapter four. The tree in Daniel
typifies the world's political, social, educational, entertainment, etc. systems,
which are said to be under the rule of GENTILES until the Second Coming of
Jesus. Since the tree of Daniel four portrays the systems which provide sustenance
to the world's inhabitants and is the dwelling place and sanctuary of both fowls of
the air as well as beasts of the field (Dan. 4:12, 14, 21), it bears a relationship to
the "mustard tree" of Matthew thirteen. While the tree in Daniel was a haven for
both fowls of the air and beasts of the field, the mustard tree is said to haven only
fowls. The reason for this is that the system portrayed in Daniel depicts BOTH
POLITICAL (beasts of the field) AND RELIGIOUS (fowls of the air) elements
while the mustard tree is basically a haven for RELIGIOUS people (see also Luke
13:19).
      While the mustard seed SHOULD have produced an herb incapable of
supporting fowls, it BECAME a TREE that provided a nesting and roosting place
where fowls could breed and find comfort.
      THE MUSTARD TREE TYPIFIES THE "CHURCH" CHRIST
ESTABLISHED AT HIS FIRST COMING AND WHAT IT BECAME
INSTEAD OF WHAT IT SHOULD HAVE REMAINED.
      Jesus intended his church to be an herb, the "balm of Gilead," the source of
healing for the nations, but instead it became a system of social programs and
endeavors interested in politics and world betterment through human activities. It
became a haven for false prophets and false practices, dedicated to changing
man’s environment by rules and regulations rather than dedicating itself to the
commission of changing men by the preaching of the gospel as Jesus intended.
This ''church" afforded breeding ground and sanctuary for Satan's agents, took the
Bible away from men, brought on the dark ages, and persecuted Christians and
Jews.
      The "church" (mustard plant) abandoned its intended purpose many years
ago (Rev. 2:4), almost died as a result (Rev. 2:9-10), welcomed Satan's assistance
and formed a union with politics (Rev. 2:13-15), accepted the Jezebel teaching
which caused it to love the world (Rev. 2:20, I John 2:15-16), and in doing so,
took on more of the characteristics of a TREE (rather than an herb), thought itself
to be healthy and hearty when in reality it was almost dead (Rev. 3:1), witnessed
revival in the true church (Rev. 3:7-10), BECAME A TREE without any herbal
characteristics (Rev. 3:17) and will finally be destroyed (Rev. 17).
      This parable portrays the system calling itself a church as it was, is, and will
be until the end of the age. This evil Roman religious system calls itself a church
(herb) when in reality it is a political system (tree) which has given aid, comfort
and sustenance to Satan's people (fowls).
      Verse 33. Another parable spake he unto them;.. The context of all four of
these parables has been NEGATIVE. In the first parable, three out of four soil
conditions were BAD; in the second, more is said about the TARES than about the
wheat; in the third, something intended to produce good became a nesting place
for EVIL; and in this fourth, the primary subject is LEAVEN, A TYPE OF EVIL.
      Jesus was still speaking from a ship to the multitudes on the shore.
      ...The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven,.. The Bible presents leaven
as an evil or undesirable substance typifying both sin (Ex. 13:3-7) and false
doctrine (Matt. 16:6-12). While leaven (false doctrine) is evil, it is also an
essential, and its presence in the world is within the bounds of God's will. Leaven,
like offenses, is an essential and must exist (Matt. 18:7).
      ...which a woman took,.. The Bible uses a woman to typify a false religious
system (Rev. 17), and pictures a woman as the one who teaches false doctrines
(Rev. 2:20).
      ...and hid... The woman did her work secretly, not wanting anyone to know
the leaven was in the meal.
      As in the previous parables, something was PLANTED; seeds in the first
three and leaven in the fourth.
      ...in three measures of meal,.. Meal is used to make bread and is also used
as an antidote to counteract poison (II Kings 4:41).
      The expression, "three measures," is found three times in the Bible: first in
Genesis 18:6 where Abraham told his wife Sarah to HURRY (no time for leaven)
and prepare three measures of fine meal for their guests. Second, the occasion
under study which is also recorded in Luke 13:21, and third, in Revelation 6:6
when after Christians are gone (in the rapture), there will be a great famine when
three measures of barley will cost a day's wages.
      The first occasion where the expression, "three measures," was used
involved fine meal with NO leaven, the second, meal with HIDDEN leaven, and
the third, a grain (barley) which WAS NOT EVEN WORTHY OF LEAVEN, all
of which pictures DEGENERATION.
      This fourth parable portrays an evil religious system (a woman) introducing
her false doctrines (leaven) into three forms of "Christianity" [(meal) Catholicism,
Orthodoxy and Protestantism? More likely Judaism, Christianity and Islam.)].
      ...till the whole was leavened. Both the woman (Jezebel of Rev. 2:20) and
her leaven are still in the world today. The effect of their work is reflected
wherever the organized church exists. Every humanly devised Christian
denomination across the face of the earth reeks with the stink of leaven, having
been infused with false doctrines. While God PERMITTED the woman to do her
evil work that does not mean that he APPROVES of false doctrines, but that their
presence is essential to HIS work.
      Verse 34. All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables;
and without a parable spake he not unto them: This is the fourth of Jesus' seven
parables (of Matt. 13) and the last that he spoke to the multitude. The remaining
three parables and the explanation of the first four he gave only to his disciples
(verses 11 and 36). In fact, FROM THE POINT WHERE IT BECAME
OBVIOUS THAT THE NATION WAS NOT GOING TO REPENT (Matt.
11:20), THE BOOK OF MATTHEW DOES NOT RECORD THAT JESUS
EVER TAUGHT SPIRITUAL TRUTHS OTHER THAN IN PARABLES.
      Verse 35. 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
kept secret from the foundation of the world. Matthew quoted the prophet
David and what he wrote in Psalms 78:2. The multitude should have received
Jesus' words as though they were nuggets of gold and a bridge to eternal life. He
was offering his people the wisdom and secrets of God, but they were not
interested enough to ask for an explanation. After giving the first four parables,
Jesus paused, giving ample opportunity for anyone to respond, to ask questions or
make comments, but only his disciples showed any interest.
      Verse 36. Then Jesus sent the multitude away,.. Of the seven parables of
Matthew thirteen, Mark records only two (Mark 4:3-25, 30-32), Luke one, (Luke
8:5-15) and John none at all.
      Jesus did not leave the multitude but sent them away, which is the first time
he did such.
      ...and went into the house:.. Jesus left the house (verse 1), sat by the
seaside (verse 1), then entered a ship and taught the first four parables. He then
dismissed the multitude and returned to the house.
      ...and his disciples came unto him, saying,.. Having separated themselves
from the multitude, Jesus and his disciples went back into the house where they
asked him to explain one aspect of one parable.
      ...Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. Their interest
reflected human nature, being more curious about EVIL (tares) than about GOOD
(wheat).
      Verse 37. He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good
seed is the Son of man; Verses thirty-seven through forty-one are an explanation
of verses twenty-four through thirty.
      Verse 38. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the
kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; Since the field is
the world and the world is populated with people, this verse divides people into
two groups: the children of the kingdom, and the children of the wicked one.
Redemptively speaking, the field of the world grows either wheat or tares and
nothing else (I John 3:10). The Bible teaches that it is possible for an individual
not to know his own true identity, believing that he is a child of God when he is
really a child of Satan (John 8:41-44). IT IS ALSO POSSIBLE FOR A PERSON
TO BE A CHILD OF GOD AND STILL BELIEVE THAT HE IS A CHILD OF
SATAN (John 5:24, I John 5:13). The factor that determines whether an
individual is a child of God or a child of Satan is NOT what an individual DOES,
BUT WHOM HE TRUSTS. John 3:18 reveals who is a child of God and who is a
child of Satan; He that believeth on him (Jesus) is not condemned:.. Not
condemned (saved) means one is not a child of Satan (tare) but a child of God
(wheat). ...but he that believeth not is condemned already,.. This person is lost,
a child of Satan (tare), ...because he hath not believed in the name of the only
begotten Son of God. This is the explanation of WHY an individual is a son of
Satan and not a son of God; HE HAS NOT BELIEVED.
      Verse 39. The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end
of the world; and the reapers are the angels. Since the devil sowed the tares,
they are his and are to remain among the wheat (God's children) until the harvest,
which is the end of this present age. Angels will be given the chore of reaping
both the wheat and the tares. It MAY be that evil angels (Psa. 78:49) will be given
the assignment of reaping the tares, and the angels of God (Matt. 22:30) the
assignment of reaping the wheat.
      Seven beings, or items, are listed in the explanation of this parable and each
typifies someone or something: 1. The Son of man is Jesus, 2. the field is the
world, 3. the good seeds are wheat, the children of the kingdom, 4. the tares are
the children of Satan, the product of his seed, 5. the enemy is Satan, 6. the harvest
is the end of the age and 7. the reapers are angels.
      Verse 40. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so
shall it be in the end of this world. Although hell was prepared for the devil and
his angels (Matt. 25:41), Satan's children will also spend eternity there and in the
lake of fire (Rev. 20:10). The JUDGMENT of the tares will be at the beginning of
the kingdom age when they will be cast into HELL. At the end of the kingdom
age they will be cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10).
      Verse 41. The Son of man... Jesus referred to himself by this term on most
occasions (Matt. 8:20, Mark 9:9, Luke 6:5, John 1:51).
      ...shall send forth his angels,.. Although all angels are not OBEDIENT to
God and some are said to be Satan's; nevertheless, in the greater sense they are all
God's. More than half of the books of the Bible mention angels who appear by
various titles and with diversified duties. Some of the titles given to angels are:

    1.    THE angel of the Lord (Gen. 16:7, 22:11, etc.).

    2.    HIS angel (Gen. 24:7, 40).

    3.    The angel(s) of GOD (Ex. 14:19, Luke 12:8-9, John 1:51).

    4.    AN angel (Ex. 23:20).

    5.    MINE angel (Ex. 23:23).

    6.    AN angel of the LORD (Jud. 2:1).

    7.    EVIL angels (Psa. 78:49).

    8.    THEIR (children's) angels (Matt. 18:10).

    9.    The HOLY angels (Mark 8:38).

    10.   The angels of God IN HEAVEN (Matt. 22:30).

    11.   The angels OF heaven (Matt. 24:36).

    12.   The devil and HIS angels (Matt. 25:41, Rev. 12:7-9).

   13. HIS angels, referring to the angels of JESUS, SEEN IN RELATION
TO HIS SECOND COMING (Matt. 13:41, 16:27, 24:31, Mark 13:27).
       ...and they shall gather out of his kingdom... HIS kingdom is the kingdom
of heaven, and as presented here refers to the mysterious invisible kingdom of the
church age. Christ has allowed evil people and evil practices to exist within the
present form of his kingdom, but there is coming a day of separation when the
tares will be gathered out and burned.
       ...all things that offend,.. Things that offend are things that cause problems
or cause people to stumble. The expression, "ALL things that offend," goes
beyond the tares, and includes other things in the field; hard places, rocks and
thorns. These things that offend are offensive to GOD and his people but not to
the Jews and Gentiles. The things that were an offense to the Jews were: 1. the
presence of Jesus (Rom. 9:33, I Pet. 2:8, a STONE), 2. what he SAID, which was
to them like packed soil, HARD (John 6:60, Matt. 13:57, 15:12) and 3. who he
WAS and what he DID, which like THORNS tore at their ego (Mark 6:1-3).
       The Gentiles (world) were, and are, offended by the preaching of the cross
(Gal. 5:11), but while the preaching of the cross has offended many, it has also
saved some (I Cor. 1:17-18, with Rom. 1:16-17 and Gal. 6:15).
       ...and them which do iniquity; Iniquity can be many things: vanity,
mischief, perverseness, misery, wrongdoing, wickedness, unrighteousness,
lawlessness, evil, etc. Jesus remembers the iniquities of the unsaved (Rev. 18:5),
but forgets the iniquities of the saved (Heb. 8:12, 10:17).
       Verse 42. And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be
wailing and gnashing of teeth. Gnashing of teeth denotes extreme anguish and
sorrow of heart and mind. Only Jesus used this expression and it was always
accompanied by either weeping (Matt. 8:12, 22:13, 24:51, 25:30, Luke 13:28) or
wailing (Matt. 13:42). It also, in every instance, speaks of the FUTURE AND IS
USED IN CONNECTION WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE HEARD THE WORD
OF GOD.
       Verse 43. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom
of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. While the sermon on the
mount was speaking of the demands and expectations of citizens of the kingdom
of heaven as it COULD HAVE BEEN (at Jesus' first coming) and as it WILL BE
(at his second coming), these parables in Matthew thirteen refer to the kingdom of
heaven AS IT PRESENTLY IS. In the verse under study, however, the reference
is to the kingdom of "THEIR FATHER," and speaks of the kingdom which those
who are saved in this age will enjoy after Jesus returns. This verse is speaking of
the kingdom of GOD as it will be manifested in the future, and specifically of the
wheat which typifies "the righteous." While the tares burn in a furnace of fire, the
redeemed of this age will be with God shining like the sun (Dan. 12:3).
       Verse 44. Again, the kingdom of heaven... This parable was spoken only to
his disciples, Jesus having already sent the multitude away (verse 36).
       ...is like unto treasure... The nation Israel is identified in Exodus 19:5 and
Psalms 135:4 as God's treasure; however, the Bible also calls money (Gen. 43:23),
death (Job 3:21), wisdom (Prov 2:2-4) and worldly goods (Jer. 41:8) treasure. In
light of the fact that this is a kingdom of heaven parable and applicable to this
present age when neither money, death, wisdom nor worldly goods are hidden,
this is obviously referring to THE NATION ISRAEL.
       ...hid in a field;.. The field has already been identified as the world (verse
38).
       ...the which when a man hath found... There are several possible meanings
of this parable, one of which is that Israel was lost and Jesus came to seek and to
save that which was lost—but the treasure was HID, not lost. It is possible that
Israel being under the rule of Rome and politically unidentifiable as a nation was
indication that they were "hidden"; however, this is not a very likely explanation.
       ...he hideth... Whether this man hides himself or whether he hides the
treasure is unclear. The context does not cast much light on its meaning. It could
be referring to Christ's ascension into heaven and "hiding" from the Jews
throughout this age or it could be referring to Israel's being scattered among the
nations during this age, therefore, hidden in the world.
       ...and for joy thereof goeth... Where the man went is not clear, but perhaps
he returned to his place of origin. This may indicate Jesus' having left heaven,
come to earth, found a treasure, and returned to heaven to sell everything he
possessed, but this explanation does not fit all the details of the parable.
       ...and selleth all that he hath,.. Selling all he had could be speaking of
Christ's leaving his throne in heaven to become man, or it could be speaking of his
giving his life on the cross. Indeed, when he gave his life he shed his blood to
purchase man's redemption (John 3:16, I Pet. 1:15-19), as well as the earth's
redemption (Rom. 8:19-23).
       ...and buyeth that field. Jesus sold himself, his own blood, on Calvary and
what he sold became the purchase price of the world's redemption.
       Verse 45. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man,
seeking goodly pearls: The merchant man is Jesus and the pearls that he sought
were obviously of great value, as was the treasure in the previous parable.
       Verse 46. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and
sold all that he had, and bought it. In the previous parable the man sold all that
he had and bought a FIELD while in this parable he sold what he had and bought
one PEARL. The field and the pearl, therefore, were purchased at the same time
in the same transaction and both were included in the same price.
       Since the treasure in the previous parable is the nation Israel, the pearl in this
parable is the church. There are many similarities in the characteristics of a pearl
and the characteristics of the body of Christ, the church.         There are many
interesting facts about the characteristics of pearls.

    1.   A pearl is the product of a living creature, a living organism (an oyster).

    2.   For this reason pearls are unlike any other gemstone, not being a natural
         mineral but one formed by an animal.

    3.   A pearl begins to be formed when an alien element enters an oyster.

    4.   The alien element is usually a grain of sand.

    5.   Sand is a tiny stone or rock.

    6.   Upon entering an oyster a grain of sand troubles, irritates, OR
         OFFENDS the oyster.

    7.   To protect or defend itself the oyster secretes a fluid called nacre (mother
         of pearl). The rock (grain of sand) accretes the nacre secreted by the
         oyster.

   8.    As the pearl is formed and grows it becomes increasingly troublesome to
         the oyster.

   9.    Unlike other precious jewels a pearl cannot be cut or divided without
         being spoiled, because it is an inseparable unit.

  10.    While the oyster is essential to forming the pearl, the oyster itself never
         becomes a pearl.

There are many interesting characteristics and facts about Jesus, his church, and
the world.

    1.   The world is often called an oyster.

    2.   The world is populated by living beings (John 1:10).

    3.   The church is a living organism (Eph. 5:23).

    4.   The church had its beginning after the first coming of Jesus (Acts 2).
    5.    Jesus is called a rock (I Cor. 10:4, Matt. 16:18).

    6.    Jesus entered this world when he was born to Mary (Luke 2:7).

    7.    He was troublesome to the world, an irritant and an offense (Matt. 2:3,
          Mark 6:1-3, Rom. 9:33).

    8.    The world released (secreted) some of its own (John 1:12).

    9.    Those whom the world gave up are drawn (accreted) to Jesus (John
          12:32).

   10.   The church is intended to be troublesome to the world (Acts 16:20).

   11.   The church is one body (I Cor. 12:13), therefore an inseparable unit.

   12.    The world will never become the church, that is, the church will not save
          all men (II Tim. 3:1-7).

With so many common characteristics, the pearl of great price can only be the
church.
      Verse 47. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast
into the sea, and gathered of every kind: The expression, "CAST into the sea,"
indicates that it was a throw net rather than a seine. A seine is usually dragged
through the water by two or more men and fish are held against it by its motion. A
throw net, on the other hand, is round with weights along its circumference
causing the outer edge to sink rapidly into the water, trapping fish beneath it. A
draw string is threaded along its circumference so that when pulled, the net closes
preventing the ensnared fish from escaping. Whether a throw net or a seine, the
fact remains that a net does not discriminate, catching fish of all varieties and sizes
whether good or bad. Fishing with a net differs from fishing with baits or lures in
that baits and lures are usually selective, catching only certain kinds of fish.
      Verse 48. Which, when it was full... The present age is set aside by God
for the purpose of calling out from among the Gentiles a people for his name (Acts
15:14). Romans 11:25 says that God has blinded Israel UNTIL THE FULLNESS
OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN. When the last Gentile is saved into the body
of Christ, the net will be full. Then,..
     ...they drew to shore... The net IS THE PREACHING OF THE GOSPEL
OF GRACE, and its being dragged to shore TYPIFIES ITS
DISCONTINUANCE.
     ...and sat down,.. The net accomplished its purpose, the drag was
completed and the workers sat down to begin the chore of separating the bad fish
from the good.
     ...and gathered the good into vessels,.. The good fish, like the wheat and
the pearl of great price, typify the children of God. Vessels can be any number of
things; an urn, a pot or pan, a ship that sails the sea or a ship that sails the airways.
Since the saved of this age are to be gathered to meet the Lord IN THE AIR, AND
ANGELS WILL BE INVOLVED, PERHAPS THE VESSELS WILL BE SOME
SORT OF AIRBORNE CHARIOTS (I Thess. 4:16-17).
     ...but cast the bad away. Casting the bad away corresponds to the tares
being cast into the fire (verse 42).
     This parable reveals some interesting facts.

    1.    Preaching the gospel of grace (drawing the net) will not save (catch)
          everyone.

    2.    The gospel net will catch both lost and saved people (bad and good fish).

    3.    The work of the gospel net will not be finished until the net is full.

    4.    It is not said that angels cast the net, only that they drew it in and
          separated the fish (verses 49, 50).

      As in the parable of the wheat and tares, the method and order of
separation is to FIRST gather out the bad and cast them into a furnace of fire
(verse 42, 50).
      Verse 49. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come
forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, This verse and the next
provide the explanation of the parable, telling WHEN the bad will be separated
from the good [the end of the world (this age)], WHO will do the separating
(angels), and WHAT WILL BE DONE with the bad fish (the unsaved, cast into a
furnace of fire).
      Verse 50. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be
wailing and gnashing of teeth. The tares of verses forty through forty-two were
also cast into the furnace of fire. The Bible tells of several things which will be
thrown into fire or destroyed by fire such as chaff (Matt. 3:12), unfruitful trees
(Matt. 7:19) and unabiding branches (John 15:6). In every situation when
something that typifies someone is cast into fire, IT ALWAYS RELATES TO
PEOPLE WHO HAVE HEARD GOD'S WORD.
       Those thrown into the furnace of fire are not annihilated, but suffer for ages
of ages, perhaps like the fabled PHOENIX; from worm to bird to ashes to worm,
and on and on eternally. Jesus said it is a place where the fire is never quenched
and THEIR WORM dieth not (Mark 9:44, 46, 48).
       Verse 51. Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things?
They say unto him, Yea, Lord. Jesus asked his disciples if they understood, and
offered them the opportunity to ask questions if they did not. Apparently their
human nature would not allow any of them to risk displaying their ignorance by
admitting that they were left with questions and doubts. While they may have
understood the parables and their meaning, their lack of understanding ALL that
was involved was displayed by their reaction to his crucifixion. They did not
understand at that time that Jesus was to die on the cross, be buried and resurrected
the third day, AND NEITHER DID THEY UNDERSTAND AFTER SEEING
HIM IN HIS RESURRECTED BODY (Luke 24:13-26). They did not understand
the empty tomb on resurrection morning (John 20:1-9), nor did they know what
was happening when he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:6). They were still
bewildered by many things years later (Acts 15), and it took the revelation given
to another apostle, Paul, in order for them to get a clear understanding of what the
parables of Matthew thirteen meant [the thirteen (maybe fourteen) Pauline
epistles].
       When the apostles told Jesus that they understood, they were not being
totally honest.
       Verse 52. Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe... Jesus was
still in a house speaking to his disciples.
A scribe was to do more than write or record, but was to also cipher or explain
the scriptures; NOT interpret, but explain it and make it clear (Neb. 8:5-9).
       In a sense, a Bible commentator is a scribe, and as there were scribes both
good (Ezra 7:6) and bad (Matt. 23), so are there both good and bad Bible
commentators.
       The expression, "every scribe," is qualified by the next phrase.
       ...which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven... This statement infers
that not all scribes WERE instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, but the one who
IS…
       ...is like unto a man that is an householder... A householder is a ruler who
is in charge of something, the head of a system, or responsible for a unit of people
or things. The word "householder" is found only in Matthew's gospel and is
always used in connection with a parable. Other than in the verse under study, the
householder is identified as God (Matt. 13:27, 20:1, 21:33). This does not imply
that every writer who has been granted knowledge of the truths in the kingdom of
heaven parables IS a householder, for it says that he is LIKE a householder.
      ...which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old. A scribe
who has been "instructed unto the kingdom of heaven" is a man who has been
given understanding of both the Old and New Testaments. Knowledge of both
Testaments is essential to understanding these seven parables.
      Verse 53. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these
parables, he departed thence. Jesus was probably in Capernaum when he spoke
these parables; however, there is no way of knowing for sure.
      Verse 54. And when he was come into his own country... His own country
was Galilee and his hometown was Nazareth, so he was not there when he gave
the seven parables. While he came to his own COUNTRY, the city was not
necessarily Nazareth (he was almost killed there earlier, Luke 4:16-30) but MAY
have been.
      ...he taught them in their synagogue... Upon entering any city, Jesus first
went to the synagogue (Matt. 4:23, 12:9, Mark 1:21, Luke 4:15, John 6:59, etc.).
      ...insomuch that they were astonished,.. They were not astonished by what
Jesus taught as much as they were by where he got the knowledge and wisdom to
teach such things. They were astonished because they knew who he was, knowing
his stepfather, his half-brothers and half-sisters.
      ...and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom,.. Jesus had no diploma
and no "alma mater." He had no credentials acceptable to these people and few
loyal followers. The people of his own country reasoned that someone whom they
knew, born to parents whom they supposedly knew and whose educational
background they knew, could not possibly have the authority displayed by Jesus.
      ...and these mighty works? They first questioned his source of wisdom and
then they questioned his source of power. Knowing the physical background of
Jesus, his parents, his education, etc., their reasoning led them to the "logical"
conclusion that he could not be Deity. These people did not lack the ability to
reach "logical" conclusions; however, they certainly lacked spiritual discernment.
      Verse 55. Is not this the carpenter's son? The people knew Joseph well
enough to know that he was a carpenter and knew Jesus' mother well enough to
call her by name. They also knew his brothers by name and the next verse reveals
that they knew his sisters. Worldly logic led them to believe that Jesus was not a
"man of God" since there was nothing special about his family or his appearance
(Isa. 53:2).
      Perhaps had Jesus been the banker's son, or the doctor's son, or the lawyer's
son, or the professor's son, or the preachers son, they would have had a different
attitude about him. The people, however, would not have responded any
differently to what Jesus taught, for regardless of his parentage, he would have
taught the same thing. These people were only grasping at straws using any
excuse available to reject what Jesus said.
      ...is not his mother called Mary?.. While the name Mary is thought to be
holy by many religious people, the name means bitter or rebellion. Indeed, Mary
is a pretty name and everyone called by that name in the Bible is seen to be sweet
and outgoing but there is no scripture that implies that the name, Mary, is holy.
      It is likely that God chose this name (meaning bitter and rebellion) to show
the world the foolishness of a religion that insists that the mother of Jesus is to be
worshipped.
      ...and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? The same
religion that insists that Mary should be worshipped, denies this scripture which
states that Jesus had half-brothers.
      Verse 56. And his sisters (PLURAL), are they not all with us? If "all"
refers only to his half-sisters and not to the rest of the family also, then there must
have been more than two sisters, otherwise the scripture would likely have used
the word "both."
      Whence then hath this man all these things? They referred to Jesus in an
off-handed way calling him "this man" and were questioning the source of his
words, power and authority.
      Since Jesus Christ became known to the world, men have denied that he is
the Son of God. While men may use various excuses to deny Jesus' deity, the
people in his own home country used his family connection as their alibi.
      Verse 57. And they were offended in him. Jesus offended many people,
but he never apologized to anyone for doing so. His birth offended people (Matt.
2:1-4), his sayings offended people (Matt. 15:12), his acceptance of praise
offended people (Matt. 21:15), his position and power offended people (Matt.
26:64-66), his resurrection offended people (Matt. 28:11-15), the preaching of the
cross and salvation by grace alone still offends people (Gal. 5:11) and saying that
he is coming again offends people (II Pet. 3:4).
      But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his
own country, and in his own house. Jesus was speaking of himself, calling
himself a prophet. He was the Prophet promised by God (Deu. 18:15-18) and
referred to by the people who asked if John the Baptist might be that prophet (John
1:21-25).
      Verse 58. And he did not many mighty works there because of their
unbelief. The parallel account recorded in Mark 6:5 indicates that Jesus' power
was somewhat impaired by their unbelief.
This chapter (its seven parables) refers to the period of time between the First
Coming and Second Coming of Christ, and among many other things, teaches
these truths:
    1. Not everyone who hears the word of God will be saved (verse 8).

    2. Lost people as well as saved people can claim to be Christians (verses 24
       through 30).

    3. The church would become entangled in politics (verses 31 and 32).

    4. False doctrine would permeate the church throughout the age (verse 33).

    5. God would preserve the Jews by scattering them among the nations
       (verse                            44).

    6. God's intention to call out a people for his name would be totally
       accomplished (verses 45 and 46).

     The gospel of grace was cast into the world like a net at the first coming of
Jesus and would be dragged until the end of the age, that is, souls will be saved as
long as the gospel of grace is preached.
                CHAPTER THIRTEEN, EPILOGUE

     This chapter is the first clear indication in the Bible that this age
would even exist. The only thing the Jews knew about the kingdom
of heaven was that it was to be theirs and that it would be
PHYSICAL. This is the first occasion of Jesus teaching in parables.
Parables are stores that contain hidden meanings that are discernible
only to those with a proper heart. These seven parables give the
nature of this present age of the church. They portray the nature of
the SPIRITUAL form of the kingdom of heaven, or the nature of the
kingdom of heaven during the absence of the King.
                                   CHAPTER 14

      Verse 1. At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,
Herod the tetrarch was the son of Herod the Great who had the babies killed when
he heard about the birth of Jesus (Matt. 2:16-18). Another Herod appears in Acts
twelve, Herod Agrippa, the son of Herod the tetrarch's brother.
      Verse 2. And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist;.. Herod
was obviously and justifiably frightened.
      The fact that he expressed himself verbally in the presence of others strongly
suggests that he believed what he said. He believed in a resurrection, which was
more than the Jewish Sadducees believed.
      ...he is risen from the dead;.. In believing that the dead would rise, this
Gentile ruler was not necessarily displaying spiritual insight. Herod typifies a vast
company of people who have a superstitious belief in spiritual truths but still lack
spiritual understanding.
      ...and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him . It is
only natural that Herod would reach the conclusion that the power of a resurrected
person would be enormous. The thought that John the Baptist had risen from the
dead must have held great terror for him because he was responsible for his death
(verses 3 through 12). The murder of John the Baptist obviously weighed heavily
on his conscience.
      Verse 3. For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him
in prison... The account of Herod's having put John in prison and of having him
beheaded is also recorded in Mark and Luke, the more detailed account being in
Mark 6:14-29.
      People are usually put in jail for crimes such as theft, arson or murder. John
the Baptist had done none of these things. He had been jailed simply because of
what he SAID (Luke 3:7-20).
      ...for Herodias' sake,.. Herod's illegal wife Herodias did not like what John
the Baptist said about their marriage being unlawful. Herod was not the first man
to get into trouble because he listened to his wife: Adam (Gen. 3:6, 17), Abraham
(Gen. 16:2) and King Ahab (I Kings 21) all did the same thing.
      ...his brother Philip's wife. Although Herodias was married to Herod, she
is never called his wife, but is always referred to as Philip's wife. Neither God nor
John the Baptist recognized the marriage of Herod and Herodias as legal and John
was not afraid to say so, even though it resulted in his being beheaded.
      Verse 4. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
When John the Baptist saw sin he did not keep his mouth shut but spoke out
against it. He was not interested in keeping the peace or in not hurting someone's
feelings. The law clearly condemned the marriage of Herod to his brother Philip's
wife, and the law gave John the authority to say what he did. Upon having her sin
exposed, Herodias responded with vindictive hatred, seeking an opportunity to
destroy the one who had brought attention to her guilt and fear to her heart. When
John was cast into prison and later beheaded, he neither indicated that he regretted
his words, nor giving any thought to taking them back.
       Verse 5. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the
multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. Mark's account says that
Herod would have put John to death but for two reasons: first, he feared him and
second, he wanted to hear what John said (Mark 6:20), and to these Matthew adds
that he feared the multitudes. Herod had respect and admiration for John and
knew that he was a righteous man and feared him for that reason, but he feared the
multitude even more.
       And when he would have put him to death... Herod obviously had mixed
emotions about John, desiring to kill him while at the same time fearing the
multitude.
       ...he feared the multitude... Herod was a weak, unprincipled man who
allowed popularity to overrule conviction. Another ruler, Pilate, had to face a
similar dilemma but while he attempted to save Jesus FROM the multitude Herod
wanted to save John because of the multitude. However, both Herod and Pilate
neglected to act favorably toward either John or Jesus, in exercising the power of
their office. Both Herod and Pilate had the common experience of being
influenced by their wives, Herod unfavorably (Mark 6:19) and Pilate favorably
(Matt. 27:19).
       ...because they counted him as a prophet. While the people considered
John the Baptist to be a prophet, they apparently did not put great emphasis on that
fact because there is no record of their protesting his murder. Herod's fear was
unfounded because the Jewish multitude apparently did not like what John
preached any more than he did.
       Verse 6. But when Herod's birthday was kept,.. Herodias was not satisfied
simply with John's imprisonment, but wanted him dead.
       Making someone's birthday a special occasion is an age-old way of honoring
him. Men have traditionally honored other men, and called great those who have
been granted positions of responsibility. Many of those who have achieved
greatness in this world's systems have been honored by people remembering their
birthdays.
       ...the daughter of Herodias... This must have been Philip's daughter;
therefore, she was both Herod's stepdaughter and niece.
       ...danced before them... Whether Herodias' daughter was a child, a
teenager, or a young woman is left to speculation. But however old she was, she
left a deep impression on Herod.
      ...and pleased Herod. It may have been her beauty, her dance, or the
combination of both, but she impressed Herod. He was probably a little drunk or
infatuated to have responded as he did.
      Verse 7. Whereupon... Whether drunk or sober, he acted very irresponsibly.
Dancing can be as hypnotic as music or the charms of an enchanter.
      ...be promised with an oath... Mark says that he swore (Mark 6:23) which
is a promise backed by an oath.
      The Bible presents some interesting facts concerning the word swear.

    1.   The first record of someone swearing is found in Genesis 21:23-24
         where Abraham made a promise to a Gentile king, Abimelech.

    2.   The first time the word is used in the New Testament is in Matthew
         5:34-36 where Jesus said not to swear at all.

    3.   Jesus reviled the scribes and Pharisees for swearing (Matt. 23:20-2 2) .

    4.   The word swear does not appear in any of the thirteen Pauline epistles.

    5.   If nothing else, swearing can get a person in trouble.

      ...to give her whatsoever she would ask. Mark's gospel qualifies this by
adding that Herod said, "unto the half of my kingdom" (Mark 6:23). How deeply
Herod was affected by his niece's dancing is indicated by the depth of the
commitment he made in his promise.
      Verse 8. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me
here John Baptist's head in a charger. Herodias' daughter's dancing at Herod's
birthday party was premeditated and not just happenstance.
      And she,.. This is speaking of Herodias' daughter.
      ...being before instructed of her mother... Herodias was a shrewd and evil
woman having planned this entire saga.
      ...said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger. Herodias was not
satisfied simply by John's death but wanted to circus the occasion, demanding that
John's head be presented to her on a dish (a charger).
      Verse 9. And the king was sorry:.. It is amazing how much emphasis some
people place upon THEIR word but will neither listen to nor accept the word of
God.
      Herod's regret stemmed from his fear of the people and not out of
compassion for John. He may also have been angry at having been tricked by his
own wife and stepdaughter.
      ...nevertheless for the oath's sake,.. It has always been accepted that a
man's character can be measured by the validity of his word, thus the saying, "A
man is only as good as his word."
      ...and them which sat with him at meat,.. Herod could not back out of his
commitment because his guests had heard his oath.
      ...he commanded it to be given her. It was within Herod's power to kill
John, being the tetrarch or governor. Herod placed more emphasis on his word
than he did on the words of God spoken by John the Baptist.
      Verse 10. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. No time was
lost; the order was given to behead John and the order was carried out
immediately.
      Verse 11. And his head was brought in a charger,.. Jesus had already said,
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven
suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matt. 11:12). Indeed the
violent had acted, and the scene must have been bloody and gruesome. While a
party was in progress and during a meal (verse 9) a servant walked in with the
recently severed head of a man less than thirty-three years old.
      ...and given to the damsel:.. She asked for it so it was delivered to her.
      ...and she brought it to her mother. Imagine what kind of people these
were, their character and their morals. Yet they were exalted leaders of a
governmental system. They were people whose decisions and conduct determined
the fate of multitudes. They were honored people empowered to sit in judgment
on others.
      Verse 12. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it,
and went and told Jesus. John's disciples came and took his BODY, which
makes one wonder if Herodias surrendered his head for burial also. It is not
unreasonable to believe that she kept it as an object of hatred. Perhaps she had it
mounted on her wall. At any rate, John's disciples knew that Jesus would be
interested, so they went and told him.
      Verse 13. When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship... Jesus
obviously wanted to be alone. While the news of John's death hardly came as a
surprise to Jesus, he was nevertheless affected emotionally and spiritually. Jesus
knew that the imprisonment and death of John was only one among many
indications that his offer was rejected and that centuries of pain, sorrow, grief,
broken hearts, war, famine, poverty, and multiple calamities awaited mankind.
      Perhaps Jesus used this time to reflect on the life of John the Baptist and on
the hope that the Jews might still repent and receive their Messiah. Perhaps he
looked forward into the future with sorrow, seeing what men would have to face
because of their refusal to receive him.
      The fact that Jesus went by ship indicates that he did not want the multitude
to follow him.
      ...into a desert place apart:.. This verifies what was suggested in the
previous phrase, that Jesus wanted to be alone. Had he walked to the desert
(deserted) place, the multitude would have followed his every step for they had no
consideration for his needs and desires, but thought only of themselves.
      ...and when the people had heard thereof,.. They received word of where
Jesus had gone.
      ...they followed him on foot... Since Jesus departed by ship, the multitude
probably had to wait some time before receiving word as to where he had landed.
As soon as they heard, they went to find him.
      ...out of the cities. Verse twenty-one reveals that there were several
thousand people.
      Verse 14. And Jesus went forth... It is most likely that the place from
which he "went forth" was the desert place and not the ship. Of the other three
gospel accounts of this incident only Mark adds any information about the location
of Jesus and the multitude. Mark indicates that the people saw Jesus and his
disciples not only leave in the ship, but also saw them arrive on the eastern shore
of Galilee and depart from the ship (Mark 6:32-33). What probably happened was
that ONE multitude saw him leave from the western shore of Galilee while
ANOTHER multitude saw him arrive on the eastern shore, and the eastern
multitude sent word to those on the opposite shore.
      Luke's account mentions the city of Bethsaida, saying that the desert place to
which Jesus departed was near by (Luke 9:10). There was a city named Bethsaida
on both the eastern and western shore of Galilee; however, in light of the
information provide by the four gospels, this Bethsaida was on the eastern shore.
      ...and saw a great multitude... Mark's gospel says that Jesus looked upon
the multitude as sheep having no shepherd (Mark 6:34).
      ...and was moved with compassion toward them,.. Jesus wanted to be
alone for a needed time of rest, meditation and prayer, but his compassion for the
people overruled his desire for solitude.
      ...and he healed their sick. He not only healed those who were sick but also
taught them many things (Mark 6:34).
      Human nature causes man to be more concerned with PHYSICAL blessings
than with SPIRITUAL blessings. For instance, in these present times, a "faith
healer" can usually draw a larger crowd than a Bible teacher, simply because
people desire physical benefits more than spiritual enlightenment. The Bible
provides several examples of this truth.
      In John, chapter three, a Jewish religious leader, a "good" man who came to
Jesus to talk, found it difficult to understand what Jesus told him. Upon being told
that he needed to be "born again," this man, Nicodemus, was bewildered,
incapable of thinking in any realm other than the PHYSICAL. He could only
envision a second PHYSICAL birth (John 3:4), and was astonished when told
there was also a SPIRITUAL birth.
      Another illustration is given in the fourth chapter of John, where Jesus told a
woman of Samaria who was drawing water from a well that he could give her
water that she could drink and never thirst again. She, like Nicodemus, could
understand only PHYSICAL truths and was amazed at Jesus' statement, not
understanding that he was speaking of SPIRITUAL water.
A third example is given in the sixth chapter of John where Jesus fed a large
multitude with physical bread and meat. The people were so impressed they
wanted to immediately make him their king (John 6:15), but further in the
account we see that many of the same multitude (John 6:24), when told that
they needed to eat HIS flesh and drink HIS blood (John 6:53-58), ceased to
follow him (John 6:66). They could only think of what he said in a
PHYSICAL way.
      Jesus told Nicodemus, "...Except a man be born again, he cannot SEE the
kingdom of God" (John 3:3). No one can see spiritual truth until God, by his
word and his Spirit, takes away his blindness inherited from Adam, the father of
all men (II Cor. 4:3-4, I Pet. 1:22-23, Eph. 2:3).
      Verse 15. And when it was evening,.. (See comments on 8:16.)
      ...his disciples came to him ,.. While Matthew 14:13 and John 6:1 indicate
that Jesus crossed the sea alone, Mark 6:32 and Luke 9:10 use the word "they,"
showing that the disciples went with him in the ship.
      ...saying, This is a desert place,.. John says that there was much grass there
(John 6:10) and Mark says that the grass was green (Mark 6:39), yet Matthew,
Mark and Luke all say that it was a desert place. The expression, "desert place,"
therefore, does not imply that it was a dry sandy area but rather a deserted or
uninhabited place.
      ...and the time is now past;.. Both Mark and Luke explained this
expression, Mark saying that the day was far spent (Mark 6:35) and Luke that the
day began to wear away (Luke 9:12).
      ...send the multitude away,.. The people had come to see Jesus without
having made preparation to stay and were like little children who did not know
when to go home.
      ...that they may go into the villages... Cities and villages were close
together in those days and the multitudes may have been in sight and walking
distance of several.
      ...and buy themselves victuals. The word victuals means things to eat and
usually refers to prepared food.
      Verse 16. But Jesus said unto them... Jesus was speaking only to his
disciples.
      ...They need not depart;.. This is an eternal truth. Not only was it
unnecessary for these people to go elsewhere to find food but being in the
presence of Jesus made it unnecessary for them to go elsewhere for anything.
      ...give ye them to eat. The disciples were obviously appalled at this
statement and might well have thought, "How can we give them what we haven't
got?"
      Verse 17. And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two
fishes. John's gospel says that Jesus asked Philip specifically where they might go
to buy bread and that Andrew presented a boy with five loaves and two fishes.
      Verse 18. He said, Bring them hither to me. The reason that Jesus some-
times involved others in his affairs and works is not always clear. Jesus certainly
needed no help; nevertheless, he often turned to others for assistance. For
example, when Jesus worked his first miracle at the marriage in Cana he called on
others to assist him when he turned water into wine, requiring that THEY fill the
pots with water and pour (John 2:1-11). When Peter and his friends had fished all
night and caught nothing, Jesus told them to let down their net and upon doing so
they enclosed a great multitude of fishes. Had Jesus merely wanted to provide his
disciples with fish, he could have spoken the word and fish would have
materialized, but instead he provided them through a normal course of action.
      He told a blind man to go and wash in the pool of Salome that he might
regain his sight (John 9:1-7).
      Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead by merely speaking the words,
"Lazarus come forth," but told OTHERS to loose him from his grave clothes (John
11:43-44).
      He told his disciples to get the colt upon which he rode into Jerusalem (Mark
11:1-11). Examples of Jesus' using others in his work abound; nevertheless, on
some occasions Jesus did his works and miracles without anyone else being
involved. In Luke 5:12-13 he made no demands upon the leper whom he healed,
nor in Luke 7:1-10 did he demand anyone's involvement in healing the centurion's
servant.
      In some cases it appears that Jesus worked a miracle or forgave someone's
sins on the basis of something they had already done (Luke 7:36-50, Luke 8:43-
48).
      There seems to be no distinct element common to all the cases listed above,
not even faith, for when Jesus healed a man of dropsy it was not on the basis of
anyone's faith (Luke 14:2-4).
      In the scripture under study, he told his disciples to bring him the bread and
fish, and they did.
      Verse 19. And he commanded... Jesus did not invite or request, but ordered
the multitude to sit down.
      ...the multitude to sit down on the grass... This speaks of Jesus' getting the
multitude down to basics, grass being the first thing given life upon the restored
earth (Gen. 1:11).
      ...and took the five loaves,.. Five is the number of life or death (see
comments on 25:1). When Jesus was discussing life he said of himself, "I am
that BREAD of life" (John 6:48), and we are told in the verse under study that
there were FIVE LOAVES OF BREAD.
      ...and the two fishes,.. Note the ages listed in Genesis chapter five and see
that with the exception of that of Methuselah, each of the remaining twenty-seven
ages are numbers divisible by FIVE or they are numbers which end with either
two or seven; therefore, they are numbers divisible by five PLUS TWO (zero plus
two or five plus two).
      While two is the number of division, it is also the number of preservation.
Both male and female are required to preserve both animal and human life (Gen.
6:19-20).
      ...and looking up to heaven,.. This leaves no doubt that heaven is above, the
opposite direction from hell (Num. 16:33).
      ...he blessed,.. While the word blessed means happy, as it is used here it
means to speak well about something.
      ...and brake,.. At the last supper Jesus broke bread and in doing so referred
to himself, saying, "...this is my body, which is broken for you:.." (I Cor.
11:24).
      Since human bodies are created of the dust of the earth, physical life must be
sustained by something produced by the earth. Bread is made from grain
produced by the soil of the earth.
      Spiritual life which accompanies the new birth is sustained by heavenly
bread (John 6:51).
      ...and gave the loaves to his disciples,.. As Jesus gave the broken loaves to
the disciples to distribute among the people that their PHYSICAL life might be
sustained, so it is that he has given preachers the privilege of proclaiming his word
which is the bread of SPIRITUAL life (John 6:63, Eph. 4:11).
      ...and the disciples to the multitude. In an epistle written to a preacher,
Paul said, "preach the word" (II Tim. 4:2). The children of God are called sheep
(John 10:16) and preachers are told to feed God's sheep (John 21:15, 16, 17).
Preachers, as under-shepherds, are commissioned to lead God's sheep through the
green pastures of the Holy Bible, feeding the flock by preaching the word.
      Verse 20. And they did all eat... They were all hungry so they all ate.
When an individual is very hungry it is difficult for him to concentrate on anything
other than food. When someone goes a long time without food, the natural result
is that he hungers, and the remedy is food.
       On the other hand a person may be starving spiritually without recognizing
his need for spiritual food.
       ...and were filled:.. The Bible is sufficient to fill the whole world with
spiritual food. Most people, however, seem to have no appetite and no desire to
feast upon the words of God. Anytime there are people who hunger for the bread
of life, God will provide someone who is willing and capable of feeding them.
       ...and they took up of the fragments that remained... This statement
typifies the fact that God's word is never wasted, that it will not return to him void
(Isa. 55:11).
       ...twelve baskets full. The disciples took up more bread and fish than they
started with. This typifies a spiritual truth that the more a person knows and
applies of the word of God the more he will have to give others, and that the more
one "eats" of the word of God the more he will have left over.
       Verse 21. And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside
women and Children. While Jesus' feeding this large multitude was truly
miraculous, He fed millions of his people for forty years and did not have either
fish or bread to start with (Ex. 16).
       When Jesus fed this multitude of about five thousand men plus women and
children, he was EAST OF THE JORDAN RIVER, typifying the wilderness
where he had fed the children of Israel with manna.
       Verse 22. And straightway... Immediately upon gathering up the remaining
scraps of food Jesus sent his disciples and the multitude away.
       ...Jesus constrained his disciples... He pressed upon them the necessity of
doing his bidding which was;..
       ...to get into a ship,.. He first sent his disciples away and then the multitude.
Mark 6:45 reveals that be told his disciples to go to Bethsaida, obviously on the
northwestern shore of Galilee near Capernaum (John 6:17).
       ...and to go before him unto the other side,.. Jesus apparently wanted
some time to be alone that he had not been permitted earlier (see comments on
verse 13). He told his disciples to depart to the opposite shore, perhaps assuring
them that he would join them later.
       ...while he sent the multitudes away. When a few linger, others are
influenced to linger also; therefore, Jesus sent his disciples away first that he might
more easily persuade the multitude to depart.
       In verses fourteen, fifteen and nineteen, the scripture uses the singular word,
multitude, but in verses twenty-two and twenty-three, the plural word, multitudes,
is employed. This may be because the people divided themselves into groups
(multitudes) according to the direction they traveled to return to their homes.
       Verse 23. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a
mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
It is not recorded that Jesus ever FELT alone as did Moses (Deu. 1:9, Num. 11:14)
or Jeremiah (Jer. 15:17) even though it is said that he WAS ALONE upon this
mountain. He was alone only in the sense of being separated from people. He
was praying and, therefore, as when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane (Matt.
26:36-45), his FATHER was with him.
       Verse 24. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with
waves: for the wind was contrary. Jesus was on a mountain alone where there
was peace and security; BUT... This "but" is a contrasting conjunction suggesting
that the solitude, peace and security he knew on the mountain was in contrast with
what the disciples were experiencing on the sea. His position was high and
peaceful while theirs was low and turbulent. This episode GENERALLY typifies
the nation Israel, and their condition and separation from the Lord during this
present age, and SPECIFICALLY typifies Israel during the tribulation. Notice
these facts:

   1.    Jesus' feeding the multitude typifies his offering himself (the bread of life)
         to his people at his first coming (John 6).

   2. His being alone on the mountain speaks of his ascending into heaven to be
      with his Father while separated from his brothers (Israel).

   3. The ship on the sea depicts Israel dwelling among the nations during their
      dispersion.

    4.    The storm on the sea is a portrait of the great tribulation and the nations
          in distress.

    5.    Jesus' walking upon the sea depicts his dominion over the nations.

    6.    His appearing to his disciples portrays Jesus' Second Coming to Israel
          (Matt. 24:30, Rev. 1:7).

    7.    The contrary wind typifies the influence of the evil spirit world (Eph.
          4:14 with I Tim. 4:1).

    8.    Jesus came into the ship and his disciples worshipped him (verses 32 and
          33), typifying his future kingdom.
      Verse 25. And in the fourth watch of the night... The fourth watch is
between three and six o'clock in the morning.
      ...Jesus went unto them,.. Jesus' going unto them in the fourth watch
typifies his Second Coming to Israel (Mal. 4:2, Matt. 24:30). Mark's account says
that Jesus gave his disciples the impression that he was going to pass them by, and
awaited their cry before turning to lend them aid (Mark 6:48).
      ...walking on the sea. His walking upon the sea typifies his total dominion
over the nations, and that no matter how turbulent or belligerent the nations might
be, he treads easily upon them.
      Verse 26. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea,.. The
disciples were in a ship fighting fierce winds and heavy waves, afraid that they
might drown, when they looked and saw someone walking on the water. The
disciples were familiar with ships and with the sea, some of them being fishermen,
but what their eyes beheld, their minds found hard to accept. They knew that flesh
and blood people do not walk on water, so naturally...
      ...they were troubled,.. John says that they were not only troubled, but
afraid (John 6:19).
      ...saying, It is a spirit;.. Their supposition was not based on superstition, for
unlike the Sadducees, they believed spirits existed.
      The Bible speaks of divers spirits serving either God or Satan throughout the
history of man.

    1. An evil spirit troubled King Saul (I Sam. 16:14).

    2. A lying spirit stood before God himself and was permitted to lie to kings
       THROUGH THE MOUTHS OF PROPHETS (I Kings 22:21-23).

    3. Lying spirits usually say good things, and most people prefer the lies they
       tell to the truth (I Kings 22:24).

    4. Job's friend Eliphaz saw and heard a spirit and it made his hair stand on
       end (Job 4:13-21).

    5. There is another spirit that imitates the Holy Spirit (Eph. 11:4, I John 4:6).

    6. Jesus verified the existence of spirits after his resurrection by showing that
       he was flesh and bone and saying that a spirit has neither (Luke 24:37-39).

    ...and they cried out for fear. Eliphaz said that when he saw a spirit he
trembled so badly that his bones shook (Job 4:14).
    As apostasy increases, spiritual manifestations and bizarre accounts of
hauntings and fearful events will increase to the extent that they will be
commonplace. The Roman Catholic Church will probably become more actively
engaged in attempts to solve these weird occurrences and the "holiness" churches
will continue to confuse Satanic spiritual enigmas with the work of the Holy
Spirit.
    Verse 27. But straightway Jesus spake unto them,.. Hearing their Master's
voice likely dispelled their fears immediately for Jesus said in John 10:4 that his
sheep know his voice.
    ...saying, Be of good cheer; it is I;.. Being of good cheer would be
diametrically opposed to being filled with fear.
    ...be not afraid. Apparently by the time he had finished speaking these
words, their fears were so completely dispelled that one of them, Simon Peter,
suddenly became brave, issuing a mild challenge while expressing doubt that it
was really Jesus.
    Verse 28. And Peter answered him... If anyone answered, it would have
been Peter, for it was his nature to speak before thinking.
    ...and said, Lord,.. Peter contradicted himself, calling Jesus Lord and at the
same time expressing doubt that it was really him.
    ...if it be thou,.. Jesus had just identified himself (verse 27), so Peter's
challenge was likely based on his desire to engage in something miraculous.
    ...bid me come unto thee on the water. If Peter's only objective was to gain
assurance that the one walking on the sea was really his Master, he could have
simply asked Jesus to come to them, but he wanted to do something spectacular.
      Verse 29. And he said, Come. Jesus spoke to Peter, bidding him to step
down out of the ship and onto the water.
      This episode typifies the kingdom rule of Jesus in which the nation Israel,
typified by Peter, will have dominion over the nations of the world as long as they
have their eyes on Him (which they will, Ez. 35:25-28).
      And when Peter was come down out of the ship,.. Even if the sea had
been calm, this took a great deal of faith.
      Matthew is the only writer who recorded that Peter walked upon the sea.
      ...he walked on the water,.. It is not likely that anyone who has read this
passage has not wondered what it would be like to walk on water.
      ...to go to Jesus. Peter started out with the right goal in mind, and his
intentions were apparently good since Jesus expressed no disapproval.
      Verse 30. But when he saw the wind boisterous,.. Boisterous means to be
violent, turbulent, noisy or unruly. The wind was responsible for the waves since
the sea cannot, of itself, produce waves or currents. While waves may be caused
by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or objects falling into the sea (Rev. 8:8), most
waves are caused by the wind.
      Ocean currents are the result of the sun's shining more directly on one area
than on another due to the curvature of the earth. That portion of the ocean
receiving the most heat from the sun warms faster than that subjected to less heat.
When a body of water like the ocean is heated more in one area than another,
currents are produced.
      In the scripture under study, the boisterous wind was responsible for the
turbulent sea. This typifies the influence and orchestration of the spirit of Satan
(Eph. 2:2) which keeps the nations in turmoil.
      ...he was afraid;.. Fear robbed Peter of faith. He apparently became more
mindful of the situation surrounding him and took his eyes off Jesus.
      ...and beginning to sink, he cried,.. In verse twenty-eight, faith caused
Peter to ANSWER Jesus while in this verse fear caused him to CRY OUT to
Jesus.
      It was this occasion that inspired the song, Love Lifted Me.

      I was sinking deep in sin,
        Far from the peaceful shore,
      Very deeply stained within,
        Sinking to rise no more.

      But the Master of the sea,
       Heard my despairing cry,
      From the waters lifted me,
       Now safe am I,

      Love lifted me!

      ...saying, Lord, save me. Peter had only to speak three words, "Lord, save
me." That is all it takes for anyone to be saved. Paul wrote, "For whosoever shall
call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13), and Jesus said, "Him
that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).
      Verse 31. And immediately... Jesus did not pause to demand conditions,
neither did he bargain with Peter, but reacted instantly. This typifies salvation by
grace wherein God does not demand compromise or bargains, but only that one
call on him (Rom. 10:13). In other words, Jesus did not say, "Quickly Peter,
repent so that I might save you," nor did he say, "First Peter, you must show me
how much faith you have for I cannot save you if you do not have enough faith."
Neither did Jesus say "Peter, I must wait until you are completely submersed
because you must be 'BUPTIZED' in order to be saved," nor did he say, "Peter, I
want to save you, but you must first pray through, you must beg and plead and
wrestle with me, else I will not save you."
      ...Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,.. Jesus did not require
that Peter reach up to him, but instead reached down and caught Peter. In a like
manner, man does not reach up to God (Gen. 3:8); rather, God reaches down to
man (Gen. 3:9, John 3:16). Fallen man could not go up to heaven and reconcile
himself to God, but God had to come down to earth to provide reconciliation.
      ...and said unto him, O thou of little faith ... Jesus said that Peter had
LITTLE FAITH, YET he saved him on the basis of his FAITH. By this we are to
know that it is not HOW MUCH faith one has, but the OBJECT of one's faith that
saves.
      ...wherefore didst thou doubt? In other words Jesus asked Peter, "For what
reason did you doubt, and what is the source of your doubt?"
      Peter's stepping onto and walking upon the sea, only to sink and cry out for
help, is a portrait of a Christian SAVED by faith but who FAILS TO LIVE BY
THE SAME FAITH (Rom. 1:17). Among a Christian's many failures, the greatest
usually comes soon after salvation, the failure to walk by FAITH instead of by
SIGHT (Rom. 8:24-25, II Cor. 5:7). When Peter SAW that the wind was
boisterous, he was afraid and ceased to walk by FAITH.
      Verse 32. And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. The
wind did NOT cease when Jesus appeared; neither did it cease when he spoke to
his disciples, nor when he invited Peter to come to him. The wind did not cease
until THEY came into the ship. Their entering the ship and enjoying calm typifies
both Christ and his body, the church (typified by Peter), leaving this world and
entering heaven where no boisterous winds will blow and no tempestuous sea will
swell, as well as typifying his entering the kingdom with Israel.
      Verse 33. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him...
The disciples are said to have worshipped Jesus on only three occasions: after they
saw him walk upon the water (Matt. 14:33), after his resurrection (Matt. 28:17)
and after his ascension into heaven (Luke 24:52).
      This verse provides evidence that Jesus is God because only God is to be
worshipped (Rev. 22:8-9). The host of heaven worship both God (Rev. 4:8-11)
and Jesus (Rev. 5:8-14), thereby showing them to be one and the same.
      ...saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. The Lord Jesus Christ was
GOD whose MOTHER was a WOMAN (Gen. 3:15, Heb. 2:14, etc.) and a MAN
whose FATHER was GOD (I Tim. 2:5, Luke 1:35).
      Verse 34. And when they were gone over, they came into the land of
Gennesaret. This verse does not give the exact place where they landed because
the Sea of Galilee was also called the Lake of Gennesaret (Luke 5:1), so the land
of Gennesaret was probably a large area encompassing much of the sea.
      John tells us in his gospel that the ship reached the shore immediately upon
Jesus' having stepped into it (John 6:21). Mark's gospel tells us that the entire
episode concerning the stormy sea was to present a truth that Jesus wanted his
disciples to learn about his having fed the multitudes, so that they might know that
HE WAS THE SAME LORD THAT FED THEIR FOREFATHERS IN THE
WILDERNESS (Ex. 16, Mark 6:51-52).
      Verse 35. And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they
sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were
diseased; As the fame of Jesus spread, his following increased, AS LONG AS
HE PROVIDED PHYSICAL BENEFITS. The people wanted to receive what
Jesus DID but did not want to receive what he SAID.
      Verse 36. And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his
garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. This makes one
wonder where all these people were when Jesus was tried and crucified. There
must have been tens of thousands of people who were either fed, healed, forgiven,
or cleansed of demons by Jesus, or knew someone who had been. Yet, when the
Lord demanded repentance and that they eat his flesh and drink his blood (receive
him SPIRITUALLY), they responded unfavorably (Matt. 11:20, John 6:66).




                       CHAPTER FOURTEEN, EPILOGUE

          Chapter fourteen marks another turning point in the ministry
     of Jesus. It tells of the murder of the King's herald, John the
     Baptist, and also reveals that the people to whom Jesus ministered
     loved the physical benefits they received but did not show
     appreciation for his WORDS. The next turning point is in chapter
     sixteen when God the Father for the first time revealed a truth
     directly to an apostle, Peter.
          This chapter also records the King's authority over nature, the
     wind and the sea. The natural forces of earth obeyed him
     immediately. His problem was with people not obeying him.
CHAPTER 15

      Verse 1. Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of
Jerusalem, saying, Jesus had no problem providing food for a multitude even
though he had only five loaves of bread and two fishes. Walking on the sea was
not difficult for him. He had no trouble healing those who were brought to him
with diseases. HIS PROBLEMS, DIFFICULTIES AND TROUBLES CAME
FROM THE RELIGIOUS PEOPLE: THE SCRIBES AND PHARISEES OF
ISRAEL. These men were his enemies, resenting what he was doing and
objecting to what he was teaching. Jesus said that these people were fulfilling the
prophecy which said that they hated him without a cause (Psa. 69:4, John 15:24-
25). The opposition of these religious leaders to Jesus was so great that they came
all the way from Jerusalem to find fault with his ministry.
      Verse 2. Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?
Both the scribes and Pharisees had already challenged Jesus with accusations of
blasphemy (Matt. 9:2), charging him with casting out devils by the power of Satan
(Matt. 9:34, 12:24), breaking the Sabbath (Matt. 12:2), or requesting that he show
them a sign (Matt. 12:38). In this verse they accused his disciples of breaking
tradition.
      A tradition is a custom, a habitual way of doing something, or a common
practice. Jesus never condemned tradition nor did he scold anyone for keeping
tradition, but he did condemn the practice of TEACHING TRADITION and
CALLING it DOCTRINE (Mark 7:7-8). Some traditions are good, and God
advises men to hold to them (II Thess. 2:15); however, some traditions are not
good. For example, it was TRADITIONAL FOR THE JEWS TO KILL THEIR
PROPHETS (Matt. 23:37, Acts 7:52-58).
      ...for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. Tradition may have
required that they wash their hands before eating, but the law did not. That
demand was restricted to certain people who were chosen to perform certain
duties, and was not a general rule for all Israel.
      Verse 3. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress
the commandment of God by your tradition? They asked Jesus why he
transgressed TRADITIONS established by MEN, and Jesus in turn asked them
why they transgressed the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD BY THEIR
TRADITIONS.
      Verse 4. For God commanded... Jesus' answer is an example for all God's
children; when his enemy attacked he used his weapon, the word of God. The
particular scripture he quoted was Exodus 20:12.
      ...saying, Honour thy father and mother:.. This is the first commandment
that was accompanied by a promise (Eph. 6:2-3). The promise in this
commandment was that LONG LIFE would be granted to those who honor their
father and mother.
      ...and, He that curseth father or mother, let him DIE the DEATH. This
phrase is a quotation from Exodus 21:17.
      The word curseth means to speak evil of, and Jesus said if anyone cursed his
father or mother he should DIE. Jesus never condemned capitol punishment but
rather condoned it.
      Verse 5. But ye say,.. The scribes and Pharisees used TRADITION as their
authority, while Jesus used Scripture as his.
      ...Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by
whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me. These religious leaders were
taking advantage of what they considered a religious "loophole." When they gave
a gift or offering to the temple or synagogue it was declared "corban" (Mark 7:11)
which meant it had been given to God. Having been given to God, the gift could
not be used by the givers to support their parents, but at the same time these
religionists enjoyed the benefits of these treasures. They could store up riches for
themselves in a religious treasury and be exempt from the responsibility of
supporting their aging parents. If then a mother or father came to their son who
was a scribe or Pharisee and asked for support or money the son could simply say,
"What I have is corban (sanctified to God) and you cannot have it."
      The scribes and Pharisees did this knowing that Proverbs 28:24 stated,
Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the
same is the companion of a destroyer.
      Verse 6. And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. This
rule had been devised by the religious leaders and extended to anyone who gave
gifts to God. They said, ''whosoever" gave gifts to God was free from parental
responsibility and they would ...suffer him no more to do aught for his father or
his mother (Mark 7:12). This "loophole in the law" allowed the scribes and
Pharisees to be both rich and influential.
      Thus... "Thus" means, in this manner or by this means.
      ...have ye... Jesus was speaking to the scribes and Pharisees, the "keepers of
the faith."
      ...made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. The
scribes and Pharisees had not simply been disobedient to God's commandment
(which was bad), neither had they simply taught others to break the commandment
(which was very bad), BUT HAD DECLARED THE COMMANDMENT TO BE
NULL AND VOID (which was very, very bad).
      Verse 7. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, Not only
did Jesus use scripture to show these men their error but referred to scripture that
FORETOLD their very words and actions. He referred to Isaiah (29:13) who was
speaking to the religious people of his day, and declared that his (Isaiah's) words
applied to the scribes and Pharisees who were opposing him.
      Jesus had referred to the Jewish religious leaders in the lesson on the
mountain (Matt. 6 - 7) calling them hypocrites (Matt. 6:2, 5, 16, 7:5), and their
hypocrisy was displayed in his every encounter with them (Matt. 9:3, 34, 12:2, 24,
38, 15:1).
      Verse 8. This people... While Isaiah was speaking to the people of his day,
Jesus said that he was also speaking to people of all generations and particularly to
the scribes and Pharisees standing before him.
      ...draweth nigh unto me with their mouth,.. This phrase has a modern
counterpart; "Their heart isn't where their mouth is." Hypocrisy is words and
deeds that do not match.
There is hypocrisy in modern Christianity among those who sing, "Oh How I
Love Jesus," but who do not love lost souls enough to spend an hour in prayer
for them. No one is saved because he has the ability to SAY that he is.
Salvation is of the heart and not of the mouth; however, if someone is saved,
God's spirit dwells in his heart and he can attest to God's indwelling spirit with
his mouth (Rom. 10:10).
      ...and bonoureth me with their lips;.. An UNSAVED person can praise
Jesus and offer prayers in his name. Christians should not believe that all who
speak well of Jesus are brothers in the Lord. The mistake of doing so has caused
much confusion throughout this age and especially in these last days. Many of
those who killed Christians by the millions during the inquisition SPOKE well of
Jesus WHILE KILLING IN HIS NAME. The false prophet, Balaam, spoke well
of Jesus (Num. 24:17) and before Nicodemus had ever heard of the need of a new
birth he spoke well of him (John 3:2).
      ...but their heart is far from me. The world has an expression requesting a
display of sincerity; "Put your money where your mouth is." God's requirement
for displaying sincerity is, "Put your HEART where your mouth is," Still another
expression used by the world that fits this teaching is; "If you don't mean it, don't
say it."
      In order to establish a fact, the law demanded that two or more witnesses
agree on a matter (Deu. 19:15), and God does not violate that law. The
truthfulness of any individual is also established by two sources: first, what he
says with his mouth, and second, what he believes in his heart. If these two do not
agree, then there is no evidence of truth or sincerity. God says, "For with the
HEART man believeth unto righteousness; and with the MOUTH confession
is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:10).
      A hypocrite is someone whose mouth lies about his heart. Often people
attempt to hide what is in their hearts in several ways: speaking well of Jesus,
performing good works, being polite, having good manners, singing gospel songs,
teaching a Sunday School class, preaching, becoming a church member, tithing,
becoming a religious leader, etc.
      Verse 9. But in vain... For almost seventeen hundred years the Roman
Catholic Church has been doing the exact thing that Jesus condemned in this
verse.
      Vain means without benefit, without value, without recognition or reward,
and that nothing will ever come of it either in this world or in the world to come.
      ...they do worship... Cain also worshipped (Gen. 4:3), as did Balaam (Num.
23:1-5, 29, and 30), a rich young ruler (Mark 10:17) and a demon possessed man
(Mark 5:6), NONE OF WHOM WERE SAVED (at least, not at the time they
worshipped).
      ...me... Many people worship some form of god, but those who do are not
included in Jesus' condemnation. This statement does not include Buddhists,
Confucianists, Brabmans or members of any other religion that does not recognize
Jesus or the God of Abraham, the God revealed in the Holy Bible. Jesus was
speaking of people who worship HIM, the God of creation (John 1:3, Col. 1:16).
      ...teaching for doctrines... The word "for" as used in this phrase means,
INSTEAD OF or AS. Doctrines are the teachings of rules and instructions. God
had revealed his doctrines through his holy word (Rom. 3:1-2), which was what
the scribes and Pharisees were supposed to teach. Instead, they substituted the
traditions of men for the teachings of God.
      While God has given HIS doctrines (I Tim. 6:1), He at the same time warns
against the doctrines of men (Eph. 4:14, Col. 2:22) and doctrines of devils (I Tim.
4:1). The only source of God's doctrines is the Holy Bible.
      ...the commandments of men.               Presenting man's philosophies and
commandments as the doctrines of God can take many forms, such as; "The
answer to your problem lies in positive thinking," or, "God wants you healthy," or,
"Something good is going to happen to you."
      Verse 10. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and
understand: When God speaks, it is always clearly and distinctly, and he is
willing to give understanding of his words to anyone who will hear and receive
them into an humble or broken heart.
      Verse 11. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man;..
Christians would do well to hear and understand what Jesus was teaching the
scribes and Pharisees in this verse, for this truth applies to all mankind throughout
all ages.
      In spite of the plain and simple teaching of this verse, many Christians have
been caught up in the current fad of diet and exercise saying, "We are not to defile
our bodies because they are temples of God and we are to keep them healthy with
diet and exercise."
      God says plainly that men are NOT defiled by what goes in their mouths and
also says that bodily exercise avails little (I Tim. 4:8). Christians, believing and
acting upon the doctrines of men, have become more interested in their bodies
than in their souls, and are worshipping the temple more than the one who dwells
there (Eph. 2:20-22). It is an affront to God for diet and exercise classes to be held
in buildings dedicated to worshipping Him. Many smooth talking health peddlers
attempt to make such practices appear Godly and honoring to Christ even opening
and closing their sessions with prayer. Men have turned away from God and his
word, refused to hear sound doctrine and turned to doctrines of devils (I Tim. 4:1,
II Tim. 3:7, 4:3-4).
       ...but that which cometh out of the mouth,.. It was NOT what Eve put IN
her mouth that defiled all mankind, BUT WHAT CAME OUT OF HER MOUTH
(Gen. 3:2-3); THAT WHICH PRECEDED HER AND ADAM'S EATING THE
FORBIDDEN FRUIT (Gen. 3:6). When man's original parents ate the forbidden
fruit, Eve's heart was ALREADY DEFILED. That which led them to eat the
forbidden fruit caused them to DIE SPIRITUALLY. Inside every unsaved person
there is a DEAD SPIRIT and a DEFILED HEART inherited from his original
parents. When an unsaved person speaks, he expresses the feelings of his HEART
[which is related to his (dead) spirit]. The feelings of his heart enter his MIND
(which is related to his soul) and are expressed by his MOUTH (which is related
to his body); thus he is defiled totally, BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT (I Thess.
5:23).
       ...this defileth a man. The problem with the world is not dirty hands,
unhealthiness, weak flesh or uneducated minds; the problem IS MAN'S HEART
(Matt. 12:34, Jer. 17:9).
       Verse 12. Then came his disciples,.. It is unlikely that the Lord was upset
about that and was not at all surprised.
       The disciples MIGHT have come to Jesus out of concern for the feelings of
the Pharisees, but more likely they were concerned about what the Pharisees might
do to Jesus. They might have come simply to see what explanation he would give
for what he had said.
       ...and said unto him, Knowest thou... Even after witnessing the many
miracles Jesus had done and seeing his power of perception, the disciples
expressed doubt that he knew how the Pharisees felt about his words.
       ...that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? Jesus
knew the Pharisees were offended, but he did not temper his words. By his
WORDS he exposed them as hypocrites. Jesus never hesitated to offend his
enemies, and never apologized for doing so. Preachers should never hesitate to
offend the enemies of God. When Stephen preached, he offended his audience so
badly they killed him (Acts 6:9 - 7:60). Paul said that preaching the gospel—the
death, burial and resurrection of Jesus—would offend people (Gal. 5:11), but that
it should nevertheless be the primary message of all Christians (Rom. 10:8-17).
       Modern preaching has produced an army of Christians who want to be file
clerks, company clerks, supply clerks, majors, colonels or generals; an army which
will desert its wounded and shun front line duty. An atmosphere of pacifism
permeates God's army and few are willing to fight the real battle and wield the
gospel sword (Eph. 6:17). Modern Christianity is more interested in lending
comfort to sinners than proclaiming the cure for sin.
       When a baby is born his birth is accompanied by pain and anguish and by
blood and water. So too is the new birth (John 19:34), but this suffering is
temporary and soon forgotten. The pain of salvation is always accompanied by
the joy of life. Salvation, like a vaccination, though producing a small moment of
pain, averts an eternity of anguish and hopelessness.
      The scribes and Pharisees had gotten a small dose of medicine, had spit it
out, and had taken offense at the Physician who offered it freely.
      Verse 13. But he answered and said, Every plant, which my, heavenly
Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. The second parable in Matthew
thirteen reveals that two different kinds of plants (spiritually speaking) are
growing in the world—those planted by God (Matt. 13:37) and those planted by
Satan (Matt. 13:39). Those planted by God are called wheat, which typifies his
children, while those planted by Satan are called tares, which typify his children (I
John 3:10). In Matthew 13:40, God said that tares (the devil's children) would be
rooted up. Jesus further stated that the children of the devil could be identified by
their FRUITS (Matt. 7:16, 20) and that THEIR FRUITS ARE THEIR WORDS
(Matt. 12:33-34). If the seed of the word (Matt. 13:18-33) is planted in a man's
heart and takes root and produces fruit, the fruit will be revealed by what he
SAYS. Likewise, if the seed of the word of God does NOT produce fruit, THAT
TOO WILL BE REVEALED BY WHAT A PERSON SAYS. Jesus was telling
his disciples that the WORDS of the Pharisees were NOT THE PRODUCT OF
GOD'S SEED (word) IN THEIR HEARTS.
      Verse 14. Let them alone:.. This verse is God's instructions to his people
about how they should view and respond to false prophets.
      God has always instructed his people to leave false prophets alone. God's
people are to identify them and point them out to others, are to explain their errors
and warn others about them, but are not to attempt to root them out (Matt. 13:28-
29). God's people are not to argue or debate with false prophets for they have their
purpose and are to be left alone. To warn people about false prophets is NOT
being judgmental but is performing a duty God commissioned his people to
undertake (Acts 20:29-30, II Tim. 4, II Pet. 3, I John 4 and Jude).
      When Moses encountered false prophets among his own people, he left them
alone, and God dealt with them in his own way (Num. 16). When wicked King
Ahab surrounded himself with about four hundred false prophets (I Kings 22:6-
36), God's man, Micaiah, neither argued with them nor called the wrath of God
down upon them, but left them to the hands of God. False prophets opposed
Jeremiah (Jer. 14:13-15), but Jeremiah did nothing against them. They lied in the
face of God when Ezekiel spoke the truth (Ez. 13), but Ezekiel left them alone.
False prophets of different philosophies united, bound by their common hatred of
Jesus (Matt. 22:23-46), but Jesus himself left them to the hands of his Father.
There is an exception to this rule, because Elijah called for the destruction of a
multitude of false prophets, but that was obviously with God's permission (I Kings
18:40-46).
      A Christian owes it to Jesus to expose false prophets and point out their
erroneous teachings because they are agents of Satan commissioned by him to
confuse and ruin new born Christians.
      ...they be blind leaders of the blind. Jesus said that not only were these
people blind, but so too were those who followed them.
      And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. One of the
best illustrations of this truth is recorded in Jeremiah fourteen. God's prophet,
Jeremiah, had been giving the people of Israel the pure word of God, warning
them of inevitable judgment. But he gained no audience. His greatest hindrance
was false prophets who were crying "peace and safety" and persuading the people
that God's judgment was NOT coming (Jer. 6:14, 8:11, 14:15). God not only
pronounced judgment on those false prophets, BUT ALSO ON THE PEOPLE
WHO FOLLOWED THEM (Jer. 14:15-16).
      God will not hold a person blameless for following, supporting or
encouraging false prophets (II John 10, II Pet. 2:1-2). False prophets are bound
for hell and eternal darkness (II Pet. 2:17), and those who follow them can expect
no better fate.
      Verse 15. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this
parable. The parable Peter was referring to is in verse eleven.
      The apostles are done an injustice by those who teach that they understood
everything that Jesus did and said. They did not have the New Testament, and
therefore could not compare scripture with scripture as people who live in these
days can.
      Verse 16. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
Beginning with Matthew thirteen, Jesus used stories to teach spiritual truths and at
this point the disciples still did not understand this type of teaching.
      Verse 17. Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the
mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? At the time, the
disciples did NOT understand all the truths taught in this simple parable. Among
the many truths taught here are these:

     1.    That which is born of flesh is flesh (John 3:6),

     2.    all flesh comes from the ground (Gen. 3:19),

     3.    the ground is cursed (Gen. 3:17),

     4.    all flesh will return to the ground (Gen. 3:19),
     5.    flesh will never become spirit (John 3:6),

     6.   no flesh will enter heaven (I Cor. 15:50),

     7. everything the flesh eats will return to the ground from whence it came
         (Matt. 15:17) and

     8. feeding the flesh is a recycling process since something that comes from
         the ground is consumed by the flesh, which also came from the ground,
         both of which will return to the ground.

      Verse 18. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth
from the heart; and they defile the man. See comments on verse eleven.
      Verse 19. For out of the heart... This verse makes liars out of every
evolutionist, scientist, educator, or doctor of theology who teaches that improving,
educating, or disciplining the flesh will eventually solve the world's problems.
      Every evil (past, present or future) has its roots in the hearts of men. Man's
problems are not the product of his environment; rather man's environment is the
product of his problem, which is his HEART. Neither man's undisciplined flesh
nor his lack of education is the origin of his problems, but only the result of his
problem, which is his HEART.
      ...proceed... The word proceed denotes advancement or continuous action or
progress.
      ...evil thoughts,.. While the world attempts to persuade man that thoughts
originate in his mind, God says that they originate in his heart. Man's mind is only
capable of transmitting the thoughts of his heart and giving those thoughts
expression through his lips.
      The Bible is precise and careful in its use of individual words, as in this case
where the word HEART PRECEDES the word EVIL, which PRECEDES the
word THOUGHTS.
      ...murders,.. Murder is killing without lawfully appointed authority.
      ...adulteries,.. Adultery is the act of having sexual relations with any one
other than one's own spouse.
      ...fornications,.. While this is not the only meaning of the word fornication,
it basically means the act of engaging in sexual relations without the benefit of
marital vows.
      ...thefts,.. This is stealing or taking something that belongs to another.
      ...false witness,.. This is lying, telling something that is not true, or not
telling something which is true with the intention of deceiving others.
      ...blasphemies: Blasphemy is the use of vain, profane, or contemptuous
speech.
      Verse 20. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with
unwashen hands defileth not a man. This verse is a summary of what Jesus
taught when he explained the parable in verse eleven. To put this in other words,
Jesus said, "A man is defiled by what he SAYS and not by what he EATS. It is
what comes OUT of man's mouth and not what he puts IN his mouth that defiles
him."
      Verse 21. Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre
and Sidon. Mark's gospel says that when Jesus went into the regions of Tyre and
Sidon, he entered a house, apparently to rest or have some relief from the pressure
of the multitude, but could not escape them (Mark 7:24).
      Tyre and Sidon were cities to the northwest of Capernaum and the
expression, "into the coasts of," means the vicinity of.
      Verse 22. And, behold... The Bible usually employs this expression to draw
the reader's attention to something unusual or profound, in this case a Gentile
woman who dared approach and speak to a Jew.
      ...a woman of Canaan... Mark says that this woman's particular nationality
was Syrophenician (Mark 7:26). The term Canaanite applies to Gentiles of any
nationality dwelling in that area.
      ...came out of the same coasts,.. This means that she lived in the vicinity of
Tyre and Sidon along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
      ...and cried unto him,.. She made her appeal directly to Jesus and not
through his disciples.
      ...saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord... Like the thief on the cross who
would soon cry, "Lord, remember me," and like Peter as he began to sink cried,
"Lord, save me," this woman cried out to her God, "Have mercy on me, O Lord."
As Jesus would hear the plea of the dying thief and as he heard the cry of the
sinking Simon, so did he hear the cry of this Gentile woman. Jesus will hear the
heartfelt cry of anyone who sincerely seeks him (John 6:37, Rom. 10:13).
      ...thou son of David;.. The Canaanite woman addressed Jesus properly, first
calling him Lord and then King (the son of David). In doing this she exhibited
more faith and understanding than the vast majority of the Jews.
      ...my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. The first Gentile who
came to Jesus making a request on the behalf of someone else was a centurion
who was concerned about his servant (Matt. 8:5-13). This woman came to Jesus
on the behalf of her daughter. She believed that her daughter was afflicted by a
devil.
      In the days of Jesus' earthly sojourn, both Jews and Gentiles accepted the fact
that devils (demons) exist and cause misery for those whom they attack.
       In modern times, movies, TV shows, many Roman Catholic teachings, pulp
publications, and other sources promote belief in devils and in the existence of a
spirit world, but do so from a position totally devoid of Bible truths. As a result, a
great wave of ghost stories, poltergeist activities, hauntings and alien encounters
have been reported from around the world, especially from nations espousing
Roman Catholicism.
       Verse 23. But he answered her not a word. One of the most profound
lessons on salvation is taught in the account of this Gentile woman. Notice in
these verses her attitude and humility.
       While this may seem to be a harsh and cruel response on Jesus' part, he knew
what he was doing and intended to use this occasion to teach his disciples a lesson.
       And his disciples came and besought him,.. It is obvious that the disciples
were somewhat prejudiced, for they mildly defended the Jewish Pharisees who
attacked Jesus, (Matt. 15:12), but showed no sympathy or compassion for this
pitiful Gentile woman.
       ...saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. This woman may not
have been bothering Jesus with her insistent plea, but she was irritating the
disciples. She was not to be intimidated or put off.
       Verse 24. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost
sheep of the house of Israel. One of the probable reasons for Jesus' silence was
to see how his disciples would react to the situation. When the disciples spoke
first, they opened the door for Jesus to tell them that he was not on earth for the
benefit of Jews only. He said that he was not a shepherd only to Israel, but to
another flock, meaning Gentiles. In John 10:16 he spoke of these other sheep
saying that they were of another fold.
       The Old Testament revealed that God would show mercy to the Gentiles
(Isa. 42:1-6), but Jesus had not explained the meaning of this to the disciples, so
they were likely confused by his attitude toward this Canaanite woman.
       Verse 25. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
(See comments on Matthew 8:2.)
       People often want Jesus to help them but seldom or never worship him.
And, among those who worship him, often it is not in spirit and in truth but in
ceremony and antics. It is a common practice for people to gather to hear a hyper-
enthusiastic singing group trying to "get folks in the spirit," when the spirit they
are trying to get folk into is the wrong spirit.
       It is also a common practice for "preachers" to mesmerize an audience,
thereby leaving them susceptible to the wrong spirit. Often people leave these
services quite satisfied that they have worshipped God simply because they "felt
the movement of the spirit." The people who attend and enjoy such religious
practices and preaching seem happy only if they FEEL SOMETHING.
      This Greek woman of Syrophenicia (Mark 7:26) provides an example of true
worship. She approached Jesus reverently asking for mercy, addressed him as
Lord and King (son of David) and presented her petition speaking with wisdom
and clarity and not in an "unknown tongue."
      Verse 26. But he answered and said, it is not meet to take the children's
bread, and cast it to dogs. The expression "dogs" was a degrading term denoting
Gentiles, and the children for whose bread the woman was asking were Jews. The
language Jesus used was quite abusive; nevertheless, she took it as would anyone
whose heart was burdened and whose yearning was sincere. It is quite likely that
Jesus was testing her sincerity, seeing how badly she wanted her daughter healed
and how much she would sacrifice for the one she loved.
      Verse 27. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs
which fall from their masters' table. She did not defend herself or disagree with
Jesus' assessment of the situation and of her request. The kind of humility and
acceptance of Jesus' view shown by this woman will always attract God's
attention. A daughter was cleansed of a devil on the basis of her mother's faith
(verse 28), faith displayed by humility and not by much pleading. When this
woman made her petition, Jesus answered with a truth, and she in turn answered
Jesus with a truth that delighted him.
      Verse 28. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy
faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole
from that very hour. This is one of the most touching and prophetic occasions
recorded in the Bible. It reveals the ministry of Jesus as he came unto his own
(Jews, John 1:11), but gave heed and mercy to those to whom he did NOT come
(Gentiles, John 1:12). This woman was a citizen of a cursed people (Gen. 9:25)
but found grace in Jesus Christ.
      Verse 29. And Jesus departed from thence,.. Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre
and Sidon, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea (Matt. 15:21, Mark 7:24, 31).
      ...and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee;.. He did not come TO the Sea of
Galilee but only NIGH unto it. The context reveals that he passed the sea and
went to its eastern side because Mark says that he went "through the midst of the
coasts of Decapolis" (Mark 7:31) and Decapolis was east of the Sea of Galilee.
        ...and went up into a mountain,.. Mountains were an important part of
Jesus' ministry,

    1.   Satan tempted him on a mountain (Matt. 4:8).

    2.   He was on a mountain when he chose and ordained from among his
         disciples the twelve apostles (Mark 3:13-14).
    3.   He taught his demands for kingdom citizens while on a mountain (Matt.
         5:1).

    4.   He prayed alone on a mountain (Matt. 14:23).

    5.   He went to a mountain, sat down, and healed multitudes (Matt. 15:29-
         31).

    6.   He was transfigured on a mountain (Matt. 17:1-2).

    7.   He came down from a mountain when he entered Jerusalem to be the
         King of Israel (Luke 19:28-37).

    8.   He ascended into heavenly Jerusalem from that same mountain (Acts
         1:9-12).

      ...and sat down there. The first and only other time that Matthew recorded
that Jesus sat down on a mountain was when he TAUGHT his people kingdom
requirements (Matt. 5:1). On the second occasion he HEALED his people.
      Verse 30. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those
that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down
at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: On the FIRST occasion of Jesus' having sat
upon a mountain HE WAS WEST OF JORDAN (Matt. 4:25) WHERE HE
TAUGHT BUT DID NOT HEAL, while on this occasion he was EAST OF
JORDAN WHERE HE HEALED BUT DID NOT TEACH. What this truth
reveals is that Jesus saw that Israel was not READY for his words, his demands or
his kingdom. The implication of his returning to the eastern shore of Galilee is
that THE JEWS NEEDED TO RETURN TO THE WILDERNESS, TO SINAI, IN
ORDER TO BEGIN AGAIN AT THE POINT WHERE THEY CEASED TO
FOLLOW GOD BY FAITH (Ex. 17:7).
      Verse 31. Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the
dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to
see: and they glorified the God of Israel. The multitude WONDERED ...and
they glorified the God of ISRAEL.
      The fact that they wondered is an indictment against them for they should
have UNDERSTOOD, not wondered. And too, they should have glorified THEIR
God in a personal way, not the less personal "God of Israel." When anyone
wonders about the revealed truths of God, it is usually because he has no personal
relationship with Him. God wants to be glorified; however, true glory can only
come from those who have understanding of WHO they are glorifying.
      Verse 32. Then Jesus called his disciples unto him,.. The LESSON behind
this forthcoming miracle was specifically for his disciples and not the multitude.
      ...and said, I have compassion on the multitude... Jesus had given of
himself again and again, asked nothing in return, and instead of the people having
compassion on him and consideration for his needs, HE had compassion on
THEM.
      ...because they continue with me now three days,.. Over a period of three
days there were probably hundreds who had been healed. Their having been with
him three DAYS typifies the Jews of Galilee who remained loyal to him during
the three YEARS of his ministry among them.
      ...and have nothing to eat:.. While this expresses Jesus' concern for their
physical needs it is also a picture of the failure of the Jewish religious leaders to
feed God's flock.
      ...and I will not send them, away fasting,.. If anyone ever went away from
Jesus hungry it was his own fault, whether it was physical or spiritual food he
needed.
      ...lest they faint in the way. Jesus' concern was that they might not have
enough strength to get home if they did not eat.
      Anyone who partakes of the SPIRITUAL bread of life (John 6:48) has once
and for all received enough bread to carry him all the way home (John 6:51).
      Verse 33. And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so
much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude? It is somewhat
bewildering to find the disciples asking such a question so soon after seeing Jesus
feed a multitude (Matt. 14:15-21) and then seeing him walk upon the sea (Matt.
14:24-33). God's people seem to soon forget his words and works (Matt. 16:6-10).
      The disciples asked Jesus, "Whence should we have so much bread in the
wilderness...?" The answer was from the same place their forefathers had gotten
bread in the wilderness (Ex. 16) and from the same source they themselves had
gotten it before (Matt. 14:15-21).
      Verse 34. And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And
they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. The first time Jesus fed a multitude, he
began with only FIVE fishes and TWO loaves while this time he had SEVEN
loaves and A FEW fishes (Matt. 14:15-21).
      Verse 35. And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.
On neither occasion when Jesus fed multitudes did he call on the people to make
any contribution, but only that they RECEIVE.
This mountain seems to have been more barren than the area where he had
previously fed a multitude for no grass is mentioned on this second occasion.
      Verse 36. And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks,
and break them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
This verse presents a portrait of godly organization and typifies how Church
families should function.
      Verse 37. And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the
broken meat that was left seven baskets full. There was systematic order to
what Jesus did in these last two verses, as he 1. TOOK the bread and fishes, 2.
GAVE THANKS, 3. BREAK them and 4. GAVE them to the disciples.
      The disciples 1. GAVE them to the multitude, and when the multitude had
eaten, they 2. TOOK UP SEVEN BASKETS OF SCRAPS.
      The multitude 1. ATE, and 2. WERE FILLED.
      All this typifies how God gives his word, how he expects it to be handled by
his pastors and how he expects it to be received by people.
      Verse 38. And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women
and children. The first time Jesus fed a multitude, over FIVE THOUSAND men
plus women and children were present, only FIVE loaves and TWO fishes were
available, yet TWELVE baskets of scraps remained. This reveals that the
magnitude of Jesus' miracles was DIMINISHING.
      Verse 39. And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into
the coasts of Magdala. Mark says that the name of the place was Dalmanutha;
therefore, Magdala and Dalmanutha are one and the same place (Mark 8:10).




                        CHAPTER FIFTEEN, EPILOGUE

           The King warned his people about the sins committed by
     WORDS, clearly indicating that what people SAID would endure
     forever. This chapter revealed the further tendency of the King to
     turn toward the Gentiles because of their faith and sincerity, traits
     he did not find in the Jews.
                                  CHAPTER 16

      Verse 1. The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting
desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. Pharisees and
Sadducees were Jewish religious leaders (see comments on 3:7) who held
opposing beliefs and doctrines (Acts 23:8) and were at odds with one another
(Acts 23:7), but had such a hatred of Jesus that they temporarily overcame their
differences and agreed to kill him (Matt. 27:22).
      Another group of Pharisees had already come to Jesus seeking a sign (Matt.
12:38), but like the second group, after being given the sign, still did not believe
(Matt. 28:11-15).
      Like the brothers of the rich man in hell, if a person will not believe the
Bible (Luke 16:29), he will not believe any significant truth about God (Luke
16:31).
      These religionists who came to Jesus seeking a sign were aware of his
miracles and had already been told that they would be given the sign of Jonah the
prophet, yet they were not satisfied with his promise. It is not clear what they
wanted to be shown, but it is LIKELY that they wanted to see FIRE FROM
HEAVEN (Rev. 13:11-18).
      Verse 2. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It
will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

     Red in the morning, shepherd's warning,
      Red at night, shepherd's delight.

       There are probably more words wasted over the weather than any other
subject. Almost everyone has an observation or opinion he is willing to express
about the weather. Many conversations open with a comment about the weather,
either what it has done, is doing, or is expected to do. Almost every radio station,
TV station and daily publication hazards a guess as to what the weather will do.
       It is natural for man to look for signs (halos around the sun or moon, wind
direction, atmospheric pressure, etc.) in his attempt to predict the weather, WHILE
IGNORING THE TRUTHS REVEALED IN THE SCRIPTURE ABOUT FAR
MORE IMPORTANT THINGS.
       Verse 3. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is
red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can
ye not discern the signs of the times? Jesus very kindly addressed the opposing
scholars as hypocrites, then reminded them that while they had the ABILITY to
discern certain signs, they chose to IGNORE MORE OBVIOUS SIGNS. They
could tell by the sign of the morning sky, when it was red and lowering (gloomy),
that bad weather could be expected, but they completely ignored signs pointing to
the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. They ignored the sign of the
miraculous virgin birth (Isa. 7:14, Luke 1:26-34). They ignored their own prophets
who said that their Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (I Sam. 17:12, Micah 5:2,
Luke 2:4-7), and that God's Son would be brought out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1, Matt.
2:14-15). They overlooked the signs of healing and cleansing (Isa. 53:5, Matt.
8:16-17) and the prophecy given by Jeremiah that many women would grieve
because their children were killed (Jer. 31:15, Matt. 2:11). With all these signs,
fulfilled prophecy and clear evidence that Jesus was the Christ, these hypocrites
cried for a second time (Matt. 12:38), "SHOW US A SIGN."
       Verse 4. A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign;.. The
first time some religious leaders approached Jesus seeking a sign, he gave them
the same answer (Matt. 12:38-40).
       Jesus called these people wicked, adulterous, and evil (Matt. 12:39). Since
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8), those who seek for
signs in these days are just as wicked, adulterous, and evil as the scribes, Pharisees
and Sadducees.
       Since signs are always for the nation Israel (I Cor. 1:22, 14:22), anyone who
requires a sign is in danger of being given a sign from the wicked one (II Thess.
2:9-12). The spirit of evil (Eph. 2:2) can imitate the Holy Spirit, deceiving people
into believing that such phenomena as speaking in tongues or being "slain in the
spirit" are from God when they are from Satan (Rev. 13:11-14, 16:13-14). If
people are called evil, wicked and adulterous on the basis of their desiring a sign,
then any sign given them could be given by THE evil, wicked, and adulterous one,
Satan (II Cor. 4:4, 11:13-15, II Thess. 2:7-12).
      The word generation as it appears in this verse refers to a group of people
living during a given time or economy.
      ...and there shall no sign be given unto it,.. Jesus did not say that a sign
would not be given to these evil Jews but declared that a very clear sign WOULD
be given.
      ...but the sign of the prophet Jonas. The SIGN of the prophet Jonas was
not revealed in what he preached BUT BY WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM. As
Jonas was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so would Jesus be
three days and three nights in the heart (belly) of the earth (Matt. 12:40). Jesus
told the religious leaders twice what the sign would be, but when it was given,
they did not believe (Matt. 27:62-66). Jesus said that if a person would not believe
the Bible, he would not believe a sign (Luke 16:31).
      And he left them, and departed. Having already told them twice, Jesus did
not stay to debate or discuss the matter. Apparently Jesus and his disciples stayed
on the west bank of the Sea of Galilee near Magdala for a short while. They had
come from the eastern shore, departed their ship and had been attacked by the
religious leaders, so they re-entered the same ship (Mark 8:13) and returned to the
eastern shore.
      Verse 5. And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had
fogotten to take bread. Evidently there were many places where they could have
bought bread on the western shore, but few on the eastern shore, for this is where
Jesus fed multitudes on two previous occasions (Matt. 14:13-21, 15:30-39).
      Verse 6. Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven
of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Without other scripture to provide
additional information, this verse by itself would be unclear and meaningless.
Jesus warned his disciples against something evil (leaven) which was produced by
both the Pharisees and Sadducees. The disciples were bewildered by his
statement.
      Verse 7. And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we
have taken no bread. Attempting to give meaning to Jesus' warning, but being
programmed to think only in the realm of the physical, the disciples could only
conclude that he was speaking of physical bread.
      Verse 8. Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little
faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?
Jesus admonished his disciples because they did not understand that he was talking
about what the Pharisees and Sadducees TAUGHT (verse 12), and because their
minds were still geared to think only of PHYSICAL bread. They should have had
enough spiritual perception to see beyond the obvious.
      Verse 9. Do ye not yet understand,.. Since the disciples seemed to lack the
ability to see the spiritual lesson taught by Jesus' miracles, he reminded them that
THE LACK OF PHYSICAL BREAD HAD NEVER BEEN A PROBLEM
BEFORE.
      They were probably baffled by his question, not knowing what it was he
expected them to understand. Jesus wanted them to understand that PHYSICAL
SITUATIONS, NO MATTER HOW IMPOSSIBLE OR TROUBLESOME,
CAUSED HIM NO PROBLEM. Some of the facts that the disciples already
knew, having witnessed the events in which they were revealed, were:

    1.   He could catch fish anytime he wanted (Luke 5:4-5),

    2.   he could get wine whenever he wanted (John 2:3-11),

    3.   the weather, no matter how violent, presented him no problem (Mark
         4:39),

    4.   he could walk anywhere he wanted, even on water (Mark 6:48),

    5.   a lack of bread caused him no concern (Luke 4:3, Matt. 14:15-21, 15:32-
         38) and

    6.   he handled the problem of death quite easily (Matt. 9:18-25, John 11,
         etc.).

      The disciples had already witnessed many of these truths. These things they
knew. NOTHING PHYSICAL GAVE JESUS ONE MOMENT'S TROUBLE:
fish, wine, the weather, the sea and bread were all PHYSICAL. Jesus was
troubled by SPIRITUAL PROBLEMS BROUGHT ON BY WHAT PEOPLE
TAUGHT AND WHAT THEY BELIEVED (Matt. 16:11-12, John 5:46-47).
While the apostles did not know these things at that time, it is inexcusable for
any Christian living in America not to know. The apostles did not have the
New Testament, nor did they at that time realize that Jesus was to be crucified
and raised from the dead. (See comments on Matt. 8:24.)
      ...neither remember the five loaves of the five thousands and how many
baskets ye took up? Jesus reminded them of the miracle they had witnessed
recorded in Matthew 14:15-21.
      Verse 10. Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many
baskets ye took up? The disciples had seen and participated in both miraculous
feedings only a few days before and the events should have been fresh in their
minds.
      Verse 11. How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you
concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of
the Sadducees? God is not nearly as interested in what men put into their mouths
(eat, digest) as he is in what goes into their ears (hear, believe). Physical bread
goes into the physical mouth and is cast out into the physical draught (Matt. 15:17)
and CANNOT DEFILE MAN'S HEART (Mark 7:19). But Jesus said that leaven
(bad doctrines) of both the Pharisees and Sadducees went into a person's EAR and
contaminated his HEART AND THEREBY HIS BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT.
      Verse 12. Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of
the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
An individual's POSITION in God is not determined by what he DOES but by
what he BELIEVES (John 3:18). The many sins of the flesh are not the cause of
man's position BUT THE RESULT OF HIS POSITION. Positionally, a man is
either a child of the devil or a child of God (I John 3:10), and whose child one is,
is determined by his BELIEF, not by his ACTIONS (John 3:18). A man's
conscience can convict him of his SINS OF THE FLESH, but the conscience
cannot convict anyone of the sin of UNBELIEF. The conscience can show
someone WHAT HE HAS DONE, BUT IS INCAPABLE OF SHOWING
ANYONE WHO HE IS. A PERSON DOES NOT GO TO HEAVEN OR HELL
ON THE BASIS OF WHAT HE HAS DONE, BUT ON THE BASIS OF WHO
HE IS. While the conscience can only convict someone of what he has done, the
Holy Spirit takes the knowledge revealed by the conscience and uses it to convict
a person of his POSITION (WHO he is), which is determined by WHAT HE
BELIEVES OR DOES NOT BELIEVE.
      What someone does or does not BELIEVE determines his eternal destiny,
and man's BELIEF is influenced by what he HEARS; therefore, God is very
interested in what men TEACH for others to HEAR. Jesus told his disciples to
beware of the DOCTRINES (teachings) of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt.
16:6).
      Verse 13. When Jesus came into the coasts... While both Mark and Luke
record both the question Jesus asked and the disciple's and Peter's reply (Mark
8:27-30, Luke 9:18-21), only Matthew records Jesus' response to Peter's answer.
(See comments on Matt. 8:34.)
      ...of Caesarea Philippi,.. Caesarea Philippi was the most northerly area into
which Jesus ministered and was the eastern source of the Jordan river.
      ...he asked his disciples... Jesus asked his disciples this question in order to
teach them more clearly who he was.
      ...saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? Jesus also asked
his disciples this question to lay a foundation for the question he asked later in
verse fifteen, and not to find out who people thought he was; he already knew that.
      Verse 14. And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist:.. Their
answer revealed that people could not identify Jesus, as they had not been able to
identify John the Baptist (John 1:19-23). Many people still lack the ability to
identify Jesus (I John 5:7).
      Jesus had been throughout Galilee preaching, teaching and hearing every
disease and sickness (Matt. 9:35). He then called the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:1-
4) AND SENT THEM INTO THE SAME AREA. The people to whom the
twelve went HAD SEEN AND HEARD JESUS! They knew what he was like, his
manners, speech and attitudes, AND MISTOOK HIM FOR JOHN THE
BAPTIST, THE MOST UNCULTURED, UNDIPLOMATIC AND TACTLESS
PERSON IN THE NEW TESTAMENT!
      ...some, Elias;.. Elias (Elijah, O. T.) appeared suddenly and told King Ahab
that there would be no rain in Israel for three years, A VERY UNPLEASANT
MESSAGE (I Kings 17:1). He MOCKED FALSE PROPHETS AND MADE
FUN OF THEIR GOD (I Kings 18:27). God was so pleased with him that he took
him to heaven without dying (II Kings 2:11).
      ...and others, Jeremias,.. Jeremiah was like "a defenced city, and an iron
pillar, and a brasen wall" AGAINST the political and religious leaders of Israel
(Jer. 1:18). Jeremiah was uncompromising and unyielding, a very NEGATIVE
individual WHO CONSTANTLY PREACHED GOD'S JUDGMENT AND
WRATH.
      When Jesus asked his disciples whom people said he was, they answered that
THEY THOUGHT HE WAS ONE OF THE THREE CRUDEST, ROUGHEST,
MOST UNREFINED AND UNCULTURED MEN IN THE BIBLE.
      So much for the "other Jesus," the "Sweet Jesus" being presented today (II
Cor. 11:4).
      ...or one of the Prophets. One prophet, Isaiah, WENT NAKED FOR
THREE YEARS (Isa. 20:2-4), and another, Hosea, WAS TOLD TO MARRY A
WHORE (Hosea 1:2). Of all the people in the Bible, kings, soldiers or priests,
none were more OFFENSIVE to people than the PROPHETS. THE PEOPLE
WHO KNEW WHAT JESUS WAS LIKE THOUGHT HE WAS ONE OF
THE PROPHETS.
      Verse 15. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Jesus brought
the question home to his disciples, "Who do YOU think that I am?"
      Verse 16. And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the
Son of the living God. In spite of his usual habit of saying the wrong thing at the
wrong time (Matt. 16:22, 26:70, 72, 74, Gal. 2:11-14, Acts 10:14), Peter answered
Jesus correctly. He was the first person to call Jesus by his complete name, the
CHRIST (anointed by God's SPIRIT), the SON of the LIVING GOD (God the
Father).
The full name of Jesus is THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, a name that
encompasses his total authority: his Kingly authority, his Prophetic authority,
and his Priestly authority. It reveals his authority to convict, save and preserve
eternally his authority as a righteous Son, an humble servant and an adequate
mediator.
      Verse 17. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou,
Simon Bar-jona:.. Peter was not blessed BECAUSE of what he answered, but
was blessed BEFORE HE GAVE HIS ANSWER, AND COULD NOT HAVE
SAID WHAT HE DID HAD HE NOT BEEN BLESSED FIRST!
      The word blessed means more than merely being happy, but denotes one
who is consecrated, declared to have received God's favor or to have received his
holy approval.
      Simon was the name given him by his father, Jona (Jonas, John 21:15, 16,
17); therefore Jesus addressed Peter as Simon BAR-jona, BAR meaning, "son of."
In other words Jesus called Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas."
      The word BEN means, "father of" (Gen. 19:38).
      ...for flesh and blood bath not revealed it unto thee,.. Flesh and blood
(human wisdom) cannot reveal spiritual truths (I Cor. 2:14).
      Satan's method of influencing and damning man's soul is through the
FLESH, while God's way of influencing and saving a soul is through the HEART.
All of the accumulated wisdom of man could not have revealed to Peter the
answer nor empowered him to give it as he did.
      ...but my Father which is in heaven. One of the greatest blessings a human
can receive is for God to reveal to him a spiritual truth.
      Verse 18. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter... This verse has
been used as the basis of a false doctrine taught by the largest, most evil religious
system on earth, claiming that their "church" is built over the tomb of Peter.
Prior to this, Jesus told Simon that he WOULD BE called Cephas (John 1:42)
the Aramaic name which corresponds to the Greek name, Peter. Although the
scripture often REFERS to Simon as Peter, this is the first time he is
ADDRESSED as Peter.
       In verse seventeen Jesus called him Simon, saying that he was the son of a
man named Jona; SIMON BAR-JONA.
       In verse eighteen Jesus called him PETER implying that he was also God's
son; PETER BAR-JEHOVAH.
       Peter's relationship to God as his son, however, was different AT THAT
TIME from the relationship the redeemed of this age have as sons of God. While
Christians are legitimate sons, born again and heirs of God, Peter's relationship
was that of a SERVANT son as was Ishmael, Esau, Adam, etc. The apostles were
unique in that they were both SERVANT SONS saved under the law and as such
denied the right to be heirs (Gen. 17:18-21, Gal. 4:28-31), and also BORN SONS
living after the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus having the full benefits of
heirs.
       Before Jesus rose from the dead there were no BORN sons of God because
Jesus WAS THE FIRST BORN. Had it been possible for an individual to be born
again before the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, then his death, burial and
resurrection would have been unnecessary. Until Christ died on the cross, man
had only the OLD TESTAMENT LAW which could only produce SERVANTS,
Jews under law and bondage. After the finished work of Jesus in overcoming sin,
death and the grave, man has a NEW TESTAMENT which has produced sons,
Christians saved by grace and free from the bondage of the law (Galatians).
Under the law a Jew was a servant who was a part of a NATION which God
called his son, while under grace Christians are sons, heirs of God who serve God
as INDIVIDUAL SONS (children) (Gal. 4:1-7).
       All men ultimately serve God in some capacity, Gentiles as SLAVES
(Pharoah, Ex. 3:3-14, Cyrus, Isa. 44:28 - 45:4), Jews as BONDSERVANTS (Isa.
49:3) and the church (Christians) as SONS (Gal. 4:1-2). As slaves, Gentiles serve
God out of FEAR; as bondservants, Jews serve for PAY; but Christians, as God's
children, serve him out of LOVE (Gal. 5:13-14).
       ...and upon this rock I will build my church;.. Jesus called Simon a little
rock (Peter) but referred to HIMSELF when he said THIS ROCK (I Cor. 10:4).
The fact that Jesus is the rock to whom he referred is revealed in Ephesians 2:19-
22 where it is said that Jesus is the chief cornerstone upon which the church, the
temple of God, the body of Christ is built. To paraphrase what Jesus told Peter,
"Peter you are a small stone and part of a foundation of which I am the chief
cornerstone" (Matt. 21:42, Eph 2:20). While it is true that Simon Peter was A
foundation stone (Eph. 2:20) he was not THE foundation stone (I Cor. 3:11).
       Another important doctrinal fact is revealed in this statement. Jesus said, "I
will build my church…" This clearly indicates something Jesus was going to do,
but was not doing at that time. The significance of this relates to the concept held
by many Christians that Jesus began "his church," (that is, his bride, his body)
before his death, burial and resurrection. In fact, many Baptist hold to the idea
that John the Baptist began the church when he began baptizing in the Jordan
River. Some Baptist hold to the theory that Christ's church began when John
baptized Jesus.
       The truth of the matter is that it was impossible for the church to have begun
until someone was indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit could not come
into the world as a convicting, indwelling Deity until Jesus sent Him (John 15:26).
Jesus could not send the Holy Spirit until He ascended into heaven (John 16:28)
and He could not ascend into heaven until after his resurrection (John 20:17,
20:27).
       The "church" as the corporate body of Christ could not have begun until the
day of Pentecost. Because some cults also believe this to be the case is no reason
for Christians not to believe it. Many cultists believe that Jesus was the virgin-
born Son of God, but no Christian should discard that truth simply because some
cultists believe it also.
       The idea that the church started with John the Baptist began with the
teaching of early Baptist writers in an attempt to give credence to the Baptist
Church, and to solidify and magnify the authority of the Baptist Denomination.
       ...and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This phrase makes it
appear that the church would try to get INTO hell and would be successful;
however, this is not what the phrase means. Neither does it mean that the church
is in hell and will break through its gates and escape.
       It is possible that when Jesus used the term church, he was speaking of some
of the Old Testament saints since the Bible says that the church is built upon the
foundation of the apostles AND PROPHETS, and at the time Jesus spoke these
words, THE PROPHETS WERE CAPTIVES OF HELL (Abraham's Bosom, Luke
16:22) and would have to be released before the foundation could be built upon.
Christ descended into hell (Acts 2:31, Eph. 4:9), unlocked its gates (Rev. 1:18),
released the Old Testament saints (Eph. 4:8); therefore, the gates of hell did not
prevail against the church's foundation, Jesus and the Old Testament "church"
(Acts 7:38).
       While this may be the solution to this verse, a much clearer view is provided
when we identify the pronoun "it." Jesus said, "...the gates of hell shall not
prevail, against IT." This pronoun, it, can refer to three possible objects: 1. Simon
Peter, 2. this rock or 3. my church. Since neither Peter nor the church ever
attacked the gates of hell, the "it" refers to the one who did, THIS ROCK, THE
LORD JESUS CHRIST. He was the one against whom the gates of hell did not
prevail (Acts 2:23-35, Eph. 4:8-10) for he alone won the victory over hell and
death (Rev. 1:18).
      Verse 19. And I will give unto thee... This promise was not made to all the
disciples but only to Simon Peter.
      ...the keys to the kingdom of heaven:.. The key that permits one to enter
the kingdom of heaven in this age is HEARING the word of God (Matt. 13:19-23),
particularly the GOSPEL (Rom. 1:16-17, I Cor. 15:1-4).
Jesus told Peter, "...I WILL give unto thee the keys..." and on the day of
Pentecost it was PETER who preached (Acts 2:14) to JEWS (Acts 2:14, 22). It
was PETER who preached to Cornelius the first GENTILE to hear the gospel
(Acts 10:1-40).
      Peter was not given the keys to the kingdom of GOD but the keys to the
kingdom of HEAVEN. Had he been given the keys to the kingdom of God he
would have had the power of the Holy Ghost, determining who would and would
not be saved. The key to the kingdom of God is in the hands of God alone (John
6:44). The keys given to Peter were not to any great degree any more important
than the privilege of preaching the gospel given to all those whom God calls into
his ministry. The fact that Peter was given keys only indicates that he was the
FIRST to preach the gospel to both Jews (Acts 2) and Gentiles (Acts 10).
      A God-called preacher still has access through the doors opened by Peter
many years ago.
      ...and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:.. As
used in this verse, the word BIND means to commit oneself to some project or
endeavor. Christians should be cautious about what they say, to whom and to
what they commit themselves, for like Peter, what they bind on earth is bound in
heaven (Matt. 18:18).
      ...and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Should a Christian release someone from a commitment or contract, his action is
honored in heaven and recorded there.
      If someone sins against a Christian and does not ask forgiveness, the
Christian cannot grant forgiveness even though he may be willing. Forgiveness
must be sought by the offending party. If the offending party seeks forgiveness, a
Christian, as a child of God, has power to forgive that sin (John 20:23). Upon
forgiving the offending person, God, for Jesus sake, forgives him also. Even
though all sin is against God (Psa. 51:4), God honors commitments made by his
children; therefore, Christians should enter all commitments with prayerful
caution. The power to bind and loose things in earth and heaven is granted to
those who by the new birth have become children of God and in no way extends to
humanly appointed priests who assume that God has given them, and them only,
the power to forgive sin. All Christians are priests (Rev. 5:10) and can forgive
those who have committed sins against THEM, but no one can forgive sins
committed against God, others or society. A saved person's power to forgive sins
does not violate the truth that only God can forgive sin (Mark 2:7), for it is still
God who does the forgiving, granting forgiveness for his children's sake. An
example of binding and loosing is seen in Paul's actions revealed in First Timothy
1:20 where Paul delivered two men who had given him trouble over to Satan, and
considered the matter closed, knowing God honored his decision.
       Verse 20. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that
he was Jesus the Christ. Peter discovered that Jesus was the CHRIST through a
revelation from God. Satan had to find out by submitting Jesus to temptations,
which only he could do.
       Jesus instructed his disciples not to tell anyone who he was because he
wanted them to RECEIVE the knowledge from God as Peter had. In fact, no one
really KNOWS that Jesus is Christ until God reveals it to him by his Spirit. The
instruction Jesus gave his disciples at that time does not extend to those saved in
this age. After Jesus sent the Holy Spirit into the world (John 15:26), those in
whom the Holy Spirit dwells were to tell everyone, everywhere that Jesus is
Christ.
       Verse 21. From that time forth... The FIRST major turning point in Jesus'
ministry was recorded in Matthew 11:20. Until that point Jesus preached the
gospel of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 4:17, 23, 9:35, 10:7). From Matthew
11:20, Jesus began to scold the Jews for rejecting the kingdom offer (displayed by
their lack of repentance) and because they did not respond to his scolding, he came
to the SECOND turning point in his ministry (Matt. 16:21). At this point, Jesus
began to show and teach something entirely different. He began to speak of the
gospel: his death, burial and resurrection (I Cor. 15:1-4).
       When God revealed the truth to Peter that Jesus was God's Christ, Jesus
began to teach a different message. Never again did he preach about the kingdom.
       ...began Jesus... Jesus had not revealed these truths to anyone before. He
turned from preaching the gospel of the kingdom of heaven to preaching judgment
because his demand for repentance was rejected. He then turned from preaching
judgment to preaching the gospel of his death, burial and resurrection.
       ...to shew... To show (shew) means to display or reveal. After his
resurrection, Jesus overtook two of his disciples walking on the road to Emmaus
(Luke 24:13) who did not understand why he had been crucified. Jesus used the
Old Testament (Luke 24:27) to show them how he was to be crucified, buried and
resurrected (Luke 24:25-26). (It was there in scripture all the time.)
       He may have revealed to them the gospel (I Cor. 15:1-4) hidden in the first
chapter of Genesis where verse two depicts DEATH (darkness, Gen. 15:12, Psa.
107:10) BURIAL (the deep, Jonah 2:5), and verse twelve, RESURRECTION,
(life, Rev. 1:18) WHICH APPEARED ON THE THIRD DAY (Gen. 1:13).
He may have shown them the gospel in the life of Jonah the prophet (Matt.
12:40).
      ... unto his disciples,.. Every Bible believer knows that discrimination is not
wrong (Rom 9:13) because Jesus clearly discriminated when he taught his
disciples things that he did not teach others.
      ...how that he must go unto Jerusalem... The prophets of the Old
Testament had been killed by the people of Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37). Although
Jesus is the eternal Prophet, Priest, and King, the particular work he did at his first
coming was that of a prophet (Deu. 18:15-18, Matt. 21:11, Luke 7:16, 24:19, etc.);
therefore, it was the people of Jerusalem who killed him.
      ...and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes,..
Before the religious leaders killed Jesus they vented their rage and hatred on him
(Matt. 26:56-65).
      ...and be killed,.. (See comments on Matt. 26:66, 27:35, 50.)
      ...and be raised again the third day. While Jesus had told the religious
leaders that they would be given the sign of the prophet Jonah (Matt. 12:39-40,
16:4), he only explained to his disciples HOW the sign would be given.
      Verse 22. Then Peter... Peter seems to have always been the disciple who
was out front, speaking or acting ahead of the others.
      ...took him, and began to rebuke him... After saying that Jesus was the
CHRIST, the Son of the living God only moments earlier, Peter showed no
caution or hesitation in rebuking him.
      ...saying, Be it far from thee, Lord:.. Jesus had just told Peter and the other
disciples that he MUST go to Jerusalem, suffer, be killed and rise again, yet Peter
said it really was not necessary.
      ...this shall not be unto thee. While Peter's intention was good, his
understanding was lacking. At this time he did not understand that Jesus HAD TO
suffer before he could be glorified (however, he understood later, I Pet. 1:11).
Although Peter was rebuked for his error, he was not through making mistakes,
later denying that he knew Jesus (Matt. 26:69-75). Not even then was he free of
error or rebellion, for he resisted God's clear instructions to eat certain wild beasts,
creeping things and fowls (Acts 10:10-17). Still later Peter made other errors and
was corrected by the apostle Paul (Gal. 2:11-14).
Christians often make the mistake of assuming God wants one thing simply
because it appears good and could not want something else because it appears
evil. Christians are to study and show themselves approved of God, rightly
dividing the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15). When this instruction is followed,
they will recognize that negative and evil things are essential for carrying out
God's eternal plan (see comments on Matt. 18:7).
      Verse 23. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me,
Satan:.. Those who have a religion of works (the religion of Cain) frequently use
this verse to promote the false doctrine that a blood bought saint can lose
salvation, contending that Peter was saved in verse seventeen but lost his salvation
in verse twenty-three. Satan was not just speaking THROUGH Peter, but was IN
Peter.
      The Bible gives no reason to believe that a person who is in a covenant
relationship with God cannot be possessed mind and body by Satan or his devils.
Even those in whom the Holy Spirit dwells can be influenced in mind and
possessed in body by Satan or his demons. The only part of a born again person
that the devil cannot touch is his SPIRIT.
      When an individual receives Jesus as his Savior, he receives the earnest of
the SPIRIT (II Cor. 1:22), becomes indwelt by a new SPIRIT which becomes the
protector of his SOUL. Since the Spirit of God then becomes the protector of the
soul, the soul can no longer be POSSESSED by Satan or his devils, BUT IT CAN
BE INFLUENCED BY THEM. The body of a saved person, however, is not
under the SAME divine protection as his soul and can be both possessed and
influenced by devils (I Pet. 5:8, 1 Cor. 5:5). When Jesus returns for his redeemed
of this age (resurrection day), we will receive a new BODY which Satan will
never be able to possess or influence. At the judgment seat of Christ, believers
will receive a new SOUL which can neither think an evil thought nor be
influenced by Satan (II Cor. 5:10, I John 3:2); thus is the plan of God to have all
his children conformed into his own image.
      ...thou art an offense unto me:.. Peter, thinking that he was defending his
Master and believing that he was doing and saying the right thing, suddenly found
himself being rebuked. Peter's assessment of the situation Jesus presented in verse
twenty-one concerning his suffering and crucifixion was from a WORLDLY point
of view even though shortly before (verse 16) he had spoken from a SPIRITUAL
point of view. This shows how quickly someone can slip from the spiritual to the
fleshly; one moment blessed by God, the next admonished by Jesus.
      Peter had good intentions and no doubt had Jesus' interest in mind, but,
nevertheless, his desire to stop something from happening that he considered evil
was contrary to the will of God (Matt. 18:7).
      ...for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of
men. The word "savourest" means to have a taste for or to delight in the taste of
something. Jesus rebuked Peter for displaying a distaste for something that was of
God, EVEN THOUGH IT APPEARED TO BE BAD.
      Jesus made a clear distinction between the things that concern God and the
things that concern men when he said, "Render to Caesar the things that are
Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's" (Mark 12:17). It is the
responsibility of man to know the difference and not confuse or mingle the two.
      Verse 24. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after
me,.. The lesson taught in this verse is based on Jesus' words in verse twenty-one.
      This statement leaves no doubt that it is the individual's responsibility to
choose to follow Jesus. Although he had CALLED his apostles, it was their
choice to follow him. The "if" in this phrase is hinged on man's free will and not
God's compulsion.
      ...let him deny himself... The proper protocol is: self last, others next and
God first.
      ...and take up his cross,.. Upon taking his cross, one will quickly realize
that it is a very personal cross, shared only with Jesus (see comments on Matt.
11:28-29).
      ...and follow me. Between one's "will" to follow Jesus and his actually
doing so, there is a cross. Unless the willing person takes the cross, he cannot
follow Jesus. The first time the Bible mentions the cross is in relation to trouble
and to gaining or loosing life (Matt. 10:34-39). The second time the Bible
mentions the cross is in the scripture under study that is also related to life and
death. The third time is when Jesus bore his cross, dying that others might live.
      While Jesus was speaking to his disciples, the message in this verse is
doctrinally applicable to Christians since Jesus was looking beyond the time when
he would bear his own cross.
      Verse 25. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:.. It is impossible
for human wisdom to give understanding of this verse. Physical evidence denies
the validity of this statement, but the faith of God, granted to his children, gives
them the ability to understand it perfectly. These words depict the great gulf and
tremendous contrast between God and unsaved man.
      ...and whosoever will lose his life... God does not require a person to die
physically in order to be born spiritually, but a person who has been born
spiritually (born again) was WILLING to die physically, seeing himself a
miserable, hell-bound wreck. Jesus did not say, "whosoever DOES lose his life,"
but rather, "whosoever WILL", that is, he is WILLING. This "will" encompasses
the willingness to give up the things of the world, to die to the flesh and live for
the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 6).
      ... for my sake... A person can be willing to dedicate his life to serving
others, give his life for others, die for the good of man, AND STILL GO TO
HELL (I Cor. 13:3). Jesus said that in order for a man to find life, he must lose his
life FOR HIS (Jesus') SAKE.
      ... shall find it. Those who have a religion of faith, as did Abel, know and
understand this truth, while those who have a religion of works, as did Cain, can
neither know nor understand this truth.
      Verse 26. For what is a man profited,.. In all scripture that deals with
salvation or service, God presents the situation distinctly—black or white, lost or
saved, heaven or hell—and leaves no middle ground.
      For instance,
    1. in this verse (Matt. 16:26), two choices are presented; the world or the
           soul, no other choice,

    2.   in the preceding verse; life or death, no other state of being,

    3.   in John 3:18; condemnation or no condemnation, no other judgment
         (redemptively),

    4.    in First John 3:10; children of God or children of Satan, no other people,

    5.   in First John 4:6; the Spirit of truth (Holy Spirit) or the spirit of error
         (Eph. 2:2), no other spirit,

    6. in Daniel 12:2; either heaven or hell, no other place to spend eternity, and

    7.    in Mark 12:17; God or Caesar, no other service.

      The Bible presents all situations that pertain to man's eternal destiny clearly
and distinctly. Man, in an attempt to escape the responsibility of making a choice,
blames God for not making the choice clear, and, in so doing, MAKES A
CHOICE NOT TO BELIEVE GOD. Man's eternal destiny is determined by what
he BELIEVES and NOT BY WHAT HE DOES. God tells any Bible reader
plainly what one needs to believe in order to be saved. The Bible says, "That if
thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart
that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom.10:9).
      Of what value is it to anyone:..
      ...if he shall gain the whole world,.. By this statement God expects the
reader to think about the tremendous value of the world with all its cities,
highways, systems of transportation and communication; its many ships, airplanes,
and enterprises; its gold, silver, and precious gems. All these earthly treasures
become insignificant and valueless should a man gain them...
       ... and lose his own soul? By this statement, God expects the reader to
reflect upon the value of his soul, the vanity of gaining earthly treasure while
neglecting his soul's need of salvation.
       ...or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Man has absolutely
nothing to offer God, for God has need of nothing. With only a word, God can
create worlds, kingdoms, precious metals, and precious stones (Heb. 11:3).
Nevertheless, man does have something that God desires, and that is, man's love
and affection. The only thing that man can give in exchange for his soul is to
return to God the love that He showed at Calvary.
       Verse 27. For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with
his angels;.. It is God who gives gifts and rewards to man, and not man who gives
gifts and rewards to God.
While this is speaking of the second coming of Jesus, it is NOT speaking of his
coming for Christians as a thief in the night (II Pet. 3:10, I Thess. 4:13-5:3), nor
is it speaking of his coming to the Gentiles as "...the lightning cometh out of the
east, and shineth even unto the west;" (Armageddon, Matt. 24:27), but rather
his Second Coming to the JEWS (Matt. 25:31).
       ...and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
REWARDS are given for works while GIFTS are given by grace. In this age,
salvation is a gift granted to believers by God's grace (Eph. 2:8) and not a reward
earned by works (Eph. 2:9).
Verse 28. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall
not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
Jesus was speaking TO his disciples ABOUT Peter, James and John (Matt.
17:1). He told his disciples that some among them (Peter, James and John)
would be privileged to witness a foreview of his Second Coming. They would
also be privileged to behold his glory and to hear the voice of Almighty God.
       Jesus did not mean that some of his disciples would not die before his
Second Coming but that they would not die before they saw A PREVIEW of his
Second Coming (given in the next chapter, Matt. 17:1-13).
                   CHAPTER 16, EPILOGUE


This chapter marks the second truning point in Jesus' ministry.
The first turning point was when he saw there was no repentance
among the children of Israel (Matt. 11:20). From that time on
Jesus never again mentioned that the kingdom was at hand.
Between that point and chapter sixteen was a period of transition
during which he upbraided the people who had heard his and the
disciples' messages of the kingdom of heaven.
From chapter sixteen forward Jesus proclaimed a different
message. The new message was of the GOSPEL, which is the
"good news" of his death burial and resurrection (Matt. 16:21). At
this time, Jesus knew of and told about his betrayal, crucifixion,
burial and resurrection.
None of his apostles understood what he was saying, and still did
not know about this present age with any degree of clarity until
the fifteenth chapter of the book of Acts.
CHAPTER 17

      Verse 1. And after six days... While both Matthew and Mark say, "...after
six days ... " (Matt. 17:1, Mark 9:2), Luke says, "...about an eight days..." (Luke
9:28). Since this event occurred AFTER six days and about eight days, we are to
know that it was on the SEVENTH DAY. Applying Second Peter 3:8 as a
guideline, that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, counting back through
the centuries from this present time there are six thousand years OR SIX DAYS to
Adam. In other words, we are now (1999) living somewhere close to the end of
the sixth day of human history. The next one thousand years, OR NEXT DAY, is
the SEVENTH DAY, the day when the Lord Jesus will sit upon the throne of
David IN THE GLORY WHICH PETER, JAMES AND JOHN WERE ABOUT
TO PREVIEW (verse 2).
      ...Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John... God blessed these three men more
than the other apostles on two other occasions. They were selected to witness the
power of Jesus in raising Jairus' daughter from the dead (Mark 5:37-43) and were
chosen to join Jesus in prayer during his hour of anguish in the garden of
Gethsemane (Mark 14:33-35).
      ...his brother,.. The scripture specifically identified which James was chosen
that He not be confused with James the son of Alphaeus (Matt. 10:3).
       ...and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, Jesus and his
disciples had been in the vicinity of Caesarea Philippi when he advised them that
some would see him in his glory, and the place to which they went required a six-
day journey. The mountain to which they went was Sinai, approximately six days
from the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee. It was at Sinai that the nation Israel
first tempted God (Ex. 17:7) and where God had given them the law (Ex. 19:10 -
34:35).
       Verse 2. And was transfigured before them:.. Apparently while Peter,
James and John beheld him, Jesus developed an entirely different appearance. The
MAN Jesus was plain and ordinary without beauty or comeliness (Isa. 53:2), but
as GOD, he radiated so much glory and brightness that all three apostles were
filled with fear (Mark 9:3-6).
       Peter, James and John were not the only ones to behold the glory of the Lord,
for Daniel had beheld him in the plains of Dura many centuries earlier (Dan. 10).
Even before that, Moses had seen the glory of the Lord at the foot of mount Sinai
(Ex. 33:7-9, 18-23). The apostle John saw the glory of Jesus again while on the
island of Patmos (Rev. 1:9, 13-17).
       A great doctrinal truth is seen when we combine the facts revealed on these
occasions when men beheld the glory of the Lord. Moses, seeing the glory of the
Lord at the foot of mount Sinai, speaks of God's presence with Israel while they
were under the law. Daniel, seeing the glory of the Lord in the plains of Babylon,
speaks of God's presence with Israel even in their captivity. John's vision of the
Lord's glory while on an island speaks of the presence of God with Israel while
they are scattered among the nations (Isa. 11:11), and the three apostles seeing the
glory of the Lord while on Sinai (II Pet. 1:18) speaks of God's presence with Israel
in the coming kingdom.
       ...and his face did shine as the sun,.. When Moses saw the glory of God
(Ex. 33:18-23) it caused his face to shine to the extent that those who saw him
were afraid to come near (Ex. 34:29-35). Daniel described the glory of the Lord,
saying that his face was as the appearance of lightning and his eyes as lamps of
fire (Dan. 10:6), and the apostle John said that his appearance was like the sun
(Rev. 1:16).
       ...and his raiment was white as the light. First, the attention of the apostles
was brought to bear upon the face of Jesus. They described it as being like the
sun. Then they described his raiment (garments) as white as the light, as white as
snow (Mark 9:3) and glistering (flashing like lightning, Luke 9:29). These
characteristics speak of the purity and righteousness of Jesus, while the reaction of
those who saw his glory and heard the voice of God (Dan. 10:6, Matt. 17:5-6, Rev.
1:17) speaks of the uncleanness and unrighteousness of man.
      Verse 3. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking
with him. Jesus, Moses and Elijah all had at least one thing in common: they all
fasted forty days and nights, and are the only people recorded to have done so.
Moses fasted forty days and nights on SINAI (Ex. 34:28-29); Elijah fasted forty
days and nights on Horeb (I Kings 19:8), which is Sinai (Mal. 4:4); and Jesus
fasted forty days and nights on a mountain—SINAI (Matt. 4:2, 8). Jesus, Moses
and Elijah all appeared to Peter, James and John IN GLORY (Mark 9:2-4, Luke
9:30-31). There were SIX people on the mount of transfiguration: 1. Jesus, 2.
Moses, 3. Elijah, 4. Peter, 5. James and 6. John. MOUNT SINAI HAS SIX
NAMES: 1. Sinai (Ex. 19:11), 2. Horeb (Ex. 3:1), 3. Massah (Ex. 17:7), 4.
Meribah (Ex. 17:7), 5. Rephradim (Ex. 17:1) and 6. the mountain of God (Ex. 3:1,
I Kings 19:8).
Every person on the mount of transfiguration was a JEW. The coming
tribulation is a fiery baptism for JEWS (see comments on 3:11). There are to
be two witnesses in the world during the last half of the tribulation, one of
whom many believe will be ENOCH. The thought is that Enoch did not die
(Gen. 5:24); therefore, he must return to earth and face the death he escaped.
HOWEVER, ENOCH WAS NOT A JEW. The two witnesses in Revelation
eleven will be Moses and Elijah!
      Verse 4. Then answered Peter,.. Both Mark and Luke say that Peter spoke
even though he did not know what to say (Mark 9:6, Luke 9:33). This seems to be
a common failing of many Christians.
      ...and said unto Jesus,.. The last time Peter said something to Jesus he got
into trouble and was severely reprimanded (Matt. 16:22-23).
      ...Lord, it is good for us to be here:.. Peter was correct so far; however, he
did not know when to stop.
      ...if thou wilt... Perhaps Peter by this time had learned a little, thinking to
check with the Lord's will before making his suggestion.
      ...let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses,
and one for Elias. Apparently Peter thought that a religious service would be
appropriate and that they needed three tabernacles. Why he suggested a different
tabernacle for each is unclear, but it suggests that he may have known there was a
difference between the law (Moses), the prophets (Elijah) and grace (Jesus).
      Verse 5. While he yet spake,.. Peter was probably happy for the
interruption, since his conversation was becoming pretty absurd.
      ...behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them:.. In the preceding chapter
(sixteen, verses twenty-seven and twenty-eight) Jesus said that some of the
apostles would witness a preview of his Second Coming, and the Second Coming
of Jesus to Jews is associated with CLOUDS (Dan. 7:13, Matt. 24:30, 26:64, Acts
1:9-11).
     ...and behold a voice out of the cloud,.. When Moses was on mount Sinai
he heard the voice of God speak to him from a CLOUD on the SEVENTH DAY.

          And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the
     CLOUD covered it SIX DAYS: and the SEVENTH DAY he called
     unto Moses out of the MIDST OF THE CLOUD (Ex. 24:16).

Elijah heard the voice of God while he was on Sinai (Horeb, I Kings 19:8), and
while nothing is said about the Lord speaking to him from a cloud (I Kings
19:13), his ministry did involve a cloud while he was on mount Carmel. He
sent a servant to look for a cloud that did not appear until the SEVENTH time
he looked (I Kings 18:41-44).
       ...which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;.. This
was the voice of God speaking to the apostles about his Son Jesus.
       ...hear ye him. God did not instruct the apostles to hear Moses or Elijah but
to hear Jesus (Heb. 1:1-2). While Peter had in mind to build three tabernacles,
God has in mind to build but one, a tabernacle designed (Ez. 40 - 48), and built by
Jesus (Zech. 6:12-13) from which he will rule and reign for one thousand years
(Rev. 20:4). In that future day all of the world will hear God's Son (Isa. 2:2-4) and
there will be neither prophets nor preachers (Zech. 13:3-5), for God will make a
new covenant with Israel and his words will be written in their hearts (Heb. 8:6-
10).
         In this present age, God has given the Holy Bible and he wants men to read
it for in doing so they "hear" Jesus.
       Verse 6. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and
were sore afraid. Peter, James, and John heard the voice of God as had Moses
and Elijah.
       The word "voice" is found seven times in the book of Matthew. The study of
the occurrences is interesting.

    1.   In Rama a voice of anguish, lamentation, sorrow and weeping was heard
         (Matt. 2:18).

    2.   In the wilderness of Judaea the voice of John the Baptist crying out to
         Israel the word he first preached, "Repent" (Matt. 3:1-3).

    3.   From heaven the voice of God was heard expressing his satisfaction and
         pleasure with his Son Jesus (Matt. 3:17).
    4.    The voice of silence. The voice of Jesus was unheard in any STREET of
          the cities of Israel (Matt. 12:19). (His voice was heard on
          MOUNTAINS, in the DESERT, upon the WATER and in
          SYNAGOGUES, BUT NEVER IN THE STREETS.

    5     On the mount of transfiguration three apostles heard the voice of God
          giving divine instructions (Matt. 17:5).

    6.    On the cross the voice of Jesus cried out to his GOD, "My God, my
          God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46). (Jesus was not
          forsaken by God his FATHER, but by God his GOD, Eph. 1:3.
          Although God and Father are one and the same, his activity as God was
          sometimes different from his activity as Father.)

    7.    Finally, the triumphant voice of victory as Jesus cried, "It is finished"
          (John 19:30, Matt. 27:50).

      Verse 7. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not
afraid. It was Jesus who touched the troubled Daniel while he was upon his face
on the ground after hearing the voice of God (Dan. 10:9-10). The Lord told
Daniel, "Fear not" (Dan. 10:12).
It was Jesus who touched John (Rev. 1:17) when he heard the voice of the Lord
Jesus (Rev. 1:11) telling him, "Fear not" (Rev. 1:17).
      In the same way Jesus told Peter, James and John, "Be not afraid."
The power and glory of God will make the greatest men tremble in fear, yet the
love and compassion of Jesus can dispel that fear.
Verse 8. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save
Jesus only. The vision was finished; therefore, the presence of Elijah and
Moses was no longer needed.
      Verse 9. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged
them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again
from the dead. Beginning with Matthew 16:20 and continuing through this verse,
a portrait of the work of Jesus from his first coming through his Second Coming is
presented. The twentieth verse of chapter sixteen is an opening parenthesis of an
inserted lesson Jesus intended for the ears of his disciples, so he instructed them to
tell no man. This lesson covers the first coming of Jesus: his death, burial and
resurrection (16:21), and the choice that would be offered of either the things of
God or the things of man (16:23). It covers his Second Coming to Israel (16:27-
28) and the need for the Jews to return to Sinai during the tribulation, prior to his
millennial reign (17:1). During the tribulation two witnesses will appear (17:2-4),
and God will begin to deal personally with Israel (17:5). They will be humbled
and fearful (17:6), at which time Jesus will come and take away their fear (17:7)
and will be their one and only King (17:8). Verse nine is the CLOSING
parenthesis that repeats the statement, "tell no-man," seen in chapter sixteen verse
twenty (which was the OPENING parenthesis).
      Verse 10. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes
that Elias must first come? The prophet Malachi wrote that Elias (Elijah) would
return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord (Mal. 4:5). The apostles knew
that the scribes expected Elijah to return and Jesus said nothing to indicate the
scribes were wrong in expecting him. In fact, he supported their belief with his
next statement.
      Verse 11. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first
come, and restore all things. (See comments on 11:14.)
      The purpose of Elijah's return will be to restore all things. His work of
restoration will be to, ...turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the
heart of the children to their fathers,.. (Mal. 4:6). The conditions which will
prevail during the FIRST half of the tribulation will cause children to turn
AGAINST their parents and their parents AGAINST them (Mark 13:12);
therefore, the work of Elijah during the LAST half of the tribulation will be to
remedy that situation and reconcile families.
      Verse 12. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already,.. John the
Baptist's work was sufficient to have fulfilled the work prophesied of Elijah, but
the Jews rejected his demand to repent as well as rejecting the King and his
kingdom.
      ...and they knew him not,.. While the Gentiles (world) did not know who
Jesus was (John 1:10), the Jews did not know who John the Baptist was (John
1:19-21).
      The world has a saying, "What you don't know won't hurt you"; however,
this belief is unsound and contrary to the Bible. The scripture records the account
of many people who found themselves in deep trouble because of what they did
not know.
      Balaam the prophet got into trouble because he did not know that God was
against him (Num. 22:34). Samson was blinded and made a slave because he did
not know that the power of God had departed from him (Jud. 16:20). Millions
were drowned in the days of Noah because of what they did not know (Matt.
24:38-39). The multitudes who perished in the great flood, Balaam, Samson, or
anyone who chooses to ignore what God says WILL NOT KNOW SPIRITUAL
TRUTHS. On judgment day men who have been exposed to the Bible will be held
accountable for what they do not know about God's word.
The prophet Malachi foretold the coming of Elijah, yet when he came the ones
to whom he came refused to believe it was him, and not only that,..
       ...but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. The word listed means
to be inclined to do something, to lean in the direction of, or desire to do. What
the Jewish leaders "listed" to do was to reject the message of John the Baptist and
kill him (Matt. 14:3-12).
       Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Although the Jews
were the ones who hated Jesus, it was by the decree of a Gentile that he died (Luke
23:24).
       It was at the hand of a Gentile that John the Baptist died (Matt. 14:3-12) and
it will be at the hand of the last ruling Gentile that Elijah will die (Rev. 11:7).
       Verse 13. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John
the Baptist. (See comments on 11:14.)
When Jewish priests and Levites were sent to determine John the Baptist's
identity, they asked if he were Elias (Elijah) to which John said "No" (John
1:21). Jesus told his disciples that John WAS Elijah—IF: IF the Jews would
receive the offered kingdom—but they DID NOT. How much the disciples
understood about the relationship between Elijah and John the Baptist is not
known, but it is obvious that they knew from what Jesus said in verses eleven
and twelve that when he spoke of John the Baptist, he was speaking of Elijah.
       Verse 14. And when they were come to the multitude,.. A parallel account
of this occasion is recorded by both Luke (9:37-43) and Mark (9:14-29).
       Luke said that many people met Jesus the day after he came down from the
mountain (Luke 9:37), and Mark said that the nine disciples who did not go with
Jesus to the mountain were surrounded by the multitude while the scribes
questioned them (Mark 9:14).
       ...there came to him a certain man... There was controversy (Luke 9:37-
43) involving a certain man and his demon possessed son, the nine disciples, some
scribes (Mark 9:14), and a multitude of people. When Jesus asked the scribes why
they were questioning his disciples, a man who seemed to be the center of
attention answered, saying that the disciples could not cast a demon out of his
afflicted son.
       ...kneeling down to him, and saying, Kneeling before someone is indeed a
position of worship, but kneeling before someone does not ALWAYS denote
worship. People kneel before kings and queens, but that does not mean that they
worship them. At any rate, this man either had enough respect for Jesus, or was so
grieved for his son that he knelt before him to make his petition.
       Verse 15. Lord, have mercy... These words are used as a slang expression
by both lost and saved people. It has been reduced to "Lawdy mercy," and is
seldom said sincerely, and in such cases is of no value because it uses the name of
the Lord in vain.
       ...on my son:.. As the Roman centurion had come to Jesus expressing
concern for his servant (Matt. 8:5-6), and the grieving Canaanite woman had come
on behalf of her daughter (Matt. 15:21-28), so did this Jew come on behalf of his
son. This poor man was filled with anguish and sorrow of heart because of his
son's affliction, and he had brought him to the nine disciples, only to be
disappointed.
       ...for he is lunatic,.. The word lunatic means "moon struck." Anyone with
such an affliction is subject to attacks of insanity during certain phases of the
moon.
       ...and sore vexed;.. The man's son was greatly tortured and tormented,
incapable of controlling his thoughts and actions.
       ...for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. Verse
eighteen reveals that the boy was possessed by a devil that caused his misery.
This account in Matthew along with the parallel accounts in Luke and Mark
provide several interesting facts about demon possession. The demon would cast
him into the fire (Matt 17:15), cause him to cry out (Luke 9:39), throw him to the
ground (Mark 9:"40), cause him to foam at the mouth (Mark 9:18) and grind his
teeth (Mark 9:18), bruise him (Luke 9:39), throw him into the water (Matt. 17:15),
make him deaf (Mark 9:25) and dumb (Mark 9:25), and cause him to pine away
(to be depresses and filled with despondency, Mark 9:18).
       Verse 16. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure
him. Few things leave a person with a feeling of hopelessness more than to have
hope unrealized. This man had his hopes shattered by the disciples' inability to
cure his son, but when he saw Jesus his hopes were renewed.
       Verse 17. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless... While the words
faith, trust, and belief generally mean a similar thing, there are differences.
       FAITH is a gift of God the Father (Eph. 2:8) as well as a gift of the Holy
Spirit (I Cor. 12:9) and it is also a part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), and is
the ONLY gift of God which is also a part of the fruit of the Spirit. It is also the
only gift of the Spirit listed in First Corinthians 12:8-10 that God says will endure
(I Cor. 13:13). Faith is given to anyone who hears the word of God (Rom. 10:16-
17) and is the only thing the Bible says that God demands a person have in order
to please Him (Heb. 11:6). (See comments on 17:20.)
       BELIEF IS NOT A GIFT BUT IS WHAT GOD REQUIRES OF AN
INDIVIDUAL TO WHOM HE WILL GIVE FAITH. NEITHER IS TRUST A
GIFT, BUT IS WHAT GOD EXPECTS OF THOSE TO WHOM HE HAS
GIVEN FAITH.
      ...and perverse... Perverse means to have departed from that which is right,
and also means improper, corrupt, wicked and perverted.
      ...generation,.. As it is used in this verse, the word generation means a
certain people living at a given time-in this case, those to whom Jesus was
speaking.
      ...how long shall I be with you? To paraphrase what Jesus said, "You
should have grown in faith by now and turned from your wicked ways, but you
have not. You have not repented and received my message nor have you received
me; therefore, I will soon be taken from you."
      ...how long shall I suffer you? The word suffer is used three ways in the
Bible, and most English dictionaries will define the word all three ways. In
Second Timothy 3:12 (as well as Rom. 8:18, II Cor. 1:5, Col. 1:24, etc.) the word
suffer means to be in distress because of injury or hurt.
      In Mark 10:14 (also Luke 4:41, 9:59, Acts 21:39, etc.) the word suffer means
to permit or allow.
      In the verse under study (Matt. 17:17, also II Cor. 11:19) it means to endure,
put up with or sustain (hold up).
      ...bring him hither to me. Jesus may have been further testing their faith by
telling them to bring the boy to him.
      Verse 18. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and
the child was cured from that very hour. Before he rebuked the devil, Jesus
mildly rebuked the people.
      This entire episode (Jesus descending from the mountain, encountering
faithless and oppressed people, and cleansing a boy possessed with a devil) is a
picture of Jesus' leaving his home in heaven and coming into this world and
finding Israel faithless, oppressed, and demon riddled, then cleansing them, only
to have them turn against him and crucify him (verses 22 - 23).
      Verse 19. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart,.. The disciples were
probably somewhat embarrassed by their failure and wanted to talk to Jesus where
the multitude could not hear them.
      ...and said, Why could not we cast him out? They expressed dismay and
indignation over their inability to cast out a demon, because they had encountered
no such failure prior to that (Matt. 10:8). Since they had been given power to cast
out demons earlier, and had met no failures then, they are not to be condemned for
their dismay.
      Verse 20. And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief:.. Like the
demands in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5 - 7) and the commission to the
twelve apostles (Matt. 10), the promise in this verse is NOT to be claimed AS
SUCH by Christians. While it may be true that if a Christian needs a mountain
moved in order to carry out a Christ-honoring work and faithfully prays that it be
moved, God may by some ordinary means, construction work to build a highway,
defense system, park or some such thing, move it. But this verse is speaking of a
mountain moving from one place to another by supernatural means.
This is the FIRST of two reasons why the disciples could not cast out the
demon, a lack of BELIEF, which Jesus associated with a lack of FAITH.
While Romans 10:17 states that faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the
word of God, it is also true that many hear the word of God but do not act on
the faith given them. Faith, which COMETH by hearing is not exercised by
everyone who hears. DOCTRINALLY, Romans 10:17 teaches HOW faith
comes, and does NOT teach that everyone who hears the word of God and
receives faith exercised that faith (because all HEARERS are not BELIEVERS,
see comments on verse 17).
      ...for verily I say unto you,.. Jesus was speaking to his disciples, not to the
multitudes.
      ...if ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed... The symbolism of the
mustard seed is given in Matthew 13:31-32, where it is shown to be very small,
the least of seeds. Jesus was using a mustard seed to show his disciples the SIZE
or AMOUNT of faith needed to move a mountain.
      ...ye shall say unto this mountain,.. When Jesus said THIS mountain, he
was referring to the mountain from which he, Peter, James and John had
descended, the mount of transfiguration—SINAI. Luke says that they came down
from the mountain the next day, which suggests that they spent the night there
before descending. Luke also states in the same verse (Luke 9:37) that the
multitude MET them. Since the MOUNTAIN was SINAI, and SINAI TYPIFIES
LAW (Ex. 20 - 34, Gal. 4:24-25) which stands in opposition to FAITH (Gal.
3:12), then Sinai also typifies FAITHLESSNESS (Ex. 17:7). In other words, the
DOCTRINAL message of this verse (Matt. 17:20) IS THAT FAITH IS
SUPERIOR TO LAW!
      ...Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove;.. Not that it shall
BE removed, but IT SHALL REMOVE. Jesus was not talking about a mountain
being moved by dynamite or earth moving equipment, but the particular mountain
being moved by speaking the word.
      ...and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Should a child of God attempt
to claim this promise in this present day of sin and evil (a day in which Satan is
loose and active, a day when Jesus has not yet restored all things, a day in which
God is testing the faith of his children), it would only lead to disappointment and
discouragement. This does not mean that there are not supernatural and
miraculous occurrences in this age, but that the expression "nothing shall be
impossible unto you" is qualified by the will of God who alone knows what must
come to pass and how things are to be done (Rom. 8:28).
Another truth revealed in this verse is that some devils are more powerful than
others; therefore, within their world they have rank and order. A devil of
higher order can "cast out" a devil of lesser order, and do so in such a way as to
cause men to think that God performed the exorcism.
      Verse 21. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
The second reason Jesus gave as to why the disciples could not cast out that
particular devil was because that devil was extremely powerful, and prayer and
fasting were required for his expulsion. In these last days of this age, casting out
demons has become popular, BUT MOST OF IT IS BEING DONE BY THE
POWER OF SATAN IN ORDER TO CONFUSE CHRISTIANS AND CAUSE
THEM TO DEPART FROM SOUND DOCTRINE.
      Verse 22. And while they abode in Galilee... Mark says in his gospel that
they left the mountain and went back through Galilee not wanting the multitude to
know he was there (Mark 9:30), while Matthew says that they abode there. While
he was alone with his disciples he took the opportunity to tell them again about his
forthcoming death, burial and resurrection (Mark. 9:31, Matt. 17:22-23).
      ...Jesus said unto them,.. Jesus was speaking only to his disciples because
he wanted them to hear something that was not for the ears of others. In other
words, Jesus DISCRIMINATED, giving some people something he did not give
others, a truth that upsets modern apostates.
      ...The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: This was the
SECOND time Jesus spoke on Mt. Zion about what was to happen to him (the first
time was Matt. 16:21) and added that he would be betrayed.
      Verse 23. And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised
again. And they were exceeding sorry. Jesus preached the gospel to his
disciples and to them only, but they did not understand what he meant at that time.
      The GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST, which is the power of God unto
salvation (Rom. 1:16), is this:

          For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received,
     how that Christ DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the
     scriptures;
          And that he was BURIED, and that he ROSE AGAIN the
     third day according to the scriptures: (I Cor. 15:3-4).

      Even though this was the second time Jesus presented the gospel to his
disciples, THEY DID NOT UNDERSTAND (Mark 9:32, Luke 9:45). They are
not to be blamed for their lack of understanding, however, because Luke says that
God withheld their understanding that they should not know AT THAT TIME.
Jesus wanted his words to be heard and that they sink into the apostle's ears (Luke
9:44) that they might be remembered later (Luke 24:7-8).
      Verse 24. And when they were come to Capernaum,.. Apparently when
Jesus left the area of Caesarea Philippi with the twelve disciples, he went into the
wilderness of Sinai, taking Peter, James and John on the mountain with him where
he was transfigured. When they came down from the mountain, they met a
multitude that had assembled around the other nine apostles. Jesus was introduced
to the problem of the apostles' inability to cast a demon from a boy who lived
nearby with his father (Mark 9:29). After casting out the demon, Jesus went
unnoticed with his twelve disciples to Galilee where he taught them more about
things to come and what to expect, then continued to Capernaum the headquarters
of his ministry. This was the city Jesus chose as his home (Matt. 4:13).
      ...they that received tribute money... Those receiving tribute money were
Jews who were gathering revenue for the care of the temple in Jerusalem. (It is
possible, but very unlikely, that they were Jews collecting taxes for Rome.)
      ...came to Peter... Peter always seemed to have been where things were
happening. It may be that he had some physical characteristic that made him stand
out in a crowd. Even when with the two other outstanding disciples, James and
John, Peter stood out. While James and John are mentioned by name in three
verses in Matthew, Peter is mentioned in TWENTY-FOUR.
      ...and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? Jesus and the other
disciples had already arrived at and entered his house (Mark 9:33, John 1:39)
while Peter had not (Matt. 17:25).
      Verse 25. He saith, Yes. Peter, though he was often wrong, usually gave a
solid, straightforward answer as he did here. If Peter responded to these people
and their question in his normal manner, he probably said "yes" and kept walking,
his temper rising.
      And when he was come into the house,.. When HE, Peter, came into the
house, Jesus and the other disciples were already there. Apparently Peter was
about to say something, but:..
      ...Jesus prevented him,.. As it is commonly used today, the word prevent
means to restrain or to keep something from happening. However, its primary
meaning is somewhat different and can be best understood when broken down into
its two components, "pre" and "vent." Pre means first or before, as in "pre"cede.
Vent means to release, let out or allow to escape, as an air "vent." Therefore, the
word pre-vent means to release first, or allow to escape prior to. It is used in First
Thessalonians 4:15 where the Bible says that living Christians will not prevent (be
released before) dead Christians on resurrection day. ...we which are alive and
remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not PREVENT them which are
asleep. In other words, dead (sleeping, John 11:11-14) Christians will be
"VENTED" (released) from their bondage of clay (the grave) before living
Christians will be vented from their bondage of clay (earthly body, Job 4:19).
      The word vent is also used to express what one does when he "lets off
steam." It is the way people often unburden themselves of emotional strain or
pressure.
      Peter was about to "VENT" his feelings, having been miffed by those who
collected tribute, but before he could, JESUS PRE-VENTED HIM. He was like a
steam boiler about to explode, saved by Jesus' releasing pressure before he "blew
up."
      ...saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Peter's head was probably full of
thoughts and Jesus got his attention that he might channel those thoughts toward
more constructive conclusions than allowing them to be released into the air by an
outburst of words.
      ...of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Jesus was
talking about the Gentiles and their method of collecting taxes and obtaining
revenue.
      ...of their own children,.. "Their own children" are the citizens of the nation
collecting taxes.
      ...or of strangers? "Strangers" are those who are not citizens of the nation
collecting taxes. An example of this is Rome, which at one time did not tax its
own citizens but taxed the citizens of the nations it conquered. In other words,
Jesus asked the question, "Who is forced to pay taxes, the citizens of a conquering
nation or the citizens of the nations it has conquered?"
      Verse 26. Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Peter answered Jesus'
question in the same manner that he answered the tribute collector's question,
promptly and correctly.
      Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Jesus told Peter in so
many words that those who were collecting tribute were collecting from the wrong
people. Jews (possibly, but very unlikely, working for Rome) were collecting
from Jews, which was contrary to God's intentions (Ex. 3:20-22).
      Verse 27. Notwithstanding... Another common word which means the
same thing and with which we are familiar would be "nevertheless." To
paraphrase the meaning behind this word in the light of the previous verse: "We
are free and do not have to pay tribute, NEVERTHELESS..."
      ...lest we should offend them,.. The principle Jesus taught in this passage is
applicable to Christians in a very strict sense. As God's children, Christians are
free, nevertheless, ...all things are not expedient:.. (I Cor. 6:12). Christians are
not to offend others by refusing to abide by their rules and laws in any manner (I
Cor. 10:32) except when it comes to preaching the cross (Gal. 5:11).
      ...go thou to the sea,.. Since they were in Capernaum they were on the coast
of the Sea of Galilee.
      ...and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up;.. No doubt
there were many millions of fish in the Sea of Galilee, yet Jesus told Peter he
needed only to catch one particular fish.
      ...and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of
money:.. Of all the fish in all the lakes, rivers, seas, and oceans it is unlikely that
any would be caught with money in his mouth—its stomach perhaps, but not in its
mouth. This was another of Jesus' many miracles designed to show his power and
knowledge.
      ...that take, and give unto them for me... It was customary for a master of a
group to pay tribute (verse 24) but Jesus added a bonus.
      ...and thee. Since masters were expected to pay tribute and not the common
people, this act made Peter look important and undoubtedly helped overcome his
indignation at having been approached by the tribute collectors.




                       CHAPTER SEVENTEEN, EPILOGUE

           The King gave a preview of the glory of his Second Coming
     to three of his apostles, Peter, James and John.
           Moses and Elijah were present, for they are the two
     witnesses who will prepare the way for the coming kingdom
     during the last half of the tribulation.
                                 CHAPTER 18

      Verse 1. At the same time... This was while they were in the house in
Capernaum after Peter had returned from paying tribute, because all twelve
apostles were present (Mark 9:35).
      ...came the disciples unto Jesus,.. The disciples approached Jesus hoping
that he might settle a dispute which had risen among them while on their way to
Capernaum (Mark 9:34).
      ...saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? These were
grown men arguing about who would be over who when the kingdom came.
Since they were acting like children Jesus used a child to give them an answer.
      Verse 2. And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst
of them, Whether the child realized it or not, it was an honor to have been used
by Jesus as an example to twelve grown men. Whether or not the disciples
realized it, it should have been quite humiliating for Jesus to use a child as an
example of the attitude they should have had. If any of the twelve expected
someone to be used as an example of how they should be, they likely thought the
example would be someone like Abraham, Gideon or David, but hardly a little
child.
      Verse 3. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted,.. Jesus
gave them more than an answer to their question about who would be greatest in
the kingdom and told them that ENTERING the kingdom should be their first
concern. He told them, in other words, "Don't be concerned about your
POSITION in the kingdom if you don't first have assurance that you'll be IN the
kingdom."
      The word converted does not mean simply a change of life style or merely a
change of mind, but a change of HEART—a change that can be made only by a
divine work of God. When God saves someone, he gives him a new heart that will
produce a changed mind and a changed lifestyle. Something more than repentance
is implied by the word converted. Repentance is a turning back to something
someone already has or knows, while conversion is to accept a totally new thing.
(See comments on 13:19.)
      Simon Peter is an excellent example of someone who needed conversion
(Luke 22:31-32). According to Luke 22:32 Peter was not converted even after
having partaken of the Last Supper. Peter's conversion MAY have come after the
resurrection when Jesus breathed on him and the other nine apostles saying,
"Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John 20:22). However, since the Holy Ghost did
not come as a converting, indwelling, baptizing Spirit until the day of Pentecost, it
is more likely that that was when Peter was converted.
      The conversion which is demanded in order for one to enter the kingdom of
God is referred to in the scripture as a NEW BIRTH (John 3:3). The new birth
includes many things, one of which is the restoration of the image of God which
Adam lost in Eden. When Adam sinned, he DIED SPIRITUALLY; therefore, for
a person to be restored to the image of God he must be BORN SPIRITUALLY,
something which was made possible only AFTER the death, burial and
resurrection of Jesus and his sending the Holy Spirit into the world FOR THAT
PARTICULAR WORK. [While the Holy Spirit has always been in the world (Psa.
139:7-8) his work of restoring the image of God to individuals is confined to this
age only.]
      Jesus had already told his disciples that the way to enter the kingdom of
heaven (Matt. 5:3) and live by its demands (Matt. 5:13-7:27) was to FIRST enter
the kingdom of GOD (Matt. 6:33).
When the disciples were arguing about their position in the kingdom of heaven,
they had in mind its physical and not its spiritual manifestation as it is in this
present age of grace.
      ...and become as little children,.. Conversion always humbles, as every
saved person knows. Conversion requires that a person trust Jesus for
righteousness and no longer trust his own righteousness. As a child depends on
someone else to clothe him (Gen. 3:21), to provide his needs (Psa. 23:1), to put
him to bed (Psa. 23:2), to give him guidance in righteousness (Psa. 23:5), to
provide food (Psa. 23:5), to protect him from enemies (Psa. 23:5) and to provide
his eternal dwelling place (Psa. 23:6), so must a person trust Jesus.
      ...ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. The requirement Jesus
gave for entering the kingdom of heaven was just as clear and definite as his
requirement for entering the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5).
      While there are similarities between God's prerequisites for entering the
kingdom of HEAVEN and those necessary for entering the kingdom of GOD,
there are also differences. In order to enter the kingdom of GOD, a new birth is
required: a personal spiritual birth available to INDIVIDUALS ONLY. This new
birth reduces a person to the helplessness of a new born BABY, and is a work God
will do only in this age.
The new birth required to enter the kingdom of HEAVEN is a NATIONAL
rather than an individual conversion (Isa. 66:8). This new birth, which God
will bring to the nation Israel, will be a total conversion in every sense (Ez.
36:26-27) and will reduce Israel to the helplessness of a CHILD.
      Verse 4. Whosoever... A lack of humility will quickly separate a person
from God.
      While it is true that the kingdom of heaven is basically a Jewish kingdom, an
invitation to accept the God of Israel was issued to the Gentiles as well. Gentiles
who accepted the God of Israel as their God will be in the kingdom when it comes.
The factor which must be exercised by all whom God deems worthy to enter the
kingdom, whether Jew or Gentile, is FAITH.
      For instance, Rahab was a Gentile harlot who lied (Josh. 2:4), but by faith
will be in the kingdom (Josh. 2:18, Matt. 1:5).
      Uriah was a Gentile, a Hittite who got drunk (II Sam. 11:13), but he will be
in the kingdom (II Sam. 11:11).
      Ruth was a Moabitess, a citizen of a nation of cursed people (Deu. 23:3), but
she will be in the kingdom (Ruth 1:16).
      Rahab, Uriah and Ruth were Gentiles who exercised faith in the God of
Israel, and as a result will live with the Lord in his glorious kingdom.
      Thank God that whosoever will may come and take the water of life
FREELY (Rev. 22:17, John 3:16).
        ...therefore shall bumble himself as this little child,.. David the king
knew what pleased God, and wrote many years ago, The sacrifices of God are a
broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise
(Psa. 51:17).
      HUMILITY is seeing oneself as having nothing, knowing nothing and being
nothing, and God's word instructs Christians to be so minded (Phil. 2:5-8). Pride
is one of man's greatest enemies (I John 2:16), for it opposes humility and causes
one to show disdain or contempt for others. Pride causes a person to think that he
is special or better than others. Humility is associated with the Holy Spirit, while
pride is associated with the spirit of the world or spirit of error (I John 4:6). The
Holy Spirit CANNOT produce PRIDE and the spirit of error CANNOT produce
humility, BUT CAN COUNTERFEIT HUMILITY.
      ...the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The apostles'
disagreement was over who would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven and
Jesus answered by displaying the HUMILITY OF A LITTLE CHILD.
      Verse 5. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name
receiveth me. God's requirement for the new birth, or God's requirement for
receiving salvation, is not by receiving a little child in the name of Jesus. The way
to receive the new birth through faith in Jesus was made possible only after his
resurrection. Before his resurrection Jesus expected the Jews to receive him in the
same manner one would receive a little child (John 1:12). What is in view in this
verse is receiving the PRESENCE and COMPANY of Jesus, and is similar to what
will be required to receive him during the tribulation (Matt. 25:34-36).
      Verse 6. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in
me... It is not always those who are cruel and careless who offend little children,
but those who mislead them with good intentions.
      Not all children are included in this verse, but only those that are offended
WHO BELIEVE IN JESUS.
      ...it were better for him that a millstone were banged about his neck,.. A
millstone is big enough and heavy enough to pull anyone to the bottom of the sea
quite swiftly.
      ...and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. The DOCTRINAL
meaning of this verse is that it is far better to be dead (the flesh) and in heaven
than to be alive and on the way to hell.
      Verse 7. Woe... The word woe means grief, sorrow, affliction, trouble and
misery.
      ...unto the world... As used in this phrase, the word world means the
inhabitants of the earth as it is also used in John 1:10.
      ...because of offences!.. Offences (offenses) are things placed before people
to cause them to stumble, and as used in this verse, the word offences refers to
things that cause someone not to come to, or follow Jesus.
      ...for it must needs be that offences come;.. God himself said that offenses
MUST come. They are an essential in His plan for the ages and have a definite
purpose which they are to serve (Rom. 8:28). God said that he set a rock of
offense before the Jews that they might stumble (Rom. 9:33) and then explained
his purpose for doing so. God set the rock of offense in Israel's path that they
would stumble TEMPORARILY (Rom. 11:11), that an age might be set aside for
preaching the gospel (Rom. 10:8-21) that GENTILES MIGHT BE SAVED (Rom.
11:11-12).
       While they often appear and sound noble and holy, ATTEMPTS TO STOP
OFFENSES ARE OFTEN INITIATED BY THE DEVIL AND NOT BY GOD!
       ...but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh. God does not
FORCE people to do evil, but uses those whose hearts are proud or bitter and
ALLOWS them to do evil, WHETHER THEY ARE BELIEVERS OR NOT. A
saved person can become embittered or angry and open himself to the influence of
Satan. While God does not influence anyone to do evil, he does permit Satan to
exert his influence on people. God also creates situations, knowing before hand
how people will respond to them. A Christian CAN be used as an instrument of
evil; however, when he is, he has only himself to blame. GOD DOES NOT KEEP
HIS CHILDREN FROM DOING EVIL, AND THOSE WHO SIN MUST FACE
THE CONSEQUENCE OF THEIR SINS! This is not to say that a Christian must
face the CONDEMNATION of sin (II Sam. 12:13, John 3:18, Rom. 8:1), but must
face the CONSEQUENCE of sins (II Sam. 12:6).
       An unsaved person must face both the CONDEMNATION and the
CONSEQUENCE of his sins.
       Verse 8. Wherefore... This was the second time Jesus taught this truth to his
disciples (Matt. 5:29-30).
       The word ''wherefore" connects this verse with the previous verses where
Jesus was talking about inevitable offenses and the danger of offending a little
child who believes in him.
       ...if thy hand or thy foot offend thee,.. If a person is incapable of
controlling an offending member of his body, such as his hand or foot, he should...
       ...cut them off,.. No one is told to carry out this sentence on someone else,
but this instruction is to the individual to judge and execute this sentence upon
himself. The individual is to cut off his offending members...
       ...and cast them from thee:.. The idea is to get rid of them and forget them,
for...
       ...it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed,.. The choice is
between a life of difficulty and distress because of a missing hand or foot and an
eternity of happiness in glory with the hand or foot RESTORED, or a life with
both hands and both feet in this world, and an eternity in everlasting fire.
       ...rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting
fire. If nothing else, one can gather from this verse that hell is terrible.
       Verse 9. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee:
it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes
to be cast into hell fire. (See comments on the preceding verse and 5:29.)
       This entire chapter is devoted to the answer Jesus gave to the disciple's
question, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" (verse 1).
       Verse 10. Take heed that ye... Jesus was speaking to his disciples (verse 1)
and cautioning them about their treatment of and attitude toward children. Jesus
did not issue this warning to God-rejecting heathens but to his own disciples. This
is a point that most "holiness" people fail to see. They express the belief that
people who are in a covenant relationship with God cannot commit such errors or
sins. But, since Jesus warned his disciples about those things then Christians are
also to take heed.
       ...despise... To despise means to look down on, loathe, esteem lightly, show
contempt for, or put aside.
       ...not one of these little ones;.. While this statement MAY include ALL
little children, in the light of verse six it probably includes only little children who
believe in Jesus.
       ...for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels... The question of
whether all little children have guardian angels or only those who believe in Jesus
has been discussed for a long, long time. There are many points of view.

    1.    All little children have guardian angels.

    2.    only children who believe in Jesus have guardian angels.

    3.    Not only little children, but everyone has a guardian angel.

    4.    only saved people have a guardian angel.

    5.    No one has a guardian angel, even though some people did before the
          first coming of Christ.

    6.    No one ever had a guardian angel.

The answer to who does NOT have an angel, whether guardian or of some
other designation, is not answered by the Bible. In fact, we are not told that
believing children have GUARDIAN angels, but only that THEY HAVE
ANGELS IN HEAVEN. The term guardian may not imply that the angels
hover above or around a child watching his every step to keep him from harm.
The angels of the believing children are in heaven where they...
...do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. Jesus said that
the children's angels are in heaven and that his Father is also in heaven and that
the angels look steadfastly into the face of God and that they do it always, or
constantly.
       Verse 11. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. Many
soul winning sermons have been preached through the centuries using this
scripture, yet not all who have used it agree on exactly what or who is lost. While
it is true that every soul is lost until saved, this verse is dealing with little children
and those who would HUMBLE themselves and BECOME as little children
(verses 3-4).
       Although Adam was created in the image of God, he LOST that image and
that loss was passed to all men (I Cor. 15:22). Those who do not believe the
gospel are LOST, and lost people are typified by GOATS (Matt. 25:32-33).
Matthew's gospel deals with the nation Israel, and Israel is typified by SHEEP (Ez.
34). When Jesus commissioned his disciples, he told them to go to the LOST
SHEEP of the house of Israel (Matt. 10:6). When Isaiah spoke of the wandering
of Israel he said, "All we like SHEEP have gone astray" (Isa. 53:6). Jesus said that
he had sheep other than the sheep of Israel (he was talking about Christians, John
10:16), and that he was sent to them and not just to Israel (Matt. 15:24).
       Therefore, this scripture is not speaking about his redemptive work on
Calvary or about a covenant with either Israel or Christians concerning salvation.
This verse is not talking about God making SHEEP out of GOATS, BUT ABOUT
FINDING SHEEP THAT STRAYED FROM THE SHEPHERD.
       In the fifteenth chapter of Luke's gospel Jesus divided the Jews into two
totally different groups: 1. publicans and sinners (Luke 15:1) and 2. Pharisees and
scribes (Luke 15:2).
       The first group, JEWISH publicans and JEWISH sinners are typified by: 1. a
lost sheep (Luke 15:4-6), 2. a lost coin (Luke 15:8) and 3. a lost son (Luke 15:24).
       The second group, Pharisees and scribes are typified by: 1. sheep that are not
lost (Luke 15:4), 2. coins that are not lost (Luke 15:8) and 3. a son who was not
lost (Luke 15:31).
       Other facts found in Luke fifteen which are helpful in understanding the
verse at hand are: 1. the lost sheep WAS STILL A SHEEP AND STILL
BELONGED TO THE SHEPHERD, 2. even though a coin was lost IT STILL
BELONGED TO THE WOMAN WHO LOST IT, and 3.                           the lost son WAS
STILL HIS FATHER'S SON.
       Therefore, when Jesus said that he had come to seek and to save that which
was lost, he was not talking about saving personal souls but reclaiming the lost
SHEEP OF ISRAEL (Matt. 10:6). Later, after his death, burial and resurrection,
Jesus told his disciples to go into all the world and preach the gospel to ALL men,
both Jews and Gentiles, but that commission is not in view in this verse.
       Verse 12. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of
them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the
mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? Gentiles are not the subject
of this verse, for they are never referred to as sheep. Jesus was speaking of the
children of Israel who had left the fold; who like lost sheep were wandering and
alone.
       Verse 13. And if so be that he find it,.. This statement strongly suggests
that the possibility existed that the sheep might NOT be found, that it might die in
its lost condition. So is it that many of God's sheep who have drifted away from
the fold untended and not cared for by religious leaders, have died away from the
fold; BUT THEY DIED SHEEP AND NOT GOATS.
       ...verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the
ninety and nine which went not astray. Jesus was only recounting the work that
any good shepherd would do. Anyone who has several children who give no
problem and stay home, but has one child that strays, would fret and pine for the
missing child. The person's anxiety would be for the child whose whereabouts and
condition were unknown. Any decent parent would be heavy-hearted and have the
wandering child on his mind constantly. There would be no relief until the child
was found and returned to home and safety. And, regardless of where the child
might wander or how much heartache he might cause, a father or a mother will
still, love him, and he will always be their child. So it is with Jesus the Good
Shepherd, and his sheep.
       Verse 14. Even so... In using this expression, Jesus was saying, "In the
same way or manner as seen in the preceding verses."
       ...it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven,.. Ultimately, God
will have his way with all things; however, despite his sovereignty and his power,
he has permitted his will to be altered by the will of man in some things. God
permits man to do many things of which he does not approve. For example, God
did not WILL that Adam sin, or that David take Uriah's wife. God did not WILL
that Achan steal, or does he will that anyone perish, yet he PERMITS man to
exercise his own will concerning his personal conduct and destiny.
       ...that one of these little ones should perish. Jesus was still speaking of
little children, but this truth extends to those who believe in him of any age. When
Jesus said that God did not want any of his little ones to PERISH he was not
speaking of spending an eternity in hell, but of dying physically.
       Verse 15. Moreover... Jesus was still answering his disciples' question as to
who would be greatest in the kingdom (verse 1).
       ...if thy brother... Someone's fresh and blood brother is not in view but
rather the children of Israel. This phrase is CONFINED to the nation Israel and
does not encompass all mankind. The context in which it is found reveals that
Jesus was speaking of a limited brotherhood.
       ...shall trespass against thee,.. It is by no means uncommon that brothers,
whether physical or spiritual, trespass against one another.
      ...go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone:.. Although this
lesson was directed to Jews, and particularly his disciples, Jesus' words hold a
great deal of significance for Christians, as the principle depicted in this verse is
applicable to God's people in any dispensation.
      The doctrinal teaching of this verse is that consideration is first for the
individual who perpetrated the offense or trespass against his brother. The
offended brother is to go to the offending individual and bring his fault to his
attention in a manner which does not involve a third person.
      ...if he shall hear thee... The use of the word "if" indicates that the offending
brother might not listen or admit his own fault, but should he do so, and say, "I'm
sorry,.."
      ...thou hast gained thy brother. One of the greatest factors in spiritual
growth is seeing one's own shortcomings and faults and being willing to admit
them.
      This verse encompasses a great truth that is applicable to Christians. Should
a brother sin against you, and you love that brother and gently tell him his fault,
chances are he will hear you and say that he is sorry. Should the brother admit his
fault and ask forgiveness, a close Christian relationship is usually established.
Close Christian ties and lasting friendships have been created by exercising the
instructions in this verse of scripture.
      Verse 16. But if he will not hear thee,.. The alternate "if" is that a brother
may not always listen, since some cannot bring themselves to see and admit any
fault in themselves.
      ...then... After the offended brother goes to the offending brother and shows
him his fault, and the offending brother refuses to listen or admit his error, then the
offended brother is to...
      ...take with thee one or two more... The offended brother is then to find two
more brothers and return to the offending brother...
      ...that in the mouth of two or three witnesses... The law set forth by Moses
required that a fact be established before two or more witnesses (Deu. 17:6);
however, the origin of this principle preceded Moses by many years going back to
Jacob and Laban (Gen. 31:44-52).
      When Jesus was tried, his prosecutors sought at least two witnesses whose
testimony agreed in order to establish charges against him. (Two witnesses were
found and their testimonies accepted, even though they were false, Matt. 26:59-
60.)
      ...every word... God places great emphasis on his WORDS. Many of God's
people have been led away from this truth, having been told that as long as they
get the MEANING and the MESSAGE, that individual words are not important.
However, Eve had all the FUNDAMENTALS and general MEANING of what
God said (Gen. 3:2-3), nevertheless was in error when she omitted, added to and
changed His WORDS. In fact, Eve's original sin was not believing the WORDS
of God, and therefore, this is the sin about which God issued his last warning
(Rev. 22:18-19).
      ...may be established. That every word may be established means that what
had been said could be verified by witnesses.
      Verse 17. And if he shall neglect to hear them,.. Christians are instructed
to respond to an impenitent brother in a similar manner (II Thess. 3:14-15).
      Some brothers become so filled with pride, bitterness or envy, that on being
shown their fault, they become defensive and as a result drive themselves farther
from God.
      ...tell it unto the church:.. The instruction is to then make the situation
public to other brothers who share a common relationship with God. Informing
the congregation about the offending brother is the last step in offering him an
opportunity to make right, by his own initiative, the wrong he did.
      Because the word "church" is used in this verse, it is not to be assumed that it
is speaking to and about Christians. The word church is used in the Bible in
reference to three different assemblies. First, the word church is used to denote
any congregation of God's people (Acts 7:38, Matt. 18:17). Second, it is used to
designate all people who have been born spiritually into the body of Christ since
the day of Pentecost (Matt. 16:18, Acts 8:3, I Cor. 12:28, etc.). Third, the word
church is used to designate a local assembly of baptized believers meeting together
(I Cor. 1:2, Gal. 1:2, etc.).
      In the verse under study, the word church is used to denote a congregation of
God's people. When Jesus told his disciples how to handle the problem of an
offending brother and instructed them to tell it to the church, he certainly was not
telling them to wait until after the day of Pentecost to deal with the brother, but
was speaking of their handling the situation at that time.
      ...but if he neglect to hear the church,.. If the offending brother would not
hear the individual whom he had offended, nor would he hear when another
witness was present, his last opportunity to repent was to be before the church. If
he would not respond to the admonition of the congregation, then the congregation
was to...
      ...let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. A heathen was
(is) a person who does not know God personally and is not in a covenant
relationship with Him. A publican was a Jew who had formed an alliance with a
heathen (see comments on 9:9).
      Verse 18. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall
be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in
heaven. Jesus told his disciples at this point what he told Peter earlier. (See
comments on 16:19.)
      Verse 19. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth
as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my
Father which is in heaven. Anyone living in this present day and age claiming
this promise, as it appears in this verse, would likely meet with despair and
discouragement. There have been times when two or three, or a hundred or more,
have gathered and prayed making the same request of God, only to have their
request denied. There have always been those who would have us believe that
God answers all prayers, but that he answers some negatively; however, those who
proclaim such a thing should read this verse carefully. Jesus said, "...ANY
THING... they shall ask,.. shall be done..."
      Verse 20. For where two or three are gathered together... This statement
is qualified, and does not include those who gather together to plan a church social
or for a Bible "rap session" or such, but refers only to those who gather together
sincerely:..
      ...in my name,.. At the time Jesus taught this lesson, no one had ever
gathered together in his name for prayer. In fact, no one gathered together in his
name until after his death, burial and resurrection, since only then could he be "in
the midst" (Rom. 8:9).
      ...there am I in the midst of them. While Christians can claim this
promise, since the promise of Christ's being in the midst of a Christian assembly is
given in an epistle addressed to a church (Col.. 1:27), the DOCTRINAL
application points toward the 144,000 Jews (Rev. 7) who will preach the gospel of
the kingdom during the first half of the tribulation. (See also Hebrews 10:28 and
Revelation 11:3-12.)
      Verse 21. Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my
brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? It is possible that
Peter knew that the number seven was the number of completion or fullness and
assumed that seven times was enough to forgive anyone.
      Verse 22. Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times:
but, Until seventy times seven. God told Israel that he would punish them seven
times for their disobedience (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24, 28) but told the disciples to
forgive 490 times, or seven times seventy. While the number 490 may denote a
specific number of times, it is more likely a number denoting unlimited
forgiveness, for God certainly forgives his children an unlimited number of times
(I John 1:9).
      Verse 23. Therefore is the kingdom... (See comments on 3:2 and 4:17
concerning the kingdom of heaven.)
      The last time Jesus gave his disciples any information about the nature and
attributes of the kingdom of heaven was in chapter thirteen.
      ...likened unto a certain king,.. In the light of the context, we are to know
that the king in this verse is God.
      ...which would take account of... Taking account of, means to audit their
books, check on their works and survey their progress, etc.
      ...his servants. God's servants are Jews. While many practical applications
of the truth in this verse will fit Christians, it is primarily to the Jews and about the
kingdom of heaven.
      Verse 24. And when he had begun to reckon,.. God, the King, began to
count up, estimate or judge what was owed him by his servants, the children of
Israel.
      ...one was brought unto him,.. Even though God deals with Israel as a
nation, each individual Jew must stand a personal judgment. In bringing the
judgment down on an individual basis as Jesus did, he was giving an answer to the
question Peter asked in verse twenty-one, "...how oft shall ... I forgive him?"
      ...which owed him ten thousand talents. Originally the word talent
denoted a unit of weight but was later used to indicate a unit of money. Some say
that ten thousand talents was as much as two million dollars today. While that is
an enormous amount for a servant to owe, it is small compared to man's
indebtedness to God.
      Verse 25. But forasmuch as he had not to pay... Indeed, what can a man
give in exchange for his soul or what can a man offer for his sin debt? As Abel's
offering to God was a lamb that already belonged to God (Gen. 4:2, 4), so must
any man offer God only that which is God's (John 3:16) if his offering is to be
accepted (Gen. 4:4). Anyone who attempts to offer his works and his own
righteousness to God is of the religion of Cain and his offering will be rejected, as
was Cain's (Gen. 4:5).

       In my hand no price I bring.,
        But simply to Thy cross I cling.

      ...his lord commanded him to be sold... It was within bounds of the law for
a person to be sold to pay for his theft (Ex. 22:3) or his indebtedness (Lev. 25:39).
      ...and his wife, and children,.. This also was legal and an illustration is
provided in II Kings 4:1.
      ...and all that he had... The man's wife, children, house, camels, land,
clothes and anything else he owned was to be sold to make payment for his debt.
      ...and payment to be made. The money received from the sale of the man's
possessions was to be awarded to the king.
      Verse 26. The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying,
Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. The servant knew what
was best to do under the circumstance—beg for mercy. But he also made a
promise to pay off his indebtedness.
      Verse 27. Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and
loosed him, and forgave him the debt. Any humble appeal to God will be
rewarded with the same results, as God always hears a heartfelt cry for mercy.
God's compassion and mercy are extended to all men who are sincere and humble
in approaching him (II Pet. 3:9).
      Verse 28. But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellow
servants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and
took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. That this parable is
doctrinally applicable to Jews rather than Christians is reflected by the use of the
word SERVANT. While there are basic principles in the lesson Jesus taught in
these verses that extend to Christians, verse thirty-four reveals that it cannot be
TOTALLY applicable to Christians.
      The unjust and unmerciful heart of the servant who had had his own debts
forgiven is revealed by his unforgiving attitude.
      Verse 29. And his fellow servant fell down at his feet, and besought him,
saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. Unlike the king, the
servant whose debts were forgiven was not lord of anyone, but only the equal of
the man whom he refused to forgive. His fellow servant fell at his feet and asked
forgiveness exactly as he had done before his king, and in fact, the fellow servant
used the same words that he had spoken to the king (verse 26).
      Verse 30. And he would not:.. After having his own sins forgiven and his
debts paid in full, the servant was unwilling to forgive his fellow servant.
      ...but went and cast him into prison,.. While the forgiven servant had the
LEGAL right to cast his fellow servant into prison, under the circumstances
casting him into prison was an unjust and unmerciful act.
      ...till he should pay the debt. No one can earn money while in prison;
therefore, the man would have remained in jail the rest of his life for he was to
remain there, "...till he should pay the debt."
      Verse 31. So when his fellow servants saw what was done, they were
very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Everyone has
a conscience even though it may be seared over or dormant (I Tim. 4:2). A
person's conscience cannot convict him of the sin of unbelief; therefore, it cannot
reveal his lost condition but can only convict him of right and wrong. The lord, in
this parable, had many servants who saw the injustice in what the forgiven servant
had done, and acting upon their conscience, informed their lord concerning the
affair. These people were not tattletales, but rather citizens acting on their
conscience and performing their civic duty.
       Verse 32. Then his lord,.. Ultimately, the Lord of all, knowing all acts of
mercy and mercilessness, will see to it that justice prevails.
       The lord of the servant, being a just and responsible person, took action on
the information given him.
       ...after that he had called him,.. The lord demanded that the unjust servant
meet him face to face, and did not delegate his judicial authority to any
subordinate, even as the Lord Jesus Christ will do on judgment day.
       ...said unto him, O thou wicked servant,.. Being a just and righteous lord,
he did not hesitate to point out the servant's wickedness. At this point the wicked
servant was probably recounting his deeds and beginning to see the injustice of his
actions. Likely a shroud of hopelessness descended over him as he recognized the
error of his action.
       …I forgave thee all that debt,.. The lord reminded the servant that he had
been forgiven all his indebtedness.
       ...because thou desiredst me: Furthermore, the lord reminded the servant
that forgiveness had come from his heart simply on the basis of his compassion
and mercy.
       Verse 33. Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow
servant, even as I had pity on thee? The lord made known to the servant what
he should have done, causing him to see how wicked and evil he was to have had
his own sins forgiven, yet lack the compassion to forgive others.
       It is very disturbing to hear a Christian say that he cannot forgive a brother
who has sincerely sought forgiveness.
       Verse 34. And his lord was wroth,.. Wroth means angry and any just lord
would be angry at a servant who had acted in the manner of the one who stood
before him.
       ...and delivered him to the tormentors,.. Justice not only demands that
good be rewarded but that wickedness be punished.
       While this lesson may be a picture of a sinner being cast into the lake of fire,
it is very unlikely, and is more apt to be a picture of Israel in the great tribulation.
       ...till he should pay all that was due unto him. God told Israel through
Daniel the prophet that they owed him SEVENTY WEEKS (Dan. 9:24) because
of their failure to allow the land he gave them to enjoy a SABBATH YEAR (Lev.
25:2-7, II Chr. 36:21, Jer. 25:11). He also informed Daniel that sixty-nine of those
seventy weeks would have been repaid at the time Christ made his triumphant
entry into Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25-26), but that one more week (seven years, Gen.
29:27-28) was yet unpaid. The seven years that Israel owes God are the coming
seven years of tribulation (Dan 9:27). Until the children of Israel, whom God
forgave so many times (yet themselves remain unforgiving and unrepentant),
endure the great tribulation, their indebtedness will not be paid.
      Verse 35. So likewise... Jesus gave this entire lesson in answer to Peter's
question, "how often shall I forgive my brother?" (verse 21).
      "So likewise" means in the same manner or in the same way.
      ...shall my heavenly Father... Jesus did not say YOUR heavenly Father but
rather MY heavenly Father. The DISCIPLES to whom Jesus spoke were Jews,
SERVANTS of God and not (at that time) SONS of God. While they were not
sons of God AT THAT TIME, on the day of Pentecost, they became sons of God
through the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:7).
      ...do also unto you,.. Jesus did not direct these words to Christians under
grace but to Jews under law (verse 1).
      ...if ye from your hearts... To do something from the heart means it is done
with the right motive and intentions.
      ...forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. A person's lack of
appreciation for having his own debts forgiven is reflected in his reluctance to
forgive others. On judgment day, God will insure that all debts and all trespasses
will be dealt with justly.

                  CHAPTER EIGHTEEN, EPILOGUE

          Chapter eighteen is the account of the King's telling of the
     expected attitudes of kingdom of heaven citizens. Entry into the
     kingdom required humility, and losing an eye, a foot or a hand
     would be far better than not entering.
          Jesus explained how to handle a situation should a brother
     sin against another citizen. He also emphasized the principle of
     forgiveness.
CHAPTER 19

     Verse 1. And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings,
he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
In the previous chapter, Jesus taught his disciples the importance of exercising
humility and compassion, and probably did so in anticipation of what he knew
they would encounter in Judaea.
Matthew did not record the account of Jesus' earlier journey into Judaea as did
John (7 - 10) and Luke (10 - 12), probably because while he was there, he did
not preach the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.
     The expression, "came into the coasts of Judaea," means that he was in the
area of Judaea which was beyond Jordan (on the east side of the Jordan River)
probably near where John the Baptist baptized Jesus (John 1:28, Mark 10:1) and
where Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land.
     Verse 2. And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
The multitudes of Israel are usually seen to have been disoriented and fickle.

    1.   Jesus viewed the multitude as sheep without a shepherd (Matt. 9:36).

    2.   Sometimes the multitude followed Jesus (Matt. 4:25, 8:1, John 6:2).

    3.   The multitude wielded enough power to cause fear in Herod (Matt.
         14:5).
    4.   The Jewish religious leaders (the priests and Pharisees) also feared the
         multitude (Matt. 21:46).

    5.   At one time the multitude praised and glorified Jesus (Matt. 21:8-11).

    6.   However, they were easily swayed by religious rhetoric (Matt. 27:20).

    7.   The multitudes that oppose God and his people are not always Jewish
         (Acts 16:20-22).

    8.   The multitude (majority) IS USUALLY WRONG (Ex. 23:2, Luke 23:1,
         etc.).

      Verse 3. The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him,.. At this point
the troublemakers who had accosted Jesus earlier arrived. On almost every
occasion where these people appear they intended to cause problems for Jesus and
his disciples (Matt. 9:11, 34, 12:2, 24, 38, 15:1-2, etc.).
      The first person who tempted Jesus (when He was in the flesh) was Satan
(Matt. 4:3-11), and then Satan's children (John 8:44), the religious leaders, came to
tempt him. The religious leaders knew neither the written word of God (Deu.
6:16, Luke 4:12) nor the incarnate Word of God (John 1:1-14, I John 5:7).
      ...and saying unto him, Is it lawful... These men knew what was written in
the law even though they did not know WHAT IT MEANT. They knew the letter
of the law but neither knew nor kept the spirit of the law.
      They obviously did not ask Jesus this question with the intention of learning
what was right, but rather that they might find fault with his answer.
      ...for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Exactly what they
meant or intended by using the expression "every cause" is not clear, but it is clear
that they did not come to praise Jesus and thank him for healing multitudes of sick
people (verse 2).
      Verse 4. And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read... Jesus
often exposed the spiritual ignorance of the religious leaders by the expression,
"Have ye not read?" (Matt. 12:3, 5, 21:16, 42, 22:31, Mark 12:10). Men often
reveal their own spiritual ignorance by misunderstanding, misquoting, or not
knowing what God has said. Jesus placed a lot of emphasis on what God said (in
the scripture) and expected people to know what it meant.
      ...that he which made them at the beginning... Jesus was referring to
Adam and Eve, and God who created them. When these Pharisees came to Jesus
with their question they certainly came to the proper authority since he was the
one who created all things (John 1:1-3, Col. 1:14-17).
       ...made them male and female, Jesus knows more about his creation than
anyone else. He knows what to expect of men for he himself gave them the rules
of life (Gen. 1:27, 2:16-17).
       Verse 5. And said, For this cause... To paraphrase; "For this reason and
purpose;.."
       ...shall a man leave father and mother,.. Although all men were born of a
father and a mother, men are never said to be "one flesh" with either father or
mother, even in the bond of gestation.
       While the father of all men (Adam) was created directly from the dust of the
earth, the mother of all men (Eve) was not, having been created from the flesh and
bone of the man (Gen. 3:19, 2:21-23).
       ...and shall cleave to his wife:.. The word cleave is peculiar in that it means
two different things according to how it is used. On the one hand it means to
DIVIDE, sever, disunite or separate, while on the other hand it means just the
opposite: to cling to, adhere to, or to be faithful. In this verse the latter meaning is
applicable.
       ...and they twain shall be one flesh? A man and a woman do not become
one flesh by the marriage ceremony, but by the act of intercourse (I Cor. 6:16) in
other words, marriage is not a CEREMONY, but an ACT! In this way marriage is
like salvation (Eph. 5:22-32). Salvation is accomplished by one's ACT of
receiving Jesus as his Savior (I Cor. 6:17, 12:13), not by water baptism that is
somewhat like a "CEREMONY."
       Some people marry and live together until death parts them and never have a
marriage ceremony. God does not approve of this and neither does civilized
society. In a similar manner, some people receive Jesus as their Savior and are
never baptized into a local assembly, and this too receives God's disapproval.
Christ does not approve of his bride's desiring a secret marriage.
       Verse 6. Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. Marriage is
both a spiritual and a physical bond; the physical aspect uniting a man and a
woman into one FLESH. Salvation is both spiritual and physical; the spiritual
aspect uniting an individual with Christ into one SPIRIT (I Cor. 6:17). When
Jesus comes again and takes his bride (the church) to meet him in the air, there
will be a wedding in heaven, uniting Jesus and his bride in a divine bond.
       What therefore God hath joined together,.. God recognizes all unions
between men and women whether a ceremony is performed or not. Too often
Christians attempt to justify divorce and remarriage by saying that their first mate
was not saved; therefore, God did not honor that marriage, BUT HE DID. The
bond of marriage exists when a man and woman unite in intercourse, regardless of
whether one or both partners are either lost or saved (I Cor. 7:13, 27).
      ...let not man put asunder. Divorce is man's idea; however, God permits
man to act on that idea even though he neither intended, nor approves of it. Man
has always tried to undo what God has done and take apart what God has put
together, or put together what God has separated. It is characteristic of man in his
fallen state to conclude that he can improve on God's plans. For instance, God
made man and woman different, yet both men and women have started
movements to unite the sexes and try to convince others that to say they are
different is discrimination, then work to make discrimination a dirty word. God
placed man on earth, yet man has spent billions of dollars in attempts to explore
and eventually populate other planets. God established the death penalty (Gen.
9:6), yet man either denies that he did or believes he made a mistake, saying it is
cruel and unusual punishment. God set some races and people over others (Gen.
26 - 27), thereby showing that a difference exists between them, but man in his
"wisdom" calls that racism, and regards racism as evil, thereby calling God an evil
racist. Even though God made all men of one blood, he divided the nations (Gen.
10:5) and set the bounds of their habitation (Acts 17:26), but man has labeled this
bigotry and made bigotry appear sinful, although it is not.
      Verse 7. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command... The
religious leaders told Jesus that he was contradicting Moses and saying that Moses
was wrong. They were referring to Deuteronomy 24:1-4; however, Moses did not
COMMAND anything concerning divorce, but only PERMITTED it.
      ...to give a writing... Like all who refuse to accept God's word as the final
and absolute authority, they quoted SOME of the scripture correctly (Deu. 24:1).
This technique was first used by Satan to deceive Eve, causing her to quote SOME
scripture correctly but to leave out, add, and alter other portions (Gen. 3:1-3).
      ...of divorcement, and to put her away? Granting a woman a writ of
divorcement would be putting asunder what God joined together.
      The Pharisees told Jesus in so many words that either he or Moses was
wrong. They were obviously attempting to make Jesus appear evil to the
multitude (verses 2 and 3) who recognized the authority of Moses and his writings.
Jesus, however, was in no way intimidated for it was he who had given Moses the
words to write.
      Verse 8. He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your
hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not
so. God permits man to do many things that do not meet his approval. It is
erroneous to believe that because God ALLOWS someone to perpetrate evil deeds
that his blessings are upon that individual and his deeds. For instance, God never
came between his people Israel and what they wanted. When they insisted on
having their own way God did not stop them, but rather warned them what the
consequence would be. He permitted them to act on their own will even in
defiance of his will.
      Verse 9. And I say unto you,.. Jesus went beyond simply answering their
question, and gave them additional information which bothered them. What he
said not only bothered the Pharisees but his own disciples as well (verse 10).
      ...Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication,.. This is
a profound statement that leaves no doubt as to what God thinks about divorce,
saying that it is to be issued only on the basis of fornication. After the resurrection
of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit, those who are saved by God's grace are
permitted more liberty than were the Jews under the law (I Cor. 7:15, 27-28).
      While physical fornication is clearly in view in this verse, the scripture is
equally clear in revealing the existence of spiritual fornication. The dictionary
defines the word fornication two ways, physical and spiritual: 1. any unlawful
sexual intercourse including adultery and 2. worship of idols (New World
Dictionary, p. 549).
Examples which are given in the Bible of both forms of fornication are in First
Corinthians 6:18 which refers to PHYSICAL fornication, and in Ezekiel 16
(Israel turning from God and to her neighboring nations) which speaks of
SPIRITUAL fornication.
      Christians are married to the Lord and are therefore his bride (II Cor. 11:2,
Rev. 19:7-9). When Christians love the world more than they love Christ they
commit spiritual fornication (I John 2:15-16). Our Lord does not demand a writ of
divorcement when his bride (Christians) loves the world and commits fornication,
although he has the legal right to do so.
      When a Christian is lured away from his love of Jesus to the love of the
world and will not respond to Godly admonition to return to him, the situation is
similar to a married woman having an affair with another man and refusing to
return to her husband who loves her.
      ...and shall marry another,.. Jesus gave them more information, telling
them of the additional sin which a man commits by marrying another woman after
having put away his wife for a reason other than fornication.
      ...committeth adultery:.. Many Bible scholars hold that the suffix "eth"
(committeth) indicates a continuous act. This may or may not be true since the
basis of this contention rests on their inability to explain such passages as First
John 3:1-10 (committeth, I John 3:4, 8, sinneth, I John 3:6). These passages from
First John state that if those of whom that scripture speaks commit sins, that they
do not know Jesus Christ (I John 3:6). John also states that should those about
whom he was writing sin, they are of Satan (I John 3:8).
      Many commentators have committed the error of attempting to force these
scriptures from First John, as well as Peter, James and Jude, on the church, TO
WHOM NONE OF THEM WERE ADDRESSED.
      When Jesus returns and takes his church away (I Thess. 4:13-17) THE DAY
OF GRACE WILL BE FINISHED (II Thess. 2:7-12) and the Day of Judgment
will have begun (II Pet. 3:10). The last book of the Bible addressed to the church
is Second Thessalonians. First and Second Timothy, Titus, and Philemon were
addressed to preachers or church workers, and like the Pauline epistles to the
churches, appertain to this age, BUT THE REMAINING BOOKS OF THE
BIBLE DO NOT.
      After the church and its preachers are gone, all preaching WILL NOT
CEASE. While there will be no more preaching the gospel of GRACE, there will
be 144,000 Jews who will preach THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM (Matt.
10:16-42, 24:14). Since there are to be 144,000 preachers who will not preach the
gospel of grace as given in the Pauline epistles to the churches, they must preach
from the books of the Bible which pertain to their day and age (Hebrews; James; I
and II Peter; I, II, and III John; Jude; and Revelation). This is not to say that the
144,000 will not use and preach from the Pauline epistles, but rather that those
books will not apply DOCTRINALLY to their time and situation.
      The book of Hebrews, like the book of Acts, is a book of transition that
closes the present day of grace and opens the future day of judgment. The book of
Hebrews was given to present the way of reconciliation between law and grace, a
situation which is clearly presented in James, Peter and John's epistles.
      This truth does not render Hebrews through Revelation of no value or
without a message for Christians, for ALL of the Bible is FOR all men. It does,
however, teach that all of the Bible was not written TO OR ABOUT Christians.
      Neither is this teaching hyper-dispensationalism, but rather only rightly
dividing the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15).
      The word committeth does not necessarily mean a continuous act, for that
would indicate that a saved person who divorces one individual and marries
another "LIVES in sin." A person can DIE in sin (Ez. 3:20), but a person cannot
LIVE in sin. A saved person lives AND sins but cannot live IN sin.
      ...and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. For
a man to marry a divorced woman is to commit the sin of adultery IF THE
WOMAN WAS GRANTED A DIVORCE BECAUSE OF FORNICATION.
      A Christian will be held responsible for turning away from Christ and to the
world, but the world will not be held guiltless for enticing the Christian to do so.
      Verse 10. His disciples say unto him, if the case of the man be so with
his wife, it is not good to marry. Having heard all that Jesus said about divorce
and remarriage, the disciples concluded that with such strict rules and
requirements the best thing to do would be not to marry. The apostle Paul reached
the same conclusion (I Cor. 7:7-8) but it is obvious that such a state would only
pertain to those who are totally dedicated to Christ in all things. Simply because
the disciples and Paul said that under certain conditions it is best not to marry, this
does not make marriage wrong (Gen. 2:21-24, John 2:1, I Cor. 7:9).
      There is no value in an unsaved person remaining unmarried. Some of the
world’s greatest sinners have maintained celibacy. Those who claim that their
celibacy is godly are seldom ones who have committed their life to Christ, but
only to their religion (I Tim. 4:3).
      Verse 11. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying,
save they to whom it is given. While Jesus may have been referring to his
statement about divorce in verse nine, in light of what he said at the close of verse
twelve it seems that he was talking about his statement concerning eunuchs. What
he made clear was that not everyone would understand what he meant, not only
those to whom he was speaking, but those throughout the age who would read
what he said. This truth has proved itself countless times, and in ways visible to
any discerning individual.
      Verse 12. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their
mother’s womb:.. Jesus presented this situation in reply to the disciples’
statement that it was not good to marry. He presented three reasons for someone
being a eunuch, two of which were by someone else’s will, either God's (born a
eunuch) or man's (castrated).
      A eunuch is not necessarily a man rendered incapable of reproduction
because of castration, but can be someone incapable of reproduction because of a
birth defect.
      ...and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men:..
Throughout history it has been a common practice for a conquering nation to make
eunuchs of their captives, and even the nation Israel was guilty of this practice.
Jeremiah bears witness of an Ethiopian eunuch named Ebedmelech who proved
himself to be a better man than the rulers of Israel. (Jer. 38:7-13). In fact, when
the kingdom comes, this Negro eunuch will be there while many of the Jews he
served will not (Matt. 8:11-12, Jer. 39:15-18).
The Gentiles also made men eunuchs and used them as servants. Isaiah warned
the children of Israel that such a thing would happen to them if they did not
repent and return to God (Isa. 39:7). Israel did not listen to her prophet and
continued in rebellion against God. The result was that men such as Daniel,
Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were taken to Babylon, castrated, and made to
serve in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 1).
      Those who are made eunuchs by the hand of God and those who are made
eunuchs by the hands of men have in common the fact that they are not
responsible for their condition, having had no choice in the matter.
      ...and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the
kingdom of heaven's sake. Those who have made themselves eunuchs are not
necessarily men who have emasculated themselves by an operation, but men who
have chosen to remain virgins (as was suggested by the disciples, verse 10).
During the first half of the tribulation, 144,000 Jewish young men will not marry
but will remain virgins, and in that manner be eunuchs (Rev. 7, 12:17, 14:3-4).
      He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. In answering the response
of the disciples to his teaching about marriage, Jesus said in verse eleven that not
everyone would be able to understand what he meant when he talked about
eunuchs. Should anyone understand what Jesus meant, then God will have blessed
him by giving him that understanding. One of the beautiful characteristics of the
Bible is that human wisdom, education and reasoning cannot fathom its truths,
while God can reveal its truths and meaning to babes.
      Verse 13. Then were there brought unto him little children,.. The
disciples had no excuse for responding to the situation as they did, having already
been instructed about the attitude they should have about children (Matt. 18:1-10).
It may have been that parents brought their children to Jesus for a blessing.
      ...that he should put his hands on them,.. Much has been said and written
over the years about the hands of Jesus; how as a young man they held a hammer
and nails as he worked as a carpenter with Joseph, and how those same hands were
held by nails to a cross of wood. The hands of Jesus have been the basis of many
wonderful sermons throughout the age.
      The exact benefit gained by those upon whom Jesus placed his hands is not
made clear by the Scripture, but it must have thrilled the hearts of those whom
Jesus touched, when after his resurrection the Holy Ghost gave them
understanding that they had been touched by the hands of God.
      ...and pray:.. Jesus prayed for people (John 17), specifically for Christians,
EVEN BEFORE THEY BECAME CHRISTIANS (John 17:20).
      Jesus placed a great deal of emphasis on prayer, and God's children should
realize that praying is not the LEAST they can do, BUT THE MOST (Eph. 6:18).
      ...and the disciples rebuked them. The scripture does not say whether the
disciples rebuked the children or those who brought them, only that they
disapproved of what they saw.
      Verse 14. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to
come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Jesus explained his
feelings about children earlier (Matt. 18:1-10) and should not have needed to
remind his disciples.
      In using the expression, "for of such is the kingdom of heaven," Jesus gave
his hearers a foreview of the nature of kingdom citizens. Only little children, and
people with the personalities, thoughts, and attitudes of little children, could meet
the demands of the LESSON on the MOUNT (Matt. 5 - 7).
      Verse 15. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence. (See
comments on verse 13.)
      Verse 16. And, behold,.. To behold means to pay close attention and
regard seriously.
      This man's question (later in this verse) typifies the belief that most people
hold, that they must DO SOMETHING GOOD IN ORDER TO ENTER
HEAVEN. His question was not entirely wrong however, since he was a Jew
living under the law, and not under grace. He did not have the New Testament to
tell him of God's grace, so he is not to be blamed entirely for his presumptuous
question.
      ...one came and said unto him,.. In the parallel accounts in the gospels of
Mark (10:17-27) and Luke (18:18-28), other facts are given about this man, and
when added to Matthew's account reveal these interesting truths.

      1. The man was a young Jew (Matt. 19:22), 2. he was a ruler (Luke 18:18), 3.
he was rich (Matt. 19:22, Luke 18:23), 4. he RAN to Jesus (Mark 10:17), 5. he
apparently sincerely desired eternal life (Matt. 19:16, Mark 10:17, Luke 18:18), 6.
he respected Jesus, kneeling before him and calling him good (Matt. 19:16, Mark
10:17), 7. he wanted something (Matt. 19:16, Mark 10:17, Luke 18:18), 8. but
could not get what he wanted because he lacked something (Mark 10:21, Luke
18:22), 9. and was told what he needed to do in order to get what he lacked (Mark
10:21, Luke 18:22). 10. Jesus loved him (Mark 10:21) but 11. he was not willing
to forfeit his riches in exchange for what he needed to be perfect (Matt. 1 9:22,
Mark 10:22, Luke 18:23) and 12. although he was a "good" man, having kept the
seven requirements listed by Jesus (Matt. 19:18-20, Mark 10:19-20, Luke 18:20-
21), 13. he missed the blessings of heaven (Mark 10:22) because 14. he trusted his
riches (Mark 10:24).

      ...Good Master,.. Emphasis is to be placed on the word "good" as the young
man conspicuously did not address Jesus as "good" after hearing him say that only
God should be called "good."
      ...what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? As a Jew
living under the law, this young man WAS NOT INCORRECT IN ASKING HIS
QUESTION THE WAY HE DID! The proper way for a SERVANT to gain
eternal life was by FAITH MANIFESTED BY WORKS.
      Jesus did not rebuke this man or say, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and
thou shall be saved," as Paul told the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:31). At the time
the young ruler came to Jesus, the gospel had not been made manifest, and God's
requirement for gaining eternal life was not the same as it was after Pentecost.
      Jesus told the young man what was required to gain eternal life, and IT
INVOLVED WORKS (Matt. 19:21). As a Jew under the law, he was required by
God to have enough FAITH to perform the required WORKS (James 1:1, 2:17-
26).
      People living in this present age, AFTER the death, burial and resurrection of
Jesus CANNOT be saved in the manner Jesus demanded of this young ruler.
However, AFTER Jesus comes and takes his church to heaven, God will again
require that men meet demands similar to those that Jesus gave this young Jewish
man.
      Verse 17. And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? With this
question, Jesus determined whether this man recognized him as Christ, or as only
a "good" man.
      ...there is none good but one, that is, God:.. To paraphrase what Jesus told
him, "If you really believe that I am God, then call me good, but if you do not
believe that I am God do not call me good." As a result of Jesus' statement, the
man neglected to call Jesus good the next time he addressed him (Mark 10:17 with
10:20).
      When Jesus asked Peter who he, the Son of man was, Peter said that he was
the Christ, the Son of the living God (Matt. 16:16), a revelation which Jesus said
God had given him. In other words, Jesus was asking the rich young ruler who he
was, but unlike Peter, God gave this young man no revelation. This man's words
and desires were therefore revealed as originating from the flesh and not from the
Spirit.
      ...but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Jesus left no
room for doubt that this Jew was required to keep the commandments.
      Verse 18. He saith unto him, Which? Which?? Did this man not know that
he was not to be selective in keeping certain commandments but was to keep them
all?
      Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery,
Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, In this verse, Jesus
listed four commandments, all pertaining to man's relationship to his fellow man.
      Verse 19. Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself. Jesus added two more commandments in this verse, and in
Mark 10:19 added still another, do not defraud, a total of seven. Luke lists only
five commandments: leaving out, do not defraud and, thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself. Jesus was being selective in answering the selective
question, "which."
      None of these seven commandments directly pertain to man's responsibility
or relationship to God. However, of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20), the one
pertaining neither directly to man nor God, Jesus omitted: remember the sabbath
day, to keep it holy.
      Verse 20. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept
from my youth up:.. The young man was probably feeling good about himself at
this point, having passed the test so far.
      The scripture gives no reason to doubt the honesty and truthfulness of this
man. While it was improbable that he had kept the commandments Jesus quoted,
it was not impossible. Jesus did not contradict him by denying that he had indeed
kept them.
      While the young man may have been enjoying a feeling of self-satisfaction,
he must have also felt that his life was not complete. Something prompted him to
pursue his question further. He probably felt something was missing in his life or
that his question had not been entirely answered, because he further asked;..
      ...what lack I yet? Neither Mark nor Luke recorded that the young man
asked this question.
      That certain something that man cannot quite put his finger on or fully grasp
with his mind was missing, and this man knew it. His dilemma was not
uncommon, for even men who have met God's requirements for entering heaven
know deep inside their hearts that there is still something missing and like this
man, feel like asking, "what lack I yet?" (Rom. 12:1).
      Verse 21. Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect,.. As Matthew
records this episode, the rich young ruler's SALVATION was no longer the issue,
that had been settled by the young man's having kept the commandments.
      The word perfect means to be complete in all respects. The additional
requirements Jesus gave him in this verse were not demanded in order that the
young man ENTER eternal life, BUT THAT HE MIGHT BE PERFECT.
      ...go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor,.. This was never a
demand for anyone to ENTER heaven under any situation. If selling everything
and giving the money to the poor was an additional commandment and necessary
for entering heaven, then it came too late for most Old Testament saints.
      ...and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:.. Jesus told the man in answer
to his question, "what lack I yet?", what God required for him to have
TREASURE IN HEAVEN, not how to get INTO heaven.
      Many believe, on the basis of verses twenty-three and twenty-four, that this
young man missed heaven; however, that is not what either verse says. Verse
twenty-three says it is HARD for a rich man to enter the kingdom of HEAVEN,
and verse twenty-four says it is even HARDER for a rich man to enter the
kingdom of GOD. NEITHER VERSE SAYS THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!
      ...and come and follow me. Notice the order in which Jesus gave these
instructions: FIRST give up the things of the world, THEN follow him. This man
PREFERRED worldly riches to Jesus because he LOVED them more (Luke
16:13).
      Verse 22. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away
sorrowful:.. When this man whom Jesus loved first came to him, he was filled
with enthusiasm and was apparently happy. Upon meeting Jesus he asked how to
inherit eternal life, but after hearing the answer he went away sorrowful and with
his enthusiasm dampened. HE FELT WORSE AFTER HEARING THE WORDS
OF JESUS THAN HE DID BEFORE!
      It may have been that he thought Jesus was asking too much when he
demanded that he sell what he had and give the money to the poor. Regardless, he
trusted his riches more than he trusted Jesus.
      Much modern preaching is designed to make unsaved people feel good about
themselves and make them happy and enthusiastic. Compared to the messages of
Jesus (Luke 4:23-27), John the Baptist (Luke 3:13-18) and Stephen (Acts 7),
THEIR PREACHING IS WRONG! The WORDS of Jesus did NOT make people
feel GOOD, but his words made people feel BAD (Matt. 15:12, 16:21-22, etc.).
The Bible leaves the distinct impression that this man who asked about eternal
life went away wishing that he had never heard of Jesus Christ. Had he decided
differently, he would not have gone away sorrowful.
      No one HAS to be sorrowful because of the words of God. All who hear his
words have the opportunity to act on what they hear and receive joy and peace of
mind that passes understanding (John 14:27, Phil. 4:7).
      This rich young ruler typifies millions who COULD have joy and peace, but
turn away to sorrow and discontentment.
      ...for he had great possessions. God created man and placed him on his
earth, gave him free will and the choice of believing and serving him or believing
and serving Satan. in his works to deceive and damn man's soul, Satan has at his
disposal all the devices and systems of the world. He deceives man by showing
him progress, and how he can live better through chemistry, manufacturing,
advanced means of transportation and communication, etc. With all these and
more in hand, Satan offers a multitude of choices so that man can "get ahead" and
outdo his fellow man. During peacetime he uses business, industry and sports to
provide competition between men and nations while during times of war he uses
human skills and advanced armament. By these devices, Satan blinds man to the
reality of the course of human events.
       On the other hand, God injects his own agents into the world, attempting to
persuade man that he is only a sojourner on earth and that life is only a vapor, here
today and gone tomorrow. God uses only three agents in his attempt to influence
the will of man: his Holy Spirit, the water (his word, Eph. 5:26) and the blood of
Jesus (I John 5:8), and his agents are far more powerful but often less alluring than
Satan's. God's blood (Acts 20:28) CRIES OUT (Gen. 4:10) as a testimony to man
that he must be redeemed (I Pet. 1:18-19). The water (the WORD, Eph. 5:26) tells
man in no uncertain terms that he is lost and needs a Savior (Rom. 3:10, 23, 5:12,
6:23); and the Spirit of God works to convict man of his sin of unbelief, the
righteousness of Jesus and the judgment of Satan who is already defeated (John
16:7-11).
Everything that Satan has to offer man is VISIBLE, BUT TEMPORARY (II
Pet. 3:7-12), while the things of God are INVISIBLE, but ETERNAL (II Cor.
4:18).
       The rich young ruler was deceived by Satan AND WILLFULLY CHOSE the
riches of this world, which he could see and hold, over the eternal treasures of
God.
       Verse 23. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That
a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. Verse twenty-five
tells us that the disciples were amazed by this statement. Perhaps their amazement
was somewhat justified. Their religion taught that material wealth was a sign of
God's blessings (Job 1:10, 42:12, Mal. 3:10) which was true UNDER CERTAIN
CONDITIONS. What the disciples overlooked was the fact that heathens (like
Nebuchadnezzar) possess riches of the world, but are outside the family of God.
       Verse 24. And again I say unto you,.. In neither statement, in verse twenty-
three concerning the difficulty of entering the kingdom of HEAVEN, nor in verse
twenty-four concerning entering the kingdom of GOD, did Jesus say that it was
IMPOSSIBLE for a rich man to ENTER either.
Jesus was still speaking to his disciples, the multitude, Pharisees, and little
children (verses 2,3,13).
        ...it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle... A camel is
about as tall as a big horse or a little taller, and a needle is so small it is difficult
for some people to see, much less the hole through which the thread must pass.
       An interesting and delightful story has been woven about small gates in the
walls of Biblical cities designed for human entry and not for camels. The story
goes that a camel COULD pass through the gate provided his load (burden) was
first removed, and that the camel get on its knees and crawl through. This story
presents the camel as typifying the lost sinner and the camel's burden typifying the
sinner's sins. If the burdened sinner would unload his sins (on Jesus) and get on
his knees (in humility) he could enter the eye of the needle typifying the gate of
heaven.
      Even if there was any truth to this story, and a small gate was called the eye
of a needle, it would not fit this scripture doctrinally. The Bible is talking about a
big animal called a camel passing through the tiny hole in a tiny object called a
needle. Jesus was presenting something that was PHYSICALLY impossible, but
which God could perform (verse 26).
      ...than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Without a doubt,
Jesus presented a situation for which there was no physical solution.
      Verse 25. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed...
Theirs was a natural response that showed no excessive ignorance. They had been
taught that riches signified God's blessings (Gen. 24:35, Job 42:12), and were
amazed that Jesus indicated that having riches was a curse. At this point in their
lives the disciples had not yet learned that the riches of the world are among
Satan's greatest deceptive weapons. Perhaps they COULD have known the truth
about riches, since the Bible does not speak of any INDIVIDUAL'S being blessed
by God with riches AFTER THE TIME OF THE BOOK OF GENESIS (job
precedes Genesis chronologically).
      ...saying, Who then can be saved? The reasoning which prompted this
question seems to have been; "If a blessed person can't make it to heaven, how can
an unblessed person get there?"
      Verse 26. But Jesus beheld them,.. Jesus looked them steadfastly in the
eye and got their undivided attention.
      ...and said unto them, With men this is impossible;.. Jesus contrasted the
things that man cannot do with the things God can do.
      ...but with God all things are possible. Jesus had just presented two things
that were impossible for man to do: 1. man cannot enter the kingdom of heaven by
trusting his earthly riches and 2. he cannot poke a camel through the eye of a
needle (and have a living camel come out the other side). Then Jesus told his
audience that God can get both a rich man into heaven and a camel through the
eye of a needle.
      Verse 27. Then answered Peter... Peter did more "answering" than all the
other apostles combined. His question was the basis of all that Jesus said from
19:28 through 20:16.
      ...and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee;..
The disciples had just witnessed a rich young ruler refuse to forsake his riches and
follow Jesus, and Peter reminded Jesus that he and the other eleven disciples HAD
forsaken their homes and jobs to follow him.
      ...what shall we have therefore? The disciples heard Jesus tell the seeking
young ruler to "...sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven:.." (verse 21). The man had riches while the disciples did not.
But what they DID have they had forsaken to followed Jesus; therefore, Peter's
question was not out of order. He was speaking for the other eleven as well as
himself when he asked, "What's in it for us?"
       Verse 28. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you... At this
point, Jesus was speaking directly to his twelve apostles, including Judas Iscariot
who was later excluded from the promise (John 17:12).
       ...That ye which have followed me,.. Many people were present and heard
Jesus (verses 2,3,13); however, Peter's question did not pertain to the multitude,
but was asked in relation to himself and the other eleven who had followed Jesus.
       ...in the regeneration... Jesus' previous statement identified WHO he was
speaking of (those who had forsaken all and followed him), while in this statement
he said WHEN their reward would come (when he sits upon the throne of his
glory), and in his next statement he told WHAT their reward would be (they
would judge Israel).
       The word "regeneration" appears only twice in the Bible, here and in Titus
3:5. In Titus 3:5 the word "regeneration" expresses what God does for the spirit of
a believer upon receiving Jesus as his Savior. In this verse in Matthew, however,
it is speaking of the physical bones of dead Jews coming out of their graves and
receiving new FLESH and new life (Ez. 37:1-14). Unlike Christians who will
receive a new body made of heavenly elements (I Cor. 15), Jews will be
resurrected to receive new EARTHLY bodies of FLESH (Matt. 25:14-30). Those
regenerated Jews will have to be judged to determine if they will enter the
kingdom (Matt. 25:21, 23, 30), AND THE TWELVE APOSTLES (minus Judas)
WILL BE THE JUDGES!
Regenerated Jews who are judged worthy will be given a new Spirit (Ez. 36:26
- 37:14) and will enter a new covenant with God (Jer. 31:31-34, Heb. 8:8-13)
and enter into the joy of the Lord (Matt. 25:21, 23).
       ...when the Son of man... The title, "Son of man," denotes the official work
of Jesus toward Israel at his first coming.
       ...shall sit in the throne of his glory,.. The exact term, "throne of his glory,"
is found only twice in the scripture, here and in Matthew 25:31. However,
Samuel's mother, Hannah, made reference to it in her prayer (I Sam. 2:8) and it is
REFERRED to in Jeremiah 14:21 and Acts 2:30.
       Jesus will sit upon the throne of his glory AFTER the great tribulation,
AFTER Armageddon and AFTER he comes in clouds of glory, but BEFORE the
installation of his righteous kingdom. He will sit upon the throne of his glory
along with twelve apostles, judging who of the Jews that SURVIVE the
TRIBULATION will enter the kingdom (Matt. 25:1-13), who among the
REGENERATED Jews are worthy to enter the kingdom (Matt. 25:14-30, and who
among the Gentiles will enter the kingdom (Matt. 25:31-46).
      ...ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones.. In answer to Peter's question,
"What's in it for us?" Jesus said, "You twelve men will judge the twelve tribes of
Israel." Since Judas will not be one of the twelve (John 17:12) either Matthias
(Acts 1:23-26) or more probably PAUL (Rom. 1:1, I Cor. 1:1, II Cor. 1:1, Gal.
1:1, etc.) will be his replacement.
      ...judging the twelve tribes of Israel.        Keep in mind, TWELVE
APOSTLES WILL SIT IN JUDGMENT OVER ISRAEL, for this FACT is
necessary in order to UNDERSTAND the parable in the next chapter (Matt. 20:1-
16).
      Verse 29. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or
sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's
sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. In verse
twenty-eight, Jesus said WHAT the twelve apostles could expect for forsaking all
and following him, while in this verse he included everyone, then or later, who
would forsake all and follow him. The important phrase in this verse is, FOR MY
NAME'S SAKE, an expression used elsewhere ONLY IN RELATION TO
THOSE WHO WOULD BE HATED "FOR MY NAME'S SAKE" (Matt. 10:22,
24:9, Mark 13:13, Luke 21:17, John 15:21).
      This statement excludes the Red Cross, Masons, Shriners, United Fund and
every other humanly devised benevolent group that does not work for the SAKE
OF THE NAME OF JESUS.
      Verse 30. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
This verse is the opening parenthesis of the kingdom of heaven parable in verses
one through fifteen of chapter twenty. Verse sixteen of chapter twenty is the
closing parenthesis of the parable.
      Jesus was still answering Peter's question, "What's in it for us?" What Jesus
meant by the first being last and the last first is explained in the forthcoming
parable in chapter twenty.
CHAPTER NINETEEN, EPILOGUE

         The King reveals the value of obeying his word and
   following him and that his judgment is not patterned after human
   reasoning. He introduced the principle of the first being last and
   the last being first.
         He answered Peter's question, "what's in it for us apostles?"
   by saying that at the "throne of his glory" they would sit in
   judgment on the children of Israel.
CHAPTER 20

      Verse 1. For the kingdom of heaven... (See comments on the kingdom of
heaven under 3:2.)
      God's promise to establish a kingdom of righteousness on earth was given
first to Abraham, a promise he reiterated to Abraham's son Isaac and to his
grandson Jacob (Israel). The first visible manifestation of the kingdom was under
Israel's first king, Saul, and reached its pinnacle of success under King David and
his son, King Solomon. Because of Israel's sins, however, the kingdom ended in
failure under King Zedekiah and its citizens were led captive to Babylon (II Chr.
36, Lam. 5:16). The next appearance of the kingdom will be under Israel's false
king, the antichrist, but its FINAL manifestation will be under King Jesus.
      This parable in chapter twenty is a kingdom of heaven parable (not in its
mystery form as were the seven in chapter 13) and appertains to the kingdom
promised Israel. Jesus gave this parable in answer to Peter's question in the
previous chapter, "What shall we have therefore?" (Matt. 19:27). Jesus told Peter
and the other disciples that they would judge the twelve tribes of Israel, and this
parable explains WHY they will be the judges.
      ...is like unto a man that is an householder,.. The man in this parable
typifies God, and a householder is one who rules over his respective domain.
      ...which went out early in the morning... Early in the morning indicates
the first hour of the Jewish day, about six o'clock. Keep in mind that this is a
JEWISH parable; the kingdom of heaven being a JEWISH kingdom. While there
are many spiritual truths in this parable that can be applied to Christians, the
DOCTRINES are applicable primarily to Jews. If there were doctrinal truths
applicable to Christians, the term, "kingdom of GOD" would be used. If it were
doctrinally applicable to Gentiles, the term, "kingdom of MAN" would be used.
      Viewing the expression, "early in the morning," as it applies to Israel means
we are to see that nation as it was in its earliest existence. The nation Israel came
into being when all the sons of Israel (Jacob) united in Egypt (Gen. 46:3). Israel
had twelve sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad,
Asher, Naphtali, Joseph and Benjamin. These twelve men are called the
FATHERS (Acts 13:17). Although the fathers WERE THE BEGINNING of the
nation, they will NOT judge the twelve tribes. THE APOSTLES WILL JUDGE
THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL (Matt. 19:28).
      God BEGAN the nation Israel with the fathers. They were FIRST; they were
hired EARLY IN THE MORNING. Although Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
preceded the twelve fathers, God's promises to them viewed the nation Israel as
being yet future in their day for God told Abraham, "...I WILL make nations of
thee,.." (Gen. 17:6). God's promise to Abraham's grandson Jacob was, "...a
nation and a company of nations SHALL be of thee,.." (Gen. 35:11). Both
promises looked to the future; therefore, the NATION Israel did not come into
existence in their lifetime but awaited the Egyptian bondage.
      ...to hire labourers into his vineyard. To HIRE! People do not HIRE
slaves (Gentiles) nor do they HIRE sons (Christians) but rather they hire
SERVANTS (Jews, stewards, Luke 16:1-13, 19:12-26, etc.). This is a Jewish
parable, its teachings concerned with the nation Israel.
      Verse 2. And when he had agreed with the labourers... The promises
God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were made BEFORE their descendants
developed into a nation (Gen. 12:2-3, 7, 13:14-17, 15:4-6, 17:1-8, 22:16-18, 26:3-
4, 35:10-12).
      ...for a penny a day,.. Pay is what one earns for his labour and a servant has
every right to expect to be paid. An agreement was reached between the
householder (God) and his early morning hirelings that for a day's work they
would receive a day's pay (a penny being the going rate).
      ...he sent them into his vineyard. God's vineyard is his chosen nation,
Israel (Isa. 5:1-7).
      Verse 3. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing
idle in the marketplace, The third hour is nine o'clock in the morning and too
late for someone to get in a full day's work.
      These third hour hirelings typify the JUDGES of Israel (Acts 13:20, Jud.
2:16). JUDGES are to JUDGE; however, THE JUDGES WILL NOT JUDGE
THE TWELVE TRIBES OF ISRAEL—THE APOSTLES WILL.
      Israel had fifteen judges: Othniel, Ehud, Shemgar, Deborah (Barak), Gideon,
Abimelech, Tola, Jair, Jephthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, Samson, Eli and Samuel.
Discard the woman, Deborah (I Tim. 2: