Monday, 18 March 2013

Answers to Gospel Questions



In last week's Blog I asked 25 Questions from 10 Gospel passages.  Here are the Answers.
They are suggestions, and not definitive....but they give us a deeper insight into the Gospels.

1. Matthew 4.5-6  The devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the Temple,and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ 

Which phrase of Psalm 91.11-12 does the devil miss out?
 He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Why does he miss it out?
HaSatan missed out the phrase to keep you in all your ways  because ‘all your ways’ specifically means worshipping God by keeping Torah. This is NOT HaSatan’s plan because he wants Jesus to worship him!!


2. Matthew 5.14-16 You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

What is 'your light'?....
How will people see 'your light'?  
The phrase that they may see your good works explains that the evidence of ‘your light’ which is seen by other people is keeping God's Commandments. The phrase ‘good works’ ALWAYS refers to the Torah, God's Commandments.


3. Matthew 5.20 Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  

What is 'righteousness'? 
It will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to observe all these Commandments before the LORD our God, as He has commanded us.’   Deuteronomy 6.25

The Biblical definition of ‘righteousness’ is in Deuteronomy 6.25 = being careful to observe all these 
 Commandments

How can 'your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees'? 
The 'righteousness' of the Scribes and Pharisees was determined by how well people observed all the many extra 'laws' which the S & P added to God's Commandments that He gave to Moses (and ALL humanity) on Mount Sinai. There were, and are, 4 main legal terms that describe these extra 'laws':

 1.   (Rabbinic) Halacha:
These are laws that have been fixed as a result of a manipulated interpretation of the Tanach based upon 
Rabbinic logic.        
Example: In Shabbat 119b: A rule that when one prays on Erev Shabbat and then recites, ‘and thus the 
heavens and the earth were finished’, one’s iniquity is taken away and one’s sin is purged. 

2.  Minhagim:
These laws are built on the axiom ‘minhag Yisrael torah hi’ = ‘a custom in Israel is Torah’.
Example: In Pesachim 7b: the Rabbis made a custom that one must wait until 3 stars appear in the evening 
sky before concluding an observance of a Sabbath.  This effectively extended the Sabbath to 25 hours.  
 In contrast, Nehemiah fixed the observance in line with the local sunset conditions:
at the gates of Jerusalem, as it began to be dark before the Sabbath, that I commanded the gates to 
be shut, and charged that they must not be opened till after the Sabbath. Nehemiah 13.19

3.  Takanot:
These laws are new decrees added to the Torah with the authority of the Oral Law, but without any Scriptural 
justification or authority. The ‘takanot’ are a clear violation of Deuteronomy 4.2 & 12.32:
 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it…  Deuteronomy 4.2
Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it. 
De 12.32
Example:  In Shabbat 44a: R.Meir ruled: All lamps may be moved, except a lamp which was lit on the 
Sabbath; if it is extinguished, it may be moved; but a cup, dish, or glass lantern may not be stirred from its 
place.

4.  Ma’asim:
These laws refer to the practical observance of Torah according to Rabbinic Judasim. Each ma’asei  was 
derived from stories, incidents, or actions of individual Rabbis as the source for the new law (ma’asei), often
introduced with the phrase, ‘Once it happened’..  These laws were NOT derived from the Tanach.
Example: In Berachot 2a: Once it happened those of Gamaliel came home (late) from a wedding feast and 
they said to him, We have not yet recited the (evening) sh’ma. He said to them, If the dawn has not yet 
come up you are still bound to recite. And not in respect to this alone did they so decide, but whenever 
the sages say until midnight, the precept may be performed until the dawn comes up.

Jesus was teaching that 'your righteousness' needs to exceed (or be better than) 'the righteousness of the S & P' in the way, and with what attitude, you keep His Commandments. The extra 'laws' were, and are, a heavy burden that is unnecessary and misguided because they distort and corrupt God's Commandmets.



4. Matthew 7.21-23  Not everyone who says to Me, ‘LORD, LORD,’ shall enter The Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘LORD LORD, have we not prophesied in Your Name, cast out demons in Your Name, and done many wonders in Your Name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’  

What did Jesus mean when He said, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness?
Why are those to whom He spoke excluded from 'The Kingdom of Heaven'?

 ‘They’ are rejected because they practice lawlessness.  ‘Lawlessness’ is the rejection of God’s
 Torah given to Moses for ALL humanity on Mt Sinai. 
 Note that the rejection is from participation in the Messianic Age…it is NOT rejection from Eternal Life

What is 'The Kingdom of Heaven' that He is referring to?

 He is referring to the Messianic Age described in Revelation 20.4 when those who do not 'practice lawlessness' will live and reign with Christ for a thousand years.
 


5. Matthew 11.12  From the days of John the Baptist until now The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.

Why is this verse nonsense?
Because it does not make theological sense. The Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew's Gospel is a synonym for 'God' because his Gospel was aimed at the Jews in the Land who were particularly sensitive about using the name 'God', so they used HaShem, The Name, instead. So....God has never been 'taken by force'...the suggestion is laughable.

Which passage in the OT is Jesus referring to?
Micah 2.13  The one who breaks open will come up before them; they will break out, pass through the gate, and go out by it; their king will pass before them, with the LORD at their head.

   How should the verse be correctly translated?
The Greek translator of the Aramaic text was not a native Aramaic speaker, and thus made several errors in translating Matthhew11.12. The correct translation should read:
The kingdom of heaven (=synonym for God) breaks forth, and those breaking forth are seeking it.

The one who breaks open is the Hebrew word poretz, and The Poretz is an epithet for Messiah….so we see that Jesus is saying, in reference to the Micah 2.13, that God = Messiah is breaking forth NOW….and those who heard and believed His Word were ‘breaking out’ into the experience and Life of the kingdom of heaven ( =God).



6. Matthew 15.1-2 The scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 'Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders?'  

What were, and are, 'the tradition of the elders'?
These were the 'extra 'laws' explained above in answer to How can 'your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees'?


What is the problem that Jesus had, and has, with 'the tradition of the elders'? 
The Answer is as above.


7.  Luke 1.5-6 There was ... a certain priest named Zacharias ....and his wife was ... Elizabeth. They were both righteous before God, walking in all the Commandments and Ordinances of the LORD blameless. 

How could Zacharias and Elizabeth walk in all the Commandments and Ordinances of the LORD blameless?
 By keeping His Commandments with the right attitude, and walking in His Ways. The result in their lives was that they had a functional relationship with God and with their fellow men as God intended.


Was not Jesus the only one Who was 'blameless'?  Apparently not....according to Luke 1.5-6!!


8. John 2.17 His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.' 

Where is the quote 'written'?    Psalm 69.9

Why did the disciples 'remember' this particular reference in the OT?

Because they knew their Scriptures, and having recognised Jesus as Messiah, they connected His cleansing of the Temple with the prophecy in Psalm 69.


9. John 3.3-8 Jesus ..said to him, 'Unless one is born again, he cannot see The Kingdom of God.' 
Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?'
Jesus answered, 'Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter The Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.' The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.' 


Which OT passage is Jesus referring to in His dialogue with Nicodemus?

Ezekiel 37:9   He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath… son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: "Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live."

Ezekiel 37.25-27
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean;
I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;
I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Why does Nicodemus misunderstand what Jesus is saying?
Nicodemus had failed to understand the connection between Ezekiel 37 and Jesus.
 Jesus is referring to what Messiah will do at His First Coming, and He is illustrating that Man must be ‘born again of water and the Spirit’ so that he can experience Eternal Life.  This rebirth experience was (and is) available at His Coming. 
Nicodemus had so far failed to realise that Jesus was the Messiah, and he did not understand that Messiah wouild bring in the Kingdom of God and a new experience through being 'born again'.
 
What is 'The Kingdom of God' that Jesus refers to?
The experience of peace, health, wholeness, and functional Life in God.





10. John 12.12-15 The next day a great multitude that had come to the Feast...took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: 'Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!'  
Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: 'Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.'

 What does 'Hosanna' mean?   It means 'Save us!'


Why did the people shout 'Hosanna'?
The people thought that Yeshua was the conquering king of Zechariah 14.9:
The LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be; "The LORD is one," And His name one.

This was the prevailing view about Messiah in the first century. They did not realise that Yeshua was the ‘suffering servant’ of Isaiah 53 at His First Coming….and that He would be the conquering king at His Second Coming.
Which OT passage refers to the 'donkey's colt'?
Zechariah 9.9:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.


What is so significant about Jesus 'sitting on a donkey’s colt'?
Because riding on a donkey was not permitted on a Sabbath in line with Exodus 23.12:
Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest, that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.

Jesus entered Jerusalem on Palm Sabbath, Saturday, NOT on Palm Sunday. Anybody and everybody could ride a donkey on Sunday! The significance of the 'donkey's colt' was that only a King could ride a donkey on the Sabbath....and the donkey must not have been ridden before.


So...there are some Answers. I hope that you have enjoyed them.

Until next week....

                      



    


       


                                                                              
 

        
 


           



    

 



John   

No comments:

Post a Comment