My Scripture Studies
Remove the Blinders - Live the Bible!

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Red Letter Words - Are They New?

Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch (1877)

If we take a step back, look and listen carefully to the gospels and the record in the book of Acts, we might take note that these accounts only record about 50 days of Jesus' life.

Often the accounts are snippets of information with the exception of a few days about the man whose real name is Yeshua. One of those exceptional days is described in Matthew 5. It's called the Sermon on the Mount.

Yet, the words written and spoken about Him over the past 1,900 years are impossible to count as are His deeds that are not recorded by a man named John that followed Him: 

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." John 21:25

Many of us today don't recognize the foundation of Yeshua's teachings despite all the words written about them. The reason, we think they are new.

Take Matthew 11:28-30 for example. It says: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Some will say Jesus was teaching His disciples that any law keeping is old and heavy laden and amounts to a “heavy yoke” of oppression because the law is done away with because does not fit in with grace.

Well, here's the thing about that: Yeshua was teaching what is first seen in the first "you can do it" sermon. Moses taught that on the plain in the land of Moab. There Moses gave a sermon and renewed the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded at Horeb. Read it for yourself, Deuteronomy 30:11-14 says:

"For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, 'Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, 'Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?' But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it."

Let's dig deeper into the Sermon on the Mount. 

No, its not the Temple Mount, but Yeshua gave an important teaching there too, you can also read it in the book of Matthew. It starts in Matthew 21:23. It was not given to the crowds but with parables to the chief priests and the elders of the Pharisees about the Kingdom of God. Yeshua continues the parables in Matthew 22 and the Sadducees show up and join the discussion. They want debate about resurrection because they denied that it is the power of God to do it.

The Temple Mount teaching continues with the crowd and the disciples joining in. The admonitions against adding to or taking ways from the Torah with religious adds and deletes that shut the doors to the Kingdom of heaven with religious self greed and hypocrisy that Yeshua called Torahlessness because just like Solomons' son Rehoboam, the mean king of Judah, they neglected the weightier matters of the Torah that are justice, mercy and faithfulness. That sermon on the mount is found in Matthew 23.

But, let's go back to the teaching on a mountain in the Galilee. It was near the same area that the ten northern tribes turned their back on the Torah of God following Jeroboam. Solomon noticed that Jeroboam was industrious so he put him in charge over the forced labor of the house of Joseph. Yeah you read that right he was a slave taskmaster.

Jeroboam ended up establishing cities and shrines, he even built two golden calves, established his own set of holidays separate from The LORD's kept by Jewish people in Jerusalem as he ordained some old pagan ways with his own priests.

You can red all about it in the books of Kings and Chronicles.

The red letter truth given there above the Galilee is in plain sight for us if we will just open take off our Greco-Roman sunshades with an open heart to the words of the Bible that Yeshua taught. 

Being unfamiliar with the foundation of Yeshua's words founded in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) that He taught and read every Sabbath can make this famous sermon seem new. 

It's not, the red letter reality of His voice is rooted in an unwavering commitment to the words of righteousness of the voice of our Heavenly Abba Father written by Moses, the Prophets as well as the Psalms of David.   

If you are brave enough to step up and climb that mount, stop, listen and learn from His voice, the stark reality you will find is that Yeshua never said a thing about starting a new religion.

We can know that because He said so. 

If you'll toss aside new religion tradition for a few minutes and open your eyes and heart, you'll see that because not a single jot or tittle of the Torah has been done away with. We can know that because heaven and earth are still here.

Jesus wasn't Roman Catholic, Protestant or Evangelical. He walked and talked as a Jewish Rabbi. His disciple students and people he met called Him Rabbi. He didn't teach a new religion or replacement theology. He was fully Torah observant according to the written word. He even wore a tallit as prescribed in Numbers 15 and Deuteronomy 22. If you doubt that, you need to believe the backstory behind the story of the woman that was healed touching the hem of His garment that's described in Matthew 9. 

Yeshua instructed His disciples to follow the teaching and instruction found in Leviticus 23:15-17. That Torah portion is embedded in the words of Acts 1-2. He also celebrated wonderful Jewish traditions including the Sukkot water pouring ceremony in John 7. He showed up for Hanukkah too as noted in in John 10. He also followed the traditional Passover seder first shared by Abraham and Melchizedek the "king of righteousness" that includes bread and wine that the church relabeled as the last supper. 

That supper wasn't new at all.

Yeshua never stopped being Jewish, He lived out His faith in the Word of God and taught others to do the same thing just as Matthew 19:17 declares.

So, what did He actually say at the Sermon on the Mount?

In my scriptures studies, I've learned that the Son of Man his followers called Rabbi taught with authority to the crowds in Galilee that gathered to hear Him. They were amazed:

"And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority." Luke 4:31-32 NASB 

What were they thinking, what authority were they amazed with?

Yeshua's authority is tied to the foundation rock, the words He taught are infused with the Hebrew Scriptures (aka the Tanach) the written record of God's voice. 

How do we know? He said so:

My teaching is not my own,” Jesus replied. “It comes from Him who sent Me. If anyone desires to do His will, he will know whether My teaching is from God or whether I speak on my own. He who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory, but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is a man of truth; in Him there is no falsehood." John 7: 16-19

Some Bible publisher's print Yeshua's words with red letters. They are important, they shine the light on Almighty God's Word, so it's time for you to uncover some red letter truth. 

Yeshua filled ancient Scripture teachings with meaning by everything He did while focusing 100% on the life giving importance of upholding the truth and spirit of the Father's instruction manual for life in the Kingdom of God which are "the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness." 

That's why Yeshua gave anyone, including the Pharisees and the Sadduces that added to or took away from the written words of the Father's voice so many challenges about religious traditions that add to or take away from the "you can do it" truth of Moses' sermon. 

Don't forget, in the wilderness outside Egypt, even after the mikveh (baptism) through the sea, some saved by grace, did not want to hear what the God of Israel had to say at Mount Sinai, do you? 

The mixed multitude was afraid they would die. Afterall, the earth was shaking and the mountain was on fire as it was physically reacting to its Creator God's presence on earth. Lightning bolts were flashing, thunder was booming, there was fire, smoke and lots of shaking at the Torah mountain. 

Fear and awe are important and God respected that. Everyone but Moses was shaking in the booth frightened to the core because they could see, hear and feel the sound as that they were encountering glory holiness at that mountain. Some even say they could see the sound waves.

That's how it should be when Almighty God speaks, we should all listen in awe. If you'll read on, you might find that Yeshua's not so new words will shake your traditional thinking too. 

It's time to wake up and be like Moses - don't be afraid of the truth. That requires that you do something. The reason according to James and the disciple John we need to understand that faith without action is not really faith.

Most anyone that in one way or another holds religious traditions of men above God's Word had and has a problem with Yeshua whether they know it or not. Those that argue with Yeshua, argue with Scripture because they are be blinded by the closed doors of doctrine and theology to the open gate of the Kingdom of Heaven. 

That's always been a problem and it continues if we believe that Yeshua taught a new religion.

It's time to do something about the truth and re-examine a few traditions of a new religion doctrines that Yeshua never taught. 

Do we have the same problem with Yeshua that some of the Pharisees had but not know it? 

That question is critical because at the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua declared to everyone that He did not come to do away with one jot or tittle of God's righteous voice recorded by Moses, the Prophets or the Writings. 

That little understood fact of faith is front and center in all of His red letter teachings. 

The hidden truth of the red letter words in that sermon is the voice we must return to as we go back to the Bible in repentance and action from what we learn. That's the faith action plan God The Father requires from His children if we seek a proper relationship in heaven's Kingdom faith.

After all, return is what repentance is about, it's about getting in the game, not starting a new ballgame. 

You may not realize it, but that sermon was NOT new. It's from the voice of the Mighty One of Jacob, the Shepherd Stone of Israel, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah that was promised in the blessings that Jacob gave to to his sons.

The life messages delivered that day in Galilee were like the others that Yeshua gave to the crowds that followed Him, and believe it or not, Yeshua's words to the multitudes always focused on the Kingdom of God, not a cross. 

His teaching was a constant call for repentance to prepare for the Kingdom of God. 

I pray you keep reading on to see and hear the sermon's words, they are not here to just read, you have to make a choice and do something about them. That's the reason Yeshua healed people, he did something when He saw faith in action.

Everything Yeshua said and did upholds the written Word of God, so that's our responsibility too, to hear, do and tell others about that.

During Yeshua's walk across the promised land of Israel, Biblical lessons and examples of everyday parables constantly called everyone to do something. The first call He made was always repent. No matter what road you're on, it's the way to turn back toward the Kingdom ways of the God of Israel. That fact is woven in the sermon and the 50 days that describe the \accounts of His actions in righteousness during His truth tour across Israel. 

Like Moses at the Red Sea, Yeshua entered His ministry of teaching and instruction with a mikveh. 

When Yeshua was at the Jordan River, before the immersion, despite His Levite cousin John's objection, He told John (Yochanan) the Levite son of Zechariah something very important:

"Allow it now, for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness."

Those words "for us" connect that mikveh immersion in the Jordan River to the requirement for two witnesses found in God's Word to fulfill righteousness.

When we open the Bible, the righteous Word of God begins with the Genesis creation account and there we catch a brief glimpse of life in the Kingdom as our Creator intended, without sin. Adam and Eve lived in the image of God in the beginning. Yet, when we barely unroll the Torah scroll, we see the deceiver arrive on the scene like a snake with something new. It was poison spewing from his mouth... 

That lie was that God does not mean exactly what He says, that He holds back on the truth. 

That lie remains if we don't believe and follow what God says is righteous truth. If you think the front of the book was done away with and do not hear the words of truth how will you ever do them? You will believe a lie and do your own thing, because you ignore the voice of your Creator Almighty God Elohim.

The startling thing is that among the first red letter words ever recorded before that sermon, Yeshua says just the opposite as He quotes Moses directly from Deuteronomy 8:3. Yeshua addressed the deceiver's wilderness lies with Moses' words directly from the written Torah:

"It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"

Next, Yeshua points toward another Tanach account that zeroes in on king Ahaz during Isaiah's day and the Immanuel prophecy given to Ahaz that's found in the Prophets, look at Isaiah 7:10-16: "Again, it is written, 'You shall not test the Lord, your God.'"

Here's the thing about king Ahaz, he tried to bribe the king of Assyria by giving away Temple treasures. 

That's what haSatan did in Matthew 4:5-6.

Ahaz even built an altar to honor himself and replaced the Temple's altar with his own. He also moved the bronze laver that Solomon had made. Finally, Ahaz removed the Sabbath pavilion which was built in the House of the Lord. Ahaz did all that to suit himself.

Do you own thing was Ahaz' mantra. Worship your way. Sound familiar?

Have you noticed something? Yeshua said nothing new in those red letters. The reason, the words are all firmly rooted in the Hebrew Bible. 

Believe it or not, the deceiver responded with one lie after another! Yeshua's answer to all three of the tests was the one answer Adam failed to deliver in Eden: "Get behind me, haSatan! 

Then, Yeshua went straight to Moses' constant sermon admonition of the first commandment written in Deuteronomy to both native born and sojourner: For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.’

No matter the audience, Yeshua's teaching always focuses on the big instruction in Moses' sermon: "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” The gospel accounts repeat Yeshua's constant guidance in the first step of that responsibility:

 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Repent is the Hebrew word "shuwb" שׁוּב and it means return, turn around and go back. 

Almighty God gave this same message to Ezekiel 600 years before Yeshua pointed everyone He met back to Abba Father's plea through the prophet across the mountains, plains and valleys of Israel:

"Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways," says the Lord GOD. "Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. "Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? "For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies," says the Lord GOD. "Therefore turn and live!" Ezekiel 18:30-32 

Yeshua always taught that opening the door to the Kingdom of righteousness begins with teshuva repentance, aka repent and return to do the Holy Scriptures and be blessed. That's the door of the Kingdom of God, do you hear the knock? Yeshua is standing there.

Yeshua taught with life examples called parables, but that was nothing new either. 

In fact, if you'll take the time to read and study the Lord God's voice recorded in Ezekiel 18, you'll find that chapter is all about Ezekiel writing Abba Father's personal refute to a misguided parable.

When we open the so-called New Testament account of Yeshua's yeshiva time with His disciples that begins with Matthew, it is critically important to see that the first page starts with nothing new. Matthew begins his account with a flash-back to the books of Chronicles and the family tree that starts with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

When we turn the first page in Matthew, we are given the 1 Samuel connection to Bethlehem, the shepherd king David's hometown in the land allotted to Judah, and we see another survival trip to Egypt like Joseph's in Genesis 37. 

Matthew describes Yeshua's escape from Herod's death trap with an escape to Egypt as an infant boy. That mirrors young Moses who also escaped Pharaoh's death sentence when he ordered all Hebrew infant boys to be drowned in the Nile. 

Not only that, if we pay attention, we can't miss the tie to Exodus 24:18 with Moses' ascent at Mount Sinai with the Sermon on The Mount climb described in Matthew 5:1 before the crowds below.

Background stories are critical to the framework foundation of truth and if we look, we can also see that Yeshua's "Sermon on the Mount" teaching lays out a prophetic fulfillment of the words written by Moses that are promised in Deuteronomy 18:15-19:

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear, according to all you desired of the LORD your God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, nor let me see this great fire anymore, lest I die.’

And the LORD said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. 

And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him."

God's own voice tells us all, native born and sojourner that the words to be spoken by "the Prophet" will be The Father's words. We must not just hear them, the Hebrew word God used is יִשְׁמַע shema, it means hear and do.

That's critically important to understand when we return to the red letter sermon with repentance in mind and a humble heart to hear and do. 

Before we get to the red letter details, do you remember the murder of the children in Matthew's account? It ties to Rachel's weeping in Ramah described by Jeremiah years after her death. It also connects the death of the children in Moses' day to the baby boys murdered by Herod in Bethlehem. 

Rachel's tears are important! 

King Herod is known in history books as "Herod the Great." He wasn't so great at all. That's as they say... fake news.

Matthew's account as well as those from historian Flavius Josephus as well as the Talmud all describe Herod as a ruthless barbaric king. 

True, years after Mark Anthony ordered him to capture Jerusalem, he greatly expanded Solomon’s Temple. He did that for his own benefit like Ahaz, and in doing so, sadly he created a religious ruling class in Jerusalem that was loyal to Herod the king and hi dynasty. The reality is that Herod was just like king Ahaz as was his son Herod Antipas. King Herod built the Masada fortress palace for himself, it would later become not only his own grave, but the Roman death trap for many thousands of Jews at Masada marks the end of the beginning that started in Jerusalem with a 1,800+ year exile from Israel. That end was a horrific last stand by the Dead Sea. 

It's absolutely mind bending to consider, but another unimaginable massacre by Hitler and his madmen during the Holocaust would mark the promised return of the Jewish people to Israel. 

I cannot fathom it. 

Only the providence of Almighty God Elohim could make that happen in 1948, just 20 days after Passover the year during the Omer count.

All this point to the fact that it's high time to hit your delete button, pray, fast and repent of any attitude you may have from an old church sermon about a new replacement religion.

History is important. 

When we look back to king Herod, the record shows that he was an Edomite, an Idumean born around 74BC. An Idumean is the the Greek Hellenized name for an Edomite, the descendants of Esau described in the Bible with a problem. Don't forget, the Edomites were ancient enemies of the Jewish people and they still are, whoever they might be even today. In fact, they were among the recruits that helped Nebuchadnezzar destroy Jerusalem. Believe it or not, in the 1st century, they were recruited again to serve Titus among the Roman Legions with the same result: destruction and desolation, but Obadiah declares the outcome in the Day of the Lord for the Edomites.

History reveals that fact, the "Legions" of Titus were a remnant of the ancient enemies of Israel. 

What you many not know is that the Legions included recruits of local warrior tribesmen, descendants of Ishmael, Esau and the Philistines all drafted by the Romans from the native peoples of the Middle East that surrounded Judea and Samaria before 70 AD. They were descendants of many of the same people groups that Joshua was told to drive out of the Promised Land. They still oppose Israel today. The so-called West Bank conflict is the focal point of the Edom issue that remains in the condemnations of the high places of the UN described in the world's headlines.

Titus promised them Roman citizenship and he used them to attack Jerusalem and destroy Herod's temple and slaughter innocent Jewish men, women and children. Those native people groups returned again in 1948 to attack again and they lost. They fought again in 1967, and they lost again in the Six Day War. The reason, God keeps His promises and the book of Obadiah gives Almighty God's final word on Edom. You should read it.

Back to Herod, he has a dark connection to Haman. 

This is critical to the bigger story because his son Herod Antipas was the 1st-century Roman tetrarch of the districts of Galilee and Perea. They were client states invaded by the Roman Empire and Antipas played a key role in his father's standing 30 year old massacre order in Bethlehem.  During Yeshua's day, the two brothers of Herod Antipas ruled other districts. Archelaus ruled Judea, Idumea (Edom) and Samaria, Philip ruled the largest area being today's so-called Golan Heights), southern Syria and a large area in today's Jordan. His sister Salome, named after her grandmother ruled three cities along the Mediterranean coastline. 

It was Herod Antipas that ruled the Galilee, he is the man that beheaded Yochanan the Levite (aka John the Baptist). Herod Antipas is the one that in Roman trial sent Yeshua back to Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea for sentencing. 

Pilate was the first Roman in charge to hear the accusations of blasphemy, but he handed Yeshua over to Antipas who happened to be in Jerusalem at the time. Herod in turn sent Him back to Pilate's court much like his father sent his foot soldiers to murder the innocents in Bethlehem. Pilate then carried out the Roman order of execution by crucifixion and in contempt, he had a sign nailed above Yeshua's head at the crucifixion stake that read King of the Jews. There's a story behind that sign written written in Hebrew Greek, and Latin. (John 19:20).

The death sentencing did not end that Passover for Herod Antipas. Some 15 years later c. 45 AD, Antipas "killed James the brother of John with the sword" (Acts 12:2) and he put Peter in prison. Shortly after that his life ended "immediately [when] the angel of the Lord smote him... (Acts 12:23) after he gave a speech that those around him blasphemed and shouted: "saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man." Acts 12:22.

Herod the Great influenced his son's crimes and ultimate death. He murdered potential rivals to his power, Herod even killed two of his own sons. Their names were Alexander and Aristobolus. They were the brothers of Antipas. Herod killed them because he believed that they were plotting to take his throne. 

Herod the so-called Great also murdered his wife Miriam, and her mother Salome under the same accusations.

Now you can see why Herod the Great declared the child death sentence and murder of the innocents in Bethlehem as he sought to kill the infant Yeshua, again to protect his throne because he'd heard of Micah 5:2 from the "wise men" that told Herod they were looking for the "King of the Jews." 

They told Herod about Micah's prophecy which reads:

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

Yeshua did not seek a throne on the first trip. The history you need to know is that Herod the Great had been appointed so-called "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate. Josephus writes in his book, "The Wars of the Jews" that Mark Antony "then resolved to get him made king of the Jews…told them that it was for their advantage in the Parthian war that Herod should be king; so they all gave their votes for it. And when the senate was separated, Antony and Caesar went out, with Herod between them; while the consul and the rest of the magistrates went before them, in order to offer sacrifices [to the Roman gods], and to lay the decree in the Capitol. Antony also made a feast for Herod on the first day of his reign".

After Herod the Great's death somewhere around 4 BC-1 BC, the background story in the book of Mathew describes Yeshua's return from Egypt to the promised land of Israel and Nazareth in fulfillment of Hosea 11:1. 

When Yeshua began His teaching ministry around age 30 in keeping with Numbers 4:3, John's gospel give us something critical to think about as it notes Philip's tie to the promised "Prophet" like Moses declared by Almighty God. 

The “prophet” has no message of his own; he speaks only the message of God. 

Philip obviously knew and read Genesis 3:15, Genesis 12:7, 2 Samuel 7:12-17, Jeremiah 26:2, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6-7, Isaiah 52:13, Zechariah 9:9, Daniel 7:13-14 and Daniel 9:25-26 and perhaps you will see that's why Yeshua gave the red letter sermon and why he also said this about Deuteronomy 18:15-19: "If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me." (John 5:46).

"Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Torah and also the prophets wrote, Yeshua of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45

Phillip (actually Pinchas) was saying we have found the promised Moshiach, the promised anointed one. He knew Yeshua never intended to start a new religion, had he done so He would be a false prophet, but like all prophets, Yeshua was rejected by religion. Do you reject Him with a new replacement theology? 

Yeshua's first rejection was in Nazareth, don't let His next be in your hometown. He might move on.  When rejected in Nazareth, He moved to the upper Galilee in fulfillment of Isaiah. 

Did you know the Galilee district was known as the “Galilee of the nations”?  Isaiah 9:1 writes:

"...but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan.” 

In addition, 1 Chronicles mentions the same area, as does Joshua. The Galilee is where Yeshua started, it where Joshua ended up.

1 Kings describes it as land gifted from Solomon to Tyre's King Hiram and Isaiah's prophecy fulfillment is noted in Matthew 4:13-16: “when Jesus ministered in Capernaum near the major highway from Egypt to Damascus, called ‘the Way of the Sea.”

Keeping repentance and the Kingdom of God in mind, we must take note, the Galilee district was a big part of the former Northern Kingdom of the ten lost tribes of Israel that had been missing since the Assyrian conquest some 750 years earlier. 

When we remember the lost tribes, we might well consider what Yeshua said in that very area: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

Phillip's son of Joseph description to Nathanael noted in John 1:45 has a mystery connection to Joseph in Egypt. Joseph's sons were Ephraim and Manasseh and their mother was an Egyptian princess. Her father was a pagan priest so they were adopted by Jacob at the end of his life. 

Before that Genesis account, we see Jacob's seventeen year-old son telling his family about his dream. Later, a man found Joseph wandering in the fields near Shechem, and the man asked him, “What are you seeking?” Joseph's reply: “I am seeking my brothers...” The man told him, “They have gone away."

The lost sheep story is a big one and it is woven throughout the Bible with a promise that is still unfinished because it requires a second trip to fulfill the lost sheep restoration of brothers and the Kingdom promised in the Scriptures. 

The disciples asked Yeshua about that Kingdom restoration in Acts 1:6-8:

"Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

For now, did you know that long before Herod Antipas ever ruled, a big part of the Northeast Galilee district was deeded to Manasseh? 

That's a part of the Joseph connection. 

The center point of commerce in the district was the Sea of Galilee and there were many trade fishermen in the area, Yeshua called on a few of them to join Him on His journey with the others that He called to the way:

"Come after me, and I will make you fishers for men."

They left their boats and nets and followed their Master Rabbi (teacher) from Nazareth. They became known as His talmidim (disciples). There were several key students at the Sermon on the Mount, likely including Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus and Simon the Canaanite. 

The talmidim followed the man they called Rabbi to a mountain in the Galilee where Yeshua ascended up so the large crowd could hear as He laid out His red letter teaching of righteousness we now call the Sermon on the Mount.

What you may have not realized is that the foundation of that sermon in Galilee echos back to Mount Sinai. If you stay for awhile on the mountain you'll see that was nothing new for Yeshua. 

Matthew's account goes into much detail about this particular day and in great precision, the gospel writer replays that mountain side sermon. Matthew, the tax collector may have been there, but he was called after that, so the other disciples may have filled Him in on what they heard. Perhaps, they wrote the words down because there are no short snippets found in the three chapters (Matthew 5-7). 

It's time for a baptism in the living water of God's eternal, unchanging Word given on the mountain. To borrow Yeshua's words at the Jordan: "for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness."

Before His mountain top sermon, Matthew 4:23 tell us: "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people."

That healing was not new or unexpected, it fulfilled the promise of Isaiah 35:5-6: 

"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

​​And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.

​Then the lame shall leap like a deer,

​​And the tongue of the dumb sing."

On the mountain that day somewhere in Galilee, Yeshua explained that the blessings of Heaven above are promised in the Torah. As already noted, we might see the message delivered links to Joseph's blessing given by his father Jacob that was tied up in the bounties of the everlasting hills noted in Genesis 59. 

Jacob's blessing declares: 

"May they be on the head of Joseph, and on the brow of him who was set apart from his brothers."

There are nine blessings recorded by Matthew and that number is no accident, everything is important. Nine (9) symbolizes divine completeness.  You may have missed it before now, but years later, Paul the Jew from Tarsus wrote noting new when he summarized these nine blessings noting that they represent the fruits of God's Holy Spirit. 

Paul outlined them as 1) Faithfulness, 2) Gentleness, 3) Goodness, 4) Joy, 5) Kindness, 6) Long suffering, 7) Love, 8) Peace and 9) Self-control. You can find them in the Galatian letter (Galatians 5:22 - 23).

Back to the big sermon.., it opens with words that point us back straight to Isaiah 61:2. Those words were read by Yeshua in a Nazareth synagogue on the Sabbath (see Luke 4:16-20). Many sermons for the past 1,800 years have said that the words declared on that mountain were new and revolutionary truths for those who heard them. They say the words declared the foundation for a new message. 

For most that identify with "the church" a key doctrine of Christianity is a belief that most of the Biblical laws are now null and rebranded as the “Mosaic law” and the Hebrew Bible Yeshua taught are called an Old Testament. Yet, Yeshua taught the opposite.

Far from any theory born out of the weeds of replacement theology and antisemitism, Matthew writes the opposite in Matthew 5, and you can see it if you'll open your eyes, ears and heart to the messages of the Hebrew Bible Yeshua the Jew taught on that mountain side:

"And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Yeshua's blessings connected the crowd's ears with loud echos from Psalm 1, Psalm 47 and Psalm 145. 

The sermon's nine blessings were not new at all. 

They zero in on Isaiah 61:7 and Psalm 37:11: "But the humble shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of shalom." The echoed the ancient words of Psalm 22:25-31 and king David's Psalm 24 too.

The people of Galilee were Jewish, and likely everyone at the mountain side was familiar with the blessing and curses of the two-edged sword of Torah described in Psalm 149. They knew the scrolls of the Psalms started with blessings:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law [Torah] of the LORD, and on his [Torah] law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 ESV

They knew David's writing points to the way of righteous instruction and delight in the blessings of the Torah instruction of the Lord. 

There on that mountain in Galilee, Yeshua was fulfilling the Luke 4:14-19 synagogue reading of Isaiah 61:1 and Yeshua reminded everyone of the menorah's purpose which is the goal of God's Word to give light to a lost dark world. Without question, it reminded those at the hillside of the story of a winter miracle they were all familiar with. It's is known as Hanukkah (the Hebrew word for dedication). 

They all knew about the Modi’in Valley northwest of Jerusalem where the Maccabees lived when they struck out against the Greek Seleucids in the 2nd century. There, the family known as Maccabbee (hammer) struck out against the tyranny of Antiochus. After their victory, the Temple was purified and rededicated some 195 years before the sermon. 

The menorah played a big role in that story. That re-dedication gave birth to the celebration day when we find Yeshua in Jerusalem answering the BIG question today which is: Do the works that you do in the Father’s name bear a true witness about Yeshua? 

“The Festival of Dedication then took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Yeshua was walking in the temple in Solomon’s portico.” 
“How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Yeshua answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me... John 10:22-25.

The menorah's purpose is to give light, light by what it does. The Menorah burns oil beaten from olive fruit and it sheds light to the instruction in the works of The Father. The menorah is also seen in imagery of Revelation 1 and many in the church miss it because the translators call the branches candle sticks. 

The truth is the light (truth) of God's Word comes from a people whose heart is to glorify The Father through what they do. That's is Yeshua's good works message to the Jewish people:

"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

Yeshua then set the record straight that many Christians struggle with. I know, I'm an expert, I once did, I thought my "belief" alone gave glory to Almighty God, but what we do out of love for Him gives glory to The Father.

The Master Rabbi of the disciples and the multitudes that heard Him came to fill the mitzvot of the Torah up with meaning, to live it out including the blessings for Joseph and the lost, but many have forgotten a part of that sermon thinking Yeshua started a new religion and hung the Torah of Almighty God The Father on a cross. Here's what Jesus had to say about that misconception:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 

For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not a jot or tittle will pass from the Torah until all is accomplished."

Does Yeshua's voice should shake you awake to this unchanging truth? It should! After all, He reiterated the same message that many faithful rabbi's and scribes had insisted on for thousands of years, that not one stroke of the Torah could ever be altered by a thought, belief or pen. That's why the whole Bible remains the light to be declared and we can thank the faithfulness of the Jewish people for that. 

The apostle Paul agrees, read it for yourself:

"For as many as have sinned without Torah will also perish without Torah, and as many as have sinned in the Torah will be judged by the Torah (for not the hearers of the Torah are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the Torah will be justified..." Romans 2:12-13

Yeshua of Nazareth declares another admonition with His singular focus on God's Kingdom constitution Moses spoke about in Deuteronomy 5:1 which says: “Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your hearing today, that you may learn them and be careful to observe them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb." 

Yeshua goes on and declares the connection of the commandments to the Kingdom of God:

"Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 

Most New Testament readers don't read this verse (Matthew 5:19) for what it actually says... 

The greatest teacher in the Kingdom is King Messiah. The King of the Kingdom did them and teaches them greater than any other!! 

Many also pass over the next statement in the sermon, but we shouldn't speed read Scripture. 

The desire of our Heavenly Father is Yeshua's goal, that is to "keep" the covenant words by deeds out of love. As Moses said: "listen to the voice of the LORD your God" and do the mitzvot of good deeds written by Moses, not do our own thing to add to or take away from them but do them the best that you can in righteousness so that your lives will bring glory to The Father." 

Yeshua explains it like this:

For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

Master Rabbi Yeshua's sermon shows that He is the prophet like Moses as He takes the crowd straight to the Ten Commandments of Exodus 20:13 and Deuteronomy 5:17. Yeshua fills the covenant of God with the conscious heart and soul of their meaning by explaining the circumcised heart declared in Deuteronomy 10:16, Deuteronomy 30:6 and Jeremiah 4:4:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire."

He points to the Kingdom importance of making things right with each other. The Kingdom of God is a humble community, an assembly that seeks to walk in God's ways. Yeshua was teaching that the offering described in Deuteronomy 26 is not acceptable if you cannot say that you will walk in the Father's ways and keep His statutes, commandments and judgments, and that you must obey His voice if you have a problem to resolve with others as a holy people set apart to remember the LORD your God:

"So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny."

Yeshua quotes Moses verbatim from Deuteronomy 5:18 as He explains the heart and spirit of the big Torah message of Exodus 20:14:

"You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell."

Next, Yeshua zeros in on the what Almighty God considers as adultery noting Exodus 20:14 and Deuteronomy 5:18 while explaining the "indecency" of sexualy immorality Moses noted in Deuteronomy 24:1:

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

He then simplifies the truth summarizing an old Jewish saying that later made it in one form or another into the Talmud. Yeshua is teaching nothing new about making false promises declared in the Ten Commandments from Numbers 30:3, Leviticus 5, Deuteronomy 5:20 and Psalms 48:3. The footstool of 1 Chronicles 28:2 is noted as well from from the words of David:

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil."

Yeshua teaches against the sin of retaliation from Exodus 21 while explaining Leviticus 24:19-20 and Deuteronomy 19:21. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you."

He expounds that the reason for His teaching against retaliation is lovingkindness. 

The crowd no doubt is familiar with the "chesed" lovingkindness Almighty God declared to Moses after the sin of the golden calf. The Father did not wipe out Israel although they broke their covenant with Him in sin by the adultery of idolatry. Instead, God saved them, He kept His promise and provided the Ten Commandments for Moses to carry down the mountain a second time. The Tanach (Old Testament) never teaches us to hate our enemies. Yeshua starts by summarizing a saying that must have been prevalent in His day, He upholds and does not abolish the Torah when he tells us:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?"

Yeshua then does away with the theory for those today that say I am a saved Gentile sinner, but continue to sin thinking all sin is washed away in grace. Yeshua give the sermon few hear and do today as He admonishes us all to walk in righteousness:

"You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

He also speaks against self-righteous bragging from Proverbs 16:19 which says: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."

Yeshua focuses in on caring relationships. He teaches about freewill giving without credit from Proverbs 19:17 and Proverbs 21:26 showing that giving to help the needy is part of a relationship with The Father:

"Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

He expounds on the importance of a personal relationship with Almighty God from Isaiah 26:20:

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him."

For those that say God's Kingdom will only be seen in Heaven think again! 

In Yeshua's demonstration on how to pray, He declares the opposite linking His prayer coaching to the manna of Exodus 16. He starts what we now know as "the Lord's Prayer" with the importance of God's Holy name. Yeshua is teaching straight from Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 19:12, Deuteronomy 5:11, Proverbs 18:10, Micah 4:5, Isaiah 26:13 and other so-called Old Testament Scriptures:

"Pray then like this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name."

Next, Yeshua points to the Kingdom gospel promise in Zechariah 14:9-17 and Isaiah 65:17:

"Your kingdom come, your will be done,

on earth as it is in heaven."

Yeshua unveils Deuteronomy 8:2-3 again with a connection to Numbers 14:19, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Daniel 9:19, Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and Proverbs 30:8. Those words all point us back to hallowing God's name. After all, asking our Father in Heaven to forgive us hallows and sanctifies His name. Yeshua points to deliverance from Psalm 32:6, Psalm 60:11 and Psalm 72:4:

"Give us this day our daily bread,

and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil."

Yeshua's explanation in Matthew 6:14-15 emphasizes forgiveness of others precisely as described in Joseph's story found in Genesis 50:15-21: "For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

He also teaches that fasting is part of the blessing of a personal relationship with The Father by what we do:

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

Yeshua teaches everyone to lay up treasures in Heaven from the heart with His reference to Isaiah 51:8:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

He presses in on the importance of Psalm 119:105-112 and the riches found in the precepts, testimonies and statutes of God's Word:

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money."

Yeshua then teaches from Isaiah 35:4 and Psalm 80 which ties to the scene on the mountain side: "Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your might and come to save us! Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!"

His message is don't worry or worry's sake but trust and rely on God as declared in Psalm 47:7:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 

For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

Next, Yeshua brings Leviticus 19:15, Psalm 50:4, 1 Chronicles 28:9 and Psalm 145:8-9 front and center into the sermon regarding judging others:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye."

Nothing new here, Yeshua then points everyone back to Psalm 22:16, Psalm 68:23 and Isaiah 56:11 saying:

“Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you."

To be continued...

Shalom ya'll.