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 Luke's followup in the book of Acts, we might take note that the accounts we call the gospels only record specifics about 50 days of Jesus' life, that's about it.

Often, the record includes 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. 

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

It's called the Sermon on the Mount and many people believe they lay the foundation for a new religion. I writing today because it seems most that have heard that about "the sermon" but don't recognize the foundation of Yeshua's teaching despite all the words written about Him. 

The foundation of Matthew 5 can be hidden if we divide the Bible with a blank page.

For example, fast forward to Matthew 11:28-30. 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 that the law [Torah] keeping is old and heavy and amounts to a “heavy yoke” of works, thinking the law was done away at the cross replaced by grace.

Well, here's the thing: Yeshua was not teaching that. His message is "you can do it" as He was teaching on the moral principles of the Torah. In fact His view matches the definition of "gelimut ḥasidim" from the Encyclopedia Judaica. "Gelimut ḥasidim" is literally translated as "the bestowal of lovingkindness", "the most comprehensive and fundamental of all Jewish social virtues, which encompasses the whole range of the duties of sympathetic consideration toward one's fellow man." 

Moses also taught your can do it in his last sermon. In the land of Moab, there on the plain before Israel crossed over the Jordan River, Moses preached a renewal of the terms of the covenant the LORD commanded at Horeb (Mount Sinai). Check it out, Deuteronomy 30:11-14 says this:

"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."

Now let's dig deeper into the background of the sermon in the Galilee. 

The mountain fact gives us a hint, the message is important and it points us back to the book of Genesis where we first learn that mountains are a big deal in the Bible. It started with Noah. 

After the global disaster that's still evidenced by fossils at mountaintops, Noah climbed down out of the ark and set foot on a mountainside. Years later his great grandson Abraham met up with on a God on a mountain several times. Then there's Moses, he first saw God's glory presence in a burning bush at the mountain of Horeb then along with everyone else he heard God declare the Ten Commandments on a mountain. To top it off, Moses' last mountain climb with God was at Mount Nebo. 

With silver King David bought the mountain where Abraham offered up Isaac at Mount Moriah, it's known as the Temple Mount today. David told to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid fifty shekels of silver for them."

Elijah heard God's whisper at Horeb and at Mount Carmel he called on God after a face off with the fake priests of Baal. 

The mountain pattern is clear and present throughout the Bible.

The sermon on the mount occurred just after Yeshua left His childhood home of Nazareth and moved up to to Capernaum in the heritage territory of Zebulun and Naphtali. It was the same spot where the Assyrians arrived taking the ten northern tribes into captivity nearly 800 years earlier in the golden calf days of Jeroboam and Ephraim.

Before we dig into the voice on the mountain in the Galilee of the nations and the background of the sermon, let's take a detour to Jerusalem at the Temple Mount and fast forward to the history of a teaching that starts with Matthew 21:23. 

This time the Master's teaching did not start with the big crowds that followed Yeshua. 

This teaching was private and delivered at the Temple Mount with a series of parables shared with the chief priests and the elders of the Pharisees (Rabbi's). Like the sermon on the mount, it too was about the Kingdom of God. 

Yeshua's parables continued when the Sadducees showed up in Matthew 22. They joined the discussion but not really, the Sadducees wanted to stir up their old arguments with the Pharisees and debate  resurrection. Unlike the Pharisees, the Sadducees denied God's power and glory would be revealed in resurrection. They didn't think God could do it. Their view was this life is it, there's no world to come, no restitution of all things or in Hebrew HaOlam HaBa.

Bottom line, they were “out of bounds” and destroyed the Torah of the gospel of the Kingdom promise (more on that later).

There were many religious opinions and arguments in Yeshua's day just as there are today. Not only that, the  Pharisees weren't in agreement with each other. In Jesus' day there were two major forerunners of Rabbinic Judaism. They were the school of Hillel and the school of Shammai. Each argued hundreds of party regulations. 

Yeshua undoubtedly dealt with some of them at the Temple Mount. 

As His coaching continued a crowd started to arrive with some of the disciples. The admonitions Yeshua taught with parables were like Moses words against adding to or taking ways from the heart of Torah. Yeshua called religious adds and deletes that oppose God's goal for a Kingdom walk the opposite of you can do it, he called them "heavy burdens hard to bear." The essence of His halakic teaching was that any halakha must rely directly or indirectly on Scripture. 

Yeshua was warning that heavy burdens of Takkanot can impede the way of the Kingdom. The reason  was the Pharisees laid heavy burdens with religious regulations and in doing so uprooted a matter from the Torah with religious power. He called that attitude Torahlessness. His lessons were based on God's voice in Hosea 6:1: "For I desire covenantal mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."

Jesus never said all rabbinic decisions (Takkanot) were a problem, He was pointing out that Takkanot that supersede God's Torah is a problem. If manmade religious obligations neglect the weightier matters of God's Torah of justice, mercy and faithfulness, then the heavy Takkanot can cause us to stumble. The midrash moment at the Temple Mount is found in Matthew 23 with a focus on the Torah's expression of acts of mercy and faithfulness.

Now, let's go back to the teaching on that mountain in the Galilee. 

You may have not noticed it before, but to set the scene properly we have to know the location was near the same area that the ten northern tribes turned their back on the Torah of God and created their own religious ways. They were led by Jeroboam. 

How did he get to be in charge? Wise Solomon made a mistake. He had noticed that Jeroboam was industrious so he put him in charge over the forced labor of the house of Joseph. 

Yup, you read that right - Jeroboam was a slave taskmaster, not over a bunch of rag tag drifters looking for a job, but the house of Joseph. What on earth was Solomon thinking?

Not only that, Jeroboam started a new replacement religion thinking the Torah of God was done away with if he thought it so.

Jeroboam ended up building his own pagan shrines, he even placed two golden calves in place in a flash back to the sin of the golden calf in the exodus from Egypt. He effectively established his own taskmaster holidays too and the ten northern tribes followed along. Their holidays were Torah-less counterfeits. They turned their backs on The LORD's Feast Days honored for centuries. I guess they assumed they were just for Jewish people.

Does any of this ring a bell or two? 

Bottomline, if you ask me what goes around comes around.

If so, you should read more about Jeroboam, the slave taskmaster of Joseph in the books of Kings and Chronicles.  Jeroboam mixed in some some pagan idolatry from the religious ways of Egypt led by his taskmaster priests.

Now fast forward, Yeshua was there at the crime scene to set matters straight with a sermon.

The red letter truths given on that mountain above the Galilee are in plain sight if we will just take off our Greco-Roman sunshades with an open heart to the messages of the Bible that Yeshua taught from the Torah. 

They are justice, mercy and faithfulness.  

Being unfamiliar with this foundation of Yeshua's teaching from the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) can set us on the wrong sermon path. We have to repent and remember He quoted God's word and none of His teachings were new. 

The red letter reality is that the Master Rabbi's voice is rooted in an unwavering commitment to the words of righteousness in the voice of our Heavenly Abba Father recorded by Moses and the Prophets. You can find many of the messages as well in the Psalms. In other words, the whole Bible, the same Bible, the Tanach that Jesus read and taught in synagogues each Sabbath is the outline of that sermon.  

If you are brave enough to step up and climb the mountain with Yeshua to listen and learn from His voice, the hidden treasure there is that Yeshua never said a thing about starting any new religion or knocking the Torah off the bema.

We can know that -- because He said so in that sermon... 

To get a handle on that,  we just have to reset, repent and set aside new religious traditions and open our eyes with our heart. You'll see not a jot or tittle of the Torah was done away with. Yeshua said that because the two witnesses of God's Torah, heaven and earth declared by God's voice in Genesis 1:1⁠–⁠2:3  are still here as our witnesses. 

When Yeshua taught that, He was repeating what Moses had written in Deuteronomy 4:24-26 and Deuteronomy 30:19-20. 

The thing Yeshua taught was that a Torah walk includes not just what we do, but our inward motives.

That has always been the Torah case but many have missed the evidence. The problem: the heart of the Torah was ignored by a few so-called religious men. People were confused. So, Yeshua taught them how the written Torah of God should cut like a sword into our bad attitudes too. When it does we get to walk in the image of God as a Royal Priesthood.

To set the record straight on new religion, Jesus wasn't Roman Catholic, Anglican, Protestant and He wasn't a Baptist either. He never taught replacement theology. 

The Jewish Master Rabbi held yeshiva on that mountain. His students and the people he met along the way all called Him Rabbi. He was fully Torah observant. He even wore a tallit as prescribed in Numbers 15 and Deuteronomy 22. If you doubt that, you need to understand the backstory behind the woman that was healed by faith as she touched the hem [tallit] of His garment. 

You can find that 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 celebrated wonderful Jewish traditions too including the Sukkot water pouring ceremony in John 7 and He showed up for Hanukkah, that fact is in John 10. 

All traditions aren't bad. 

Yeshua followed the traditional Jewish Passover blessing over bread and wine. Check out the account of Abraham and Melchizedek the "king of righteousness" it includes the bread and wine. That meeting with Abraham worked its way into the Passover seder that Yeshua led with His disciples reclining around the table. Why did the "church" relabel it as last supper communion?

The thing is, that seder wasn't new and it wasn't the last and at the end of the seder Yeshua told His disciples he'd come back and do it again, but that they should continue on each year and remember Him.

The first supper was at Mount Sinai. You can read about that in Exodus 24:1-18. 

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

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

In my scriptures studies, I've learned that the Son of Man that 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 so amazed about?

Yeshua's authority is tied to the foundation rock. The words He lived out and taught that are infused with the light of 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

It's great that some Bible publisher's point to Yeshua's words with red letters. They season like salt and shine a bright light on Almighty God's Word, so it's time to uncover some red letter truth. 

Yeshua filled ancient Scripture teachings with meaning by everything He did including fulfilling God’s promise to Isaac in Genesis 22:8  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. His goal: teaching "the weightier matters of the law [Torah]: justice and mercy and faithfulness." 

That's why Yeshua gave anyone, including the Pharisees and more often the Sadducees that added to or took away from the justice, mercy and faithfulness of the written words of the Father many challenges about religious traditions that add to or take away from the "you can do it" truth in Moses' sermon at Moab. 

Don't forget, in the wilderness outside Egypt after the mikveh (baptism) through the sea, those in the mixed multitude that had been saved by mercy and faithfulness did not want to hear what the God of Israel had to say Mount Sinai. 

Do you want to hear Him? 

The mixed multitude had an excuse, they were afraid they would die. After all, the earth was shaking, the mountain was on fire. The mountain was physically reacting to its Creator's presence. It was the same for the heavens. Lightning bolts were flashing and thunder was booming. Smoke was everywhere as the shofar trumpet was blowing. 

Everyone's senses was overwhelmed by fear. 

Fear and awe are important. Everyone but Moses was shaking in their boots frightened to the bone because they could see, hear and feel the sound of God's voice. Both native born and sojourner encountered holiness and glory 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 fear and awe and God respected that at Mount Sinai. If you'll read on, you'll find that Yeshua's not so new words will shake your traditional thinking. 

It's time to wake up - don't be afraid of the truth. That requires that you not just circumcise your heart, but that you get up and do something about it. According to the disciple James and the disciple John, we all need to understand that faith without action is not faith in action.

Most everyone I grew up with in one way or another held on to a religious tradition that the red letter words were new. I agreed and went along, but then I realized I had an argument with the real Yeshua and those that argue with Yeshua, debate with Moses and the Prophets behind the closed doors of doctrine and theology. I realized is could not look in the mirror and see the repentance required to open up the Kingdom of Heaven. 

That's been a problem for others so I am sharing. If we believe that Yeshua's mission was to die to start a new religion in resurrection, it's time to do something and re-examine traditions of new doctrines Yeshua never taught. 

I had to ask myself a question. Did I have the same problem with Yeshua that some of the Sadducees and Pharisees had, but didn't know it? 

My question was critical for me 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. 

I noticed the truth of that fact of faith is front and center in His red letter teachings. 

The hidden truth of the red letter words in that sermon is the voice we must hear in repentance with action. That's the faith action God The Father asks of His children if we seek to return to a proper relationship walking in heaven's Kingdom faith.

Return is what repentance is about, it's about getting back in the game, not starting a new ballgame. 

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. Judah's blessing was great because he put his life before Benjamin. The account unfolds in Genesis 44:18-34. 

Yeshua, a descendant in the line of Judah, would do the same not long after the sermon.

"Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). 

Judah, a son of Leah offered to trade his life for Rachel's son. She had died in his child birth and it broke Jacob's heart. Judah would not allow his father to live through another crushing grief of separation from another child of his beloved Rachel, so Judah declared he will trade his life for Benjamin. 

The name Hebrew name Judah (Yehuda) means “praise” and years after Judah's offer, Judah received the first and greatest blessing of all of Jacob's sons. Jacob’s words are directed by the Holy Spirit of God as he declared the prophecy of Messiah, the Lion of the royal tribe of Judah:
"Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father's sons shall bow down before you. Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? 

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk." Genesis 49:8-12 
Yeshua delivered the ruler's staff of life messages that day in Galilee. The scepter message was like the others that Yeshua gave to the crowds that followed Him, and believe it or not, Yeshua's words to the multitudes that heard Him focused on the ways of the Kingdom of God, not death on a cross. 

His voice was a pure white, choice vine call for humble repentance to prepare for the Kingdom. 

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

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

During Yeshua's first walk across the Promised Land, Biblical lessons and examples of everyday parables constantly called everyone to do something. The first call He gave everyone was always repent. No matter what road you're on now, 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 all across Israel that started in the Galilee. 

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

Matthew 5 connects us to Genesis. 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. 

In the beginning, Adam and Eve lived in the image of God. 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 truth 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 that started in Eden with Moses' words quoted 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 sought to accomplish in Matthew 4:5-6.

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

Do you own thing your way was Ahaz' mantra. Ignore God's voice, worship your way. Sound familiar?

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

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

Not only that, 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 that big instruction in Moses' sermon: "You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” The gospel accounts repeat Yeshua's Torah guidance in the first step toward 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 that same message to Ezekiel some 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 Lord's ways and be blessed in life. Repentance is key to the the Kingdom of God. Yeshua is standing there, get your key and open the door. Do you hear the knock? 

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

In fact, if you'll take the time to 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, 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 a trip to Egypt as an infant boy. That event mirrors young Moses who also escaped Pharaoh's death sentence when he ordered all Hebrew infant boys to be drowned in the Nile. No wonder Jeremiah reported that Rachel weeped for her children (Jeremiah 31:15).

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

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" lays out the 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 whether native born or sojourner, the words to be spoken by "the prophet" will be The Father's words to a mixed multitude. That's what prophets do, but we must not just hear them, the Hebrew word God uses is יִשְׁמַע shema, it means hear and do.

That Shema fact is critically important to understand when we return to the red letter sermon with repentance in mind and a humble heart to hear and do. The Torah is why Yeshua gave the red letter sermon on the mount and why Jesus also said this there about Deuteronomy 18:15-19: 

"If you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me." John 5:46

That is Phillip's testimony:

"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 Nathan spoke of to David. Phillip and the disciples knew Yeshua never intended to start a new religion, had they thought so, Yeshua would be a false prophet.

Do you make Him out to be a false prophet with new replacement theology? 

Yeshua's was turned down in Nazareth, don't let that be your hometown, because He might move on.  When rejected there, Yeshua moved to the upper Galilee in fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy. Did you know the Galilee district was known as the “Galilee of the nations”?  Check it out, Isaiah 9:1 promises:

"...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 the book of Joshua. The Galilee of the Nations is where Yeshua started His Yeshiva time as the prophet, it just so happens to be where Joshua ended up. tells us: "Joshua aka Yehoshua in Hebrew, the formal name of Yeshua, was Moses ' successor who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. The Bible describes Joshua as a devoted student, a saintly man, and a brilliant military commander. Joshua led his people on all fronts, exhorting them to serve G‑d and uphold the Torah, while at the same time leading them in military conquest."

1 Kings describes the Galilee as the land gifted from Solomon to Tyre's King Hiram . 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 also take note of this fact: 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 seven centuries earlier. The lost tribes are a big deal in the gospel of God, to understand, we have to consider what Yeshua said in that very area: 

“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24

Phillip's description to Nathanael noted in John 1:45 has a mystery connection to Matthew 15:24 and Joseph in Egypt. He was thought to be lost by Jacob, but he was redeemed with his brothers. Not only that, Joseph's sons were Ephraim and Manasseh and their mother was an Egyptian princess. Her father was a pagan priest so the grandchildren were adopted as his sons by Jacob at the end of his life and their descendants became know as Ephraim. 

Before that Genesis account, we see Jacob's seventeen year-old son Joseph telling his family about his dreams. 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...” and the man told him, “They have gone away."

That lost sheep story is huge 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 in the gospel Kingdom promise of the Scriptures. Ephraim is not lost in God's eyes.

The disciples asked Yeshua about 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, don't forget, long before Herod Antipas ever ruled a big part of the Northeast Galilee district, it was deeded to Manasseh. 

That's just a part of the Joseph gospel connection. 

The center point of commerce in that district was the Sea of Galilee and there were many trade fishermen in the area. Yeshua called on a few of them to join His Master Rabbi journey across Israel with the others that He had 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 (teacher) born in Bethlehem. They became known as His talmidim (disciples). There were several called out 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 even 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. 

For good reason, Matthew's account goes into detail about that particular day and with careful precision, the gospel writer replays the mountain sermon. Matthew, the tax collector may not have been there, because he was called to join the yeshiva after that, so the backstory may be that the other disciples may have filled Him in on what they heard that day. 

Perhaps, they wrote the words down and shared them with Matthew because there are no short snippets found in the three chapters about the big sermon (see Matthew 5-7). 

Are you ready to go to the mountain? 

If so it's time for a bit of a baptism in the living water of God's eternal, unchanging written Word given on that mountain. To borrow Yeshua's words at His Jordan River mikveh: "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 sickness healing was not 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 the Galilee, Yeshua explained that the blessings of Heaven are promised in the Torah. As already noted, we might also see that the message delivered connects with 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 Sermon on the Mount blessings recorded by Matthew and that number is no accident, everything is important. In Hebraic thinking, nine (9) symbolizes divine completeness.  You may have missed it before now, but years later, Paul the Jew from Tarsus wrote nothing new at all either when he summarized nine blessings noting that they represent the fruits of Almighty 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 that in the Galatian letter (Galatians 5:22-23).

Paul also proved he never forsake the Torah when he arrived in Jerusalem after the Jerusalem Council meeting when he returned from Macedonia and Greece and met with Peter again. Read Paul's reaction to the false claim when Peter told him people were saying he taught Jews among the Gentiles to forsake Moses:
When we had come to Jerusalem, the brothers received us gladly. On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 
And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law [Torah],  and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. ... Then Paul took the men, and the next day he purified himself along with them and went into the temple, giving notice when the days of purification would be fulfilled and the offering presented for each one of them. Acts 21:17-21, Acts 21:26
Back to the big sermon... it opens with words that point us back straight to Isaiah 61:2. Those same 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 void - rebranded as old “Mosaic law” and the Hebrew Bible Yeshua taught is even called an Old Testament. Yet, Yeshua taught the opposite on that mountain.

Far from any theory born out of the weeds of replacement theology and antisemitism, Matthew records the flip side 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 from the instruction of The Father. The menorah is also seen in imagery of Revelation 1 and many miss it because the translators call the branches candle sticks. 

The Revelation truth is the light (truth) of God's Word that 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 thought my "belief" with a prayer 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 noting 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 everyone although they broke covenant in their sin of adultery and idolatry. Instead, God kept His promise and wrote the Ten Commandments for Moses to carry down the mountain a second time. The Tanach (Old Testament) never teaches us to hate. 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 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 red letter 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? 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. 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."

Before we wrap up the red letter details of this part of the sermon, let's pause to reflect back on the murder of the children in Matthew's account. Its found in Matthew 2.

It points us to remember Rachel's weeping in Ramah described by Jeremiah hundreds of years after her death. It connects the death mandate by Pharaoh for the children in Moses' day to the baby boys murdered in the massacre of the innocents in Bethlehem by Herod. 

Rachel's tears are important! More so than the massive building projects Herod oversaw including expanding and renovating the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, building the port at Caesarea and the fortress at Masada. His building projects all lie in ruins today except the massive stone building that remains intact above the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca as well as Jacob and Leah are buried. It's also thought that Adam and Eve were entombed there.

King Herod is known in history books as "Herod the Great." Other than building projects he led to leave his mark on Israel, he wasn't so great at all. That's as they say... fake news. Matthew's account as well as the record from historian Flavius Josephus and the Talmud all describe Herod as a ruthless barbaric king. 

Years after Mark Anthony ordered Herod to go and capture Jerusalem, he expanded Solomon’s Temple, but he did that for his own benefit just like Ahaz had done. In doing so, he also created hi own version of a religious ruling class in Jerusalem that was loyal to Herod and his prototype Mafia-like dynasty. 

The reality is that Herod imitated evil king Ahaz. 

In addition, Herod built the Masada fortress palace for himself, it would later become not only his memorial gravesite, but the Roman death trap for many thousands of Jews at Masada. Their grave end of life marked the desperation of exile from Israel with a 1,800+ year-long diaspora from their homeland. 

The mass death camp of Masada was a horrific last stand by the Dead Sea that ended in suicide some 30 years after the destruction of Jerusalem when Rome's Titus attacked the city with his Legions. 

It's absolutely mind bending to consider, but another unimaginable massacre by Hitler followed in the steps of Titus during the Holocaust as Hitler tied to destroy the Jewish people that had escaped Rome's assaults on them, but in Almighty God's providence, the German death camps would lead to the eternal promise, the return of Jewish people to Israel in 1948 and the rightful return of Jerusalem in 1967. 

Just like Jerusalem's destruction that is now in restoration mode, the family of Judah arose from the ashes that I cannot fathom. 

Only the promise from the voice of Almighty God Elohim could bring about the resurrection of Israel that began in 1948, just 20 days after Passover during the Omer count. God's promise to keep His eyes on Jerusalem was seen again in 1967. At the end of the Six Day War., Jerusalem was restored to Judah's heritage with a shofar blast, but Jerusalem has more glory in store. It's time to walk up if you are reading this you are living in Biblical times, they are not old or done away with.

The book of Revelation reveals that the promise God gave to David through Nathan will be completed in Jerusalem by Israel's Messiah King.

Jerusalem points us to the fact that it's high time to hit your new religion delete button. 

It's time to pray, fast and repent of any attitude we may have from an old church sermon about a new replacement religion and doctrine that seeks to abrogate the teaching and instruction of Almighty God.

The big picture of the Bible is real and history proves it. Prophecy is a reality, so we must all dig further into the red letter words and fast forward into the corrupt political and religious scene in Jerusalem nearly 2,000 years ago. 

When we look back to king Herod, the record shows that he was an Edomite, an Idumean born around 74BC. The term Idumean is simply the Greek Hellenized name for an Edomite. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, not Jacob that are described in the Bible with a problem. 

We can't forget history, the Edomites were ancient enemies of the Jewish people and they still are, whoever they might be today. 

The fact is the Edomites were among the recruits that helped destroy Jerusalem and burn The Temple. 

Believe it or not, 600 years after Babylon's invasion, they were recruited again to serve Titus as recruits among the Roman Legions with the same result: destruction and desolation. That will come with a price, the one chapter vision of Obadiah declares the final judgment in the Day of the Lord for the Edomites.

The Roman's documented their Legion history and the fact remains that the "Legions" of Titus were a remnant of the ancient enemies of Israel. You can find all the details for yourself with an Internet search or two because the Romans kept written records. If you don't have a lot of time, to do that check out this commentary: Who Were the Legions of Rome?

What you may not know is the Roman Legions weren't all Romans, they included recruits of local warrior tribesmen surrounding Israel. Those recruits were the descendants of Ishmael, Esau as well as any remaining Philistines. With the promise of Roman citizenship, they were drafted by Titus' commanders from the areas that surrounded Judea and Samaria before 70 AD. They were descendants of the same people groups that Joshua was told to drive out of the Promised Land. 

Their descendants still oppose Israel and the Jewish people today. 

The so-called West Bank conflict today is the focal point of the Edomite problem that remains in the condemnations of the high places of the United Nation that you can read about most any day in the headlines.

Titus promised his recruits citizenship and he used them to attack Jerusalem. They took it upon themselves to destroy Herod's temple and slaughter a million innocent Jewish men, women and children. After the first holocaust, Titus became Emperor of Rome and took the title Titus Caesar Vespasianus. Adolph Hitler continued the holocaust, yet when Jewish survivors officially returned in 1948, Edom attacked again, this time they called themselves Arabs and they lost the battle. 

Edom rose up and fought again in 1967, and they lost again in the Six Day War that should point us all to the fact that in one way or another, in the big picture mankind has been at war with God for 6,000 years but the good news gospel the choice for the rebellion battle in sin will end in Jerusalem. 

Messiah is coming to Jerusalem as the King. Almighty God keeps His promises and His eyes are still on Jerusalem as the House of Prayer for all nations. 

As for the Edomites, the book of Obadiah gives Almighty God's final word that you can read for yourself. Back to Herod the Edomite, did you know he also has a dark connection to Haman? His agenda matches that of today's Ayatollahs in Iran that declare they will wipe Israel off the map and rule the land.

That fact is critical to the big picture described in Matthew because his son Herod Antipas was the 1st-century Roman tetrarch of the districts of Galilee and Perea where just to the north today Iran has arrived in the midst of Syria's self destruction with a strategic goal formed in the pit of hell. 

Back in the day, Galilee and Perea were client states invaded by the Roman Empire and Herod Antipas played a key role in his father's standing 30 year-old massacre order for Bethlehem.  We see this fact unfold in Luke 13:31.

During Yeshua's day, Herod Antipas had two brothers and they ruled other districts. Archelaus ruled Judea, Idumea (Edom) and Samaria. Antipas' brother Philip ruled the largest area and today it is known as the Golan Heights. Phillip also ruled southern Syria and a big part of today's Jordan. 

Herod Antipas' had a stepdaughter named after her grandmother. Salome ruled three cities along the Mediterranean coastline, perhaps where Gaza sits today flaring rockets at innocents in southern Israel and yielding knives and bullets on unsuspecting Jewish men women and children. Keep in mind, Salome is the woman behind the beheading of John the Baptist. Salome took the plate with John’s head and gave it to her mother as a reward for adultery. 

Today, the Palestinian Authority dishes mostly stipends each month in terrorism reward payments to Palestinian terrorists and their families under the PA's pay-for-slay policy that should be known as Salome blood money.

You need to know Herod Antipas an inhuman Idumaean-Edomite ruled the Galilee. He is the man that had Yochanan the Levite (aka John the Baptist) beheaded  at Salome's request to use a knife to keep his word. Not only that, Herod Antipas is the same man in the Roman trial that sent Yeshua back to Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea for Roman sedition sentencing. 

The Galilee was governed by Antipas, the Roman sovereign and Judaea and Jerusalem were governed by Pilate. 

Pilate was the first Roman in charge to hear the false accusations of blasphemy, but he handed Yeshua over to Antipas who happened to be in Jerusalem at the time. Connections are important, so connect the dots to this: Antpas sent Yeshua of Nazareth back to Pilate's Jerusalem court much like his father, Herod the so-called Great sent his foot soldiers in to murder the innocents some 30 years earlier in Bethlehem. 

The facts on the ground I now consider is that Pilate used Caiaphas as a religious pawn put in place by Valerius Gratus, the 4th Roman Prefect of the Iudaea province. Gratus changed the Jewish leadership under Rome and shifted the God-ordained priesthood to the Sadducee-controlled Sanhedrin under the Roman thumb of oppression.

Fast forward to Pilate and you might see behind the scene that Pilate used Caiaphas to ultimately carry out Herod's long standing Roman order for the execution of the baby boys born in Bethlehem. Pilate carried out Herod's contempt against the Jewish people connected to Micah's prophecy that the Magi had unwittingly revealed to Herod the no so great. 

This seemingly hidden plot is revealed as Pilate ordered a sign to be nailed above Yeshua's head at the Roman crucifixion stake. It is described in Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38 and John 19:19–20 and read: "King of the Jews." 

That was the title these pagan Gentiles gave to the Jewish Messiah, the eternal King of Israel from God's gospel promise to David that is outlined in 2 Samuel 7:18-29 and 1Chronicles 17:16–27. 

Josephus records that Caiaphas sympathized with the Sadducees and was made high priest by Gratus. 

It's important to know Gratus preceded Pontius Pilate as Roman procurator in Jerusalem. Before Caiaphas arrived on the scene, his father-in-law Annas had been high-priest, but Rome's curator Gratus was corrupt and acted against the Temple and the Jews by removing Annas as high priest putting his own man in charge under Roman rule. Accepting the appointment, Caiaphas destroyed the Torah.

There was no Scriptural guidance in Caiaphas' appointment as High Priest. The long tenure of Caiaphas reported by Josephus points to the fact he worked hand in hand with the Romans and the untold story is that Caiaphas saw to it that Herod's death trap for Bethlehem was carried out to extinguish the life of "The King of The Jews" and in doing so Caiaphas was like Korah.

Pilate, like Herod thought he put an end to Almighty God's plan for Messiah King of Israel, but like any Sadducee, he did not believe in the power of resurrection or The God of Israel. That's the hidden back story behind that Roman sign written in Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

Rome's death sentencing did not end on the Roman crucifixion cross for Herod Antipas. Some 15 years later circa 45 AD, Antipas "killed James the brother of John with the sword" (Acts 12:2) and he put Peter in prison but it could not hold him. The day after that crime, Antipas' life ended "immediately [when] the angel of the Lord that released Peter killed him... (Acts 12:23) as Antipas gave a speech that those around him actually blasphemed as they shouted: "It is the voice of a god, and not of a man" (Acts 12:18-24).

In my view, Pilate acted as an Underboss for Herod the Great who was perhaps the original Mafia Boss. The reason, the Romans never performed execution over violations of legislative rulings of Takkanot . They did not recognize Jewish Halakha law, they crucified people for insurrection against Rome which was Herod's original fear factor. So, if you ask me, Caiaphas' charge of blasphemy never really mattered much to Pilate. He was concerned about Herod's 30 year-old Roman execution order and he cleverly disguised it, even washing his hands. 

That's why the first question he asked Yeshua the Nazarene as He stood before Pilate was this...

Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” Matthew 27:11

Pilate's goal was to finish Herod's crime wave that started in Bethlehem three decades earlier. That's revealed with this first question. 

Herod's Mafia crimes eventually led to the ultimate death of every Mafioso Underboss in his family. Herod murdered potential rivals to his power syndicate and to top it off, that included two of his own sons. Their names were Alexander and Aristobolus. They were the brothers of Antipas. Herod killed the two boys in his hate and obsessive power lust because he believed that they were plotting to take his Mafia-like throne as their own. 

Caiaphas was in the position between the Mafia Boss and Underboss and he sympathized with the Sadducees.  Caiaphas was the Consigliere and he acted like an adviser to his Underboss Pilate like any Consigliere was supposed to do to facilitate decisions for the good of the Mafia. 

When Pontius Pilate pretended to side with Yeshua, it was just a charade, more fake news.

He had no conscience other than his wife's dream that he ignored. Pilate was like the egotistical self-centered Herod the so-called Great. Herod was a Mafia monster like Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar. Instead of destroying Jerusalem, he tried to destroy its King. Not only that, Pilate murdered his wife Miriam and her mother too under the same prideful accusations that he used to kill his two boys in his all consuming incessant obsession for power. 

The irony is Pilate did not seek to kill Antipas, he survived his father's wrath just as Barnabas did, yet his two son's were killer much like the two men that were crucified with Yeshua on a Roman stake. It wouldn't surprise me if the truth be know that's how both Alexander and Aristobolus met their end.

Now you can see why Herod the megalomaniac like Pharaoh declared the death sentence for the innocents in Bethlehem as he sought to protect his throne with premeditated murder. He'd heard of Micah 5:2 from the "wise men" that told Herod they were looking for the "King of the Jews." 

The Magi men of the east unwittingly revealed Micah's prophecy to a Hitler-like murderer. That prophecy says this:

“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.”

Herod sought to stop that prophecy from going forth from everlasting truth, yet like a Sadducee he did not believe in the power of God in resurrection or understand Yeshua did not seek an earthly throne on the first trip as humble Messiah ben Joseph. He likely never knew that God told Nathan to tell David, I will be to him a Father, and he will be to me a son, yet in his distress he will be rejected and stricken by men.

The history backstory to Herod the Great idol worshipper is that had been appointed so-called "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate, yet Herod knew he was not a descendant of Judah or from Bethlehem, so he took matters into his own hands to be "King of the Jews." That's why he undertook his own remodel of the Temple Mount and built his own monument at Hebron over the burial place of the Patriarchs! 

Josephus writes about Herod 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 between 4 BC and 1 BC, the background story revealed in the book of Matthew describes Yeshua's return from Egypt after Joseph and Mary fled Bethlehem to go back up to the promised land of Israel, they settled in Nazareth fulfilling Hosea 11:1. When Yeshua was rejected in Nazareth He move over to Capernaum and began His teaching ministry in the Galilee 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 promised by Almighty God. The “prophet” like Moses has no message of his own; he speaks only from the instruction of God. Many people forget that today, thinking Jesus started a new replacement religion and turned His back on the Torah.

When Yeshua met Philip, the young man obviously knew and believed some key Bible verses. They must have included: 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. 

What does this all mean? 

Consider a prayer: Please, God, guide me as to what I should do.

It's time for you to repent and return to God's voice, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment. 

To be continued...

Shalom ya'll.