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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 four accounts now called the gospels as well as Luke's second report known as the book of Acts, we'll find that those manuscripts only mention about 50 days of Jesus' life.

The 50 days include brief snippets of information with the exception of just a few.  One of those exceptional days is a big crowd teaching on a mountainside. 

It's filled with wisdom and described in Matthew 5-7 and much of it is echoed in Luke's account about the day. 

Yet, the words written and spoken over the past 1,900 years about what Jesus had to say are impossible to count. According to John, many deeds of Jesus aka Yeshua were never recorded by the young Jewish men that learned from their Rabbi: 

"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

The Sermon on the Mount is an exception. It is likely the first public teaching and many people believe that sermon lays out the basics of a new religion, but does it? 

I writing about that because many who have read it were like me and don't recognize the foundation of Yeshua's historic teaching despite all the words written about that one sermon. 

The historic problem is that the heart of that sermon is hidden away when we think that the Bible has a dividing line with a publisher's blank page and carries the labels Old Testament and New Testament.

Before we dig in, let's fast forward for a moment past the sermon to Matthew 11:28-30: 

"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."

That yoke isn't new, but some think that Jesus' light burden is a teaching that keeping the Torah is abolished. 

Some say Torah is old and amounts to a “heavy burden” of legalism. They think that the Torah voice of God written by Moses was wiped away at the cross and replaced by grace, but the contrast here is on oral law and tradition of the elders and two schools of rabbinic teaching during Yeshua's day. 

The written Torah is the foundation stone of Yeshua's teaching, if you look, you'll see that in plain sight in the Sermon on the Mount and it's not done away with.

Here's the thing: Yeshua was not teaching about erasing Torah. He was repeating a Moses' message. 

Yeshua's teaching is it's easy... "you can do it.

He was explaining a basic mitzvah principle that's found written in the Torah. 

In fact, the sermon's perspective matches the definition of "gelimut ḥasidim" from the Encyclopedia Judaica: "Gelimut ḥasidim" is literally translated as "the bestowal of lovingkindness." It's "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." 

Did you know Moses was the first to say "you can do it" in his last sermon? 

When and where was that sermon?

Flashback 3,500 years to the land of Moab just outside Israel. The area is redrawn on modern maps today and it's called Jordan. There on the plain before everyone crossed over the Jordan River with the Ark of The Covenant, you'll find Moses preaching his last sermon. 

That sermon was the first revival and Yeshua's used it in His first sermon. 

Moses was repeating the terms of the covenant The LORD gave to everyone at Horeb (Mount Sinai) whether they were native born or sojourner. 

Check it out, turn to Deuteronomy 30:11-14 for a portion. Moses declares:

"For this commandment [mitzvah] 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."

You CAN do it!

Now, let's dig deeper into Yeshua's sermon. 

The mountain location gives us a big hint. Any Bible message given on a mountain is important! 

Mountains points us back to the book of Genesis where we first learn that mountains are a big deal in the Bible. It starts with the Torah's account about Noah and his family's salvation from death and destruction because Noah was the last man standing that had followed The Lord's instruction. 

After the global flood waters subsided, a disaster that's still evidenced by a rainbow when it rains and fossils at mountaintops across the planet, Noah climbed down out of the massive wooden ark and set foot on a mountain. 

Years later, Noah's great grandson Abraham heard God's voice. Where was he? On a mountain, and the voice he heard saved his son Isaac. 

Now, fast forward to Moses. He first saw God's shechinah glory presence in a burning bush at the mountain of Horeb. That's where he first heard God's voice. Later, along with everyone that walked out of Egypt, both sojourner and native born heard Almighty God declared the Ten Commandments on that mountain. 

To top it off, Moses' last mountain climb with Almighty God ended at Mount Nebo. 

Years later, king David purchased a mountain where it is thought that in uncompromising faith Abraham brought up his son Isaac as the ultimate price of obedience to God's voice. 

Today, that place known as Mount Moriah is called the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. 

It was there that David told Araunah the Jubusite: “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."

Time passed and Elijah the prophet heard God's whisper at Mount Horeb and then at Mount Carmel Elijah called on Almighty God in a face off with the fake priests of Baal. 

The mountain pattern is clear and present throughout the Bible.

The Sermon on the Mount was delivered after Yeshua left His childhood home of Nazareth and moved up to to Capernaum in the Galilee's heritage territories of the nations of Zebulun and Naphtali. 

It was the same area where the Assyrians had arrived 700 years earlier. The Assyrians weren't on a vacation tour. They came to take out the ten northern tribes of Israel. The took most of them like slaves into captivity. The reason was God's judgment of exile from the Promised Land following the double golden calf sins that led them all astray and divided the Kingdom. 

Despite all the prophets that God sent to them to declare repentance including Elijah, Elisha, Hosea and Amos the ten tribe nations refused. Jeroboam had set up cult shrines at Dan and Bethel with golden calves in them and he replaced God's ordained days with new holidays in Egypt's old ways of sin in idolatry. Now that you know that, is it any wonder that the book of Matthew makes note of the sickness and disease among the crowds.

Before we dig into the red letter foundation stones of the sermon given on that mountain in the Galilee of the nations, let's take a quick detour with a step toward Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to set the stage there. 

The teaching on that mountain is noted in Matthew 22. 

This time, the Master's teaching was on a very special mountain. 

This teaching at Mount Moriah started with a series of parables shared with the chief priests and a few elders of the Pharisees. Just like the Sermon on the Mount, it included Yeshua's laser focus on the restoration of The Kingdom of God. 

The parables continued until the Sadducees arrived (see Matthew 22). They didn't just show up to join the discussion, the Sadducees arrived and stirred up some old arguments they had with the Pharisees about their debate about the Pharisees' belief in resurrection. 

Unlike the Pharisees,  the Sadducee belief denied God's life giving power and glory would ever be revealed in resurrection. The rejected redemption in eternal life because they dismissed the glorious restoration of The Kingdom as the good news gospel of God.

The Sadducees didn't think God could do it. 

Their view was that you are born and then die. This life is it, take it or leave it, there's no world to come, no restitution of all things or in Hebrew, no  עוֹלָם הַבָּא HaOlam HaBa "the world to come" in the Kingdom of Heaven to come to earth. 

In Matthew 13:13 Yeshua explained why he spoke in parables to religious people trapped in tradition that don't Shema (hear and do) the word of God:

"This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand."

The Sadducees had missed the mark and destroyed the gospel of God, the forever Kingdom of Messiah promise to come that was revealed to David by Nathan the prophet (more on that later).

Bottomline, there were many religious opinions and arguments with Yeshua back in the day just as there are today. 

Not only that, the Pharisees weren't always in agreement with each other. It's the same today, that's why there are so many denominations governed by membership traditions whether Christian or Jewish. it's as if no one is in agreement with the voice of God written by Moses. For some reason, everyone wants to add to it or take away from God's voice. That's the issue called religious opinion in my book.

Back in Jesus' day, the debate on the Temple Mount looked a lot like Judaism and Christianity divided in opinion. The disagreements of the Pharisees and the Sadducees were like the schools of Hillel and Shammai in Jerusalem. 

Each school of thought argued and debated about interpretations and manmade religious regulations from their views and teachings on oral law traditions. 

Yeshua's parables on the Temple Mount dealt with arguments between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He cleared the mountain air if you will as the coaching continued...

Then, a crowd started to arrive with some of the disciples. 

The admonitions Yeshua gave that day with parables synced to Moses' words against adding to or taking from the heart of the Torah and the Prophets. See Deuteronomy 12:32 where God's scribe Moses explained that doing so is a problem:

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it. Deuteronomy 12:32 NIV

Yeshua did the same at the Sermon on the Mount and called out religious rules on what was taught with adds and deletes vs. what is written when it opposes God's goal for a Kingdom walk. 

Adds and deletes are the opposite of "you can do it." That's why Yeshua called them "heavy burdens... hard to bear." 

The essence of His Sermon on the Mount teaching was that halakha must rely on Scripture, God's voice not man's omission of the jots and tittles that can't be done away with. 

At the Temple Mount, Yeshua was warning that some burdens of Takkanot had arisen from the elders that impede the ways of the Kingdom of God. Yeshua knew that some of the Pharisees and Sadducees had laid heavy burdens of religious regulation on people and in doing so, they uprooted the you can do it Torah of God with membership rules not based on God's lovingkindness. 

Yeshua was teaching that if religious rule superseded God's voice and character... it was missing the mark and goal of the Torah (teaching and instruction) of God's Word. 

Yeshua's Kingdom of God lessons were focused on God's heart and character that the prophet Hosea explains: 

"For I desire covenantal mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings."  Hosea 6:1 

The reason Almighty God said that to Hosea is a Bible basic: we have to sin against God's voice for a sin sacrifice to be needed. Almighty God created us to live in His image, so He hates sin.

Yet, Jesus never said "all" rabbinic decisions (Takkanot) or traditions were a problem. 

Instead, He was pointing out that religious authority by Takkanot that supersedes God's written Torah is the problem. 

The reason: if manmade religious obligations or membership rules neglect the weightier matters of God's Torah of justice, mercies and faithfulness, then the heavy burdens of Takkanot can cause us to stumble in our Torah walk of gratitude in God's grace. 

The big midrash moment at the Temple Mount is found in Matthew 23 with Yeshua's clarity and focus on the Torah's expression of God's character, gifts of forgiveness and the mercies of eternal life to all who repent.

Now, let's go back to that mountain in the Galilee, the spot was in in the land grant area of Zebulun and Naphtali and it's important because some of us have missed the heart of that beautiful message. Nazareth was Yeshua's home town for most of His life, it's located in the heart of Zebulun. 

Two disciple students James and John were the sons of Zebedee from Zebulun. Jacob gave a blessing to his son Naphtali in Genesis 49:21 and said:  “Naphtali is a deer let loose; He uses beautiful words.”

The “beautiful words” are the red letter words of the sermon heard there. 

You may have not noticed it before, but to set the scene about that location, we need to remember that it was in the same area that the ten northern tribes turned their backs on God's voice. It's the same place the ten tribes followed a false teacher by the name Jeroboam from the house of Ephraim. 

It was there that the bad shepherd created a new religion that led the sheep astray. 

Jeroboam is the reason the ten Israelite tribes became known in the Bible as a group called Ephraim after they turned their backs on Jerusalem and rejected Judah, Benjamin and Levi.

It's likely Jeroboam was the first anti-semite.

Ephraim's new religion was infused with pagan idolatry in violation of the Ten Commandments. 

The people around the Galilee had been led astray by deception as Jeroboam substituted God's ways with his own form of replacement religion. That's why Isaiah called it the land in the shadow of death.

How did Jeroboam get to be in charge? 

Solomon was not so wise, he made a big mistake. He'd noticed that Jeroboam was industrious, a hard worker so he put him in charge over the "forced labor" of the house (aka descendants) of Joseph. 

Yup, you read that right - forced labor aka slavery. 

Jeroboam was a taskmaster like the old Pharaoh that did not know Joseph. Jeroboam did not lead a bunch of rag tag drifters looking for a job, but THE descendants of Joseph and his brothers in northern Israel. 

It was the same at one time in Egypt, but instead of Jeroboam, there was that Pharaoh that didn't know Joseph, neither did Jeroboam.

What on earth was Solomon thinking?

Not only that, just like the bad Pharaoh that worshipped the false gods of Egypt and thought of himself as a god, Jeroboam had his own brand of replacement theology that was based on his religious theory that the Torah of God was old and done away with, at least he thought so.

Jeroboam ended up building pagan-inspired shrines, he even placed two golden idol-calves in them in a flash back to the double sin of the golden calf scene at the Mount Sinai after the miraculous exodus from Egypt when God showed His distain for the fake-gods and idolatry of Egypt. 

In summary, Jeroboam established his own version of replacement holidays in the Galilee and the ten northern tribes everyone called Ephraim followed along as sheep led astray by a misguided shepherd that turned his back against Judah. 

When you look at the facts on the Galilee ground, you'll see the ten northern tribes assumed God's holy days, His Feasts The LORD called His own were just for Jewish people.

Ephraim's holidays were Torah-less counterfeits rooted in pagan traditions. 

Does any of this ring a church history bell or two for you? 

If not, you can read about some early church teachings on replacement theology from men like Melito of Sardis that relabeled the Bible Jesus read and taught every Sabbath as "Old" in my commentary: Bringing Life to Dry Bones

Ephraim as a group had turned their backs on The LORD's Sabbath, the Feasts of The LORD and the High Holy Sabbath Days that had been honored in Jerusalem for centuries as if they were old and done away with. You can read about this in 1 Kings 12:25-33. The Biblical record tells us how Jeroboam turned everyone that would listen and follow him against Jerusalem, David's royal family of Judah, the Priesthood of The LORD as well as The LORD's Feasts while he set up his new religion.

That should sound familiar if you know a thing about church history and replacement theology.

That history includes the little known legacy of Constantine. He was like Jeroboam. Constantine appealed to the masses of the pagan Roman Empire. He held councils that made the Sabbath a work day in a time shift to a Sunday substitute and fabricated Rome as the center of religion. He did away with the Feast Days of The LORD and that led to the strange fire origins of Christmas and Easter that you should study. 

No need to believe me, just get out of the pew and do your own research on the origins of church ordained days. While you're at it, you might take a side trip to learn about Valentine's Day, Halloween and even the obelisk steeples on many church buildings that can be traced back to Constantine and thousands of years earlier in Egypt that connected with the pagan worship of the sun god Ra. 

One of the original obelisks from Egypt actually remains as a witness. It is located front and center standing in Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican. It was taken from Egypt and brought to Rome by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD and relocated over to the Vatican in the late 1500's by Pope Sixtus V to the square in front of the basilica. 

Bottomline, the proof is in the fact that what goes around comes around.

You can read more about Jeroboam, the taskmaster of Joseph's descendants Manasseh and Ephraim in the books of Kings and Chronicles.  There you'll find that Jeroboam mixed in some very old ways of idolatry from the pagan religions of Egypt and Babylon that were practiced by the substitute priests in the Galilee area of northern Israel.

Now fast forward a thousand years...

Yeshua was there at the crime scene to set matters straight.

The red letter foundational truths given on that Galilee mountain are in plain sight. We can see them 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 that day. 

The heart of the sermon is repentance. It's about teshuvah based on this fact Yeshua declared to anyone that will hear:  

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law [Torah] or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. Matthew 5:17

Being unfamiliar with the foundation of Yeshua's teaching from the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) can set us on the wrong path where we can trip and fall into deception. Instead, we need to repent, return and remember Yeshua zeroed in on the heart of God's voice. His Matthew 5:17 message is true, none of The Father's words are done away with. Heaven and earth are the witness:

"For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished." Matthew 5:18

The red letter reality is that the Master Rabbi's sermon is rooted in an unwavering commitment to the written words of righteousness from the voice of our Heavenly Abba Father recorded by Moses and the Prophets that Yeshua came to fill up with meaning, not do away with. 

You can find some of the foundation facts about that in Isaiah 55 as well in the Psalms including Psalm 37. Not only there but the whole Bible, the same Bible, the Tanach (Torah and the Prophets) that Yeshua read and taught in synagogues as was His custom each Sabbath (see Luke 4:16) is the outline of that sermon.  

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

We can know that -- because He said so in that Sermon on the Mount.

To get a handle on that,  we just have to reset, repent and set aside some traditions. We need to repent and open our eyes with our hearts in repentance to realize what this means: "Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets."

For example take a look at this:

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." Matthew 5:27-28

Some say this is a teaching that makes a new rule about the 7th commandment, but the truth is Yeshua is explaining that a common traditional teaching of the rabbis of the day was not based on the Torah because they taught that the 7th commandment of Exodus 20:17 only prohibited physical adultery.

That's not at all what the 7th commandment teaches. In fact, it teaches against lust, aka what's in the heart. We can know that because of the original Hebrew word תחמד tachmod which means to desire, covet, lust. The commandment is no tachmod whether your neighbor's wife or property.

לא תחמד בית רעך לא־תחמד אשת רעך

Yeshua is teaching its not just what you do, the Torah is a matter of the heart just as it is written.

If you pause and hear His sermon for what it says, you'll realize it's true, not a jot or tittle of the Torah or the Prophets was ever done away by Yeshua's teachings. Yeshua (Jesus) said that in His first sermon because of the two unchanging witnesses of God's Torah. They are heaven and earth declared by God's voice in Genesis 1:1⁠–⁠2:3 , both remain, thank God. 

When Yeshua spoke about heaven and earth at the Sermon on the Mount it wasn't new, He was repeating what Moses had written. You can find the source in Deuteronomy 4:24-26 and Deuteronomy 30:19-20. 

The thing Yeshua taught on that mountain is that a Torah walk includes not just what we hear but what we do based on our inward motives aka the renewed covenant circumcision of the mind and heart promised in Jeremiah 31:31-37.

The heart and soul has always been the Torah's baseline, and many have missed the evidence in plain sight in the red letter words of that sermon. The problem then and now is that: the heart of the Torah expressed in the new covenant is ignored. Because of that, people get get confused and worse yet deceived and led astray. 

That's why Yeshua came to set the Torah record straight because after all, people are afraid to listen to Almighty God. Because of that, God made a promise about the prophet to come and Moses wrote it all down. Yeshua was like Moses. He taught and explained Torah on the side of a mountain as the prophet like Moses that stood on a mountain. Yeshua is the intercessor explaining God's words that people asked for when they feared for their lives:

"All the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw [it,] they trembled and stood at a distance. 
Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die."" Exodus 20:18-19 NASB 

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 
This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well.

I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him

It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. Deuteronomy 18:15-19NASB 
Yeshua taught people how the written Torah of God should cut like a sword into our bad attitudes. 

When it does, we "get to" walk in the image of God like a member of the Royal Priesthood should in keeping with Exodus 19:5-6.

To set the record straight on the theory of a New Testament religion, Jesus wasn't Roman Catholic, Anglican or Protestant and He wasn't a Baptist or Methodist either. He never taught a word about replacement theology. 

The Master Rabbi held yeshiva time on that mountain. 

His students and the people He met along the way all called Him Rabbi. He was fully Torah observant. He honored the Sabbaths and 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 [tzitzit] of His garment [tallit]. 

You can find that account 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. Yeshua also celebrated some of the wonderful Jewish traditions including the Sukkot water pouring ceremony in John 7. He even showed up for Hanukkah at the Temple Mount, that fact is found in John 10. 

All traditions aren't bad. 

You may not know it, but Yeshua followed the traditional Jewish Passover blessing over bread and wine. Check out the original bread and wine account in Genesis. It's in the account when Abraham met up with Melchizedek the "king of righteousness." Today, we still have the longstanding Jewish tradition of bread HaMotzi blessing and the wine blessing. The Kiddush blessing is a blessing to God, not the bread and the wine He provides. 

It goes like this including the phonetic Hebrew transliteration:

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. 

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha-alom ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz. 

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, creator of the fruit of the vine. 

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha’olam, borei p’ri hagafen.

Over time, the Melchizedek moment with Abraham worked its way into the ancient Jewish prayers for weekly Kiddish Sabbath blessing and the Passover seder. They point to the bread and wine blessing that Yeshua repeated with the disciples as He explained its meaning to everyone reclining around the seder table. 

The one who says the blessing over the bread is referred to as the one who "breaks bread."

Now while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples... And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you... Mathew 26:26-27

Yet, the "church" has relabeled that bread and wine blessing as a last supper communion and forgotten the origin of the prayer blessings. Why?

After all, that Passover seder wasn't the first, it wasn't new and it wasn't the last.

How do we know it wasn't the last supper? 

During that Passover seder gathering in the upper room, Yeshua told His disciples he'd come back and do it again, but that they should continue with the seder and remember Him at Passover.

The first supper was with Abraham and Melchizedek, but don't forget Mount Sinai. You can read about that meal in Exodus 24:1-18. 

Bottom-line, Yeshua never stopped living out His faith, He never turned against the Word of God. He never taught others to turn away just as Matthew 4:4,  Matthew 5:18, Matthew 19:17 and Luke 16:17 declare!

It seems the red letter words of the Sermon on the Mount have been misunderstood for nearly 2000 years with too many sermons about legalism contrasted with a new view of a Christian gospel of a one-time grace decision based on word of God instructions being done away with and hung on a cross.

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 for good reason:

"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, and what authority were they so amazed about in His teachings?

Yeshua's authority is tied to the foundation rock. 

The words He lived out and taught that are infused with the light and authority of Almighty God found in the Hebrew Scriptures (aka the Tanach). It's the written record of God's voice not man's traditions of authority that add to or take away from God's voice. 

How do we know? Rabbi Yeshua 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

When the Torah was misapplied in religious authority, that's when Yeshua voiced criticism. When a tradition of the elders conflicted with the written Torah, Yeshua spoke up just as He did in the first sermon when Yeshua addressed some traditions that did not align with the written Torah like the big one on adultery. 

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

He said: "you have heard, but I say to you…" 

Those words are important and it's helpful that some Bible publisher's point out Yeshua's words with red letters. They season like salt and shine a bright light on Almighty God's written Word, so it's time to uncover the red letter truths, the foundation stones embedded in the sermon. 

Yeshua filled ancient Scripture teachings with light by everything He did. That includes fulfilling God’s promise to Isaac described 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. 

Yeshua's sermon was teaching: "the weightier matters of the law [Torah]: justice and mercy and faithfulness." 

That isn't just a message for one sermon. 

It's why Yeshua gave anyone, including the Pharisees and the Sadducees that added to or took away from justice, mercy and faithfulness with traditions that did not reflect justice, mercy and faithfulness

Yeshua presented many challenges about misguided religious traditions that add to or take away from the "you can do it" truth found in Moses' final sermon at Moab. 

Don't forget, in the wilderness outside Egypt after the mikveh (baptism) through the sea, those in the mixed multitude had been saved by justice, mercy and faithfulness. Yet, because of their fear of the sound of God's voice at Mount Sinai, they did not want to hear what the God of Israel had to say. 

Do you want to hear Him? 

The mixed multitude of the exodus had an excuse, they were afraid they would die. 

After all, the earth was shaking, the mountain was on fire and breaking apart when The LORD spoke. The mountain and the air around it physically reacted to its Creator's presence and voice. Lightning bolts were flashing, thunder was booming. 

Smoke was everywhere and to top it off a shofar trumpet was blowing. 

I could be wrong, but if you ask me, when Moses was told "Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it." it wasn't to keep people away from the mountain because God would zap them. 

It was a love warning because The Almighty knew what would happen when He arrived and The Father did not want those He saved to be crushed or electrocuted by a bolt of lightning. It's the same for any father that tells his children in love to stay out of the street, the cars can hit you!

Everyone but Moses was overwhelmed by fear. 

They were shaking in their sandals, frightened to the bone because they could see, hear and feel the sound of Almighty God's voice and its impact at that mountain. Both native born and sojourner encountered holiness and shekinah glory at that mountain. 

Some Jewish sages even say they could see the sound waves.

Fear and awe are important. That's how it should be when Almighty God speaks.

We should all listen in fear and awe and God respected the request at Mount Sinai so He spoke to Moses after He announced the Ten Commandments. 

If you'll read on, I think you'll find that Yeshua's not so new words may shake or rattle some traditional "new religion" thinking. 

It's time to wake up - don't be afraid of the truth, but respect it. That requires that we not only circumcise our hearts, but that we look 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 true faith. The reason, faith requires response, action. If you disagree, the argument is with the witness of James and John.

Most everyone I grew up with in one way or another has held fast to a religious tradition that the red letter words were new. For years I agreed and went along with the crowd, but then I realized I had an old argument with Rabbi Yeshua and in the end, those that argue with Yeshua are debating with Moses and Almighty God. 

Why did I hide behind religious doctrine and theology?

One day, I realized I could not look in the mirror and see the repentance required to open up the Kingdom of Heaven in my own life. That's been a problem for others too, so I am sharing what I've learned. 

If we believe Yeshua's mission was to start a new religion, it's time to do something and re-examine the traditions of some new doctrines that Yeshua never taught. 

As my road to Emmaus journey started some 20 years ago, 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? 

That question was critical because as you'll see 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, it remains because there's more work to be done. 

The disciple Peter emphasized that good news gospel message: 

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever
And this word is the good news that was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:22-25

When my good news journey started through the living and abiding word of God, I discovered the truth in that fact that true and ancient faith is front and center in all of Yeshua's red letter teachings. 

The seemingly hidden truth of the red letter words in the Sermon on the Mount is the voice we must hear in repentance and action. That's the faith action that God The Father asks of all 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 one. 

That sermon was NOT new. It's an echo 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 in the end he chose put his life before Benjamin's to save him. That account unfolds in Genesis 44:18-34. 

Yeshua, a descendant in the family line of Judah, would do the same not long after the Sermon on the Mount"

"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 second son. She bore Joseph then died in Benjamin's birth. That 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 to Joseph that he would trade his life for Benjamin's. That was a royal act of faith.

The name Hebrew name Judah (Yehuda) means “praise” and years after Judah's offer of life, Judah received the first and greatest blessing of all of Jacob's sons. Jacob’s words were directed by the Holy Spirit of God as he declared the plain 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 message 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 that day focused on the ways of the Kingdom of God. 

His voice was a pure , a choice vine call for humble action that starts with repentance to prepare for the Kingdom of God. 

I pray you keep reading on to see and hear the sermon's foundation, 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 intent of 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 ministry across the Promised Land, Biblical lessons and examples of everyday parables constantly called everyone to do something. 

The first call He always gave everyone was to repent, aka turn back to God's ways. No matter what road you're on now, as long as you're alive, you too can turn back toward the Kingdom ways of the God of Israel. 

That message is woven in the first sermon and the 50 days that describe the accounts of His action in righteousness during His truth tour across Israel that started in the Galilee. 

One of the greatest challenges Yeshua teaches in the Sermon on the Mount is to be humble, help others, be generous, in other words live out the Torah that Almighty God created us to live so that we might fulfill righteousness.

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 of baptism, despite His Levite cousin John's objection, Yeshua 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 all 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 without sin. Yet, when we barely unroll the Torah scroll, we see the deceiver arrives on the scene like a snake with evil spewing from his mouth. It was poison, a lie... 

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 that it remains, how will you ever do them? You won't, you'll will believe a lie and do your own thing, because you believe words of deception and 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 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 the Temple treasures. 

That's what sought haSatan to accomplish, you can see it in Matthew 4:5-6.

Ahaz even built an altar to honor himself as he replaced the Temple's altar with his own. He even 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?

Yeshua taught nothing new among the 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 three of the tests was the Genesis choice 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 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. Repentance is all about re-storing the relationship mankind once had with our Creator in the Garden. This is the call which has stirred in everyone since Eden, a mand to return to the relationship we once enjoyed.

Almighty God gave that same message to Ezekiel some 600 years before Yeshua pointed everyone He met back to Abba Father's plea through Ezekiel 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 

We need to see that the Covenants given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob symbolize the trunk of the olive tree restored by Yeshua. The invitation is to join the assembly of those who hear His voice to repent. 

The branches of the olive tree of O house of Israel represent God's children, people united and coming together. Some branches have withered and broken off due to disobedience and wandered off, but it's never too late to be grafted back in through repentance and restored to Yeshua’s promise for the lost sheep of all Israel whether they be native born or sojourners.

"What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? Matthew 18:12 NIV

Yeshua 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 Kingdom of God. 

Yeshua is still standing at the Kingdom door, get up 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 of Abba Father God'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.

These background stories are critical to the framework foundation of truth of The Sermon on the Mount and if we look, we can also see that Yeshua's keystone sermon 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."

Almighty 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 Jew and Gentile, a mixed multitude. Everyone must hear and do them. 

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.

This 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 the reason Yeshua gave the red letter sermon on the mount in the first place and its why Jesus said this 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 telling Nathanael: we have found the promised Moshiach, the promised anointed one Nathan spoke of to David. Phillip each of the disciples knew Yeshua never intended to start a new religion. Had they fallen for that deception, Yeshua would be a false prophet.

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

Yeshua's was turned down in Nazareth, don't let that be your hometown, because He might move on and knock the dust off His feet.  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.” 

Did you know 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 declared to the Prophets Ezekiel, Hosea, Jeremiah and others. To understand, we have to consider what Yeshua said in the ancient backyard of Ephraim: 

“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 collectively known 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 asked him, “What are you seeking?” Joseph's reply: “I am seeking my brothers...” and the man told him, “They have gone away."

That encounter was prophetic and part of the lost sheep story that's woven throughout the Bible with a promise of God that is still unfinished because it requires a second trip to fulfill the lost sheep restoration of brothers in the Kingdom promise of the Scriptures. 

Ephraim is not lost in God's eyes and the disciples knew it.

In their last question, 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 other students called out at the Sermon on the Mount. They likely included 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. 

These talmidim followed the man they called Rabbi to a mountain in the Galilee where Yeshua ascended up so the large crowd could hear the words 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 Galilee mountain, you'll see that what was taught 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 could 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. 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? Are you ready to shame, hear and do?

If so, it's time for a bit of a baptism in the living water of God's eternal, unchanging written Word taught 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 can 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 (9) Sermon on the Mount blessings recorded by Matthew and that number is no accident, every detail 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 (9) 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 (check it out in Galatians 5:22-23).

Paul declared 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 points to Isaiah 61:2. Those words were read later by Yeshua in a Nazareth synagogue on the Sabbath (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 church message, but the reality is it's time to picture Jesus back in the synagogue. 

Most that identify Jesus with "the church" believe that a key doctrine of Christianity is a notion that most of the Biblical laws are now null and void - rebranded as old “Mosaic law” and that the Hebrew Bible is an Old Testament, done and dusted. 

Yet, Yeshua taught the opposite on that mountain and in synagogues, but unfortunately, people don't want to hear God’s voice; they want a new religion without God’s declarations. 

Far from any new religion theory born out of the weeds of replacement theology, antisemitism and New Testament new religion, Matthew records the flip side of all new religion theories in Matthew 5-7. You can see it if you'll open your eyes, ears and heart to the messages of the Hebrew Bible that Master Rabbi Yeshua 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 (9) 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." They echoed the ancient words of Psalm 22:25-31 and king David's Psalm 24 as well.

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 these 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 also knew David's writings point 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 and dark world. Without question, it reminded everyone 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 is its purpose. The Menorah burns oil beaten from olive fruit and it sheds its light by the instruction of The Father for His Tabernacle. The menorah is also seen in the imagery described in Revelation 1. Many miss it because the Greek translators call the branches of the menorah candle sticks. 

The Revelation truth is the light (truth) of God's Word that shines from a people whose heart is to glorify The Father through what they do in faith. 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 short prayer gave all glory I needed to give to Almighty God, but Scripture teaches what we do out of love for God gives glory to The Father.

The Master Rabbi of the disciples and the multitudes that heard Him realized He came to fill the mitzvot of the Torah up with meaning, to live it out. Part of that includes 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 deception:

“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 hear the 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. 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 same 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 again 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?"

This teaching is about reconciliation. It's the mountaintop teaching from Leviticus 19:17-18 “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”

Next, Yeshua 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 from the opening of the Torah portion know as Kedoshim that owns with these words" "You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy." in Leviticus 19:2:

"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. It's found in Matthew 2.

Herod and Pilate's crimes tie them to Cain's story in Genesis 2.

When Eve found Abel, her sobbing must have sheds tears for her son and for every child, for every person in Abel’s lost generations.

Fast forward to Rachel. Her weeping in Ramah was 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's ego mandates. Those included 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 most history books as "Herod the Great." Other than the building projects that left 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. The reason: by the end of his life Herod had morphed into a despotic, unstable megalomanic and plunged the Roman rule of Judea, Gaza, Samaria, Galilee and the Golan into a cesspool of dictatorial repression and violence that influenced the direction of history as we know it today.

Years after Mark Anthony ordered Herod to go and capture Jerusalem, Herod expanded Solomon’s Temple, but he did that for his own narcissistic benefit just like Ahaz had done. In doing so, he facilitated his 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's life imitated evil king Ahaz. 

Who was Ahaz?

Let’s go back to the beginning, Adam and Eve lived in the image of God without sin. Yet, when we barely unroll the Torah scroll, we see the deceiver arrives on the scene like a snake from Tyre with evil deception spewing from his mouth. It was poison, a lie. 

That lie was that God does not mean 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 that remains, how will you ever do them? You won't, you'll believe a lie and do your own thing, because you listened to deception and ignored the voice of your Creator Almighty God Elohim.

The startling truth is that among the first words ever recorded before the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua says just the opposite as He quotes Moses directly from Deuteronomy 8:3. That happened when Yeshua addressed the deceiver's wilderness lies that started in Eden with Moses' words quoted directly from the 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 the Temple treasures. 

That's what haSatan sought to accomplish, you can see it in Matthew 4:5-6.

Ahaz even built an altar to honor himself as he replaced the Temple's altar with his own. He 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. Herod did the same.

Do you own thing - your way was Ahaz' mantra. Ignore God's voice, worship your way, do your own thing. 

Yeshua taught the opposite. The reason, His words are all firmly rooted in the Hebrew Bible. 

In Matthew’s account, the deceiver responded in the wilderness with one temptation lie after another! Yeshua's response to 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 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.”

Now consider Herod. He was an archetype of haSatan. The self-exalted ruler built his Masada ego fortress as a palace for himself. It would later become not only his memorial as his gravesite, but the Roman death trap for many thousands of Jews stranded as hostages at Masada. Their grave end marked the desperation of Jewish 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 the Legions. 

It's absolutely mind bending to consider, but another unimaginable massacre followed in the steps of Titus during the Holocaust as Hitler tied in another vain attempt to destroy the Jewish people that had escaped Rome's assault on them. As Jerusalem was ransacked, many refugees arrived in Europe's backyard, but in Almighty God's inconceivable providence, the German death camps would incredibly lead back to the eternal promise given to Abraham. 

The return of Jewish people to Israel is the largest global prophetic signpost on the planet. It was planted in the soil in 1948, and the rightful return of Jerusalem in 1967 is the second signpost witness. 

Jerusalem's destruction is now in restoration mode as the family of Judah arose from the ashes of World War II and its horrors that I cannot fathom. 

Only the promise from the voice of Almighty God Elohim could bring about the resurrection of Israel that began just 20 days after Passover during the Omer count in 1948. 

God's promise to keep His eyes on Jerusalem came to global focus in 1967. At the end of the Six Day War, Jerusalem was restored to Judah's heritage with a shofar blast from Rabbi Goren, but Jerusalem has much more glory in store. It's time to walk up if you are reading this because you are living in Biblical times, the Bible is not old or done away with.

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

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

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

The prophetic big picture of the Bible is real and history proves it. 

Prophecy is a reality, so we must all dig deep into the red-letter words of the Sermon on the Mount and at the same time rewind history to the corrupt political and religious scene in Israel nearly 2,000 years ago. 

When we look back, we see king Herod. The historic record reveals that he was an Edomite, an Idumean born around 74BC. The term Idumean is simply the Greek Hellenized name for Edomite. The Edomites were descendants of Esau, not Jacob. They are described in the Bible, and they reveal the Herod 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 facts on the ground are that the Edomites were also among the recruits that helped destroy Jerusalem and the second Temple. 

Back in the days of time of Nebuchadnezzar, the Edomites helped plunder Jerusalem and slaughter the Jews in 586 BC. Psalms 137 and Obadiah 1 give us the record.

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

The Roman's documented their Edomite Legion history and the fact remains that the "Legions" of Titus were a remnant of the ancient enemies of Israel. You can find the details for yourself with an Internet search or two because the Romans kept written records. 

What you will learn is the Roman Legions weren't all Romans, they included local recruits of warrior tribesmen surrounding Israel. Those recruits were the descendants of Ishmael and Esau as well as some Philistines. With a 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 many 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 is the focal point of the Edomite problem that remains. It’s also seen in the condemnations of the high places of the United Nations that you can read about most any day in the headlines. We have to ask... united against who?

Long ago, Titus promised his recruits citizenship and he used them to attack Jerusalem just like Nebuchadnezzar. They took it upon themselves to destroy Herod's temple and slaughter a million innocent Jewish men, women and children. After that holocaust, Titus became Emperor of Rome and took the title Titus Caesar Vespasianus. 

Adolph Hitler continued the holocaust and when Jewish survivors officially returned in 1948 to their homeland granted by Almighty God, Edom attacked again, this time they called themselves Arabs and they lost the battle. 

Edom rose up and fought once more in 1967, and they lost again in the Six Day War. Another attempt occurred in 1973 with the Yom Kippur 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 is the rebellion battle of sin will end in Jerusalem. 

God’s Kingdom will be restored.

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

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.

Herod 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 an old 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 child massacre order in Bethlehem.  We see the facts 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’s blood money.

You need to know Herod Antipas the Idumaean-Edomite that 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 to her. 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: Antipas 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. 

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: 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 connected to Micah's prophecy that the Magi had unwittingly revealed to Herod the not so great and it’s revealed in the sign he ordered above the crucifixion cross. 

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 they 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 when he 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 from a Roman leader, Caiaphas destroyed the Torah.

There was no Scriptural guidance in Caiaphas' appointment as High Priest just politics. The long tenure of Caiaphas reported by Josephus points to the fact he worked hand in hand with the Romans and perhaps 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 just like Korah.

Caiaphas thought Pilate 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. That's a part of 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 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 a mafia 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 Jewish law. They did not recognize Jewish Halakha, they crucified people for insurrection against Rome which was a part of 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 with Micah’s prophecy. 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. 

It’s as if Caiaphas was in position with the 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, perhaps it was just a charade.

He had no conscience other than his wife's dream that he ignored that day. 

Pilate followed in the footsteps of the egotistical self-centered Herod the so-called great. Herod was a Mafia monster like Babylon's Nebuchadnezzar. Yet instead of destroying Jerusalem, he tried to destroy its King. 

It started with Herod.

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 just like Cain. Herod heard about Micah 5:2 from the "wise men" that told Herod they were looking for the "King of the Jews." 

Did you notice? There’s that sign that ended up above the cross.

The Magi men of the east unwittingly revealed Micah's prophecy to a 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.

Pilate, 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. The Roman 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 is that he 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 I think 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." 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, the story revealed in the book of Matthew describes Yeshua's return from Egypt after Joseph and Mary fled Bethlehem. They returned to the promised land of Israel and 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 despite these words:

"For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:46-47

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.