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December 06, 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 and Luke's second report known as the book of Acts, we'll find that those manuscripts only mention about 50 days of Jesus' life.

They 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 is recorded in Matthew 5-7 and much of it is echoed in Luke's account of the mountain message. 

The goal of this commentary is not to pretend to be a Bible "answer man"  but to see Jesus in light of the ancient Hebrew mindset and worldview of those on the hillside with a proper historical setting of the place and the people.

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 Master 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 the exception. 

It's likely the first public teaching outside the synagogue 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 it. 

The story and the backstory about the historic problem is that the heart of that sermon is hidden if we think that the Bible has a dividing line with a publisher's blank page that divides with the labels Old and New Testament.

Before we dig in, let's fast forward for a moment 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 is teaching that keeping the Torah instruction of God is abolished. Some even say God's voice on the Mountain at Sinai is an old “heavy burden” of legalism. 

I once did, thinking that the Torah voice of God written by Moses was hung on the cross and replaced by grace. 

Yet, if you keep reading you should see that the written Torah documenting what Yeshua has said is the foundation stone of red letter teaching, and if you stay with me you'll see that in that first sermon. 

Yeshua was never teaching about erasing or rewriting Torah. He was actually repeating a Moses' message about it. 

Yeshua's message is... "you can do it.

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

That sermon explains a mitzvah principle of the Torah that Micah zeroes in on: 

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

The Moses' "you can do it" perspective matches the definition of "gelimut ḥasidim" from the Encyclopedia Judaica which says: 

"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." 

Now flashback 3,500 years to the land of Moab just outside Israel. 

The area is redrawn on modern maps and it's now 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 you can do it sermon. 

That Moab sermon was the first revival if you will and Yeshua repeated several major themes from it in the red letter words of His first sermon. 

Moses' preaching was a repeat too. It was from the terms of the covenant The LORD God gave to everyone at Horeb (Mount Sinai) whether they were native born or sojourner then or in the future. 

Check it out, turn to Deuteronomy 30:11-14 and you'll find 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."

Now, let's rewind back to Yeshua's sermon. 

It's in a mountain location and that gives us a big hint. Any Bible message given on a mountain is important including this one from this psalm:

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. 

Before the mountains were born

Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.  Psalm 90:1-2

Mountains point us back to the book of Genesis where we first learn they are a big deal in the Bible. It starts with the Torah's account about Noah and his family and humanity's salvation from death and destruction. Noah was the last man standing that loved The LORD and because of that love, Noah followed The Father's instruction. 

After the flood waters subsided, Noah climbed down out of the massive wooden ark and set foot on a mountain still known as Ararat. The story is a disaster with triumph that's still evidenced by fossils at mountaintops across the planet and a rainbow above.

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

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

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

About 70 years after Moses died, king David was born in Bethlehem. A few years later, David purchased the same mountain where in uncompromising faith, Abraham brought up his son Isaac as the ultimate price of obedience to God's voice. 

Today, that mountain is still known as Mount Moriah and it's the Temple Mount in the center of 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 some 200 years later Elijah the prophet heard God's whisper at Mount Horeb and when he arrived at Mount Carmel, Elijah called on Almighty God in a face off with the fake priests of Baal because they worshipped a fake god. 

Enough said, 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 territory that included land grants for 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. They took most of them like slaves into captivity and ripped them away from the land they had polluted with idols thanks to a man by the name of Jeroboam. The reason was God's exile from the Promised Land that Moses had warned everyone about. Without repentance, judgement followed the double golden calf sins that led them all astray, divided the Kingdom and Assyria moved in and scattered them. 

With great compassion, Almighty God sent prophets over a 100 year period of decline into chaos to warn the ten northern tribes of Israel preaching one thing: repentance! 

Those prophets include Elijah, Elisha, Amos and Hosea. 

Yet few listened. 

The vast majority of people in northern Israel rejected their messages. 

The problem started with Jeroboam. He set up a new religion incorporating ancient pagan practices. Not only that, Jeroboam replaced God's ordained appointment days with his own brand of new religious holidays.

Believe it or not, they worshipped not one but two golden calf idols. Jeroboam had cult shrines built at the cities of Dan and Bethel. During his short exodus to Egypt he learned Egypt's old ways of idolatry and created his own form of replacement theology as man's ways superseded God's ways.

Now that you know that, is it any wonder that the book of Matthew makes note of the blindness, sickness and crippling disease among the crowds in the north around Galilee and in Syria? 

After all, Moses had warned of that as well as judgement from a fierce nation (aka Assyria) in his Moab sermon years earlier. You can read the warnings in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 as Moses summed up Leviticus 26:14-46. 

And take note... at Moab, Moses began his last sermon with blessings.

In the same way, Jesus (Yeshua) began his first sermon with blessings. He picked up where Moses left off. 

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

The teaching on that Jerusalem mountain is noted in Matthew 22. 

This time, the Master's teaching returned to a very special mountain known as Mount Moriah. The lessons started with a series of short story parables shared with the chief priests as well as a few elders of the Pharisees of the middle and lower class of the society of the day. 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. They were the upper class and they didn't show up to join in on the discussion, the Sadducees came to stir up the old arguments they had with the Pharisees' belief in resurrection. 

Unlike the Pharisees,  the Sadducees not only control the Temple priesthood they denied Almighty God's life giving power and glory could be revealed in resurrection to eternal life at the end of days.

The Sadducees rejected born again redemption because they dismissed the restoration of life in The Kingdom as the good news gospel of God for the planet.

It seems the Sadducees had a religion that didn't believe the order of God's words to Moses recorded in Deuteronomy 32:39:

See now that I, I am He,

And there is no god besides Me;

It is I who put to death and give life.

They forgot that Abraham's obedience was based on faith that Isaac would be restored after the Akedah binding.

They ignored Job's belief:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the fatter day upon the earth; And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my heart be consumed within me. Job 19:25-27

They didn't believe Samuel:

The LORD kills and brings to life; He brings down to Sheol and raises up. 1Samuel 2:6

They didn't believe in salvation promised to Isaiah:

He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation. Isaiah 25:8-9

Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead. Isaiah 26:19

They thought Ezekiel's dry bones only amounted to a metaphor:

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 37:1-6

They ignored Daniel too. After all, he proclaimed the good news of being born again... there will be life after death:

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. 
There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book will be delivered. 
Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. 
Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:1-3 NIV

They didn't believe God's plan that the first and last enemy will be tossed out of the garden of life is death. That death is what we bring on ourselves.

Their twisted view of the Bible held a religiously blind conviction that you are born and then you die. 

The Sadducees didn't understand the Torah's big picture that's revealed at Mount Sinai.

They forgot The LORD's attributes of unfailing love and forgiveness. They reduced it to a religion of rejection, a mistaken belief that took away from the Torah's purpose and redemption by God's Spirit and lovingkindness declared at the mountain top to Moses after the first golden calf sin. 

Moses' meeting with God after the golden calf crime revealed that mercy was needed, that the Torah by itself would not "circumcise" the inner heart of man to keep covenant with The LORD. Moses stepped in on behalf of Israel and stood in the rock as the The LORD revealed His character of mercy, grace, lovingkindness and truth embedded in His name Y-H-V-H.  The witness is in Exodus 34:6:

"The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth."

Like the two trips with tablets of the Ten Commandments, Yeshua-Jesus the rock of living Torah was broken but was raised up again in God's power like the tablets of the Ten Commandments covenant so that everyone that believes can see and understand that Almighty God is merciful and gracious in truth.

The Sadducees believed a lie... there's one life, live it and leave it, no second chance covenant for the Kingdom of God. Their short sided religious beliefs took away from the Torah gospel of God, no Kingdom of Heaven to come on earth, no life after death, no mercy or grace, no restitution of all things or in Hebrew, no עוֹלָם הַבָּא HaOlam HaBa "the world to come." 

They forgot about the promise Abraham gave Issac, The LORD will provide... They forgot about the Tree of Life.

Before we go back to the red letter sermon on the mount let's take a side step to some parables. 

In Matthew 13:13 Yeshua explained why He spoke in parables to religious people with hearts trapped in traditions that don't Shema (hear and do) or understand the "sod" or mystery of the gospel of God promises seemingly hidden in the innermost meaning of the written Torah 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  taken away and destroyed the gospel of God, the forever life in the Kingdom promise to come that was revealed to Abraham and Isaac and to David by Nathan the prophet (more on that later).

Bottomline, back then like today there were many religious opinions and arguments with Yeshua.

The reason, Yeshua disagreed with man-made religion that added to or took away from God's written word. 

The Pharisees believed in resurrection, yet they added to the written Torah with their own religious rules and traditions. Not only that, the Pharisees weren't always in agreement with each other on those add-ins. They built extra “hedges” up around their own interpretations of the Torah thinking they could protect it.

Disagreement and a sense of legalistic superiority... it's really much the same today. If you ask me that's one key that explains why there are so many thousands of church denominations governed by differing membership rules, confirmations, sacraments, rites, rituals and creeds. 

Today, many of those denominations are being hit with waves of dispute and departure that's being driven by far left disagreement over God's voice because they think it's old and done away with. Some are bringing back Baal and Molech while adopting the city code of Sodom and Gomorrah as the pews empty. 

It's as if no one is in agreement with Mount Sinai or Yeshua's Sermon on the Mount about the jots and tittles written there. The main issue is the first deception... did God really say? 

So it's time to ask, what did God say? 

Many are and they are also asking is there more to their faith?

Ever since Eden, people have wanted to add, take away or put their own twist on The LORD's word of authority in one religious way or another. That delusion is like the pipe dream that started in the garden from the life shattering deception... "did God really say...

The good news is the dark seed of doubt planted in Eve's psyche can actually point us to the truth. 

Believers hear and in faith get to do what Almighty God says. It a way of living life that brings us into relationship with our Heavenly Father after covenant redemption so that we can be a friend of God act like one in His image and understand how He loves all of us despite our flaws.

Jesus said... "follow me" for good reason. The truth is we can't separate Yeshua from The Father's word because He lived it out without a hitch. That was the message preached by the talmidim disciples and it's why the disciple we call John wrote this:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NIV 

It's also why Jesus said:

If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. John 5:46 NIV

Jesus - Yeshua declared the Gospel of the Kingdom of God (see Mark 1:14-15). It is a dynamic call to life, not a one time confession in return for a trip to heaven vs. hell before we die. The Kingdom Gospel is calling us toward repentance and walking toward God's image in our lives as He made us to do. 

Ezekiel was given the call by Almighty God. The call is repent and be saved:

"When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die. Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. 

Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 

But the house of Israel says, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' Are My ways not right, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are not right? 

Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct," declares the LORD God. 

"Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies," declares the Lord GOD. 

"Therefore, repent and live." Ezekiel 18:26-32 NASB95

Repent and live is the backstory of the gospel writings and the sermon on the mount.

Back in Jesus' day, the meeting at the Temple Mount looked a bit like Judaism and Christianity do today. We are divided in debate about Moses and Yeshua. We trip over many things including Exodus 12:49, Number 15:16, Leviticus 7:7, Deuteronomy 18:15-19, Isaiah 53, Psalm 22 and Proverbs 30:4-6. 

Did you know the background of the disagreements between the Pharisees and the Sadducees were connected to the schools of Hillel and Shammai in Jerusalem? At the time, each "school of thought" argued and debated over interpretations of the Bible and manmade religious regulation and conflicting oral law traditions. 

Yeshua's parables on the Temple Mount dealt with their main arguments. He cleared the mountain air if you will as the coaching continued...

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

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. 

Deuteronomy 12:32 is the mile marker where God's scribe Moses warns of the big problem with... did God really say?

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

Yeshua was teaching the same message earlier at the Sermon on the Mount. The Torah is the expression of God’s will for our lives, not just a rulebook.

At the Temple Mount, He called out some religious rules, a modus operandi if you will, riddled with adds and deletes vs. what is written when it opposes God's loving goal for mankind in a Kingdom relationship walk with Him in faith just as Abraham chose to do. 

The disfunction of adds and deletes morphed into the opposite of "you can do it." That's why Yeshua called manmade religious rules: "heavy burdens... hard to bear.

The essence of the Sermon on the Mount is you can do it and halakha must rely on Scripture, aka God's voice not man's addition or omission of jots and tittles. 

We have to realize Almighty God descends to mankind and we can't do a thing to ascend to Him. 

God's word is not religion. God's voice is real, it spoke creation into existence. God said it and it happened.

Is the universe a religion, or is it fact? Yet, we understand so little about it, but this we can know:

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handywork. Psalm 19:1 

The heavens declare his righteousness, and all the people see his glory. Psalm 97:6

Back at the Temple Mount, Yeshua was warning that many believe in God until it gets Biblical and because of that some burdens of manmade takkanot had arisen from some elders that can impede the heart's door to the Kingdom of God. 

Yeshua knew some of the Pharisees had laid heavy burdens on people with religious regulation and opinion and in doing so, they unwittingly uprooted the you can do it Torah with membership rules not based on God's Spirit of grace, lovingkindness and mercy. 

Yeshua was teaching that if religious rule superseded God's voice and character of grace... it was missing the mark and the spirit of the teaching and instruction in God's voice. Yeshua's Kingdom of God lesson leaned in on God's love that the prophet Hosea wrote about: 

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

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 like Him in His image, that's why our Creator hates hates sin, it brings death to our door, not life.

Yet, Jesus never said "all" rabbinic decisions (takkanot) or traditions were a problem. Rather, He was pointing out that religious authority that seeks to supersede God's voice with man's opinion is the problem. 

The reason: if religious membership rules neglect the weightier matters of God's Torah teaching about justice, mercies and faithfulness, then the heavy burdens of takkanot can cause us to stumble in a "get to" Torah walk of gratitude from the spirit of God's grace and forgiveness. 

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, His gifts of forgiveness and the mercies of eternal life to all who repent and return to The Father.

Now, let's go back to that mountain in the Galilee where many beautiful words were given to the crowd.

Grab a map, the location is in the land grant assignment for Jacob's sons Zebulun and Naphtali, and it's important because some of us have missed the heart behind that message. Nazareth was Yeshua's home town for most of His life and it's located in the heart of Zebulun's land grant. 

There we find two disciple students we know as James and John, they are the sons of Zebedee from Zebulun. 

The location requires we side step back to the time 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” prophecy from Jacob points to the red letter blessings of the sermon spoken there near the Sea of Galilee about the good way journey though a blessed life. They present a beautiful picture of what someone who is living in Kingdom feels, acts and looks like.

Moses repeated the blessing concerning Naphtali, he said:

“Naphtali is abounding with favor, full of the blessing of the LORD; he shall take possession of the sea and the south.”  Deuteronomy 33:23

Concerning Zebulun he said:

“Rejoice, Zebulun, in your journeys..." Deuteronomy 33:18

You may have not noticed it, but to reset the scene of the Sermon on the Mount 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 place many chose to follow a false teacher and fake religion concocted by a man known as Jeroboam from the house of Ephraim. He was a bad shepherd that created a new religion and he led lost sheep and those with them astray. 

Jeroboam is the man behind the reason that the ten Israelite tribes became known in the Bible as a group called "Ephraim" or at times "Joseph" after they turned their backs on Jerusalem, the Torah and rejected brother Judah.

Jeroboam of the tribe of Ephraim was perhaps the first anti-semite with his own new brand of replacement theology.

The adoption of a new religion infused with pagan idolatry was in in violation of the Ten Commandments. The people living in and around the Galilee were led astray by the original deception... "did God say" as Jeroboam substituted God's ways with his replacement theology for Israel. 

If you ask me, that's one reason why Isaiah called the area "the land in the shadow of death."

How did Jeroboam get to be in charge? 

Despite his blessing, Solomon was not always 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 family of descendants of Joseph. 

Yup, you read that right - forced labor aka slavery, just like Egypt and just like the days after Joshua when Israel forgot The LORD's instruction and put the Canaanites into forced labor.

When Israel grew strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but did not drive them out completely. And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who lived in Gezer, so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them. Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them, but became subject to forced labor. Judges 1:28-30 

Jeroboam was the son of Nebat, a member of the tribe of Ephraim of Zereda. He was a taskmaster like the old Pharaoh that did not know Joseph. Jeroboam did not mislead a bunch of rag tag drifters, instead he led the descendants of Joseph and his brothers living in the land portion of Manasseh in northern Israel around the Sea of Galilee into deception. Believe it or not, the great Sinai sin of golden calf idol-gods repeated just as The LORD told Moses it would happen, so the northern tribes called Israel were eventually swept away by the Assyrians:

And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, you are about to lie down with your fathers. Then this people will rise and whore after the foreign gods among them in the land that they are entering, and they will forsake me and break my covenant that I have made with them. 
Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, 'Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?' And I will surely hide my face in that day because of all the evil that they have done, because they have turned to other gods. 
"Now therefore write this song and teach it to the people of Israel. Put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the people of Israel. For when I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to give to their fathers, and they have eaten and are full and grown fat, they will turn to other gods and serve them, and despise me and break my covenant. 
And when many evils and troubles have come upon them, this song shall confront them as a witness (for it will live unforgotten in the mouths of their offspring). For I know what they are inclined to do even today, before I have brought them into the land that I swore to give." Deuteronomy 31:16-21

It was a rerun like the exodus out of Egypt, but instead of Jeroboam's decadent religion of idolatry and harlotry, in Egypt there was a Pharaoh that worshipped the Egyptian nature idols destroyed by the plagues. Pharaoh ignored Moses and certainly didn't know The LORD. Neither did Jeroboam or his successors that continued to lead Israel astray.

What on earth was Solomon thinking?

Just like the bad Pharaoh that worshipped the false gods of Egypt and thought of himself as a god, Jeroboam must have thought of himself in much the same way, inventing his own brand of replacement theology based on a new religion theory that the Torah of God and the covenant was old and done away with. 

Does it sounds like a re-run? Jeroboam led Joseph aka Ephraim astray in misguided new religion.

Jeroboam started by building two pagan-inspired double sin shrines one in the north and one in the south. He placed golden idol-calves in them in a flash back to the golden calf scene at the Mount Sinai.

The blessing of Sinai after the miraculous exodus from Egypt when God showed His right hand and hatred for the fake-gods and idolatry of Egypt because a golden calf nightmare. 

Jeroboam even established his own version of a replacement month for a holiday in the Galilee on the fifteenth day in the eighth month, which is actually the full moon day of the month known as Cheshvan precisely a month after Sukkot-Tabernacles begins in God's appointed seventh month of Tishre. 

Cheshvan falls around late October or early November each year. In 1938, it just so happens to be the day Hitler's Nazi evil kick-started their vicious Gestapo atrocities against the precious defenseless Jews of Germany.

Thanks to Hitler, Jeroboam's so-called holiday date was known in 1938 as the Night of Broken Glass aka Kristallnacht.

The ten northern tribes followed Jeroboam along were willing lost sheep led astray by a misguided shepherd that turned his back against the Bible and Jerusalem. He divided the Promised Land with his own version of a two state solution and it was a disaster. 

You can read the headline story in 1 Kings 12:25–33.

When you look at the facts on the ground around the Galilee, you might see that the ten northern tribes assumed Almighty God's holy days and the Feasts The LORD were just for Jewish people.

They were wrong.

The families of Ephraim-Joseph forgot the Bible says they are The LORD's days. 

Under Jeroboam they forgot that those days are for everyone who seeks to walk in God's image. The new holidays were Torah-less counterfeits rooted in a overlay of pagan customs and secular practice. 

Stop here for a minute. 

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

If not, you should read about some 4th century church teachings on "replacement theology" from men like Melito of Sardis that relabeled the Bible Jesus read and taught every Sabbath as "Old." 

While you're at it check the background story on Easter.

The descendants known as Ephraim-Joseph shape shifted into an anti-repentant idolatrous group that forgot the Feasts of The LORD and the High Holy Sabbath Days thinking of them as old and done away.

Despite the fact they were declared by Almighty God as His own appointments that had been honored by Jews in and around Jerusalem for centuries they turned their backs. 

They believed a lie because they forgot the lesson of the first deception: did God really say?

You can read about that in 1 Kings 12:25-33. The Biblical record tells us how Jeroboam turned everyone with itching ears that would listen against David's royal family of Judah, the priesthood of The LORD as well as The LORD's appointed days while he set up a new religion in Samaria around the Galilee.

Jeroboam should send a shutter down your spine if you know a thing or two about the history of church replacement theology. If not, its time do your own research.

Fast forward past Jeroboam a thousand years...

The good news declared in the land of of Zebulun and land of Naphtali was and remains repent for the Kingdom has come near:

"Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." 
From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." Matthew 4:15-17 NIV

Yeshua was at the crime scene to set matters straight.

The red letter foundational truths given on that Galilee mountain are in plain sight if we just look. We can see them if we take off our Greco-Roman sunshades with an open heart to the bright light messages of the Bible that Yeshua taught from the Torah and the Prophets that day. 

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

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 fact of Yeshua's teaching from the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) can set us on the wrong path where we can trip and fall into Jeroboam's and Constantine's deceptions... did God really say? 

Instead, we need to repent and return. We need to see Yeshua zeroed in on the heart of our Creator God's voice. His big sermon message that is ignored by many remains true, none of The Father's words are done away with. 

Thank God, 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 [Torah] until all is accomplished." Matthew 5:18

The Torah is eternal, it's no an Old Testament. This heaven and earth reference proves it and connects to Deuteronomy 10:18-21.

The red letter reality is that the Master Rabbi's sermon is rooted in an unwavering commitment to the written words of righteousness:

Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:19

Yeshua came to fill up the commands with meaning for those that follow Him and asks, do you want to be called great in the kingdom? 

If so, do not turn away from the voice of our Elohim God, recorded by Moses and the Prophets. Instead do what Jesus would do, be great in the Kingdom, fulfill them, do them correctly as intended, don't just think about them, don't shift the meaning. Let's get real, to fulfill doesn't mean to finish them off. 

You can find other sermon's foundation facts about that in Isaiah 55 as well in Psalm 37. Not only there but throughout the same Bible, the Tanach aka the Torah, the Prophets and the Writings that Yeshua read and taught in synagogues as was His custom every single Sabbath (see Luke 4:16).  

If you are brave enough to climb the mountain with Yeshua to listen and learn from His voice, the hidden treasure in the prophetic sermon is 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 the Sermon on the Mount.

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

Yeshua goes on to expound on teachings about the heart of the Ten Commandments. 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 new teaching that delivers a new rule about the do not commandment, but the truth is Yeshua is explaining that a common traditional teaching of the day was not based on the Torah because some taught that the covenant commandment of Exodus 20:17 only prohibited physical adultery. 

If Yeshua's sermon was preached today no doubt it would include an explicit warning that pornography is a morphed form of adultery.

Yeshua's explained there's nothing new, after all the commandment against adultery instructs all of us against lust, aka what's in the heart and mind. We can know that because of the original Hebrew word תחמד "tachmod" in the commandment which means to desire, covet and to lust. 

The commandment is no "tachmod." That's the command of The LORD whether it's your neighbor's wife or another's property.

לא תחמד בית רעך לא־תחמד אשת רעך

Yeshua is teaching adultery is not just what you do, never has been. The Torah is a matter of the heart just as it is written," "no tachmod."

If you pause to hear the sermon for what it actually 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 , and thank God both remain! 

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

The big thing Yeshua taught on that mountain is that a Torah walk includes not just what we hear but what we do about it based on our inward motives aka a renewed covenant circumcision of the mind and heart promised in Jeremiah 31:31-37. That is the heart and soul of teshuvah which means returning in repentance. It's what you do after your remorse and the God gift of forgiveness.

The heart and soul has been a Torah baseline since the beginning, yet many like me have missed the mark in plain sight in the foundation of red letter words of that sermon. The problem then and now is that the heart of the Torah expressed in covenant keeping reality is ignored or misunderstood. Because of that, people get get confused and worse yet, deceived and led astray about what... did God really say

If you ask me, that's why Yeshua chose to explain the heart of Torah on that mountain. 

After all, people are afraid to listen to Almighty God voice. Because of that, God made a promise about the prophet to come and Moses wrote it all down. 

Whether you believe it or not, Yeshua was like Moses in many ways. He taught and explained Torah on the side of a mountain as the prophet like Moses. Yeshua is the promised intercessor explaining God's words that people asked for when they had 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." 

“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 18:15-19 NASB 
Yeshua taught people how the written Torah of God should cut like a sword into our bad attitudes of the heart, not just our actions. When God's voice cuts the heart, we realize we "get to" walk in forgiveness in the image of God like a member of the Royal Priesthood should walk in keeping with the written goal of Exodus 19:5-6.

If we are to set the record straight on the church theory of a New Testament religion, we need to know Jesus the Jew wasn't Roman Catholic, Anglican or a Protestant and He wasn't a Baptist or Methodist either. 

The Master Rabbi of Nazareth held yeshiva time on that mountain and never taught a word about replacement theology or a new religion. 

The students and people He met along the way called Him Rabbi. He was Torah observant. He honored all the Sabbaths and even wore tzitzis as prescribed in Numbers 15 and Deuteronomy 22. If you doubt that, you need to understand the backstory behind the bleeding woman that was healed by faith as she touched the hem [tzitzis] of the garment [tallit]. 

You can find that account in Matthew 9. 

Yeshua instructed the yeshiva talmidim (disciples) to follow the teaching and instruction found in Leviticus 23:15-17. The proof of that Torah portion is embedded in the words of Acts 1-2. Yeshua also celebrated wonderful Jewish traditions including the Sukkot water pouring ceremony in John 7 where He filled it up with meaning. He also showed up for Hanukkah at the Temple Mount, that fact is found in John 10. 

The reason, all traditions aren't bad. You may have never considered it, but Yeshua followed the traditional Jewish Passover blessings over bread and wine and it wasn't the last supper or the institution of a Maundy Thursday Eucharist. 

Check out the original bread and wine account in Genesis. It's a big part of the Passover backstory when Abraham met up with Melchizedek the "king of righteousness." Today, we still have the longstanding Jewish tradition of both the bread HaMotzi blessing and the Kiddish wine blessing. The blessings are a thankful blessing to Almighty God for His provisions, not a blessing of the bread or the wine He provides. 

The blessings go like this including the phonetic Hebrew transliteration:

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

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

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

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

Over time, the Melchizedek moment with Abraham worked its way into the ancient Jewish prayers for not only the weekly Sabbath blessings but the Passover seder. Those ancient blessings are no doubt the bread and wine blessings that Yeshua repeated with the disciples as He explained their ultimate Passover meaning to everyone reclining around that seder table in Jerusalem. 

By the way, the one who says the blessing over the bread is referred to as the one who "breaks bread" so check this out:

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... Matthew 26:26-27

Yet, since the days of Constantine, some have relabeled that bread and wine blessing as a last supper communion. It seems thanks to the Emperor and a few others we quickly forgot all about the origin of the seder and its prayer blessings. 

Yeshua's famous Passover seder wasn't the first, it wasn't new and it wasn't the last.

How do we know it's not the last supper? Jesus said so...

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 on with the seder and remember Him at every Passover.

The first supper was with Abraham and Melchizedek, but don't forget Mount Sinai. You can read about that supper in Exodus 24:1-18. Bottom-line, Yeshua never stopped living out His faith, He never turned against the Word of God in tradition. He never taught others to turn away just as Matthew 4:4,  Matthew 5:18, Matthew 19:17 and Luke 16:17 declare!!

Hold on to your pew. The red letter words of the Sermon on the Mount have been misunderstood for nearly 2,000 years with many sermons about legalism contrasted with a new view with a gospel focus on a short prayer followed by teachings that the word of God instructions were done away with and hung on a cross with a new religion.

Yet, the "kingdom of heaven is at hand," is not the gospel as many understand it today, but the announcement of the fulfillment of prophecy.

In my Scriptures studies, I've learned that the followers called Yeshua Rabbi for good reason. He taught with authority to the crowds in Galilee that gathered to hear and 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?

Yeshua's authority is tied to the foundation rock of the Torah and The Prophets. What authority do you speak with?

The words He lived out and taught 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 that can add to or take away from God's voice and the big picture of the Bible. 

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 authority of the Torah was rewired with religious opinion or tradition that added to or took away from the Torah and The Prophets, that's when Yeshua voiced criticism

At times, an oral tradition of the elders conflicted with the written Torah and that's when Yeshua spoke up. He did that in the first sermon when Yeshua addressed a few traditions that did not align with the heart of Torah like the big one on adultery. 

What else 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, so it's time to uncover more red letter truths, the foundation stones embedded in that sermon. 

Yeshua filled ancient Scripture teachings with light by everything He said and did. That includes fulfilling God’s promise to Isaac described in Genesis 22:8  while focusing 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 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 faithfully reflect God's justice, mercy and faithfulness

It's well worth repeating that Yeshua presented challenges about off the path religious traditions that can add to or take away from the "you can do it" teaching 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 crowd, both native born and sojourner had been saved by justice, mercy and faithfulness. Yet, because of their fear of the earth shaking 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 multitude in that exodus used an excuse, they were afraid they would die, so Almighty God showed mercy and called on Moses as their intercessor. 

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. 

The mountain was on fire, smoke was everywhere and to top it off a mysterious shofar trumpet was blowing. 

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 merciful love warning because The Almighty knew what would happen when He arrived. The Father of life 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 a busy street, the cars zipping by 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 was very real. Both native born and sojourner encountered holiness and the shekinah glory cloud on earth at that mountain. 

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

Bottomline, fear, awe and respect are important. That's how it should be when Almighty God speaks.

We should all listen in fear and awe. Almighty God respected their request at Mount Sinai, so He spoke to Moses as His scribe after our Creator proclaimed His covenant with Ten Commandments. 

If you'll read on, I think you'll find that Yeshua's not so new words will also 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, listen and do something about it. 

According to the disciple James and the disciple John, we need to understand that faith without action is not true faith. The reason, faith requires response with action. If you disagree, the argument is against the witness of James and John, not me.

Most everyone I grew up with in one way or another has held fast to a religious tradition that the red letter words are new. For years, I agreed and went along with the crowd like a lost sheep, but then I realized I actually had an argument with the shepherd, Rabbi Yeshua. I realized in the end, those that argue with Yeshua are not only debating with Moses but the voice of Almighty God. 

Why did I re-examine my religious doctrine and theology?

I realized there had to be more and 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 realization for others too, so I am sharing what I've learned so far. 

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. My road to Emmaus journey started about 20 years ago when 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 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 or the Prophets. It remains because there's more to be done to redeem the world and it includes the Fall Feasts and I thank God they are not done away with. 

The disciple Peter emphasized the 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

My good news journey started in the beginning of the living and abiding word of God. There I discovered the truth in unchanging faith is front and center in all of Yeshua's red letter teachings. 

The seemingly hidden foundation 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 in God's image.

Return to the Bible is what teshuva 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 wife 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 his own life as a ransom, 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 because repentance is the door key to the Kingdom of God. 

Yeshua is still standing at the Kingdom door, get up and open it. 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. Again, 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. 

Chabad.com 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 Manasseh: 

“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 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. 

Joseph was not missing in Almighty God's eyes and the disciples knew it.

There's proof. 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.”

This is important, 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 ministry 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 yeshiva journey across Israel with the others that He had called along the way:

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

They left their boats and nets and followed their Master Torah teacher born in Bethlehem. They became known as His talmidim (disciples). There were several other students called out at the very spot of 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 first 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. But, if you stay for awhile on the Galilee mountain, you'll see that what was taught was nothing new

For good reason, Matthew's account goes into detail about that particular day and with careful precision, the gospel writer replays the 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 everything they heard that day. Perhaps he was there, and that's why when asked to follow Yeshua, he left the tax booth behind.

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 in Matthew 5-7. 

Are you ready to go to the mountain? Are you ready to shema, aka 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. There are no short snippets found in the three chapters about the big sermon in Matthew 5-7 and to borrow Yeshua's words at His Jordan River mikveh: "for this is the fitting way for us to fulfill all righteousness."

Before that 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 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 Biblical Hebraic thinking, nine (9) symbolizes divine fulfillment. 

Immediately after the nine blessings, Yeshua told everyone don't think I came to do away with the Torah (instruction and teaching of God), but rather to fill it up with meaning. His sermon sequence points directly to Psalm 1:1-3:

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 law [Torah] 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.

You may have missed it before now, but years later, Paul the Jew from Tarsus wrote nothing new 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 should read that teaching, check it out in Galatians 5:22-23.

Paul declared he was a Jew and a Pharisee and that never forsake the Torah of God. After the Jerusalem Council meeting when he returned from Macedonia and Greece and met with Peter that was his message. Read Paul's reaction to a false claim circulating about him that he had claimed the law was done away with at the cross.

When they met, Peter told him some people were saying he taught Jews living 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... not only does the outline follow Psalm 1, it opens with words that zero in on Isaiah 61:2. Those very words were read a short time later on a Sabbath by Yeshua in the Nazareth synagogue He attended (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 claim the words declared the foundation for a new message, but the reality is it's time to picture the real Jesus the Jew back in that synagogue. 

Most that identify Jesus believe that a key doctrine of Christianity is the notion that most Biblical instruction labeled as old is now null and void - rebranded as “Mosaic law” and that the Hebrew Bible is an Old Testament, a nice story book but much of what God outlined in the wilderness is done and dusted. 

Yet, Yeshua of Nazareth taught the opposite on that mountain.

Unfortunately, people don't want to believe what they can read. Like Jeroboam they want a new religion without God’s Kingdom constitution. The red letter words prove that Yeshua never came to do away with The Father's teaching and instruction written by Moses. They prove, He came to explain, to live and fill them up with meaning.

Far from new religion theories born out of the weeds of replacement theology, Matthew records the flip side of denominational theories plain as day in three chapters. 

So, its time to re-read the red letters woven in Matthew 5-7. 

Before, we start let's fast forward to chapter 7 to give you a taste of what you can find. There we see an ancient warning echoing Moses in Deuteronomy 13:1-5 that ties to the thorns in Genesis 3:17-19.

"Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn [bushes] nor figs from thistles, are they? Matthew 7:15-16 NASB95

Who was the false prophet in Genesis, the one that asked, did God really say? 

You can see it if you'll open your eyes, ears and heart to understand the Torah message from the Hebrew Bible that Master Rabbi Yeshua taught on that mountain:

"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 start with the words "poor in spirit" aka "humble kindness" and connect the crowd's ears with echos from Psalm 1, Psalm 47 and Psalm 145. But it's not about being poor. The reference is humility.

The poor in spirit connection in the sermon is to Isaiah 66:2. In the Kings James version it reads:

For all those [things] hath mine hand made, and all those [things] have been, saith the LORD: but to this [man] will I look, [even] to [him that is] poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

The ESV version in more accurate. It translate "ani" עני as humble:

All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the LORD. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

The sermon's blessings are not new. The words prophetically describe Yeshua's reality. It's a self portrait. 

The Kingdom of Heaven is humbly following and relying on The LORD God our Creator. That's what being made in His image is all about.

Re-read them, I pray you'll see His life bio in the red ink that points back to call any disciple including you. It's time whether past, present or future... "follow me."

The blessings also 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 echo the ancient words of Psalm 22:25-31 and king David's Psalm 24.

Most 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 scroll of the royal Psalm started with this blessing:

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 

They also knew David's songs all point to the way of righteous instruction and delight in the blessings of the Torah instruction of The Lord of Israel. 

There on that mountain in the Galilee, Yeshua was fulfilling the Luke 4:14-19 synagogue reading of Isaiah 61:1 and He reminded everyone of the menorah's purpose which is a picture of the goal of God's Word to give light to a dark world. 

The sermon likely reminded most in the crowd at of the story of a winter miracle they were all familiar with. 

It's is still known as Hanukkah (from the Hebrew word for dedication). 

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

The menorah played the key big role in the Hanukkah story. The light of the menorah gave birth to the celebration day when we find Yeshua in Jerusalem answering the BIG question that remains today: do the works that you do in the Father’s name bear 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 big picture of the menorah is to give light. Light in darkness. 

The menorah burns oil beaten from olive fruit and it sheds its light by the instruction of The Father for His humble Tabernacle on earth. The menorah is also seen in the imagery described in Revelation 1. 

Many miss it because the most translators call the branches of the menorah candle sticks. They are not candles.

The Revelation truth points us to 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 on the mountain 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 also set the record straight that many Christians struggle with... "there has to be more." I know, I'm an expert, I once thought my "belief" with a short prayer gave all the glory I needed to give back to Almighty God, but Bible Scripture teaches what we do out of love for God and others 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 big part of that sermon thinking Yeshua started a new religion and hung the Torah of Almighty God The Father on a cross. Because of that many focus most of their attention on The Prophets thinking the rest is done away with.

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 shake you awake to seek 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. In Hebrew thought, to full fill the Torah is to interpret it correctly. No adds and no deletes.

The whole Bible remains the light to be declared and we can thank the faithfulness of the Jewish people for that giving us the Bible. 

The apostle Paul agrees, read it for yourself:

For as many as have sinned without law [Torah] will also perish without law [Torah], and as many as have sinned in the law [Torah] will be judged by the law [Torah] (for not the hearers of the law [Torah] are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law [Torah] will be justified..." Romans 2:12-13 
What advantage, then, is there in being a Jew, or what value is there in circumcision? Much in every way! First of all, the Jews have been entrusted with the very words of God. Romans 3:1-2 NIV 

Yeshua of Nazareth declares another admonition with His 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 sets the record straight on the commandments for 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 means. 

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. 

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 righteous good deeds written, not do our own thing to add to or take away from them but to do them the best that we can in  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. The love you neighbor advice which includes praying for those that persecute comes straight out of the mountaintop love your neighbor instruction in 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 as He admonishes us all to walk in God's righteousness. The teaching is from the front of the Torah portion known as Kedoshim that includes these words" "You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy." It's Leviticus 19:2:

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

The sermon explains the problem of 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 zeroes in on caring relationships. 

He also teaches about freewill giving without taking credit. That's from Proverbs 19:17 and Proverbs 21:26 showing that giving to help the needy is a big part of a proper 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."

Yeshua expounds on the importance of a prayerful personal relationship with Almighty God right out of 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 a rapture ride to Heaven think again! 

In Yeshua's demonstration on how to pray, He declares the opposite.

He links His prayer coaching to the manna of Exodus 16 as He starts what we now know as "the Lord's Prayer" with the importance of Father God's Holy name. Yeshua's teaching straight from Exodus 20:7, Leviticus 19:12, Deuteronomy 5:11, Proverbs 18:10, Micah 4:5 and Isaiah 26:13, the 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 with a connection to Numbers 14:19, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Daniel 9:19, Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and Proverbs 30:8. Those words are not old, the all point us back to hallowing and revering God's name. After all, asking our Father in Heaven to forgive us hallows and sanctifies His name. Yeshua the points to God provision and deliverance noted in 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."

The prayer also point us to the year of Jubilee when indentured servants were set free, debts were forgiven and land was returned to its deeded owners. There's a backstory of a hidden Jubilee connection in the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6:5-15, it is to rely on God and live in His image as it was meant from the very beginning...
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

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."

Yeshua also teaches that fasting is good and part of the blessing of a personal relationship with The Father, Fasting is something we do that shows the heart of joyful humility:

“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, aka God's abode from the heart with His reference to Isaiah 51:8. He talking about taking God eternal righteous instruction to heart. Despite what others may say, it must be your treasure:

“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 then presses in on the importance of Psalm 119:105-112 and the riches found in the precepts, testimonies and statutes of Almighty 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 teaches from the beginning and the conclusion of Psalm 80 which ties to the scene on the Sinai mountain where God's glory was seen by all:

"Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!"

"Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth, 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 continues, don't worry for worry's sake, but trust and rely on God as written 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."

In Matthew 6:33 we are told: But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 

That's not new, we learn how to seek the Kingdom of God when we choose to seek the righteousness God. We find that righteousness in the Hebrew Bible Yeshua taught.

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 the problem with 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."

Again, nothing new, Yeshua points everyone back to 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 just some of the red letter details of the sermon, let's pause for a moment 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.

In summary, when Eve heard about Abel's death at the hands of his brother Abel, there's not doubt she shed tears many for her son and for every child in Abel’s generations that were lost that day. 

Fast forward to Rachel. Her weeping in Ramah was described by Jeremiah hundreds of years after her death. The thing is killing one is killing many. Rachel knew that. The murders connect to the death mandate by Pharaoh for the children in Moses' day which prophetically point to those precious Jewish baby boys destroyed by Herod's command in the massacre of the innocents of Bethlehem. 

Rachel's tears are important! 

Much more so than the massive building projects form Herod's ego mandates that included expanding and renovating the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, building the port at Caesarea or the fortress at Masada still seen on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert. 

His building projects all lie in ruins today except the massive stone building that remains above the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

There has to be a reason, its where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca as well as Jacob and Leah were buried. It's a family faith burial plot and its also thought that Adam and Eve were entombed there.

King Herod is known in most history books as "Herod the Great." That folks is fake news. Other than the building projects that left his mark on Israel, he wasn't so great at all. He was a monster. 

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 is that not only did he order mass murder, by the end of his reign, Herod had morphed into a despotic, unstable megalomanic. He single handedly plunged the Roman rule of Judea, Gaza, Samaria, the Galilee and the Golan into a terrorist cesspool by dictatorial repression and violence.

Herod's influenced the direction of history as we know it today and violence against the Jewish people continues in Israel.

Years after Mark Anthony ordered Herod to go and capture Jerusalem, Herod started his construction business. He 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 only to Herod and his prototype Mafia-like dynasty. 

The reality is this: Herod's life imitated the evil king Ahaz from days gone by. 

Who was Ahaz?

For the big picture, let’s go back to the beginning. 

Adam and Eve lived in the image of God without sin. Yet, when we barely unroll the Genesis Torah scroll, we see a crime scene. A liar, the deceiver shows up in paradise like a snake from Tyre with evil deception spewing from his mouth. The words were poison, a lie... did God really say. 

The seed of doubt lie was planted that God does not mean what He says, that truth is not forever, it's old and done away with. 

That deceptive lie remains a dark lie.

Many fall for the deception, they believe God shifted gears about what God says is His light righteous truth for life in the Kingdom of God. 

If you think the front of the book was done away with and don't believe the words of truth remain, how will you ever live life in God's image? You won't, you'll believe a lie and do your own thing. You'll add to or take away from God's words, because you fell for original deception and ignored the voice of your Creator Almighty God Elohim.

The startling truth is that before the first words ever recorded before the Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua says just the opposite.

He quotes Moses directly from Deuteronomy 8:3. That happened when Yeshua addressed the deceiver's wilderness lies that started in Eden. Yeshua used Moses' words 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. It zeroes in on old king Ahaz during Isaiah's day and the Immanuel prophecy that was given to Ahaz. It's found again in the book of the prophet. Check out 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 exactly 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 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 is the Ahaz' mantra. Ignore God's voice, worship your way, do your own thing. It started with Adam and Eve.

Yeshua taught the opposite. His words are all firmly rooted in the Hebrew Bible as it is written. 

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 Almighty 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 disorder delete button. 

It's time to pray, fast and repent of any attitude we may have from anysermon 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. He did not.

To be continued... for more background on who gave the sermon, check out Who is the One Called Jesus?

What does this all mean? 

Consider a prayer: Please, God, guide me by your Spirit as to what I should hear and do.

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

Stretch out your hand, and take from the tree of life, and live forever.

Open a Bible, read it, listen to God's voice and do Yeshua's teaching about the forever jots and tittles. 

You can learn how the things which are written in the Torah, the Prophets, and the Psalms are concerning Messiah and you can teach others to live life like Jesus, it's love in God's way:

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17

Today is the time, open your eyes if you're dead in your own valley of dry bones. Look up and you'll recognize Messiah from Abraham's promise passed on to Isaac and Jacob as written by Moses in the Torah. You can see Him too in the Prophets and the Writings.

Repent and walk your Emmaus Road with Messiah. Study the Scriptures He taught every Sabbath that are filled with doing life God's way in the Kingdom.

Shalom.