Mining the Treasures of the Bible
Step by Step
Matthew 4 and 5
Including the Beatitudes
Lorraine Day, M.D.
Matthew, Chapter 4
Matthew 4:1-11 See, “What Is the Significance of the Three Temptations in the Wilderness” in “Monthly Home Bible Studies” at www.goodnewsaboutgod.com
“Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
“And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt I Capernaum, which is upon the sea cost, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
“That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying,
“The Land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. . .
The word here translated Gentiles is a deliberate mistranslation of the word nations. As we have discussed many times, the words nations, heathen, and Gentiles are all the same word, #1484 in Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word ethnos or ethnikos, both of which refer to customs, manners, or habits, particularly heathen habits heathen or pagan customs of worship. The word designated those who worshiped multiple pagan gods as opposed to those who worshiped the One God whose presence resided in the temple in Jerusalem in Judea, who were known as Judeans or Judahites, two words that are routinely mistranslated as “Jews.”
The population of Galilee was a “mixed multitude” because that area had been conquered by the Assyrians (2 Kings 15:29) before the time of Jesus. The original Galileans had been taken captive and the area had been re-populated with Assyrians.
“Galileans were considered different in many respects from Israelites living farther to the south, closer to Jerusalem. According to L. Michael White, Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin,
‘The term Galilean seems to have been used in a variety of ways in this period. To some, it just meant an outsider, or someone who's not really an Israelite of the traditional sort.”
A lot of the problem was apparently due to religion. Says theologian Frederick Bruner:
‘Galilee was not just geographically far from Jerusalem; it was considered spiritually and politically far, too. Galilee was the most pagan of the Israelite provinces, located as it was at the northernmost tier of Palestine. This distance from Zion was not only geographic; Galileans were considered by Judeans to sit rather loosely to the law and to be less biblically pure than those in or near Jerusalem.
“Judean Pharisees, in particular, were less than impressed with Galilean observance of the fine points of Israelite religious observance. Their ignorance in law and disinterest in study was an almost never ending source of fuel for Judean snobbery. The Jerusalem Talmud records the despair of the great First Century sage, Yohanan ben Zakkai, at having been asked no more than two questions about Israelite law during his 18-year posting in the Galilee: "O Galilee, O Galilee, in the end you shall be filled with wrongdoers!" (Shabbat 16:7, 15d).
Finally, the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia informs us:
“The population of Galilee was composed of strangely mingled elements - Aramaean, Iturean, Phoenician and Greek. In the circumstances, they could not be expected to prove such sticklers for high orthodoxy as the Judeans. Their mixed origin explains the differences in speech that distinguished them from their brethren in the South, who regarded Galilee and the Galileans with a certain proud contempt.” Carl Hoffman, www.travelujah.com
The Jerusalem Pharisees, in particular, viewed the Galileans as uneducated, unwashed, second-class blokes.
Even though this Greek word, ethnos, is probably the origin of our English word ethnicity, the word ethnos in the Bible does not refer to a race, it refers to a custom of worship: the heathen (those who worshiped multiple gods) vs. the Judeans (those who worshiped one God - the God of heaven).
The word Gentile should never be used in the Bible. It does not appear in the original manuscripts. The word is nation or heathen. The word Gentile is a deliberate mis-translation by the translators to try to pervert the meaning of the word nations from that of a type of worship to an ethnicity or race.
Vs 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light has dawned.
Vs 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is near.
The kingdom of heaven in the form of Jesus God, Himself was near to them, indeed. As Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) Jesus came to give them life eonian life the disposition and character of Christ, but the majority of Israelites would have none of it.
“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishers.
“And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.
“And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.
And going on from thence, He saw other tow brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.
“And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him.”
It is important to note that Jesus did not pick His disciples from the elite, educated, wealthy population of Judea. He chose them from among those considered uneducated Galileans fishermen, tax collectors, and other plain men - those who were treated with contempt by the Pharisees, the leaders of the Organized Church of the day.
Many Christians today say they are not well enough educated, or of high enough intelligence, or they do not have the patience and determination, to study the Bible in depth on their own. But those excuses are not valid because once a person commits himself or herself to the Lord, the Lord will open their mind to understand His Word, exactly as He opened the mind of the disciples to understand His Word. After all, two of the authors of books of the New Testament were Matthew, the tax collector, and John, the fisherman.
So, if God could give these uneducated men the ability to write part of the New Testament, God can certainly give every person who “seeks the Lord with all his heart” the ability to understand the writings of God’s servants. John, the fisherman, in fact, wrote one of the most complex books of the Bible the book of Revelation. If God could give that brilliance to a lowly fisherman, God can certainly open up the mind of anyone who truly wants to understand God’s Word.
One more important point about this passage: When Jesus called both sets of brothers, they “immediately” left what they were doing and followed Him.
When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and was instantly converted, Paul “did not confer with flesh and blood” (Gal 1:16) Paul did not ask the advice of the followers of Christ in Jerusalem. Paul listened to Christ not to humanity and acted immediately on what Christ told him to do.
When Christ calls us to follow Him or to do something He specifically asks us to do, we also must obey Him immediately. We must not “confer with flesh and blood.” We must not doubt.
As James says:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally, and without reproach; and it shall be given him.
“But let him ask in faith, never doubting. For he that doubteth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
“For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:5-8
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel (literal: Good News) of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people.”
Jesus referred to the synagogues as “their” synagogues. He referred to the temple as “MY Father’s house” (John 2:16) that is, until right before He was to be crucified, when the Israelites had refused to accept Him as their Messiah, then He said, regarding the temple, “YOUR house is left unto you desolate.” (Matt 23:38)
The synagogue system was the counterfeit to God’s system of worship. God’s presence was in the temple. No one was allowed into the temple but the priests, to offer sacrifices. Any unauthorized person entering God’s temple would die.
The synagogue system, the model for the present-day churches, was set up by man- the Pharisees the ones who ended up murdering Jesus Christ. The synagogues were places where “man” was in charge, not God, and where the people came in and sat down to listen to a “sermon.”
For four thousand years, no one ever “went to church” until the Pharisees, those who hated Christ, set up their counterfeit system of worship.
Vs 24 “And His (Jesus’) fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with various diseases and torments, and those that were possessed with demons and those that were epileptics, and those that were paralyzed; and He healed them.
At that time Palestine was part of the Roman province of Syria, so it is likely that Jesus was still in the land of Israel as the cities mentioned in vs. 25 were Israelite cities.
Vs 25 ‘And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.”
“Great multitudes” followed Jesus as long as He was healing their diseases and feeding them. But when He refused to be their earthly king, and destroy the Romans, they all forsook Him, even His disciples except for John.
The crowd that had adored Jesus while He was giving them what they wanted, turned on Him like a pack of ferocious wolves when He refused to give in to their earthy lust for power and privilege. They turned on Him and cried out, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.
In Jesus’ time, this is what happened to God’s “chosen people” the members of the organized church of Christ’s day. They murdered Christ.
The organized churches of today will exhibit the same Satanic spirit, and eventually call for the death of the true followers of Christ.
Chapter 5: The Sermon on the Mount
In the opening words of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ addresses Himself to the supreme desire of every human heartblessedness. This desire was implanted in man by the Creator Himself, and was originally ordained to lead him to find true peace through cooperation with the God who created him. Sin is involved when men attempt to achieve happiness as an end in itself, by a short cut that by-passes obedience to the divine requirements.
Thus at the commencement of His inaugural address as King of the kingdom of divine grace Christ proclaims that the main objective of the kingdom is to restore the lost blessedness of Eden to the hearts of men, and that those who choose to enter in by the “strait” gate and the “narrow” way (Matt. 7:13, 14) will find inward peace and joy, true and lasting satisfaction for heart and soul that come only when “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” is present to keep their “hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). When Christ returned to the Father He left this peace with His followers, a peace that the world cannot give (John 14:27). Happiness comes only to the hearts of those who are at peace with God (cf. Rom. 5:1) and their fellow men (cf. Micah 6:8), walking according to the two great commandments of the law of God.
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was seated, His disciples came unto Him:
“And He opened His mouth, and taught them, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“The Greek word for poor pt_ochs indicates deep poverty. It is from ptassō, “to crouch,” “to cower” (see on Mark 12:42; Luke 4:18; Luke 6:20). Here ptōchos refers to those who are in dire spiritual poverty and sense keenly their need of the things the kingdom of heaven has to offer (cf. Acts 3:6; see on Isa. 55:1). Those who do not feel their spiritual need, who think themselves “rich, and increased with goods” and in “need of nothing,” are, in the sight of Heaven, “wretched, and miserable, and poor” (Rev. 3:17). None but the “poor in spirit” will ever enter the kingdom of divine grace; all others feel no need of heaven’s riches, and decline its blessings.
“The Israelites conceived of the kingdom of heaven as a kingdom based on force that would compel the nations of earth to submit to Israel. But the kingdom Christ came to establish was one that begins within men’s hearts, permeates their lives, and overflows into other men’s hearts and lives with the dynamic and compelling power of love.” SDA Commentary.
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” Matt 5:4
This Greek word Penthe, generally denotes intense mourning. Thus, the profound spiritual poverty of the “poor in spirit” (see on Matt. 5:3) is matched by the deep mourning of the persons described in v. 4. In fact, it is a deep sense of spiritual need that leads men to “mourn” for the imperfection they see in their own lives Christ here refers to those who, in poverty of spirit, long to reach the standard of perfection (cf. Isa. 6:5; Rom. 7:24). There is a message of comfort here also for those who mourn because of disappointment, bereavement, or other sorrow (see MB 1012).
A friend so summoned is a paraklētos, and his ministration a paraklēsis. In 1 John 2:1 Jesus is called a paraklētos. Upon His departure He promised to send “another Comforter” (see on John 14:16), Gr. paraklētos, the Holy Spirit (God’s breath of holiness Christ Himself living in us), to abide with us as an ever-present friend.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth (land).
Christ spoke of Himself as “meek [praüs] and lowly in heart” (ch. 11:29), and because He is, all “that labour and are heavy laden” (v. 28) may come to Him and find rest for their souls. Meekness is the attitude of heart and mind and life that prepares the way for sanctification
“Meekness” is often mentioned by New Testament writers as a cardinal Christian virtue (see Gal. 5:23; 1 Tim. 6:11). “Meekness” toward God means that we accept His will and His dealing with us as good, and that we submit to Him in all things, without hesitation.
Inherit the earth. The “poor in spirit” are to receive the riches of the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 5:3); the “meek” are to “inherit the earth.”
Certainly the “meek” do not now inherit the earth, but rather the proud and arrogant rule the world. Eventually, says Christ, those who humble themselvesthose who learn meeknesswill be exalted (see on Matt. 23:12).
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Hunger and thirst. This metaphor was especially forceful in a country where the average annual rainfall is not more than 26 in. Bordering on large desert areas, even much inhabited land is semi-arid. No doubt many in the audience now listening to Jesus had experienced pangs of thirst. As illustrated in the case of Hagar and Ishmael, a traveler who lost his way or who missed one of the few springs en route could easily find himself in serious straits (see on Gen. 21:14).
But Jesus spoke of the hunger and thirst of the soul (see Ps. 42:1, 2). Only those who long for righteousness with the eager anxiety of a man starving for lack of food or famishing for want of water, will find it.
“You will seek Me and you will find Me (but ONLY) when you search for Me with ALL your heart.” Jer 29:13
Rather than seeking God’s blessings (healing from disease, financial comfort, personal safety and security, we must seek God and His righteousness, we must seek to know God as our heavenly Father, to understand His true character of love.
“Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all these (other) things shall be added unto you.” Matt 6:33
No earthly source can satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul, whether it be material riches, profound philosophies, the satisfaction of physical appetites, or honor and power. After experimenting with all of these things, Solomon concluded, “all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2, 14 3:19; 11:8; 12:8; cf. 2:1, 15, 19; etc.). The wise man’s conclusion was that recognition of the Creator and cooperation with Him provided the only enduring satisfaction (Eccl. 12:1, 13).
Jesus Himself is the “bread” for which men should hunger, and by partaking of which they can sustain spiritual life and satisfy the hunger of their souls (see John 6:35, 48, 58).
At the Last Supper, Jesus told His disciples to eat the “bread” and drink the “wine” in remembrance of Him. (1 Cor 11:24,25) Christ was speaking at the Last Supper in the same manner He was speaking in the Sermon on the Mount in Spiritual (NOT physical) terms. Jesus the Word is the Bread of Life, the “wine” represents His blood.
When He tells us to “eat His flesh and drink His blood” He is telling us to devour His Word, not participate in a church ritual. Taking part in communion by drinking a thimble of wine or grape juice and eating a wafer does not make anyone holy.
What makes a person holy is the diligent and fervent study of God’s word because Jesus IS the “Word.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” John 1:14
The longing in one’s heart for righteousness is evidence that Christ has already begun His work there.
“Blessed are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy.”
This will be true both now and in the day of judgment, alike from men and from God. The principle of the golden rule (ch. 7:12) applies both to our treatment of others and to the kind of treatment they accord us in return. The cruel, hardhearted, mean-spirited man rarely receives kind and merciful treatment at the hand of his fellow man. But how often those who are kind and considerate of the needs and feelings of others find that the world often repays them in kind.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”
The “pure in heart” those who have turned their backs on sin and have chosen to follow Jesus completely will be able to see God, to understand His character of love, to understand His Word, to be able to see what is happening in their life and the lives of others and in the world through God’s eyes, through God’s viewpoint, rather than from the viewpoint of carnal man.
God will “open the eyes” of those who are “pure in heart” so they can understand spiritual things. That’s why Christ tells us to anoint our eyes with eyesalve, so we can see!
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. Revelation 3:18
“The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because spiritual things are spiritually discerned (understood).” 1 Cor 2:14
vs 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
The only place to find peace is in Jesus Christ. The only place the world can find peace, or an individual can find peace, is by learning to know Jesus Christ. That’s why governments and legislation cannot bring peace. That’s why Jesus said:
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27
Jesus made it very clear that He does not give us the type of peace that the world offers peace at any price including the loss of our right to worship God in order to have “peace” in the world. The peace that the world offers will cause nothing but fear.
Christian churches believe they promote peace while they simultaneously promote war - with their “Support the Troops” mentality. “Christian” legislators vote for war and “Christian” churches support war. Have they never heard of Jesus Christ who said,
“Love your enemies; do good to them that hate you.”
War is nothing less than Corporate Murder! The Bible says,
“Thou shalt NOT kill.” Exodus 20:
vs10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Paul warned the believers that “through much tribulation ” they must “enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Citizens of the heavenly kingdom may expect to have tribulation in this world (John 16:33), for their characters, ideals, aspirations, and conduct all bear silent witness against the evil of this present world (cf. 1 John 3:12). The foes of the heavenly kingdom persecuted Christ, the King, and they may be expected to persecute His loyal subjects (John 15:20). “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12).
Those who suffer most for Christ here are best able to appreciate what He suffered for them. It is appropriate that the first and last beatitudes should contain the assurance of membership in the kingdom.
vs 11 Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.
Christ warned those who would be His disciples that they would be “hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22), but hastened to add that whoever “loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (ch. 10:39). Christians must expect to “suffer for his sake” (Phil. 1:29).
Whatever life may bring, the Christian is to rejoice (Phil. 4:4), knowing that God will work all things for his good (Rom. 8:28). This is particularly true of temptation or trial (James 1:24), because suffering develops patience and other traits of character essential to citizens of the heavenly kingdom.
Vs 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Compare Luke’s statement “leap for joy” (Luke 6:23). Prophets such as Elijah, pursued by Ahab and Jezebel (1 Kings 18:710; 19:2), and Jeremiah, were persecuted by their fellow countrymen (Jer. 15:20; 17:18; 18:18; 20:2; etc).
Persecution serves to purify the life and to purge the dross from the character (cf. Job 23:10).
In this study, significant reliance was placed on two major Bible Commentaries; the Concordant Bible Commentary and the SDA Bible Commentary.