LIFE OF THE MESSIAH – 010
DR. ARNOLD G. FRUCHTENBAUM
IV. THE TRAINING OF THE TWELVE BY THE KING – Paragraphs 72-95
F. Instruction Concerning Defilement
Paragraph 77 – Mark 7:1-23; Matthew 15:1-20; John 7:1
Turn in your Harmony to paragraph 77, on your outline we’re on page 7 and we begin Roman numeral IV, the training of the twelve by the king, following the official rejection of His Messianic claims in the previous segment He now begins to take them aside, at least four times He takes them outside the borders of the land for private training in preparation for their ministry that will come up later in the book of Acts. And where we’re at now is capital F on the outline under Roman numeral IV, instruction concerning the defilement, in paragraph 77.
Now John’s account points out that as the result of the events of paragraph 76 which shows a turning point, He no longer walked in Judea because there is constant conspiracies to try to kill Him, so He pretty well stays in the Galilean area unless He travels outside the borders of the land of that day. And Mark’s account, Mark 7:1 points out the Pharisees came to Him, along with the Scribes, from Jerusalem, so again there’s a three day journey trying to entrap Him some other ways, now they’re traveling north because He is not traveling south.
Now they already have a couple of areas that they are against Him; He has gone against their tradition of frequent fasting; they’ve already accused Him of being demonized; they declared Him to be a sinner because of rejection of the authority of the Mishnah and the issue of the proper way to observe the Sabbath rest. At the trial of Jesus they’ll have one more major issue, His claim to be the Son of God. What we have here is the issue of the cleanness and the defilement. Notice that both Mark and Matthew are the two Gospel writers that give us the events but Matthew is writing to Jews, he does not have to specify or detail what the issue is.
But Mark is writing to Gentiles who do not know these Jewish traditions; Mark in Mark 7:2-5 provides some of the details. And this is still true with Orthodox Judaism today, they’re very careful not to partake of any food until they wash their hands. As we’ve seen, men have a single opportunity of accusing Him of violating the Mosaic Law that He keeps perfectly down to every jot and tittle, so again the issue is not Mosaic Law but Mishnaic law. We talked about the development of the Mishnah last weekend, one of the points we noted is that by the time of first century Israel the Mishnah was viewed equal with Scripture but sometimes a greater authority than Scripture.
On that point let me quote you five basic passages about what the Mishnah says about itself. First quote: “It is more punishable to act against the words of the Scribes than those of the Scriptures. If a man were to say there is no such thing as tefillin(?)” and the tefillin refers to the things you put on the doorpost, “in order thereby to act contrary to the words of Scripture he’s not to be treated as a rebel. But should he say there are five divisions in the prayer (?) instead of the four as taught by the Scribes, then he is guilty and must be treated as a rebel, against more punishable type against the words of the Scribes than those of the Scriptures.” The point here is that by the Old Testament Mosaic Law said that you bind the Law on the doorpost of your hearts and so Orthodox Jews to this day have a little mezuzah as they call it, paste against the door, inside are Scriptures in Hebrews text that deal with those issues. That’s the (?) part; the rabbinic part is that it was divided into four divisions. To merely say you shouldn’t have these things on the door and only contradicts Scripture then you won’t be treated as a rebel, but if you say there are five divisions in place of the four that the Scribes were teaching, then that violates the laws of the Mishnah and then you must be punished because you are a rebel.
The second quote: “He that says something he did not hear from his rabbi causes the Shechinah to depart from Israel.”
Third quote: “He that contradicts his rabbi is he that would contradict the Shechinah; he speaks against his rabbi as he who speaks against God.
Fourth quote: “My son, give more heed to the words of the rabbis than those of the Mosaic Law, for the words of the Law consist of both positive and negative precepts. The transgressions are not always capital offenses.” Further it says “anything to contradict the Scribes and he is guilty of death.”
Fifth quote: “A rabbi is taught to be engaged in the study of Scripture is neither good nor bad but to be in the study of the Mishnah is a good habit and brings reward.” So if you just study the Scriptures, that’s just simply neutral, it doesn’t do you any good or bad but if you want to be rewarded by God you have to study the Mishnah.
And after Mark points out that they’re very careful to fulfill the laws of the washing of hands which is Mishnaic law, and the fact that Jesus did not do so, and therefore His disciples don’t do so, notice the issue in Mark 7:5, “And the Pharisees and the Scribes ask Him, Why walk not your disciples according to the tradition of the elders,” and there’s your biblical name for the Mishnah, “the tradition of the elders.” Again they don’t have any basis for accusing Him of violating the Mosaic Law; that He keeps perfectly. They only can have a basis of accusing Him of breaking Mishnaic law and this never makes much of an impression because He rarely will admit to breaking Mishnaic as we shall see later on in a different paragraph, later on in a different paragraph, He sometimes goes out of His way to do so. We talk about the differences of laws, rabbinic laws, Pharisaic laws, Mishnaic laws, these are all interchangeable terms but in the New Testament they’re referred to as the tradition of the elders or the tradition of the fathers.
Now He responds by pointing out three things. First of all, in Mark 6:-7, the true nature of Pharisaic traditionalism has been its hypocrisy; what makes it hypocritical is found in verse 7, “in vain do they worship Me, teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men.” We often think of worship only in terms of praising God in singing, but worship includes biblically the obedience of the saint to the commandments of God. But true worship as far as obedience is concerned is based upon obeying the commandments God did give us and not based upon obeying merely man-made traditions. And they believed that truly worshipping God by means of these traditions; but it’s vain, it’s empty.
His second point in Mark 6:8, “Ye leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” And the second point He makes is that sometimes to keep a tradition you have to simply ignore them, a divine commandment. That makes is passive, you simply ignore it.
He goes on to a third point; he goes from the passive to the active. Look at Mark 6:9, “And He said unto them, Full well do ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your tradition.” Now He puts it actively, sometimes to keep a tradition you have to actively disobey a divine commandment. He goes on to provide an example in Mark 7:10-12, the principle of the Corban. The word Corban at the end of verse 11 is a rabbinic Hebrew word meaning something that is dedicated, something that is given. And the way the system works is this: any point of time a Pharisee could simply wave his hand and say “Corban” and what that meant was this: everything he owned at that moment of time has been dedicated and he could do one of two things with it. One option would be to sell part of it or all of it to donate to the temple treasury. A second option would be to use it for his own private use; what he could not do anything with it is to give it away to somebody else’s private use.
Now many Pharisees were converts to Pharisaism, it did not mean that their parents were Pharisees themselves. And there was a reluctance to share with non-Pharisees, even if these non-Pharisees happened to be parents. Now in the Mosaic Law Jesus says said, “Honor your mother and your mother,” and part of honoring the parents is helping to take care of their welfare when they become too old to take care of themselves physically or mentally. And if a Pharisee saw his non-Pharisaic father approaching him and knew his father was having certain difficulties, before the father arrives he could say “Corban,” dedicated; when the father in to express his needs the son could say I wish you’d have seen me earlier, I have decreed my present possessions as Corban and by law I cannot give it for anybody else’s private use. And the intent would not necessarily be to give part of it to the temple treasury. He still had the option to use is strictly for his own private use. So by means a tradition they actively broke a divine commandment.
And in Mark 7:13 he adds, “and many such like things you do.” And there are many other examples you can find by merely reading these rabbinic writings. I’ll give you just one more example. Let’s go back to the Sabbath commandment; the way the Mosaic Law said to keep the Sabbath is not as a day of corporate worship, that’s a common misconception today, but the Sabbath should be a day of rest. You were not to travel on that day but you were to stay home on that day and generally they developed a concept that you don’t go more than a Sabbath’s day journey, which was roughly a modern day kilometer.
Now as I mentioned, Pharisees often would need to be able to find ways around the very laws they innovated. Now Pharisees liked to be in the temple area during the Sabbath to observe the special sacrifices on that occasion but sometimes they would have to carry on business in a place like Bethlehem, about 8 to 10 kilometers south of Jerusalem. For them to be there in time for Sunday morning required them to travel on Saturday afternoon but how can you travel on Saturday afternoon, it’s still the Sabbath, because you cannot be more than a Sabbath’s day’s journey from your home.
So (?) when they came up to that issue they began by the question how do you define what your home is? What is home? And the answer they came up with is home is where your possessions are; where your possession are, that’s where your home is. That solved the problem. If a Pharisee had to be in Jerusalem for the Sabbath observance and they had to be in Bethlehem the day after the Sabbath for Sunday morning, what he did on the Sabbath day was send out eight of his slaves, once (?) between Jerusalem and Bethlehem and the Pharisee would travel to this slave, his possessions his home, that slave, possession home, that slave possession home, and he never was more than a kilometer away or a Sabbath’s days journey from where his possession was; that’s where his home is, and so by means of a tradition they broke a divine commandment.
There is a discussion in the Talmud that says… one rabbi said that the washing of the hands actually began with Hillel and Shammai, which were first century BC rabbis. But then they said well actually it came from Moses because all these laws came from Moses but people forgot what Moses said and Hillel and Shammai reconstructed this.
But to give you some idea just how strictly they took the issue of the washing of hands let me give you some of these rules that they went by. Rule number one, it’s better to have to walk four miles to water than to occur guilt by neglecting hand washing. In other words, if you want to eat this one small seed, even just a small seed, and the closest body of water was four miles away, take a hike. Don’t eat the thing until you wash your hands. Second law; one who neglects hand washing is as one is as bad as a murderer. Third quote: one who neglects hand washing is as he that went unto a prostitute. Fourth quote: to eat with unwashed hands is like eating non-kosher food, meaning not in accordance with the Mosaic dietary law. Number five: one who eats without washing hands is to be (?). Here’s one more, number 6: three sins bring poverty after them, one of which is neglecting hand washing. In other words, if you don’t want to die poor make sure you wash your hands before you eat. Growing up I thought my mother came up with this one but it turns out to be a bit older than she is.
But notice this new procedure since paragraph 61. In Mark 7:14, “He called to Him the multitude,” and speaking to the multitude He speaks a parable which no one understands, even the apostles don’t understand. So in verse 17, “And when He was entered into the house from the multitude, His disciples asked of Him the parable.” Notice that same procedure since paragraph 61, speaking publicly it’s always parabolically, nobody understands. The apostles don’t understand. When He’s alone with them He will begin to explain the meaning of these parables because for them the purpose will be to illustrate the truth.
Now Matthew is the one who deals with the consequences of the unpardonable sin in paragraph 61 so he adds some details that were not relevant to Mark’s audience. The disciples tell Jesus in Matthew 15:12 that the Pharisees were offended as to what He had to say. He points out three things about Pharisaism. Number one they are plants which are not planted by God, therefore they need to be uprooted. Secondly, the blind guides will lead the blind, and so thirdly both will fall into a pit, the pit will be the AD 70 destruction.
As to the meaning of the parable, notice that Mark’s account, Mark 1:17, spoke generally, the disciples asked Him what the meaning of the parable was. Matthew’s more specific, he points out in verse 15 Peter was the spokesman. Now keep in mind who is asking the questions and Peter answered and said, “Declare unto us the parable.” As He goes on to explain the parable He points out the question is this: where does defilement really begin? In the Pharisaic interpretation you were defiled only when you violated the rule. And in the Mosaic Law you could not have a ham on rye; and the Pharisaic interpretation was that you were not defiled until you ate that ham on rye, but He says no, the defilement begins earlier. Before a Jew under the Law decides to eat the ham on rye he will first of all make a decision to do so and once that decision was made inside, the defilement has begun, and the act of eating the sandwich is merely carrying out the intention of the defilement but it’s already there. And so defilement begins in the heart of man. And the external action is merely carrying out what was already in the heart. So He says at the end of Matthew 15:20, “these are the things which defile the man: but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.” This is Mishnaic, it is not Mosaic.
Now keep in mind it is Peter who asked the question. And although Peter asked the question and got an answer, he didn’t quite get the lesson just yet and later on in Acts 10 God will have to teach the same lesson to Peter all over again. And Mark makes it clear at the end of Mark 7:19, “This He said, making all meats clean,” that part of His mission would be to bring the Mosaic Law as a rule of life to an end. And so as a result it will cease to be the rule of life for the believer. And that will remove the differentials between what is edible and what is not edible.
G. The Reception in Tyre and Sidon
Paragraph 78 – Mark 7:24-30; Matthew 15:21-28
Now paragraph 78, the reception in Tyre and Sidon. Tyre and Sidon is the area of what is now Lebanon, north of Israel, always part of the Promised Land but that part of the Promised Land the Jewish people didn’t have in the past; they don’t have even to this day. So essentially He leaves Jewish territory and once again enters Gentile territory. And this is the same area, by the way, that Elijah went into after the brook dried up, he was sent to the widow at Zarephath and now Jesus enters the same territory. We already noticed in more than one paragraph previously that His reputation had already spread beyond the borders of the land into surrounding Gentile territory. And that sets the stage for the event that happens here. As much as He tried to be on the Q-T about His presence, as Mark points out, Mark 7:24, “He could not be hid.”
And one Gentile woman approaches Him. Now Mark refers to her in Mark 7:26 as “a Syrophoenician,” and Matthew points out in Matthew 15:22 that she was a Canaanitish; again some people see a contradiction here but it’s not that at all. The Canaanites were not just one tribe; there was different divisions and tribes among the Canaanites, at least ten different divisions we know of. And the Phoenicians were just one segment of the Canaanite peoples. So the Canaanite term is her general identity; Syrophoenician is more specifically.
In Matthew’s account, verse 22, she comes to Him and says, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, You son of David, my daughter is grievously vexed with a demon.” And because her daughter has been demonized this woman comes to Yeshua, to Jesus, asking for an intervention. But notice she’s asking on the basis of His Messianic character. She comes to Him and says on the basis of You being the son of David. But His Messianic character was intended only for Israel at this stage; Israel rejected His Messiahship; on that basis He could not respond to her. And so in Matthew 15:23 “He answered her not a word.” And when she kept on pressing for something He tells here in verse 24, “I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Again, you’re asking for a miracle based upon My Messianic character; my Messiahship was for Israel and Israel’s rejected Me so again, I can do nothing for you on that basis.
So now she changes her basis of a plea in Matthew 15:25 and she said, “Lord, help me.” Remember, He will respond to needs of individuals based upon faith. So now she changes the basis of her plea and makes it personal, “Lord, help me.” To make sure she learned a lesson He says in verse 26, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread and cast it to the dogs.” And the point of this little illustration is that it is not correct to give food intended for the children and give it to the dogs. In the covenantal aspect it’s not right to give to the Gentiles what God intended for the Jews.
And she responds in Matthew 15:27, “Yea, Lord: for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master’s table,” and the point she makes is she’s not asking that which rightfully belongs to Israel; she’s asking for that which was already intended to extend to the Gentiles. And indeed there were part of the covenantal promises the Gentiles will benefit from, His Messianic program, made as early as Genesis 12:3 when the Abrahamic Covenant, for God says in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed. She’s not asking to be given what rightfully belongs to Israel, she’s merely asking for that which was to extend beyond Israel.
Now the word “dog” here is sometimes used as being negative because of the way it’s been translated and therefore why is He referring to Gentiles as dogs. But the Greek word actually means puppies, (that means you Gentiles are cute). It means puppies, so it’s not referring to mangy dogs that eat of the garbage piles, it’s the puppies that stay in the home and simply eat the food that falls off the table. And so in the Greek it’s a bit more positive than the English might imply.
So she’s stated her personal need and by her response it shows that she has faith which He affirms in Matthew 15:28, “O woman, great is your faith;” and as a result her daughter was healed at that very moment.
H. The Reception in Decapolis
Paragraph 79 – Mark 7:31-8-9; Matthew 15:29-38
Now paragraph 79, the reception in Decapolis. He now goes into a territory He had previously been in when He cast out the legion of demons. At that point He was asked to leave because of what happened with the herd of swine. Mark specifies He’s in the Decapolis area and again this was a union of ten Gentile Greek speaking cities. So it’s Gentile territory but each of these cities had a small Jewish population. And in Mark’s account “they bring one unto him that was deaf and had an impediment in his speech.” And of course they’re asking for a healing; apparently this was a Jew from the area in Decapolis, a part of the small Jewish community. But again He does not perform miracles for the sake of the public, especially in a Jewish audience, so Mark 31:33 notice it says “He took him aside from the multitude privately,” notice how often this happens since paragraph 61, because the work was not for the public eye.
And the method He used on this occasion is a bit unique. He stuck His fingers into the ears of the man, and that would handle his deafness; He then spat and put his finger on the tongue which will deal with his dumbness. And then He looked up to the Father for the healing which occurs, and He commands the healing to take place. And once the healing occurs notice the new policy in force in Mark 7:36, “He charged him he should tell no man,” but again disobedience, “but the more He charged them, so much the more a great deal was published.”
Now as the news spreads that He’s back, once again a great multitude gathers but being Decapolis this would be a Gentile audience. While there are points of similarities with the feeding of the 5,000 there are crucial points of differences; the 5,000 was a Jewish audience; the 4,000 is Gentile audience. The 5,000 was within the borders of the land; the 4,000 is outside the borders of the land, inside Gentile territory.
Once again there is a going conversation with the disciples because of the lessons that they have to learn. We have the second feeding of the multitude and Mark mentions in Mark 8:9 there are about 4,000; and Matthew specifies the 4,000 in Matthew 15:38 only counts the men, the group was actually much larger because the 4,000 figure didn’t enumerate the women and children.
I. The Rejection in Magadan
Paragraph 80 – Mark 8:10-12; Matthew 15:39-16:4
Now paragraph 80 we come to the rejection in Magadan; He now crosses back into the Jewish side of the lake. And in Matthew 15:39 He comes to “the borders of Magadan.” But Mark says in Mark 8:10 “into the parts of Dalmanutha.” Well, Dalmanutha was simply the port of Magadan. The town of Magadan was found inland and so Dalmanutha was the port on the Sea of Galilee for Magadan.
And in Matthew 16:1 “The Pharisees and Sadducees came, tempting Him, asking Him to show them a sign from heaven.” But notice how specific they are; why don’t You give us a sign from heaven, because when He does provide signs for them previously they ascribed it to Beelzebub. So what miracle He might perform at this stage they’ll simply say well, it wasn’t really a heavenly one, it was a demonic one. But since paragraph 61 He’s not providing signs for them any more. So the answer we saw in paragraph 62 we see again here. He points out that for the nation there will be no more signs except one sign, the sign of Jonah, the sign of resurrection.
And notice again the focus on this specific generation in Matthew 16:4, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the Jonah. And He left them, and departed.” After paragraph 61 that’s His answer for the request of signs: for the nation there will be no more signs except one sign, the sign of Jonah, the sign of resurrection, and again the sign will come three different times as we will see. First of all will be the resurrection of Lazarus; secondly that of Jesus, and then thirdly of the two witnesses in Revelation 11.
J. The Warning Against Rejection
Paragraph 81 – Mark 8:13-26; Matthew 16:5-12
Now in paragraph 81 we come to the warning against rejection and now He warns them against three types of leavens. Now again leaven when it’s used symbolically it’s always a symbol of sin but in Matthew’s Gospel a specific type of sin, the sin of false teaching, false doctrine. But He warns them against three types of leavens: the leaven of the Pharisees; the leaven of the Sadducees, and the leaven of the Herodians. Each of these three different groups had their own false teachings about the person of Jesus.
The leaven of the Pharisees is that He is Yeshua, Jesus is demon possessed, not by any demon but by the prince of demons, that’s how come He can do the special miracles that He does. The leaven of the Sadducees is He’s against the temple service; it probably arises from the fact that His first public Passover He overthrew the moneychangers table and selling the sacrifices and the temple service was under Sadducee control. And thirdly, the leaven of the Herodians, which were teaching that He is against Roman rule through the house of Herod. And while the Pharisees were opposed to Roman rule of any form the Herodians were willing to accept Roman rule if it came through the house of Herod and this would be their false teaching about Him.
Here again they do not perceive what He is saying. And they think that they’re being scolded because of the failure to bring bread aboard the ship. But He reminds them of how many leftovers they had with the feeding of the five thousand and leftovers with the feeding of the four thousand. And the point is they should not be concerned about the necessary essentials of life; these things He will provide for them. What they should be concerned about is the various false teachings being spread about Him by these three different groups.
Now in Mark’s account in Mark 8:22 He comes to Bethsaida, again a Jewish city, one of the three cities He did the majority of His miracles in, and they bring a blind man to Him to have him healed.
Notice again the matter of privacy, away from the multitude. Verse 23, “He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. And these small phrases begin to make sense once you notice how turning point paragraph 61 was. And the procedure is He spit into the eyes of the man, as a result the man receives… He lays hands on him and the man receives partial sight, meaning some sight was restored but things are very blurry, he sees people as trees walking. And then He again prays for him, and then the person receives his full sight. And notice the new policy in Mark 8:26, “He sent him away to his home, saying, Do not even enter into the village.” And none of this happened before paragraph 61; that was the turning point.
Now this is the only miracle he performs in two separate stages; there’s first of all a partial removal of the blindness but the vision is not clear, and then we have a full removal of the blindness and he sees quite clearly. And this has both application for the disciples and for Israel; in the immediate context the permanent application happens to be upon the disciples, the apostles. At this point they have partial sight, as we’ll see in paragraph 82; they have partial sight because they understand who Messiah is. But in paragraph 83 we’ll see they don’t quite see clearly and do not yet understand the program of death and resurrection. And so at this point they have partial sight but they still see things blurry; at Pentecost they’ll finally have full comprehension. Then they’ll have full enlightenment that will come with the Holy Spirit.
It also has in a wider context direct application to Israel because as a result of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah back in paragraph 61, according as Paul writes in Romans 11:25-27, a partial blindness has now fallen upon Israel but it’s a partial blindness, a partial hardening and because it’s partial there will always be Jews coming to faith. But then when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in the whole nation will come to faith, then they’ll finally have full national sight.
K. The Confession of Peter
Paragraph 82 – Mark 8:27-30; Matthew 16:13-20; Luke 9:18-21
So we come to paragraph 82, the confession of Peter, he who shall (?) see partial sight. Once again He goes outside of Jewish territory into the place of, Mark 8:27, to Caesarea Philippi. Now Caesarea Philippi sits at the foot of the highest mountain in the Holy Land, Mount Hermon. Mount Hermon that has three separate peaks, the highest peak is 9,000 feet high. The city is built against a huge massive cliff rock; geography is important to understand what He is saying. The city was built against a cliff rock and has a massive cliff rock that overshadows the town of Caesarea Philippi.
Now if you look at the side of the cliff you’ll notice there’s a cave if you’ve been there, and up until about the last century a river would bust through that cave; you don’t see that happening today because of an earthquake in the last century, the river now flows out from the right side of the cave, but in biblical times, up until the last century the water bust out of that cave. As it bust out it broke down small stones; as you look at the river, now called the Banys, B-a-n-y-s, one of the four sources of the Jordan River, as you look at the Banys River you’ll see it’s filled with these small stones that have been cut off from the cave when the river busted forth from the cave. That’s the geography that will play a role here.
Now in paragraph 81 he warns them against three types of leaven; now in paragraph 82 He will test them to see how well they learned the lesson. This examination has two questions; the first question is in Matthew 16:13, “Who do men say the Son of man is?” Who are people saying that I am out there? And the disciples answered pointing out there is no uniform opinion; some were saying He’s John the Baptist that was raised from the dead, some say He’s Elijah, the weeping prophet, some identify Him as Jeremiah, he’s the more weeping prophet, and others will have a fourth view, He’s one of the other prophets that they do not name. What is obvious from these various views, they recognize something supernatural about Him; they recognize the supernatural character but they fail to recognize Him for who He exactly claims to be, the Messianic King, the Messiah Himself.
Then He came to the second question in Matthew 16:15, “But who do you say that I am?” And the Greek, by the way, is a bit more emphatic. The Greek says “But you, who do you say that I am?” “But you, who do you say that I am,” in contrast to what everybody else was saying who do you say that I am. And Peter responding on behalf of the group says in verse 16, “You are the Christ,” the Messiah, “the Son of the living God.” Here again the Greek is a bit more emphatic. The way the Greek reads is something like this: “You are The Messiah, The Son of The God, The living One.” And the answer is correct and it shows they passed the test and heeded the warning of paragraph 81.
And now Jesus has some things to say to Peter. First of all, what he has just said at the end of Matthew 16:17 is not a result of human logic, it’s a result of divine illumination. And it was illuminated to Peter to give the right answer. The second thing He says is in verse 18, “And I say unto thee, thou art Peter, upon this rock I will build My church,” the first time you have the Church mentioned. Now in the Gospels, the Church is mentioned only twice and both times only by Matthew’s Gospel, because again Matthew is the one who traces the consequences of the unpardonable sin of paragraph 61, when the consequences, the new entity to come into being, which would be the Church, the (?), the ekklesia.
Now this is a very important verse in Roman Catholicism because they claim that Peter is the rock upon which the Church is built; Peter was the first Pope and because there’s always been a continuous line of papal succession the Catholic Church is the only true church and the only valid interpreter of what the Bible says; they produced the Bible and only they can interpret the Bible. Now when they say this about Matthew, and Matthew alone records these events and these sayings, they are accusing Matthew of not having correct knowledge of simple Greek grammar.
Now in Greek the word Peter is petros; petros means a small stone, a small pebble. He says you are a petros, you are a pebble, you are a small stone just like all these stones in the river where they happen to be at this moment of time. The word petra is a massive cliff rock, like the petra, the massive rock that overshadowed the city of Caesarea Philippi. Now petros is a masculine singular noun, and petra is a feminine singular noun. And the basic rules of Greek grammar is this: a masculine modifies a masculine; a feminine modifies a feminine and a neuter modifies a neuter. And the fact that petros is a singular noun and petros is a masculine singular noun and petra is a feminine singular noun it teaches that the rock cannot be Peter; he’s showing a contrast.
Now obviously He was speaking Hebrew and not Greek but there are Hebrew equivalents; the word for petros in the Hebrew is evan(?), not even but evan(?), and the word for massive cliff rock is sella(?). He says you are petros, you are a small stone, a pebble, now from the massive cliff rock out of which I was broken off I will build My church, and the rock upon which the Church is built is not Peter but upon Peter’s confession, “You are The Messiah, The Son of The God, The living One.” Upon the fact of the Messiahship of Yeshua, the Messiahship of Jesus the Church, the ekklesia, the (?) is going to be built.
And this is consistent with the Old Testament background because when the word “rock” is used symbolically in the Old Testament it symbolizes the Messiah. So it’s in keeping with a common traditional teaching of the Old Testament already. And so a new entity will come into being, the church upon which He will build.
The third thing He says to Peter, “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The phrase, “gates of Hades” is a phrase from the Old Testament that refers to physical death. Let me give you some examples to mark down. Psalm 9:13; Psalm 107:18; Jonah 2:6; Job 38:17; Isaiah 28:10, there are many other examples as well. And the point is the physical death will not destroy the Church, either His own or the death of the apostles and many saints thereafter. And in fact the more the Church is severely persecuted the more pure it remains and the more it grows.
Then He makes a fourth point, “I will give unto you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.” As we talked about the Kingdom program we noted that the Church is part of the Kingdom program; and that’s the context here; He’s dealing with the Church facet of the Kingdom program and He gives to Peter the keys of the kingdom. And the purpose of the keys is the keys are the symbol of authority, as in Isaiah 22:20-24, a symbol of authority to open or to close.
So He gives to Peter the keys of the Kingdom for the purpose of opening the door. And therefore Peter has to have a specific role in opening the door for the ethnic groups of that day. While in the Old Testament you read of only two ethnic groups, Jews and Gentiles; in New Testament times you have three ethnic groups, Jews, Samaritans and Gentiles. And Peter will be the one responsible to open all three doors. And once he opens the door for a specific ethnic group it will stay open from that point on. In Acts 2 he opens the door for the Jews and once he opened the door for the Jews it stayed open. And from that point on the moment a Jew believed he was baptized by the Spirit and entered into the ekklesia, into the body of the Messiah.
In Acts 8 it is Philip who goes into Samaria, he preaches the gospel to the Samaritans and many Samaritans believed but none are baptized by the Spirit into the body of the Messiah, because while Philip had the gospel he did not have the keys of the kingdom, so while the Samaritans experienced a regeneration work of the Spirit and were born again they did not experience the baptism of the Spirit and not placed into the body of the Messiah. So the church at Jerusalem sends Peter up to Samaria and by laying on of hands of the Samaritans, by Peter’s hands, they are baptized by the Spirit so in chapter 8 of Acts the door is opened for the Samaritans by Peter. From that point on it stayed open; from that point on the moment a Samaritan believed he was baptized by the Spirit into the body.
In Acts 9 God saves Paul and commissions Paul to be the apostle of the Gentiles but Paul does not have the keys either. So in Acts 10 who does God send to the home of Cornelius? Not Paul but Peter, and by means of Peter the Gentiles are brought into the body, and once he opened the door for the Gentiles it stayed open for the Gentiles. From that moment, the moment a Gentile believed he was baptized by the Spirit into the body and that opened the door for Paul’s evangelism under the Gentiles, but Peter had to be the one to open the door. So the key is given to Peter in Matthew 16:19 it’s fulfilled in the fact he will open the three doors in the book of Acts: Acts 2, Acts 8, Acts 10.
Now the fifth point He makes to Peter is at the end of Matthew 16:19, “whatsoever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatsoever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This has been pulled out of context and made to teach a principle of the spiritual warfare. So you find people going around binding Satan everywhere. And apparently somebody follows these people and looses them because they have to keep re-binding him, and they go around doing various elements, they bind him, they rebuke him, they march around him seven times. But that’s not what it’s referring to; this is not in the context of Satan here.
But the phrase binding and loosing has specific Jewish meanings of that day. Now the Hebrew word is (?) which means to bind, and a second Hebrew word is (?) which means to loose. It was used in two different senses; first of all, in a judicial sense and secondly in a legislative sense. In a judicial sense a (?) meant to punish, to bind meant to punish, and in a legislative sense to bind meant to forbid. (?) to loose in a judicial sense meant not to punish; in a legislative sense it meant to permit. And so the very thing that the Pharisees claim for themselves to have the authority to permit things formally forbidden, to permit things formerly permitted, authority though was not given to the Pharisees, it was given to Peter here.
And this one point later on will be extended to all the apostles as well after His resurrection. But for now only Peter is given this authority. He allows things, he permits things normally forbidden; he forbids things formerly permitted, which we see later on in the epistles. The apostles permit things formerly forbidden; they forbid things formerly permitted. That is the legislative sense. In a judicial sense you find Peter using it in the case of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5, they lied to the Holy Spirit, he passes a death sentence, they drop dead at his feet for lying to the Holy Spirit. That’s the only example in the Bible of being slain by the Spirit and they’re dead.
Let me give you some examples from rabbinic writings; there are many examples, I’ll give you just three, how they use the words bind and loose. First quote: “During the war of Vespasian they bound garlands of bridegrooms and the playing of bells at weddings” and so since that year, AD 70 they no longer do things in Jewish weddings, it was bound, meaning forbidden. “During the (?) they bound the garlands of brides that no one should teach his son Greek,” and so teaching Greek was now forbidden. “During the last war,” meaning the Bar Kokhba war, “they bound driving about the village in their (?) for brides,” a woman on her wedding was carried on a (?) to the wedding place and that was now bound, meaning forbidden.
Second quote: “If a person made a vow to abstain from milk he’s loosed to eat whey. And if a person makes a vow to abstain from meat he is loosed to eat broth,” meaning the water in which the meat was cooked, in other words, he’s permitted to partake of something that he’s specifically vowed not to partake. “If a person makes a vow to abstain from wine he is loosed to partake of dishes that has the taste of wine,” they cannot drink wine straight any more because of his vow; he can taste the things that were cooked with wine.
One more quote: “If a person sold produce and Syrian (?) said it is from the land of Israel, tithes must be paid on it; if you said it is already tithed he may be believed since the mouth that’s bound is the mouth that’s loosed,” the mouth that bound forbade something (?) else the bound that’s loosed along to permit it. So the binding of things is a very common terminology used in the Jewish writings of this period. There are many more examples, by the way.
Now as far as the Church is concerned, though the Church does not have the authority to bind and loose in the legislative sense; no church has the authority to make up new rules and regulations beyond those in Scripture, no more than the Pharisees did. In the judicial sense the Church has limited authority that will come up in a later paragraph, in that they can punish the point of excommunication; they cannot execute the way the apostles did; they cannot execute, they are permitted to carry it out to the point of excommunication. And we’ll see that later in the evening.
L. Instruction Concerning the Death of the King
Paragraph 83 – Mark 8:31-37; Matthew 16:21-26; Luke 9:22-25
Again, paragraph 82 was the picture of partial sight; now we come to paragraph 83, here we see partial blindness. And Peter’s confession in paragraph 82 now begins a new element of teaching about a topic he has not been opened to before, His teaching about death. Notice Matthew 16:21, “From that time,” … “From that time,” from what time? From the time that the event that just took place in paragraph 82, “From that time began Jesus to show unto His disciples,” and He points out at this point four basic things. Here you have the first teaching about the program of death and resurrection; altogether as we’ll see in the record of the Gospels there will be four different times He teaches the program of death and resurrection. (?) nobody gets more and more detailed as time goes on the disciples do not catch what He is saying and when it finally happens it catches them by surprise.
At this point He makes four simple points. First of all, He has to go to Jerusalem. All they know there are people there trying to find a way to kill Him, He must go to Jerusalem. Secondly, He will suffer at the hands of Jewish leaders. And Mark adds in Mark 8:31 He “will be rejected by the elders,” and Matthew 16:21, suffer at their hands. He will be rejected and will suffer at the hands of the leaders. Thirdly, He will “be killed,” he will die. Then fourthly, He will be raised from the dead.
Notice the difference in terminology for now; I’ll come back to this next weekend, but at the end of Mark 8:31, “after three days rise again.” Matthew 16:21 at end of verse 21, “the third day,” not “after three days” but on “the third day” He’ll be raised up and Luke says the same thing. Just keep those differences in mind; we’ll come back to it next weekend.
Now Peter, who was so gallantly the one to pass the test in paragraph 82 notice he now fails it in paragraph 83. Matthew 16:22 says, “And Peter took Him, and began to rebuke Him,” the word “rebuke” is a very strong word in Greek; it means to reprove, to censure, to prevent an action from happening even by physical restraint. To prevent an action from happening even by physical restraint. Notice Peter rebukes the Messiah. Now in the previous paragraph he said You are the Messiah, the Son of The God, The living One, and now Peter rebukes The Messiah, The Son of The God, The living One. Who goes around rebuking the Son of God? Only Peter.
He goes on to say, “Be it far from Thee, Lord,” he calls Him Lord so you’d think there’d be an attitude of submissiveness but he goes on to contradict what Jesus just said and says “this shall never be unto You.” This is never going to happen to You, it’s just not going to be true. Now the issue is addressed to Peter in Matthew 16:23, “Get you behind Me, Satan,” now Jesus did not have a memory lapse and forgot Peter’s name. But what Peter just said shows he was influenced by Satan because the last thing that Satan wants is Jews to die at the proper time in the proper way. He wants to see Jews dead; he wants them to die at the wrong time in the wrong way or not at all. And what Peter is saying here and trying to reprove Yeshua from even considering the possibility of dying, he’s doing Satan’s work. And so it sounds good, oh, this won’t happen to You, You’ll live forever, it’s a fallacy; he’s doing Satan’s work.
At this point Jesus teaches them some principles of discipleship; there’s a difference between salvation and discipleship. The only thing we have to do for salvation is to believe the gospel and the gospel is now defined by 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: number one, He died for our sins; secondly, He was buried, and the evidence of His death and thirdly He rose again on the third day. That’s all we have to believe and trust our salvation.
But discipleship requires a lot more. And the first thing He says in Matthew 16:24, “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.” The first thing we have to know, we need to identify with His rejection, to take up the cross, to identify with His rejection. Secondly, failure to do so for the sake of saving life will mean to lose it; failure to do so for the sake of saving life will mean to lose it. But thirdly, to do so will mean finding life; to do so will mean finding life. They should do this for two reasons: first of all, safety; secondly, true riches, not in the physical sense, but spiritual safety and spiritual riches is what’s guaranteed for those who follow through.
M. Instruction Concerning the Kingdom
1. The Promise of Revelation
Paragraph 84 – Mark 8:38-39; Matthew 16:27-28; Luke 9:26-27
Let’s take one more paragraph; it’s short, before our break. Paragraphs 84-85 is a unit together dealing with the instruction concerning the Kingdom. And paragraph 84 is the promise of revelation. The first point He makes here is the issue for that generation. Mark 8:38, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when He comes in the glory of His Father,” and notice the focus on that specific generation; it’s been since paragraph 61. And so those who are ashamed of Him now will find Him ashamed of them at the time of the return.
But He makes a promise and the promise is that there are some standing right there, among Him, that will not die till they see the glory the Son of Man will have in the Kingdom. They will not die till they see the glory He will have in the Kingdom. And they’ll see it coming with power. And the promise made in paragraph 84 will be fulfilled in paragraph 85.