Feast of Unleavened Bread

During this Feast of Unleavened Bread, I have naturally been reflecting on the life, death and resurrection of Yeshua. Whether you believe His ministry spanned 3-1/2 years or you believe it was a year, consider a question that came to my mind: “if you knew your life was ending in a short period of time, would you want your children to learn as much as they could from you? If you had vital information that could change the lives of millions of people for the better, would you be careful to share it?” I am guessing you answered “yes” to both questions. This led me to realize I needed to spend more time reading the Words in red. Not just read the words, but to digest and commit to my heart every word Yeshua said. Darrel and I have spent some time over the last couple of days reading, looking up references, and absorbing Matthew chapter 5. Many of you know this as the Beatitudes.
What drew me to study it so carefully were Yeshua’s words in Matthew 7:24-28. “Therefore, whosoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended and the floods came and the winds blew and beat upon that house and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock; And everyone that hears these sayings of mine, and does them NOT shall be likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand; And the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house and it fell; and great was the fall of it. And it came to pass when Yeshua had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine.”
I have heard it taught that we build our houses on the Rock and we all assume if we simply believe in the Messiah, we have built on the rock. However, Yeshua Himself said we must hear what He said and do it. To find out what was included in “these sayings” I had to back up to chapter 5. The text in chapters 5-7 contain these sayings. I want to summarize chapter 5 with the understanding I have at this moment-both so I can remember and reference, and also to share with you, my brethren.
It occurred to me that the chapter is constructed in the same way as the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy chapter 28. Also important is the fact Yeshua spoke this to His disciples after the crowds had left. This was for their ears, and for the ears of His disciples throughout the ages. Its for you and for me.
V3: When you realize that you are at the end of your rope (MSG bible) that is when Yah loves to show up. We need only acknowledge our Yah sufficiency!
V5: the correct interpretation for “meek” is “humble.” “Moses was the most humble person in all the world (Numbers 12:3) We have a negative connotation in our society for being humble. This humility was not weakness-especially considering that Moses went before Pharoah with bad news numerous times! Rather, his humility allowed Moses to be used mightily by Yah. He wrote the Torah as Yah gave him instructions for our lives today. Moses knew he was nothing without Yah-true humility. Moses never built himself up but was a good shepherd of Israel beyond his own comfort level.
V8: This verse reminded me of Psalm 24. “Who can ascend into the mountain of Yah? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart.” Do I have clean hands and a pure heart? Do you? Yeshua promises us that if we do, we shall see Yah.
V13: I understood being the salt of the earth. Question: Can salt lose its saltiness? I googled it. The answer is yes and no… There is only one way salt loses its flavor. Dilution! If you dilute it enough, the saltiness become undetectable. Apply this principle back to Yeshua’s words and realize that we can become diluted by the things of this world. V14 is a continuation of this thought. We are to be a light-shining bright and pure before the world, that men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven. What good works? The good works produced by Torah. Reading on brings us to this conclusion.
V17-20: Yeshua makes it clear His purpose is not to destroy the Torah OR THE PROPHETS. Why do people say Torah no longer applies but I have never heard anyone say the prophets are old covenant? Yeshua made sure to include both in the same sentence. In V19, He goes on to say not one Yod or tittle will change until heaven and earth pass away. He bypassed His crucifixion as being a point in time, didn’t He? Why did He use a yod and tittle? In Hebrew, these are the smallest of punctuation marks. It was comparison to let the reader understand that it isn’t just the “Big 10” of the commandments He was referring to. No, He meant down to the very last, seemingly-inconsequential of them. Until WHEN? His resurrection? NO! Until all be fulfilled at the time heaven and earth pass away. (The New Jerusalem). We aren’t there yet, are we? Therefore, all the Torah is still for today. All the prophets are still valid. V19: Yeshua goes on to let us know that our willingness to be obedient children will rank us in the coming Kingdom. Want to be least in that Kingdom? Break one of these small Torah commandments or tell someone else they don’t have to keep Torah. To be great (megas-high, mighty, strong) you need to keep the Torah and teach others to do the same.
V20: Our righteousness must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees to enter the Kingdom to come. It was well known at the time, and Yeshua references it many times in the Gospels, that the Pharisees kept the law to the minimum of their ability. They boasted and were prideful. They were the false teachers of their day. They had no heart in what they were doing. They twisted the Torah for their own benefit. They used their positions of power to put heavy burdens of extra rules on the common folk to make themselves look better. Yeshua explains it this way in Matthew chapter 23: “For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne and lay them on men’s shoulders;” Reading on, Yeshua describes the Pharisee activity in greater detail.
V21-46: Yeshua is touching on some points in Torah here. Reading Matthew 23:2-3 is a good starting point for reading the rest of chapter 5. When He says the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat and we should do what “he” bid, but don’t do what the Pharisees themselves do; he had a point. “Sitting in Moses’ seat” was an idiom for the reading of the Torah on Sabbath. Many people of that era had to come hear the Torah and Prophets read, because they did not have access to a scroll themselves. It was the only way they had to know what Yah’s heart was. Yeshua was telling His disciples (and us) to listen and obey the Torah as outlined by Moses, but do not add to it any heavy burden of the Pharisees’ rules.
Every point Yeshua makes from V21-46 is in Torah. Yet, He magnifies our obligation for obedience. He is telling us not to stop with the requirements of Torah but to go over and beyond those requirements! Wow! Torah is not abolished, we are being held accountable to a higher standard for obedience.
How exciting! It is the epitome of the spirit of Torah and the letter of Torah. Lofty standards and, yet, not impossible. Kingdom principles. Where do we find the grace, the stamina and the “want-to” (thank you to Gary Simons for coining this phrase) for this level of obedience? It’s a matter of circumcision. Circumcision of the heart. It’s a matter of the Kingdom of heaven being so real, this world and the things in it fade to the background. The question I found the Spirit asking me was this: “What pleasure is there on this earth worth trading for The Kingdom?” I submit the same question to you.
Let me close with this thought: Wasn’t trading the kingdom for earthly pleasure what satan tried to get Yeshua to do in Matthew 4?

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