“You have heard” and “I say unto you” Message 2

In message one we covered Matthew 5: 21-47 in order to demonstrate that to fully understand scripture we must look for the concept and not just look at the particular. From our text, I will now explore how Yahshua revealed the concepts in the statements he addressed in this passage.

First, we will look at the commandment “Thou shalt not murder.” If you look at the particular, you might go through all of life and never know you have committed this sin giving a false impression of righteousness. Yahshua said the following: “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” What does Yahshua mean by this statement? If we are not commanded to understand the spiritual element of the commandments and have only to obey a list of particulars then many of us might be able to claim righteousness in the observance of the letter of the Law. Many committed believers love G-d with all their heart and hold Him sovereign as creator and master. They do not murder, commit adultery, give false witness, desecrate Shabbat, they honor their parents, they do not steal or envy the good fortune of our neighbors and so on, but when we examine the concept behind the particular it is a far different story. When addressing this commandment of the Decalogue, Yahshua made these remarks: “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou Shalt not murder and whosoever shall murder shall be in danger of the judgment.” You ask what’s wrong with this, after all it’s written in Scripture. The Law says thou shalt not murder; but that does not just mean: Thou shalt not commit murder” for to define it is such a way is to imagine that we escape it. In fact, we may be guilty in a most grievous manner of breaking this commandment without ever having taken a life. Yahshua proceeds to explain that this commandment includes not only physical murder, but also causeless anger in our heart against our brother. Gossip and character assignation are in the same category for it kills. Yahshua here is adding the spiritual content, the concept behind the particular Law. We, in the spirit of this Law have nursed thoughts about a person that is as foul as murder and most of us are guilty of killing someone by character assignation either willingly or indirectly by carrying gossip even if it is true. We are forbidden to do it for it is likened to murder. Then there are other ways of destroying someone short of murder and Yahshua addresses this when he says do not say of others “Raca” (a term of utter vilification “worthless”). We can destroy a man’s reputation, we can shake someone else’s confidence in him by whispering criticisms or by deliberate fault finding. “Thou shalt not kill (murder),” does not mean only destroying life physically, it means even more the trying to destroy the spirit and soul, destroying the person in any shape or form. Yahshua makes a third point; “But whoso ever shall say, thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.” This means an expression of vilification, of abuse. It means the bitterness and hatred in ones heart, finding its way into words. It does not mean the “word” itself but the emotion informing the word. Yahshua points out to us in these examples that the commandment is not only about the particular but also more pointedly about the concept that the particular springs from. Here we are confronted not only with an actual murder, but also with all that is within our hearts, feelings, and sensibilities, and ultimately our spirit, that is regarded by G-d as murder.

We now are at the passage where Yahshua addresses adultery. You have heard it said by them of old time, “thou shalt not commit adultery,” but I say unto you, “That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Here again those that only understand the letter of the Law: “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” without seeing the concept supporting it, have reduced it to one particular matter, and therefore nullified it. They have forgotten the whole spirit of the Law. Sha’ul tells us that “The letter killeth but the spirit giveth life. These who see the letter only, say in effect, “As long as you do not commit adultery you have kept the law,” but, Yahshua disagrees and points out the concept, the spiritual element of the Law where even harboring lustful thoughts is sin. When we see only the letter of the law and not the concept it is built upon, we do not see the exceeding sinfulness of sin. If we do not see the concepts behind these commandments, we do not see the doctrine of sin. Today’s religious leaders fail to recognize the doctrine of sin because they do not see the concept behind the teaching. That is why churches are in such sad shape because failing to evangelize by first teaching the Law, and the doctrine of sin instead teaching profession only. Conversion means nothing, if you do not have a meaningful understanding of sin. Not just the particular, but also the concept behind the particular because without that you do not have an inclusive picture of the mortification of sin. Yahshua in His Sermon teaches us that the conception of holiness and the sanctified life, which would regard it as a matter of our physical being, is more than the particulars we read in the Scriptures. Moreover, we are not left with guessing what the concept is for the particulars are commented upon thoroughly in other biblical citations. We but just have to find them and intelligently apply them to arrive at the concept being taught. Then we will realize the nature of sin and all its consequences.

Commentators on the Sermon on the Mount most often avoid Yahshua’s teaching on divorce. We cannot study some parts of Scripture and avoid the rest for that is sin. It is moral relativism, taking what we are comfortable with and disposing or ignoring the rest. In this section, Yahshua again employs the formula “you have heard it said…but I say unto you.” It is in this section that He is explaining the Kingdom relationship to the Law of G-d. He even emphasized the importance of the Law by saying: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Bearing all this in mind, we need to look at what the Mosaic Law in Deuteronomy 24: 1-4 portends. The first thing we notice is that Moshe did not mention adultery in the matter of divorce. We have to remember that anyone taken to be an adulterer was stoned to death. Therefore, we need to keep this principle in mind. The Mosaic Law laid down divorce in three main principles. It was permitted when there was some natural, moral or physical defect discovered in a wife. Frivolous reasons were to be eliminated by this Law. It also required a judicial process unlike earlier times, and forbade a man from remarrying a former wife. The concept here is that marriage is not something you can walk in and out of at will. Many of the Pharisees and scribes saw the particular as getting a divorce for any reason was acceptable, and missed the concept that the Law of Moshe pertaining to divorce was designed to limit divorce because it was a holy institution and not to be entered into lightly. Now to the main heading what does Yahshua say about this matter of divorce? “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” If we consult Mathew 19: 3-9 we are more informed on this subject, because it is a fuller explication of what Yahshua puts in summarized form. The Pharisees and scribes had come to Him to trap Him and asked “is it lawful for a man to put his wife away for every cause?” They themselves were actually sanctioning this view of the commandment and the particular and not the spiritual concept supporting it. Yahshua answered them emphasizing the sanctity of marriage. Divorce was permissible only for the cause of fornication. Now, look in 1 Corinthians, chapter 6, where Sha’ul warns us about becoming one with the flesh of a harlot. A harlot or prostitute is a symbol of false religion, false worship. Are we to be united with a harlot, obviously not! If a person is a harlot meaning an unbeliever, then that person according to the Torah is the “living dead.” The point here however is that Yahshua is saying the only cause for divorce is fornication. The particular = physical fornication or adultery, but the obvious is that physical adultery was judiciously handled by stoning to death and divorce was not necessary, so the fornication spoken of here, the concept supporting the particular obviously informs of us more than what the particular infers. It is spiritual fornication, serving anything other than the Living G-d. If a believer is yoked with an unbeliever, “the living dead,” who is a spiritual adulterer than the concept behind the particular “except for fornication” informs us that divorce is permissible when yoked to an unbeliever who will not repent and come to the One True G-d. G-d’s Marriage is echad, one flesh, one focus, one direction, and we are to be set-apart from all ungodliness, even a partner who denies the sovereignty and headship of YHVH Elohim.

Now a quick summarization on Yahshua’s teaching about taking oaths. If you read the scripture addressed, Mat 5:33, and I will read it for you: “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear to (commit perjury) thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:” you will not find those exact words anywhere in the Torah, which is to say Yahshua was not dealing with the Mosaic Law per se but the false interpretation of it. The Mosaic Law was intended to restrict oath taking to serious important matters. To the Pharisees and scribes their interpretation meant you could take all kinds of oaths to do all sorts of things and cancel them later, but as long as you never committed perjury, you were not guilty before the law. Yahshua however says: Mat 5:34 “But I say unto you, swear not at all…” We see here that Yahshua addresses the concept, not the particular of perjury, but that of taking spurious oaths and thereby bridling man’s propensity to lie to lend credibility to the lie by backing it up with an oath. The issue here is not that of taking an oath in a law court for if that were so then like the Quakers we would refuse to take an oath in any venue based on Yahshua’s words. “Swear not at all.” The Ten Commandments warns us not to testify falsely in judicial proceedings presupposing that we may be called on to testify in such, so this is a good example of a group of people taking something out of context without considering the whole Torah. So, what is the concept we are dealing with here? Simply, we are to reserve oaths for serious matters and not to take them unthinkingly and insincerely. The second thing is that is that we do not use the Name of YHVH in a careless way and this means not taking oaths in the name of YHVH or even by His creation but to affirm our oaths simply with an affirmation of truth. Amein