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Matthew 21:12-14 – From a den of thieves to a house of prayer

In Jesus time we could already find temples where money was handled. Those who wanted to exchange money could go for that to the temple. Though God had not let build temples for worldly actions like exchanging money, selling and buying.

“12  And Jesus entered the temple and cast out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He *said to them, “It is written, ’MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 14 And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” (Mt 21:12-14 NAS)

John’s Gospel records a similar cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry (John 2:13–17).

“13 And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”” (Joh 2:13-17 NAS)

Because being around the same festival (the passover – 14-22 Nisan) both writers could have been writing about the same event. But it can well be that John spoke of an earlier incident. It is commonly supposed that Jesus observed three Passovers in Jerusalem  — one recorded in Luke 6:, another in John 6:4, and the last one on the night before he was crucified, John 11:55. By John we also find Jesus who went up to Jerusalem and found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.

John also says something about the temperament of Jesus. Jesus was not at all pleased with what went on in what should be a House of God. Annoyed with what he saw, Jesus in a burst of rage, made a scourge of cords, and cast all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables and the seats of them that sold the doves. For Jesus it was clear that a Temple for God should not be a house of merchandise. His disciples also remembered that it was written,

“For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.” (Ps 69:9 NAS)

Interpreters have proposed two explanations:

(1) there was only one cleansing, but John narrated the action at the beginning for thematic/theological purposes, while the Synoptic Gospels narrate the actual historical chronology;

(2) there were indeed two similar but distinctly different temple cleansings. The differences of detail seem to indicate the latter, for while the initial action is similar, Jesus’ statement (Matt. 21:13) and the challenge from the Jewish leaders (vv. 15–16) are entirely different from what John records.
In addition, John places the event so early in his Gospel that it would be difficult to think he wanted readers to take it as anything but an event that happened early in Jesus’ ministry. Thus Jesus cleansed the temple at the beginning as a warning, and at the end of his ministry as a statement of judgment on the leadership of Israel.

You could wonder why the first cleansing had no success at all. But that indicates how the gaining of money was more important than keeping the temple only for worship.

This incident Matthew is talking about, is placed on the Monday morning, when they were come out from Bethany, by the evangelist Mark (Mark 11:12–19).

“12  And on the next day, when they had departed from Bethany, He became hungry. 13 And seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And He answered and said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. 15 And they *came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. 17 And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ’MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS’? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for all the multitude was astonished at His teaching. 19 And whenever evening came, they would go out of the city.” (Mr 11:12-19 NAS)

Jesus wanted nobody to carry a vessel through the temple or doing business. After his outburst of anger Jesus taught those around him that it was written,

  My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.

referring to what his heavenly Father, the God of Israel had told His people

“Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”” (Isa 56:7 NAS)

Therefore what would be acceptable in the Temple or God’s House are burnt offerings and people their sacrifices brought to the altar. All had to understand that the house of Jehovah God shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isa 56:7)

“A house of prayer for all peoples” indicates that first of all it had to be a place where people of all nations should be able to come in to pray. Jesus indicated that within the temple there is no place for a sort of market where commercial activity would take place.

In Matthew 21:13 Jesus compares the temple and its keepers to a den of robbers. Thieves often used caves to store their ill-gotten wealth and to plot future crimes. A temple for God does not have to be a place of secret actions, nor for worldly activities. It should be a place where people come without fear nor hesitation to gather in unity, to express their faith and for worshipping God. Everything belongs already to God, so people should know they can not tempt Him with money nor worldly sacrifices.

God allowed people to bring burnt offerings and sacrifices, but any sacrifice of a wicked person is an abomination to Jehovah God.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.” (Pr 15:8 NAS)

God is willing to incline His ear for those who come in honesty to His House (the temple) (Ps 10:17) where pepole also could come to confess their sins to one another, and could gather to pray for one another, so that they might be healed. This with the knowledge that the effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (Jas 5:16)

Also today we should wonder what is acceptable to be done in a House of prayer, be it called a synagogue, temple, prayer hall, kingdom hall, church hall, or simply church. We can find a lot of churches where financial activities take place. When you go and visit places have a look into many churches and see how they have stalls for selling things and often also have a lot of statues of people (called saints) with underneath a collecting box. In many churches we not only can see such sculptures of human beings but also of gods, like Jesus (the son of God – for many god the son) and God the Father, which is against God His commandments.

“’Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ’Amen.’” (De 27:15 NAS)

All going to such a House of prayer should know that God looks down at the earth and sees all people, knowing what goes on in their heart. All should be aware that everything which goes in against the commandments of God is an abomination in His eyes and considered evil. (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 4:15-19; Acts 17:29; Proverbs 15:29; 1 Samuel16:7; 1 Peter 3:12; 1 John 3:22). When people live according God’s Will He is willing to listen to them, at any moment, but in a House of prayer they can find a special place to be in contact with their God.

“and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight.” (1Jo 3:22 NAS)

In Jesus ‘ time but also later, as well as today, we can find pepole misusing their prime location, taking advantage of people’s religiosity to over-charge and cheat. In many places of worship and of pilgrimage we can find people deliberate making misuse of religion for personal gain. Look for example to Lourdes a.o. so called ‘sacred places’ and notice the whole ‘circus market’.

Jesus wants to see an atmosphere of pure, God-centred worship, free of man-centred worldly distractions. The House of God should be a place to gather to study the Word of God, to meditate and to pray. The Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, but Jesus had already given a sign that in each person there was a place for a temple.

Today we do not have to go up on the mountain, nor to Jerusalem,to worship the Father. As true worshippers we can go to any place where nothing is against the Will of God to worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such to be his worshippers.

“21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.” (Joh 4:21-23 NAS)

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Preceding

Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Matthew 21:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Temple Cleansed

Good or bad preacher

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Additional reading

  1. Today’s thought “Cleansing of the leper under the Law” (March 7)
  2. Memorizing wonderfully 13 Elija, Elisha, Mordecai, Job, chariots and a house for God
  3. Memorizing wonderfully 20 Mountain and Kingdom of God
  4. Having a small church mentality

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Further related

  1. He Was Moved with Compassion
  2. Watch Well Thy Faith
  3. How Many Christians Are Abusing the Label?
  4. The House of God
  5. House of God The house of God reaches upwards to meet with the cloudy firmament
  6. 5 – The House of God
  7. In the house of God
  8. Cornerstone
  9. This is a House of Prayer
  10. The Proper Place – I Timothy 2 – Part 1
  11. Church at Sardis-2 ‘Of whose house are we?’
  12. Of His House
  13. Today’s Theme Song: House of God
  14. I Miss Reverence
  15. Why You Must Be Glad when You’re Invited to church
  16. God’s Holiness
  17. The Church
  18. Welcome to the house of God

Matthew 21:10-11 Who Is This? – a Question still posed today #1

“10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”” (Mt 21:10-11 NIV)

When Jesus had come into Jerusalem, not only at the gates there were welcoming people praising him as a king. From several writings we know that all the city was stirred up, saying,

“Who is this?”

Lots of people where there in Jerusalem for the Pesach or Passover festival (14-22 Nisan). From all corners the came, but also where they came from they had heard about that mysterious prophet who did a lot of miracles. The crowds had heard where he came from and how he had spoken about the Most High Elohim. For them there could be no doubt and they said,

“This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”” (Mt 21:10-11 NHEB)

Today lots of people question that being or man from Nazareth. Even the majority of those who call themselves Christian do not seem to know who Jesus really is. They do not see in him a prophet or a man of God, but have made him into their god.

We shall see later that Jesus was going to put the question who he is to his disciples. It is important to know the difference what is said about a person and what he really is. Therefore to know clearly what they would think, he first asked them what the people were saying about him. When going around with Jesus they had already heard more than once that there were people who called Jesus a prophet. Some even wondered if it could be possible that he would be a prophet of ancient days who would have come back to earth. So we can say that they were unsure of exactly which prophet Jesus might have been.

When we ask this question about Jesus

“Who is this?” or “Who is Jesus?”

we still might receive a lot of different answers.

Because some people had been saying that Jesus was Elijah who was to return to earth, and others said that he was a new  prophet, whilst the Pharisees said that he was possessed by a demon and wanted others also to believe Jesus was a satan or adversary of God, a blasphemous person. The apostles also knew about people’s divided opinions of their master. Today, if you go around asking, some will say that Jesus was a good man who gave sound moral guidance. Some will say that he did not exist or that he was an impostor, others that he was a prophet. Again, some will say that he was a god or a god son, others will argue that he was nothing but a deluded man. Yet others will say that he is the “Son of God“.

From the many writings assembled in the Book of books, the Bible, we can get an accurate picture of who that person might have been. Also from civic writings we can read about that special man from Nazareth. In many canonical but also civic writings we can read about his special deeds. In many of those writings we read how he was there for others, to comfort them and to encourage them. Jesus was some one to whom many came for wise counsel.

The most strange thing about that Nazarene was how he went around healing sick people, paralysed people, blind people and others who had seemingly incurable diseases (John 5: 1-8 for example). He even raised some people from the dead (Lazarus). Those incredible act were the reason he was looked on as somebody with exceptional powers, possibly from outer demons.

What also disturbed a lot of people was that after he had done such miraculous things he said it was not him doing that, but his heavenly Father, who he rightly called greater than him (but they and today many do not seem to hear or understand).
Throughout the gospels, Jesus is seen in a ministry of addressing human need and condemning those who were considered religious exemplars, and were thought of as superior to ordinary people, and certainly to exemplary sinners.
Yet Jesus message was not fundamentally different from the faith of the Old Testament, for which holiness, obedience, and sacrifice for sin were central. He also believed in the same God as his parents and the ancient prophets whose writings he knew very well. That God is a god no man can see. He also very well knew his position, him being lower than angels and certainly much much lower than God. (Later he would be made higher than angels by God, Who always shall be the Most High Almighty God.) Most of the time he told the people around him, when he did a miracle, that he could not do such things out of himself. He always gave full honour for what happened to his heavenly Father, the Only One host of hosts and True God of Israel.

“17  Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” 18 For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. 19 Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. 22 Moreover, the Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.
24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. 25 I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.
28 “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29 and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.

31  “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. 32 There is another who testifies in my favour, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. 33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. 36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me.” (Joh 5:17-36 NIV)

“Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me.” (Joh 8:42 NIV)

“27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28  “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. 30 I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me, 31 but the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me. “Come now; let us leave.” (Joh 14:27-31 NIV)

Him telling he got advice from God, the Most High Elohim commanding him, looked as a blasphemous saying for the Pharisees. Him also getting so much attention from the public often also giving criticism about their teachings and work, was a good reason to find a way for getting rid of him (i.e. killing him).

For the Pharisees Jesus calling the Elohim his Father seemed a very good reason to speak against him.

“For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” (Joh 5:18 NIV)

Never had Jesus made himself equal to God.

“Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”” (Joh 20:17 NIV)

Their Nazarene master was an Essene or a very devout Jew and as such his disciples knew Who Jesus worshipped. For them it was clear that Jesus was that man spoken of in the Hebrew Scriptures who would bring salvation and who would become king of the promised land. When they later went around teaching they also taught people to remember how the Leader of Jesus was God.

“Now I want you to realise that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” (1Co 11:3 NIV)

“Who, being in very nature {Or in the form of } God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,” (Php 2:6 NIV)

For those who had followed Jesus for some time, it was very clear that he had never claimed to have equal status with God. They were very conscious of the humbleness of their master, who didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of the status of being a god and certainly not of being the God.

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Preceding

Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it

Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries

Matthew 19 Concerning the saved ones and those able to enter the Kingdom

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

God’s Face shining on His servant

Multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David

10 Nisan An entrance for a king

Vox populi anything but Vox Dei

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Demanding signs or denying yourself

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Additional reading

  1. Truth, doubt or blindness
  2. Torah hanging on two commandments and focussing on a Mashiach
  3. The true light in recorded words
  4. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #5 Temptation, assault and curse
  5. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #7 Promise and solution
  6. The 1st Adam in the Hebrew Scriptures #8 Looking for the 2nd Adam
  7. Which man is mentioned most often in the Bible? Jesus, Moses, Abraham or David?
  8. A rebellious movement founded on a fake?
  9. Fog, brass and light for the eyes
  10. Blindness in the Christian world
  11. Who do you say Jesus is
  12. The sent one from God
  13. Jesus, A way given to find the right way to God
  14. The stone of essential truth
  15. Knowledge of Christ and fear for God
  16. A birthday passed nearly unnoticed
  17. In a few days time it will be 2020 years ago that the Messiah was born
  18. 2020 years ago, the road was opened
  19. 2020 years since
  20. To turn the world into a “vessel” receptive of God
  21. The saviour Jesus his human side
  22. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil
  23. The Right One to follow and to worship
  24. For those who believe Jesus is God
  25. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #1
  26. The habitual misreading of John 1 and the ‘Word being God’ #2
  27. Americans really thinking the Messiah Christ had an English name
  28. Americans their stars, pretension, God, Allah and end of times signs #2 War on God’s Plan, Name and title
  29. That everyone may honour the Son and sent one from God
  30. Thought for Wednesday Believe in the one God has sent
  31. Jesus Messiah
  32. Jesus begotten Son of God #10 Coming down spirit or flesh seed of Eve
  33. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  34. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #14 Prayer #12 The other name
  35. Concerning Christ #1 A god or the God, a son of man and son of God
  36. Concerning Christ #2 Divine source, connection and divine human being
  37. Infinite payment of sin by the son of God
  38. Believing what Jesus says
  39. The Call of Christ
  40. Following a Person or a Belief
  41. Getting out of the dark corners of this world
  42. Purification and perfection
  43. From nothingness to a growing group of followers of Jeshua 5 What’s in a name
  44. Not being saved by faith in Christ alone
  45. Memorizing wonderfully 42 Equality with God & doing nothing of himself
  46. Memorizing wonderfully 44 Showing the works from his Father
  47. Memorizing wonderfully 46 Believe in the sent one from God, who is the Way to God
  48. Memorizing wonderfully 49 John 17:1-11 The sent one from God and eternal life
  49. Memorizing wonderfully 52 Acts 7:56: the Son of man standing on the right hand of God
  50. Memorizing wonderfully 70: Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God
  51. Background of Faith
  52. Trinitarians making their proof for existence of God look ridiculous #7

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Related

  1. Jesus Existed 
  2. Cult Leader Jesus
  3. Prophet Jesus pbuh : The slave of God
  4. How the doctrine of the Trinity developed in the Christian Church
  5. Christian, what are you going to say to G-d of Israel when your god Jesus doesn’t return?

Vox populi anything but Vox Dei

When Jesus went around speaking and doing miracles many gathered around him and his disciples. Some wanted to be part of those around Jesus and where happy to chant for him that he was praised.

Some or perhaps many of those who chanted at the gates of Jerusalem

Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest.

a few days later were perhaps crying with others to have him impaled.

They had expressed their delight and expectation.

Alas! how soon this gleam of sunlight gave place to black darkness. The day of palms was closely followed by the day of crucifixion. Thus fickle are the sons of men. “Vox populi” is anything but “Vox Dei.” {Spurgeon}

In the olden times, the Israelites were accustomed to use this cry,

“Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord,”

when their heroes returned victorious from the battlefield. When they went up to the temple to give thanks publicly to God for victories over their enemies, they were met by the people, with this exclamation of joy,

“Blessed, is he that cometh in Jehovah’s name.”

Very unlike to the cries of other nations! Some nations only extolled the heroes, but the people of God see the hand of God, and they mark that the hero only comes in the name of the Lord, and while they give him blessings and wish him every good thing for what he has done, yet the praise is ascribed to the Master in whose name he comes — even Jehovah. {Spurgeon}

Now the people could see the Nazarene master teacher coming to the capital. He was looked at as a hero, even as a king. They seemed to be aware that this one who always claimed to be a sent one from God, was the

“Blessed … that cometh in the name of Jehovah.”

In a few days time the people present in Jerusalem for Passover had changed their mind and expressed their dislike for the one who had spoken about a coming Kingdom of God.

Also today we can find lots of people who do not want to accept Jesus for whom he is. They do not accept the words God Himself said about this man

“… “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” (Lu 3:22 NIV)

They refuse to accept Jesus as the son of God and have made him into their god, telling others he is “god the son”. Many made Jesus into their idol or “god son” instead of accepting that he is the sent one from god, they claim he would be God having come down to earth. They seem to ignore the writing in the Holy Scriptures

“But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,” (Ga 4:4 NIV)

Instead of thanking God for sending his son, they worship that Nazarene man who always asked not to adore him but to worship his heavenly Father. Jesus even taught them how to pray (the Lord’s prayer).

God had given the people the time to get to know His sent one, who came to declare God’s Word and to bring the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. He allowed Jesus to have an entry in His City as a king as an ‘advance mirroring’ or mirror image of the one who was going to return and to enter the capital of the Kingdom of God. Jesus is that king spoken of in the many prophecies.

But the majority of people want to adhere to people’s theories and stick to human traditions and festivals instead of keeping to the festival days God gave mankind. Like in Jesus time when lots of people wanted to please the Pharisees and wished to lick the feet of the Jerusalem administration, today lots of people prefer licking the feet of their religious institution. Most often they do everything to show others they are part of the “Vox populi”. Many are literally afraid to be looked at someone of the “Vox Dei,” the People of Jehovah. Several even go so far to become anti-Jehovah people.
One could consider them belonging to the many who like to shout with others, but do not dare to bring out their personal voice in public when they stand alone.

Let us make it clear we belong to Vox Dei, Jehovah’s people, and be real followers of the real Jesus Christ, the Messiah or anointed, the son of God, who gave his life for us all.

Let us not be deaf and blind like there were so many in Jesus time. In that day the moment of no excuse had come. Before that day if could be said that the day was coming when God would sent His son. Now the time has come we should know that this sent one shall restore the nation of Israel. It is him they could see entering Jerusalem. We too should come to recognise that sent one who is to bring peace and salvation and to set up his Kingdom on earth. We should be thankful to God for that sent one who is going our king and act as a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that we may declare the praises of him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light. and invited us to be part of his body.

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Preceding

Israel, Fitting the Plan when people allow it

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

God’s Face shining on His servant

Multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David

10 Nisan An entrance for a king

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Additional reading

  1. Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord
  2. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be

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Related

  1. Exodus 33-34: Reflections of Glory
  2. More meanings from the margins
  3. 54. A Time to Regain our Identity

God’s Face shining on His servant

In the past God His Face could shine on His servant David. Several years later it also could shine on God His other servant, Jesus.

That servant had only a very short time a public life. But in that short time he became a very special public figure spoken off by many. First when he was baptised by his cousin in the river Jordan, he was declared to be the “son of God” by a voice out of heaven. When he toured through the land of Israel he spoke a lot about his Father Whose Words and Deeds he came to declare. The unfolding of his word could give light to many. Whilst he taught several listened very carefully, though others tried to find in those words enough to speak against him, even to consider him to be a danger for the community, better to be killed.

In Psalm 118 we can read about a day Jehovah had made. Now when Jesus enters Jerusalem it is again a special day Jehovah had made, having people praising Jesus as their king. Though perhaps they really did not know the essence of his kingship. But it should be a sign for us to recognise Jesus as the King sent by God.

Many times Jesus had called unto his God, the God of Israel Who is an Unseen Spirit God. He had talked about that mysterious God and told people how they had to build up a relationship with that Divine Creator. Jesus had also told people to be thankful to their God. Like the Davidic king before him he asked to give thanks unto Jehovah; for He is good and for His lovingkindness endures for ever.

Jehovah has always been on the side of Jesus, but most people did not and still do not see that. For Jesus it was clear that Jehovah God was also for him among those who helped him and therefore he could look with satisfaction on those who hated him.

The day of his triumphal entrance in Jerusalem Jesus could hear the sound of joyful shouting and salvation and could see all those happy faces with a lot of expectations. We should come to see that the right hand of Jehovah God is exalted and that He made this only begotten son higher than angels (though at first he was lower than them).

“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;” (Ps 118:22 NIV)

Soon after this triumphal entrance this king would be rejected not being recognised as the chief corner stone of a Body of faithful ones to God.

That day, many were blind and did not really saw who this sent one from God was and why he would be so important. Today there are still billions of people not willing to see that Jesus is the sent one from God who is the way to God and who brings salvation for many. They like the people in Jerusalem might have made him also their king and even their god, this in disrespect for the God of Christ, Who is a Singular Eternal Being Who wants to be worshipped and recognised as the Only One True God.

Jesus spoke in a special way with a marvellous knowledge of the Scriptures. He gave many signs, wonders and miracles, and let people know it was not him who was doing that, but his heavenly Father Who is greater than him and without Him he could do nothing.

“Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (Joh 5:19 NIV)

“”You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.” (Joh 14:28 NIV)

God set Jesus apart, but not many seem to get that. He fulfilled all the prophecies yet many did esteem him not. Their honour for him was to please their own worldly feelings. They never would think to let go of the worldly traditions and wordly festivals. They prefer like the people then, to take Jesus as their idol, their god, instead of accepting him as the sent one from God and as the respectful faithful servant of God.

Many today are still not fully understanding, like there, at the time of Jesus, they also would sing with the crowd

“The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna {A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise; also in verse 15 } to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” {Psalm 118:26 } “Hosanna {A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise; also in verse 15 } in the highest!”” (Mt 21:9 NIV)

That day the sun was shining on Jesus and he radiated the light of the Most High, but not many saw that he is the one who has come in the name of Jehovah.

Let us recognise that Jesus is that promised one, the sent one from God who deserves all honour for being the faithful servant of God.

+

Preceding

Demanding signs or denying yourself

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 9:27-31 – What others are saying about the blind men recognising the son of David

Matthew 9:32-34 – How others look at the blind, speechless and demoniac being healed

Matthew 9:35-38 – Looking at Jesus our shepherd

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

++

Additional reading

  1. Entrance of a king to question our position #1 Coming in the Name of the Lord
  2. Entrance of a king to question our position #2 Who do we want to see and to be

+++

Screenshot 2019-05-02 at 4.13.07 PM

Further related reading

  1. Tenth week of ordinary-time (cycle I)- Tuesday-responsorial-psalm- (psalm 118)
  2. Today –The Day the Lord Has Made +This is the Day the Lord has Made
  3. Give Thanks to the LORD (Psalm 118)
  4. Faithless and faithful
  5. Third week of Easter-monday responsorial-psalm (Psalm 118)
  6. Cheering to Jeering to Cheering Psalm 118
  7. Spiritual Journey: Transformation
  8. The Heavenly Architect

Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses sexual abuse scandal

It is a shame the JW are still considered by many a sect. The documentary of Pano at VRT Eén and the days around it on ‘Terzake’ and ‘De Afspraak’ (both programs of the Flemish state television VRT channel Canvas), and in Van Gils (on Eén) tried to bring the religious organisation in the picture with something which can not be allowed in any group (be it religious, sportive or artistic).

Good for the elder who dared to come out of anonymity in the hope this abuse which could also be found in other religious groups (be them Catholic and/or protestant) would be uncovered and stopped.

*

To remember

  • Almost a week after the broadcast = more than seventy people involved in sexual abuse or domestic and psychological violence”, according to a press release from Reclaimed Voices Belgium.
  • serious psychological damage > exclusion by Jehovah’s Witnesses from community = greater impact in certain cases than abuse itself
  • In the Netherlands, theme gained momentum in early 2018 after establishment of non-profit association “Reclaimed Voices”, which collects testimonies about sexual abuse among Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses’ elder, Kurt De Kerf (55) from Sint-Niklaas testified anonymously in Pano report but choose to leave anonymity <= “nothing to hide + because important this finally comes into the open.”
  • Crimes rarely reported to secular justice > Legal Committee, elders themselves investigate + punish crimes, ranging from intoxication, corruption to adultery.

+

Preceding

Abuse been kept silent by Jehovah’s Witnesses organisation

++

Additional

Herbekijk: “Pano” over het toedekken van seksueel misbruik bij Jehova’s getuigen

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 2015 video from the USA says about itself:

Candace Conti: Former Jehovah’s Witness Takes on Church over Sex Abuse Allegations

Candace Conti says the church failed to protect her from a predatory pedophile, which Jehovah’s Witnesses has denied.

Translated from Belgian daily De Standaard, 3 April 2019:

Already seventy possible victims of abuse report to the Jehovah’s Witnesses hotline

The scandal of abuse within Jehovah’s Witnesses first erupted abroad, but has also received attention in Belgium since last week’s Pano [TV show] report. There are seventy possible victims reporting to the “Reclaimed Voices Belgium” hotline.

Since two weeks, “Reclaimed Voices” has also a hotline in our country, and in the aftermath of the Pano broadcast it is receiving “disturbing messages”. “Almost a week after the broadcast, there are more than seventy people involved in sexual abuse or domestic and psychological violence”, according to a press release from…

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Matthew 18:7-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Danger of Stumbling-blocks

Matthew 18:7-11 – The Danger of Stumbling-blocks

|| Mark 9:37, 42; Luke 9:48; Luke 17:1, 2

MT18:7 “Woe to the world’s inevitable stumbling-blocks![1] But, woe to the person who causes the stumbling![2] MT18:8 So, if your hand or foot[3] scandalizes[4] you – cut it off and hurl it away[5] from you. Better to enter Life maimed[6] rather than be thrown into everlasting fire[7] with two hands and two feet! MT18:9 Also, if your eye[8] causes you scandal, remove it and hurl it away from you. Better to enter Life with only one eye rather than be hurled into Gehenna’s[9] fire with two eyes! MT18:10 Watch[10] that you never despise[11] one of these ‘little ones’. For I tell you that their angels in heaven[12] always look upon the face[13] of my heavenly Father.” MT18:11 [[“For the Son of Humankind came to save what was lost.”]][14]

*

[1] Woe to the world’s inevitable stumbling-blocks: The Greek for “stumbling-blocks” is SCANDALON. Or, KJV: woe unto the world because of offenses; ASV: occasions of stumbling; RSV: temptations to sin; KNX: hurt done to consciences; WMS: influences to do wrong. Research the words world or KOSMOS for notes.

[2] Causes the stumbling: Research the word scandal for notes. What may cause “stumbling”? See Matthew 16:23 for an example. Compare 1 Samuel 25:31; Ezekiel 7:19, 20; 14:3, 4; Romans 14:13; 1 Corinthians 8:9; Revelation 2:14. Many will quote Psalm 119:165 here but it is wise to discern the meaning.

[3] Hand or foot: Eve’s foot took her to the Tree and her hand reached out for its Fruit (Genesis 3:5, 6). Touch must be avoided if the object is desirable (1 Corinthians 7:1; James 1:14, 15). The feet must avoid those places that can cause scandal (Psalm 119:59, 101; Proverbs 1:16; Proverbs 4:26, 27; Proverbs 5:5; Proverbs 19:2; Romans 3:15). The word “your” is in the singular and so the Nazarene speaks to one person in the group.

[4] Scandalizes: This is closest to the Greek word. The English “scandal” is from a Greek root to “snare” and may mean: offends, shocks, disgraces; and, that slanderous gossip caused by such an offense. Research scandal for more notes.

[5] Cut it off and hurl it away: The absurdum is famous. The very imagery of people cutting off limbs and gouging out eyes is powerful and yet almost humorous for it is clearly not to be taken literally. The lesson is to remove the movement in the direction of the desire, by foot or touch. Avoid those situations and circumstances that will create scandal. See notes on Matthew 5:29. Compare and meditate upon Colossians 3:5.

[6] Better to enter Life maimed: The idea is not to be taken literally but is a contrast so simple anyone can grasp the point: any sacrifice is worth attaining “Life.” Mark 9:47 adds, “… into the kingdom of God.” “Life” here is existence in the Father’s Kingdom (see notes on Matthew 13:43).

[7] Into everlasting fire: Or, KJV: everlasting fire; ASV: eternal fire; RHM: age-abiding fire. We believe the metaphors continue as Gehenna is a symbol of destruction without end. Research the words HADES or GEHENNA for notes elsewhere. See notes on Matthew 25:41, 46.

[8] Your eye: It is the eye that desires. To Eve the Tree was “desirable to look upon.” The Proverbs counsels the young and inexperienced to be careful at what the eyes behold (Proverbs 4:25). Read and meditate upon 1 John 2:15-17. It is not called “a wandering eye” for nothing. The eye is the engine of coveting.

[9] Gehenna’s: Research the word GEHENNA and HADES for notes on the subject.

[10] Watch: The Greek is OPATE from the root for “eye.” There is a good way to use the eyes. Or, KJV: take heed; KNX: see to it; WMS: be careful not to look.

[11] Never despise: Or, KJV: despise not; KNX: treat one… with contempt; WMS: look with scorn. Our attitude toward others in the spiritual association bears on our own everlasting welfare.

[12] Their angels in heaven: At once frightening, and again comforting, to know powerful angelic creatures are aware of the treatment (or even attitude) on the part of the politically ambitious toward the humblest member of the Christian faith. Compare Psalm 34:7 and Hebrews 1:14. Note: it is the “little ones” who have angels in heaven.

[13] Always look upon the face: Or, KJV: always behold the face; RHM: continually behold; WMS: have uninterrupted access to. Consider the visions in Daniel 7 and Revelation 4 (Luke 1:19).

[14] [[…]]: Now recognized as not adequately supported by some manuscripts (D, W, Vg, Syc,p, Arm add; א, B, Sys omit).

+

Preceding

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 5:27-30 – 2. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 20:14

Matthew 11:2-6 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 2 Imprisoned Baptist Encouraged

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

Paying vows to Jehovah God

++

Additional reading

  1. It´s not how you fall, but how you standup
  2. Temptation in matrimony

+++

Further reading

  1. Stumbling
  2. Doubtful disputations – spiritual wickedness

Matthew 18:1-6 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Children and Stumbling

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN:
HUMILITY, SETTLING PROBLEMS, AND FORGIVENESS

[“Kingdom Children and Heart Forgiveness”]
(Key word: Forgive)

Matthew 18:1-6 – Children and Stumbling

|| Mark 9:33-36; Luke 9:46-48

MT18:1 In that hour the disciples approached Jesus, asking, “In reality, who is the greatest[1] in the Realm of Heaven?”[2] MT18:2 Having called a little boy[3] to stand among them, MT18:3 Jesus said: “I tell you this truth: If you never turn around[4] and become little boys[5] you will never gain entrance into the Realm of Heaven.[6] MT18:4 So, whoever will be humble as this little boy[7] – that person is the ‘greatest’ in the Realm of Heaven.[8] MT18:5 Also, anyone who accepts one of these[9] ‘little boys’ in my name[10] accepts me. MT18:6 But, whoever stumbles[11] one of these little ones who believes in me – it would be better[12] if he hanged a millstone[13] around his neck and sank into the ocean depths.[14]

*

[1] Who is the greatest: It amazes us that they would even ask this question. However, though some today may not ask the question, attitudes and conduct expose a similar bent of mind: political ambition. This is the first time the subject comes up, but it is not the last. Compare Matthew 23:11; Luke 9:46; Luke 22:24, 26. There was a petty struggle among the disciples about their position in relation to one another, even, unfortunately, as among church elders and deacons today. It is unlikely the problem will disappear. However, all those men who have been appointed to a position of authority need to heed the warning of the Nazarene that follows: the disastrous matter of stumbling the humblest of the flock.

[2] Realm of Heaven: We have to speculate what “kingdom of the heavens” the disciples had in mind. Jesus often uses the phrase “Realm of Heaven” for what could be called “church membership” or “the realm of profession.” This does not mean the phrase could not also include that ultimate goal of the celestial realms where God Himself resides. Research the word Realm or kingdom for notes elsewhere.

[3] A little boy: The Greek is PAIDION and means “little boy” though many render this “little child.” We are captivated at the expression on this young boy’s face as he looks up at these tall men pondering their question of who is the greatest.

[4] Turn around: Or, KJV: except ye be converted; RIEU: unless your hearts are changed. Someone among the disciples needed to change an attitude that involved political ambition. Some needed to cease lofty thoughts and humble themselves.

[5] Little boys: The Greek is PAIDIA and means “little boys” though most render this “little children.” We cannot help but suspect there is a subtle rebuke in the phrase “little boys” if Jesus directed that at his own disciples. Surely, from one perspective they were behaving as “little boys.”

[6] Gain entrance into the Realm of Heaven: Though this may refer to that celestial realm where God resides, judging from the Nazarene’s use of the phrase, it may be limited to membership within that “congregation” Jesus said he would build (see notes on Matthew 13:24, Matthew 13:41, and Matthew 16:18).

[7] Humble as this little boy: We cannot help but think Jesus embraces the lad as he calms his misgivings about being among the group of men. Or, WMS: whoever becomes as lowly as; GDSP: who is as unassuming as this child.

[8] The ‘greatest’ in the Realm of Heaven: The person ‘greatest’ within the Church of Christ is that one as humble as a child. What a goal to aim for in the daily transformation of the Christian character (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 7:1). Luke 9:48 adds, “For he that conducts himself as a lesser one among all of you (disciples) is the one that is great.”

[9] Accepts one of these: Or, KJV: receive on such little child; RHM: give welcome unto. Research the word receive or accept for notes.

[10] In my name: Or, MON: for my sake; GDSP: on my account; TCNT: for the sake of my Name. Christ almost predicts the name “Christian.”

[11] Stumbles: The Greek is SCANDALISE and is also rendered: KJV: offend; RSV: to sin; WMS: to do wrong; MOF: a hindrance to one; NOR: leads astray. Political ambition and infighting among elders and deacons can create an environment that can cause some in the congregation to “stumble.” Research the word scandal for notes elsewhere.

[12] It would be better: “Better” than what? We may suppose this is not a suicide but a murder. Such a person drowned may be resurrected in the Judgment with a beneficial outcome. The alternative punishment of Gehenna – or everlasting destruction – for stumbling a humble disciple of the Lord carries enormous danger.

[13] Millstone: These could be huge and weigh tones. The image is almost absurd. Mark 9:42 adds, “… a millstone such as is turned by an ass.” Compare Revelation 18:21.

[14] Sank into the ocean depths: Or, KJV: drowned in the depth of the sea.

+

Preceding

Matthew 17:24-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tax-free Sons No Stumbling-block

+++

Related

  1. Spiritual but not Religious?
  2. Matthew Chapter A Day – 18
  3. Be Humble Like A Little Child
  4. “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” ~Jesus
  5. Rethinking Matthew 18 and Church Discipline
  6. “Humbles” Word Study: Matthew 18:4

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