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Matthew 25:31-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment on the Realm of Heaven #1 Matthew 25:31-34

Matthew 25:31-46 – Judgment on the Realm of Heaven

MT25:31 “Further,[1] when the glorious Son of Humankind returns[2] with all his angels,[3] at that time he will sit down upon his glorious throne [of judgment].[4] MT25:32 He will gather together right in front of him[5] all those from the nations[6] and he will separate these persons from each other[7] just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.[8] [Ezekiel 34:17] MT25:33 He will make the sheep stand at his right-hand, but the goats at his left-hand.

MT25:34 “At that time the King will say to those on his right-hand: ‘Approach, those blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom[9] prepared for you from the world’s foundation.[10] MT25:35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.[11] [Isaiah 58:7] [I was] thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. MT25:36 [I was] ill-clad and you clothed me. I fell sick and you took care of me.[12] I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

MT25:37 “Then the righteous persons[13] will answer the King, asking, ‘Master, when did we see you hungry and feed you? Or, thirsty, and give you drink? MT25:38 Also, when did we see you a stranger and take you in? Or, ill-clad and clothed you? MT25:39 Or, when did we see you sick, or in prison, and went to visit you?’ MT25:40 And the King will answer them: ‘I tell you this truth: Depending on how much you did to a single one of my humblest brothers, you did it to me.’[14]

MT25:41 “Then the King will also speak to those persons on his left-hand: ‘Depart from me, those who are cursed into the everlasting fire[15] prepared for the Devil and his angels! MT25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing[16] to eat. And, I got thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. MT25:43 I was a stranger and you did not take me in; ill-clad and you gave me no clothes; sick and in prison, and you did not look after me.’ MT25:44 Then [the goats] will respond: ‘Master,[17] when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or ill-clad or sick or in prison – and refused to minister to you?’ MT25:45 At this the King will tell them: ‘I tell you this truth: Depending on how much you refused to do to a single one of my humblest brothers, you refused to do it to me.’ MT25:46 And these goats will depart into an everlasting pruning;[18] but the righteous into everlasting life.”

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[1] Further: The Greek is the connective DE HOTAN. It is an elaboration on the previous parable.

[2] Returns: The Greek is ELTHE and related to the ELTHEN at Daniel 7:22. See technical notes elsewhere. It may be rendered arrive, came, return, or leave. It is the parousia which first involves judgment. In fulfillment of Daniel 7:13 the Son of Humankind ascended back to his Father (John 6:62; John 14:1, 2). In fulfillment of the angels’ promise he is to return visibly in the same manner (Acts 1:9-11).

“ Then, what if you disciples might see the Son of Humankind ascending to where he was formerly?” (Joh 6:62 mhm)

“1  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You apostles continue to believe in The God. Continue to believe in me.2 In the House of my Father are many abodes. If it were otherwise I would certainly have told you, because I am going to prepare you a place. (Joh 14:1-2 mhm)

“9 Now when Jesus had said these things–just as they were watching–he began to ascend and a cloud took him up out of their sight. 10 While Jesus was ascending–and the apostles were watching skyward–suddenly two humans in white robes stood beside them. 11 These said to the apostles: “Men of Galilee, why do you standing watching toward the sky? This same Jesus, who is departing from you into the sky, will return in the same manner as you watched him ascend into the sky.”” (Ac 1:9-11 mhm)

[3] With all his angels: We note right away that in this scene the King arrives “with his angels.” Nothing is said about his “saints” (Revelation 17:14) who are the judges of the world (1 Corinthians 6:2). This is the earliest hint that this is the parousia-judgment on the Realm of Heaven, the realm of profession of the Christian church. It is time for the King to judge his own Household (1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 John 2:28; 4:17; 1 Peter 4:5, 17). See how the angels do the harvesting in Matthew 13:41.

“ These 10 Kings will war with the Lamb and the Lamb will conquer them (and those with him: those called, chosen, and faithful) because he is Lord of lords and King of kings.”” (Re 17:14 mhm)

“ Do you not realize the Saints will judge the whole world of humanity? And so if the whole social order of humanity is to be judged by you are you unfit to judge lesser matters?” (1Co 6:2 mhm)

“ So, do not judge anything before the season, until the Master returns. He will bring to the Light the hidden things of darkness and manifest the motives of all hearts. And, then, each person’s praise will be from The God.” (1Co 4:5 mhm)

“ For it is necessary that all of us appear in front of the judgment-seat of the Christ, so that we might receive what we deserve for those things performed by means of the body, whether these things be good or vile. (2Co 5:10 mhm)

“ And now, little children, continue to remain in him so that whenever he is made visible we might be free-spoken in his Presence and not be humiliated when in front of him.” (1Jo 2:28 mhm)

“ In this way the Love of God has been perfected with us, so that we may have freedom of speech in the Day of the Judgment. Because just as that One is, so also we are in this world-order of humanity.” (1Jo 4:17 mhm)

“ These very people will have to give an account to the One ready to judge the living and the dead.” (1Pe 4:5 mhm)

“ Because the judgment will start at the House of The God at the appointed time. Now if judgment begins first with us, what will be the end of those disobeying the Good News of The God?” (1Pe 4:17 mhm)

“ The Son of Humankind will send forth his angels and they will cull out of his Realm everything that causes scandal and those doing lawlessness.” (Mt 13:41 mhm)

[4] He will sit down upon his glorious throne [of judgment]: This is not the beginning of his rule. He is already King when he returns (Luke 19:11, 12; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:19-22). The throne here is the “judgment-seat” of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). This is not the same “throne” of Revelation 20:12. All of thee parables are about judgment.

“11  As everyone was listening to this Jesus continued to tell them a parable because he was approaching Jerusalem and they all thought the Kingdom of The God was going to appear immediately. 12 Then Jesus said: “A certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to receive for himself a kingdom and then to return. (Lu 19:11-12 mhm)

“ Then, finally, the End, whenever he delivers up the Realm to The God and Father–whenever he has rendered ineffectual all government and all authority and power.” (1Co 15:24 mhm)

“19 and what the tremendous strength of His power is through us who believe–by means of the energy of His ruling power, 20 which He exercised in raising up Christ from the dead, seating him at His right hand in the Celestialum, 21 over and above every hierarchy and authority and power and lordship and every name named–not only in this time period but also in the New Age to come– 22 everything God subjected under the feet of Jesus and gave him headship over everything to the Church,” (Eph 1:19-22 mhm)

“ For it is necessary that all of us appear in front of the judgment-seat of the Christ, so that we might receive what we deserve for those things performed by means of the body, whether these things be good or vile. (2Co 5:10 mhm)

“ Then I saw the Dead, the great and the small, standing in sight of the white Throne. Little Books were opened and another Little Book was opened, the Book of Life. The Dead were judged out of the things written in the Little Books, according to their works.” (Re 20:12 mhm)

[5] Gather together right in front of him: The Greek is SYNACHTHESONTAI. This is done by a resurrection from the dead (1 Thessalonians 4:15, 16; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 John 2:28; 4:17). Compare Daniel 12:2 with John 5:29. Note also 2 Thessalonians 2:1 and the related word EPISYNAGOGES. At this moment we come forward to give an account of our Christian life.

“15 For we tell all of you this according to the Master’s own promise, that we the living who are still around at the Return of the Master will not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep in death. 16 Because the Master himself will come down from the Sky with a commanding shout–with the Archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet–and the dead in union with Christ will be resurrected first.” (1Th 4:15-16 mhm)

“ However, each person in their own order: Christ a firstfruits, and thereafter those of the Christ at his Arrival.” (1Co 15:23 mhm)

“ And now, little children, continue to remain in him so that whenever he is made visible we might be free-spoken in his Presence and not be humiliated when in front of him.” (1Jo 2:28 mhm)

“ In this way the Love of God has been perfected with us, so that we may have freedom of speech in the Day of the Judgment. Because just as that One is, so also we are in this world-order of humanity.” (1Jo 4:17 mhm)

“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Da 12:2 NIV)

“ and those having done good things will come out unto a resurrection of Life. Those who have habitually done corrupt things unto a resurrection of condemnation.” (Joh 5:29 mhm)

“ Now regarding the Return of our Master Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to meet him, we plead with you, brothers,” (2Th 2:1 mhm)

[6] All those from the nations: Or, KJV: gathered before him all nations. There is a temptation by some to think of this as a gathering of Non-Jews and apply the parable to the Thousand Years or thereafter. However, it is also possible this is “Israel” out of all nations. Compare Isaiah 11:12 and Matthew 24:30, 31 with Revelation 7:9. These are the true Jews (Romans 2:28, 29) from the new Israel of God (Romans 9:6, 7; Galatians 6:16) which have lived among all nations throughout the Gospel Age (Compare also Isaiah 49:8-12 with Revelation 7:9-17).

“He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.” (Isa 11:12 NIV)

“30 And then there will appear in the sky the sign of the Son of Humankind. Then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation. They will see the Son of Humankind coming on the clouds of the sky with power and much glory. 31 And the Son of Humankind will send off his angels with a great trumpet and they will gather his Chosen Ones from the four winds from one extreme of the sky to another extreme. (Mt 24:30-31 mhm)

“ After these things I saw, and, look! a Large Crowd which no one could number. Out of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues. They stood in sight of the Throne and in sight of the Lamb enwrapped with white robes. There were palm branches in their hands.” (Re 7:9 mhm)

“28 For the true Jew is not manifest in the fleshly circumcision; 29 but, in the secret Jew with a spiritual “circumcision” of the heart and not in writing. His praise is not from humans but from The God.” (Ro 2:28-29 mhm)

“6  However, it is not as though the Word of The God has failed. For not all those from Israel are “Israel.” 7 Nor, because they are the seed of Abraham are they all children of Abraham, but “Your seed will be called Isaac.” (Ro 9:6-7 mhm)

“ Now all–including the Israel of The God-who walk orderly by this standard–upon them be peace and mercy.” (Ga 6:16 mhm)

“8 This is what the LORD says: “In the time of my favour I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances, 9 to say to the captives, ‘Come out,’ and to those in darkness, ‘Be free!’ “They will feed beside the roads and find pasture on every barren hill. 10 They will neither hunger nor thirst, nor will the desert heat or the sun beat upon them. He who has compassion on them will guide them and lead them beside springs of water. 11 I will turn all my mountains into roads, and my highways will be raised up. 12 See, they will come from afar—some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan.”” (Isa 49:8-12 NIV)

“9 After these things I saw, and, look! a Large Crowd which no one could number. Out of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues. They stood in sight of the Throne and in sight of the Lamb enwrapped with white robes. There were palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried with a great voice, saying: “Salvation belongs to our God! To the One sitting upon the Throne and to the Lamb.” 11 And all the angels stood to encircle the Throne. The Presbyters and the 4 Living Creatures fell upon their faces in sight of the Throne. They worshipped The God, saying: 12 “Amen! The blessing and the glory and the wisdom and the thanksgiving and the honor and the power and the strength be to our God throughout all future periods of time. Amen!” 13 ¶ And one of the Presbyters answered me, saying: “These enwrapped with white robes, who are they, and where to they come from?” 14 I immediately said to him: “My lord, you must know.” The Presbyter said to me: “These are the ones who come out of the Great Oppression. They washed and whitened their robes in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Because of this blood they are in sight of the Throne of The God. In the Divine Habitat of The God they render sacred service to Him day and night. The One sitting on the Throne will tent over them. 16 They will not hunger or thirst anymore. The sun’s heat will no longer burn them.17 Because the Lamb in the middle of the Throne will shepherd and guide them to fountains of waters of life. The God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”” (Re 7:9-17 mhm)

[7] Separate these persons from each other: Compare this same thing at Matthew 13:41, 49. This parable of the fishing dragnet deals with the SYNTELEIA Matthew 13:40, 49 which is associated with the PAROUSIA at Matthew 24:3. This would seem to confirm that the judgment here in the parable of the sheep and goats deals with the Church and not mankind in general.

“ The Son of Humankind will send forth his angels and they will cull out of his Realm everything that causes scandal and those doing lawlessness.” (Mt 13:41 mhm)

“ Just so it will be in the consummation of the Period: the angels will go forth to separate the wicked from among the righteous.” (Mt 13:49 mhm)

“ So, even as the zizania are gathered and burned in fire, thus it will be at the consummation of the Period.” (Mt 13:40 mhm)

“ Just so it will be in the consummation of the Period: the angels will go forth to separate the wicked from among the righteous.” (Mt 13:49 mhm)

[8] Sheep from the goats: Compare Ezekiel 34:17.

“”‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats.” (Eze 34:17 NIV)

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Preceding

Matthew 22:11-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: King’s Inspection and Marriage Garments

Making sure to be ready and to belong to the escaped ones

Matthew 24:29-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Answer Part Two – Sign 2: The Parousia. A Sign after the Great Oppression

Matthew 25:1-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Judgment by the King and Ten Virgins

Matthew 25:13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep on the Watch

Matthew 25:14-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Keep Busy until the Parousia

Matthew 20:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

Matthew 20:24-28 – Authority Not the Way – Serve Others

|| Mark 10:41-45; Luke 22:24-27

MT20:24 Having heard this the other ten [apostles] became indignant[1] at the brothers [James and John]. MT20:25 But Jesus asked the disciples to present themselves, then he told them: “You are aware that the non-Jewish rulers lord it over their subjects;[2] and, the ‘greats’ wield authority over others. MT20:26 Not so among you.[3] Rather, whoever wishes to be ‘great’ must be your slave. MT20:27 Whoever wishes to be prominent[4] must be your slave. MT20:28 Just as the Son of Humankind came not to be served[5] but to serve and to sacrifice his soul[6] [Isaiah 53:12] as a ransom[7] in the place of many.”[8]

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[1] Indignant: RHM: sorely displeased; RIEU: grumbled; PME: highly indignant. We can only imagine the jealous feelings of the others who had their own political ambitions, particularly Judas. Peter has already been given a special trust and he must have had his own feelings regarding this matter.

[2] Non-Jewish rulers lord it over their subjects: Or, KJV: the princes of the Non-Jews exercise dominion; RIEU: the rulers of the pagans exercise despotic powers; NOR: the heathen rulers are high-handed; NEB: in the world, rulers lord it over their subjects.

[3] Not so among you: Or, KJV: it shall not be so among you; KNX: with you it must be otherwise; BER: but among you it’s different. This is a command from the Lord that authoritarian tyranny will be absent from genuine disciples of Jesus. We find in Jesus the perfect example of a true leader within the Christian framework: a humble and loving model who asks nothing of his fellows that he himself will not do. Not once does the Nazarene take advantage of his followers by living a life-style better than they.

[4] Prominent: Or, KJV: chief; TCNT: first place.

[5] Came not to be served: Or, GDSP: not to be waited on.

[6] To sacrifice his soul: Or, KJV: give his life; NEB: to surrender his life. On the subject of “soul” or, PSYCHE see articles elsewhere: Where Are the Dead?

[7] Ransom: Or, WMS: ransom price; WEY: redemption price. Research the word ransom.

[8] In the place of many: Or, RHM: instead of many. See Mark 10:45; Romans 3:24; Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:7, 14; Ephesians 4:30; Colossians 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 9:15 {concerning redemption & ransom for all}.

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Preceding

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:20-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Selfish Request Rejected

Matthew 20:17-19 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Onward to Jerusalem!

Matthew 20:17-19 – Onward to Jerusalem!

|| Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-33

MT20:17 On the way during their ascent to Jerusalem Jesus led the twelve disciples to a private spot. On the path there, he said to them: MT20:18 “Look! We are ascending to Jerusalem and there the Son of Humankind will be turned in to the chief priests and scribes. They will condemn him to death. MT20:19 They will turn him over to the non-Jews.[1] They will scourge and make fun of him before impaling[2] [Psalm 22:1-18] him. On the third day he will be raised up.”

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[1] Non-Jews: Or, NEB: foreign power; RHM: nations; RIEU: pagans; GDSP: heathen. See notes on Non-Jews and ETHNOS.

[2] Impaling: The Greek is STAUROSAI. Or, KJV: crucify him.

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Preceding

Matthew 20:1-7 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Kingdom and Vineyard Workers

Matthew 20:8-16 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Last, First; First, Last

Matthew 15:21-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Giving Bread to Puppies

Matthew 15:21-28 – Giving Bread to Puppies

|| Mark 7:24-30

MT15:21 Leaving there Jesus withdrew into the area of[1] Tyre and Sidon. MT15:22 And, look! a Canaanite[2] woman from the region came out yelling, “Have mercy on me, Master, Son of David, for my daughter is horribly demonized!”[3] MT15:23 But Jesus did not answer her with a single word. The disciples of Jesus approached him, requesting, “Get rid of her,[4] because she keeps following us, yelling crazily.”[5] MT15:24 Now Jesus answered them, “I was sent only to[6] the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”[7] MT15:25 But, the woman approached and bowed to the earth on her knees,[8] saying, “Master, help me.” MT15:26 Jesus told her, “It is not right[9] to take the bread of the children[10] and throw it to little dogs.”[11] MT15:27 The woman responded, “Yes, Master, but the little dogs do eat from those crumbs spilling from their masters’ table.” MT15:28 Finally, Jesus said to her, “O, woman, your faith is great. Let what you want happen.” And her daughter was healed in that very hour.

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[1] Withdrew into the area of: A fifty-mile walk northeast to the coast of Syro-phoenicia.

[2] Canaanite: The Greek is CANAANAIA is also rendered: NWT: Phoenician. This is modern Palestine the cradle of language which began with Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English.

[3] Horribly demonized: Or, KJV: grievously vexed with a devil; WEY: cruelly harassed; LAM: seriously afflicted with insanity.

[4] Get rid of her: Or, KJV: send her away; KNX: rid us of her. The disciples have little patience for this vexed mother.

[5] Yelling crazily: The Greek is CRAZEI. Or, MOF: wailing

[6] I was sent only to: Jesus has a precise commission from his Father and cannot waver from it.

[7] Lost sheep of the house of Israel: Jesus was sent from heaven, not to seek the world of mankind, but those willing Jews in Israel. Jesus is later to say that after he ascends to heaven he would draw all kinds of people. These were the Non-Jews whom he calls “other sheep.” (John 10:16)

[8] Bowed to the earth on her knees: The Greek is PROSEKUNEI. Or, KJV: worshipped; RHM: began bowing down; WEY: threw herself at his feet; MOF: knelt before him. See notes elsewhere on worship or PROSKUNEO.

[9] It is not right: Having said this, Jesus is soon to do what he said it was not right (good, fine) to do.

[10] The children: The lost sheep of Israel.

[11] Little dogs: The Greek is KYNARIOS. Or, KJV: dogs; RHM: little dogs; BECK: puppies. Some might consider the remark racist or filled with ethnic prejudice. However, he softens his metaphor in “puppies” and we may suspect his manner and facial expression was kindly and sympathetic. He may also have said it more for his disciples’ benefit.

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Preceding

Matthew 10:5-10 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Jesus’ Orders: Territory, Theme, Trust

Matthew 15:1-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Tradition and the Heart

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Related

  1. Jesus loves lost people
  2. Lost Sheep
  3. Jesus Pointing to “The Lost Sheep of the house of Israel” and “the Gentiles”
  4. Bible Study Notes on Matthew 15:1-28 – 20180117
  5. How Church Should Be (Matthew 15:10–28)
  6. Not Us and Them, Only Us- a prayer based on Matthew 15.21-28
  7. Why I’m Soul Sister to a Dog: The Canaanite Woman & Me
  8. Pride and the Canaanite
  9. Compassion: It is Never too Late
  10. Charlottesville, A Sassy Woman, and the Dismantling of Racism [Mt 15:21-28]
  11. Thank God, God has a sense of humor
  12. A Few Crumbs to Nibble On
  13. Human Cry to Christ
  14. Are You Teachable?
  15. Reminiscere (Lent 2) Sermon, 2018

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 5 Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

Matthew 6: 24-34: e) Anxiety and neighbor love

|| Luke 12:22-31

MT6:24 “No one can slave for two masters,[1] for either he will hate one and love the other[2] or embrace[3] one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Riches![4] MT6:25 For this I tell you: Do not be overly concerned[5] about your soul[6] as to what you might eat or what you might drink,[7] nor about your body as to clothing.[8] MT6:26 Look well to the birds[9] in the sky, they do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns.[10] Your heavenly Father feeds them.[11] Are you that much different?[12] MT6:27 But, who among you can add one minute to your life-span[13] by being overly concerned? MT6:28 And, why are you overly concerned about clothing? Learn something from how the flowers of the field[14] grow. They do not labor or spin.[15] MT6:29 But, I tell you: Solomon in all his glory[16] was not clothed as one of these. MT6:30 But, if The God clothes the fields of grass,[17] here today and tomorrow tossed in the oven, how much more you,[18] ones of little faith? MT6:31 So, do not be overly concerned,[19] saying, ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’[20] MT6:32 For all these the Non-Jews overly seek.[21] Your heavenly Father knows you need all these.[22] MT6:33 But, you, seek first His Kingdom and righteousness[23] and all these will be added to you. MT6:34 So, do not be overly concerned about tomorrow.[24] For tomorrow will have its own concerns. The hardships of each day are enough![25]

[1] Two masters: Or, masters. 2 Timothy 2:4 expresses a similar idea by Paul.

[2] He will hate one and love the other: Various renderings are: TCNT: attach himself; BECK: be loyal to the one. Hate here means to love less of two, much as a man with two maidens to please. Woe to him if the other finds out. The disciple who slaves for Mammon, or sticks to riches by his conversation and agenda, though unknown to himself, despises his true Lord.

[3] Embrace: Or, “stick”. On the word “stick” see Deuteronomy 30:20 where it equals love and obedience. Rather than try to balance the two, God and Riches, the Friend of the Nazarene is better off sinning on the side of God and poverty than on the side of Riches and self. Better to die penniless with God as your Business Partner than end life wealthy with a lost soul as your only investment (Luke 12:20).

[4] God and Riches: It is not, “God or Riches,” but, “God and Riches.” The Nazarene says it cannot be done, though untold numbers of Christians have attempted it miserably (1 Timothy 6:7-10, 17-19). Various renderings are: KNX: you must serve God or money; you cannot serve both. This is an impossibility illustrated by the mental image of a poor servant running back and forth between the two demands of two different lords. He is obediently with the one when the other requires his service. Riches can easily become a taskmaster greater than God. Riches can become God itself.

In the modern Western capitalist world there are millions of Christians trying to do the very thing the Nazarene said cannot be done: serve God and Riches. There are those Prosperity Preachers who speak in the voice of Revelation 3:17 and who insist riches are proof of God’s blessing. They particularly encourage tithing and giving one’s money to them in promise of God’s blessing. The Nazarene Saint has only to look at the life-style of the Master and those early disciples to see what Jesus meant.

[5] Overly concerned: Various renderings are: KJ: take no thought for your life; WMS: stop worrying about your life; NEB: put away anxious thoughts. Stop! This is a negative command of the Nazarene, and based on John 15:14 and John 14:15, a failure to obey this directive proves one does not love him, nor is a friend of the Lord. To persist in anxiety and worry is a desertion of Christ. For those hapless and bedarkened souls who suffer physical and chemical ailments are captive to frightening insecurities and paranoia. Note Paul’s “secret” at Philippians 4:6, 12.

The affects of worry, anxiety, and being overly concerned about material matters, can have a strong influence on neighbor love, for one may be so occupied with these secular things as to ignore one’s neighbor.

[6] Soul: The Greek is PSYCHE and many translate this “life.” It is interesting that it is the “soul” linked to the functions of eating and drinking and then the “body” (SOMA) with clothing. In Hebrew and Greek the “soul” is the living, breathing creature itself and at death becomes “a dead soul.” (Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6, 11: dead soul) To Paul the “soul” is the animal, physical, earthly, dusty, corruptible, mortal (1 Corinthians 15:42-49). See lexicons and dictionaries on “soul.”

[7] Drink: Usually this does not mean water but wine or milk as both were staples.

[8] Clothing: In the world of the Nazarene the majority of people possessed a single set of clothes meant to last a life-time. Note Matthew 5:40; 9:16, 20, 21; 11:8; 24:18; Luke 22:36; John 19:25. The “naked” state mentioned in Matthew 25:36 can infer improperly clothed for the conditions.

[9] Birds: In Luke 12:23, 24 these “birds” are “ravens,” the bird which Noah released first (Genesis 8:7), and which fed Elijah (1 Kings 17:4, 6). The raven is considered the smartest of birds, mate for life, and is the most wide-ranging of all birds. It is found on Mount Everest, in the worst of deserts, and the Arctic. Job 38:41 is a foreview of the Nazarene’s words,

‘Who provides the ravens food when its young cry to God for help?’

[10] They do not sow or reap. Nor do they gather into storage barns: According to the Nazarene birds do not toil, but they survive. Jesus is encouraging the simple life in which toil is non-existent. For three and a half years Jesus did not toil, nor did his disciples until that day they lost faith and returned to their fishing businesses (John 21:1-19).

[11] Father feeds them: The Nazarene credits God for feeding the birds even as Job 38:41 states. If the Nazarene has this kind of conviction, how can one of his disciples not trust God to care.

[12] Different: Many translate DIAPHERETE as “worth” and this may be well, but one can see the English corruption “different” in the word. Regarding “worth” each person has a value or worth and in the Nazarene’s absurdum the disciples can see their true value in the eyes of the Creator of sparrows which sell for little in the market (Matthew 10:29).

[13] Add one minute to your life-span: Various renderings: GDSP: which of you with all his worry can add a single hour to his life span; TCNT: prolong his life a single moment; PHI: make himself an inch taller. Note Psalm 39:4, 5: life; Psalm 90:10: seventy or eighty years. Unknown then, but presumed by human reasoning, and now confirmed by medical studies, anxiety does not prolong life, but shortens it, in a painfully slow and a daily agonizing death.

[14] Flowers of the field: Some identify the flower with the lily. Compare Matthew 11:28 and Proverbs 23:4: toil. These beauties of the field neither toil nor sow and are an example for the Nazarene disciple (Matthew 6:26).

[15] They do not labor or spin: The bird does not gather or store, and the flower does not labor or spin, and the Nazarene infers this is an example for his disciples. The storage and labor here are of a material kind. No one could argue that the Nazarene or Paul did not labor and toil, but this they did in the Master’s harvest. Compare Paul’s arguments in 1 Corinthians 9:3-18.

[16] Solomon in all his glory: Note Solomon’s wealth at 1 Kings 10:5 and read of his endeavors in Ecclesiastes ch 2, where he admits the futility or vanity of what appears to be security in material things. Note his conclusions at Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14. The Queen of Sheba, so overcome at Solomon’s wealth, may have been unimpressed by the humble lifestyle of the Nazarene.

[17] The God clothes the fields of grass: The Nazarene credits God for the carpets of flowers.

[18] How much more you: See Luke 12:28. The standard clothing of the poor in the days of the Nazarene was three layers of covering, the outer of such a nature to serve also as a night blanket, or a tent in foul weather. This served a lifetime and was so well made and needful as to be a guarantee against a debt (Matthew 5:40). Such a pledge had to be returned before night. It is doubtful Jesus had a wardrobe that allowed a daily, weekly, or even monthly change of apparel. Note Matthew 11:8 where soft or fine garments are found in king’s castles and splendid, luxurious dress in royal houses (Luke 7:25). These fine clothes may be beautiful and carry a delicate feel to the skin, but useless for the night bivouac of a wandering troop of itinerant teachers spending the occasional evening under the stars with God as their blanket, their only entertainment the nocturnal crickets, frogs and owls. Who among those genuine disciples of the Nazarene would not give everything they possess to spend one such night under the open celestial darkness with Jesus. Then to listen to his restful breathing in that Innocent’s sleep, only to wonder of such divine dreams?

In the Western world much time is spent in shopping at luxurious malls, which would rival the pyramids in their architecture, and absorb untold hours of dressing and undressing, only to have clothes hang limp in the darkness of a closet.

[19] Not be overly concerned: See Luke 12:29: worry. Various renderings: PHI: do not worry. ‘Stop worrying!’ is a Nazarene command (John 14:15). To worry or be unduly anxious is a desertion of Christ. Better to die of starvation or thirst or nakedness than to give in to anxiety over transient things.

Note the austere sincerity of Peter’s haste to build a mountain bivouac from available boughs, for those august personages of Moses and Elijah, so they had some shelter from the lofty mountain’s night – a heart so sweet and swift in its goodness. Such an enthusiastic suggestion is unthinkable in the modern Western world where one would rather worry about the credit limit on a gold bankcard and where the nearest luxury hotel was, let alone have the knowledge to build such a temporary shelter (Matthew 17:1, 4).

[20] ‘What will we eat?’ Or, ‘What will we drink?’ Or, ‘What will we put on?’: These questions seem out of place to a Western reader where these are the least of one’s problems. In Third World Countries these are still timely questions of daily concern. In the West most are struggling with various weight programs, drink too much, and have closets filled with unused clothing. A woman dressing for the evening may go through a dozen changes before the mirror, try on several pairs of heels, select from drawers of jewelry and choose from dozens of perfumes.

However, the spirit of the Nazarene’s teachings ought to ring in the ears of the Saint living near the top of the social and economic pyramid: seek a life of simplicity with a generous eye toward the less fortunate. It is Paul who instructs the missionary Timothy to “give orders to the rich.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19) Who dare do that today? What Christian pastor has the courage to even read these words without rationalizing to his affluent congregation?

[21] Non-Jews overly seek: And the Nazarene would have to admit, and perhaps he avoids saying so, many Jews of his world sought the same. Various renderings: BECK: the people of the world run after all these things. These words were not lost on the Nazarene’s beloved when John writes

‘Do not love the world and its things… for all worldly things (fleshly desire, greedy eyes, and self-assuming materialism) are not of the Father.’ (1 John 2:15, 16)

Here “things” are merely food, drink and clothing and this is ludicrous in a modern Western society where payments for debts on autos, mobile phones, TV cable-hookups, electricity for refrigerators, and other modern conveniences make economic slaves of men, their wives and families. Jesus’ sermon would be meaningless to a modern audience in America or Europe accept for those unfortunate living on the street and who have fallen outside the sumptuous table of capitalist and social democratic orders.

[22] Father knows you need all these: The comforting thought that God knows our needs saturates the Psalms. If there is one group of peoples the Almighty pays close attention to, it is the poor (1 Timothy 6:8; Philippians 4:12). The word “poor” occurs 117, times with Psalms having the most occurrences (23 times). A comparison of a concordance on the words poor, poverty, affliction, or oppressed, will reveal God’s loving care for such multitudes.

[23] Seek first His Kingdom and righteousness: First the Kingdom, and then God’s righteousness, not some other standard (See Romans 14:17: kingdom). Various renderings are: PHI: set your heart on his kingdom; RIEU: pursue the kingdom; BECK: first be eager to have God as your King; GDSP: but you must make his kingdom and uprightness your greatest care. When the Nazarene here uses the word “kingdom” he first means that opportunity to gain entrance into the kingdom or realm of the Son which is the Church, the Nazarene Community of Christian Saints with its heavenly call (Matthew 13:41; Colossians 1:12; Hebrews 3:1). This “righteousness” is not that of the Law but those commandments of the Lord (John 14:15; 1John 3:23).

[24] Do not be overly concerned about tomorrow: Apparently he does not mean ‘give no thought of the morrow’ for the Nazarene himself prepares for the future day on occasion. The Greek MERIMNESETE may be rendered anxious or worry. It is often used in the context of “concern” and thus the use of “overly concerned.” Some reasonable concern is necessary as shown in Jesus’ instructions regarding the colt and the upper room. Compare Job 14:1 and Exodus 16:4, 19: depression. Various renderings are: MOF: so never be troubled; KNX: do not fret.

Note a practical commentary on this verse at Philippians 4:11-13. It takes a certain natural or developed bent of mind to trust in God to such an extent and the majority of Christians who ever lived were not of this caliber. Paul, after the Nazarene’s model, was such a person who took the Lord’s word at face value and lived his life accordingly. An unnamed scribe, overcome by the crowds, and the healing works of this wandering Rabbi, offered, ‘I will follow you anywhere.’ Jesus’ simple reply pointed the difficult way,

‘Foxes have dens, birds have roosts, but I have nowhere to sleep. Come, follow me!’ (Matthew 8:18-22)

Words and promises are big but deeds and examples are few. Today millions are spent on treatment for anxiety and depression. It is obvious the more things one has to care for or worry about, the more anxiety occupies and distracts, leading to those modern ills. In the end, even the most security conscious have no control over his finances, his life, his inheritance. For an example, a commentary on this verse, there is none better than Luke 12:13-34.

‘Tomorrow will have its own concerns.’ You can rely on this as much as death and taxes! One day at a time, as the AA phrase goes, is right out of the Nazarene’s teachings. Most anxieties are not worth the time and energy wasted on them, for those real fears do not materialize in most cases; and in those justified cases, the majority of time there is little that can be done about them. Each day’s badness, evil, or anxieties is sufficient, so why fret about those which have not yet appeared? Why add to it all by anxiety and those attitudes and actions which it creates?

[25] Hardships of each day are enough: There are those “hardships” which are beyond our control, like an earthquake, or the outbreak of war, or a wave of persecution, or sudden illness. There are those hardships which we bring upon ourselves by bad decisions, laziness, stupidity, or poor preparation.

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Preceding articles

Back from gone #2 Aim of godly people

Matthew 5:38-42 – 5. The Nazarene’s Commentary on Exodus 21:24

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 1 Charity and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 2 Prayer and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 3 Forgiveness and neighbour love

Matthew 6:1-34 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Leviticus 19:18 Continued 4 Treasures’ and neighbour love

Man enticed to long for more

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Additional reading

  1. 19° century Londoners, religion and heretical opinions
  2. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #2 Purity
  3. Contribution – Contributie, bijdrage
  4. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God
  5. When discouraged facing opposition
  6. Fearing the right person
  7. Dealing with worries in our lives
  8. Give your worries to God
  9. Look for today
  10. Rejoicing in the day
  11. God Feeds The Birds
  12. Trusting, Faith, Calling and Ascribing to Jehovah #4 Transitoriness #1 Prosperity

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Further reading

  1. Today’s Scripture – September 26, 2016
  2. Sermon on Matthew 6.24-34 (Audio)
  3. Two Masters
  4. Bible Study: Insights on the Sermon on the Mount: God or Mammon
  5. Seek First The Kingdom Of GOD: Two Masters – What is Mammon?
  6. FAact Food #673 The English word ‘mammon’ is a direct rip-off from Latin’s ‘mammona’ meaning ‘wealth’. In the New Testament of the Bible, the term ‘mammon’ is associated with greedy pursuit of profit through …
  7. Seek First The Kingdom Of God: Two Masters – You Can Serve Only One
  8. The Idols of the Nations
  9. Mammon: Word of the day for September 13, 2016
  10. Do You Know The Word Mammon?
  11. “Mammon : The desire for wealth personified as an evil spirit or a malign influence. Often mammon:…”
  12. Mammon
  13. Mammon 2
  14. Mammon 3
  15. Mammon, Mountains and Donations
  16. God or mammon?
  17. God and Mammon (Revisited)
  18. God or Money
  19. 24 October: Mammon, money, need and greed
  20. Duchies of Hell: Mammon
  21. Mighty Mammon vs. Almighty God
  22. Christians Side With Mammon. Mammon Sided with Barabbas
  23. The Betrayal of Jesus: Then and Now
  24. Should Christians Buy Stocks?
  25. Immanuel Kant Interlude – Compulsory Idleness
  26. Daily Mass: Whom do you serve, God or mammon? Catholic Inspiration
  27. 12 April, Relics X: Blood Money
  28. James on Justice (An Appeal for Classless Christianity) James 4:1-17
  29. Help Us Dear Lord Not To Call You A Liar – Part 3
  30. Money and Happiness
  31. The greatest world religion? – materialism!
  32. The Almighty Dollar
  33. Do You Love Money?
  34. Need
  35. God Almighty, or the god of money?
  36. God wants us to be free from bondage to greed
  37. You Cannot Serve Both God & Riches
  38. Christianity held hostage
  39. Propensity for Prosperity
  40. Oh Lord Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz?
  41. Christianity Targeted by Corrupt Government
  42. Worship only God
  43. Prosperity Preachers
  44. The False Doctrine of Prosperity Preachers
  45. I Wrestled With A Preacher In My Dreams

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