Matthew 5

Matthew 5:

The Sermon on the Mount: Part 1

                Jesus preaches the famous, Sermon on the Mount. After seeing a multitude of people, Jesus goes to the top of a mountain and began to teach his disciples. In this one chapter, which comprises only 1/3 of the Sermon on the Mount, we learn a vast amount of important doctrine.

Jesus begins his address by addressing those who are blessed;

Blessed are…

  • “…the poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5:3)
  • “…they that mourn…” (Matthew 5:4)
  • “…the meek…” (Matthew 5:5)
  • “…they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6)
  • “…the merciful…” (Matthew 5:7)
  • “…the pure in heart…” (Matthew 5:8)
  • “…the peacemakers…” (Matthew 5:9)
  • “…they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake” (Matthew 5:10)
  • “…ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (Matthew 5:11)

“Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which before you.” (Matthew 5:12)

What is Jesus saying here? He is saying that as a disciple of Jesus Christ you WILL be persecuted, and you will mourn. These things are just part of life. However, those who are meek, pure in heart and are persecuted for righteousness’ sake will be rewarded. It wasn’t easy for Jesus, he was persecuted, and so were the prophets after him. Where good prevails, evil will always follow behind in jealousy. Good men and women suffer, so that they might understand what the true joys of the world are. For you cannot have comfort, without pain. For how would you know the difference? The same is with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must be tried, so that we can be corrected and put on a straight and narrow path.

Jesus continues his address by saying; “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick… let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)

As disciples of Jesus Christ we are the salt of the earth, if we lose our flavor, what are we good for? Nothing! Therefore it is important that we set the example for the rest of the world. We need to show the world our good works and do as Jesus would do. The popular Christian “WWJD: What Would Jesus Do?” fits perfectly in this scenario. OR perhaps we can use the LDS version of “CTR: Choose the Right”. Either way, we need to Choose the Right, and do, as Jesus would do! We should never set our talents aside. We need to shine brightly before all men, doing good and representing Jesus as our savior.

Jesus continues his address, by altering some of the most basic LAWS of MOSES. At the time of his Sermon, I can imagine people confused and possibly upset by the words of Jesus. After all he was contradicting some of the most basic laws of the time.

Jesus says that whoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of judgment. Those who commit adultery will be judged, but the same is also applied to those who look after women to “…lust after her…” (Matthew 5:28), this is also committing adultery in your heart.

Jesus also contradicts the common “eye for an eye” and a “tooth for a tooth” law of the time, by stating; “…whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39)

Jesus teaches about compassion and love for not only your neighbor, but for your enemy; “…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Jesus taught that we should be compassionate and not worry about the wrongs of others. If someone wrongs you, we are not to judge them. We should try to love those that hate us, use us or persecute us. We should try to help those in need and if necessary turn our other cheek to those who wish to smite us. In the end, we are here on the earth to become more like our Father in Heaven. We are not perfect, but our goal is to strive to be perfect; “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48)

What is the Bible?

What is the Bible?

What is the Bible? Where did it come from? Have you ever asked yourself these questions?

Today there are dozens of “versions” or “translations” of the Bible in English alone! Not including a translation in at least some small form in every language spoken on earth!  I use the King James Version of the Bible which was translated in 1611 and is probably one of the most common and most quoted “translations” of the Bible in the world.

Lets step back in time for a moment and learn some of the history of the Bible; I personally am always blown away with the extensive history of the Bible! Someone could easily spend their entire life studying the Bible and still not know the entire history. Let’s start by examining the word “Bible”, what does that mean? Bible comes from the Latin word; Biblia, which means “books” or a collections of books. So the Bible literally means a collection of Books or if we were to see “Holy Bible” we could translate that to the “Holy Books”.

So we know that the Bible is a collection of Books, but where did these books come from? We know that the first five books of the Bible, known as the “Pentateuch” were authored by Moses of Israel, but he most likely took existing records, collected, edited, wove and abridged the books into a complete narrative. It is believed that some 700 years after Moses, Ezra, and the scribe returned to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity to start the demanding task of collecting, sorting and editing existing records and biblical texts to form one collection. The Old Testament that we know today probably reached its current form sometime around the late first century A.D.

The New Testament was formed in a similar manner, but often not how people have perceived. The books and the order they are placed in the Bible does not coincide with the date they were written. Before they were even written down, the stories and teachings of Jesus were first circulated as an oral history, with the earliest writings appearing sometime around 50 A.D. We know that the “Gospels” (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) were actually written much later than other parts of the New Testament, even though they appear first in the New Testament. The earliest known circulation of the “Gospels” appeared in Egypt no later than 125 A.D.

The earliest known collection, where the Old and New Testaments were together, is known as the “Codex Vaticanus” which is housed in the Vatican Library, and dates back to the 14th century.

From here the Bible follows a remarkable story filled with drama, inspiration and intrigue. The man that is credited with the first complete Bible in English is John Wycliffe (1328-1384), who was a theology professor at Oxford. He pioneered church reform in both doctrine and practice, and because of that him and his followers were greatly persecuted by corrupt church officials. Wycliffe saw that the current church was corrupt and far removed from the pattern of order and structure described in the Bible. Wycliffe set out to make the Bible available to all for their own interpretation, in their own tongues, instead of listening to corrupt church officials.

A century passed after the death of John Wycliffe and the birth of the man, who the world would recognize as the “Father of the English Bible” was William Tyndale (1492-1536). By the time Tyndale had begun his translation of the Bible, Martin Luther had already made a new translation of the Bible into German and Johann Gutenberg had perfected the moveable-type printing press, resulting in the famous 42-line Vulgate Bible. This Bible was a two-volume masterpiece that was printed in 1455.

Martin Luther (1483-1546) is probably one of the most famous of the pioneers for the reformation of the Bible and the church, which at the time was corrupted. Luther insisted that the teachings of the church must be grounded in scripture. He produced his new translation, so that the common man could understand its concepts and principles, and so misunderstandings could be avoided.

Shortly before William Tyndale was persecuted to the point of being burned at the stake, he said; “If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the scriptures than thou doest”. Tyndale’s work was not in vain, his work would later influence versions of the Bible, like the Geneva Bible of 1560, which was used by Shakespeare and brought over to America by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower.

In 1607, King James I of England appointed nearly 50 scholars, divided into six groups to research, organize, translate and bring to light a new translation of the Bible. The King James Version, which was published in 1611; “For without translation into the common tongue the unlearned are but like children at Jacob’s well… without a bucket or something to draw with”. Modern scholars have come to the conclusion, that almost 84% of the King James Bible was retained in the original texts of Tyndale’s work.

We must understand that as the world moves forward new versions or translations of the Bible are appearing every day. Reasons include; keeping up to pace with changes in language, facilitate ease of understanding and to go along with general understandings of words and doctrines of the modern world. But it must be understand that a “translation” is automatically a “interpretation”.

Because a translation is an “interpretation”, we must treat it as such! This does not mean that the Bible is not credible, it is very credible! I believe that the Bible is the word of God, but only when it is translated or interpreted as such! Meaning that we must read the Bible and understand its principles and doctrines with the spirit of God. We must read the scriptures with a prayer in our heart. We cannot simply read the Bible and take it for its literal “interpretation”, especially the interpretation of another.

Isaiah 25-26

Isaiah 25-26

Chapter 25: Tyre shall be overthrown

God is praised for his righteous judgment, and for assisting the needy. A feast will be prepared on Zion. Death will be swallowed up forever, and all tears wiped away.

“…Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord…” (Isaiah 25:9)

People will proclaim a God they have waited for, and who has saved them.
The pride of Moab will be brought down, as the Lord spreads out his hands like a swimmer reaches out to swim.

Chapter 26: Men Shall Change the Scriptures

The strength of the city will be celebrated. The Lord is the source of the city’s strength. The Lord will bring down those who dwell on high. The upright will desire the Lord, and the wicked shall remain unaware as the fire of enemies devours them. All masters other than the Lord are dead. We have been in pain, as if in labour. The dead shall rise. The day of the Lord’s judgment will come.

Through all of this we can learn something about patience the Lord speaks to His people: “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” (Isaiah 26:20)

                We need to remember that the Lord works on His own time, but if we are patient the Lord WILL save us! Sometimes it might feel like a long time, but we have to remember that our life on this earth is short compared to eternity… our pain and suffer is a “little moment” in the Lord’s eyes.

Psalms 113-114

Psalms 113-114

Chapter 113: Who is like unto the Lord?

The Lord is high above all nations and His glory is above the heavens! He helps the barren women have children to become a mother; He is forever and should always be praised! Who truly, is like unto the Lord?

Chapter 114: The Lord Governs the Sea and the Land

The Lord governs the sea and the land for the blessing of His children. He can make the “…mountains skip[ped] like rams, and the little hills like lambs…” (Psalm 114:4)

2 Kings 19-20

2 Kings 19-20

Chapter 19: Hezekiah Seeks Counsel from Isaiah

Hezekiah rents his clothes and covers himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. Hezekiah sends Eliakim and Shebna also covered in sackcloth to see Isaiah the son of Amoz.

Isaiah receives word from the Lord and tells the messengers to return to Hezekiah saying; “…Be not afraid of the words which thou hast heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Behold I will send a blast upon him, and he shall hear a rumour, and shall return to his own land; and I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.” (2 Kings 19:6-7)

But the king of Assyria (after Hezekiah had heard the above words), tells Hezekiah to not put trust in his God, because the other nations that have fallen into his hands have also put their trust in their gods and they fell under his rule.

But Hezekiah prays to the Lord asking him for deliverance to show the rest of the people roundabout that the Lord God is the ONLY God. Isaiah hears from the Lord and sends message to Hezekiah saying that his prayers would be answered. In the middle of the night an angel comes and slays 185,000 Assyrians while they slept in their camps and Sennacherib the King of Assyria flees only to be killed by his own sons (Adrammelech and Sharezer). Esarhaddon  his other son reigned in his place.

Chapter 20: Hezekiah Pleads with the Lord

Hezekiah is on his death bed and is visited by Isaiah who tells him to set his house in order, because the Lord had told him that he will not live, but surely die. So Hezekiah pleads with the Lord to heal him and permit him more time. So the Lord tells Isaiah to deliver a message to Hezekiah that his prayers had been heard and that he would receive fifteen more years.

Isaiah prophesies about the Babylonian captivity of Judah and Hezekiah dies and is buried. His son Manasseh reigns in his stead.

 

2 Samuel 5-6

2 Samuel 5-6

Chapter 5: David: King of Jerusalem

Israel anoints David as king over all of Israel. The chapter tells us that David was 30 years old when he started his reign as king over Israel and that he reigned for 40 years! While he was in Hebron, David ruled over Judah for seven and a half years, and 33 years combined ruler over Israel and Judah. David goes into the land of Jerusalem and takes the stronghold of Zion, which is the same as the City of David. David builds up his city and even has other rulers send him people and materials to build himself a house. Because of all this David thought that the Lord must be with him, so he took more wives and had even more sons and daughters born to him.

The Philistines find out that David has become king and they are angered, so they come to battle against David. David inquires of the Lord as to whether he should attack, and the Lord comforts him, saying that he will deliver the Philistines into his hands. David smites the Philistines!

Chapter 6: The Ark of the Lord in the City of David

David gathers the best men of Israel (30,000 men in all) to go and get the Ark of the Covenant. They get the Ark and set it upon a new cart to be carried back from the house of Abinadab that was in Gibeah. As they marched back with the Ark, David and the entire house of Israel played instruments of all kinds. Uzzah touches the Ark  (trying to steady it, because the oxen where shaking) and is killed by God for having touched it. Because of this David was displeased and it seemed like he was upset at God/fearing of God because he had killed Uzzah. So David didn’t want it placed in his city, so he sends it to the house of Obed-eom, where it rested for 3 months and while it was there, the family and whole house of Obed-eom was blessed.

David then has the Ark brought into the city of David and he dances before the Lord. This displeases Michal and causes then to be at a distance.