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Thread: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

  1. #1

    Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    1: I see a lot of "turning the other cheek" in European countries right now, and it's not pretty. Rape everywhere, mosques taking the place of churches, it's awful. Christians have been turning the other cheek in the media, and the media just attacks us more What did Jesus really mean?

    2: What was Jesus quoting in 5:31 and 5:33? If it was the Law, then what about what He said in 5:17? The above two about lust and murder only strengthen those bits of the Law, but these two seem to do away with portions of it.

    3: Aren't Sweden and Canada loving their (muslim) enemies? Just look at how much the muslims are destroying them! Surely Jesus didn't mean that?

    4: 6:34 seems to be short-sighted. Even the Temple of God was planned for by David, and he didn't even build it. Things work when you plan them, and they don't if you don't plan them. What did Jesus really mean?

    5: Why wasn't it that right there in 7:7 that He didn't include the qualifier of James 4:3, that it has to be asked according to God's will? Why did He make His followers wait until James wrote his letter?

  2. #2

    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    The "Turning the other cheek" triad was about the Roman law related to occupied territories.

    1. Roman soldier could compel person in occupied territory to give him your outer garment for the night. Thus, give him your cloak also.
    2. Roman soldier could compel person in occupied territory to carry his armor for one stadia. Thus, carry it two.
    3. Roman soldier could slap any person in an occupied territory with an open hand for any reason ONE time. Thus, turn the other cheek.

    The focus was simply that you should serve your enemies beyond what you are legally bound to do, and by doing so, share the love of Jesus.

    That's all it means.

  3. #3

    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    What about the other questions, sir?

  4. #4
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    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Jesus was teaching the law perfectly (fulfilling the law). When he said, "you have heard it said" he was contrasting wrong teachings of the law with what he said, the correct teachings of the law. He also was not the first to say some of the things he said there. Search "school of hillel and shammai"

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    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
    1: I see a lot of "turning the other cheek" in European countries right now, and it's not pretty. Rape everywhere, mosques taking the place of churches, it's awful. Christians have been turning the other cheek in the media, and the media just attacks us more What did Jesus really mean?

    2: What was Jesus quoting in 5:31 and 5:33? If it was the Law, then what about what He said in 5:17? The above two about lust and murder only strengthen those bits of the Law, but these two seem to do away with portions of it.

    3: Aren't Sweden and Canada loving their (muslim) enemies? Just look at how much the muslims are destroying them! Surely Jesus didn't mean that?

    4: 6:34 seems to be short-sighted. Even the Temple of God was planned for by David, and he didn't even build it. Things work when you plan them, and they don't if you don't plan them. What did Jesus really mean?

    5: Why wasn't it that right there in 7:7 that He didn't include the qualifier of James 4:3, that it has to be asked according to God's will? Why did He make His followers wait until James wrote his letter?
    Yes, some of the things you mention here are being misinterpreted by many people today.

    For instance, as Stew said in comment #2, "turn the other cheek" was not about being passive in all things. Later Jesus would tell his Apostles to sell their cloak to buy a sword. We are not commanded to let heathen run us over without a fight.

    Jesus was not changing the Law when He gave commandments about divorce, He was restating the Law as it was meant to be. Divorce was against the Law from the beginning, but man made changes to it, with God's permission at the time, due to the hardness of the hearts of the Jews. Divorce has never been God's desire. Similar explanation of swearing.

    The key word in 6:34 is "worry". We should not worry about what will happen tomorrow, and we should not hold to our plans even when God is pushing us in another direction. We can plan "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise", but to plan, "come Hell or high water" is not Godly planning. Make plans, but follow God's leading so if those plans don't fit with His plan, be willing to change them.

    Jesus does qualify, similar to James 4, in Matt 7:9-12. A father will not give his children evil when they ask for good, but he also will not give them evil when they ask for evil. God is a good father, so if we ask for right things, He will give us right things.

  6. #6

    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brents View Post
    Yes, some of the things you mention here are being misinterpreted by many people today.

    For instance, as Stew said in comment #2, "turn the other cheek" was not about being passive in all things. Later Jesus would tell his Apostles to sell their cloak to buy a sword. We are not commanded to let heathen run us over without a fight.
    Well, Jesus told all to buy a sword, I believe, but it was important enough to buy a sword that if you had not scrip or purse, then sell your coat to buy the sword:

    LK 22:36 But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Brents View Post
    Jesus was not changing the Law when He gave commandments about divorce, He was restating the Law as it was meant to be. Divorce was against the Law from the beginning, but man made changes to it, with God's permission at the time, due to the hardness of the hearts of the Jews. Divorce has never been God's desire. Similar explanation of swearing.

    The key word in 6:34 is "worry". We should not worry about what will happen tomorrow, and we should not hold to our plans even when God is pushing us in another direction. We can plan "Lord willin' and the creek don't rise", but to plan, "come Hell or high water" is not Godly planning. Make plans, but follow God's leading so if those plans don't fit with His plan, be willing to change them.

    Jesus does qualify, similar to James 4, in Matt 7:9-12. A father will not give his children evil when they ask for good, but he also will not give them evil when they ask for evil. God is a good father, so if we ask for right things, He will give us right things.
    Taken literally, I believe Jesus did change a part of the Law when He said "...Eye for an eye and tooth for tooth...," but I see it only as being for those two items alone.

    Foot, hand, and life were not changed.
    JER 14:13 Then said I: 'Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them: Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.'
    JER 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me: 'The prophets prophesy lies in My name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spoke I unto them; they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their own heart.

  7. #7

    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Jesus did not change a part of the Law and He did not command all of His disciples, much less all of us, to buy a sword.

    He acknowledged that the two swords they had on hand were more than enough for him to be considered in collusion with lawbreakers by the Romans.

  8. #8

    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Ward's Hip View Post
    Jesus did not change a part of the Law and He did not command all of His disciples, much less all of us, to buy a sword.
    Of course He did!

    LK 22:36 But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword.
    LK 22:37 For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end.


    Besides which, I think that all of us are His Apostles, and the Bible is aimed at those Apostles as it's target audience.

    Unless you can show me different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Ward's Hip View Post
    He acknowledged that the two swords they had on hand were more than enough for him to be considered in collusion with lawbreakers by the Romans.
    Collusion with lawbreakers?

    By the Romans?

    LK 23:4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the multitudes: I find no cause in this man.
    JER 14:13 Then said I: 'Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them: Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.'
    JER 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me: 'The prophets prophesy lies in My name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spoke I unto them; they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their own heart.

  9. #9

    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by dan View Post
    Of course He did!

    LK 22:36 But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword.
    LK 22:37 For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end.


    Besides which, I think that all of us are His Apostles, and the Bible is aimed at those Apostles as it's target audience.

    Unless you can show me different.



    Collusion with lawbreakers?

    By the Romans?

    LK 23:4 And Pilate said to the chief priests and to the multitudes: I find no cause in this man.
    Yes, the Romans.

    Herod had power only to act under Roman authority.

    Yes, collusion with lawbreakers, or as your Douay says "For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end."

    Having swords was against the Roman law, thus, the Romans could accuse Jesus of being in the company of the 'wicked'"

    You and I are definitely not apostles.

  10. #10

    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stew Ward's Hip View Post
    Yes, the Romans.

    Herod had power only to act under Roman authority.

    Yes, collusion with lawbreakers, or as your Douay says "For I say to you, that this that is written must yet be fulfilled in me: And with the wicked was he reckoned. For the things concerning me have an end."

    Having swords was against the Roman law, thus, the Romans could accuse Jesus of being in the company of the 'wicked'"

    You and I are definitely not apostles.
    So?

    The Roman's acted for the Pharisees, not for Herod, and Herod did not act at all!

    I disagree that swords were restricted, or Peter would not have had one.

    Or, was that two?

    I maintain that "reckoned with the wicked" has not occurred, yet, not until He is reckoned with the wicked for telling us to "buy a sword."

    And, as usual, we have to ask: why are we not Apostles?
    JER 14:13 Then said I: 'Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them: Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.'
    JER 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me: 'The prophets prophesy lies in My name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spoke I unto them; they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their own heart.

  11. #11
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    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by dan View Post
    Well, Jesus told all to buy a sword, I believe, but it was important enough to buy a sword that if you had not scrip or purse, then sell your coat to buy the sword:

    LK 22:36 But they said: Nothing. Then said he unto them: But now he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise a scrip; and he that hath not, let him sell his coat, and buy a sword.



    Taken literally, I believe Jesus did change a part of the Law when He said "...Eye for an eye and tooth for tooth...," but I see it only as being for those two items alone.
    Two? You only have one here.

    Jesus did not change any part of the Law. In fact, he didn't even take it further. Didn't change a thing.

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    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
    1: I see a lot of "turning the other cheek" in European countries right now, and it's not pretty. Rape everywhere, mosques taking the place of churches, it's awful. Christians have been turning the other cheek in the media, and the media just attacks us more What did Jesus really mean?

    2: What was Jesus quoting in 5:31 and 5:33? If it was the Law, then what about what He said in 5:17? The above two about lust and murder only strengthen those bits of the Law, but these two seem to do away with portions of it.

    3: Aren't Sweden and Canada loving their (muslim) enemies? Just look at how much the muslims are destroying them! Surely Jesus didn't mean that?

    4: 6:34 seems to be short-sighted. Even the Temple of God was planned for by David, and he didn't even build it. Things work when you plan them, and they don't if you don't plan them. What did Jesus really mean?

    5: Why wasn't it that right there in 7:7 that He didn't include the qualifier of James 4:3, that it has to be asked according to God's will? Why did He make His followers wait until James wrote his letter?
    I started to answer your O.P. Then I stopped answering.
    I think He can help you understand, more than I can.
    I do not believe God says something to get our goat. (Irritate us)
    One Book or Chapter of His Word can last a lifetime of reading through, understanding; hearing.
    It is all GOOD---

    My own personal goat is the Old man, trying to raise it's head.
    Interpretation is only as good as it's real use for Him in my walk at the time, IMO.

    I have to always request Him to help me apply something He has said to my life, make it real--it is what I have--or can obtain; I cannot answer for anyone else.

    I might ask, what do you think He means by turning the other cheek-- And go from your response, because in this medium, we are very far removed from each other. Do you think there is a conflict, and why--- and is there hope it can be resolved through His Spirit, His Body?

    What is your interpretation of The Sermon on the Mount?
    Last edited by Scooby_Snacks; Apr 5th 2017 at 12:16 PM. Reason: add
    Peace to you!

    It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.

    1 Corinthians 1:30


  13. #13

    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Noeb View Post
    Two? You only have one here.
    Oh, that's a reference to Peter advising the Christ that there were two swords in attendance at the Last Supper:

    I would like to think that both belonged to Peter and that Jesus was saying "it's enough" to the two swords for one man.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noeb View Post
    Jesus did not change any part of the Law. In fact, he didn't even take it further. Didn't change a thing.
    Perhaps, but if He did, it was only the eye and the tooth.
    JER 14:13 Then said I: 'Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them: Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place.'
    JER 14:14 Then the LORD said unto me: 'The prophets prophesy lies in My name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spoke I unto them; they prophesy unto you a lying vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their own heart.

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    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yonathan View Post
    1: I see a lot of "turning the other cheek" in European countries right now, and it's not pretty. Rape everywhere, mosques taking the place of churches, it's awful. Christians have been turning the other cheek in the media, and the media just attacks us more What did Jesus really mean?
    Here Jesus seems to be commanding his disciples to practice non-violent resistance in every situation, when in fact he has one particular situation in view. Slapping someone on the face is meant as an insult. Notice where he mentions this instance in the same sermon.

    Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    Jesus has a very specific context in mind, supposing that at some point in a disciples' walk with Jesus, a disciple might suffer insult and persecution and all kinds of evil "because of me." And this is the key to his point. When a man breaks into my home to rob me or rape my wife, he is motivated by greed or lust, not necessarily by his hatred of Jesus Christ. Jesus' command to resist violence is specifically focused only on those moments where it is clear that the person slapping you in the face is motivated by his hatred of Jesus Christ. If a man slaps you on the face because you are a follower of Jesus, then turn the other cheek.

    That having been said, we recognize the distinction between our role in society as individuals and the government's role to prosecute justice. If I as an individual want to turn the other cheek that is my business. But the government has no such command to turn the other cheek. As Paul records in Romans 13, God institutes the government, which "is a minister of God to you for good" and "an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil." If the government ignores evil and turns the other cheek, that government has ceased to function as a minister of God.

    2: What was Jesus quoting in 5:31 and 5:33? If it was the Law, then what about what He said in 5:17? The above two about lust and murder only strengthen those bits of the Law, but these two seem to do away with portions of it.
    Jesus is not doing away with portions of the law. He is speaking into a culture in which some people look for "loop-holes" in order to get around the law. For instance, the certificate of divorce was intended to mitigate the injury and hurt associated with the break up of a marriage. As Jesus said, Moses gave the certificate of divorce because of the stubbornness of the heart. But certain men were taking advantage of the law in order to sleep with different women, whomever they wanted. The divorce certificate allowed them to abandon their current wife in order sleep with another woman instead, treating the sanctity of marriage as unholy and inconvenient. In other words, they were using one part of the law to justify the practice of adultery.

    3: Aren't Sweden and Canada loving their (muslim) enemies? Just look at how much the muslims are destroying them! Surely Jesus didn't mean that?
    As Paul says, if Sweden and Canada are not punishing evil and rewarding the good, then they are no longer ministers of God.

    4: 6:34 seems to be short-sighted. Even the Temple of God was planned for by David, and he didn't even build it. Things work when you plan them, and they don't if you don't plan them. What did Jesus really mean?
    Jesus is talking about worry, not about planing. Planning for the future is wise and should be encouraged. However, as James says, we can't really know what will take place in the future so while we plan for the future our attitude should be, "if the Lord is willing." As we mature and grow in the Lord we come to understand that our future is in the hands of God. We come to expect that God has our best interests at heart and that if our future does not follow our script, that whatever is in store for us, a loving and wise God will work for our good. So planning is wise, but don't think that planning alone is enough.

    5: Why wasn't it that right there in 7:7 that He didn't include the qualifier of James 4:3, that it has to be asked according to God's will? Why did He make His followers wait until James wrote his letter?
    I like to have the text in front of me.

    Matthew 7:
    7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

    At first blush it would seem that Jesus invites us to ask God for anything we want. In verse 11, however, he limits the scope of possible requests to "the good." The Father is willing to grant prayer requests of those who seek "what is good." But this isn't the only qualification found in this passage. I note his observation that even human fathers, being evil, give good things to their children: fish and bread for example. In a way, this suggests to us that if we are seeking fish or bread, we might ask our earthly fathers first, if we have one. We can certainly petition God for anything that might be on our hearts, but Jesus invites us to ask God for that one thing that human beings can't supply: eternal life. Remember, Jesus says that we should seek first, the kingdom of God and all these other things will be added to us.

    James 4:
    4 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

    Here James is not adding a qualifier to what Jesus said; rather, he is elucidating, by example, what Jesus meant when he says, "seek first the kingdom of God." We should not expect our prayers to be heard if we make God our enemy by making the world our friend. James is speaking to people who are uncomfortable with a reliance on God's provision, seeking the favor of men instead in order to have a better life. According to this world system, things will go better for me if I solicit the favor of the rich and powerful. A man who seeks the rewards and benefits given to him by rich and powerful men, doesn't think much about the kingdom of God, which seems very far away and out of reach. The man's problems are immediate and therefore he can't wait for God to help him, assuming he wants to help. In his mind, faith is no guarantee, and he needs help now.

    We are faced with a decision: seek the kingdom of God or seek what this world has to offer.

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    Re: Are we interpreting the Sermon on the Mount incorrectly?

    Re: Luke 22:36

    I read a few commentaries on this, this one stood out to me. [ I am not saying it's the final word, just interesting. ]


    Barnes' Notes on the Bible

    But now - The Saviour says the times are changed. "Before," he sent them out only for a little time. They were in their own country. Their journeys would be short, and there was no need that they should make preparation for a long absence, or for encountering great dangers. But "now" they were to go into the wide world, among strangers, trials, dangers, and wants. And as the time was near; as he was about to die; as these dangers pressed on, it was proper that they should make provision for what was before them.
    A purse - See the notes at Matthew 10:9. He intimates that they should "now" take money, as it would be necessary to provide for their wants in traveling.

    Scrip - See the notes at Matthew 10:10.

    ***And he that hath no sword - There has been much difficulty in understanding why Jesus directed his disciples to arm themselves, as if it was his purpose to make a defense. It is certain that the spirit of his religion is against the use of the sword, and that it was not his purpose to defend himself against Judas. But it should be remembered that these directions about the purse, the scrip, and the sword were not made with reference to his "being taken" in the garden, but with reference "to their future life." The time of the trial in Gethsemane was just at hand; nor was there "time" then, if no other reason existed, to go and make the purchase. It altogether refers to their future life. They were going into the midst of dangers. The country was infested with robbers and wild beasts. It was customary to go armed. He tells them of those dangers - of the necessity of being prepared in the usual way to meet them. This, then, is not to be considered as a specific, positive "command" to procure a sword, but an intimation that great dangers were before them; that their manner of life would be changed, and that they would need the provisions "appropriate to that kind of life." The "common" preparation for that manner of life consisted in money, provisions, and arms; and he foretells them of that manner of life by giving them directions commonly understood to be appropriate to it. It amounts, then, to a "prediction" that they would soon leave the places which they had been accustomed to, and go into scenes of poverty, want, and danger, where they would feel the necessity of money, provisions, and the means of defense. All, therefore, that the passage justifies is:

    1. That it is proper for people to provide beforehand for their wants, and for ministers and missionaries as well as any others.

    2. That self-defense is lawful.

    Men encompassed with danger may lawfully "defend" their lives. It does not prove that it is lawful to make "offensive" war on a nation or an individual.

    Let him sell his garment - His "mantle" or his outer garment. See the notes at Matthew 5:40. The meaning is, let him procure one at any expense, even if he is obliged to sell his clothes for it intimating that the danger would be very great and pressing.***
    “A” cannot be “A” & not “A” at the same time.



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