THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IS
FOR CHRIST'S DISCIPLES
The Sermon on the Mount
CHRISTIAN ART, PHOTOS, AND ILLUSTRATION
I hope that everyone realizes that the Christian Art that I have been using is not meant to show an actual and accurate picture of the topic at hand. However, if the Art is not in bad taste, it can be helpful. Certainly some of the concepts portrayed in art concerning the doctrine of hell are anything but "good taste," nevertheless are helpful in understanding Christian doctrine. As for example the section on the seven children that went to hell with Jesus in a previous installment.
JESUS AND HIS DISCIPLES ON THE MOUNT
The following verses taken from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount make it abundantly clear that Jesus was not addressing the Pharisees, or Saducees, or the Priests, or Scribes, or even the multitudes which did not follow Jesus up the mountain, but waited for His return. Rather, Jesus addressed His Own disciples (of whom there were initially, many) who followed Him up the mountain. These only He instructed regarding a much higher standard of conduct and judgment:
"And He opened His mouth, and taught THEM [His disciples]" (Ver. 2).
"Blessed are YE [all you disciples]..." (Ver. 11).
"...for great is YOUR [disciples'] reward..." (Ver. 12).
"YE [disciples] are the salt of the earth..." (Ver. 13).
"YE [disciples] are the light of the world..." (Ver. 14).
"Let YOUR [disciples'] light so shine..." (Ver. 16).
"For verily I say unto YOU [disciples]..." (Ver. 18).
"For I say unto YOU [disciples]..." (Ver. 20).
"YE [disciples] have heard that it was said..." (Ver. 21).
"But I say unto YOU [disciples]... whosoever is angry..." (Ver. 22).
"But I say unto YOU [disciples]... shall say to his brother, Raca..." (Ver. 22).
"But I say unto YOU [disciples]... whosoever shall say , 'You fool' shall be in danger of hell [Gehenna] fire" (Ver. 22).
"Therefore if YOU [disciples] bring your gift..." (Ver. 23).
"Agree with YOUR [disciples] adversary quickly..." (Ver. 25).
"Veryily I say unto YOU [disciples], YOU [disciples] shall by no means come out thence, till YOU [disciples] have paid the uttermost farthing" (Ver. 26).
"But I say unto YOU [disciples], that whosoever looks on a woman to lust..." (Ver. 28).
"And if YOUR right eye offend YOU [disciples], pluck it out, and cast it from YOU: for it is profitable for YOU [disciples] that one of YOUR members should perish, and not that YOUR whole body [the bodies of Christ's disciples, not the wicked unbelievers in the day of Judgment] should be cast into hell [Gehenna fire]" (Ver. 29).
"And if YOUR right hand offend YOU, cut it off, and cast it from YOU: for it is profitable for YOU [disciples of Mine] that one of YOUR members should perish, and not that YOUR whole body should be cast into hell [Gehenna fire]" (Verse 30).
Any question as to whom Jesus addressed His "Sermon on the Mount?" Is this "Gehenna fire" for the world of unbelieving sinners, or for His Own Disciples?
THE PRINCIPLE OF FIRST USAGE
We have been taught that the first time a word is used in Scripture, it often gives a great deal of insight into its meaning and usage in the rest of the Scriptures. Well right here in verse 22 (the very first use of the words "hell" and "fire" in the New Testament Scriptures) we have proof positive that whatever "Gehenna fire" is, it is not eternal torture nor is it literal fire for calling a brother "fool." Calling a brother "Raca" or "fool" are very similar. However, for saying Raca one is tried in a rather benign tribunal, but for saying "you fool" one is sentenced to eternity in hell fire? The latter would be billions of trillions of times more severe than the former. What justice is there in that? Also notice that Jesus does not even consider that either of these sins is repented of and forgiven. That is why He says the offender is in "danger" of this or that judgment.
All through the Old Testament, God wisely fit the punishment to the crime. Greater crimes; greater punishments: Lesser crimes; lesser punishments. Does our Lord and Saviour now throw all such mercy and justice to the wind? Is "name-calling" now not only a capital offense, but an ETERNAL OFFENSE?
Under the New Covenant is name-calling punishable by ETERNAL TORTURE IN FIRE?
How many Christians have not a clue as to what Jesus is teaching in this acclaimed and applauded Sermon on the Mount? Many think it is three chapters on quaint little sayings like, "Turn the other cheek...," "Our Father which art in heaven...," "Judge not...," "Ask and ye shall receive...," and "Do unto others..." The Sermon on the Mount will be a total enigma until we learn to believe Jesus when He taught saying:
Paul asked the question of the carnal-minded Corinthians: "...Are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (I Cor. 6:2). Are my readers also unworthy to judge the smallest matters-the most simple matters? Okay then, let's use our God-given brains for a few minutes. What "specifically" did Jesus tell us is the disciplinary action to be taken against someone who hates his brother? And remember, to hate a brother is the spirit of a murderer (I John 3:15). Here is Jesus' answer:
Did Jesus do away with "judgment?" No. "But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother... shall BE [future tense] in danger of the judgment" (Verse 21). Jesus didn't do away with judgment.
Now then, what does the Word of God tell us is the penalty of the judgment for committing murder? "He that smites a man, so that he die, shall be surely PUT TO DEATH" (Ex. 21:12).
Notice that it does not say: "shall surely be cast alive into hell," or "burned alive forever in Gehenna fire." NO, "...put to DEATH." American Heritage College Dictionary, "death n. The state of being dead" "dead adj. Having lost life; no longer alive." When one is "dead" he is no longer "alive." What a revelation. Are you still with me? I lost 99.44% of all Christian theologians back on page one, first paragraph.
Continuing: If Jesus is yet teaching His disciples that murderers will be in danger of the judgment, which meant, "...shall surely be put to death," then how is it even within the realm of human understanding, that merely calling a brother "you fool" would bring upon the offender, ETERNAL LIFE IN LITERAL FIRE OF A HELLHOLE CALLED GEHENNA? Death to the murderer, but ETERNAL TORTURE for calling someone a name? Are they all crazy? Can a spirit-filled follower of Jesus Christ believe such utter, stupid, spiritual swill?
Who has used the term "fool" more than the famous TV actor Mr. T? Does anyone (be he cleric or layman) really believe that Mr. T (formerly, Laurence Tureaud/Lawrence Tero) of the TV series The A Team fame, and more recently, I Pity The Fool, really believe that this man who gave huge amounts of money and clothing to Katrina victims, and who continues using his wealth and talent to help those in need, will suffer hundreds, maybe thousands, of consecutive eternal sentences in the torture of some insane Christian hell fire for his multitudinous use of the word "fool"?
I thank God that Mr. T will not have to face near the Judgment for his excessive use of the word "fool" than those Christians, clergymen, and theologians who teach that most of humanity will be tortured in hell fire for all eternity for improper use of the word fool.
GEHENNA FIRE IS JUDGMENT FIRE ON ALL GOD'S ELECT
Clearly the sermon on the mount was not directed toward the Pharisees, or the Sadducees, or the Scribes, or the chief priests, or the Jews, or Judea, or the multitudes, or the unbelieving nations of the world, but rather for Christ's followers. That is for you if you are a follower of Jesus. Although by the time Pentecost came around after the resurrection of Jesus, there was a total of only 120 disciples waiting for the promise of God's Holy Spirit to come on them in Jerusalem (Acts 1:15), nonetheless, earlier, Jesus had many disciples.
from the West/1843 ft high/eastern end of Jezreel Valley
Mount Tabor is traditionally thought to be the mountain on which Jesus gave His famous sermon. It is inconceivable that thousands of elderly, sickly, and crippled people followed Jesus up the mountain. No, they were with Him at the base, and waited for Him till He returned where He continued healing and teaching.
Yes, of course, the whole world of unbelievers and ungodly will experience God's Divine consuming fire-His Gehenna fire, but not before it has first purged all of His Elect, the called and Chosen of the House of God. Which judgment the "House of God" has been experiencing now for 2000 years.
These instructions are decidedly not written for the "Many [who] will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, ...in Thy name done many wonderful works?... I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me..." (Matt. 7:22-23).
Only the living experience "Gehenna fire." And during this life, It is rather the living chosen elect of Jesus Christ who go through "Gehenna fire."
We must all receive reproaches from men, but judgment from God. And God purges us from the offenses of our carnal mind by "His Divine consuming FIRE" (Heb. 12:29).
The word "fire" is used with reference to Judgment many times in Scripture: "Gehenna fire," "salted with fire," "furnace of fire," "unquenchable fire," "everlasting fire," "burn by fire," "baptism by fire," "coals of fire," "flaming fire," "eternal fire," "consuming fire."
Are all of these Scriptural uses of fire really literal, physical, descriptions of how God will torture most of humanity as depicted in this Medieval Christian Art?
Here are the New Testament Scriptures which speak of different "fires" by which men are judged:
"Faith" is intangible and as such cannot be "tried" in literal fire. The Greek word translated fire is pur, and it means "fire" (literal or figuratively)-Strong's #4442.
(I Cor. 3:13-15).
Again fire (Gk; pur) is used figuratively, because the one being tried, "...he himself shall be saved, yet as BY FIRE." If one is "saved by fire," he is not eternally tortured in fire.
Here, being baptized (immersed) in fire [pur] is as important and beneficial as being baptized with God's Holy Spirit.
Chaff is the bracts enclosing the good, mature wheat, which is removed during threshing-it has no value as food, and so is burned like the wood, hay, and stubble of I Cor. 3:12. The Elect are composed of both the valuable wheat and the worthless chaff, but we are not the tares. Notice that the chaff is "burned up... with unquenchable fire." If this "unquenchable fire" "burns up" the chaff, surely it cannot be eternal. Unquenchable has nothing to do with eternal. Unquenchable fires is Scriptures that are not allowed to be quenched before they are allowed to burn themselves out.
We are the wheat of Jesus' parable, and we have unwanted chaff surrounding our lives. Jesus is not likening some people to wheat and others to chaff. The wheat is not one group and the chaff another, but rather the unwanted chaff belongs to the desired wheat. The wheat is the baby and the chaff is the bath water. We do not throw away the baby with the bath water, but we do throw away the dirty bath water (in this analogy the bath water represents chaff which is burned in fire).
Fire purifies and burns up unwanted character traits likened to "straw, hay, and stubble" and also to "chaff." But Salt is a preservative. Hence the salt and the fire. The spiritual fire purifies us and the spiritual salt preserves us.
How can anyone suggest that the different "fires" of which Jesus speaks are literal? What LITERAL FIRE did Jesus set back in Palestine during His ministry? Did He burn down some town or city? Did He start a forest fire. Well, He said the fire sent on the earth was "already kindled" during this period of His ministry. When will the Church give up this literal nonsense concerning the spiritual fire of God's spirit with which he will purify all humanity beginning with His Own House?
And here is the second witness to this Scriptural truth:
Now understand that when Jesus says His words are spirit, He is not saying that each individual phonetically sounded syllable is literally spirit, but the meaning and understanding of His STATEMENTS are spirit. Just a few verses earlier Jesus made a statement that prompted His declaration that "the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit."
Here is what He said:
The words meat and blood are no more "spirit" than is the word poison. But when used to represent "Jesus," Jesus being the bread from heaven, THEN it becomes spirit. Jesus is (spirit) bread that will ultimately impart immortality to those who (spiritually) eat it.
So when the Scriptures tell us, "For our God is a consuming fire" (Heb. 12:29), can't we understand that these words are "spirit?" God is SPIRIT..." (John 4:24). "...the INVISIBLE God..." (Col. 1:15). Now how can God be visible fire, when we are plainly told and shown in many Scriptures that God is invisible spirit? This phrase, "For our God is a consuming fire," is not literal, so as to contradict the rest of Scripture, but rather is a spiritual statement-the words are literal words, but the statement, the declaration, is spirit. God, as invisible Spirit, spiritually burns up the spiritual wood, hay, straw, and carnality of the human heart, in a similar way that literal fire burns up these physical materials.
All these "fires" are the same Fire: GOD IS THIS CONSUMING FIRE!
Jesus' judgments are upon His disciples, in this Church age, not upon the wicked and non-believers of the world. Their time is coming, but not in this age.
CHRIST'S JUDGMENTS ARE UPON US, NOT THE WORLD
The Church would have us believe that the world and all of its wicked people who have passed on are being judged today, and every day. That as people live and die, if they are not "saved," they are immediately judged and go to hell. Isn't that what they teach? You know that is what they teach.
Is Saddam Hussein, right now, in Hell? Ask your pastor; ask your teacher; ask your preacher; ask your priest? If anyone is burning in Hell right now, then that person has already been judged. It was in the Egyptian hell of Amenti where the dead were judged at death, not some future "day of judgment." And so Christendom has rejected the World of God for the pagan customs of the Egyptians. Ask you pastors why God "has appointed A DAY IN THE WHICH He will judge the world in righteousness" (Acts 17:31) if the dead are judged immediately upon death just as taught by the pagan Egyptians?
Is that Saddam I see hanging limp in the hand of a tormentor?
Excerpt from The Last Judgment by Michelangelo
[even in Paul's day it was still a future time] judge the world in righteousness by that Man Whom He has ordained: whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31).
This is Paul teaching the Athenians [pagan Greeks] that there is yet coming a day of judgment on this world. Did it already come many years after Christ's resurrection when Paul was teaching these Greeks? NO. Does anyone have a problem with the phrase, "in the which He WILL [future tense] judge the world?" Two thousand years later that appointed day has not yet arrived. But there is another judgment which did arrive two thousand years ago:
THE TIME HAS ALREADY COME FOR OUR JUDGMENT
The JUDGMENT, COUNCIL, GEHENNA, AND PRISON (Matt. 5) of Christ's Sermon on the Mount are for US; Christ's disciples; those chosen; the faithful; the overcomers; the few; the elect. And these judgments are NOW in each generation of the chosen few throughout this Church age.
The Gospels were written for us. The judgments they contain are for us. Jesus says unto us, that we are in danger of judgment, council, gehenna fire, and prison, if WE do not spiritually obey from the heart even the least of Christ's commandments. Jesus will not judge us for being angry with a brother, in Israel's judgment. Jesus will not judge us for cursing a brother (Raca), in the Jewish Sanhedrin. Jesus will not judge us for calling a brother fool, in man's valley of Hinnom. Jesus will not punish us for failing to be reconciled with a brother, in man's jail houses. Jesus will not punish us for lusting after a woman by throwing our physical body into a literal Gehenna in the valley of Hinnom.
Jesus likens His judgments to the judgments of men with which His disciples were familiar, but these are Jesus' judgments, not men's judgments. However, let me say that sometimes God does judge us by bringing us into subjection to "the higher powers ordained of God" (Rom. 13:1). It is still God behind the judgment even though it appears that it is solely being carried out by the civil power of our state or community.
Remember that Jesus said:
What then follows is Jesus raising the bar of godly character and morality. The Sermon on the Mount is the beginning of Jesus' teaching His disciples to live a life far more godly and righteous than anyone had previously lived.
Just how are His disciples to live this life of righteousness that is to "far exceed" that of the Pharisees. I suspect that most of His disciples thought that the Pharisees (who were the real experts on the Law) would be a hard act to follow, let alone "FAR exceed."
Interestingly enough, Jesus does not tell them how they will be able to accomplish this apparently impossible demand that he is putting on their shoulders. Many of these disciples were baptized already by John the Baptist. They heard John's prophetic words:
Now Jesus is upon the Mount for the express purpose of selecting out of His many disciples, the twelve that will be His closest followers-His twelve Apostles. But He doesn't mention the Holy Spirit of God even one time in this Sermon on the Mount. And I am sure that they all but forgot about that other part John had prophesied about being "baptized... with FIRE." Jesus introduces the "fire" in His Sermon, but says nothing of this "Holy Spirit." They will see the need for both near the end of their training with Jesus, but none of them comprehended the need for Holy Spirit AND fire during their spiritual apprenticeship under the Master Teacher.
WHAT DOES THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT REALLY TEACH US?
Let's notice a phrase that Jesus used thirty-three times in the Gospels: "You have heard, but I SAY UNTO YOU...," "I say unto you...," or "For I say unto you...," or "But I say unto you..." Several times when Jesus prefaces His statements with, "But I say unto you...," He is giving His present teaching on something that was taught in the Old Testament Scriptures and Law of Moses.
Sometimes it appears that Jesus might even contradict the Law of Moses, as in these verses for example:
Here is another:
Some time ago when I began to really study verses 20 to 45, instead of taking someone else's interpretation, I found that I was wrong to assume that Jesus is contradicting portions of the Law of Moses or teaching contrary to it.
Ask yourself: Are those "circumcised in heart" really breaking God's Commandment if they are not "circumcised in flesh?" I don't think so and neither do the Scriptures.
Are present day Gentile Believers really breaking God's command to sacrifice animals to atone for their sins if they rather spiritually accept the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ Himself on the cross? I don't think so, and neither do the Scriptures.
Are Believers today breaking the tithing law if they rather "present themselves a living sacrifice," and always are willing to "lay in store as God has prospered them" (I Cor. 16:2) their money, time and talents to serve others? I don't think so, and neither do the Scriptures.
Are Believers today breaking the Sabbath day command if they do not set aside the seventh day to physically rest, but rather have set aside all days as a spiritual rest (Heb. 4)? I don't think so, and neither do the Scriptures.
Likewise, Jesus is not contradicting the Law of Moses in these few examples in His Sermon on the Mount.
We need to really understand and know as Paul did when he said: "For we KNOW that THE LAW IS SPIRITUAL..." (Rom. 7:14). And just how did Paul "know" this? Because of the 10th commandment of the Ten Commandments which were the main part of the Law of Moses, and the Old Covenant (Deut. 4:13). "...Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law [what law?]: for I had not known lust, except the law [which law?] had said, 'THOU SHALT NOT COVET'" (Rom. 7:7). Oh THAT law. That would be the 10th commandment of the Ten Commandments (Ex. 20:17).
Of course I have said and have written for many years now that the Ten Commandments of God are spiritual. And I have explained that it is this 10th commandment that is the absolute proof. The 7th commandment already said to not commit adultery, and the 8th commandment already said to not steal, but then the last and 10th commandment says in effect, "...and don't even THINK about it!"
Isn't this exactly what Jesus is teaching when He says that the commandment said to not commit adultery, be He then said we are not to even THINK ABOUT lusting after another woman with impure sexual thoughts?
This whole Sermon on the Mount is Christ's teaching on how to live an exceedingly higher level of morality and righteousness than was taught before, and the accompanying Judgments if one does not live up to these standards.
The law was like elementary school, whereas living by faith in Christ is more like high school or college.
Is not elementary school necessary before high school? Most elementary students cannot do high school or college work. Do high school and college teachers contradict the math, grammar, and science that was learned in elementary school. No, of course not, and so neither does Jesus CONTRADICT the lessons of the Law of Moses which brought us to Him. We never contradict 2 + 2 = 4 when we get to high school, but we do move onto higher math and do not continue re-laying the foundation of these subjects already established back in elementary school.
We will now turn to the Sermon on the Mount and see if we are able to learn a little "new [spiritual] math."
Lets be clear on one thing before we enter this study. You will find the phrase, New Covenant, New Testament, and New Commandment in the Greek Scriptures, But you will not find the phrase "New LAW" anywhere. There are "new commandments" regarding that law, the but law is the same, as it is "spiritual" and therefore is not "temporal" (II Cor. 4:18).
And let me make this perfectly clear. In the Old Covenant Law, we read this:
The apostle John informs us that this commandment is not new:
But John also knew that Jesus did add something to this commandment:
Well was there something different about this commandment from the Old Covenant Law and "AS" Jesus commanded it? Yes there was. A new Law? No. A contradictory Law? No. Well what then was different from the way Jesus taught and kept this commandment to "love your neighbor?"
Here it is, simply and profoundly: "A NEW commandment I give unto you, That you love one another [same as the Old Commandment, right? No, here is were the new "AS" part comes in...] ...That you love one another AS I HAVE LOVED YOU, that you also love one another" (John 13:34). Now that brings a whole lot more meaning to the "old" commandment which they had from the beginning. Loving "AS" Jesus loved, is a whole new ball game, as they say.
There was and is nothing wrong with the Law of Moses. God calls it "MY law."
The problem was never with the Law, but with the people:
The problem was never with God's Law, but with the peoples' heart-they were carnal, and when one is carnal, he cannot keep a "spiritual" law:
And here is absolutely proof that there needed a change in the Covenant, not in the LAW OF THE COVENANT:
There it is!
The New makes alive and ends in "eternal [eonian-immortal] LIFE."
This along with the blood sacrifice of Jesus IS the New Covenant; the Gospel; the Kingdom of God.
The Old letter of the law was glorious, but the newly applied Spirit of the law does "much more exceed in glory" (II Cor. 3:9). The Old Covenant law was how God's people were judged under Moses: the New Covenant law is how God's chosen Elect will be judged under Jesus.
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IS PREPARATION FOR THE NEW COVENANT
 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time [under the OLD Covenant], Thou shall not kill [murder]..." (Matt. 5:21 Yes, this one is found in the Old Testament Law of Moses: "Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13). "But I say unto you [under the coming NEW Covenant], That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment" (Matt. 5:19).
Now we don't find that teaching in the Old Testament. Did Jesus do away with that law of Moses by saying, "But I say unto you, that you SHOULD kill...?" No, of course not. But didn't Jesus at least "contradict" the law of Moses? No, He didn't do that either. It is still a sin to kill [Gk: murder]. He never did away with the law of murder nor did we or anyone I know ever think for one moment that He did. However, what we might consider "least commandments" that follow in this Sermon may appear that Jesus did contradict the old with the new.
Well then, just what does "But I say unto you..." mean? He added "spirit" to this commandment against killing. He got at the root cause of murder which is-being angry with a brother. And being angry with a brother, will likewise put one "in danger of the judgment," but this time it will be JESUS doing the Judging on a much stricter and higher level of attainment. Not by a greater punishment, but by a greater correcting force-RIGHT JUDGMENT.
Punishment has its place, but punishment is not the best deterrent to sin. Righteous judgment, however, is a great deterrent to sin:
Right judgment produces righteousness.
Yes, the world absolutely will learn righteousness no matter how much the Church denies the possibility of any such thing.
 "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shall not commit adultery" (Matt. 5:27). Yes, this one is also found in the Old Testament Law of Moses (Ex. 20:14). "But I say unto you, that whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart" (Matt. 5:28). But that statement is not found in the Old Testament. It is still a sin to commit adultery, but now it is also a sin to just "look on a woman to lust after her." And just "looking to lust," if not repented of and cut out, carries the penalty of "...your WHOLE BODY should be cast into hell [Gehenna]" (Matt. 5:30). That penalty is not in the Old Testament Law, but it is the new spiritual Law of JESUS, THE JUDGE! Jesus will spiritually judge this sin with spiritual fire.
 "It has been said [yes, and it is in the Old Testament too] Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement. Jesus did not contradict this law. Jesus did not do away with this law; it is still in effect. But Jesus does expound upon it. "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery..." That is not in the Old Testament Law. Jesus did not say that there no longer is divorce, and contradict or do away with this law, but He did enlarge it.
Jesus did not say: "But I say unto you, you can never get a divorce," did He? No, He didn't, but He did bring out the spirit in this law. It was there all along, it's just that the carnal-minded Israelites didn't see it or get it. Yes, you can still get a divorce for "any reason" in most countries of the world. But you can't be Jesus' disciple if you don't obey the spiritual intent of the law which was there from the beginning. Jesus taught that it was always God's intent for a husband and wife to stay together and never part (Matt. 19:4-6). Even "...EXCEPT it be for fornication..." people should not divorce. They can divorce, and they won't be "causing her to commit adultery," but that doesn't mean that they should divorce. Try to forgive and work it out, but if not, then on these grounds, one can divorce.
Listen and understand: Under Moses, the law succinctly stated: "You shall have no other gods before Me" (Exodus 20:3). Did people understand and obey that law? NO, of course they didn't. Why? Because they did NOT HAVE "SUCH A [SPIRITUAL] HEART IN THEM" (Deut. 5:29). So that is why God added the Second Commandment: "You shall not make unto you any graven image... You shall not bow down thyself to them nor serve them..." (Exodus 20:4-5). If one has the Spirit of God and the Heart of God, he doesn't need the second commandment in order to obey the first.
Anyone who SPIRITUALLY has no other gods before the True God, will not even think to make graven images of other gods. The Second Commandment was only necessary because Israel and the Church was and is carnal. The only way to know for sure (without the Spirit of God) that someone had another god before the True God, is if he actually did make and bow down to graven images which are visible to the physical eye. But with God's spirit, we can now understand that even one's stomach can become a god to worship (Phil. 3:19). Truly, just as Paul stated two thousand years ago: "For we KNOW that the law is SPIRITUAL..." (Rom. 7:14).
Some vehemently teach that Paul absolutely did not have reference to the Law of Moses in Romans 7. Let's put that heresy to rest right here:
It was the Law of Moses which allowed for this.
It was the Law of Moses which caused Paul to say "...for I had not known lust [covetousness], except the LAW said, Thou shalt not covet" (Verse 7). Now then, does anyone recognize that law. It is, of course the Tenth Commandment from the Law of Moses (Exodus 20:17). "For without the law..." (Verse 8). "...without the law...." (Verse 9). "...the commandment..." (Verse 10). "...the commandment..." (Verse 11). "Wherefore the law is holy and the commandment holy..." (Verse 12). "...by the commandment..." (Verse 13). "For we know that THE LAW IS SPIRITUAL..." (Verse 14). Clearly and unmistakably, it is the Law of Moses that is "spiritual."
 "Again you have heard that it has been said by them of old time, You shall not forswear yourself, but shall perform unto the Lord your oaths" (Matt. 5:33). Now this one I thought for sure was doing away with the old and contradicting the old, when Jesus said, "But I say unto you, Swear NOT AT ALL... but let your communication be, Yea, yea: and Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these comes of evil" (Vers 34-37).
Under Moses Israel was allowed to swear by God's name only: "You shall fear the LORD thy God; him shall thou serve, and to him shall thou cleave, and swear by His name" (Deut. 10:20).
They could not swear in the name of any other gods: "...neither make mention of the name of their gods, nor cause to swear by them, neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them" (Jos. 23:7).
One could swear only by the Name of God, and never falsely: "And ye shall not swear by My name falsely, neither shall thou profane the name of thy God: I am the LORD" (Lev. 19:12).
Pay attention to the words. The first "you have heard" statement has absolutely nothing to do with whether one should swear or not swear. It has to do with lying to God. Let's read it again: "You shall not forswear [Gk; opiorkeo-'swear falsely or commit perjury' ], but shall perform [Gk: apodidomi 'deliver, pay, render' ], unto the Lord your oaths." Moses said that anyone who swore, had to perform what they swore, and not lie or perjure themselves: "That which is gone out of your lips you shall keep and perform..." (Deut. 23:23).
Again, "And you shall not swear by My name falsely..." (Lev.19:12).
And again: "If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth" (Num. 30:2). But notice the word "IF." It was not a commandment that all men and all women MUST SWEAR. Even an unconditional vow IS an oath (swearing), see Vine's Concise Dictionary of Bible Words. But, notice that swearing oaths are not requirements of God for all to do:
Failing to uphold one's oath or vow was the very sin that Ananias and Sepphira committed before Peter. They "said" that they would give the price of a parcel of land to the Apostles. But after they sold it they "kept back part of the price." They did NOT "perform unto the lord their oath." And for this God killed them-their "whole body shall be cast into hell [Gehenna]" in the day of Judgment, because of this sin of "lying to the Holy Spirit." (Acts 5:1-11). They didn't need to vow in the first place. Had they simple sold their property (without first making a great swelling gesture of benevolence before the apostles), and given part of the proceeds to the apostles, nothing more would have happened.
Here is a perfect example of how "But I say unto you, 'Swear not at all'" would have saved their lives.
Notice what Peter told Ananias:
In other words, If you had not sworn before men that you will give this gift to God, you would not be held accountable for that oath. Now you are accountable. Now they shall die for lying to God. So, "don't swear at all," and you will not perjure yourself, should you not be able to deliver on your promise.
Why did Jesus instruct them to not swear by "heaven, earth, Jerusalem, by your head?" Because these are all things that the Scribes and Pharisees swore by, and the disciples were steeped in the false religion of these leaders. As the Pharisees knew from experience that they often could not follow through on their oaths to God, they started to swear by things other than "God's Name." They started to swear by things only somewhat related to God, so that when they broke their word they could claim that they never did "swear by MY name."
Jesus sharply rebuked them for such nonsense in Matt. 23:16-23 where they swore by, the temple, the gold, the altar, the altar gifts, heaven, etc."
Peter swore before Jesus: "Peter said unto Him, Though I should DIE with Thee, yet will I not deny Thee. "Likewise said also ALL THE DISCIPLES" (Matt. 26:36). They ALL SWORE. A few hours later Peter swore again: "Then began he [Peter] to CURSE AND TO SWEAR, saying, I know NOT THE MAN..." (Matt. 26:74) "Then ALL THE DISCIPLES FORSOOK HIM, and fled" (Ver. 56).
No wonder James later wrote: "But above all things, my brethren, SWEAR NOT, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea and your nay, nay; lest ye fall [as ALL of them did] into condemnation" (James 5:12). James was there that night. James was one who thought he could "perform his oath unto the Lord." But James found out that without God in him, he had no such power, and I am sure this event embarrassed James all the days of his life, and that is the reason he writes to us, "But above all things, my brethren, SWEAR NOT..."
Failing to keep an oath sworn before God breaks the 3rd commandment as well, and takes God's Name in vain. Well then, what is one way we can keep from doing this? "swear not at all." Why? "...because you can't make one hair white or black" (Matt. 5:36). Jesus said not to swear by anything, "neither by heaven, earth, Jerusalem, your head..." (Verses 34-36). Neither should we swear: "on a stack of Bibles," "on your life," "on your children's lives," or "your grandmother's grave."
 "Ye have heard that it has been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil... turn to him the other [cheek] also" (Matt. 65:38-39). I won't spent much time on this as it is the same as the others and I want to get to the "love your enemies" command. Suffice it to say that according to all Jewish Scholars that I read (many), none teaches that this was ever enforced, literally. It meant to reimburse the harmed person in like value. And this apparently is the truth, seeing that we have this Scripture:
"You shall not avenge [take vengeance on], nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as thyself, I am the Lord" (Lev. 19:18). Certainly one was justified in being reimbursed for the value of a lost eye, hand, tooth, etc., but not that one person should avenge another by literally gauging out his brother's eye, if he were responsible for you loosing your eye. There is not one case of this being literally executed in Scriptures anymore than Jesus meant to literally pluck out our physical eyes, if we lusted in our heart. However, there are examples of this being fulfilled in kind. Jesus' command in no way contradicts or does away with the "eye for an eye" principle. In modern times we carry insurance for just such times as we need to reimburse in kind (value) those who are injured (as in an auto accident were someone might loose an arm or leg or eye).
 "Ye have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say unto you, love your enemies..." (Matt. 5:43-44).
Well, there it is. This one for sure is an annulling of the Old Testament Law and a complete and total contradiction of it, right? Wrong again, pale face. Some of the examples Jesus uses were indeed commanded in the Law of Moses. This one, however, was not. Sure enough, Lev. 19:18 does tell us to, "love your neighbor," but it does not tell us to "hate our enemy." In fact, there is not one statement in any of the Law of Moses that says we are to "hate our enemy."
Well then where did we hear that "it has been said... hate your enemy?" Notice that Jesus did not say in this example, "You have heard that it was said by them..." No, Jesus said, "You have heard that it has been said..." He does not say it was said "by them," as there was no "them" in this case. Only one person in the Scriptures said that He hated his enemies, and that was David.
It is not in the Law of Moses, rather in the Psalms of David: "I hate them with perfect hatred [Heb: 'complete hatred']: I count them mine enemies" (Psalm 139:22). It was the "bloody man," David, who died with blood on his hands and murder in his heart (I Kings 2:1-9), who said he hated his enemies, not God telling us that we should hate our enemies.
And so, Jesus, true to His word in Matt. 5:17-19, did not destroy any law, nor did He do away with so much as "one jot or one tittle" of the law. Now let's learn how we are to be judged by our Lord, and how we are to live by His NEW COMMANDMENT.
MAYBE THE MOST ENIGMATIC SCRIPTURE IN ALL THE BIBLE
Jesus told His disciples in this sermon that if they called a brother "fool" they would be in danger of "Gehenna fire." What kind of danger is that. How does this Gehenna fire actually judge us. Is there anywhere that we are told how Gehenna judges us to make us "righteous?" There is a verse that specifically addresses what Gehenna accomplishes, but it is one of the least understood verses in all Scripture:
The biggest problem in understanding this verse, is to understand who this verse is talking about. The Church will tell you that it is talking about those who will suffer loss of salvation in the eternal fires of hell. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. This verse was addressed directly to and about the 12 apostles, and is applied to all Christ's disciples throughout all generations.
Go back to the first verse of chapter 10 for the contextual proof that Jesus is instructing his Apostles only in this teaching: "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them [no one else, just 'them,' just the twelve apostles], saying..." And Jesus continues speaking unbroken all the way to the eleventh chapter, to His twelve apostles only.
If it is the world of unrepentant sinners that are to "fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell," then why oh why didn't Jesus make this clear to His apostles in these verses? But no, Jesus warned His apostles that they are to be the ones fearing. Notice:
Assuredly, Jesus was not warning the wicked to not fear the wicked who, when they kill the wicked cannot kill the soul... No, this instruction is for believers.
Gehenna is judgment. It is not torture in literal fire. It is judgment upon God's Elect to spiritually purify them; to make them holy and blameless; and to make them strong. Gehenna speaks of judgment, and Jesus taught that God is "able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna." How are we (God's Elect) presently being destroyed in both body and soul? Notice what Jesus said a few verses after He made this statement:
We must be spiritually baptized into Christ's death, and we must also LOSE OUR SOUL for Christ's sake.
Learn to read Scriptures accurately and precisely. Take note that Jesus did NOT say "And fear not them which KILL the body, but are not able to KILL the soul, but rather fear Him which is able to KILL both soul and body in hell [Gk: Gehenna]." No, Jesus did NOT say that, but it is assumed that He either said that or at least meant that. No, He did not. Jesus said: "And fear not them which KILL the body, but are not able to KILL the soul, but rather fear Him which is able to DESTROY both soul and body in hell [Gk: Gehenna]."
Why the switch? Jesus switches from "kill" to "destroy."
It is our "soul" that God is more interested in than our "life." An insane person may have a perfectly healthy life, but his soul is severely damaged. A comatose person may be in perfect physical health and be very much "alive," but possesses virtually no soul-conscious awareness, character, love, emotions, knowledge, hopes and dreams, memories, etc.
Now then, "destroy" in verse 28 is the Greek word 'appolumi' and it means: DESTROY, PARISH, LOSE. Wow! Are you seeing this? How much easier my job would be if only the translators had been consistent, but God didn't want them to be consistent. It's all part of the worldwide deception which is a necessary part of God's plan. In verse 18 Jesus says that God can "appolumi your body and soul." In verse 39 Jesus tells us that we must "appolumi our own soul." Either we 'appolumi' -destroy/lose our souls, or God will 'appolumi' our souls for us, and that is not the way we want to go, seeing that: "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God" (Heb. 10:31).
And notice this is precisely what we read in Matt. 5:29- "If your right eye offend you [then YOU] pluck it out... And if your right hand offend you [then YOU] cut it off... and not that your whole body should be cast [by GOD, 'fear HIM'] into Gehenna" (Matt. 5:28-30).
We must pluck out and cut off those members of the body which are used to sin against God:
[Gk: 'melos' -'parts of the BODY' -Dr. Strong] which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God comes ['fear HIM'] on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the Image of Him that created him [it]" (Col. 3:5-10).
But hopefully by now, we all know that the different "members" of our body [pluck out your eye; cut off your hand; cut off your foot] do not actually sin, but it is the heart and carnal mind of man that uses the members of his body to commit sin: "Neither yield you your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin..." (Rom. 6:13).
So then God teaches us to "fear HIM" and in so doing, destroy [Gk: 'apollumi' -destroy, perish, lose] our soul by "plucking out and cutting off" these members of our body so as to stop using them as "instruments of unrighteousness unto sin" so that God will not have to "destroy both our body and our soul in Gehenna" by "CASTING us into Gehenna." Are you beginning to understand the judgment of "Gehenna fire" and how it works?
FOUR JUDGMENTS OF JESUS
Without a CAUSE?
How and when, pray tell, has anyone been "angry with his brother," but there was absolutely no cause for the anger. There has been a great debate for centuries as to whether the phrase "without a cause" should be in this verse.
I agree with those who do not put this in their translation. I believe some editor who just could not stop hating a brother, and saw his dilemma according to Jesus' teaching, inserted this phrase into some manuscript to allow for his hatred and still be in God's good graces.
This reminds me of the parody on "Little Bo Peep." It goes something like this:
"It says here, Little Bo Peep who was a little girl, 'has lost her sheep, and doesn't know where to find them.' Now think for a moment think, if the sheep were lost it's only natural that you wouldn't know WHERE TO FIND THEM! But 'leave them alone-leave them alone...' Now that overwhelms me, completely overwhelms me! If the sheep where lost and you couldn't find them, YOU'D HAVE TO 'LEAVE THEM ALONE,' wouldn't you?" Etc.
But doesn't Eph. 4:26 tell us to: "Be ye angry, and sin not; let not the sun go down upon your wrath."
Any number of translators tried to interpret this verse better than the King James, but most failed:
That last one is really funny. So if you just have a grudge against a brother, but you don't "nurse it," then you will be okay? Is that something like: "If you are going to keep looking at pornography, don't LUST." Or: "If you continue drinking way too much, don't GET DRUNK."
They try every means to justify BEING ANGRY, but not yet, not quite, actually "SINNING." And just where is that fine line between being angry with a brother, but not yet sinning? There IS NO FINE LINE.
The only translation that seems to make sense out of this verse is the following:
Now that translation makes sense and is Scriptural. It needs to be stated as a question.
"Indignation, anger, and wrath" are almost synonymous, and are often used interchangeably by many translations.
And so the question is, "Can one be angry, wrathful, or indignant toward a brother without actually sinning?" The answer is NO. Notice how this verse continues:
Jesus himself showed anger toward the hypocrites, but not toward His brothers. "...whosoever is angry with his BROTHER." Jesus got angry, "And when He [Jesus] had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts" (Mark 3:5). Remember that Jesus, "the LAMB of God" will return to this earth in WRATH (Rev. 6:16), but... ...BUT, "God has not appointed US [His Elect] to wrath" (I Thes. 5:9).
Jesus is NOT angry with His brothers. Neither can we be angry with our brothers. But just who are Jesus' brothers and our brothers? Answer:
Being angry with a true brother or sister who is doing the will of God, is little different than being angry with God Himself. And if we do it, we will be in danger of the Judgment. Or as some render it, "the Judge or Judges." Jesus is our singular Judge, and we will be the multiple judges that "judge the world & angels" (I Cor. 6:2-3), by these very same principles.
The first four judgments of Jesus in His Sermon revolve around "brothers" in Christ who "do the will of God." And even calling a brother "you fool," will bring judgment of Jesus on your life. But what about the last one-"prison?" Does Jesus put us in prison? Yes, He certainly does. I can personally vouch for this one, and maybe you can too. Sometimes we are put into a position where we just can't get out. There IS NO WAY OUT. We will physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually struggle for a way out, but there is no way out. You are in spiritual prison! And Jesus ONLY has the keys.
These four examples of Christ's judgments in His Elect can come in so many varied and over-lapping circumstances that it may be impossible at any given time to tell exactly which if any of these God is using for your benefit at any particular time. Jesus' personalized uses of judgment, high council, Gehenna, and prison, are obviously geared to fit each individual according to each needed correction.
I do believe, however, that those of us who have been experiencing Jesus' judgments in our lives, can attest to the fact that we can now recognize many of these "strange" things in our lives, as being judgments from God. Have you never experienced a "FIERY trail" such as Peter reminds us of? (I Pet.4:12). As badly as we want these trials to be over, we nonetheless, need to be reminded that these trails are good for us, producing "patience"&"righteousness."
Here is a Scripture that I continually remind myself and others of, when life gets a little hard to bear: