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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 13: Matthew 17:10-21, by Kevin M. Williams

This term was also interchangeable when discussing a normal human being. Yeshua’s use of this title in relation to himself was a clever means of imparting information about Himself without necessarily incriminating Himself if He were to be brought to trial. The phrase “Son of Man” is also used in Daniel to refer to an non-divine man, “So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, ‘Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end’” (Daniel 8:17).

Equating oneself with God was considered blasphemous and as such, a capital crime. Using this title, “the Son of Man” allowed Yeshua to make implications without incurring incriminations. It would mean one thing to His disciples—and those who had ears to hear—and yet not be admissible in court.

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And when they came to the multitude, a man came up to Him, falling on his knees before Him, and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic, and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” And Jesus answered and said, “O unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once (Matthew 17:14-18).

This can be a challenging passage, particularly among charismatics because as we all know, not everyone for whom we pray is healed. Is it due to the afflicted’s lack of faith? Is it due to our lack of faith? Is there some secret sin? Where do the answers lie?

According to the testimony of this father as well as the subsequent questions of the disciples, this boy had been brought forward before for “healing.” At this time in Israeli history and theology, there was if you will, a procedure to be followed and a “method” to help insure deliverance. Many illnesses were directly attributed to demons—whom Jewish exorcists would command by name. It was believed that knowing the name of the demon would give the practitioner “command” over the spirit. In a sense, it was a type of reverse application of using God’s holy Name, often referred to as Yahweh or the anglicized “Jehovah”—though the actual pronunciation is lost to antiquity. Invoking God’s Name was akin to invoking the powers of heaven. This, it seems was applied to the demonic realm as well. (It does not seem reasonable however, that pronouncing God’s name correctly would give anyone authority over the omnipotent Creator and King of the universe.)

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Spring 2004

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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