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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 14: Matthew 17:24-18:16, by Kevin M. Williams

This verse is sometimes lifted out on its own which can lead to all kinds of misunderstanding. It would seem, particularly when taken in conjunction with verse 11, that the tone is more in keeping with Hebrews 1:14: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” Children may lack earthly advocates, but not so in heaven. Yeshua’s next parable seems to reinforce this thought.

“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish” (Matthew 18:12-14).

So that the thought is not misunderstood, being “as” children is important, and these little ones are precious in God’s sight.


“And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed” (Matthew 18:15-16).

Once again the Great Rabbi teaches Torah from Deuteronomy 19:15, “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.”

Step one: go and reprove him privately. How many times has someone come complaining about someone else’s sin? How many pastors and leaders have had to step into a situation based on such behavior, only to find themselves in a spiritual hornet’s nest?

Our first response, if we care about how Yeshua says we should handle the situation, is to go and talk with the person one-on-one before taking any other action. Many, many problems could be averted if we would only be faithful to this principle! When someone comes to complain to us about another’s sin, our first questions should be “Did you talk with him/her yet?” If the answer is “no” then in truth, we should not entertain getting involved.

Step two: if they do not listen in private, take two or three witnesses with you. From the Torah perspective being presented here by Yeshua, it does not mean find two or three other people sentimental to your cause. It does not mean go and find people with the same complaint or who have also seen this person committing the “alleged” sin. To do so is to have already set your self up as the judge—who has already found the individual guilty and found other “judges” to help support your verdict. We are not to act as judge, nor to bring other judges with us. That is not our job—that is not the instruction of the Torah or the Messiah. That is to pervert justice.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Summer 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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