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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 18: Matthew 22:41-23:39, by Kevin M. Williams

cup with nailsYeshua is not merely drawing a metaphor here, but addresses their own theology, demonstrating His mastery not only of Torah, but as we have noted before in this series, of Israel’s ritual theology as well. The Mishnah5 says, “If the outside of a vessel has been rendered unclean by liquids, its outside is unclean while its inside, its rim, its handle and its haft are clean. If its inside has been rendered unclean, it is all unclean” (Berakhot 52a).

Yeshua’s declaration on the Pharisees uses their own theology to drive home His point, proving that He was not an uneducated commoner from the Galilee, but a skillful theologian in His own right.

Those who think of this stretch of Matthew is anti-Semitic do well to consider that here we find a master of Jewish Scripture and theology—the Prophet6—and not some upstart carpenter lashing out at detractors. For the multitudes standing there, as well as His disciples, the evidence of his messiahship was becoming more and more concrete.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Here Yeshua is speaking as the Father in heaven with a heart full of compassion and yearning. The warning is that their house7 is being left desolate, and yet, there is a hope too. The phrase “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord,” is the opening blessing in the Jewish wedding ceremony, when the Bridegroom is united with the Bride. If they will but turn—as the prophets of old have said—then there is a redemptive hope.


In our next examination of Matthew, we look at chapter 24, and the signs of the “Son of Man.”



1 Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Theological Objections, Volume II, by Michael L. Brown, ©2000, Baker Book House Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, p. 40

2 Literally, “the way to walk” but more specifically, the code of ethics based on biblical principles on how one lives out one’s faith.

3 It is interesting to note in the commandment regarding the tzit-tzit is that they are not to “follow after” their own heart and their own eyes, the very warning Yeshua is handing down in our Matthew passage.

4 Jewish New Testament Commentary by David H. Stern, ©1992, Jewish New Testament Publications, Clarksville, MD, p. 69, referencing the Encyclopedia Judaica 13:366

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Summer 2005

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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