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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 6: Matthew 5:21-7:29, by Kevin M. Williams

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil” Literally, to keep us from “bad things happening,” but it can also mean the “Evil One,” or the “Adversary.” Compare this with words of another ancient rabbi:

The Talmud (Kiddushin 81a) reports that “Whenever Rabbi Chiyya ben-Abba fell on his face [in prayer] he used to say, ‘May the Merciful one save us from the Tempter.’”9

The customary end of the prayer among Protestants is, “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” This follows the Temple liturgical style. Notice how closely it mirrors 1 Chronicles 29:11, “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and Thou art exalted as head above all.”

Before leaving the Lord’s Prayer, it should be noted that the rest of chapter six is about individual behavior and private attitudes regarding alms, prayer, fasting, and possessions. Yet this lauded prayer is communal, “Our Father … give us … forgive us … do not lead us into temptation … deliver us.” In Hebrew society, guilt and forgiveness are bestowed upon the whole. Yes, it takes the efforts of individuals, but their labors make contributions to the entire entity. The whole is only as good as the sum of its parts and God’s kingdom is made up of many citizens serving One King.

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Chapter Seven

Chapter seven continues examining individual attitudes working within the community and beyond. Here Messiah is expounding on what the Torah says about how believers are to relate to the rest of the world.

“Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12).

This concept within Jewish theology pre-dates Yeshua’s incarnation.

The Golden Rule can be found in Jewish writings as early as the Apocryphal book of Tobit (third century BCE), “What you hate, do to no one” (Tobit 4:15) … Rabbi Hillel expressed it in the generation before Yeshua; a famous passage in the Talmud comparing Hillel with his contemporary, Shammai, tells the story:

 “A pagan came before Shammai and said to him, ‘Make me a proselyte, but on condition that you teach me the entire Torah while I am standing on one foot!’ Shammai drove him off with the builder’s measuring rod which he had in his hand. When he appeared before Hillel, the latter told him, ‘What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. That is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary. Go and learn it!’” (Shabbat 31a).10

Again, this does not detract from the weight of Yeshua’s words—even though it means the Messiah is in agreement on this point with one of Judaism’s most influential Pharisees. Rather, He is again seen being a Jewish rabbi, teaching as the rabbis taught—effectively communicating with his Jewish audience. He is also affirming His statement in Matthew 5:17 and his teaching to this point, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill.”

“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

This is another poignant verse worth exploring from a Hebrew perspective. In the Hebrew aleph-bet (alphabet) is the letter hay (ה). In some of the more mystical writings the upper left-hand corner, a small opening, is called “the narrow gate.” At the bottom is a wide expanse called the “wide gate.” It is taught that this “wide gate” leads to destruction. It is a visible illustration referencing the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Summer 2002

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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