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

The Tabernacle had only one gate.11 Anyone coming onto the holy ground and into God’s presence had to enter through this singular gate. If you tried to slip in any other way than God’s prescribed and ordained fashion, it meant immediate death (destruction). There was no hearing, no tribunal. The guards would run you through with a spear.

Throughout this series has been the assertion that Matthew is the gospel to the Jewish people, unveiling the promised Messiah of Israel. There was only one way to the Father, a type seen in the narrow gate of the Tabernacle and latter the Temple. Yet we will read, as Yeshua is a bit more blunt, “I say to you, that something greater than the temple is here” (Matthew 12:6). To a Jewish audience, Yeshua may be telling the one who has ears to hear that Messiah is the narrow gate.

Another notable verse drawing the attention of a Jewish reader is “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:23). Of course the word that would stand out to a Hebrew is “lawlessness”—the absence of Torah. Strong’s Concordance notes the definition of this word (#458) as “iniquity, unrighteousness, transgress the law, and transgression of the law.” In the end of days, there were will be an absence of God’s teachings and instructions, the literal definition of Torah.

Yet as we have seen, the Torah as Yeshua defines it is even more challenging, more difficult to keep than even the strictest Orthodox Jewish code. Who among us does not practice “lawlessness?” Oh how we need a redeemer, a Messiah, a savior!

The result was that when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes (Matthew 7:28-29).

Even Hillel and Shammai of Talmudic literature could not teach on their own authority. The sage literature of the rabbis is replete with lists of names of rabbi so-and-so teaching in the name of rabbi so-and-so and so-and-so. Every notable credit was given to add strength and reliability to how the rabbi’s teaching “fulfilled the Torah.”

Yeshua was unique. In fact, this is one of the most significant ways He demonstrated His claims, His command of Scripture, and His role as the Messiah who teaches: He taught on His own authority—and the “multitudes were amazed.”


In the next issue, Part Seven, we shall look at Matthew 8-10 and see the purifying power of the Messiah taking shape and taking steps into the world.

Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Jerusalem, Israel, 1992
If This Be From Heaven …, by Peter J. Tomson, Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield, England, 2001
A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica, 4 Volume Set, by John Lightfoot, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1997 printing
All Scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible unless otherwise noted.


1 The Hebrew form of Jesus’ name, used throughout.
2 If This Be From Heaven …, by Peter J. Tomson, Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield, England, 2001, pp. 144-145
3 ibid. p. 285.
4 “The Law Is Fulfilled,” by Tim Hegg, Bikurei Tzion Magazine, Issue 72, 2002, p. 11
5 “Timeless Letters, Day of Discovery, a member of the RBC Ministries family, April 20, 2002
6 Gamaliel, the mentor of Sha’ul (later known by his Greek name, Paul), was a descendent of Hillel.
7 A Rabbi Talks With Jesus, by Jacob Neusner, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing, New York, NY, 1994, pp. 19-23
8 It should be noted that Rabbi Neusner does not agree with all of Yeshua’s statements in the gospels—but certainly His teachings on Torah. This author does not necessarily endorse Neusner’s books as a means for better understanding the New Testament.
9 Jewish New Testament Commentary, by David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Publications, Jerusalem, Israel, 1992, p. 32
10 ibid. p. 33
11 The eastern gate.


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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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