The Sermons on Two Mounts-Three Audiences

 The Sermons on Two Mounts is on the other end of Jesus’ ministry from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. Jesus is preparing to be sacrificed for our sins. These Sermons occur in the four-day period before Passover that starts on the 10th of the month and is referenced in Exodus 12. These teachings took place on what we call Tuesday of Holy Week. He has had His tour deforce entrance (Palm Sunday) into Jerusalem and cleaned the yeast (money changers) out of the Temple on Monday. Oh, the two mounts are the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives. Who Jesus taught that day is important and I will start with an introduction of them.

The three Gospels are fairly unified in identifying these groups. My focus will be Matthew as he is the most complete on the activities of the day.

The Leaders-The first groups to meet Jesus are the chief priests and elders of the people.

  • Chief Priests-This term is used very little in the Old Testament (both KJV and NIV). I will say it was after David’s reign that someone became a chief priest. It is used by Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 19:11 and by Jeremiah (the chief priest was his uncle). They do have list of these men and when they served. Herod in Matthew 2 ask them questions about the birthplace of the Messiah. Matthew 21:15 has them upset at Jesus because of the children on Palm Sunday. Since Jesus had messed up their business of the money changers, I am sure they were on guard when He showed up again on Tuesday. Remember Zachariah (John’s father) was offering incense in Luke 1 and he was not a chief priest. So, there was a single-family group that used this title and wielded a lot of authority in Jerusalem. They belonged to the sect of the Sadducees.
  • Elders of the People-Acts 5:21 identifies the Sanhedrin as the elders of the people. It seems that this group would have had Sadducees and Pharisees in it. They are the civil government under the Herods and the Romans, with the chief priest being the leader of this group.
  • Teachers of the Law-This group probably had both Sadducees and Pharisees with this title. I imagine that most of these men were also elders.
  • Herodians-They were Jews who were loyal to Herod. Most Jews did not like Herod because he was part Jew by birth, and Roman by choice, and just crazy. Luke uses the term spies for these people. If the Pharisees joined with this group they really wanted Jesus dead.
  • Pharisees-This sect is the orthodox group of the day. From my reading about them, their thoughts and way of life is the foundation for modern Jewish thought. In reading Acts, some became followers of the Way. Where they the ones that objected to the Gentiles and tried to add circumcision as a requirement to be a believer? I do think they loved God, but the Law was more important to them.   
  • Sadducees-They did not believe in the supernatural or the resurrection of the dead (Matt. 22:23). The chief priest belonged to this sect. Paul used their doctrine in Acts 23:6 to divide the Sanhedrin. 

At some point, the leaders fade from the story of Temple Mount teachings. There are several references that they had nothing more to say or Jesus saw through their game and did not play along. Matthew 26 has them meeting together to arrest and kill Jesus. It would be hard to imagine that they did not have spies in the crowd for the rest of the day.

The Crowd-The Gospels list very interesting things about the crowds. Some of this group may have been with Jesus at the Jordan River and followed Him to Jerusalem. So, these people were part of the parade that ushered Jesus into town, or at least they asked who this man was. Jesus was on everyone’s radar after clearing the coin changers out of the Temple, they wanted to see what He would do next.

  • Matthew-1. They held John to be a prophet and the leaders were afraid of them. 2.  They were astonished at Jesus’ teaching. 3. Received the teaching/woes about the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law.
  • Mark-1. Amazed at Jesus’ teachings. 2. Listened with delight. 3. Caused fear in the leaders. 4. Put money into the Temple treasury.
  • Luke (NIV) and the KJV use the word people instead of crowd. Results are the same, the people loved Him and the leaders hated.
  • Okay, did Jerusalem have piles of stones in the streets or did everyone carry a rock, just in case?

The Disciples-We tend to think that there were only twelve disciples. There were twelve Apostles, but there were the women, Justus, Matthias (Acts 1:23), the seventy that Jesus sent out, and the 120 in the upper room. I think the parade into Jerusalem started with just His disciples and other people joined them. Thinking back to Pentecost maybe there were 3,000 disciples.

How many were with Jesus when He left the Temple on Tuesday of Holy Week? I am not sure, but I bet it was more than twelve. They actually asked the question that finished the teaching that started with the fig tree earlier that day. The Second Temple that had Herod’s upgrades would be destroyed and Jerusalem with it.

On the Mount of Olives, the disciples asked for the sermon on that mount (Matthew 24: 3). It consisted of several stories and warnings and the prediction of His death (26:2).

Sorta off topic-Because of so many lessons that had a wedding as the base of the teaching, I would like to add an idea to the ride into the city. It is viewed as a king coming into town, and that fits with Psalm 45. In Kingdom Wedding, I studied about the erusin, which is when the groom declares His intentions to marry His wife. They legally were married at that time, even though she did not live with the groom yet.  The actual wedding feast would be picked by the groom’s father. During this period of time, the groom would give gifts to the bride. I believe Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem was when He came to declare His intentions for His bride.

More studies from the Sermons on the Mounts are in the works, I just wanted to look at the three audiences that heard them.   

Kingdom Wedding

Matthew 25:1 compares the Kingdom of Heaven to ten girls waiting for their wedding. This post continues the ideas in the Ten Virgins Who Woke Up by examining components of a Jewish wedding. Marriage and the Wedding are core to the Kingdom of God. It is the third thing that God provided to Adam in the Garden-a place to live, a way to support himself, and a wife (life is a given). Genesis 2:24 is the first explanation or commentary in the Bible. The verse explains the “why” for the first recorded words of any man: “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”. Yes, Adam spoke names of animals, but they are never listed. This shows the importance of marriage. Because this joining reflects how God wants us to relate to Him, is there any wonder why marriage between a man and a woman is being attacked? The serpent’s assault on the Kingdom in the Garden is intended to separate mankind from God and to tear apart the union of Man and Woman. What if Adam never ate the fruit? Eve was deceived, but sin entered when Adam followed his wife in eating the forbidden fruit. How would things look now if Adam followed God’s voice and instructions? Okay, back to the symbolism in a Jewish wedding. 

In Luke 2, Mary is betrothed to Joseph. This part of the wedding is the erusin and, according to custom, they are bound to each other. Joseph’s father paid the mohar or bride’s price to Mary’s father (Exodus 22:16). This money should follow Mary into the marriage, but the money or services belonged to Mary’s father. I am sure that the money became part of Joseph’s concern when he found out Mary was with child. Father God paid the mohar; Jesus came to earth and died for us to pay the price. Our erusin began when we choose to accept that payment of Jesus’ blood and the work of the cross.

The mattan are the gifts given to the bride by the groom over and above the mohar. This thought is overwhelming! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and with Him are the gifts. Charis is the Greek word used for the gifts of the Spirit and for grace. Are you picking what part of the mattan you want and fits in your BOX, or are you taking all the Gift? 

For the next parts of the wedding, I will list and explain as I see them and how they fit into the Kingdom.

  1. In the erusin, the groom is to prepare a place for the bride to live (John 14:2+3). Search in Bible Gateway for-prepare a place. The results are interesting. https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=prepare+a+place&resultspp=100&version=NIV
  2. The bride (and the groom) are to wash in a mikveh. This is a spiritual preparation. A mikveh is a pool of living (moving) water. I will equate the washing to baptism, but there are many types and reasons for washing in Jewish customs. 
  3. Nissuin is the wedding, and a part of this is a colorful parade. This procession is in the parable of the Ten Virgins. The Bride was never sure when the groom would come, so they had to be ready. The Father of the groom decided the exact time for the procession. Jesus said this in Matthew 24:36. I did not find this in my current research, but I believe the nissuin was two parades, one going to get the Bride and one going home. If that is the case, I would like to call the Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem the first parade and the second parade is yet to happen.
  4. The chappah is what the Bride stands under, and that symbolizes the marriage chamber. May I offer the tongues of fire when they settled above the disciples’ heads on the Day of Pentecost as the chappah? They represent the glory of Heaven as first seen on Mount Sinai
  5. The Bride has responsibilities and duties during the erusin. Her price has been paid, and she is now married (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The free.messianicbible.com site uses the Parable of the Virgins as its focus, so I am good with that. Again, I don’t have sources, but many of the things they say I have heard/read in other places. The bride had to be ready and part of that was a lamp filled with oil. She was to be concerned about her clothing and ornaments. She needed to be listening for the shofar (the trump) that will announce the groom’s coming. In our current customs, the bride and her family are busy doing all the work for the perfect day. That is not what it looked like in the first century. The groom handled the marriage feast.

Another post will focus on verses in the Bible about this topic. They are surprising. Psalm 45, which is labeled a wedding song, will provide a new twist on Kingdom, weddings, and brides. 

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/465162/jewish/The-Jewish-Marriage-Ceremony.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com

myjewishlearning .com

jfedgmw.org

free.messianicbible.com

I apologize about the URL for the last three websites. All deal with ancient Jewish wedding practices. Facebook is creating links that I did not wish to have in my post.