The Book of Matthew-Chapter 18

(1) At that time the talmidim came to Yeshua saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (2) And he called a child to himself and stood him in their midst (3) and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted (to reverse your present trend of thought, humble) and become like children (asking why, trusting, staying close to a parent as a source of guidance, security and support, “crying” in prayer), you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. (4) Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (5) And whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; (6) but whoever causes one of these little ones (a believer, little in the eyes of the world) who believe in me to stumble, it is better for him that a heavy millstone (idiom for “trouble, burdens”) be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depth of the sea (destroyed). (7) Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks (those things that tempt or afflict believers, offenses, traps and snares. The Greek word is “skandalon” or scandal)! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! (8) And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble (learning false doctrine), cut it off (stop learning it) and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life (eternal) crippled or lame than having two hands or two feet to be cast into eternal fire. (9) And if your eye causes you to stumble (learning false doctrine), pluck it out (stop learning it) and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than having two eyes, to be cast into the hell of fire. (10) See that you do not despise one of these little ones (a believer, little in the eyes of the world), for I say to you that their angels (believers are in the care of the angels) in heaven continually behold the face of my Father (in the presence of) who is in heaven. (11) For the Son of Man (a messianic title from Dan 7.13=”bar Enosh) has come to save that which was lost. (12) 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 (“sinners”-Luke 15.1)? (13) 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. (14) Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones (a believer, little in the eyes of the world) perish. (15) And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. (16) 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 (Deut 19.15). (17) And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church (the “ecclesia” or congregation, Hebrew=”kahal or assembly. This is not the “church” as it is understood today, they did not exist. This is the eschatological congregation he is building-Matt 16.18- and the Hebrew equivalent is used in Deut 9.10; 10.4; 18.16. Each congregation would have a “beit din”, or court to decide issues. Yeshua is establishing these courts here. Each sect in the first century had a beit din to establish “halacha” or how to walk and he is doing what is needed for his “kahal.” The Corinthians were rebuked for not using one-1 Cor 6.1-11), and if he refuses to listen even to the church (the kahal or assembly with a beit din), let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer (Hebrew “karet” or cut off-Paul used this in 1 Cor 5.1-5. To be “delivered to Satan” there means to be cut off, like in the wilderness, to be put out of the camp. The wilderness was seen as the abode of demons and to be put out of the camp meant you were turned over to the demons in the wilderness, where you most likely died. So, to be put out of the camp was the same thing as turning one over to Satan and put out of the congregation). (18) Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind (prohibit) on earth shall have been bound in heaven ( prohibited in the Torah); and whatever you loose (allow) on earth shall have been loosed in heaven (allowed in the Torah. In the Torah-First century, the various “Judaisms” of the day used the same words Yeshua is using. When an issue is brought formally to a panel of two or three Messianic leaders, like in Acts 15, their halachic decision will have the authority of God behind it. He is giving his talmidim “binding and loosing” authority to prohibit or allow certain things as they interpret Torah and how it applies). (19) Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my Father who is in heaven. (20) For where two or three have gathered in my name, there I am in their midst (the “presence” of God. The Mishnah in Avot 3. 2 says that if two sit together and occupy themselves with words of Torah, the Shekinah, the presence of God, abides in their midst). (21) Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times (evidently, Peter was the object of special envy from the rest)? (22) Yeshua said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven (meaning completely, every time. We should never come to the point of refusing forgiveness if sincerely asked). (23) For this reason (forgiveness) the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a certain king (the Father-v 35) who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. (24) And when he had begun to settle them, there was brought to him one who owed him ten thousand talents (a very large debt, like our sins before God). (25) But since he did not have the means to repay (we are bankrupt before God), his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had (sin affects everything), and repayment to be made. (26) The slave therefore falling down, prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will repay you everything.’ (27) And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. (28) But that slave went out and found one of his fellow-slaves who owed him a hundred denarii (a small debt); and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ (29) So his fellow-slave fell down and began to entreat him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you (the exact words the first slave said to the king).’ (30 He was unwilling, however, but went out and threw him into prison until he should pay back what he owed. (31) So when his fellow-slaves saw what happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. (32) Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you entreated me. (33) Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow-slave, even as I had mercy on you? (34) And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers (the judges of his case, to be treated according to the nature of his debt) until he should repay all that was owed him (which could never be repaid. The point is, mercy is an attribute of God and is seen in this story. He who was a vessel of mercy now became a vessel of wrath. We are to have mutual forgiveness among men or the Lord won’t). (35) So shall my heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother with a perfect (complete, whole-hearted) heart (the lesson is, forgive if you want to be forgiven).”

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