The kingdom of God (Lk 10:9-10:9)

“Heal

Their sick people!

Say to them!

‘The kingdom of God

Has come

Near to you.’”

 

καὶ θεραπεύετε τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ ἀσθενεῖς, καὶ λέγετε αὐτοῖς Ἤγγικεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ.

 

Luke indicated that Jesus told these 70 disciples to heal the sick people (καὶ θεραπεύετε τοὺς ἐν αὐτῇ ἀσθενεῖς).  There was no mention of casting out demons or evil spirits.  They were to tell the people (καὶ λέγετε αὐτοῖς) that the kingdom of God (ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ) had come near to them (Ἤγγικεν ἐφ’ ὑμᾶς).  There was no exact equivalent to this passage in the other gospels.  However, Matthew, chapter 10:8 said that the 12 apostles were to do what Jesus had been doing.  They were to heal or cure the sick or ailing people.  They were to raise up the dead, a difficult task.  They were to cleanse the lepers, and cast out the demons.  Since they had not paid to get this gift to be an apostle, so thus they should not receive any payment for their work as an apostle.  They should give freely of their own time since this was not a money-making project.  The idea of the kingdom of God coming near was also present in Matthew, chapter 10:7.  There, Jesus wanted the 12 apostles to go and proclaim that the kingdom of heaven was at hand or near.  This was exactly the same teaching as John the Baptist, word for word, as in Matthew, chapter 3:2.  This connection of the message of John and Jesus was very strong in MatthewLuke was more precise, since the kingdom of God was coming near, they ought to be alert.  Do you think that the kingdom of God is close at hand?

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The inside and outside of the cup (Mt 23:25-23:26)

“Woe to you!

Scribes!

Woe to you!

Pharisees!

Hypocrites!

You clean

The outside

Of the cup

And of the plate.

But inside,

They are full

Of greed

And self-indulgence.

You blind Pharisees!

First cleanse

The inside

Of the cup

And of the plate.

Thus,

The outside

May be clean also.”

 

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν, γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι ὑποκριταί, ὅτι καθαρίζετε τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τῆς παροψίδος, ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ἐξ ἁρπαγῆς καὶ ἀκρασίας.

Φαρισαῖε τυφλέ, καθάρισον πρῶτον τὸ ἐντὸς τοῦ ποτηρίου ἵνα γένηται καὶ τὸ ἐκτὸς αὐτοῦ καθαρόν.

 

There is something similar in Luke, chapter 11:39-40, but Jesus was eating with the Pharisees there.  Here, Jesus continued to curse the Pharisees and the Scribes, much like earlier in verses 13, 14, and 15.  The first part of this diatribe is exactly the same as those earlier verses.  Woe to you (Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν)!  Scribes (γραμματεῖς)!  Woe to you!  Pharisees (καὶ Φαρισαῖοι)!  Hypocrites (ὑποκριταί)!  There is no doubt that here Jesus was cursing the Scribes and the Pharisees.  This time it was against the Pharisees for their impure hearts or intentions.  They cleaned the outside of the cup and the plate (ὅτι καθαρίζετε τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τῆς παροψίδος), but let the inside remain full of greed or robbery and self-indulgence (ἔσωθεν δὲ γέμουσιν ἐξ ἁρπαγῆς καὶ ἀκρασίας).  Jesus called them blind Pharisees (Φαρισαῖε τυφλέ).  He reminded them to first clean the inside of their cups and their plates (ὅτι καθαρίζετε τὸ ἔξωθεν τοῦ ποτηρίου καὶ τῆς παροψίδος,).  Then. the outside would be clean also (ἵνα γένηται καὶ τὸ ἐκτὸς αὐτοῦ καθαρόν).  Their interior heart was important.

The cleansing fountain (Zech 13:1-13:1)

“On that day,

A fountain

Shall be opened

For the house of David,

For the inhabitants of Jerusalem,

To cleanse them

From sin,

From impurity.”

On that special day, there was the wish to have an open fountain for the house of David and the people of Jerusalem, so that they would be able to cleanse their sins and impurities.  This is a rare mention of a cleansing fountain that would become a mainstay of Christianity.

Purify the sanctuary (Ezek 45:18-45:20)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘In the first month,

On the first day

Of the month,

You shall take a young bull

Without blemish.

Purify the sanctuary!

The priest shall take

Some of the blood

Of the sin offering.

He shall put it

On the doorposts

Of the temple.

He shall put it

On the four corners

Of the ledge

Of the altar.

He shall put it

On the posts

Of the gate

Of the inner court.

You shall do the same

On the seventh day

Of the month

For any one

Who has sinned

Through error

Or ignorance.

Thus,

You shall make atonement

For the temple.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, wanted them to purify the sanctuary on the 1st day of the 1st month. In other words, this would be a New Year’s Day activity. They were to take an unblemished bull and use him to cleanse the sanctuary at the start of the new year. The priest should take some of the blood from the sin offering and put it on the doorposts of the Temple, as well as the four corners of the altar ledge and the posts of the gate of the inner court. The priest was also supposed to do this same ritual on the 7th day of the month for anyone who sinned inadvertently by error or ignorance. This purification ritual of the first day of the first month of the year would make an atonement for the Temple, so that it would be purified.

The seven-month search and burial (Ezek 39:12-39:16)

“‘The house of Israel

Shall spend

Seven months

Burying them,

In order to cleanse

The land.

All the people

Of the land

Shall bury them.

It will bring them honor

On the day

That I show my glory.’

Says Yahweh God.

‘They will set apart men

To pass through

The land continually.

They will bury

Any invaders who remain

On the face of the land.

It will then be cleansed.

They will make their search.

For seven months.

As the searchers

Pass through the land,

Anyone who sees

A human bone

Shall set up

A sign by it,

Until the buriers

Have buried it

In the Valley of Hamon-gog.

A city Hamonah

Is there also.

Thus,

They shall cleanse

The land.”

The house of Israel was to spend 7 months burying the men with Gog, so that they could cleanse the land of Israel and its people. These grave diggers would gain honor on the day when Yahweh was going to show his glory. These body searchers would be set apart to pass through the land continually. They would bury any remains they found. Anyone who saw a human bone was to set up a sign by it, until these buriers buried them in the Valley of Hamon-gog or the city Hamonah, next to it. Thus, the land would be cleansed by removing these dead bodies in 7 months.

No more idol worship (Ezek 37:23-37:23)

“They shall never again

Defile themselves

With their idols,

With their detestable things,

Or with any

Of their transgressions.

But I will save them

From all the apostasies

Into which they have fallen.

I will cleanse them.

They shall be

My people.

I will be their God.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, laid down the law. There was to be no more idol worship. They were never again to defile themselves with all these detestable things. There would be no more transgressions. Yahweh was going to save them from the various evil ways or apostasies that they had fallen into. Yahweh was going to cleanse them. Thus, they might be truly his people. Yahweh was going to be their God. There would not be any questions about this.

The unclean land (Ezek 22:23-22:24)

“The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Son of man!

Say to her!

You are a land

That is not cleansed.

You are a land

Not rained upon

In the day of indignation.’”

Once again there is another oracle that Yahweh gave to Ezekiel, the son of man. He was to tell the people of Jerusalem that they were a land that was not clean. There was no rain to cleanse them on the day of Yahweh’s indignation.