Gather in my name (Mt 18:19-18:20)

“Again truly!

I say to you!

If two of you agree

On earth

About anything

You ask,

It will be done for you

By my Father in heaven.

Where two

Or three

Are gathered

In my name,

I am there

Among them.”

 

Πάλιν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐὰν δύο συμφωνήσωσιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς περὶ παντὸς πράγματος οὗ ἐὰν αἰτήσωνται, γενήσεται αὐτοῖς παρὰ τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς.

οὗ γάρ εἰσιν δύο ἢ τρεῖς συνηγμένοι εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα, ἐκεῖ εἰμι ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν.

 

This saying about prayer in common is unique to Matthew.  Jesus had another solemn pronouncement, “Again truly! I say to you (Πάλιν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν)!”  He said that if two of them could agree on earth about anything (ὅτι ἐὰν δύο συμφωνήσωσιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς περὶ παντὸς πράγματος) they asked for, it would be done for them by his heavenly Father (οὗ ἐὰν αἰτήσωνται, γενήσεται αὐτοῖς παρὰ τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς).  Where two or three of them were gathered together (οὗ γάρ εἰσιν δύο ἢ τρεῖς συνηγμένοι) in his name (εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα), Jesus would be there in the middle, among them (ἐκεῖ εἰμι ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν).  Some groups of Christians exist all over the world today, where 2 or 3 followers of Jesus gather to pray to the heavenly Father.

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Unfulfilled defeat of Israel (Dan 11:41-11:41)

“He shall come

Into the beautiful land.

Tens of thousands

Shall fall victims.

But Edom,

With Moab,

As well as the main part

Of the Ammonites

Shall escape

From his power.”

This prophecy of Gabriel remained unfulfilled. There was no mass invasion of Israel. After the time of the exile, these 3 countries, Edom, Moab, and Ammon, ceased to exist. They had been the enemies of Israel. Now, they were no more, so that they could not possibly escape the king’s power.

Exposed iniquities of the king of Tyre (Ezek 28:17-28:19)

“Your heart was proud

Because of your beauty.

You corrupted

Your wisdom

For the sake

Of your splendor.

I cast you

To the ground.

I exposed you

Before kings,

To feast their eyes

On you.

By the multitude

Of your iniquities,

In the unrighteousness

Of your trade,

You profaned

Your sanctuaries.

Thus I brought out fire

From within you.

It consumed you.

I turned you

To ashes

On the earth,

In the sight

Of all who saw you.

All who know you

Among the people

Are appalled at you.

You have come

To a dreadful end.

You shall be no more

Forever.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, had a strong condemnation of Tyre and its king. The king of Tyre had become proud because of his beauty. His great trade wisdom had become corrupt. Yahweh cast them down, despite their splendor. He exposed them before other kings and people. Everyone was able to see the multitude of their iniquities and their unrighteous trade practices. Tyre had profaned their own sanctuaries. Yahweh then brought fire to consume them. He turned them into ashes on the ground in the sight of everyone, so that everyone was appalled at the dreadful end of Tyre, who would not exist anymore. However, Tyre did continue to exist.

Yahweh explains the allegory (Ezek 17:11-17:14)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Say now

To the rebellious house!

Do you not know

What these things mean?

Tell them!

The king of Babylon

Came to Jerusalem.

He took its king.

He took its officials.

He brought them

Back with him

To Babylon.

He took

One of the royal offspring.

He made a covenant

With him.

He put him

Under oath.

He had taken away

The chief men

Of the land.

Thus the kingdom

Might be humble.

The kingdom might not

Lift itself up.

By keeping

His covenant,

It might stand.’’’

Ezekiel had another oracle from Yahweh that explained the first eagle allegory or riddle. Obviously the rebellious house of Judah did not understand it. Thus Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was going to explain it to them. The first eagle was the king of Babylon who came to Jerusalem. He took its king and officials back with him to Babylon. Then he took one of the Judean royal offspring and made an agreement with him. This new king swore an oath of allegiance to the King of Babylon. The first king that was uprooted was King Jehoiakim (609-598 BCE), while the new king was King Zedekiah (598-587). Thus the kingdom of Judah would be humbled and not be able to lift itself up. It would be allowed to exist, if it kept the agreement with the King of Babylon.

The fixed order and Israel (Jer 31:35-31:37)

“Thus says Yahweh.

‘Who gives the sun

For light by day?

Who has the fixed order

Of the moon

With the stars

For light by night?

Who stirs up the sea

So that its waves roar?

Yahweh of hosts

Is his name.

If this fixed order

Were ever to cease

From my presence,

Then also the descendants

Of Israel

Would cease

To be a nation

Before me forever.’

Says Yahweh.

Thus says Yahweh.

‘If the heavens above

Can be measured,

If the foundations

Of the earth below

Can be explored,

Then I will reject

All the offspring of Israel

Because of all

That they have done.’

Says Yahweh.”

Yahweh says that he makes sure that there is a sun for daylight with the moon and the stars for light at night. Yahweh stirs up the seas so that they roar. It is Yahweh who keeps all this in a fixed order. If these things ceased to exist, then the descendants of Israel would cease to be a nation forever before him. In other words, as long as there is a sun, a moon, stars, and a roaring sea, Israel will be a nation, according to Yahweh.  Yahweh then said that if they could measure the heights of the heavens or the depths of the earth’s foundations, then he would reject the offspring of Israel, because they must have done something wrong.

Jerusalem shall be like Topheth (Jer 19:11-19:13)

“‘In Topheth,

They shall bury

Until there is no more room

To bury people.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Thus will I do to this place,

As well as to its inhabitants.

I will make this city

Like Topheth.

The houses of Jerusalem

Shall be defiled.

The houses of the kings of Judah

Shall be defiled

Like the place of Topheth.

All the houses

Upon whose roofs

Offerings have been made

To the whole host of heaven

Shall be defiled.

Where libations have been poured out

To other gods,

They shall be defiled

Like the place of Topheth.’”

Yahweh says that they will bury people in Topheth until there is no more room there. Then Jerusalem would be like Topheth, mentioned in chapter 7 and earlier in this chapter, a place in Jerusalem where the ancient Canaanites had worshipped and sacrificed children in the valley of Hinnom. Thus this Topheth would not exist any longer, because it would become known just for dead bodies. Now both the house of Judah and Jerusalem would be defiled like Topheth, because there would be so many unclean dead people all around. Further, those places that had roof top offerings and libations to the various heavenly bodies or gods would also be defiled like Topheth.

Treat the meek correctly (Isa 29:19-29:21)

“The meek shall obtain fresh joy

In Yahweh.

The neediest people shall exult

In the Holy One of Israel.

The tyrant shall be no more.

The scoffer will cease to be.

All those alert to do evil

Shall be cut off.

All those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit

Shall be cut off.

All those who set a trap for the arbiter at the gate

Shall be cut off.

All those who without grounds

Deny justice to the one in the right

Shall be cut off.”

The meek and the needy will be rewarded. They will find joy in the Lord and exult in the Holy One of Israel, God. The tyrants and the scoffers will cease to exist.   Those doing evil will be cut off. If you cause a person to lose a lawsuit or set a trap for the judge at the gate, you will be cut off. If you deny justice to a person who was right, you will be cut off. This warning is strong. Do not take advantage of meek and needy people.