An angel appeared (Lk 1:11-1:11)

“Then there appeared

To Zechariah

An angel of the Lord.

He was standing

On the right side

Of the altar

Of incense.”

 

ὤφθη δὲ αὐτῷ ἄγγελος Κυρίου ἑστὼς ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τοῦ θυμιάματος.

 

Next, Luke introduced an angel, just as in Matthew, chapter 1:20, when an angel appeared to Joseph to tell him about the birth of Jesus.  Angels played a special role in Jewish society as messengers of the Lord.  These angels were spiritual beings who worshipped God in heaven.  Thus, the Temple had many engravings with angels on them, especially cherubim angels.  Luke said that an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah (ὤφθη δὲ αὐτῷ ἄγγελος Κυρίου).  This angel stood at the right side of the altar of incense (ἑστὼς ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου τοῦ θυμιάματος) in the sanctuary.  Those outside praying knew nothing about this appearance of an angel inside the sanctuary.

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A young man dressed in white (Mk 16:5-16:5)

“As they entered the tomb,

They saw a young man,

Wearing a white robe.

He was sitting

On the right side.

They were amazed.”

 

καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον εἶδον νεανίσκον καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν, καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν.

 

Matthew, chapter 28:2-7, is the only gospel story to explicitly describe the actions and the angel at the tomb.  In Luke, chapter 24:4-7, there were 2 men in dazzling clothes standing in the tomb, who explained everything.  John, chapter 20:11-13, had 2 angels talk to Mary Magdalene in the tomb.  Here Mark said that as the 3 women entered the tomb (καὶ εἰσελθοῦσαι εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον), they saw a young man (εἶδον νεανίσκον) sitting on the right side in the tomb (καθήμενον ἐν τοῖς δεξιοῖς).  He was wearing a white robe (περιβεβλημένον στολὴν λευκήν).  Thus, these 3 women were astonished or greatly amazed (καὶ ἐξεθαμβήθησαν) at what they saw.  Where was the body of Jesus?

You took care of me (Mt 25:35-25:36)

“I was hungry!

You gave me food!

I was thirsty!

You gave me something

To drink!

I was a stranger!

You welcomed me!

I was naked!

You gave me

Clothing!

I was sick!

You took care of me!

I was in prison!

You visited me!”

 

ἐπείνασα γὰρ καὶ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν, ἐδίψησα καὶ ἐποτίσατέ με, ξένος ἤμην καὶ συνηγάγετέ με,

γυμνὸς καὶ περιεβάλετέ με, ἠσθένησα καὶ ἐπεσκέψασθέ με, ἐν φυλακῇ ἤμην καὶ ἤλθατε πρός με.

 

This last judgment section is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said to the sheep on the right side that they had taken care of him.  He said that when he was hungry, they gave him food to eat (ἐπείνασα γὰρ καὶ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν).  When he was thirsty, they gave him something to drink (ἐδίψησα καὶ ἐποτίσατέ με).  When he was a stranger, they kindly took him in (ξένος ἤμην καὶ συνηγάγετέ με).  When he was naked, they gave him clothes to wear (γυμνὸς καὶ περιεβάλετέ με).  When he was sick, they visited and took care of him (ἠσθένησα καὶ ἐπεσκέψασθέ με).  When he was in prison, they came to visit him (ἐν φυλακῇ ἤμην καὶ ἤλθατε πρός με).  All of this was in the first person singular.  This sounds like the beatitudes mentioned earlier in chapter 5:3-11, but here they are more specific and personal.

The sinning right hand (Mt 5:30-5:30)

“If your right hand

Causes you to sin,

Cut it off!

Throw it away!

It is better

For you

To lose

One of your members

Than for your whole body

To be thrown into hell.”

 

καὶ εἰ ἡ δεξιά σου χεὶρ σκανδαλίζει σε, ἔκκοψον αὐτὴν καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ· συμφέρει γάρ σοι ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου εἰς γέενναν ἀπέλθῃ.

 

Matthew continued with his emphasis of Jesus talking about a loss of a limb that was considered like a martyrdom.  Once again, Matthew was dependent on Mark, chapter 9:43-48, and repeated this in chapter 18:8-9 of this work.  This time it is the right hand (καὶ εἰ ἡ δεξιά σου χεὶρ) that is causing you to stumble or sin (σκανδαλίζει σε,).  Then you should cut it off (ἔκκοψον αὐτὴν) and throw it away (καὶ βάλε ἀπὸ σοῦ).  Just like in the preceding verse the reasoning was the same.  This self-mutilation was better for you (συμφέρει γάρ σοι).  It was better to lose one of your member parts (ἵνα ἀπόληται ἓν τῶν μελῶν σου) than have your whole body be thrown into Gehenna or hell (καὶ μὴ ὅλον τὸ σῶμά σου εἰς γέενναν ἀπέλθῃ).  There is a different Greek verb used here that means to be thrown or cast into hell.  The Greek word for hell “γέενναν” or the English Gehenna was based on the Hebrew word Gehinnom that was the name of the valley south of Jerusalem where burning child sacrifices would take place.  You were better off with one hand and a whole body than being in the fires of hell.  Notice the emphasis on the right side, obviously a right-handed society.  Perhaps the right hand was the hand that did violence to others, as in killing.

Ezekiel lies on his right side for Judah (Ezek 4:6-4:8)

“When you have

Completed these things,

You shall lie down

A second time,

But on your right side.

You shall bear

The punishment

Of the house of Judah.

I assign you

Forty days,

One day for each year.

You shall set your face

Toward the siege of Jerusalem.

With your arm bared,

You shall prophesy

Against the city.

See!

I am putting cords

On you.

Thus you cannot turn

From one side

To the other,

Until you have completed

The days of your siege.”

When Ezekiel had finished the 390 days laying on his left side for the punishment of Israel, he was ordered to lie down a second time, but this time on his right side. He was going to bear a punishment for the house of Judah. However, this was only for 40 days, representing the famous 40 years in the wilderness from Egypt to the Promise Land. However, during this time, he was to face toward the siege of Jerusalem. In fact, he was to bear his arm and prophesy against the city of Jerusalem. To make sure that Ezekiel would do this and not move, Ezekiel had cords put on him, so that he could not switch sides. I am not sure how this worked. He was to do this until he had completed the two assignments for a total of 430 days.

Walk in integrity (Ps 26:11-26:12)

“But as for me,

I walk in my integrity.

Redeem me!

Be gracious to me!

My foot stands on level ground.

In the great congregation

I will bless Yahweh.”

This psalm ends with the innocent David’s self-righteous plea that he had always walked in integrity. He wanted Yahweh to redeem him. He wanted Yahweh to be gracious to him. He had kept his feet on the level right path. In the congregations he blessed Yahweh. Therefore he was on the right side with Yahweh.