The failure of the sons of Abraham (Mt 8:11-8:12)

“I tell you!

‘Many will come

From the east,

From the west.

They will recline at table

With Abraham,

With Isaac,

With Jacob,

In the kingdom of heaven.

However,

The heirs of the kingdom

Will be thrown

Into the outer darkness.

There will be weeping

As well as gnashing of teeth.’”

 

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ δυσμῶν ἥξουσιν καὶ ἀνακλιθήσονται μετὰ Ἀβραὰμ καὶ Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Ἰακὼβ ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν·

οἱ δὲ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας ἐκβληθήσονται εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον· ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων.

 

This saying about the failure of the sons of Abraham is not in the similar account in Luke, chapter 7, since this is unique to Matthew, and thus, showed his anti-Jewish bias.  This little saying began as a solemn pronouncement of Jesus (λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν).  Many people would come from the east and the west (ὅτι πολλοὶ ἀπὸ ἀνατολῶν καὶ δυσμῶν ἥξουσιν) to recline at table (καὶ ἀνακλιθήσονται) during the Messianic feast with the 3 great Hebrew Jewish leaders, Abraham (μετὰ Ἀβραὰμ), Isaac (καὶ Ἰσαὰκ), and Jacob (καὶ Ἰακὼβ) in the kingdom of the heavens (ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν).  Only Matthew used this word “ἀνακλιθήσονται,” to recline at table.  However, the sons or the heirs of the kingdom (οἱ δὲ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας) will be thrown out into the outer darkness (ἐκβληθήσονται εἰς τὸ σκότος τὸ ἐξώτερον), where there would be weeping, crying, or lamenting (ἐκεῖ ἔσται ὁ κλαυθμὸς) with the gnashing of teeth (καὶ ὁ βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων).  In this reference to the end times damnation, these were the traditional ways or signs to show anger and frustration.

They will be my people (Zech 8:7-8:8)

“Thus says Yahweh of hosts.

‘I will save my people

From the east country,

As well as from the west country.

I will bring them

To live

In Jerusalem.

They shall be my people.

I will be their God,

In faithfulness,

In righteousness.’”

Yahweh of hosts, via Zechariah, said that he would save his people not only from Babylon in the east, but also those scattered in the western countries.  He wanted to bring them all together to live in Jerusalem, the holy city.  They would be his people.  He would be their God, faithfully and righteously.

Against the Assyrians (Zeph 2:13-2:14)

“Yahweh will stretch out

His hand

Against the north.

He will destroy

Assyria.

He will make

Nineveh

A desolation,

A dry waste,

Like the desert.

Herds shall lie down in it.

Every wild animal

Shall lie down in it.

The desert owl,

The screech owl

Shall lodge

On its capitals

The owl shall hoot

At the window.

The raven shall croak

On the threshold.

Its cedar works

Will be laid bare.”

Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand to destroy the enemy of Israel to the north, the Assyrians.  He had just punished the people on the west, the Philistines, the people on the east, the Moabites and the Ammonites, and the people to the south, the Ethiopians.  Yahweh was going to make northern Nineveh a desolate wasteland desert.   Every kind of wild animal and various herds would live there.  A variety of owls would nest in their ornate towers.  Owls would hoot at their windows, while ravens would croak at their doorsteps.  All their cedar wood work would be open to the weather.

The little horn grew strong (Dan 8:9-8:10)

“Out of one of them

Came another horn,

A little one.

It grew exceedingly great,

Toward the south,

Toward the east,

Toward the beautiful land.

It grew as high,

As the host

Of heaven.

It threw down

To earth

Some of the host,

Some of the stars.

It cast them down

To the ground.

It trampled on them.”

Once again, the little horn is the big problem, as in the last vision. This little horn is a reference to a member of the Seleucids branch, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. This little horn grew great towards the south, the east, and into the beautiful land, the land of Israel. This little horn also grew tall to the heavens. It threw down some of the hosts of heaven and the stars of the sky. It cast them down to the ground and trampled on them.

The open land use in the city (Ezek 48:17-48:20)

“The city shall have

Open land.

It shall be

On the north side,

Two hundred fifty cubits,

On the south side,

Two hundred fifty cubits,

On the east side

Two hundred fifty cubits,

On the west side

Two hundred fifty cubits.

The remainder of the length

Alongside the holy portion

Shall be

Ten thousand cubits

To the east,

Ten thousand cubits

To the west.

It shall be alongside

The holy portion.

Its produce shall be

Food for the workers

Of the city.

The workers of the city,

From all the tribes of Israel,

Shall cultivate it.

The whole portion

That you shall set apart

Shall be

Twenty-five thousand cubits square.

That is

The holy portion together

With the property of the city.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, had plans for the area around the holy land with the Temple in it. The city would have 250 cubits of open space land on each side of the property, about 400 feet on the east, west, north, and south sides. The remainder of the land alongside the holy portion would be 10,000 cubits or about 16,000 feet on both the east and west side for producing food for the city workers. These city workers, from all the different tribes of Israel, would cultivate and farm this land. The total amount of land set aside for the holy portion and the city land around it would be 25,000 cubits square or about 40,000 square feet.

The flowing water (Ezek 47:1-47:2)

“Then he brought me back

To the entrance

Of the temple.

There,

Water was flowing

From below the threshold

Of the temple

Toward the east.

The temple faced east.

The water was flowing down

From below

The south end

Of the threshold

Of the temple,

South of the altar.

Then he brought me out

By way of the north gate.

He led me around

On the outside

To the outer gate

That faces toward the east.

The water was coming out

On the south side.”

The bronze man brought Ezekiel to the entrance of the Temple. This time, there was water flowing from below the threshold of the Temple toward the east, since the Temple faced east. This mysterious water movement was coming from the south end, south of the altar. Then the bronze man brought Ezekiel out the north gate and around to the east outer gate. There the mysterious water was coming out once again from the south side of the Temple.

The sun worship idolatry in the Temple (Ezek 8:16-8:16)

“Yahweh brought me

Into the inner court

Of the house

Of Yahweh.

There at the entrance

Of the temple

Of Yahweh,

Between the porch

And the altar,

Were about twenty-five men.

Their backs were

To the temple

Of Yahweh.

Their faces were

Toward the east.

They prostrated themselves

To the sun

Toward the east.”

Yahweh brought Ezekiel into the inner court of the Temple. At the entrance to the Temple of Yahweh, between the porch and the altar, there were about twenty-five men with their backs to the Temple. Their faces were toward the east. Then they prostrated themselves and worshipped the sun in the east that morning.  Sun worship was very common in Egypt. A modern form of sun worship is called laying out in the sun.