The sixth beatitude on pure of heart (Mt 5:8-5:8)

“Blessed are

The pure in heart!

They will see God.”

 

μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν Θεὸν ὄψονται.

 

The happy, blessed, and fortunate ones (μακάριοι) would be those who have a pure heart (οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ).  Their reward would be that they would see or behold God (ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν Θεὸν ὄψονται).  The heart was considered the center of thought and will.  Thus, we often hear people today who say that a person has a good heart.  They are good hearted.  The heart represents the whole person, so if the heart is pure, the whole person was pure.  Only the pure in heart would see God, which was a special reward.  In Psalm 24:3-4, they wanted to know who could ascend the hill to enter the holy place of Yahweh’s Temple.  Only those who had clean hands and a pure heart could enter the holy place, since they could not have a false or deceptive heart.  Then, they would receive the blessing from Yahweh.  They were the ones who would see the face of the God of Jacob.

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The defilement of the dead (Ezek 44:25-44:27)

“‘They shall not defile

Themselves

By getting near

To a dead person.

However,

They may defile

Themselves

For a father,

For a mother,

For a son,

For a daughter,

For a brother,

Or for an unmarried sister.

After he has become clean,

They shall count

Seven days for him.

Then he shall be clean.

On the day

That he goes

Into the holy place,

Into the inner court,

To minister

In the holy place,

He shall offer

His sin offering.’

Says Yahweh God.”

Yahweh God told Ezekiel what to do about the Zadok Levitical priests who defiled themselves by going near a dead person. They were not supposed to go close to a dead person. However, there were occasions when these priests could go near a dead person, and thus, defile themselves. In particular, this usually meant a close family member, a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother, or an unmarried sister. Yet they would have to become clean again. They would have to wait 7 days before they could be clean. Then they would have to offer a sin offering for themselves in the holy place.

The doors (Ezek 41:23-41:26)

“The nave

With the holy place

Had each

A double door.

The doors had

Two leaves apiece.

There were

Two swinging leaves

For each door.

On the doors

Of the nave

Were carved

Cherubim

With palm trees,

Just like those carved

On the walls.

There was a canopy

Of wood

In front

Of the vestibule,

Outside.

There were recessed windows

With palm trees

On either side,

On the sidewalls

Of the vestibule.”

Ezekiel continued with his descriptions of the double doors leading to the Hekal, the nave, and the Debir, the holy place. These 2 doors had 2 swinging leaves for each door. On the double door to the nave were the carvings of the cherubim and the palm trees just like as in wall of the holy of holies. There was a canopy of wood outside in front of the vestibule, the Ulam. There were recessed windows with palm trees on either side of the sidewalls of this vestibule or Ulam.

Who can go into the sanctuary? (Ps 24:3-24:6)

“Who shall ascend the hill of Yahweh?

Who shall stand in his holy place?

Those who have clean hands and a pure heart,

Those who do not lift up their soul to what is false,

Those who do not swear deceitfully,

They will receive blessings from Yahweh.

Vindication comes from the God of their salvation.

Such is the company of those who seek him.

They are the ones who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Selah”

Who can enter the sanctuary or the holy place? Who can ascend the hill to be with Yahweh? They have to have clean hands and a pure heart. They cannot be false or deceptive. They will receive the blessings from Yahweh. Only God can vindicate their salvation. These are the ones who will seek and see the face of the God of Jacob. This section ends with a Selah, a musical pause or meditation. Notice that they are seeking the face of God of Jacob, not Israel.

Judas Maccabeus rallies his troops (2 Macc 8:16-8:18)

“But Judas Maccabeus gathered his men together, to the number six thousand. He exhorted them not to be frightened by the enemy. They were not to fear the great multitude of gentiles who were wickedly coming against them. But they were to fight nobly. They were to keep before their eyes the lawless outrage that the gentiles had committed against the holy place. They were to keep before their eyes the torture of the derided city, and besides, the overthrow of their ancestral way of life. He said.

‘They trust to arms and acts of daring.

But we trust in the Almighty God.

He is able with a single nod to strike down

Those who are coming against us

And even the whole world.’”

Like in 1 Maccabees, Judas Maccabeus was able to keep all his 6,000 troops together despite some minor defections. They were not to fear the wicked gentiles who were coming against them, but to fight nobly. They were to remember the evil acts of the gentiles against the holy place and the tortured city of their ancestors. They were to trust in the Almighty God who could strike down those coming against them, and even the whole world. He tried to calm their fears by saying that the powerful God was on their side.