The response of Jesus (Mt 15:3-15:3)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Why do you break

The commandment of God

For the sake of your tradition?”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Διὰ τί καὶ ὑμεῖς παραβαίνετε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν;

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 7:8.  Jesus responded to the Pharisees (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς).  He wanted to know why they broke or violated the commandments or command of God (Διὰ τί καὶ ὑμεῖς παραβαίνετε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ Θεοῦ) for the sake of their own tradition or instructions (διὰ τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν).  This is a question that many Evangelical Christians ask about mainline Christian Churches, especially Catholics and Orthodox, that have strong Christian traditions.  However, sometimes, new traditions are hard to break also.  This seems to set a dichotomy against God’s commandments and human religious traditions.

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Profanation of the name of Yahweh (Mal 1:12-1:14)

“But you profane it

When you say

That Yahweh’s table

Is polluted.

Thus,

The food for it

May be despised.

‘What a weariness this is.’

You say.

‘You sniff at me.’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘You bring what has been taken

By violence,

Or is lame,

Or sick.

This you bring

As your offering!

Shall I accept that

From your hand?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Cursed be the cheat,

Who has a male in his flock!

If he vows to give it,

Yet sacrifices to Yahweh

What is blemished!

I am a great King!’

Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘My name is revered

Among the nations.’”

These priests have profaned the name of Yahweh.  They have polluted Yahweh’s table.  They have brought despised food to Yahweh’s altar.  They were tired, weary, and sniffing at Yahweh.  They brought offerings that had been violated, lame, or sick.  Should Yahweh accept these blemished offerings?  No, he should curse those who vowed to bring sacrificial offerings, but instead cheated him by bringing blemished animals.  Yahweh was a great king whose name was revered throughout the whole world, among all the countries.

The little horn takes over the sanctuary (Dan 8:11-8:12)

“The little horn

Acted arrogantly,

Even against

The Prince

Of the host.

It took

Regular burnt offering

Away from him.

It overthrew

The place

Of his sanctuary.

Because of wickedness,

The host

Was given over

to it,

Together

With the regular burnt offering.

It cast truth

To the ground,

It kept prospering

In what it did.”

Thus, this King Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the little horn, conquered Palestine and violated the sanctuary of God, the Prince of the hosts around 167 BCE. He acted arrogantly against God, by taking away the regular burnt offerings from the sanctuary. This little horn was successful in taking over the host or people of the Temple as well as doing away with the regular offerings to God. He cast truth to the ground, while he continued to prosper and do whatever he wanted to do.

The wicked uncleanness in Jerusalem (Ezek 22:10-22:12)

“In you,

They uncover

Their fathers’ nakedness.

In you,

They violate women

In their menstrual period.

One commits abomination

With his neighbor’s wife.

Another lewdly defiles

His daughter-in-law.

Another in you,

Defiles his sister,

His father’s daughter.

In you,

They take bribes

To shed blood.

You take both

Advance interest

With accrued increase.

You make gain

Of your neighbors

By extortion.

You have forgotten me.’

Says Yahweh God.”

There was a lot of violence and lewd brutal sexual behavior in Jerusalem. They uncovered their fathers’ nakedness. They violated women in their menstrual period. They performed some sort of abomination with their neighbor’s wife. They defiled their daughters-in-law. They even defiled their sisters, the daughter’s of their father. Besides all this lewd behavior, they took bribes to kill other people. They also took both advance and accrued interest. They exploited their neighbors with extortion. Perhaps, most grievous of all was that they had forgotten Yahweh, their God.

The curse on the earth (Isa 24:4-24:6)

“The earth dries up.

It withers.

The world languishes.

It withers.

The heavens languish

Together with the earth.

The earth lies polluted

Under its inhabitants.

They have transgressed laws.

They have violated the statutes.

They have broken the everlasting covenant.

Therefore a curse devours the earth.

Its inhabitants suffer

For their guilt.

Therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled.

Few people are left.”

This oracle of Isaiah says that the earth and the heavens were drying up and withering away. The earth was polluted by its inhabitants. Does that sound familiar? They had transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the eternal covenant. The Mosaic laws and statutes only pertained to the Israelites. However, the eternal covenant came after the flood for all people. Thus everyone was guilty. Yahweh was going to curse all the earth and its inhabitants because of their guilty ways. A lot of people would be wiped out, but a few would be left, like the “Left Behind” series of books, movies, and video games by Tim LaHaye (1926-2016).

A deceptive friend (Ps 55:20-55:21)

“My companion laid hands on a friend.

He violated a covenant with me.

His speech was smoother than butter.

But war was in his heart.

His words were softer than oil.

But in fact they were drawn swords.”

Now David picks on one person, his friend and companion.  He had violated an agreement with David.  His speech and words were smoother than butter and softer than oil.  What a metaphor!  Butter and oil, things we like, were used to show the sweet talking friend.  However, war was in his heart.  His words were like drawn swords.