Matthew 16 – 17

Matthew 16

Matthew 16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. 16:2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.

16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Here Jesus gives them the sign of Jonah that he will lie in the grave for three full days and three full nights.   A very similar sign will be given to the earth right before the resurrection to spirit of the chosen, when God’s two servants are to be dead before the whole world but NOT buried for 3 1/2 days, before being raised up along with the rest of the chosen.  

Christ sees through the emptiness of their request in that they have already had many signs, as he has fully fulfilled the scriptures in healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, preached the righteousness of God the Father and turned many to God. 

16:5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 16:7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.

Jesus teaches about leaven as a type of sin; and about leaven as particularly the sin of the religious establishment of his day and the religious establishment of our day: which is HYPOCRISY and PRIDE, exalting ourselves above the Word of God.

Luke 12:1  In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 12:2  For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

Matthew 16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 16:9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 16:10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?

16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Here Jesus begins to teach the meaning of leaven in its spiritual Passover and Unleavened Bread sense; which is the pride that leads men to reject the Word of God for our own doctrine [teachings and false traditions]; still claiming to be God’s people while rejecting much of God’s Word to follow our own ways. 

Rejecting God’s Word for our own ways we become hypocrites as pride leads us further and further away from God while we think of ourselves as Godly.  This is exactly what is happening in the Ekklesia today.

16:13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? 16:14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

It is God the Father in heaven who reveals the Word to those who diligently seek him to KEEP His Word.  Why do the brethren not understand the scriptures?  Because, they are not zealous to KEEP the scriptures, and instead are zealous for their idols of men.

16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 16:17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

Then Jesus teaches that the Ekklesia is NOT built upon Peter or some man; the Ekklesia is built upon God the Father and Jesus Christ the Rock of our Salvation, and upon the whole Word of God! 

The brethren of the true Ekklesia would NEVER follow any man contrary to any part of the  Word of God!  They would follow God the Father and Jesus Christ; and would only follow men if and as such men are passionately faithful to the Father and Christ and the whole Word of God. 

Today’s Christ rejecting [by rejecting the scriptures for their own ways and false traditions] organizations are NOT “God’s Church!” 

16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [a pebble], and upon this rock [Jesus Christ the Rock of our Salvation that led Israel out of Egypt] I will build my church; and the gates of hell [the grave] shall not prevail against [a prophecy of the resurrection; the grave will not prevail over God’s faithful] it.

1 Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

The Ekklesia of God is built upon Jesus Christ and all of the apostles and prophets who wrote the scriptures and were themselves inspired by Christ as to what they taught. Our foundation MUST be, the WORD of GOD!

If we compromise with God’s Word or reject any part of it, we have left the sure foundation of the Word of God

Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

If we build on any other foundation our character house will perish

Matthew 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Matthew 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The keys of the Kingdom unlock the door of salvation; they are, sincere repentance and the application of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and a commitment to live by every Word of God and  “Go and sin NO more.” 

The truth is that if someone is the servant of God, he would never make any decision contrary to God’s Word,  he would be faithfully living by – and teaching – every Word of God

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

If we were the servants of God: we would be doing whatever God’s Word says and we would NEVER do what we want instead! 

If we are not living and teaching every Word of God: WE ARE NOT GOD’S SERVANTS!

It’s just that simple!  The premise that men are the servants of God is false; if they then decide as they want; contrary to the Word of God!

Matthew 16:19 is not about changing the Word of God; it is about making decisions regarding physical matters according to the Word of God, and binding or losing all physical disputes according to the Word of God

It is the duty of the called out to live by every Word of God (Mat 4:4); and no person has the authority to change any part of God’s Word.

The keys of the kingdom are the Gospel of Truth, which opens the door to Salvation through sincere repentance and the application of the sacrifice of Christ.  Keys provide access; the door to the Kingdom is Christ; the key to that door is the Gospel of sincere repentance from sin!

To Peter and the other apostles and disciples, was committed the preaching of the Gospel.

By binding and living by every Word of God, we are loosed from the false traditions of men and we are liberated from bondage to sin and death. 

Why will the brethren go back into the slavery of bondage to sin; after they have been liberated from such enslavement?   

If we stand on the Word of God and refuse to follow idols of men away from the Word of God; we are free from enslavement to Satan, bondage to sin and idols of men and their false ways.

Peter and all men of God are to preach the Gospel of warning and repentance unto salvation; and to loose men from the false traditions of men which make God’s law of no effect; teaching every person to live by every Word of God!

This is NOT about Christ giving Peter the right and authority to change God’s Word.

Christ never intended that some men begin to bind and loose God’s Word and to create a religion of themselves. If he did, why did he waste time on inspiring the scriptures or in teaching them at all? 

Matthew 16:20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Jesus regularly told people to keep silent about his Messiah-ship or various healing’s. 

WHY?  Because he wanted the people to focus on and to follow his teachings, rather than to follow him for the sake of personal advantage.  A man of God would never try to focus the brethren on himself with false titles and claims as so many do today, granting themselves grand titles to deceive the people to follow them. 

The responsibility of any man of God is to focus the brethren on God the Father as Jesus did, and to focus the brethren on keeping the Word of God as Jesus did.  They must NEVER try to use God to focus the brethren on themselves, getting people to follow them as idols of men!

16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 16:22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 16:23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Peter, not understanding the prophecies and loving Christ, did not want to believe that Jesus would be killed and that the Kingdom would not be set up at that time.

16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

We are to accept our burdens on behalf of our calling, and we are to faithfully endure persecution and even death, following the example of Christ. If we will not even give up polluting the Sabbath now, in the relatively good times; how shall we ever overcome in the hard times? 

We are NEVER to compromise with our zeal to live by every Word of God; and it is an appalling abomination to compromise with the Gospel as a message of warning and sincere repentance to passionately keep the whole Word of God.

16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

To trade eternity for a meal in a restaurant on a Sabbath or Holy Day now; or to reject God’s Word on God’s calendar to follow the false traditions of men; or to compromise and tolerate sin and false teachings in order to remain in an apostate from the Word of God group and be influenced by their leaven of sin;  is a very bad bargain!

16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

This is a reference to seeing the resurrected Christ in a vision.  This does not mean that Christ would set up the kingdom at that time as some of the disciples must have supposed.

Matthew 17

Matthew 17:1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 17:2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 17:3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.

This vision showed Christ in his glory and Moses and Elijah with him; thus showing that all three will be in the Kingdom. This vision fulfills the prophecy of Matthew 16:28.

17:4 Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.

The voice of an angel of God the Father is heard

17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  17:6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

God the Father as the ONLY God remaining after Jesus became flesh. and he did begin to interact with human beings as soon as Jesus gave up his Godhood to be made flesh.  He was the one to whom Jesus prayed and the one who revealed that Jesus was the Son and who resurrected Jesus. Jesus was the God who exclusively dealt with humanity UNTIL he gave up his God-ship to become flesh as a mortal man.

The very Father in heaven then gives his approval of Christ his only begotten son. The Father commanded that we listen to the Son; NOT commanding that we listen to Peter, or some self-appointed apostle, or the Rabbins.  The Father in heaven himself COMMANDS us to hear the SON; and the Son teaches us to live by EVERY Word of God the Father!

It is so evil and ridiculous, it is such an incredible ABOMINATION; to say that some mere mortal man has the right to change the Word of God! It is this abominable attitude of rebellion against God, and exalting men above our GREAT MAGNIFICENT GOD: that is the very attitude of Satan himself!

The Mark of The Beast

Some have said that this mark of the beast is Sabbath pollution and the observance of Sunday, yet if one breaks one point of the law, one has broken the whole law (Jas 2:10). The mark of the Beast is the mark of Satan who is the arch rebel and the father of rebellion against God.

Every person who does not obey God fully, and makes excuses for sin, or compromises with God’s commandments; has the mark of the beast in his attitude of mind and his actions of rebellion against God!

This mark of rebellious attitude and action against God was first applied to mankind in the garden when Eve and then Adam rebelled against God and sought to become gods unto themselves, deciding right and wrong for themselves.

For anyone to bind or loose God’s Word; is to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong! It IS the MARK OF THE BEAST [Satan].

ONLY those who are faithful to God the Father and Jesus Christ; who follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth; and are passionately loyal DOERS of every Word of God; who refuse and reject the very idea of deciding for themselves what is right or wrong and who rely totally on God as their moral authority; will be in the resurrection to spirit!

This is so very vital! To say that Christ will understand if we sin and will forgive willful sin, because he knows men are weak; and to say that we should tolerate sin, out of a misguided false idea of “love’ or to say that we can compromise with the will and Word of God; is to exalt the authority of any person or organization above the Word of God: Which IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST!

Those who do such things; WILL NOT be in the resurrection to spirit!

Brethren, all organizations and persons who obey men as their idols, and are not zealous to live by every Word of God:  Have the Mark of the Beast!

God is NOT against organization: He is against the exalting of organizations and men ABOVE the Word of Almighty God!

Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.

Matthew 17:7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 17:8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Elijah will restore all things and will also reveal the promised new knowledge and understanding (Dan 12).  This has in a certain manner already begun with restoring the Scriptural Calendar; with restoring the sanctity of the Sabbath; with restoring a passionate zeal for God’s Word and with advances in understanding of the prophets, the High Days and Festivals and much else.  This process will advance and increase with God’s two servants, until Messiah the Christ appears! 

Christ again tells them that he must die and then rise again

17:10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 17:11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 17:12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 17:13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Christ reveals that John Baptist was indeed the Elijah who prepared the way for his first coming, as another in the same attitude, power and spirit; will prepare the way for his second coming. He also notes that only those looking for Christ recognized John Baptist as Elijah and the religious and political leaders of the day rejected John and his teachings.

John Baptist did not run around saying: “Listen to me, I am Elijah.”  He let his fruits speak for him.

17:14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 17:15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 17:16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.

17:17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer [endure] you? bring him hither to me. 17:18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

Belief or faith, must be married to faithfully keeping the Word of God.  When that happens there is the power of the authority of the Word of God in us.  When we reject any part of God’s Word for our own false idols of men and false traditions; God’s Spirit and God’s power will leave us, because we have left the source of our power.

To turn away from a zeal to learn and to keep the whole Word of God, is just like flipping a light switch off.  The power is cut off and we become blinded by the darkness while losing all the authority of God and the scriptures.  NO MAN has any religious authority; only the Word of God has moral authority. 

In the case of some disciples, they had no power because of a lack of faith; in our case today, we have no authority because we rebel against the Word of God!

17:19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Christ instructs us that our faith is increased by prayer and fasting [humbling ourselves before God]; this word “prayer” can be expanded to included being always of a prayerful attitude, continually thinking of the things of God and meditating on the Word of God. In other words, our faith is increased by our contact with and the closeness of our relationship with God.

17:22 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

The betrayal is first mentioned here and they were grieved when he said that he must die, not yet understanding the prophets and the reason that he must die.

17:24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute [taxes]? 17:25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 17:26 Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

Christ here said that the Creator and his children need not pay tribute to themselves; however we are to pay taxes as an example and to avoid stirring up unnecessary persecution. 

We are not to seek persecution, nor are we to fear it.  We are to behave wisely and not provoke others in small matters, yet we are NOT to compromise with the law of God or its proclamation.  Do pay your taxes, or move out of the jurisdiction to live elsewhere.

17:27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

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