- Published: 14 December 2010
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This portion of the Bible is usually known as the sermon on the mount. In it are the Beatitudes. During past centuries this part of the Bible has been a puzzle to many. Unknown numbers of good men have dreamed of making it work in present day society. Failure has always been the result. Even books have been written in which the characters were supposed to follow the principles of the sermon on the mount. It works in fiction, but not in reality. Why? Why do men find this sermon impossible to put in practice? Why was it given? And you may be able to think of many more questions in this connection. Is there a solution?
Yes, there is a solution to the problem. It is a solution offered by the Word itself. It lies in right division. The simple remedy is often untried.
In the first place we must remember that the Lord is ministering to Jews only. Matthew's gospel is concerning Christ as King, the lion of the tribe of Judah. In 1:21 we read, Call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins. His people are Israel or the Jews. He came to save them from their sins so they could fulfill the commission God gave to them way back in Exodus. They were to be a priestly nation to testify to the nations of the earth the name of Jehovah.
The wise men asked, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? In chapter 10 He chose the 12 and instructed them not to go to Gentiles, or even the Samaritans, but rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. If God made a difference, between Jew and Gentile, why shouldn't we?
So the people spoken to in Matt 5,6,7 are a people who have an earthly hope. They were expecting a great kingdom here on the earth with the Messiah of Israel on the throne of His father David, ruling over Israel and even the nations of the earth. So He could say, Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. That is not a promise to anybody today. When at the end of Acts, Israel was set aside for the time being, the hope was also postponed till the times of the Gentiles end.
Now today we have two gospels to proclaim. One is John 3:16 and those that believe will be resurrected some day and have a part in the new earth. This is the hope of the bulk of Christendom. Or a few chosen from before the overthrow will inhabit heavenly places in resurrection (Eph 1:3). But the membership in the millennial kingdom has been closed at Acts 28:28. So meekness will not make one inherit the earth in these days now.
We know very well that the sermon on the mount is not workable today. Suppose you gave to anybody that asked, or lent to any that desired it? In short order you would have nothing left. So we can readily see that this cannot apply now.
The kingdom was already among them for the King stood in their presence. He was about to ratify the new covenant with His blood ( see Jer 31:31). In the kingdom they will be a resurrected people with new hearts. This sermon will be their constitution.