- Christogenea Internet Radio
The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 5 – Christogenea on Talkshoe, June 22nd, 2012
Last week discussing Luke chapter 4, it was made evident in more than one way that the “devil” of the temptation of Christ was most certainly an actual person. While many may believe that Satan is still in heaven, as the Romish Catholics would like for us to believe, Christ said “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”, and He was speaking in the past tense. It is clear that He intended the past tense, since He then proceeded to liken certain people in first century Palestine as serpents and scorpions, thereby relating them to Satan just as the vision in Revelation chapter 12 describes Satan. In that chapter, the Revelation says that Satan, “that old Serpent” who is also the devil – which is representative of all those who took part in that original rebellion against God – was cast out of heaven, that his place in heaven was found no longer, and that he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Since Satan is “that old serpent”, this has already happened long ago, before the events of Genesis chapter 3, and no creative interpretation of any other Scripture may turn these words of Christ into a lie. Satan walks amongst us, in the form of his seed - as Genesis 3:15 attests - and he has done so ever since he was cast out and our Adamic race was created. The devil is not in heaven, but in his dominance of our world it is evident that he does try to create his own perverted version of heaven.
In Matthew 13:35, from the King James Version, immediately preceding the explanation of the parable of the Wheat and the Tares, we see a statement which reveals yet another aspect of the ministry of Yahshua Christ: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” Now if things were kept secret from the foundation of the world, as the Scripture attests, then we cannot imagine that the Genesis account of creation is complete. For the serpent - and the tree of knowledge of good and evil which must represent his race - to have been in the garden in the first place, other things must have transpired in those ages before the creation of Adam which were not revealed in Genesis. Those are the things later revealed by Christ in His parables and in the Revelation. There is Old Testament verification of this, in Deuteronomy 29:29: “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” The Septuagint version of that passage, even in the Greek, reads very much like the King James Version.
I have often heard it taught, that the initial encounter of Christ with the first apostles was when He had told them at the Sea of Galilee (the Lake Gennesaret) to “Follow Me”, and that He would make them “fishers of men”. Last week I had asserted that the event at the lake was not when He first encountered them, and it was not even when He first selected them. He had already known them, and we have evidence of that here in Luke, and also in the gospel of John. Furthermore, He had already chosen them to be His apostles, even if they had not yet known it themselves. Here that shall be elucidated further.
Luke 4:14 must also be kept in mind, where it says “14 Then Yahshua by the power of the Spirit returned into Galilaia, and a report went out throughout the whole surrounding region concerning Him. 15 And He taught in their assembly halls, being extolled by all.” If Yahshua was teaching in the assembly halls of Galilee, and if He was “extolled by all”, then it is certain that those original apostles, who were themselves Galilaians and who must have attended those same assembly halls each Sabbath, must also have been familiar with Christ from those many occasions.
1 And it came to pass with the crowd pressing upon Him then to hear the Word of Yahweh, that He was standing by the lake Gennesaret, 2 and He saw two vessels stationed by the lake, and the fishermen disembarked from them washing the nets.
Lake Gennesaret (Γεννησαρέτ, 1082), as Josephus also called the place (Wars 2.20.6, 3.10.7), is what we often call the “Sea of Galilee”, as Matthew also did in chapter 4 of his gospel. Aside from Matthew, I have not yet seen it called the “Sea of Galilee” anywhere else in ancient pre-Christian writings. In the King James Version it is the “Sea of Chinnereth” in the Old Testament (Numbers 34:11; Deuteronomy 3:17; Joshua 11:2, 12:3, 13:27, and 19:35), and Strong’s states that the Greek word “Gennesaret”, as the King James Version has it here in Luke 5:1, is derived from the Hebrew word “Chinnereth” (Strong’s Hebrew #3672), which seems to be a sound explanation.
With the selection of most of the original twelve apostles being from Galilee, the apostle Matthew in his gospel saw the fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 9:1-2. From Matthew chapter 4: “12 And having heard that Iohannes had been handed over He withdrew into Galilaia. 13 And leaving Nazareth, having come He settled in Kapharnaoum by the sea in the regions of Zaboulon and Nephthalim, 14 in order that that which had been spoken through Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled, saying: '15 Land of Zaboulon, and land of Nephthalim, the way of the sea, opposite the Jordan, circuit of the nations, 16 the people sitting in darkness have seen a great light, and for those sitting in the region and shadow of death, a light has risen up for them.' 17 From that time Yahshua began to proclaim and to say 'Repent! For the kingdom of the heavens has neared!'” Where the Christogenea New Testament says “circuit of the nations”, the word for circuit is the Hebrew word galilee, and it is a literal translation of the word. That is because there was never really any place called “Galilee of the nations”, and therefore it is seen to be a play on the Hebrew meaning of the word. While the apostles were chosen from the area called Galilee, their ultimate mission was to bring the Gospel message to the region of the nations beyond the sea: to the dispersions of the true children of Israel.
Many commentators would claim that Solomon's gift of twenty cities in the land of Galilee to Hiram of Tyre, the account found in 1 Kings chapter 9, constitutes the reason for calling that land “Galilee of the Gentiles”. However Hiram never accepted those cities. It is explained in 2 Chronicles 8:2: “That the cities which Huram had restored to Solomon, Solomon built them, and caused the children of Israel to dwell there.” The land of Galilee belonged to the Israelites, and even though Solomon tried to give it away, he failed. That land was never known as having belonged to “gentiles”, Israelites dwelt there from the days of Solomon, and in the time of Christ, and the apostles which Christ chose out of it were Israelites.
About the word vessel, a πλοῖον (Strong's #4143) in the Christogenea New Testament is most often a vessel, since the word boat seems not to do these accounts justice, and ship perhaps creates an image too large. The word describes a craft of any size, and those mentioned in Acts chapters 27 and 28 are certainly quite large. A merchant craft is properly a ναῦς (3491), a word which appears only at Acts 27:41. These vessels here were at least large enough for several men to work on for long periods of time, and would also hold their sizable catch of fish (i.e. John 6:16-21 and 21:1-11), and therefore they were no simple rowboats. Such a vessel, believed to be 2000 years old, was discovered in Galilaia and is discussed in the September-October 2004 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review. That vessel was approximately 27 feet long, 7-and-a-half feet wide, and over 4 feet high. Men of the time seem to typically have been between 5'6” and 5'9”. There are several variations in the manuscripts in verse 2, where the Codices Alexandrinus (A) and Ephraemi Syri (C) have a diminutive form of πλοῖον, which may be written “skiff” or “boat”. The Codex Sinaiticus (א) wants the word “two”. The text follows the papyrus P75, the Codex Bezae (D), and the Codices Vaticanus (B) and Washingtonensis (W) which each vary in word order.
3 And boarding one of the vessels, which was Simon’s, He asked him to set out a little from the land, and sitting He taught the crowds from the vessel.
These Gospel accounts are very concise in many respects, and the content of this here teaching is unrecorded. The ministry of Christ developed rather quickly, but He had already been teaching and speaking in the assembly halls for some time before the selection of the apostles, which is seen in Luke 4:14-15, and that would explain why so soon after the selection of the apostles there were crowds gathered to Him in order to hear Him. Furthermore, in Luke 4:16 we see that it was already customary for Him to read on the Sabbaths in the assembly halls, and in Mark chapter 1, verse 14, we see that Christ was preaching in Galilee before He selected the apostles. Again, right after their selection, from verse 21 of Mark chapter 1, we see that Christ had also been teaching and reading in the assembly halls of Kapharnaoum by this time, as was also related in Luke 4:31-32. With a harmonious reading of all of the gospel witnesses, the story is more complete and it is evident that these crowds did not simply come from out of nowhere, but rather there were many people already familiar with Christ.
4 Then when He had stopped speaking He said to Simon: “Set out into the deep and lower your nets for a catch.” 5 And replying Simon said “Master, through the whole night laboring we have taken nothing, but upon Your word I shall lower the nets.”
The word ἐπιστάτης (1988) is “master” here. This word appears only in Luke, where it is also found at 8:24 and 45, 9:33 and 39, and 17:13. Often κύριος (2962) is master, when the translators saw that it was speaking of common men, but it is usually rendered “Lord” when used in reference to God or Christ. The Codex Bezae (D) has teacher here instead. That Simon Peter calls Christ master here is another indication that he already knew and respected Him, since master was not a Greek or Hebrew form of address used by men of common persons.
6 And doing this they enclosed a great multitude of fish, even bursting through their nets. 7 Then they signaled to the partners in the other vessel that they come to assist them, and coming then they filled both the vessels so as to sink them.
The Codex Ephraemi Syri (C) has “...so as to sink them forthwith.” The Codex Bezae (D), which while doing no real damage to the narrative has a few interpolations here, reads “...so as to sink them at any moment.” Evidently each manuscript sought to clarify the inferred meaning of the original writing.
8 And seeing it, Simon Petros fell to the knees of Yahshua saying “Depart from me, because I am sinful man, O Prince!” 9 For amazement embraced him and all those with him, upon the catch of the fish which they had gathered. 10 And likewise also Iakobos and Iohannes, sons of Zebedaios, who were companions with Simon. And Yahshua said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you shall be catching men.” 11 And bringing back the vessels to land, leaving everything they followed Him.
This is the event is often perceived by mainstream Christians as being the initial meeting with and selection of these apostles by Christ. That is not at all true. Rather, here Christ already knew Simon Peter, and according to Luke (4:38-39) He had already been to his home and had healed his mother-in-law of an illness. Whether Luke was correct, or whether Matthew and Mark were correct in dating the healing of Simon Peter's mother to a somewhat later occasion, for which see Matthew 8:14 and Mark 1:30, is immaterial. What is important to understand is that Luke himself accepted the idea that Christ knew Simon Peter before the event with the fish which is described here in Luke chapter 5. So here in Luke we see evidence that this was not Christ's first encounter with these men, but rather, that this was only an early exchange between Christ and those men who were to be among His apostles. However the absolute proof of that assertion comes from the gospel of John. The gospel of John describes the actual selection of the apostles, an event which must have occurred prior to this here event at Lake Gennesaret which is described by Luke. The event in John is unrecorded in any of the Synoptic Gospels, and we find the following in John 1:35-51: “35 The next day Iohannes [the Baptist] again stood, and two from among the students, 36 and looking at Yahshua walking about he says: 'Look, the Lamb of Yahweh!' 37 And his two students heard the saying and followed Yahshua. 38 Then Yahshua turning and looking at them following says to them 'What do you seek?' And they said to Him 'Rabbi,' (which is spoken, being translated, 'Teacher'), 'where do You abide?' 39 He says to them 'you come and see.' Therefore they came and saw where He stays and they remained with Him that day. It was about the tenth hour. 40 Andreas the brother of Simon Petros was one of the two of those hearing Iohannes and following Him. 41 He finds his own older brother Simon and says to him 'We have found the Messiah!' (which is translated 'Christ'.) 42 He led him to Yahshua. Looking at him Yahshua said: 'You are Simon the son of Iohannes. You shall be called Kephas' (which is interpreted 'a stone'). 43 The next day He desired to depart for Galilaia and He finds Philippos. And Yahshua says to him 'Follow Me.' 44 And Philippos was from Bethsaida, from the city of Andreas and Petros. 45 Philippos finds Nathanael and says to him: 'He whom Moses and the prophets had written about in the law we have found: Yahshua the son of Ioseph from Nazaret.' 46 And Nathanael said to him: 'Can anything good be from Nazaret?' Philippos says to him: 'Come and see!' 47 Yahshua saw Nathanael coming towards Him and He says about him: 'Look! An Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile!' 48 Nathanael says to Him: 'From where do You know me?' Yahshua replied and said to him: 'Before Philippos called you, being under the fig tree I saw you.' 49 Nathanael replied to Him: 'Rabbi! You are the Son of Yahweh! You are King of Israel!' 50 Yahshua replied and said to him: 'Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, you believe? Greater than these things you shall see.' 51 And He says to him: 'Truly, truly I say to you: You shall see the heaven having been opened and the messengers of Yahweh ascending and descending before the Son of Man.'”
Here it is evident, that when Christ told His apostles by the Sea of Chinnereth that they would be “fishers of men”, in fulfillment of Jeremiah 16:16, He already knew them. The sons of Zebedee are not mentioned explicitly in this account by John, and while they must have already met and heard Him in the assembly halls, they surely already knew Simon Peter, and it is possible – but immaterial - that they had not been part of this group until the event at lake Gennesaret. Yet Christ knew and spoke to all of these men who were mentioned by John before that later event at the lake which is described here in Luke, and also in Matthew and Mark. Here is the prophecy concerning these fishers of men, from Jeremiah 16: “16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” Modern pastors love to talk about the fishers, but they often loathe talking about the hunters.
12 Then it came to pass while He was in one of the cities, and behold, a man full of leprosy, and seeing Yahshua, falling upon his face he begged Him saying “Prince, if You wish, You are able to cleanse me.”
This man also must have already known and recognized Christ, as Luke said earlier, at the end of chapter 4, that He had already healed many people and had been preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. This man is certainly one of those who had been listening to Christ, from verse 3 where it says: “And boarding one of the vessels, which was Simon’s, He asked him to set out a little from the land, and sitting He taught the crowds from the vessel.”
13 And extending the hand, He touched him, saying “I wish: you be cleansed!” And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
The Codex Bezae (D) has “And immediately he was cleansed.”
14 And He instructed him not to say anything, “but departing, show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing just as Moses had prescribed, for a testimony to them.”
The Codex Bezae (D) ends the verse at Luke 5:14 by inserting a lengthy segment: “...just as Moses had prescribed, that this would be for a testimony for you. Then departing he began to proclaim and to spread around the account so that it was no longer possible for Him to openly enter into the city, but He was outside in a desert place, and they joined with Him and He went again into Kapharnaoum.” This is but one example of the many and sometimes long interpolations found in this codex.
Leviticus chapter 13 gives lengthy instructions for determining whether someone had leprosy. But the priests could not cleanse the leper, for they themselves had no such ability. Rather, the leper was to be sent outside the camp and could not enter in as long as he still had the leprosy. Here from Leviticus chapter 13, after the determination that a man was a leper had been made: “44 He is a leprous man, he is unclean: the priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean; his plague is in his head. 45 And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean. 46 All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.”
However there must have been occasions upon which lepers, by the grace of God, had also been cleansed of their plague. In Leviticus chapter 14 we see instructions for both lepers and priests which were to be carried out upon the cleansing of the leper. Among other things these instructions state the following: “1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2 This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 3 And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; 4 Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 5 And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: 6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: 7 And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.” The Levitical priests had instructions for the handling of lepers, and instructions for the handling of cleansed lepers, but they themselves had no power to cleanse them.
15 And still more there spread around the report concerning Him, and many crowds gathered to Him to listen and to be cured from their illnesses. 16 And He was retiring into the deserts and praying.
Most modern Christians insist on frequent displays of public prayer as some sort of seal of one's righteousness. It cannot be said that all displays of public prayer are pretentious, however very often they are used as crutches by those who are in reality often weak in their faith, or have poor perceptions of their brethren. While fellowship should not be despised, the models for prayer found in Scripture are most often that prayer is conducted as a private matter. Here we see that Christ was “retiring into the deserts and praying”, ostensibly because He was away from home and used no money for four-star hotels. From Matthew chapter 6: “5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
17 And it happened in one of those days that He was teaching, and the Pharisees and teachers of the law were being seated, those who were come from every town of Galilaia and Judaea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Prince was in Him to heal.
The last clause of verse 17 may be interpreted as “the power of the Lord was in Him to heal”, meaning to refer to the power of Yahweh, God the Father. Yet around this time the word κύριος, often translated as prince in the Christogenea New Testament, had begun to be used as a title for Christ also, which we have already seen in Luke 5:8 and 5:12. Since Yahshua Christ is indeed Yahweh in the flesh, the difference is immaterial.
18 And behold, men carrying upon a cot a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and to set him before Him. 19 And not finding how they could bring him in because of the crowd, going up upon the roof through the ceramic tiles they lowered him with the cot into the midst before Yahshua. 20 And seeing their faith He said “Man, your errors are forgiven you!” 21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to debate, saying “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who is able to forgive errors if not Yahweh alone?”
From Jeremiah 31, and associated with the promise of the New Covenant: “34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” While this prophecy is also of the final consummation of the New Covenant at the return of the Christ, it is evident that the apostles truly did know Him, being Israelites and not of the seed of Canaan. That is illustrated in John chapter 1 where John described their first encounters with Christ, where they had witnessed the power of God in Him and understood immediately that He was the Messiah. Many of the “greatest of them”, as Jeremiah reads, the chief men of Judaea, also knew Him, yet they were afraid to admit it. The apostle John in his gospel tells us this in chapter 12 where he wrote: “42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” In contrast, many of the Pharisees saw His power and scoffed, considering Him to be a blasphemer. They were not able to perceive that God was in Him, and they ignored His good works and slandered Him. Yet since only God could forgive sins, therefore Yahshua Christ must have been God come in the flesh, which His abilities fully indicated.
From Ezekiel chapter 36: “23 And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the nations, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the nations [the other Genesis 10 Adamic nations among whom Israel was originally taken into captivity] shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
The “stony heart” is a reference to the commandments written in stone, representative of the Mosaic law. The “heart of flesh” and the putting of “my spirit within you” are references to the words of the Gospel. The fulfillment of these things began when those ancient Israelites migrated from the places of their captivity into Europe, where not long after the Gospel message was brought to them by the apostles, and especially by Paul.
Ezekiel 37:23: “23 Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.”
By the acts of the cleansing of the leper or the healing of the paralyzed man, and with the utterances concerning the forgiveness of sin, Christ is proclaiming that He is God. The Pharisees considered Him a blasphemer. Rather, because the leper had indeed been cleansed, something which even the ancient priests of the temple were not able to do, and because the man with paralysis had indeed been healed, the Pharisees should have been able to see that He was indeed the Messiah, which is proof that they were not of His sheep but were rather His enemies.
22 But Yahshua, knowing their reasonings, replying said to them “Why do you dispute in your hearts? 23 What is easier, to say ‘Your errors are forgiven you’ or to say ‘Arise and walk’? 24 Now in order that you would see that the Son of Man has authority upon the earth to forgive wrongdoing...” He said to the paralytic “...I say to you, arise, and taking up your cot go to your house!” 25 And immediately rising before them, taking up that which he laid upon, he departed for his house extolling Yahweh. 26 And astonishment seized all, and they extolled Yahweh. And they were filled with fear, saying that “We have seen marvels this day!”
The word παράδοξος (3861), which appears only here in the New Testament, is in the plural “marvels”. Liddell & Scott define the word, which is an adjective, as “contrary to opinion, incredible, paradoxical...contrary to expectation”. The healing of the paralytic is certainly contrary to expectation.
From Isaiah chapter 35: “1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. 3 Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. [All of these things were mentioned in the words of Christ in reference to Himself.] 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. [Faithful and fruitful people in Jerusalem.] 8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; [Christ is the way of holiness, and only Israel is cleansed] but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.” Indeed, in Jerusalem, which at the time of Christ was indeed the habitation of dragons, there was wheat also among the tares. Isaiah chapter 35 demonstrates fully that Christ was Yahweh our God come in the flesh.
27 And after these things He departed, and having seen a tax-collector by the name Levi sitting by the tax office, then He said to him: “Follow Me.” 28 And abandoning everything rising up he followed Him.
This event is the same as that which is recorded beginning at Matthew 9:9 “And Yahshua passing from there sees a man sitting at the tax office, called Maththaios, and says to him 'Follow Me', and arising he followed Him.” Here Matthew who wrote the gospel called by that name is beckoned to be an apostle, however Luke calls him by the name Levi. It is possible, and certainly evident, that Matthew was called by either name, just as Paul was also called Saul, and several other New Testament figures had multiple names. I have thought in the past, and still think, that it is possible that Matthew was indeed of the tribe of Levi. This is circumstantial, because in Hebrew tradition it was customary for a son to take up the vocation of his father. Therefore it would make sense that Matthew, being a tax collector, had ancestors who were tax collectors, and in the ancient kingdom of Israel, it was the role of the Levite to collect the tithe. Of course, so long a time later that must not necessarily be the case for Matthew, but it is plausible that he was a Levite. The publicans, or tax collectors, of the ancient world were among the classes despised most by the people. They were notorious for extortion, since they all had quotas to meet and would often take the short route and meet them dishonestly. The more dishonest publicans worked partly for the government and mostly to line their own pockets. In any case, they were seen as traitors much as people today see IRS agents as traitors, working against the common man for the sake of a tyrannical government, and taking license to line their own pockets also.
29 And Levi made a great reception for Him at his house, and there was a great crowd of tax-collectors and others who were reclining at dinner with Him. 30 And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured of them to His students, saying “For what reason do you eat and drink with tax-collectors and wrongdoers?” 31 And replying Yahshua said to them: “The healthy have no need of a physician, but those having maladies. 32 I have not come to call the just, but wrongdoers to repentance.”
Matthew remembers the last statement of Christ here a bit differently, where we read at Matthew 9:13: “Now going you learn why it is ‘Mercy I desire and not sacrifice’! For I have not come to call the righteous but the wrongdoers.” The words “mercy I desire and not sacrifice” are quoted from Hosea 6:6. The Pharisees were just as unforgiving religiously as the publicans were when it came to collecting taxes. One version of the Septuagint has this at Proverbs 16:7: “The beginning of a good way is to do justly; and it is more acceptable with God than to offer sacrifices.”
The idea of reclining at dinner, rather than sitting, comes primarily from the Greek word κατάκειμαι, which is literally to lie down. The ancient Greeks took their meals reclining on couches, and not sitting at tables, and this was the custom of the time throughout the οἰκουμένη.
In verse 34 there is an apparent error in the Christogenea New Testament here which I must apologize for, and I am not certain how it happened, but it was probably typographical. The word νυμφών refers to the bride (νύμφη) and may also have been rendered as bride, but should have at least been bridechamber, as the word is correctly rendered in Matthew and Mark. Here I shall read the verse as it should appear.
33 Then they said to Him: “The students of Iohannes fast frequently and make supplications, and in like manner those of the Pharisees. But they eat and drink with You.” 34 So Yahshua said to them: “The sons of the bridechamber [νύμφη] are not able to make fasts while the bridegroom [νυμφίος] is with them. 35 But the days shall come, and when the bridegroom is taken from them, then they shall fast in those days.”
The NA27 and the King James Version both read verse 34 as a question, asking “So Yahshua said to them ‘Are you able to make the sons of the bridechamber to fast while the bridegroom is with them?’”, where the negative particle μή (3361) is read as an interrogative particle “when a negative answer is expected”, for which see Thayer, μή , III. In the Christogenea New Testament the reading of the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Bezae (D) is followed, and so “The sons [of the bridechamber] are not able”. The reading of the text following א and D agrees with Matt. 9:15 and Mark 2:19.
Except for Moses upon Mount Sinai, where he went without food (Exodus 34:28), and the Day of Atonement commanded in the law (Leviticus 23:27, Acts 27:9), fasting, or abstinence from food, I can not find mentioned in the Bible again until Judges 20:26. So except for the Day of Atonement, there is no law which demands fasting. In Judges 20:26, the nation as a whole fasted out of grief. Fasting was done customarily by individuals, as a show of piety, or as a display of mourning or grief.
Calling the apostles sons of the bridechamber is a clear reference to those Old Testament prophecies where Yahweh promises to betroth the children of Israel once again, after having put them off in divorce in the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. While it is not recorded in the three synoptic gospels, the apostle John recorded these earlier words from John the Baptist, at John 3:29: “He having the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him rejoices in joy because of the voice of the bridegroom! Therefore this, my joy, is fulfilled.” Here Christ calls Himself the bridegroom. This can only be an assertion that He is indeed Yahweh incarnate, fulfilling the prophecy of Hosea 2:19-20 where Yahweh is speaking to the children of Israel being taken into the captivity: “19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.” Earlier in that same chapter, Hosea had already spoken the following of the dispersed nation of Israel, at Hosea 2:7: “And she shall follow after her lovers,but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.” It is the same “she”, Israel the bride of Yahweh, that was put away by Yahweh her husband, who was to later return to her first husband in Christ.
Hosea helps to prove that the people of Europe converting to Christianity are indeed Israel returning to Yahweh as the husband, which can only be Christ. That is what the Wedding Supper of the Lamb in the Revelation is all about, where the bride is revealed as Israel. That is why John the Baptist referred to Christ as the bridegroom, and Christ referred to Himself as the bridegroom. For these same reasons Paul said to the Corinthians, at 2 Corinthians 11:2: “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” At 1 Corinthians chapter 10 it is evident that Paul had already established with the Corinthians a knowledge that their ancestors had been among the dispersions of ancient Israel.
From Isaiah 43: “1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.”
From Isaiah 54: “5 For thy Maker is thine husband; Yahweh of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called."
Yahweh is the Creator of the children of Israel, Yahweh is the husband of the children of Israel, and Yahweh is the redeemer of the children of Israel. Yahweh came in the flesh as Yahshua Christ. The return of Israel to Yahweh through Christ is a betrothal: the New Covenant and the Wedding Supper of the Lamb are not fulfilled until His return, which is the final consummation.
36 Then He also spoke a parable to them, that “No one tearing a patch from a new cloth puts it on an old garment, but if it is, then the new will tear and the old will not agree with the patch from the new. 37 And no one puts new wine into old skins, but if it is, the new wine will break the skins and it will pour out and the skins will be destroyed. 38 Rather one must put new wine into new skins. 39 And no one drinking the old desires the new, for ‘the old’, one says, ‘is good’.”
For “the old”, one says, “is good”, and just like old wine, people find it difficult to change their old ways. We cannot graft our Christian understanding onto Pharisaism. This is the most common mistake made by Christians, and by those pretending to be Christians, unto this day. Today many people find Christian Israel Identity, and even when they believe that they have found the truth, they nevertheless attempt to graft it onto their Catholicism, or their Lutheranism, or their Episcopalianism, or their Methodism, or Baptistism, or whatever other sect it is that they came from. What they should do instead is to wipe the religious slate clean, and reread the entire Bible in the context of their newly-awakened consciousness, and then perhaps they will not repeat the errors which they may still bear from any of the former sects from which they came. One must become like a little child, which has a clean mind that is free of presumptions, and learn anew. Old programming is difficult to overcome, however here we are told that we must achieve that. We must throw away the old skins, and store our new understanding in new skins.
From Ephesians 4: “22 You are to put away that which concerns the former mode of life, the old man which is perishing in accordance with the desires of deceit, 23 and are to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and to put on the new man, which in accordance with Yahweh has been established in justice and piety of truth.”