Shalom and welcome to via V’Ahavtah Yisroel, a Hebrew phrase which means, you shall love Israel. We hope you’ll stay with us for the next 30 minutes as our teacher, Dr. Baruch, shares his expository teaching from the Bible. Dr. Baruch is the senior lecturer at the Zera Avraham Institute based in Israel.
Although all courses are taught in Hebrew at the Institute, Dr. Baruch is pleased to share this weekly address in English. To find out more about our work in Israel, please visit us on the web at LoveIsrael.org. That’s one word, LoveIsrael.org. Now here’s Baruch with today’s lesson.
Speaker 2: It is very important for us to understand the foundation of our faith. And that foundation is the Word of God. Another way that we can speak about the Word of God is simply the commandments of God. We spoke of the fact that those commandments come from a Hebrew word, which means unity, togetherness, and that’s what HaShem wants. We realize very early on in the Scripture that HaShem wants us to enter into a covenant with Him and that covenant preserves the unity. It obligates not only ourselves, but also HaShem. And what’s greater than the first covenant is the new covenant, because that new covenant puts a great deal of responsibility upon HaShem.
It’s a better covenant. Why? Well, in the first covenant, if we broke it, what would happen? We would be lost. But in the new covenant, there’s an added feature. HaShem promises that even if we should sin that He will forgive us our sins and cast them as far as the East is from the West. So there’s that extra bonus of forgiveness or mercy or grace. But just because there’s that mercy and grace doesn’t mean the commandments of God, what we read in the Old Testament, lose their significance.
Get out your Bible and look with me to the book of Mark and Chapter 7. Last week, we began a two part study of a particular passage, and we need to understand that there is a conflict in this passage. Now, most people would say that conflict is between Yeshua and the Pharisees and the scribes that came from Jerusalem to see Him, to understand what He was about and what He was teaching. But really, in this passage, there’s an additional conflict, I would argue the primary conflict. And that is simply the conflict between the law of God and the traditions of the elders. And basically that’s the decision that each of us have to make in regard to how we live.
Do we want to walk in the commandments of God, in obedience to His Word, or do we want to replace them with the traditions and the wisdom and the way of man? That’s the heart of it. Well, you’ll recall that these Pharisees and these scribes, they came from Jerusalem and they wanted to scrutinize Messiah. And in doing so, they saw the disciples eating. Eating bread. We talked last week about how bread has that special status in Judaism. It is derived from some of the things that the Scripture says concerning bread. And because of that, the sages commanded, not the Word of God, that before you eat bread, you must wash your hands. And these Pharisees, these scribes from Judea, according to their tradition, they looked and the disciples of Yeshua were transgressing, not the commandments of God, not the purpose, the plan, the will, the truth of Scripture, but these traditions of the elders of man, of the sages. And that caused a great negative impression upon these leaders from Judea.
Now, Messiah, He responded and He asked them a question. And in order to understand this last part of the text that we’re going to be looking at today and understand it in a way that will place power in our lives, so that we understand what God desires and expects from us and commands from us. We need to understand what Messiah said. He said to the Pharisees and the scribes, “Why is it that you, for the sake of your traditions, why is it that you forsake…” What? “The commandments of God?” Now, it’s very important that we see, so we arrive at the right conclusion and not the traditional conclusion of Christianity. So that we arrive at the right conclusion. We understand the nature, the emphasis of the words of Messiah. I don’t see how anyone can read this passage and come away with any other interpretation. That Messiah is emphasizing the Word of God, the commandments of God and not the teachings of man.
Now let’s move on. Let’s look at where we left off. Mark chapter 7, let’s begin in verse 14. So there’s this debate going on, not just between Yeshua and those Pharisees and the scribes, but understand, the disciples were there and as well, other individuals. Jewish individuals that were witnessing this also from the Galilee.
Verse 14. And He called again the crowd and He said something to them. He gave them a command. He says, “Listen to Me, all these things, and understand.” The emphasis in that text is upon the phrase, all, all the things. Saying we can’t just pick and choose. It’s not this verse, but ignore that verse. This one I like, this one makes me uncomfortable. This one I simply don’t agree with. I don’t know why it’s there, so I’ll just ignore it. He says, “Listen to Me, all things.” Now it’s very choppy in the original language, but sometimes that’s why there’s an emphasis. The choppiness puts the emphasis upon what He’s saying. And He says it’s only when we take the whole council, all of what Yeshua said, then we’re going to what? Notice what it says at the end of that verse, that we’re going to understand.
Verse 15. Now in verse 15, we see a very simple principle. We could call it, because the disciples do in a few minutes, we could call it a parable. He speaks, “Nothing outside of man that enters into him.” There is to it power, and it’s very important that we see it, nothing that comes outside of man that enters into him, none of that has the power to render him impure, to contaminate him. Now let’s stop for a moment. I want us to see what Messiah is emphasizing and what He’s not. And the difference between those religious leaders that came from Judea and what Messiah was sharing.
The religious leaders, they were emphasizing the external. Let me share with you another way that Judaism talks about the external. The external is simply those things that we can see with our eyes. But Messiah did not, he emphasized the internal, those things that we cannot see with our eyes. It’s very similar to what HaShem said to Schmuel Hanavi, Samuel, the prophet, in regard to his anointing of David. I mean, Samuel didn’t think that David was right. But what does He say? Don’t look at the outer things. Don’t be like man, that sees with his eyes, but God looks to the [foreign language 00:08:44], that is the inner things, the eternal things. So Messiah says, look at it again, He said, “For nothing, which is outside of man, that enters into him, has the power to render him impure. But…” Now this word, but, is where the emphasis becomes. It’s where the truth of Messiah is being revealed. He says, “But, out of man, comes the things that can contaminate him.” Out of man.
Now, we can say it a different way. We can simply point out that Messiah is talking about the condition of one inwardly. That is the condition of his soul, where we tend to look at outside factors in order to see how we’re doing. We look at physical factors. I mean, am I being blessed? Do I have a nice sum in my bank account? Do I live in a nice home? Do people respect me? Do they look up to me? Do they want to be like me, have the things that I have? Now, if those things are in place, a lot of people think God is blessing them. But the truth of the matter is, we’re going to see another and a very different aspect of how Messiah evaluates. And it’s on the internal condition, the spiritual dimension of man.
Look with me now to verse 17. And when He entered into the house, and then it says, from the crowd, that is, He’s no longer among the masses. There’s no Pharisees, there are no scribes. There are no other individuals except His disciples, just Yeshua and His disciples. And they asked Him, that is his disciples, asked Him concerning this parable, this saying about emphasizing the internal and not the external. They don’t understand it and notice what He says to them.
Verse 18. And He says to them, “Thus also, are you not understanding?” Now, it’s kind of a unique phrase that is said here. Why? Because, it’s a word understanding with a prefix attached to it. Now it’s really not simply the lack of understanding. It is a prefix, which means against understanding. And that’s a very subtle but important truth. It’s not that the disciples simply were not understanding, but in that present condition, how their mind was trained by society, they were against knowing.
There’s a way that we can change that. Recently, I was sharing about Paro. And Paro, he had so often a revealing of God’s presence and God’s power beforehand. And what did he do? He rejected that. And it wasn’t that he was not understanding, he was against understanding. What does that mean? He simply didn’t want to submit. And when we, and here’s a principle that’s so important, it applies to all of us. When we have inwardly, that desire not to submit, not to set aside our will, our wants, our desires, crucify them on that cross. When we don’t want to do that, we want to continue in our direction, what happens? We won’t be able to perceive. So Messiah says, “Are you also against knowing?” He says, “Know, that all that is outside, that enters into a man…” Once again, He says, “Is not powerful, does not have the ability to render him impure.”
Now, let me stop for a moment and share with you of what we’re talking about and what we’re not talking about, because some of you have asked, “Well, doesn’t the Old Testament speak about these things that causes impurity?” Yes, it does. And primarily we’re dealing with things such as death, also the bodily fluids and what causes that emission. So there are things in the Scripture that speaks about a man being rendered impure, but that’s not what this is speaking about. The sages of old, the elders that gave these laws, they were talking about many different other aspects in addition to what the Scripture says. And primarily what they were saying was Gentiles. Now we know, not just once, but a few times, there’s that issue about whether a Jew can associate with a Gentile. And the answer from rabbinical Judaism 2000 years ago was no, he cannot.
Why? Well, if he does, he’ll be rendered impure and he has to immerse, to be restored back to that cleanliness, that status of purity. Well, where’s that in the Scripture? Absolutely nowhere. So they were adding these things. And this is the subject of this passage. About whether a Gentile, just because of who he is, not Jewish. If he renders, if a Jew comes in contact with him, does he render that Jew, ceremonial, unclean, impure, and unable to approach God until he immerses in a ritual bath in a mikvah? Here again, no, that’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about is something that’s a little bit more important than that. What we’re talking about when we look at the old covenant is those things that attached to death, because death is related to sin. What are the Pharisees and the scribes talking about? This other impurity that comes directly from their own vantage point, from their perspective, not God’s.
Now, what I want to say is this, the subject of this passage has to do with the rabbinical views concerning impurity. Let me tell you what it does not have anything to do with whatsoever. And that is the dietary laws of Judaism. Let me say it again. The kosher laws that we find in the Torah, that is not the context of this passage whatsoever. Now the problem is this. People want to take that and apply that to this passage because we’re talking about eating. Well, what we’re talking about is eating with unclean hands. Never is the subject, what the person is eating. Bread sometimes can simply refer to a meal. It is the standard bearer of the meal. It is the first thing that we partake of in a Jewish meal, the blessing known as the HaMotzi.
So what we’re talking about is not the food, the nature of the food, whether it’s permissible or forbidden. We’re talking about eating, that which presumably is permissible bread, but with unclean hands. It has nothing to do with the dietary laws. And the problem is this. So often when you look at the Christian commentators about this, they bring the kosher laws in as center to the proper interpretation and it has nothing to do with that. Now let’s move on
Verse 19. He says, “For nothing, that basically enters him, enters into his heart.” That is, whatever touches a person, whatever he eats, for example, does not enter into his heart. Now, heart, we need to understand that as a spiritual term. We’re not talking about that organ that pumps blood. We’re talking about basically the seat of the soul. Where one thinks, where his thoughts originate from. What does the Scripture say? That God looks to the heart of man, as a man thinketh in his heart so is he. Not talking about that organ, but a spiritual component of man. And He says, you know what we eat, and it’s not the food, but it’s the impurities from their standpoint. What we eat does not enter into the heart of man.
Why? Well, notice what it says in verse 19. For it does not enter into the heart of man, but, and here again, remember that word. That’s where the significance is found. But rather, He says, it enters into where? Not the heart, but into the belly. Now the belly is part of our human body. And Isaiah says that we are wonderfully made and that belly has a purpose, a function, it does something. And what is that? Well, it digests the food and more than that, if you keep reading, it says it goes into the belly and then out into, the literal word is latrine. We would say today, toilet. And what happens? It says it cleanses all, what? It cleanses all the food. So here’s the key, we eat something that is so called polluted. Now they would wash to remove any of that dirt, whether it be physical or in their mind, spiritual. And it’s that washing of the hands that has that effect. Messiah says, I put no significance on that whatsoever.
What He says is this. If you eat something that you shouldn’t, something that is impure, something that is dirty. Now, here again, we’re not talking about the kosher laws. We’re talking about filth, presumably that meal that the disciples were eating with Yeshua. They didn’t say, wait a second, you’re eating traif, you’re eating unclean, unkosher food. They didn’t say that. The whole issue was not what they were eating, but the fact that they were eating without that ritualistic washing. Now, here’s what I want you to see. This passage of Scripture simply says that the food does not enter into the heart of man. What does it do? It enters into his belly then out into the toilet. And thus all food is cleansed, meaning the belly does that, the body does that. Now that’s how the verse ends. No more. But what does Christianity do? Now here again, what’s the emphasis of this passage?
The emphasis of this passage is on one thing. And that is the commandments of God. Messiah says, and He warns them, “Why do you render void the commandments of God, setting them aside for the sake of holding on to your traditions?” Now, that being the case, it’s amazing to me, how we see various translations of that verse, Mark, chapter 7 and verse 19. I’m going to give you some and share with you how these translators very, very well known translations of the Bible, how they are not committed to truth. They’re committed to their traditions. What they want, what they believe is right. Why? Well, a very, very famous Bible translation today for Christians is the New International Version. What did they say? For it doesn’t go into the heart, but into the stomach. Okay, that’s fine. I agree. And then out of the body, well, it’s implied that, but it literally says it goes out into the toilet.
Okay, not bad. What does it say in the text? Thus, it cleanses the food. What does NIV say? They add a whole bunch, in saying this Jesus declared all foods to be clean. Well, first of all, the term Yeshua, Jesus, isn’t in that verse. In saying this, that doesn’t appear there. Jesus declared, the verb declared, is not there. All food’s clean. They just want to hear it say what they want. Here’s another translation, very popular today, the English Standard Version. Since it enters not into his heart, but into his stomach and is expelled. Well, it’s not the verb expelled, it says into the latrine. Thus He, now they try to point out, well, the name, Yeshua, doesn’t appear there. So they take the participle, they give it a subject. And the subject is really, the belly. The belly is the subject that has been generated in the text itself. But they want to say, it’s Yeshua. And it says, thus He, meaning Yeshua, declared all foods clean.
Here again, the word declare does not appear in the text. We go on and on, we see so many translations that want to emphasize what? Eat, whatever you want. Jesus changed it all, now you can eat whatever. Now here again, the purpose of this message is not to discuss the kosher laws, not to say whether they’re enforced, whether they’re not enforced, all of that. We’ll come to that, a different day. But the point is, we need to have fidelity to the Word of God and not render it according to what seems right in our eyes, what we want to do, what we think is best. I mean, it is dangerous.
What does the Scripture say? In the book of Revelation, now we could be very restrictive and just limit it to the book of Revelation, but also in the book of Deuteronomy, there’s something very similar. And that is a warning to those who add to Scripture or subtract from Scripture. And that’s what these individuals are doing. Now, I appreciate, and people ask me what translation do you like? It’s not perfect, but the King James, notice what they say. They have a commitment. They write, because it enters not into his heart, but into his belly. 100% correct. And goes out into the draught. Well, that’s an old English word, which means latrine or bathroom, purging all meats. They get it right, because they didn’t come with a preconceived desire of what the Scripture should say.
And what I want to share with you is, as we look at this passage, we see the vast majority of English translations from the Greek, Christian translations do not render it properly. Not because it’s an unclear, not because it’s debatable. They add words, they subtract words, they change things in order to meet their desires. And whenever you do that, what are we? Scribes and Pharisees. We’re setting aside the Word of God for what? Our traditions.
Well, let’s press on. Look with me if you would, to verse 20. And He said, “But what enters into a man…” That’s the problem, what enters into a man, we already learned, doesn’t make him unclean, but what comes out of a man, that renders him unclean. Verse 20, and for that which is within a man’s heart. Those are the things that are problematic. And what are those things that He’s concerned about? He says a few of those, evil thoughts, adulteries, murders, thefts, covetousness, evil eye, blaspheming, pride, foolishness. Now here’s the point that He wants to do. He wants us to stop focusing upon the teachings of man, which relate to the external things and begin to think about our spiritual condition. To focus and to evaluate our life, not about stringing the nets, but rather dealing with how we are spiritually, internally.
And that’s why He emphasizes in this passage. Look at it, evil thoughts. Now there are a few things. And if you’re wise, what you’re going to do is that you’re going to make a list of those things that are found in verse 21 and 22. And you’re going to look at them every day and you’re going to see, well, am I having evil thoughts? And is there lust in my heart? Is there malice in my heart? Do I desire things that are not mine? Do I covet? Do I get involved in spiritual things that are not appropriate for me? Do I say things sometimes that are blasphemous? You know what’s blasphemous? To add to the Word of God. The book of Revelation, and this is what we were referring to, speaks about the fact that when we add or subtract, God is going to be very angry in place upon us the plagues of that book, that are found in the book of Revelation.
So let’s wrap up, look with me to the last verse, verse 23. For all these things are what? All these things, which are [befnim 00:26:45] name, that is within man. He says those evil things, which go out, these are the things that renders a man impure. So there’s really two ways to approach things, to focus on the external, to put the emphasis on that which you can see, or to put those things on the eternal, those things that are related to one’s spiritual condition, the condition of the neshema, the soul of an individual.
You know, it’s very clear in the Scripture that these proliferal things are not the things that God emphasizes. What does He say, when He speaks to man. And He says, “What is good, oh man, that you walk humbly with the Lord. That you practice loving kindness. That you execute true justice.” And when we do that, we fulfill the righteousness of the commandments of God. And the only way to do that, is being empowered by the Spirit of God. Well, we’re going to wrap up for now. Next week we’ll press on into our study of the book of Mark and chapter 7.
Speaker 1: Well, we hope you will benefit from today’s message and share it with someone else. Please plan to join us each week at this time and on this station for the radio edition of LoveIsrael.org. Again, to find out more about us, please visit us at our website, LoveIsrael.org. There you will find articles and several other lectures from our teacher, Dr. Baruch.
These teachings are in video form. You may download them or watch them in streaming video until next week. May the Lord bless you in our Messiah Yeshua, that is Jesus, as you walk with Him. Shalom from Israel.