Verses 10-15


VERSE 10: 
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake:  for their’s is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

 “they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake
Literally:  “the {ones} being persecuted for righteousness sake.  Jesus seems to be describing those who are at the end of Tribulation Period, for the Greek past tenses here says, have been persecuted” (i.e., have already gone through it).  This shows they are already believers, either Jewish or Gentile believers; for both groups would have undergone persecution for their faith.

During that time, any who do not fall in line with the false religion of the antichrist will be subject to persecution, and even death.  Any who profess faith in Christ, be they either Jew or Gentile, will be hunted down and beheaded (Rev. 20:4).  Not only will they be persecuted for “righteousness’ sake,” they will also be persecuted for the sake of the righteous One—Christ, as He explains in the next verse.  Persecution is the on thing that Christ promised that we who are His can expect from the world, the flesh and the devil.

“their’s is the Kingdom of Heaven.”–The fact that they have been persecuted for their faith—“righteousness’ sake”—shows that they are already believers; thus, they are already fit for the coming that Kingdom that Christ is about to set up.

They already are considered to be members of the Kingdom of Heaven.  It is these of which the Lord Jesus was speaking in Matt. 25:34-40. As this was the reward promised to the poor in spirit–the leading one of these seven Beatitudes--of course it is the proper portion of such as are persecuted for exemplifying them

VERSE 11:|
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake.”

“when men shall revile you
Literally:  “when they shall reproach you and persecute {you}. That is, abuse you to your face, in opposition to backbiting.

            Call you by evil and contemptuous names; ridicule you because you are believers. Thus they said of Jesus, that He was a Samaritan and had a devil; that he was mad; and thus they reviled and mocked him on the cross. But being reviled, Hdid not revile them back (I Pet. 2:23) and thus being reviled, we should bless, (cf. I Cor. 4:12) and thus, though the contempt of the world is not in itself desirable, yet it is blessed to tread in the footsteps of Jesus, to imitate his example, and even to suffer for his sake, Phil.1:29.
          These are people who have suffered every kind of abuse from the devil’s crowd, from being called all sorts of contemptuous names (“reviled”). Also, keep in mind that much of this accusation may have even come from among their own, from unbelieving Jews.

            “and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely”
            Literally:  “and shall say every evil word against you, lying”–When the evil which is said of you is false.

The emphasis should be laid on the word “falsely” in this passage. They have not just had evil spoken of them, but these are false accusations, things that have been said about them that were completely untrue and which they did not at all deserve; and having all sorts of false and malicious accusations brought against them. We are now living in a time when lying has become the norm (in government, court rooms; “news” media, etc.) and those who do tell the truth are under suspicion and even investigated.

            “for My sake.”
            Literally:  “on account of Me”–This is the reason for all their persecutions.

           The Jews are persecuted by Satan’s crowd for no other reason than that they are Jews and because Jesus was a Jew.  This is so vividly displayed in Revelation, chapter 12.  The  Tribulation believers (Jews and Gentiles alike) who have endured this abuse because of their faith in Christ-for His sake.

Jesus is saying, “That because you are attached to Me; because you are believers in Me.”
1.      We are not to seek such things.
2.      We are not to do things to offend others; to treat them harshly or unkindly, and court revilings.
3.      We are not to say or do things, though they may be on the subject of religion, designed to disgust or offend.
But if, in the faithful endeavor to be Christians, we are reviled, as our Master was, then we are totake it with patience, and to remember that thousands before us have been treated in like manner.

            When thus reviled, or persecuted, we are to be meek, patient, humble; not angry; not reviling back; but we are to endeavor to do good to our persecutors and slanderers, (II Tim. 2:24-25).  In this way, many have been convinced of the power and excellence of that faith which they were persecuting and reviling. They have seen that nothing else but believing in Christ could impart such patience and meekness to the persecuted; and have, by this means, been constrained to submit themselves to the gospel of Jesus. Long since, it became a proverb, “that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.”
          Jesus had previously said, “for righteousness' sake;” but here He identifies Himself and His cause with that of righteousness, binding up the cause of righteousness in the world with the reception of Himself. When you have Christ, you have righteousness-imputed righteousness; Christ’s own righteousness imputed (given) to you.  Would Moses, or David, or Isaiah, or Paul have so expressed themselves? Never! Doubtless they suffered for righteousness' sake. But to have called this “their sake,” would, as every one feels, have been very unbecoming. Whereas He that speaks, being Righteousness incarnate (see Mark 1:24; Acts 3:14; Rev. 3:7), when He so speaks, speaks only like Himself.

“Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven:  for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

“Rejoice and be exceeding glad”
Literally:  “Rejoice and leap for joy”–Here is a paradox indeed. Rejoice on account of persecution. The reason why they may justly rejoice is given: “Great is your reward in heaven.”

           The devil, his imps of hell and the godless world, cannot at all understand a believer, who, while being abused and persecuted for the Lord, will still praise Him.  This is what these Tribulation believers will be doing.  This is of the same caliber of Job, who, while going through all sorts of heartache and physical abuse and for nothing that he had done to deserve such, could still say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before Him” (Job 13:15).
            "REJOICE"– In the corresponding passage of Luke (Luke 6:22-23), where every indignity trying to flesh and blood is held forth as the probable lotof such as were faithful to Him, the word is even stronger than here: “leap,” as if He would have their inward transport to overpower and absorb the sense of all these affronts and sufferings; nor will anything else do it.

“for great is your reward in heaven
Literally:  “for your reward {is} great in heaven”–Many believers, of both this present
Church Age and the future time of the Tribulation, will be rewarded in heaven with their Martyrs Crown.

In the Talmudical tract Pirkey Aboth, are these words: “Rabbi Tarpon said, ‘The day is short: the work is great: the labourers are slow: the REWARD IS GREAT: and the father of the family is urgent.’”

 “for so persecuted they the prophets”
Literally:  “for in this way they persecuted the prophets”–Throughout their history, the Jews had persecuted their prophets.  Example:  look at the treatment that the prophet Jeremiah got from the king of Judah--throuwn into a pit (a cess pool); Isaiah is said to have been sawed in half; and Elijah         was hunted by King Ahab and Jezebel of Israel.  Stephen refers to such persecution of the prophets in his sermon to the Jews (Acts 7).

(verses 13-16)


Now that we have finished with the Beautitudes, we are ready to go into the next part of this Sermon on the Mount.  This is a another happy hunting ground for sermon material—sermons that are mostly taken out of their context, their dispensational setting, and their literality.  Now that I have the preachers attention, (and also their ire), we will continue on with this setting.

“Ye are the salt of the earth:  but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

“Ye are the salt of the earth”
Literally:  “You are the salt of the earth”–If I were to go into the average church today,   and ask of whom this passage is speaking, the answer I would most likely get would be, “The Church; how Christians should be.”

But that answer would be WRONG!   In all reality, this passage has nothing whatsoever to do with either the Church or Christians.  To see this,  let us go to the Four Questions: for Bible interpretation (hermeneutics).

QUESTION #1:  Who is doing the speaking?
Of course, this is still the Lord Jesus Christ who is doing the speaking.

QUESTION #2:  Who is He speaking to?
He is still speaking to Israel, to the Jews-–not to the Church or Christians.

QUESTION #3:   What is He talking about?
Jesus is still talking about the coming Kingdom.
UNDERSTAND:  This is still the time that would have preceded the coming Kingdom.

QUESTION #4:  When is He doing the talking?
He is still under the Law, the Torah.  The Church has not yet even been mentioned–it is not mentioned until chapte 16, and then it is still in the future:  —“…I will build My church…” (16:18).
JESUS is still speaking of that time immediately preceding the setting up of His Kingdom.

            In the ancient world salt was highly valued.  The Romans had a saying, Nil utilius sole et sale—“There is nothing more useful than sun and salt.”  They said that salt was the purest of all things, because it came from the purest of all things:  from the sun and the sea.  In fact, salt was the more primitive of all offerings to the gods, and to the end of the day,  Jewish sacrifices were offered with salt Salt was so valuable then that it was used as part of the pay of the Roman army–and this is where we get our term, “salary.”
         In the ancient world, salt was connected with three special qualities:  (1) As a symbol of purity; (2) It was the most common of all preservatives; and (3) It was used to add flavor to things.  Sailors have even learned that salt water has some degree as a healing agent.
            Therefore, we must conclude that Jesus is saying that they, National Israel, the Jews, are, or rather should have been, the salt of the earth.  But were they? NO, THEY WERE NOT! What does salt do?  It adds flavor; it preserves meat; and it even has some healing properties.  How would this apply to Israel?  God had called out unto Himself a nation that was supposed to tell a sin-lost world about Him.  He had given them the Law.  They were supposed to have been spreading their “healing properties,” the message of preservation in a sin-contaminated world, and were to be a sweet smelling savor to God.  Had they done this?  NO!  THEY DID NO

“if a salt have lost his savor”
Literally:  “if the salt becomes tasteless”–This is exactly what had happened to
Israel.       Instead of spreading their message of preservation,  flavoring and healing, instead, they kept the message to themselves.  Instead of giving it out, they hoarded it as their own private property.

A.T. Robertson has this to say about salt losing its savor:  LOST ITS SAVOR: (Grk.–môranthiêi)–The verb is from the Greek word  (môros)– which means,  “dull, sluggish, stupid, foolish,” and means “to play the fool, to become foolish.”  When salt becomes tasteless, or insipid (Mark 9:50). It is common in Syria and Palestine to see salt (which was made from evaporating sea water) scattered in piles on the ground because it has lost its flavor

“It is thenceforth good for nothing,”
Literally:  “it has strength for nothing anymore”–
Israel had become good for nothing, as far being useful to God.  Therefore, He had to create another group to do His work of evangelizing the world.  But that is still in the future from the time setting of this verse.

 “but to be cast out
Literally:  “Except to be thrown out.”–Where is
Israel today?  Where has Israel been for two millennia?  It wat on the trash heap of the world.  It was cast out, and replaced, at least temporarily, by the Church, which is now following in the same pattern as did Israel—a           pattern of inaction and failure.

“and to be trodden under foot of men.”
Literally:  “to be trampled under by men”–

“There was a species of salt in Judea, which was generated at the lake Asphaltites, and hence called bituminous salt, easily rendered vapid, and of no other use but to be spread in a part of the temple, to prevent slipping in wet weather.  This is probably what our Lord alludes to in this place.”– Adam Clarke’s Commentary

            For over 2000 years Israel has been trodden under foot of men.  Israel is on the spiritual dung heap.  But that time will end.  The removal of the Church and God’s again dealing with Israel is nigh.  Contrary to popular belief, God is not finished with Israel!  They have only been temporarily set aside (Romans 11:25-26).  In 1948, for the first time in almost 2 millennial, Israel again became a nation.  The Star of David now again flies over Jerusalem.
          Jewish believers are salt—a seasoning and preservative, for the Land of Israel, and light for the worldfor the Gentiles, as taught in Isaiah 49:6“And he said, ‘It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel:  I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.”  The Jewish believers in Christ, the Messianic Jews, then, are the righteous remnant (Rom. 11), for whose sake God preserves Israel and the world.


VERSE 14:  “Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.”

            “Ye are the light of the world”–Literally:  “You are the light of the world.’–This was why God selected a peculiar people for Himself: That is, they were to be the instruments which God chose to make use of to illuminate the minds of men; as He uses the sun to illuminate the world.

          The sun renders objects visible, shows their form their nature, their beauties, and deformities. The term “light” is often applied to religious teachers (see John 1:4; 8:12; Isa. 49:6).  It is pre-eminently applied to Jesus in these places; because He is, in the moral and spiritual world, what the sun is in the natural world. 
           Here JESUS is applying the term to Israel.   Again, keep in mind, that the Church is NOTwho JESUS is calling the light of the world.  It is National ISRAEL to whom He is speaking.  There may be some application for the Church, but the Church is NOT the  primary  interpretation of this passage.

“A city set on a hill”
Literally:  “a city sitated on a mountain”–It is an interesting fact that the city of  Jerusalem is situation on a 2600 foot hill.

When people went to Jerusalem, they always said they were going “up” to Jerusalem (I Kings 12:28; II Kings 12:17; 16:5; II Chron. 2:16; Ezra 1:3; 7:13; Matt. 20:17-18; Mark 10:32-33; Luke 2:42; 18:31; 19:28; John 2:13; 5:1; 11:5; Acts 11:2; 15:2, just to name a few).  When traveling from Jerusalem people always went down–“down to Jericho.”

VERSE 15: “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.”

“men light a candle”
Literally:  “Nor do they light “lamp,– Not a candle–rather, a
clay pottery lamp that burned oil and had a wick at one end.

        CANDLE:  (Grk.–luchnia)-This word is habitually mistranslated in the KJV as “candlestick.”  Candles and candlesticks were not known in Bible times. Candles did not even come into existence until the Middle Ages.

It would be foolish to light a lamp and put it under a bushel measureJesus proceeded here to show them that the very reason why they were called was that others might also see the light which they had been given, and be benefited by it.  When men light a lamp (or even a candle) they do not conceal the light, but place it where it may be of use.

“put it under a bushel”
Literally: “put it under the greain measure”–This so-called “bushel” was a measure used both among the Greeks and Romans, which contained a little more than our peck.

From some ancient writers we learn, that only those who had bad designs hid a candle under a bushel; that, in the dead of the night, when all were asleep, they might rise up, and have light at hand to help them to effect some evil purpose.

Comment by A.T. Robinson, the koine Greek authority: “The figure is taken from lowly cottage life. There was a projecting stone in the wall on which the lamp was set. The house consisted of a single room, so that the tiny light sufficed for all.”  A lamp was not put under the measuring bowl, save to put it out or to hide it.

“but on a candlestick”
Literally:  “upon the lampstand.”–It is “lampstand,” not a “candle” or “candlestick”  in     each of the twelve examples in which this Greek word
 (luchnia)  appears in the Bible. There was the one lampstand for the single average Jewish room. This is probably referring         to something like a menorah.